Archive for category Shortwave Listening

SdrDx 2.13w for OS X Now Available

The 2.13w version of SdrDx for OS X is now available and the online documentation has been updated to reflect the changes that have been made. The Windows version remains at 2.13e BETA, however I hope to have an updated release for Windows shortly. I still have more testing to do there.

SdrDx is free; it supports RFSPACE SDRs, both FunCubes, the Andrus MK 1.5, and the AFEDRI.

The SoftRock/Peabody SDRs will also work, but it takes some technical knowledge of scripting to make that happen.
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New OSX and Windows version of SdrDx: 2.13e

SdrDx 2.13e adds a very large number of changes, fixes and some features over the previous mainline release, which was 2.12q.


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SdrDx 2.13b beta posted

This version: Changes the behavior of the shifted cursor keys and the quick tune buttons at the top of the GUI such that the spectrum and waterfall will scroll when the demodulator bar approaches the span edges.

Also has new variable RF mute TCP command, rmute:X Y where X is either 0 (mute off) or 1 (mute on) and where Y varies from 0.0 (fully muted) to 1.0 (fully unmuted.) This allows you to drop the RF levels coming in any arbitrary amount for any reason. This is not sticky; on restart, rmute is set to 0 and 1.0.


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Kenwood TS-990S Review

ts990sI’ve been operating the Kenwood TS-990S for some months now, so it’s about time I actually review it. This review reflects operation under firmware 1.05 as downloaded from the Kenwood website.

Because there have been a number of reviews that have done an excellent job of enumerating the radio’s features, I’m going to come at this differently. I’m going to first give you an overview of how well I think it operates and how comfortable I’ve become (or not) with its features, along with an assessment of its value with regard to its capabilities. I’ll note a few things that seem unique to me, standout features that are really special from the operations standpoint.

Then I’m going to lay out, in detail, the critiques I have of the radio from an operating point of view — that’s something no one has really gone into as far as I know, and I hope you’ll find it useful. I even nurse a vague hope that Kenwood will, via Google-fu or some kind soul, find this and take some of my ideas to heart, because I really do think the radio could be significantly improved with just a firmware upgrade (or several.)
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Voice of Russia (former Radio Moscow) going dark

Sad news — another important broadcaster is abandoning the short waves. On January 1st, 2014, VOR will cease transmitting except on medium wave, and a token presence on the Internet.

VOR has been broadcasting to one hundred sixty countries with about twenty five hours of programming each day. As Radio Moscow, VOR was the first shortwave station to broadcast internationally; with that credit, it is also at present the station with the longest continuous presence on the short waves.

Somewhere in my various pack-rattery, I have a beautiful mug from Radio Moscow, obtained in the late 1980′s if I recall correctly. I guess it’s time to bring it out and give it a place on the memorabilia shelves.

Well, I suppose there is a bright side: Without those big gun transmitters on the air, it’ll be a little easier to hear the smaller stations from time to time.

VOR joins the BBC in abandoning the shortwave bands; the slide continues.

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The KD0BCF de KC0OW show on 3843 KHz

For my ham and SWL readers, I just wanted to point out a fun little thing that’s been going on for a while. KD0BCF, Tom, an atheist, and Scott, KC0OW, a christian, have been going at it, more or less politely, for some time now. I first ran into them SWL’ing the 75 meter ham band, and now I actively look for them, and if I find they’re on, I leave the dial right there.

Scott’s a lawyer, and you can tell that this forms the root of his arguing skills. Tom pretty much has Scott for lunch, or at least he has the times I’ve tuned in, but Scott’s ability to duck and cover and evade is right up there with some of the best I’ve seen. He also, it has to be said, appears to be very secure in his faith.

Both fellows are quite intelligent, and the tone of the rhetoric is generally well above what you’d expect for this kind of interaction, especially one that’s been going on this long. Kudos to both of them for keeping it mostly polite and cheery.

Subjects covered include religion (of course), politics, world events, fundamentalist broadcasts, Israel, Islam, etc.

A highly recommended little chunk of the SWL/ham experience. :)

Yaesu FTDX-3000 Review

FTDX-3000I added the FTDX 3000 to my station in order to use it differently than most users will; my setup uses the transmit portion of the radio as usual, but utilizes the IF output on the rear deck to replace most of the receive capability with an SDR on the IF, and my SdrDx software working with the SDR. This works as planned, and so I am well satisfied with the radio in my installation. I get a far superior receive capability to any traditional radio on the market at any price including the very best from Yaesu, Kenwood and ICOM, *plus* the radio’s own capabilities as a medium quality second receiver in-band if I want that. I did my research, I got what I asked for, and I am happy as a clam. Also, confirmation bias, lol. But…
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On the use of Power Amplifiers in Amateur Radio

As many of you know, I’m a ham operator. I spend a lot of time listening to the HF bands, not a whole lot transmitting, but I do listen. One of the things that tends to irritate me is when I hear some wag putting someone else down because they have a “little signal”, by which they mean 100 watts or so.
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