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Radiwow R-108 Incoming & My Thoughts on Solar Cycle Predictions.

simpilo

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I seen the videos and tlked with people on the Radio Hobyists Discord channel. Took me a few months to decide on buying the Radiwow R-108. I have purchased one from Amazon using my Prime membership 1 day delivery perk. If nothing goes wrong I should have it in my hand by 9pm tonight (July 1, 2019).

It doesn't have SSB. I already have 2 SSB equipped radios. I wanted the airband receive. Another thing that caught my eye is the fact it has DSP technology. I also like it does have full shortwave coverage up to 30MHZ. I also plan to use it to monitor the 75 meter band Amateur AM operators with it. I'll play around with the various IF Bandwidth settings. I also like that it has a thermometer.

I may just buy a seperate BFO. Problem is the one I could find is out of the USA and sells for $45. I think in South America somewhere. Shipping wouldn't justify the cost of the BFO. I could make one myself. I'll see about it on MFJ's website. Maybe they have a BFO for radios lacking SSB demodulation.

I did some research about the radio's quirks. It is said to have a clicking sound due to the signal strength meter. Switching to thermometer or time eliminates it. It is said that the MW band on it has sensitivity issues turning it on. Turning it on and off again fixes it temporarily. One thing it better not have is a 1 or 2 khz frequency offset from center frequency like the Tecsun PL-600 is plagued with.

Seems to be a mixed bag of some who say shortwave is good on sensitivity and others say it's a portable it isn't that great. Let me make that determination. some my have received a radio from a bad batch from the manufacturer. I am rebellious to the nay sayers and skeptical of the yay sayers.

This morning my Tecsun received WWVH from Hawaii on both 10000khz and 15000khz. WWV 5000khz from Ft Colins Co, Thats band conditions. I also received SIBC on 9545khz. The signal was to weak for audio but noticeable on BFO. Solomon Islands is a very far stretch on the day side of Earth.

Now is the good time to learn radio performance as the sun transitions to Cycle 25. Cycle 24 is already done. All Cycle 24 family spots that have formed fizzled out rather quick. All the flux we get is baseline from active regions. Basically seasonal propagation is our friend. This is the real test of all receivers ever made. Grand Minimum is fake news. The sun solar cycle patterns suggests each solar cycle is different. The consensus of scientist are just a consensus and not really enough fact or knowledge to support their predictions. They will even tell you that.

I am no scientist but anyone can look at solar cycle in the past to determine the sun's patterns speaks a different story. We all don't know.
 

KB4MSZ

Max
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This brings back some very fond memories as a kid when I was given a Zenith H500 Transoceanic from my great uncle. I spent countless hours learning to operate that radio and tuning in broadcasts from all over the planet. My uncle was German, and I had learned enough of his language to listen to German broadcasts and I could inform him of events he might be interested in from back home. He passed away when I was 8 years old and my use of German faded away.

The Transoceanic, of course, did not have SSB as it was not common at that point although it did exist. My adventure in antenna design and experimentation began with that radio and it is my favorite activity to this day. Looking at the radio you are discussing shows the incredible advancement that has been made since the Transoceanic was common. I may very well buy the R-108 and use it as a time machine.Zenith H500 Transoceanic.jpg
 

simpilo

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Oklahoma City,OK
This brings back some very fond memories as a kid when I was given a Zenith H500 Transoceanic from my great uncle. I spent countless hours learning to operate that radio and tuning in broadcasts from all over the planet. My uncle was German, and I had learned enough of his language to listen to German broadcasts and I could inform him of events he might be interested in from back home. He passed away when I was 8 years old and my use of German faded away.

The Transoceanic, of course, did not have SSB as it was not common at that point although it did exist. My adventure in antenna design and experimentation began with that radio and it is my favorite activity to this day. Looking at the radio you are discussing shows the incredible advancement that has been made since the Transoceanic was common. I may very well buy the R-108 and use it as a time machine.View attachment 72788
There is no beating the antiques in their rich sound quality. Sturdy as well. Some may argue they weren't all that sensitive but I seen some techs bring them to life so well that they ended up being sensitive. Tech's working on these antiques learned better ways of doing things so that's why they are able to spruce them up so well.

My Radiwow R-108 arrived. The box felt light as a feather. I thought Amazon was playing a silly game on me but nope. the radio is VERY light. Built sturdy. Tiny little radio. I don't recommend it for those like me who have damaged eyesight. Its very hard to read without proper eyeglasses and light. It has a blue LED lit back ground. It is everything you see in the images at Amazon.com

It's noise floor is very low. You have to crank up the volume all the way to hear the noise floor. Remember to turn it back down. If you forget and tune to a broadcaster it'll get LOUD. LW band works. It heard a NDB beacon. Aircraft band works. It heard aircraft.

