22 March 2008

reader question: eton e5 versus sony icf sw7600gr

This question was recently submitted by Pete:
If you were about to be abducted by aliens and you could only take one SW portable with you, would it be the Sony SW7600GR or the Eton E5? I live on the West Coast too, so I'm interested in your opinion of the two radios. I'm primarily interested in their SW performance.
Send those aliens my way! I'm ready for a vacation.

Without recently comparing these two radios side-by-side for shortwave performance, I have an overall preference for the Eton E5. The Eton E5 is smaller, produces better treble response through the speaker, and has the continuous non-muting tuning knob. The E5's tuning knob is great for band scanning. The SW7600GR offers AM synchronous detection, but in my experience, it has only slightly improved already-usable signals. (I risk angering some readers with that comment, but I'm always willing to hear your opinions!) My SW7600GR is rarely used these days; the E5 is my main receiver for mediumwave DX and shortwave.

16 March 2008

beeping ka2100 buttons question

An anonymous reader posted the following recently, and I'm putting it on the main page so more people can see, and perhaps respond, to it:
Just got a KA2100 and am impressed so far. Good service from Universal Radio. KGO in San Francisco comes in crystal clear 1000 Mi away in BC. Still playing with SW. Anyone know how to turn off the beep when the buttons are pressed?
By the way, nice job catching KGO, which is here in my hometown.

08 March 2008

quotes collected during mediumwave dxing

While attempting to identify mediumwave stations in the past couple months, I write some non-identifying quotes from the radio into my log. Since I'm not ready to post my mediumwave dx results, I thought I'd share some of these quotes. Since I didn't know the callsign in every case, I'll just list the frequency. I could post a reaction to many of these, but I thought I'd let you readers have the first shot at it.

• "The show is done; you can unbuckle the seatbelt." (540 kHz)
• "It's like an almanac on crack." (550 kHz)
• "20 billion dollars worth of arms. ...precise guided weapons... moving into the Saudis' large and growing arsenal." (560 kHz)
• "Think twice before starting that food fight." (740 kHz)
• "Folks, now more than ever, we need a joint product we can trust." (770 kHz)
• "You're like a two-year-old... you just keep playing with that thing!" (860 kHz)
• "Too bad they're unable to stop their opponent from scoring!" (950 kHz)
• "You can always go to surgery as a last resort." (960 kHz)
• "We happen to do it in a studio. You can do it anywhere in America!" (970 kHz)
• "150,000 watts of pure San Diego power." (1090 kHz)
• "I've never done steroids." "No, you've just done donuts." (1120 kHz)
• "A family of twin sisters recognized by the Guinness book of world records..." (1130 kHz)
• "My brother... mi hermano." (1170 kHz)
• "You've gotta get your kids out of the government schools." (1180 kHz)
• "Who cares if you kill yourself if you're a child molester?" (1360 kHz)

02 March 2008

mediumwave dx vs. hd radio

While trying to log mediumwave stations this year, I have encountered a new problem. The mediumwave band now contains harmful interference where once it contained AM stations. The introduction of HD radio on the AM broadcast band may be to blame.

I expect the occasional instance of adjacent channel interference. I may hear a strong signal on 1400 kHz, then hear remnants of that same signal when tuned to 1410 kHz. Compensating for this problem usually involves enabling the narrow filter on a radio, tuning further away from the interference source (such as going to 1412 kHz for example), or a combination of the two. With the noise that I'm now hearing surrounding some HD broadcasts, these methods are ineffective as the noise is overwhelming.

Here are the stations that I have logged, which have harmful noise on both adjacent channels (plus and minus 10 kHz). I'll also list stations that I logged back in 2006, but will likely no longer hear as a result of adjacent channel interference. Listening tests to confirm the presence of noise on the adjacent frequencies were performed with my Eton E5 on 02 March 2008.

• 740 KCBS: Sometime in 2008, KCBS began identifying itself as "KCBS and KCBS HD". An email exchange with the station reveals that their HD broadcast is running 24/7. 730 kHz and 750 kHz are now so noisy that no stations can be identified on these frequencies. So this eliminates 730 CHMJ (Vancouver, BC, Canada), 750 KHWG (Fallon, NV), 750 KOAL (Price, UT), and 750 KXL (Portland, OR).

• 910 KNEW: Their website says "Broadcasting in HD radio." This eliminates 900 CKMO (Victoria, BC, Canada), 900 KBIF (Fresno, CA), 920 KIHM (Reno, NV), 920 KVIN (Ceres, CA), and 920 KXLY (Spokane, WA).

• 960 KKGN: This station used to be KQKE until August 2007. Their website includes an "HD radio" logo. This will eliminate 950 KAHI (Sacramento, CA), and 970 KCMD (Portland, OR).

• 1050 KNBR: This is an odd one. KNBR is the callsign here for both 680 and 1050. The 680 frequency does not have adjacent channel interference on 670 and 690. I don't know why only 1050 would use HD. The only confirmation I have for my suspicion of an HD broadcast on 1050 is Wikipedia. Fortunately, I have not previously logged any stations on 1040 or 1060.

• 1310 KMKY: Oh great, Radio Disney with its numerous stations will use HD radio too? I could not find evidence of the HD broadcast on the Radio Disney website, but I found it on the iBiquity station list for California. This eliminates 1300 KCMY (Carson City, NV) and 1320 KCTC (Sacramento, CA).