22 September 2011

shortwave scanning, sep 2011

My Eton E5 is up and running, with relatively fresh alkalines, and the Degen DE31 active loop antenna is hanging in the window. Let's see what's out there. I only used the tuning knob here; no automatic scanning, stepping buttons, or frequency entry.

On 13 Sep 2011, at 0400 UTC, I hoped to catch China Radio International on either 6020 kHz or 6080 kHz, both transmitting from Sackville in a westerly direction. But I checked those frequencies and heard barely a murmur on them. The loop antenna helped somewhat, but the male announcer just couldn't keep up with the strong buzzing sound I was picking up. So I decided to do a band scan starting at 4700 kHz, the beginning of the 60-meter broadcast band.

4840 kHz: WWCR from Nashville. It sounds like infomercials. The signal is somewhat strong, but there's fading and the constant buzzing I mentioned above. If I hold the radio with my right hand, then the buzzing goes away, but then I can't sit at the computer and type and stuff. Ugh. Anyway, this infomercial is about storable foods, with free shipping. Oh, it's Alex Jones. I don't know much about this guy. I believe he's acquainted with George Noory and occasionally appears on Coast to Coast AM. Anyway, Alex is talking about "al qaeda terrorists". Not the most cheerful of subjects, right? Time to tune again.

WWV on 5000 kHz, just the gent from Colorado. The lady from Hawaii might be in there somewhere! I better turn on the loop antenna and find out. Yep, I can just hear her faint announcements just before the gentleman's recording, right before the minute marker tone.

5025 kHz. At times, I can hear Radio Rebelde here, but not tonight. Well, something is there, but barely. I enjoy listening to their music when the signal comes through.

5040 kHz. Music. I don't recognize it. Spanish? Ah, it appears to be Radio Havana Cuba. Well, I'd love to hear the music if the signal was better.

5755 kHz. "That's when you know you're talking to a lukewarm christian." Ah, one of the many religious shortwave broadcasts. Which one? WTWW from Tennessee. This frequency is just outside the 49-meter broadcast band. I wonder how stations like this, and WBCQ, are allocated frequencies outside of the normal broadcast bands. This signal is stronger than the others I've heard, but the content isn't really for me. Back to the tuning knob.

5935 kHz is a strong signal, and I recognize that voice! It's the legendary Dr. Gene Scott, a shortwave broadcaster that I learned about from the Professor. The good doctor died several years ago, but he's still on the radio, should you wish to find him. Dr. Scott is another religious broadcaster, but I enjoy listening to him for everything else he does. But this particular moment of his broadcast sounds tame.

5950 kHz, this must be Radio Taiwan International. And it is, but in Mandarin, which isn't a language I know. There's a little flute song here, but it didn't last long. I should be able to find Cuba on 6000 kHz or 6050 kHz, even though their evening broadcasts before 0500 UTC aren't aimed at me. Ah, 6050 kHz has a somewhat usable Radio Havana Cuba broadcast. Radio Havana Cuba was one of my first shortwave receptions; it was really exciting to hear the announcer state that she was in downtown Havana. This signal is fading like crazy. The loop antenna helped quite a bit. This story is about the Cuban Five, a frequent topic on Radio Havana Cuba, and arguably a story that helps keep Radio Havana Cuba on the air broadcasting to the United States. If you're not familiar with the Cuban Five, I suggest you look into it.

Singing on 6090 kHz. This is another frequency used by the University Network, Dr. Gene Scott's network. Interestingly, a voiceover just said "You are watching (unintelligible). The number to call is...". All I'm watching is the frequency displayed on my radio, pal!

6120 kHz has a Spanish broadcast from Radio Havana Cuba, but it's barely there and has severe fading.

6385 kHz has a repetitive noise, like the sound of a car that won't start, but at a lower pitch. I hear the same thing on 6400 kHz.

There's a really faint female voice on 7250 kHz. It's very weak, and it sounds like there's an echo. Vatican radio in French, perhaps? But the signal is too weak for me to recognize the language.

Nothing on 7415 kHz, where I was hoping WBCQ would be broadcasting something that I could hear.

Something on 7570 kHz, well past the 41-meter broadcast band. It sounds like Spanish, so it would be Radio Taiwan International broadcasting to Latin America from Okeechobee.

I pretty much flew through 8000-9000 kHz, not expecting to find much there unless it was a jammer. Now I have a broadcast on 9410 kHz which is clearly English even though I can't hear it too clearly. I just know the speech patterns. This signal appears to be WINB in Pennsylvania, broadcasting to Latin America. The broadcast stopped at 0458 UTC in mid-sentence. So, I scanned from 4700 kHz to 9400 kHz, and I'm ready to be done. I hope you enjoyed reading this, or I hope you stopped reading it once you realized that you didn't enjoy it!

Schedule information was obtained from Primetime Shortwave and EiBi.

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