New to SW, sort of

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IndianaChad

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I used to listen to SW regularly but have not done so for about 10 years now. I received a C Crane-SW radio as a gift and have to say I love the AM and FM section on it. Great reception and sound. My problem is SW reception. I live in southern Indiana right across from Louisville. KY and can not pull in any of WWCR's stations at all. No matter what time of day or night. I like some of the programs they carry (not the religious stuff but the conspiracy shows like Alex Jones).

I attached about 40' of small diameter insulated wire to the whip with an alligator clip and still no reception. I thought maybe it was the radio so I lugged out my ancient Zenith 7000 Transoceanic. No luck there either. I guess many of the stations I used to listen to are off the air now. Seems all I get up and down the dial is preaching. No more VOA, BBC, or anything interesting. I have been able to pull in Radio China and Radio Havanna around 0100 EDT. For what it's worth I always run my radios on batteries as I get severe interference when running anything on line cord here. Maybe living in an apartment hinders it. Just wondering if anybody in the Louisville metro area is receiving WWCR now. I know they are up and running per their website.

I've noticed that over the last ten years my scanning reception has gone way down as well. Using just the provided antenna I used to could listen to the railroads talking about 40 miles away, now I'm lucky to get them 5 miles away. Too many cell phones and other garbage I guess now. Thanks for any input and help.

Chad
 

ka3jjz

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It's likely you are in an area where the signal is skipping right over you. There's really little you can do with that, however I don't think I would be missing much not being able to hear WWCR (except, perhaps, the World of Radio broadcasts)

There's a LOT that is still on the air - the VoA and BBC are still around (the BBC dropped the actual North American svc some time ago), you just need to understand when and how to listen.

There are a many resources for station and schedule lists; however the single best resource for this is the NASWA spreadsheet put out by Dan K4VOA. It's a compilation of several different sources into a spreadsheet. You will need a good unzipper (WinZip, 7zFM, WinRAR...) and Excel or a program that can read spreadsheets to read this. Dan updates it every few days...(note that anything in blue is a link)

SHORT WAVE STUFF

Living in an apartment is frustrating, because you can't put anything outdoors and you are nailed by every noise source you can think of. Your best bet is a loop - some of these small amplified loops will certainly get you started, and not put a big dent in your budget. This wiki article has lots of links;

Loops - The RadioReference Wiki

There are filters you can buy that will help with the noise on AC lines, but sometimes the best you can do, as you have found out, is to isolate yourself from the AC as much as you can. I wouldn't discount crappy filter capacitors in the power supply as at least one source of the noise, however.

Another thing you will need to understand is when to listen, where and why. The science of HF propagation can be daunting, but you don't need a degree in geophysics to understand the principles, which is really all you need.

HF Propagation - The RadioReference Wiki

That first link in the writeup by AE4RV is a good starting place.

73 Mike
 
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k9rzz

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I guess you've seen WWCR's transmitter schedule: WWCR.com | Transmitter Schedules

Try the 3215khz. Not knowing exactly how far away from them you are, it's hard to guess at the best choice, but that one should work. They sure are loud up here in Wisconsin!

Radio Havana Cuba is everywhere. Keep tuning. Same with China.

BBC can be heard, but from different countries, so check the schedules listed above and keep trying.

Be honest now, 10 years is a long time. The world changes.

Oh, and welcome aboard to Radio Reference!
 

IndianaChad

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May 13, 2010
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Thanks guys. I went outside on the patio last night and that improved things a ton. With just the whip antenna I was able to receive WWCR on 3215 and 4840 as well as the BBC World Service on 9410. This was between 0000 and 0100 EDT. I think it has to do with being in a brick building. I always run on batteries since they last forever so that helps eliminate power line noise. Like I said I had not listened to SW in about 10 years and there seems to be a lot more preaching now. That's fine but just not my bag.

I like the conspiracy shows like The Power Hour, Alex Jones and Rollye James. I can listen online but like to know that SW is available should the power go out (as it did for 3 hours Wednesday after a big lightning storm). That manual RF Gain is a nice touch on a radio costing $150 (the CC-SW) and it's not a bad performer for it's price either. I like my old Zenith as well since it was my dad's but at 15 pounds (including the 9 D cells) it's a bit heavy to tote around, LOL!

I will keep experimenting over the weekend and see what I find as I know night time is usually best. That link to the Excel spreadsheet was very helpful. That's a real handy sheet to have around. Thanks for the welcome as well. I'm a long time AM DXer, SW fan and also like to monitor rail and air traffic on my old BC-800 XLT which is still working great after 24 years now.

Chad
 
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