Longwave beacons anyone?

PXR-5

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Aug 9, 2020
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19
I always had a blast tuning in LW beacons, some I think are hobby beacons and not utilities.

My Tecsun PL660 is useless on LW, but if I take my Zenith Transoceanic outside and into the soybean field I can hear a few :)

One, if I recall was in Alabama, maybe, I forgot LOL
Anyone here into LW beacons?
 

W8WCA

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Used to be - but not chased them in a good while


Kind of makes me want to start again!
 

WA8ZTZ

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Feb 23, 2014
Messages
750
Want to wake up that 660 on longwave ?
Get a scrap ferrite rod loopstick out of an old AM radio or fabricate your own out of a ferrite rod and magnet wire.
Hook one end of the loopstick coil to ground and the other end to a wire at least 50' long, longer is better.
Move the coil close and parallel to the plastic case of the radio near the top near the radio's
internal loopstick so as to inductively couple the signal to the radio..
You should notice a considerable improvement in longwave (and AM band) reception.
Remember, summertime is not the greatest for LW DX due to T-storm static
Even though you would not be listening with thunderstorms in the vicinity due to safety concerns,
the point is that the static can be heard a hundred or more miles from distant storms.
So don't be disappointed if reception is noisy, that is normal for this time of year.
 
Last edited:

PXR-5

Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
19
Want to wake up that 660 on longwave ?
Get a scrap ferrite rod loopstick out of an old AM radio or fabricate your own out of a ferrite rod and magnet wire.
Hook one end of the loopstick coil to ground and the other end to a wire at least 50' long, longer is better.
Move the coil close and parallel to the plastic case of the radio near the top near the radio's
internal loopstick so as to inductively couple the signal to the radio..
You should notice a considerable improvement in longwave (and AM band) reception.
Remember, summertime is not the greatest for LW DX due to T-storm static
Even though you would not be listening with thunderstorms in the vicinity due to safety concerns,
the point is that the static can be heard a hundred or more miles from distant storms.
So don't be disappointed if reception is noisy, that is normal for this time of year.
Thanks for that idea :) I like it :)
 

IndyScan

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Dec 19, 2002
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113
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Fishers, IN
Used to be - but not chased them in a good while


Kind of makes me want to start again!
Same. Had a blast doing it years ago with Drake R8 and a longwire running the audio through a Timewave DSP. Amazing setup with a hood pair of headphones. Picked up beacons from all around the world.

May have to fire the old setup again & see what's out there!
 

ka3jjz

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Jul 22, 2002
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Bowie, Md.
Keep in mind that hams now also enjoy some allocations, though they are heavily restricted - 135.7-137.8 Khz with a 5 watt ERP limit (the 2200 meter band) and 472-479 Khz (630 meters) with 1 watt ERP limit. From what I hear, most of the traffic is digital - QRSS (very slow CW) is fairly common. And there are a few (rapidly dwindling) LW broadcasters from Europe and North Africa too (which are often reported in the Winter and early Spring). And to bring it back on topic, since this is an Utility forum - NAVTEX from 518 khz (and 1 or two other frequencies) which is easily copied by numerous apps. It truly is a band of wide interests...Mike
 

PXR-5

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Aug 9, 2020
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The key it seems for me is to try to get away from the "residential" noise.
My Transoceanic seems to do a halfway decent job when lugged out into the soybean field.

Now I just have to rig up an antenna like WA8ZTZ has suggested ;)
 

WA8ZTZ

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Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
750
The key it seems for me is to try to get away from the "residential" noise.
My Transoceanic seems to do a halfway decent job when lugged out into the soybean field.

Now I just have to rig up an antenna like WA8ZTZ has suggested ;)
Easiest would be to strip the loopstick out of a junk AM radio, but If you are going to build your own, try getting a ferrite rod about 3-4" long and 3/8-1/2" diameter. Wind it with magnet wire... 26, 28, 30 awg whatever you got. #61 ferrite material works good, have also
had some luck with #43. None of these specs are super critical and you can always experiment if you wish.
Have also used spider web wound coils on plastic forms tuned with an air variable capacitor stripped out of an old AM
radio and inductively coupled it to the portable with good results. Lots to tinker with if you feel so inclined.
Don't forget the ground, that is half the circuit, your results won't be as good without it. If your field has good soil conductivity something as simple as a dog anchor screwed into the ground will work fine for a quick ultralight portable setup.

Wish there was a soybean field here for my portable setup... my QTH is in suburban RFI hell.
 

WA8ZTZ

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Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
750
FWIW, here is another thought.
Do a search for "ferrite sleeve loop antenna" (FSL).
Have never built one of these myself but some guys have had
considerable success with them used with a portable.
The biggest drawback, unless you have a good (cheap) source for the ferrite rods,
would be the cost.
 

Boombox

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Joined
Sep 2, 2012
Messages
886
Best to get those LW beacons while they still last. They're slowly going, going, going.....
 
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