Ok So I have a Grundig S450DLX and a RadioShack® Synthesized World Receiver that I use for shortwave listening. Ive been using about 30 feet of speaker wire but tis not working. Is there an antenna I can buy or a better diy antenna for both?
Are you running that wire indoors? If so, you're most likely overloading those uber-sensitve front ends with more household RFI than SW signals.
Take a look at this type of thing MFJ 1020C 0 3 to 40 MHz Shortwave Listener Antenna Indoor Tunable Active Antenna | eBay
it has a preselector in it as well as an amp.
I have Radio Shack's 20-280, an old version of this type of active antenna and it does a great job when I utilize it on the portables.
I know-and if you don't mind dropping more cash, you could get one of those active loops like a Wellbrook, which uses little space and has the ability to null RFI offenders offering some quieter HF signal-to-noise. It can be overwhelming.
IMO the PAR is a good start based on its easy price and decent performance.
IMHO your 30ft of wire should be bringing in plenty of signals - that's where we all started. How have you connected the antenna to the radio? What frequency bands are you listening to and at what time of the day? The RR Wiki on propagation will give you a lot of info on the best time/frequency to listen.
I have a 66ft bit of wire with a transformer at the end and coax to the radio - total cost was very low as most of the bits came out of the junk box. It performs just as well as the PAR SWL. Radio Espana Internacionale booms in and that's on the other side of the world to me. Radio Rwanda is playing old "Queen" music right now 0853z on 6055kHz with an S9+ signal - he's due to go off air at 0900. (Frankly - I don't believe it! It's broad daylight there - the other possibility is Radio Universo in Uruguay via the grey line but he's only a very low power station - 300watts! No, all wrong, it's Nikkei in Japan! Announcement on the hour, then back to Queen. That's half the fun of SWL'ing - tracking down those elusive stations!)
I only get the US based religious stations in the clear and Radio Havana Cuba ok. Everything is static or drops out on my current set up. I hear airline traffic on sw ssb but its static unless they are flying near me. I see people reporting they get stations from asia or europe clearly. How?
OK there's several things here that need to be cleared up...
a. This radio can't decipher SSB transmissions - if the aircraft sound like Donald Duck on a bad day, that's what you're hearing. Basically speaking, an AM transmission contains a carrier and 2 sidebands. It turns out that the sidebands carry identical information - so if you use only 1 of the sidebands, you are still carrying the same info, but more efficiently. The S450 lacks the circuitry to replace the missing sideband. You could also be receiving some interference from the aircraft broadcasting in the VHF air band.
b. Make sure you set the RF Gain control to maximum - and you may need to back it down at times if you find that you are hearing stations where they don't belong. This is a sign that too much signal is reaching the radio- a condition called overloading. It's a very common issue with portables
c. Make sure the antenna switch on the side is set to External if you are using something other than the whip. Along those same lines, the wire should go into that wierd F style connector on the back. That's reserved for the FM and SW antennas, if memory serves. Universal radio sells a PL259-F style converter (I wouldn't count on RS having things like this but it doesn't hurt to try). I'm sure the owner's manual has this laid out
d. The attenuator switch should likely be set to DX, not local.
Now what you hear, and when you hear it depends on a few factors - when the desired station is transmitting, and the path between you and the station - specifically whether the both of you are in darkness or daylight. If you are in daylight, stick to freqs above 10 Mhz - at night below that (you can try the 11.6-12.1 Mhz area as well - at times you're going to find that open for a few hours after local sunset). Why this is true is well explained here - you're going to need your Flash player turned on for this...(all links are blue in color)
Now as to when stations broadcast - this changes very frequently, and you're really better off subscribing to a mailing list such as the DXLD group on Yahoo to keep track of the changes. But there are some sites such as Prime Time Shortwave which tries to keep up. The SWskeds Yahoo group has a master list you can download that is updated from time to time. It's Excel based, and uses numerous different sources of information.
That should be enough for now. We await more questions - fire away...Mike
You also say you only hear the US religious broadcasters and Radio Havana. Do you hear other stations also? Or are those stations you mentioned just the only *English language* broadcasts you hear?
I ask this because most of what I hear on the shortwave bands is foreign language broadcasts.
An example is the 49 meter band at night (5800 khz to around 6200 khz -- works best at night). I get a couple US domestic religious broadcasters in English, Radio Australia in English, Radio Havana in English, sometimes I get a Canadian station just over the border in English, and on some occasions I'll hear the BBC in English. But that's about it.
The rest of the stations are all in Spanish, Japanese, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Chinese, and Russian.
The 31 meter SW band (9400 to about 9900 khz -- also works best at night) is about the same here in the NW US. A very few broadcasters in English, the majority of them in other languages -- most of them from Asia and South America.
The only European SW broadcasters I have heard recently are Rumania in the 31 meter band and the Vatican station in the 31 meter band, sometime last year. Rumania was in English, the Vatican's program was in Italian. I also heard the Voice of Greece, it was in Greek. Back east (in your section of the US) there is probably more propagation to Europe, but you'll have a better chance hearing ham radio stations from Europe than SW broadcasters because there just aren't that many SW broadcasters in Europe anymore.
If you're not hearing many stations at all, my suggestion would be to relocate your antenna, or use a longer one, preferably outside. If you have a room in a second story you can use for DXing, put your radio and antenna up there, and see if that improves your reception.
And like KA3JJZ said, check the "DX / Local" switch on the side of the Radio Shack radio. If it's on "Local", it will cut the signal coming in from the antenna.
I don't know about the Grundig, but the Radio Shack World Receiver is a capable SW radio. Mine works fairly well on 25 ft. of speaker wire, as an indoor antenna. The broadcasts I mentioned above in my post are ones I've heard on that particular radio.
Also remember that sometimes the SW bands just don't work -- the ionosphere doesn't always refract the signals back to earth the same way. There were times during the middle of last year I would hear next to nothing on 25, 31 and 49 meters.