Now waiting on it to finish its first charge. I had to remove the plastic cover off the BL-5C battery to get it to power on. I bet many people didn't know that and returned it. Slaps forehead. It could use SSB reception.
 

Token

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Now is the good time to learn radio performance as the sun transitions to Cycle 25. Cycle 24 is already done. All Cycle 24 family spots that have formed fizzled out rather quick. All the flux we get is baseline from active regions. Basically seasonal propagation is our friend. This is the real test of all receivers ever made. Grand Minimum is fake news. The sun solar cycle patterns suggests each solar cycle is different. The consensus of scientist are just a consensus and not really enough fact or knowledge to support their predictions. They will even tell you that.

I am no scientist but anyone can look at solar cycle in the past to determine the sun's patterns speaks a different story. We all don't know.
Cycle 24 may not yet be done, we are simply in the closing stages of 24. Cycle 24 will end between now and late 2020, so in the next year. Like many things solar related, you can't really tell it is done until after the fact, and you don't know until you can identify when the next one starts.

Solar predictions are scientific predictions based on historical data. In other word, sure, predicted future events are not hard, fast, undeniable, but such predictions can be strongly based in fact. They are a "best guess" of future events.

Grand Minimums are not fake news, there have been several (at least 6 named events that I know of) in the past and we are, very possibly, in one now. A Grand Minimum is simply an extended period of time when several / many solar cycles in a row have lower peaks than average, like our last 2 peaks. A Grand Minimum is not the same as say the Maunder Minimum. The Maunder was a Grand, but all Grands are not as low as the Maunder. For example the next Grand Minimum after the Maunder was the Dalton Minimum, and it was fairly similar to our current conditions. If Solar Cycle 25 is roughly the same as 24 then we will have had a period nearly identical to a recognized, and named, Grand Minimum. If Cycle 25 is significantly worse than 24 then we will certainly be in a Grand Minimum.

All that Solar stuff aside, just because conditions are not great does not mean shortwave is unusable. Propagation still works, and shortwave is still interesting, just not the same way it is when near a solar peak. I find I do a lot more low frequency work during Solar cycle low points, focusing 12 MHz and down, and higher freq stuff during cycle highs.

T!
 

simpilo

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I repeat what Dr Tamitha Skov mentioned in her previous Spaceweather Forecast. I put it in my own words because I dont have the time to bring up the video on YouTube. It went along the lines of "short lived sunspots that fizzle out quickly marked the end of Cycle 24". I scoff at this notion of a "Grand Minimum" because the sun gives evidence it will do as it pleases. Scientist know they don't have enough data to even form a prediction so they do it for the sake of science but its more or less a huge guess noone should take seriously.

If anyone has a space ship that can survive the sun's atmosphere be my guests figure it out please! :cautious:
 
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Token

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I repeat what Dr Tamitha Skov mentioned in her previous Spaceweather Forecast. I put it in my own words because I dont have the time to bring up the video on YouTube. It went along the lines of "short lived sunspots that fizzle out quickly marked the end of Cycle 24". I scoff at this notion of a "Grand Minimum" because the sun gives evidence it will do as it pleases. Scientist know they don't have enough data to even form a prediction so they do it for the sake of science but its more or less a huge guess noone should take seriously.
The use of past tense "marked the end of Cycle 24" is a bit premature. You do realize that as recently as 3 days ago there was a spot that was part of Cycle 24?

The problem with all of this discussion is that until the first reversed polarity spots of Cycle 25 appear we can never know, I mean absolutely be sure, when 24 ended. That first spot of 25 should be in the next year or so, and at that point science can look back and say "Cycle 24 ran from this date to that date". Until then it is all part of that "guess" you speak of, they "think" we are at the end of 24. Every time a spot appears someone can say "I think that was the last spot of Cycle 24", and one day they will be right.

Yes, the Sun does what it pleases, no doubt about that. And science has less than a 100% understanding of how or why it does some things. That does not mean a Grand Minimum is not a real thing, and it does not mean we may not be entering / in one now. But again, there is no way to be sure until either well into it or after it ends. Do I believe we are headed towards such a Minimum? I don't know. I concede it is possible, and should be considered. I also concede that it is the human condition to be somewhat alarmist, so it is quite possible people are getting their panties in a bunch for no good reason at all, and maybe Cycle 25 will be the hottest in a century. But I would not bet on that last part ;)

T!
 

simpilo

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The use of past tense "marked the end of Cycle 24" is a bit premature. You do realize that as recently as 3 days ago there was a spot that was part of Cycle 24?

The problem with all of this discussion is that until the first reversed polarity spots of Cycle 25 appear we can never know, I mean absolutely be sure, when 24 ended. That first spot of 25 should be in the next year or so, and at that point science can look back and say "Cycle 24 ran from this date to that date". Until then it is all part of that "guess" you speak of, they "think" we are at the end of 24. Every time a spot appears someone can say "I think that was the last spot of Cycle 24", and one day they will be right.

