Katoomba on the radar

It is with great pleasure to announce that IT professional Daniel has commenced blogging.

Logo © 2013 Daniel Warren

Dan is an FM radio enthusiast blogging from Katoomba.

Three Sisters © 2005 Alex Rist of Hamburg, Germany

Dan’s radio blog can be found here.

His website can be found here.

Blackpool finally on the radar

It is with great pleasure to announce that British TV/FM enthusiast & audiophile Pe1er has commenced blogging. Pe1er has been involved in the hobby since the 1970s.

The UK Sporadic E season is currently in full swing so this is an opportune time to catch up on the fun.

Take me there!

Be sure to check out G1VVP’s blog for some more radio activity, including behind-the-scenes discussions. Both are UK enthusiasts from SkywavesDX.

This message will self-destruct in fourteen days.

Surfing the roads at Alex Headland

And remember, the foam police are out in force everywhere…

ET:  ‘foam home’…


Radio Maroon: guaranteed biased rugby league coverage

Frequencies for tuning in on Wednesday night, June 13, 2012:


3KND 1503 kHz in Melbourne

Western Australia

Noongar Radio 100.9 MHz in Perth


4US 100.7 MHz in Rockhampton

4AAA Murri Country 98.9 MHz in Brisbane

4K1G 107.1 MHz in Townsville

MY105 105.9 MHz in Mackay

4UM 94.1 MHz Cherbourg

MOB FM 100.9 MHz in Mount Isa

BBM 98.7 MHz in Cairns

Northern Territory

Radio Larakia 94.5 MHz in Darwin

TEABBA FM Network (Top End Bush Broadcasting)
20 watts per site utilizing multiple frequencies

Information courtesy of News Limited, Radio Maroon’s official sponsor

Recording peculiarity

To record clips when mobile, this blogger uses a Creative Zen V Plus or Samsung Yepp recorder. The devices encode recordings in 160 kbps WMA and 160 kbps MP3 format respectively. When using the Zen to record line level audio from the Sony XDR-S10HDip or Blaupunkt Daytona, the WMA resultant audio clips exhibit a distinctive ‘chugging’ noise in the background which can be heard whilst listening to the recordings via headphones. These clips were recorded at moderately low volume (ie. in the green region on the VU recording meter). The noise does not affect recordings made on a component tuner or the Dabbler’s Dream portable receiver. The noise is present on recordings of both quieting signals and weak signals although in the latter case it is more noticeable.

The symptom could be due to:

  • recording not performed at a high enough level (ie. peaking in the red region on the VU recording meter) which perhaps increases the propensity of artifacts or
  • the effect of the FM signal preamplifier whilst using particular receivers that employ DSP algorithms.
  • The chugging does not seem to be caused by interference from the Zen, otherwise it would also appear on recordings made on the Tecsun radio, surely? The above possibilities will be eliminated (eventually, if time permits!) and indeed the Yepp might be completely immune, but someone out there might have some ideas.

    If none of the above makes sense, these links might make the peculiarity a little easier to understand! 🙂

    Recording quality on the 2U4U DMR-300 WMA Player

    Chugging noise from PC Soundcard

    The answer would appear to be the first explanation (only the Zen does it… and at low recording levels only). Here is a reward for suffering through this entry, being an example. If others can’t hear the chugging it must be the (excellent) imagination of this blogger. Please don’t deliberately taunt me! 😉

    How do I play audio clips outside the PC?

    This was a question a subscriber asked recently. To download unencrypted video or audio clips from on any website, please use the Mozilla Firefox plugin Download Helper.

    If using a browser unsupported by Helper, such as the wonderful Opera there are alternative methods. Simply add “savefrom.net/” or “sfrom.net/” before the URL (internet address). Some examples:



    Type the URL into the Address Bar in your browser and press Enter. File size, format and quality (e.g. video resolution, audio sampling rate) can be displayed and indeed chosen for sites such as Youtube. These are two alternatives of dozens available. Both appear to be robust solutions that do not potentially invade network privacy or increase susceptibility to viruses.

    Google Chrome (requires Windows XP, Mac OS X 10.5 or Linux) is a browser that appears to capture Flash streams straight ‘out of the box’. Please note that only Helper & Real Player will capture videos created by Dbrmuz as far as this blogger can tell!

    Once the FLV or MP4 video is downloaded, the final step required is to extract video and audio without any transcoding using open source extraction software.

    It’s awesome to be able to download an informational video such as this and just extract the audio for playback on the MP3 player in the car.

    Thank you to Dbrmuz (aka I Used to be a Nobody) for assistance in compiling this entry.

    Tool time

    The following surplus items of radio equipment are available for private sale from this blogger.


    Radio Data System. Digiceiver tuner featuring Sharx adaptive IF bandwidth control. Manual bandwidth control. CD naming. 4 x 25 watts power output. 4 x 45 watts maximum.

    Auxiliary input cable included. Harness included.

    Pre-amp out cable is required for optional connection to amplifier. Available on-line.

    Purchased in 2011 from Soundmaster Scotland.

    Excellent condition. Made in Portugal. No longer in production.

    Operating Instructions

    BHI NEIM1031 MKII $150

    Amplified Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Noise Eliminating In-line Module (NEIM) suitable for removing interference from audio recordings & radio reception. Suitable for voice, unsuitable for music.

    Includes operating instructions. Auxiliary input cable included.

    12 volt power supply is required. Available at any electronics retailer.

    Purchased in 2009 from the official BHI Ebay store in Great Britain.

    Excellent condition. Made in Great Britain. In production. Retails for $250 at Andrews Communications.

