Grundig Satelitt 750 HF listening - newbie in need of some help..

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NE1C4NSC4N

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Hey folks, I hope this is the right place for this post...maybe it should be in the HF section or something...anyways, here goes..

So I just bought a Satelitt 750 HF radio, from The Source.. I got a deal on it, as I know the store manager, and the unit was on the shelve as a demo, mind you it was nicely placed at about 6 feet off the ground, perfectly out of reach of sticky fingered children, and the vertically challenged :p I'm 100% new to HF listening, and thought it would be a good starting point, since the price was right..I didnt do much research into what its capabilitys are exactly before buying, so go ahead and scold me now :p But again, the price was right, and I needed to start somewhere, and avoiding Ebay was a plus for that..

So, Ive done lots of reading up on here the last few days since I got it, adding all the stations/freqs I can find for Civ/MilAir HF...I know it will receive the Civilian Air HF(MWARA), as I have heard a number of position reports, and nav info, and pick up the VOLMET Reports from Gander NFLD, but thats about it..so I have 3 questions here, hopefully they are easily answered, but I wont hold my breath :) Just for reference, I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada..

1) Does the USAF and or RCAF use HF for communications, that I would be able to hear?? I understand from my reading that most of the US stuff is digital, or uses ALE, so I'm guessing I wont hear much unless I find the right freqs/stations..does anyone have a list, better then what is listed in the wiki for this kind of thing?? I'm looking for voice transmissions..

2) Do any military ground forces use HF for Comms that I would be able to recieve? Say US or Canadian forces in Afganistan, or IDK where..North Korea in the near future? :D

3) Do I need a traditional "Long Line" antenna, as the radio has a port for a 50 Ohm BNC HF antenna, as well as a 500 Ohm Antenna which the manual says I should use some sort of long line for...and if I need a long line, how would I feed it into the 50 Ohm connection, as I would like to run coax thru my home, and outside, then use the long line, I thought I read somewhere that I could use an outdoor antenna converter(balun maybe?), or whatever theyre called, to step it down from 300 to 50 Ohm, anyone know if thats true?? ..any suggestions for other types of antennas would be great..

Thanks in advance!
 
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ka3jjz

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<snip>
1) Does the USAF and or RCAF use HF for communications, that I would be able to hear?? I understand from my reading that most of the US stuff is digital, or uses ALE, so I'm guessing I wont hear much unless I find the right freqs/stations..does anyone have a list, better then what is listed in the wiki for this kind of thing?? I'm looking for voice transmissions..
While the USAF (and Canadians too, I'm sure) use ALE extensively, there's lots of voice to be heard. The wiki is pretty accurate in the frequency department, but you have to realize that such transmissions don't have a set schedule; also see the answer to question 3...

2) Do any military ground forces use HF for Comms that I would be able to recieve? Say US or Canadian forces in Afganistan, or IDK where..North Korea in the near future? :D
Highly unlikely; more than likely any of the juicy stuff is on a satellite, and heavily encrypted. Security, y'know :wink:

3) Do I need a traditional "Long Line" antenna, as the radio has a port for a 50 Ohm BNC HF antenna, as well as a 500 Ohm Antenna which the manual says I should use some sort of long line for...and if I need a long line, how would I feed it into the 50 Ohm connection, as I would like to run coax thru my home, and outside, then use the long line, I thought I read somewhere that I could use an outdoor antenna converter(balun maybe?), or whatever theyre called, to step it down from 300 to 50 Ohm, anyone know if thats true?? ..any suggestions for other types of antennas would be great..

Thanks in advance!
A better antenna is going to definitely improve your results, although I wouldn't go too overboard with a lot of wire. That radio will likely overload if you do. The subject of HF antennas is a very involved one, and much depends on just how much area you can use to string one up. Can you get outdoors with one? How much space do you have to work with? I suspect what you call a 'long line' antenna is really a 'long wire' (although that name is very much a misnomer - that's a type of antenna most folks don't have the room to properly erect).

Go over to the HF/MW/LW General discussion forum (avoid using the view new posts function - you miss out on a lot of good background information if you do) and use the search tools to find some simple mods you can do to the Satellit 750 to perk that radio up. Be more specific about your situation for the antenna - and we have a separate forum for antennas, too.

Finally we have a HUGE antennas page in our wiki (all links are in blue)....

HF Antennas - The RadioReference Wiki

73 Mike
 

NE1C4NSC4N

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Thanks for the link, and the reply ka3jjz..I was assuming security is no different in the HF area, than VHF and anywhere really, so thanks for the clarification..I do a bit of scanning and have always found MilAir interesting, and I love aviation in general, so it seemed like a good place to start with the USHF stuff. I have heard a couple of short transmissions, or half of them anyways, but I think it was just some automated stuff.