Yes, the Sun does what it pleases, no doubt about that. And science has less than a 100% understanding of how or why it does some things. That does not mean a Grand Minimum is not a real thing, and it does not mean we may not be entering / in one now. But again, there is no way to be sure until either well into it or after it ends. Do I believe we are headed towards such a Minimum? I don't know. I concede it is possible, and should be considered. I also concede that it is the human condition to be somewhat alarmist, so it is quite possible people are getting their panties in a bunch for no good reason at all, and maybe Cycle 25 will be the hottest in a century. But I would not bet on that last part ;)

T!
That spot sunk fast. They don't really fizzle. They sink below the plage. It annoys me to hear people be alarmists about something that humanity barely has 10% knowledge of. Nowhere near 100 percent. The previous cycles don't really support a weaker solar cycle 25. The sun has a pattern. It is of a roller coaster. It probably has confused scientists and wanna be's like me. It is not premature to watch a pattern and try to make a best guess based on history of a pattern.

Notice the arrows pointing at similar to solar cycle 24 and look at what happens next. The next cycle always seemed to be BIGGER in sunspot activity by a small or large amount. I do see the previous 3 cycles seem to be a down slope but that doesn't mean "OMG! GRAND MINIMUM!" like I said it's a roller coaster for the sun. Can't really tell how Cycle 25 will be right?
I guess the sun is premature too....

All Solar Cycles.png
Image courtesy of SWS - The Sun and Solar Activity - Graphs of Historical Solar Cycles
 
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Boombox

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I'm not an astronomical expert by any stretch, but there are all sorts of cycles when you're dealing with astronomical bodies. Humanity hasn't been present on the earth long enough to figure it all out quite yet, but I trust the solar scientists when they say the next cycle could be lower than, say, the one in the late 1980's, or the other one in the 50's that the veteran DXers of yore raved about.

When it comes down to it, the cycle we have is the one we have. High or low, we who listen to HF and MF have to deal with the reality, whichever way it goes. I think we all can agree on that one. :)

RE: the R-108. It looks like a Tecsun under another badge. I would bet it has a SiLabs DSP chip inside. Good luck with the radio, looks like it would be a great travelling radio or carry-around DXer / listener.
 

simpilo

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Oklahoma City,OK
I'm not an astronomical expert by any stretch, but there are all sorts of cycles when you're dealing with astronomical bodies. Humanity hasn't been present on the earth long enough to figure it all out quite yet, but I trust the solar scientists when they say the next cycle could be lower than, say, the one in the late 1980's, or the other one in the 50's that the veteran DXers of yore raved about.

When it comes down to it, the cycle we have is the one we have. High or low, we who listen to HF and MF have to deal with the reality, whichever way it goes. I think we all can agree on that one. :)

RE: the R-108. It looks like a Tecsun under another badge. I would bet it has a SiLabs DSP chip inside. Good luck with the radio, looks like it would be a great travelling radio or carry-around DXer / listener.
The Radiwow R-108 does well on the aircraft bands for sure. I am actually listening to KOKC tower while watching traffic on ADS-B using RTL1090 and RTL-SDR Flightaware Pro (Orange). I haven't opened up the radio to see what is running inside but i bet you're right about it having a SiLabs chip because all it does is alot for such a small radio. Got to be some sort of processing inside of it going on to do all it does. Store 100 frequencies per band total 500 memories, a thermometer, a dBu and S/N meter, alarm, 24 hr clock, sleep, alarm with either radio or a buzzer, select 5 different bandwidths, 2 audio profile voice or music. It is very quiet on the Airband but the weaker signals are easy to hear. I couldnt hear any evidence of over saturation in the strongest of signals. For me WTWW is strongest next to WTWW. Strong signals still sound good but it will have intermod. Very little if any.
It has good selectivity. I tried it on 1340khz in the MW band which is the strongest to me at 55dBu I offset tuned it to see if it degrades in signal away from center frequency equally on both side bands. It was dead on frequency.

I also tested the selectivity by listening to a DX station 10KHZ up from 1000khz KTOK. I could hear the dx station on 1010khz which is quite good with just a little bit of KTOK seeping through but that's is what I would expect. To close in frequency to a strong signal. The radio has good selectivity.

I can't find birdies in it. I think the birdies vary from radio to radio due to some production quality issues.

I have image with story stating cycles can overlap. Read it.
sunspots-mix-together.PNG
Courtesy of SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
 

Boombox

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RE: all the non-radio functions: that wouldn't be the DSP IF chip, that would be whatever microprocessor the radio has. But the sensitivity, selectivity, and RDS functions would be due to the DSP chip, as SiLabs DSP chips have RDS and adjustable bandwidths (among other functions).
 

simpilo

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RE: all the non-radio functions: that wouldn't be the DSP IF chip, that would be whatever microprocessor the radio has. But the sensitivity, selectivity, and RDS functions would be due to the DSP chip, as SiLabs DSP chips have RDS and adjustable bandwidths (among other functions).
The noise floor is incredibly quiet on the R-108 Airband. I max the volume to hear it until a pilot talks then I have to turn it down.
 

