Is This The Best Setup For Me?

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MikeThompson

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Right off the top let me just say that I am very very green when it comes to shortwave. I also don't have an electrical background, so any technical explanations will go right over my head!

I discovered this forum and it has been very helpful in helping me with my current setup. I have an ancient Grundig 865:

84845

that is setup in my basement work bench. My antenna currently is 100ft of speaker wire that goes along the outside of my house under the eaves.

I've been reasonably happy with what I've been able to get.

But...

Obviously I'd like to get more stations, and with less noise.

Is a loop antenna the solution? I have limited space to work with, but would it be possible to mount a loop behind this TV antenna on my roof? I would be able to feed it back to my basement:

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The idea of building one seems appealing, but again, I've never done anything like that before, nor do I know if that would benefit me. Maybe I am just at the limit of my receiver? There is an external antenna jack, but I don't think it cancels out the whip, and there is plenty of noise in a house.

Any help or general advice is more than welcome!
 

gcopter1

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When it comes to loops, the further away you can get it from the house, the better it works at keeping the noise low. Also I've read that loops need not be high up. Mounted on a tripod at ground level, should suffice.

I've got a loop in my attic because I live in an apartment and I have no room to move it outside and place it on the ground.

Welcome to the hobby!
 

WA8ZTZ

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The loop needs to be in the clear away from the TV antenna. You also need a means to rotate the loop.
 

MikeThompson

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When it comes to loops, the further away you can get it from the house, the better it works at keeping the noise low.
Hmm, well I was hoping for something semi permanent that I could set up and forget about.

The loop needs to be in the clear away from the TV antenna. You also need a means to rotate the loop
would the TV antenna cause interference?
 

WA8ZTZ

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would the TV antenna cause interference?
It may cause interference by radiating signals generated in the TV.
Also, it could "absorb" signals from the loop.
The loop ideally needs to be in the clear as far as possible from the house, wires, anything metallic...
you get the idea.
Otherwise, don't know what specific loop you may be looking at but, IMHO, something like a
Wellbrook would be way overkill for your portable. Maybe consider something homebrew or
take a look at the Tecsun AN-48x.
 

WA8ZTZ

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To get the full benefit from a loop it should be rotatable. That might be difficult to accomplish from a basement.

If you want "affordable" then homebrew is the way to go. Lots of plans on the internet as well as here on the RR
wiki in the database.
 

ka3jjz

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We have lots of such links here...


And unlike wire antennas loops are best placed near the ground - maybe no more than 15-20 foot.

The major stumbling block is that antenna connector. Being an old Grundig radio, that connector is likely to be a PAL type. Not very common here in the States, more so in Europe;. A short jumper going from a PAL male to a SO-239 (standard connector for coax) would be the way to go here. Then any good old garden variety PL-259 (commonly used in coax going to a radio) would fit the bill. I'm stumped as to how to proceed. Mike
 

N9JCQ

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Mike, welcome to the hobby. There is a fellow, Gilles, who has a Youtube channel directly related to Shortwave, radios, antennas etc. He is trying to get newbies like you interested in SW and has a number of introductory short videos about radios, antennas, locations etc. It might help to see some of this stuff so you can understand what you can hear, when and how. That way, you can see for yourself what your radio can do for you. OfficialSWLchannel
 

Mawnan

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Hi Mike, you seem to be getting along great with your trusty old Grundig.

For those not in the know, I know Mike from another forum and it was he who got me back into SWL after an 18 year break. I then sold my almost new NRD 345 but hung onto my boat anchors. Due to a post by Mike a few weeks ago I'm now using a mint NRD 545 with wideband plug in board.

he also pointed me in the direction of this site, so thanks for that chum!

Like Mike, I too am experimenting with various longwire aerials so I'll be following this thread hoping to pick up some tips.

Regards,

Jay.
 

K4EET

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Hi Mike,

Hmmmmmmm... I see that you have taken the SWL bait by hook, line and sinker too. :ROFLMAO: Sort of an addicting hobby, isn't it? Well, IMHO, you might as well go ahead and get a $10,000 bank loan and go on a shopping spree for the best SWL station that money can buy. o_O

The entire HF (high frequency) band runs from 3 MHz to 30 MHz. Here is a nice pictorial of the various bands:



Most modern day SWL receivers will cover three bands; LF (low frequency), MF (medium frequency) and HF (high frequency) bands. That is a spread in frequency of roughly 100 kHz to 30 MHz (30,000 kHz). One really nice feature is most receivers have a digital frequency readout so figuring out exactly what frequency you are on is a breeze as compared to your current receiver. The advantage of knowing the exact frequency that you are on enables you to quickly reference a Shortwave Station Listing to see what broadcast station you are listening to.

