Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Radio Havana Cuba: DXers Unlimited

Radio Havana Cuba Dxers Unlimited's  - middle of the week program  for Tuesday 29 July 2014
 By Arnie Coro - radio amateur CO2KK

 Hi amigos radioaficionados all around the world and orbiting our  planet aboard the ISS. Yes, there are radio amateur operators on duty  at the International Space Stations and whenever they can take a break, you can pick up their FM voice mode transmissions on the two  meters amateur band frequency of 145 dot eight hundred megaHertz...

 The spacecraft is in a low Earth orbit, so the signals can be picked up for a short period even when there is an overhead pass.... I am Arnie Coro, radio amateur CO2KK your host here at the middle of the week edition of Dxers Unlimited, and YES, amigos I was one of the pioneers here in Cuba to use amateur radio satellites, a complex technology that has enjoyed ups and downs in the preferences of the  world's ham radio enthusiasts... At one time, several of the so called EASY SATS, made possible for many operators to establish regular two way contacts using standard factory built radios.... and simple antennas.... But those days are now over, and the present generation  of amateur radio satellites are in my opinion much more difficult to access and the time windows available for making contacts are very,very small, and that is yet another drawback. Ideally a geostationary amateur satellite would be the way to go, but many experts say that although it could cover only one third of the Planet

 Earth from its Clarke Belt orbital slot, so many amateurs will try to use it that it would be quite useless due to the interference caused by so many stations trying to communicate, even if the super ham satellite offers many transponders. Then, add to this the extremely high cost to build a the geostationary satellites, and also the need to find a suitable launching vehicle that will also cost a fortune.

So, what we are seeing now are small, low Earth orbit satellites that  have created interest among a few radio amateurs, like Cuba's top satellite operator, Hector CO6CBF, who has broken several records from his Cienfuegos city of central Cuba operating position.

 Hector CO6CBF has built his own special antennas as well as azimuth and elevation rotors to turn them for optimum access to the satellites.... Si amigos, yes my friends , oui mes amis, amateur satellites are flying, but they are flying at low heights making long distance contacts a tremendous challenge for the operators that must rely on minimum height above the horizon passes to assure the longest possible contacts... Stay tuned for more radio hobby related information coming to you from  La Habana, where we are going through a period of extremely high  temperatures and low relative humidity...

 I am your host Arnie Coro,

 my ham radio callsing is CO2KK

 and I will be back in a few seconds after a short break for a station ID

*Yes amigos, this is Radio Havana Cuba, and here are some recent schedule changes that took place on July 25th .... Starting on Friday July 25th UTC day, we are no longer using 9550 kiloHertz from 11 to 13 hours UTC, and also NOT using 15340 kiloHertz from 13 to 15 hours UTC.... Then, here is now another important schedule change.... since Friday July 25th, our 11760 kiloHertz frequency continues to be on the air after 15 hours UTC and until 19 hours UTC broadcasting programs  that we were previously only streaming to the Internet. The first three hours from 15 to 18 UTC are in Spanish, broadcasting our new CUBA ONLINE magazine show that received many nice reports from listeners picking it up via the streaming audio from 1. www.radiohc.cu, and who suggested that we made it available also via short wave, something we have done using a 100 kiloWatts transmitter on 11760 kiloHertz with the 6 dB gain omni directional antenna that provides coverage to parts of North America, all of Central America and the Caribbean, as well as the northern areas of South America. Reports received so far confirm what our engineering department had calculated to be the 80 percent of the time service pattern. So, give it a try, and tune in to 11760 kiloHertz from Radio Havana Cuba from 15 to 18 hours UTC and then from 18 to 19 hours UTC in other Arabic and Portuguese....*

 Now here is item three of the middle of the week program of Dxers Unlimited...

Over the weekend, several Perseid meteor shower advance fireballs were detected by observers, and this can best be described as signals of the beginning of the annual August Perseids meteors display. Normally, the best time to watch would be during the shower's peak: August 11th through 13th. This year, however, the super moon will cast an interfering glare across the nights of maximum activity, reducing visibility from 120 meteors per hour (the typical Perseid peak rate) to less than 30. Instead, late July-early August might be the best time to watch as Earth plunges deeper into the debris stream of comet Swift Tuttle, before the Moon becomes full. For radio amateur operators the yearly Perseids are among the best showers for meteor
scatter propagation Dxing attempts.

Now let me explain in detail ---- PERSEID METEOR SHOWER BEGINS as the Earth is entering a broad stream of debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Although the peak of the shower is not expected until August, meteors are already flitting across the night sky.

By the way, TV Dxers in the days of analog television broadcasts were able to log many low band TV stations within the frequency range of 54 to 88 megaHertz in the Americas using the ionized trails of meteors entering the upper atmosphere. You had to be pretty lucky so that the burn of the meteor will coincide with the time of a station ID... but dedicated TV Dxers proved that this happened more often than expected, as they kept cameras in front of the TV set's screens and also later kept videocassette machines running all the time during the meteor showers ... I began TV Dxing in the middle of the nineteen fifties, and was able to log the audio channel of the then on the air BBC One TV from London, when the super active solar cycle 19 sent the monthly sunspot counts to the above 200 mark, something never before again seen ever since....

 Digital Terrestrial Television broadcasts using any of the several available standards are not DX friendly at all, something that has taken its toll, reducing the number of TV Dxers dramatically in every country where the analog blackout takes place....

Nevertheless there are still many nations around the world where the analog TV signals are still on the air and the analog blackout is not expected to take place until a few years from now.

At the end of the show a short form solar activity and HF propagation update. Sunspot number hovering around 140, the solar flux was near 130, and the effective sunspot number was around 85 Tuesday at 15 Hours UTC, add to this that all the active sunspot regions show no signs of powerful magnetic activity. Best HF propagation conditions on the Northern Hemisphere to happen after local sunset and until one hour past sunrise.... So , here is Arnie Coro's advice for short wave listeners and radio amateurs alike if you want to pick up DX stations, stay awake after midnight and go to sleep one hour after your local sunrise !!!

Yes amigos, your signal reports, comments about this and other Radio Havana Cuba programs and radio hobby related questions are most welcome to the following e'mail address: inforhc@enet.cu

inforhc@enet.cu. or VIA AIR MAIL

Arnie Coro, Radio Havana Cuba, Havana, Cuba
(wb, Germany/HCDX)