KM4OBL

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I repeat what Dr Tamitha Skov mentioned in her previous Spaceweather Forecast. I put it in my own words because I dont have the time to bring up the video on YouTube. It went along the lines of "short lived sunspots that fizzle out quickly marked the end of Cycle 24". I scoff at this notion of a "Grand Minimum" because the sun gives evidence it will do as it pleases. Scientist know they don't have enough data to even form a prediction so they do it for the sake of science but its more or less a huge guess noone should take seriously.

If anyone has a space ship that can survive the sun's atmosphere be my guests figure it out please! :cautious:
Scientists do have enough data to make predictions. They make predictions based on data, not a "huge guess," all the time. They are remarkably good at making predictions, given the complex variables determining the characteristics of the sun, and the ever-changing nature of the sun and other natural phenomena.

The predictions are not going to be 100% accurate, but scientists will tell you that when they make a prediction, or they are not a scientist. They also study the data that doesn't conform to their predictions and then modify their future predictions with that new data in mind. Hypothesis testing is what science is all about.
 

pjxii

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Before I read the article in Nature that I posted on another thread, I saw another article that read something like (seriously paraphrasing here), "New Measurement Technique Predicts Grand Solar Minimum is A-Comin'." My first thought was, if its a "new" measurement technique, then how can they possibly know what the effects of the readings actually mean since this type of measurement wasn't available for the previous solar cycles to compare them to. After reading the full article, I think they MAY be on to something, but of course at this point it really is just go forward with any new data collected and see in 50 years if they were right.
I have to agree with Simpilo, at this point in time solar cycles just can NOT be predicted with any accuracy, except to say that a few years from today we should have a few more sunspots than we do at the present moment.

Good luck with your new radio!
 

KM4OBL

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Before I read the article in Nature that I posted on another thread, I saw another article that read something like (seriously paraphrasing here), "New Measurement Technique Predicts Grand Solar Minimum is A-Comin'." My first thought was, if its a "new" measurement technique, then how can they possibly know what the effects of the readings actually mean since this type of measurement wasn't available for the previous solar cycles to compare them to. After reading the full article, I think they MAY be on to something, but of course at this point it really is just go forward with any new data collected and see in 50 years if they were right.
I have to agree with Simpilo, at this point in time solar cycles just can NOT be predicted with any accuracy, except to say that a few years from today we should have a few more sunspots than we do at the present moment.

Good luck with your new radio!
"These and other studies indicate the prediction of the strength of the next solar sun spot cycle is indeed plausible, and is best achieved with accurate knowledge (i.e., observational input) of the solar polar (poloidal) field proxy at the preceding cycle minimum, i.e., only about five years in advance.

...

We devise a novel methodology, wherein, we first predict the strength of the sun's polar field at cycle minimum (in advance) and then utilize this as input in a predictive dynamo model to forecast the strength and timing of the next sunspot cycle thereby extending the prediction window to close to a decade."

P. Bhowmik and D. Nandy, Nature Communications 9 5209 (2018)
 

simpilo

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"These and other studies indicate the prediction of the strength of the next solar sun spot cycle is indeed plausible, and is best achieved with accurate knowledge (i.e., observational input) of the solar polar (poloidal) field proxy at the preceding cycle minimum, i.e., only about five years in advance.

...

We devise a novel methodology, wherein, we first predict the strength of the sun's polar field at cycle minimum (in advance) and then utilize this as input in a predictive dynamo model to forecast the strength and timing of the next sunspot cycle thereby extending the prediction window to close to a decade."

P. Bhowmik and D. Nandy, Nature Communications 9 5209 (2018)
Meanwhile at the 2019 NCAR, scientist TRY to predict the next sunspot cycle and here is what a few say.
extracted from Scientists tackle a burning question: When will our quiet sun turn violent?
McIntosh doesn't question the need to prepare, but he is skeptical of the panel's approach. In fact, he believes its very premise—predicting the rise and fall of sunspots—is off-base. Sunspots, and the cycle itself, are just symptoms of a still-mysterious story playing out inside the sun.
Lika Guhathakurta, a panel observer from NASA's Ames Research Center in California, agrees. "Sunspot is not a physical index of anything," she says, after the morning's introductory talks. "So the fact that we have used it as a proxy in itself kind of presents a problem." Using sunspots—a side effect, not a cause—to predict the sun's future behavior is like trying to divine the germ theory of disease by looking at a runny nose, she and McIntosh think.
 
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