15-18 Jan LF Rx Tests

Andre' Kesteloot akestelo@bellatlantic.net
Mon, 11 Jan 1999 21:35:16 -0500

This message will attempt to summarize what we (members of
the AMRAD LF SIG) plan to do this coming week-end.

a) on Friday 15 January 1999
Frank Gentges K0BRA;
George LeMaster WB5OYP;
Joe Novak K4OVK;
Elton Sanders WB5MMB;
Glenn Baumgartner KA0ESA;
Bob Bruhns WA3WDR;
Richard O'Neill;
Tracy Wood K7UO; and
Andre' Kesteloot N4ICK
will converge  to Nags Head, North Carolina. This is a
6-hour drive from Washington DC, so we do not expect to
arrive there until 3 p.m. at the earliest. If the weather is
poor, it could take even longer.

b) the purpose of our trip can be found in

c) we will be operating at least three different receiver

- one receiver chain will be tuned to 135.900 USB, and will
record the whole audio band onto the sound track of a 8mm
video [camera + recorder]. This will insure stability of
recording speed. Upon our return to Washington, the tapes
will then be transferred to CD ROMs, which will allow us to
study (whatever we recorded) at our leisure, using DSP
engines, etc.

- another receiver chain will be used to listen to whatever
we feel may be useful, with a variety of antennas, including
a remotely tuned E-field probe, a 3 foot ferrite loop, and a
10-foot square loop. We plan to try and listen to
aero-beacons, looking for intereferences from a Loran
transmitter, etc.
This receiver will also be used to try and hear European LF
broadcasting stations. (We had some success a few weeks ago
around 2200 GMT)

- a third receiver chain will be connected to a laptop
running a waterfall type program. (i.e., "videography").  We
can change the integration time from 2 to 99 minutes, i.e.,
each screen that we see can be 2 to 99 minutes long. We then
need to save each screen separately to the hard disk. We
propose to try the 2-minute screen to start with. This means
that whatever call-signs are sent from Europe should be
about two minutes long.  We can amend that later on, if we
are successful. See (d) below.

Alas, we will   _not_   be equipped this time for coherent
transmissions, and we will have to turn down Andy G4JNT's
offer of using dots lengths of 100 seconds. (Next time, as
soon as one of us can get equipped for GPS-locked reference)

d) we will have access to the Internet, and will be able,
should there be some fast breaking news, to phone Peter Dodd
G3LDO at 1903 770804

e) since we do not know the capabilities of European ham
stations, we would prefer if coordination of transmit
frequencies was organized by the various potential
transmitting stations directly on the rsgb_lf reflector.
Peter G3LDO has proposed to transmit on 137.750 (times and
Toni HB9ASB on 137.790 on Sunday from 04:00 to 05:00 GMT,
Marco Bruno IK1ODO on 137.770 (times and dates?)

>From what we understand from what appeared on the rsgb
reflector, DX over 1,000 km usually is of short duration,
and thus we should probably concentrate on normal CW and
something like "4-seconds-for-one-dot" CW.

As mentioned above, we did receive European LF broadcasters
several days around 2200 GMT. We do not know whether this
was a "time window" or whether the transmissions could also
be heard later.  Nothing was heard before 2200 GMT.

f) the first receiving tests will take place on Friday 15
January, around 2100 GMT (=1600 h EST).
We expect some power line noise (plus arc-over on
high-voltage isolators due to salt water deposits), and our
alternate location will be further away from civilization,
at Oregon Inlet, N35 degrees 47.616 seconds, W75 degrees
32.211 seconds.
This location should be sufficiently away from electric
power lines.  The equipment we will use there will be
battery operated, but we will also try a portable gasoline
generator with a  _long_  (200 ft) extension cord.

g) with an eventual grand total of 9 operators, we should be
able to listen to whatever schedule is suggested on the rsgb
reflector.  Monday 18 will probably be devoted to listening
to Aero-beacons, Lowfers (160-190 kHz US beacons) and
European LF broadcasters.

h) we intend to bring at least 5 or 6  professional or
high-quality receivers, but unfortunately not all of them
can be operated on 12 volt car batteries
- 1 or 2  Rycoms with preamps,
- 1 x Cubic  (military rcvr)
- 1 x NRD525
- 1 x Hammarlund SP600VLF
- 1 x RAK Navy regen (WW II)
- 1 x Lowe HF 150 with Curry LF active antenna

We welcome all (preferably constructive) comments a.s.a p.

Andre'  N4ICK

i) incidentally the reason we do not plan on using the PK31
dsp program is that it needs to be run on a standard audio
card. The only laptop we have has a built-in audio card that
won't run PK31.  We might be able to use that program during
our next outing.