I have received a box of cassette audio tapes, eight of them, from Jack,
VE1ZZ. Jack was responding to my inquiry as to what he can hear on LF from
his QTH near Halifax, Nova Scotia. Jack is world famous for his 160 meter
work, he can hear, and hear very well it seems on any frequency he chooses.
Jack has created these tapes and has narrated what he is hearing. This is
interesting listening hi.
An aside to LF, I have just been listening as Jack was trying to work XZ0A
through the European pileup on 1826 kHz. The European signals are as loud
as any pileup on 20 meters, and the XZ0A signal is just as loud as any of
the Europeans! This was truly an outstanding session on Top Band.
It was interesting to listen to the start of the 160 Meter contest. The US
stations calling CQ Test on top of the European stations calling them......
On LF, Jack is hearing the Icelandic LF station 186 as early as 1730 utc
(Jack is utc -3). 180 kHz French, Arabic station on 149, 198 BBC, the
stations are just rolling in like gang busters by sunset and they continue
to get louder. From my Broadcast Band dxing days as a child, these signals
have the same level as WBZ in Boston, KDKA in Pittsburgh, WGN Chicago, KSL
in Salt Lake, WABC New York did when they were clear channel stations. The
QSB is quite fast but the signal level is Full Scale on his Racal RA-17
Jack continuously switches between his different Beverage antennas, the 700
ft one is terminated in salt water, I have a feeling the 1400 ft one is
connected to the last radial on the Icelandic stations transmitting antenna!
During the evening Jack speculated on how a 6000 ft or 12000 ft Beverage
would work, maybe even some bays of them.
On the second day of tapes, Jack has a station on 159 kHz that is S9 at 1529
utc, that is just after noon his local time on January 30th. I also notice
during the evening sessions that the signals have the typical HF fast
selective fading on them.
The most directly applicable part of the tapes for me is Jack describing
what we have come to know as DCF39 on 138.83 kHz. He is copying this signal
on an analogue basis, "just above CFH", and the signal is at a very high
level, S9+++ on the tape. This is a non enhanced day on LF and Jack
comments that he has been listening to this signal for some years and it is
always the same with the regular data burst coming every 12 seconds or so.
The signal is not just loud, it is far louder on the tape than it was on the
great LF opening we had on February 11th. Jack comments that he never hears
the signal in the daytime, just at night but it is very loud in the
evenings. He was switching between his 700 and 1400 ft Beverage antennas,
sometimes one plays better than the other.
I have now listened to about 8 hours of tapes from Jack of what he is
hearing on LF from 135 kHz to about 210 kHz. He hears a lot of very strong
signals. The signals are not only strong they are very strong. Based on
what I am hearing here he has at least 20 dB plus on my current system here
in the village I live in. Granted I am an additional 1000 miles, 1600 kms,
inland, but he is hearing 59+ what I am only seeing on the CRT! I have
written Jack a memo suggesting he listen more to DCF39, and information
about considering a digital RX or a way to get himself to a 1 Hz resolution
on his RX using a synthesizer as a signal generator (and as a VFO on
transmit). I have included a copy of this memo in my reply mail to him.
Jack is a user of Packet Radio so he must have some form of PC, I have told
him about the visual DFT aides that are in common use by amateurs using LF.
I have also asked Jack for some specific information on his existing
Jack's efforts have given me a good idea of what he is hearing from Europe
on LF from a coastal location that is known to be an excellent radio site.
His effort in doing the listening and making the tapes is much appreciated.
If anyone has specific questions that I can answer from the eight tapes Jack
has sent me I am willing to try. I have also asked Jack for some specific
information as noted above and will QSP this to the group when it comes.
One thing for sure, Jack is hearing DCF39 just as well as any of you in
Europe are hearing CFH. That discussion should now be over and we can focus
on other issues from now on. We on this side now have an excellent baseline
to work from, if we are not hearing as well as Jack is we will not work over
the North Atlantic on 136 kHz.
Back to work.