Looking at your radio, the Grundig Transistor (TR) 865 Mariner Radio, it covers the following ranges:
- Marine Band (MB) push-button provides access to the 125 Meter, 90 Meter and 75 Meter bands (~1.5 MHz to 4.0 MHz)
- Shortwave (SW) push-button accesses 49 Meter, 41 Meter, 31 Meter, 25 Meter and 19 Meter bands (~5.0 MHz to 16.0 MHz)
The entire Shortwave Broadcast band allocations can be seen by clicking here.

So to answer your question, "...there is a whole block of stations I'm missing?" that answer would be Yes. You are missing the low end (100 kHz to 1.5 MHz) and the top end (16.0 MHz to 30.0 MHz) when compared to modern-day SWL receivers.

What I would suggest that you do is start researching digital SWL receivers. You need to have a budget (I was only kidding about the bank loan) and you also need to decide whether you would purchase new or used. There are a lot of threads here on Radio Reference that you can read up on what to look for in a SWL receiver.

Your Grundig receiver will do for now but I'm almost positive that you will eventually want to invest in a more modern receiver with better specifications and more features. There are a lot of receivers on the market today that will fit a wide range of budgets. Feel free to ask us questions about what features do what as you look at the receivers. Terms like sideband, noise blanker, etc. may or may not be familiar to you and we can help you out. Don't hesitate to ask questions. We all started from the exact same point that you are at.

Cheers! Dave K4EET
 

WA8ZTZ

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The biggest thing you are missing is that your receiver does not appear able to receive single sideband (SSB).
Most all Amateur (HAM) shortwave (HF) voice transmissions are done in this mode. Also, all utility stations such as aircraft
and ships use this mode as well. You have probably heard SSB, it sounds like how a duck would talk. Problem is that your
receiver does not look like it is equipped with a BFO or product detector which is required to tune in SSB.
Your portable will be fine for now to listen to international shortwave broadcast stations or even DXing on the AM
broadcast band (although it looks like it does not cover the expanded 1600 t0 1700 portion). However, if you really
want to get into the SWL hobby, take the advice given by Dave in the above post and start looking for a more capable
receiver as well as an antenna to compliment it.
 

MikeThompson

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Near Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Wow! Thanks for all the replies guys!

, Gilles, who has a Youtube channel directly related to Shortwave
I have found that channel posted on another forum. Its been pretty helpful so far. There is a lot to cover.

I know Mike from another forum and it was he who got me back into SWL
Jay! Good to see you made it over. Lots of helpful folks here for sure. There is a lot of hand holding that I need and they are very patient.

$10,000 bank loan
Ha! Care to co-sign that loan?
What I would suggest that you do is start researching digital SWL receivers. You need to have a budget (I was only kidding about the bank loan) and you also need to decide whether you would purchase new or used. There are a lot of threads here on Radio Reference that you can read up on what to look for in a SWL receiver.
I think my receiver is fine for what it is. The problem is it is close to 50 years old, and I think there is a lot in missing out on, especially with the missing frequency range.
However, if you really
want to get into the SWL hobby, take the advice given by Dave in the above post and start looking for a more capable
receiver as well as an antenna to compliment it.
Ah the hobby begins to spiral! I've got an eye out on local classified sites looking for a good used receiver, as much as I enjoy using my old Grundig.

Can I use my wire antenna in a newer set?

Thanks for the guidance guys.
 

scloyd

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May 19, 2020
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Northern, Illinois
I also know Mike and Jay (Mawnan) from another forum. Mike and Jay got me hooked on SWL and I purchased my very first SW radio a few days ago. I purchased a Eton Elite Field radio.
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I also am in need of figuring out a better antenna. This thread has been very helpful...thanks.
 

Mawnan

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May 18, 2020
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Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
"Can I use my wire antenna in a newer set?"

Mike, any receiver designed for shortwave reception should have a least one aerial input. Using an external aerial will almost always be preferable to any built in telescopic aerial, they are really only there as a convenient way to use the radio without any extras.

I've managed to get a longwire outside now and that is a huge improvement on my indoor setup. The next thing is to coerce my neighbour into fixing it to the highest point of my porch!

Regards,

Jay.
 
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