I have been doing lots of reading in the wiki here, and also some other sites, like eham.net, and have seen lots of ideas for transmitting antenna's, and how to make them, and all sorts of stuff, which in my mind seemed to be over kill for a reciever only, the longwire seemed to be an easy choice, plus they sell them at the same place the radio is from..in a kit.

I have a 100x50 foot area, with some deacent sized trees on 3 sides almost, .but the kit I saw doesnt get me from the trees, into my desk..which is the most important part really...thats about 50-75 feet roughly, so I'm also thinking that would effect the overall gain... Will the longwire really help me, or would I be better to get a vertical, and mount it on my chimney or something easier, with less distance to have feed lines as well ?
 

ka3jjz

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This is really a question for our Antennas forum, but let's start with something simple - you can pretty much purge the word 'longwire' from your vocabulary, unless you are stringing something up that is at least 1 wavelength long and close to the ground. At 60 meters, that gets pretty long! What you are thinking about is more along the lines of a classic inverted L or random wire, as shown here...

Antenna Primer Part 1

Look at figure c near the bottom.

Verticals have their place, but keep in mind that they are more susceptible to hearing noise as well as the DX. Too, at least some kinds of verticals need an extensive radial system to work well. To start, I'd avoid verticals for now.

One of the things to keep in mind about HF is that it's very noise sensitive - try to put the antenna as far away from your house as you can. Loss from long runs of coax is negligble on HF; just make sure you waterproof all your connections (many will use a double layer of electrical tape and a silicone sealant, or use Coax Seal, a mallable tape available from many ham dealers).

Don't ignore ham antenna designs. As long as there's no traps on the antenna (like some of the Alpha Delta products), with a little math (you do know how to do that without using Windows Calculator, right? hi) they can be adjusted. However, one of the best ways to start, and it should just fit in your yard, would be the Par End Fed SWL antenna. At 45 foot, you would only need some rope at the end of an insulator to tie it to a permanent structure (a tree would require some way to allow the rope to compensate for the movement - people have used halyards and such for this very purpose). It has a small transformer which will help in keeping the noise levels down, and it can be grounded in several different ways, depending on what works best in your environment. Dale Parfitt (who is the owner) has a reputation of being very approachable with questions and how-tos.

Most of these 'inverted L' kits don't include a transformer to help keep the noise level down. You can wind one yourself; there are plans in the shortwave swl antenna yahoo group. But to start, I'd suggest sticking with the PAR.

Don't forget to do the search in the HF forum as I had suggested earlier. Between the 2 you should get going in no time. 73 Mike
 

raisindot

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I have a Sat 800 (the "ancestor" of the 750) as my "casual listening" radio in my study. While I do have a very intricate, heavily grounded, shielded, buried coax longwire setup for my "main" receiver, the JRC 545, I use the 20' "rollup" antenna that came with a radio I bought years ago for the 750. Since I didn't want to drill a hole through the window of my study, I simply tuck the thin cable under the window sill. The 1/8" end I stick into the 50Ohm outside antenna jack and I string the rest of the antenna over some bushes.

While it's certainly not the most ideal setup, it does pick up 85% of what my 545 receives, including all of the air traffic in the 5800-6700 SSB zone..

Jeff in Boston
 

NE1C4NSC4N

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Thanks for the post raisindot, and ka3jjz again. I guess in the end, its all about trying things out, and seeing what works best, for my area, and available space, and the radio. Time to start experimenting :)

Any ideas, with plans attached anyone wants to share would be great.

ka3jjz, in your first post, you mentioned something about mod's in the wiki, but I didnt see anything for this radio, got a link perhaps? :)
 

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Not in the wiki - they're here, in this forum. There's a search tool that you can use to find everything that's been discussed about the Satellit (notice how I spelled it...). Anyway you can find it in the blue toolbar on the right under the name of this thread - just enter 'Satellit 750' and see how many threads come up.

73 Mike
 

NE1C4NSC4N

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I've done a few searches, and may have found the right page already, but got distracted by other information, or posts by others...I'll keep searching :)
 

raisindot

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Thanks for the post raisindot, and ka3jjz again. I guess in the end, its all about trying things out, and seeing what works best, for my area, and available space, and the radio. Time to start experimenting :)

Any ideas, with plans attached anyone wants to share would be great.
NE1, since I find plans and diagrams to be totally confusing, I can share, if you'd like,, some photos of my "complex" setup, with coax, ground rods, PAR SWL that can show what I use for my main rig. Just PM me.


