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Aerials, Club Events, and Morse Code


A Plethora of Radio News from Bob Houlston

RadioUser Friend and Voluntary Correspondent Bob Houlston delights us with a wide range of radio-related news to begin the Festive Season early, and in some style: 


Extraordinary Communications Club (Klub Niezwykłych Łączności)

This is for those who explore the fringes of amateur radio and other radio communications. The primary language of this site is Polish, some content may be also in English. No wavelengths are too long or too short for them. No signal is too weak to not bother trying to receive it. Check out the very simple receiver for 136kHz on the following URL:  


HF Aerials: Make Your Own

This free (online) PDF contains ideas regarding a relatively cheap solution for SWLs to make their own HF Horizontal Loop Aerial:


International Radio for Disaster Relief

IRDR - International Radio for Disaster Relief recognises that short wave radio can be invaluable during times of emergency when local or even regional communications fail. Here are some (mostly 24/7) frequencies for your receiver memories (all +/- 5kHz): 5910, 7400, 9430, 11840, 13620, 15650, 17500, 18950, 21840, and 26010kHz.


ISS Transmissions

When a little boy, at the dawn of the space race, the school teacher said to us all: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Several replies: "Train driver, fireman, bus driver." Then me: "I WANT TO BE AN ASTRONAUT!" Sniggering and laughter from the class. But now I am receiving SSTV from the ISS. For an interface (circuit diagram see picture, below) I take the headphone output of my 145.800MHz FM radio, via an audio-isolating 600Ω transformer, to the audio input of my PC. I have a typical 50kΩ series and 2kΩ parallel limiting resistors, and a 2uF isolating capacitor on the connection if using a laptop PC to block any DC flowing in the audio transformer from the onboard electret microphone power source.

My thanks go to Norman G8VER of Verulam ARC for technical advice: "I don't want any DC flowing in that transformer." Keep the levels low to start with and be aware of the Doppler effect by tuning 145.803MHz high to 145.297MHz low as the bird passes by. SAT PC32 free prediction software advises when to listen and keep an eye on the link below for transmission updates.

You will typically get ten days’ notice. RX-SSTV free SSTV software can display the images that are broadcast for two minutes, followed by two minutes rest; with the help of SAT PC32, you have to anticipate the progress of the Doppler Shift effect. Be sure to apply the RX-SSTV 'slant correction button' a few times. I have reported on this before. However, I do now find that a horizontal aerial is so much more efficient than a vertical.

See the images in this post; they illustrate the difference very well. 

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Learn Morse Code with Bob

Short wave enthusiasts may enhance their hobby radio by learning Morse code. From the first Sunday in December to the last Sunday in February (excluding the Festive Season) every year, I broadcast (free) Morse code lessons from St Albans, Hertfordshire.

With just 5W to an aerial in the loft, I usually achieve good reception reports: I am using the GB2CW callsign from 8.00 pm local time to 8.20 pm on 145.250MHz FM. I have been told that my signal can be easily received on the Bushey WebSDR with good audio at the URL (below).

Anybody wanting to listen in on my GB2CW Morse code lessons, but too far away to hear my signal directly, may likely use the Bushey WebSDR anywhere they can access the Internet on Sundays 8:00 pm to 8:20 pm local time on 145.250MHz FM (For listeners outside the UK, that is 20:00 GMT/UTC).

At 8:30 pm local time, the Verulam ARC Morse Conversation Net on 50.040MHz takes place every Sunday throughout the year. All are welcome. If you want us to go slowly send: 'QRS'.


Men: Take Heed Now

The onboard computer of RAF fighter jets talks to the usually male pilot in a female audio-sampled voice because men are more likely to listen to a female voice. Similarly, Shannon Volmet, on 5505kHz USB​​​​​​, broadcasts North-West Europe weather information for all commercial pilots, in an Irish synthesised female voice.

The story goes that Coleen - the human voice behind the transmissions - was discovered in an Irish souvenir shop in New York. If you do not have a short wave receiver, try the free online Twente SDR Software Defined Receiver (SDR).

Adjust the filter to suit e.g. 2.40kHz. Google ‘Twente SDR’, or you can visit:


Bob Houlston G4PVB (pictured; e-mail address in graphic, below)

Volunteer Correspondent


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