Techniques for monitoring?

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I'm getting more interested in SWL now and I was wondering what strategies everyone uses for listening. Do you just choose a certain band or what? I have a Radioshack DX-392 and a longwire antenna. I've been listening for a while, just wondered what all of you do when you're trying to listen out for pirates, etc.
 

ka3jjz

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Since you mentioned pirates (as that one is pretty simple), let's start there. The most active times for pirates are on holidays and local weekends. Most of the frequencies will start to come alive after sundown, when propagation would make them audible anywhere in the darkness zone. Since there are a limited number of frequencies, it's not hard to flip across a few of them to see if there's any activity (I used to set up my RX320 to do exactly that). Keeping an eye on the popular mailing lists will give you a heads-up as to what activity *might* be coming up. Try to concentrate on logs no older than a week or two in order to develop a pattern. Try to avoid magazine based reports - they tend to lag 30 days or more from the time they receive a log to the time that they actually publish it. You want something much more current. I don't do chat rooms, but I wouldn't doubt there are a few devoted to pirate DXing as well.

Information is king in this hobby - the more sources, the better.

best regards..Mike
 

ridgescan

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These will give you a nice start:)
for AM SW broadcast-
Short-Wave Frequency Schedule for BBC in ENGLISH at 17:22GMT
http://www.primetimeshortwave.com/time.txt

for MW (530-1700)
Radio Stations in San Francisco, California.

and for HF utilities like military, aero etc. just fish around for voice commo on USB in the 4-5mhz, 5.2-5.7mhz, 6.3-7mhz, 7.5-9.1mhz, 10-11.5mhz, 12.2-13.5mhz, 16-17mhz general areas.

I just broad-stroked it for you to get an idea whereabouts stuff is. Others can site specifics Happy fishing:)
 
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I'm interested in anything I can hear, but mostly utility some commercial and a little pirate traffic. Most commercial traffic I've heard so far has been in Spanish. I've heard a ton of beacons and ham operators on SSB, but I have yet to pick up any utility(ie military or marine) traffic. Thanks for the links; I'll have to check them out. I've already printed out a list from dxing.com that tells what you can expect to hear for a certain set of frequencies.

ka3jjz, when you mention mailing lists; are there any particular ones I should sign up for?
 

ka3jjz

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For utilities, this is one of the best...

UDXF : Utility DXers Forum

For SWBC schedules, DX tips, logs and so forth the DXLD Yahoo group is an outgrowth of well known author Glenn Hauser's extensive research and contributors, along with the program he puts out weekly...

dxld : DXLD

There are more than a few pirate related groups out there but I don't subscribe to any of them. I'm sure there are a few that folks would be happy to recommend. Belonging to the Association of Clandestine Enthusiasts is a good place to find such recommendations -

http://www.frn.net/ace/about.htm

If you run into George Zoeller or Chris Lobdell, tell 'em Mike Agner sent you - they're both old friends...

and here's another source of information - yes it's yet another wiki...

Main Page - HF Underground

That should be enough to get you started...best regards...Mike
 

ka3jjz

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I've said this before, but it bears repeating - HF is a world that's very different from scanning. The bands are not open 24 hours a day, and what is happening on the sun plays a huge role in what you can and cannot hear. When you read logs on a worldwide group like UDXF, you need to understand these differences. You don't need a doctorate in solar physics to understand this - in fact, just understanding the basics (how daylight/darkness paths work, what role do things like flux levels play, and so on) will be more than enough. The AE4RV primer mentioned in this article is a good place to start - and there are several other sites with much more extensive information...

HF Propagation - The RadioReference Wiki

This is a topic that takes a while to grasp - don't be too disappointed if you don't quite get it at first. There are several aspects to propagation that are not yet fully understood, so this is a science that is very much evolving over time

best regards..Mike
 
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