KONG37 – Day Four

Monday Morning Already!
Conditions towards North America appeared a little less unfocused on Sunday than on Saturday, so a little more interesting. The Mount Loran recordings haven’t been checked properly yet.

Stations from the Pacific started to appear very early, by far the earliest we have seen this season, with Tonga-1017 audible before 08:00. And Kiribati 1440 showed up together with JOWF. So, we had hopes! Could this be the Mother of all New Zealand openings?

Not even a distant relative… and at 11:30 a solar disturbance almost wiped up the band, as you can see below. The signal levels were eventually restored, but nothing out of the ordinary was heard the rest of the day.

In the afternoon we got a visit from seasoned Finnish DX-er Jim Solatie, who had taken a break from Aihkiniemi to visit the Norwegian Arctic shores. Jim is a die-hard king crab lover, and incidentally (or not!) this was on the menu on Sunday. So, after an hour at the Guesthouse’s new luxury sauna, we had a very pleasant dinner.

For starters, OJ had prepared duck liver paste on sourdough bread. We had a 2010 Marcobrunn riesling auslese with the duck liver.  The main course was the signature dish, king crab baked on a bed of sea salt and spices, with carbonara. This called for a 2014 Voglar Sauvignon.  For dessert we enjoyed a selection of cheeses, such as Gruyere, Papillon Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Morbiere, Primadonna Maturo and Brie de meaux. The Marsala Superiore was an excellent wine for the cheese.
The evening was rounded off with an excellent Grappa.

The weather was not at all nice, with gale force winds and frequent rain showers. 3-4 Celsius. It cleared up in the afternoon though, and the evening was calm and moonlit.

Jim enjoying a Supersonic beer.

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[UPDATE] VP6D – Ducie Island

Both VP6D and VP6D/MM are now available on the log search! https://t.co/MURVhHA85k — VP6D_2018 (@VP6D_2018) October 21, 2018 OCTOBER 21, 2018 @ 16:00z Good morning from Ducie Island. We are progressing well. The main camp and kitchen are fully established and supplied with food / water. The generator sites are built and supplied with fuel. […]

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CC Skywave SSB Update: C. Crane addresses first production run issues

Earlier this year, I posted a review of the CC Skywave SSB: C. Crane’s latest ultra-compact travel AM/FM/WX/AIR/shortwave radio.

If you’ve been following this little radio, you might remember that early first production models had issuesindeed, all six production units I tested had issues–that prevented me from releasing my full review before the end of 2017.

The main problem that plagued my first production run units was a background audio whine/tone. Here’s the description from my full review:

Upon careful listening, I discovered the production unit had a faint, internally-generated whine on some of the shortwave bands; when tuned to marginal signals, this whine manifested in the form of variable background noise. Between signals it was audible as a faint background whine, hardly noticeable. With that said, the whine was most notable while tuning––since the Skywave SSB mutes between frequency changes, the whine was most conspicuous during audio recovery between steps.

I later discovered that part of the problem was related to an alignment issue that C. Crane had to address in-house on their first production inventory.

Second production run evaluation

A few weeks ago, C. Crane sent me one of the first CC Skywave SSB units from their second production.

Due to my hectic schedule after almost two months of travel in Canada, I’ve only gotten around to checking the new unit this past week.

I put the CC Skywave SSB on the air and carefully tested it across the bands.

Fixed: No more whine!

I’m very pleased to report that this unit shows no signs of the internally-generated noises that plagued all six of my first production run units!

In fact, the second production unit’s performance is identical to that of the pre-production CC Skywave SSB which I’ve so admired. I’ve compared the units side-by-side and would not be able to tell them apart if it weren’t for a silk-screen error on the back of the pre-production unit.

I can now recommend the CC Skywave SSB without hesitation. If you’d like to know more about this radio, check out my full review by clicking here.

You can purchase the CC Skywave SSB from the following retailers:

Next Up…

C. Crane also sent me a second production run CCRadio-EP Pro. If you recall from my review, this model also had several issues that prevented me from recommending it–primarily: muting between frequencies, images, fixed 10 kHz steps on mediumwave, and an inaccurate analog dial.

I’ll start evaluating the EP Pro this week and report back soon. Bookmark  to follow updates.

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Radio enthusiasts receive images from the Longjiang-2 in lunar orbit

Image received by astronomer Cees Bassa (@cgbassa) using the Dwingeloo Telescoop

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Eric McFadden (WD8RIF) who shares the following story from The Planetary Society:

Earlier this week, on October 10, radio amateurs all around the world worked together to get the Chinese Longjiang-2 spacecraft to take an image of the Earth and the far side of the Moon. Radio commands were generated by MingChuan Wei in China, transmitted to the spacecraft by Reinhard Kuehn in Germany after which they were received by the spacecraft in lunar orbit. In turn, the spacecraft transmitted the image back to Earth, where it was picked up by radio amateurs in Germany, Latvia, North America and the Netherlands.

Since June this year, the Chinese Longjiang-2 (also known as DSLWP-B) microsatellite has been orbiting the Moon. The satellite is aimed at studying radio emissions from stars and galaxies at very long wavelength radio waves (wavelengths of 1 to 30 meters). These radio waves are otherwise blocked by the Earth’s atmosphere, while the lunar environment offers protection from Earth-based and human-made radio interference. Longjiang-2 was launched to the Moon together with an identical twin, Longjiang-1 (DSLWP-A), together acting as a radio interferometer to detect and study the very long wavelength radio waves by flying in formation in lunar orbit.

Besides the scientific instruments, both Longjiang satellites carry a VHF/UHF amateur radio transmitter and receiver (a transceiver) built and operated by the Harbin Institute of Technology (in Chinese). The Longjiang-2 transceiver also includes an onboard student camera, nicknamed the Inory Eye. The Harbin team built on experience gained with the Earth-orbiting LilacSat-1 and LilacSat-2 nanosatellites, which allow radio amateurs to receive satellite telemetry, relay messages and command and download images taken with an onboard camera.

While receiving signals from satellites in low Earth orbit requires only relatively simple antennas, doing so for satellites in orbit around the Moon (a thousand times more distant), is much harder. To this end Longjiang-1 and 2 transmit signals in two low data-rate, error-resistant, modes; one using digital modulation (GMSK) at 250 bits per second, while the other mode (JT4G) switches between four closely spaced frequencies to send 4.375 symbols per second. This latter mode was developed by Nobel-prize winning astrophysicist Joe Taylor and is designed for radio amateurs to relay messages at very low signal strengths, typically when bouncing them off the surface of the Moon.

[M]any radio amateurs have been able to receive transmissions from Longjiang-2. Usually, the transceiver is powered on for 2-hour sessions at a time, during which GMSK telemetry is transmitted in 16-second bursts every 5 minutes. After some testing sessions in early June, the JT4G mode was activated, with 50 second transmissions every 10 minutes.

Specialized open source software written by MingChuan Wei and the Harbin team enables radio amateurs to decode telemetry as well as image data and upload it to the Harbin website.

The JT4G mode has allowed radio amateurs with small yagi antennas to detect signals from Longjiang-2 (using custom software written by Daniel Estévez).[…]

Click here to read the full article at The Planetary Society.

This is fascinating, Eric!  Thank you for sharing. It would be amazing fun to grab one of these Lunar signals! Anyone up to the task?

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