Jeff
 

rexgame

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Do any military ground forces use HF for Comms that I would be able to recieve? Say US or Canadian forces in Afganistan, or IDK where..North Korea in the near future?
A good number of units have access to prick 150's, Harris' HF radio (AN/PRC-150), but their usually loaded with crypto, or used to push data bursts, so I don't know what's on them. The most common radio racks I saw all include the Harris HF, but the only time I've seen them used was to pick up BBC news at 1900 every night.
 
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NE1C4NSC4N

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Thanks for the post Rex..I was looking at an old Harris radio on ebay a while back, but it was stupid expensive if I recall..and PM sent Raisindot..

Like I had mentioned before, I was only asking about that stuff cause I didnt know where else to start with HF listening, I'm more of a scanner guy, and have always found it fun to monitor military/milair related stuff, cause I love planes in general, and its not something thats constant in my area, for the most part at least, not like police or fire, which is constant, and usually pretty boring around here..

What do you guys usually listen to, day to day? I tried out a demo of JVComm32, and was trying out recieving morse code or rtty messages, that was kinda neat, but I think I was doing something wrong lol..whats your top 5 stations ? :)
 

ka3jjz

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Apart from some ham use, there is very little Baudot RTTY anymore. There are some Aero stations I understand that still use it, but to be honest, that's not really interesting to me.

If you want some Utility targets, the HF-GCS stations are a good bet. We have a wiki article on them - however, keep in mind that stations like these don't have 'schedules' per se - so patience is required...
there's also the various MWARA (HF Aero) networks...see the links off this page...

HF - The RadioReference Wiki

Hopefully you have read the comments by hertzian about how to properly tune SSB with this radio -- it's a bit touchy, from his description. This is where I would start. Digital decoding takes some knowledge of the receiver's quirks, especially where tuning the signal in correctly is concerned. Start with the voice stuff first.

There's also no substitute for understanding how HF propagation works. Just the basics will do fine - you should understand when to tune in a particular freq range, and why it's right (or not the right time) to do it. This will save you some frustration in trying for freqs that will not be open due to the time of day. There's a HF Propagation link at the top of the above article.

73 Mike
 
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NE1C4NSC4N

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Hey ka3jjz, thanks for another post :) I think I've got a handle on things with the radio, since I pic up so much stuff on MWARA, I've gotten used to fine tuning and using the BFO and stuff, plus I kinda figured out the whole propagation thing while listening to MWARA, as they switch acording to time of day, and most of the ones I have were listed with their time periods.

When you say utility targets, on the HF-GCS, what would I be hearing, what would I use to recieve them program wise, and what would there be to see? Is that something I could get in trouble for? Also you mentioned HFGCS, is that the same as the USAF HFGCS?

I ask because I have heard some voice, I forget if theyre called EAMs or whatever, but they give a 6 digit code, then 26 more I think, it was "Andrews", and am listening to one now lol, on 11175 they're calling H45JUR, thats too funny, I've listen for days and only heard 1, now I hear them as I sit here and type, they even repeated the same one 2 times now..in about the past 5 mins. I wrote down the message, but maybe I shouldnt post it here?

Also, is there any program that would translate the check in noise you hear over MWARA, when they are giving their identifier or what ever it is ? I'm always hearing it, and very loud usually, I didnt see anything in the wiki for programs that do it, maybe its not allowed or something?
 
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ka3jjz

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Just call me 'Mike' - everyone else does...

'USAF HFGCS' is a misnomer - in fact any and all of the armed services can use the system at any time. This is not a broadcaster, nor does it send pix - it uses both voice (USB usually) and ALE. These subjects are already covered in the wiki.

Lots of folks post what they hear - including the content of the EAMs - on various message boards, including the Utility DXers Forum (UDXF) on Yahoo, among other places. There are even groups that study EAMs and their cousins (spy/numbers stations) with some degree of science behind it. Again, that subject is covered in the wiki (see the Pirates and Clandestines article).

I'm pretty sure the sound you hear on the MWARA freqs is a Selcall check (if you listen to the controller carefully, you will confirm this for yourself). There are packages out there that read the Selcall content - I just can't put my finger on them at the moment.

73 Mike
 
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NE1C4NSC4N

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Thanks Mike! I wasnt sure if your name was Mike or not, cause you always post 73 Mike..thought that was some sort of HAM talk or something lol.

Ive read most of what you mentioned above, so I think I'm on the right track, ALE is the one I should be looking into further I guess, I keep getting sidetracked with stuff like that RTTY thing..

SelCall, thats what they say, I thought it was CellCall or something, cause it sounds like a phone dialing kinda :)

I actually heard some voice, other then a EAM on 11175 in the last few minutes. I'm having great luck today :D
 

ka3jjz

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'73' is a long established morse shorthand for 'best regards'....yes, a Selcall does kinda sound like DTMF phone tones, and I would bet that the decoding software for it was partially based on that kind of technology.

Have fun...Mike
 
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