Is my setup working?

Status
Not open for further replies.

dimab

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
349
Location
CT
Just getting my feet wet with HF listening. Here is my setup, and help me understand what I'm doing wrong. So far my receiver appears deaf on anything below VHF.

Alinco DJ-X11 wideband receiver with AM/FM/SSB capabilities.

I made a random wire antenna using some speaker wire and a piece of shielded cable terminated to BNC. I took several pieces of speaker wire and soldered them together. I also soldered the cut end of the shielded cable to the speaker wire. I've approx 45'-50' of antenna outside at about 15' above ground in the trees.

I'll scan 10m, 20m, and 40m bands and get nothing but noise not counting AM radio. I've tried AM, USB and LSB. I was particularly interested in decoding PSK31. I listened on several of the calling freq for PSK, and can't hear anything.

As a last resort, I piped the audio to SDR# hoping some of the digital filters would help, and still no luck.

I've tried day time and evening hours, into approx 10pm local, EST.
 

SCPD

QRT
Joined
Feb 24, 2001
Messages
65,126
Location
Virginia
dimab, solder the speaker wire to the center conductor of the cable, be careful not to contact the shield.
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
22,124
Location
Bowie, Md.
You may not know this but the higher bands - above 12 Mhz or so - would be dead after dark. This is due to the loss of solar radiation which keeps certain levels of the ionosphere active.

Tune below this at night, above this (actually above 10 Mhz or so, depending on conditions) during the day. You may get some short skip on 9.5-9.9 Mhz - this band can be active day or night.

We've also been clobbered by solar storms over the last couple of days, so HF propagation is going to be iffy for a bit. I would try tuning 5.9-6.2 Mhz at night - here on the East Coast, that's a very busy place, even when there's solar storms brewing. This is a good place to check your setup (along with 40m/80m at night)

Mike
 

k9rzz

Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2005
Messages
3,162
Location
Milwaukee, WI
I still suspect that your antenna is overloading the receiver.

Try this. Put the stock whip back on the radio, and instead of connecting your wire antenna directly to the unit, just wrap it around the stock whip. This will inductively couple your wire to the receiver and hopefully reduce the amount of overall RF into it so as not to be too much. See how that works.
 

dimab

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
349
Location
CT
I still suspect that your antenna is overloading the receiver.



Try this. Put the stock whip back on the radio, and instead of connecting your wire antenna directly to the unit, just wrap it around the stock whip. This will inductively couple your wire to the receiver and hopefully reduce the amount of overall RF into it so as not to be too much. See how that works.

I will try it. The stock is a plastic coated wobbly thing.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

N8IAA

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
6,792
Location
Fortunately, GA
I will try it. The stock is a plastic coated wobbly thing.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
It doesn't have to be metal when wrapping the antenna around it. Do you have any kind of metal antenna with a SMA connector on it. Use it if you can't get the original antenna to work with your made up antenna. I have a DJ-X11 and have never tried it on HF. Hope it works.
Larry
 

majoco

Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2008
Messages
3,313
Location
New Zealand
I have a little Yaesu VX-2 which supposedly covers from 500kHz to 30MHz and it says the sensitivity is 3uV for 10dB S/N. If I tune my Kenwood R2000 HF receiver to WWVH on 15MHz it booms in with a signal of S9 which is supposedly about 50uV in 50ohms. If I then connect the R2000 antenna to the VX-2 it doesn't lift the squelch - opening the squelch just result in a load of garbled rubbish - yes it was on AM. VHF/UHF handie scanners are just not worth the effort. If you want to listen to HF, get a proper HF receiver. The Alinco DX-R8T gets good write-ups but you need a proper HF antenna - any HF receiver does.
 

vagrant

ker-muhj-uhn
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Nov 19, 2005
Messages
967
Location
California
Conditions have been terrible. It has been difficult to enjoy listening, or transmitting on HF. That being said it appears you may need an adapter between your long wire and your radio. A 4:1, or even better a 9:1 adapter will provide you with a noticeable difference than just the long wire. I have experienced this myself first hand and use a WinRadio 9:1 long wire adapter. I am not here to advertise, but I have one and it works. The model I have is WR-LWA-0130. There is a BNC connector on the end, so you'll need a patch cable between that and your radio. Dial in WWV or CHU on whichever of their frequencies and you'll hear the difference to compare. I have compared a long wire with and without that adapter over the years with different radios and I am glad I picked one up. (That adapter is for receive only, for anyone that is not sure.)

As for PSK, conditions are causing problems here too. Lately I have heard PSK31 QSO's on 3580 and 1838, more than 40 and 20 meters in the evening (West Coast USA). Still, 7035 isn't too bad in the early evening though for a quick contact or two.
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
22,124
Location
Bowie, Md.
There is a pretty detailed review of this receiver here...

Alinco DJ-X11 Review | Ham Radio Science

It mentions that there is a separate RF Gain control for each VFO. I'm willing to bet that it's deliberately set to minimum as a factory default. There's also mention of a firmware update that improves SSB tuning. It also briefly describes using KG-SDR (the link for which is in our Software Defined Radio wiki)

I would make this a must-read. Mike
 

ACL

Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2013
Messages
19
Is it your PSU? Many people recommend non switch mode power supplies for HF. Just a thought.
 

dimab

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
349
Location
CT
Is it your PSU? Many people recommend non switch mode power supplies for HF. Just a thought.

I use it on battery. I tried in the cradle and the noise was even worse.
 

dimab

Member
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
Messages
349
Location
CT
There is a pretty detailed review of this receiver here...



Alinco DJ-X11 Review | Ham Radio Science



It mentions that there is a separate RF Gain control for each VFO. I'm willing to bet that it's deliberately set to minimum as a factory default. There's also mention of a firmware update that improves SSB tuning. It also briefly describes using KG-SDR (the link for which is in our Software Defined Radio wiki)



I would make this a must-read. Mike

I totally missed the RF gain setting! I will test it out fully when I'm back home. Just did a quick setting change, it was set on 1 out of 10, and as I turned up the setting, the signal quieted down. This was on a NOAA freq just as a proof of concept. So I'm hoping this will help.
 

skidplate

Member
Joined
May 10, 2007
Messages
96
Location
Arizona
Some of those little wideband radios use a internal ferrite antenna for HF. Look in the menu settings and see if you can choose an internal or external antenna. If you have the option for an external antenna choose it and see if that helps.
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
22,124
Location
Bowie, Md.
Actually those ferrite antennas are for MW, not HF. However the suggestion to check the menus is a good one - particularly for a switch for internal/external antennas, RF gain and probably more ....Mike
 

mainetrunk

Member
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
1,466
Location
York county Me.
dont forget the SCAN SPEED, I just switched to normal. Mine is called the bar antenna, same model as yours. I just shut mine off, see what happens
 

k9rzz

Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2005
Messages
3,162
Location
Milwaukee, WI
As a good source for a reliable signal to see how your testing goes, try for Radio Havana Cuba on several frequencies between 6,000 and 6,2000khz. They are probably the loudest and most reliable signals to tune for in the evenings. You should be able to hear them easily compared to a pip squeak PSK signal.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top