    Demonstration Sound Files

    The selling prices include registered postage to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane & Canberra. Items can be returned within seven days of receipt at the buyer’s expense if the item is not in proper working order. Payment via Paypal or Bank Deposit. Photos are indicative of actual item. Actual photos will be uploaded on request. If you are interested simply comment.

    Killer Sharx

    A brand new, boxed Blaupunkt Seattle RDM 169 car receiver is listed on Ebay. Such a rare breed is definitely worth blowing an E-snipe bid point on.

    This blogger owns a Munchen RDM 169 which is internally identical. On that receiver, the Sharx adaptive IF algorithm works beautifully. Hard core Manchester-based enthusiast Julian Hardstone bought his Seattle RDM 169 in March, saying:

    You certainly will not find a better ‘out-of-the-box’ dx machine, and it seems to equal the best of re-filtered tuners.

    Back in 2002, Rod Easdown wrote in the Melbourne Age:

    [The] Digiceiver… digitises radio signals and uses DSP technology to enhance them, strengthening weak signals and removing much of the interference. It is the first time anyone has been able to digitise an analogue radio signal and it works on AM and FM.

    RN modulation levels compared

    Whilst the press secretary at FM DXing Incorporated was waiting for the stir fry on the wok to shrivel to form a delicious plastic texture, a sample was undertaken tonight of three permanent ABC Radio National FM broadcasts. The tuner was manually switched to narrow mode to exaggerate the differences between modulation levels set at different broadcast sites.

    Readers will be salivating at the prospect of hearing these recordings. Please exercise patience, the server can only handle a certain volume of traffic at any one time. Beware of the competition, One Direction fans.

    ABC Radio National FM 103.1

    99.5 MHz Coffs Harbour New South Wales (south east over the ocean, approximately 335 km)

    100.9 MHz Biggenden Queensland (north west, approx. 225 km)

    90.1 MHz Southport Queensland (south along the coastline, approx. 90 km)

    The inclusion of the 96.9 MHz Mullumbimby RN broadcast would have been preferable. Unfortunately, tonight this signal exhibited significant co-channel interference from 96.9 MHz Gympie and no-one wants to listen to that! In addition, a surprise Radio Metro signal was ‘dancing all over’ the 105.7 MHz Bell (Bunya Mountains) RN broadcast.

    No signal amplification was used in-line because doing so introduces significant changes to signal levels which, in turn, affects the audio quality.

    Disclaimer: Sarcasm is under-rated. The benefits of obtaining at least five hours of sleep per night is under-rated, the effects are clear. 🙂

    Musings on tropo

    This is a highly recommended source of information on technical issues which is invaluable for the long distance FM enthusiast:

    The VK-VHF mailing list aims to serve the community of radio amateurs and others interested in the technologies and techniques of operating on the amateur bands from 50 MHz and up, with a particular focus on weak-signal or long-distance working and propagation.

    Unfortunately, every time a group of enthusiasts get together on a forum or mailing list, politics ensues as every contributor has strongly-held, differing opinions. It’s been my experience that in any given specialty, including my own profession, a small minority of participants have failed to learn the requisite social skills involved in communicating properly in pursuit of purely selfish agendas. This list is no different in that regard. Having being a subscriber since 2009, I am pleased to announce that this list has been largely free of inflated egos for the last twelve months or so.

    Let’s get some diverse views on tropo in Australasia…

    The Tropo across the Australian bight is interesting. I often take note of that occurrence and then watch it settle across the pond afterwards. Not always, but a good indicator.

    Steve ZL1TPH

    Of course, to state the bleeding obvious, summer time is best. It is the weather conditions that really determine the propagation – a High nestled in the Bight is a great start but there’s more to it! Wally Howse VK6KZ wrote a great article on the subject:

    WA weather chart

    VHF, UHF & Microwave Propagation & the Great Australian Bight

    Dave VK3HZ

    I can remember talking with Kerry [Adams VK5SU from Ceduna] at the time about how he could regularly work the guys in Albany and Esperance like locals along the coastal duct, whereas the Adelaide stations would be hearing nothing.

    Peter VK3QI

    VK-VHF Digest, Vol 48, Issue 10 Feb 2012

    It is usually assumed that being on mountain tops will get you further – that is not always the case. Those who have tried to operate along the Great Dividing Range from VK3/VK2/VK4 have often found shielding effects from population centres – it is REALLY difficult to find accessible spots in the Great Dividing range that provide good takeoff in more than one direction.

    Quite often one can be too high and miss ducting. We had a documented example the last Summer FD between MtTassie VK3WRE/p and McLaughlin’s Lookout VK3ER/p a distance of 230 kms. Perfect signals (as one would expect) on 1.2, 2.4, 3.4 and 5.7 Ghz but absolutely nil on 10Ghz – (above the duct) – three hours later the duct had lifted and 10Ghz was as good as the lower bands – this is all on video see:

    Is a 10 Ghz qso over 200 kms between two mountain tops easier than a 50 km qso between a mountain top and someone in an urban area shielded by buildings etc.? Does the same degree of difficulty apply to lower frequencies where urban obstructions are far less inhibiting?

    One of the peculiarities of the Australian continent is the propensity for high pressures to develop and remain stationary over large areas of the continent. Not necessarily just the Great Australian Bight or the Tasman sea. An example of this occured last Summer when a large duct developed over western NSW and north eastern South Auatralia which enabled stations in northern NSW to work across to Adelaide on 1296 for a significant period of time when south of the Great Dividing Range there was limited propagation.

    Peter VK3QI

    VK-VHF Digest, Vol 40, Issue 15 Jun 2011