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Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

The technical side of broadcasting. Think IBOC is a sham? Talk about it here! How about HDTV? Post DX reports here as well.
CK-722
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Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

Post by CK-722 » Wed May 29, 2019 12:00 pm

I just received my Tecsun PL-880. It is NEARLY perfect. I am disappointed in the AM Barefoot Sensitivity, the fact that there are no AM BC and FM BC antenna inputs, and the AGC Stiffness affecting the AM Signal Indicator output, making it non linear within a large range of FI.

Rich, I see what causes the problems with trying to get a usable readout on the signal strength meter. It looks like it is processed after the AGC, making a large range of FI read nearly the same. I don't think the PL-380 has that.

I'm wondering if using a small loop in an area with signals no stronger than 50 mV/m could permanently desensitize it like pianoplayer88keys was likely to do by taking it to AM sites and placing it next to flagpoles and such.

Obviously, inductive coupling is the most obvious way to increase the effective AM BC and LW sensitivity. Can you think of the best way to couple a 300 Ohm or 75 Ohm FM Outside Antenna to a telescoping whip?

I logged the PH 333 kHz LW Radio Beacon this morning, from Penzance, at about 8:15 AM using the PL-880 barefoot with it.

It worked very well up near the Straits on FM, receiving weak FM Stations with terrain shielding and Translators 25 miles away with ease. I suspect that the IBOC sidebands, translators and Canadian Drop Ins will cause problems DXing with it in SE Michigan without a highly directional outside antenna.


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Turkeytop
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Re: Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

Post by Turkeytop » Wed May 29, 2019 12:17 pm

Looks like a nice radio. I've been considering buying it, but haven't yet. Your disappointment in the MW performance might dissuade me.




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CK-722
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Re: Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

Post by CK-722 » Wed May 29, 2019 12:38 pm

I would buy a spare in a heartbeat, even given its limitations. I'm comparing the AM BC performance to an RF-2200 and a FIM-21 or FIM-41, so it does have limitations compared to that. With all the IBOC sidebands, new drop ins, and translators, it will do as well as an MR-80 Tuner on FM BC. There's no point in anything better without a highly directional antenna, even enhanced antennas like on the eham K6STI site. Most estimates say a rooftop FM BC DA antenna will give signals about 20 dB stronger than 6 feet AGL indoors barefoot. Plus the DA gives you further rejection of the sidebands, drop ins, and translators.

I bought this on the recommendation of Rich.


Is THAT where they got the idea for the 486-SX?

Same (x, y, z), different (t)

Your bullet missed my trial balloon.

RTN Price. Not guaranteed. As of 12:30, 157.71 Down 0.22.

Artificial Intelligence is a Child that needs a Parent to guide it through.

k8jd
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Re: Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

Post by k8jd » Wed May 29, 2019 2:05 pm

When I plug an outside antenna into the jack, it sems to enhance the FM signals, as well as SW.
If you have twin lead for your outside FM antenna, instead of coax, just find one of those 4:1 BalUn transformers that were seen everywhere before Cable TV :D.
The way to couple a LW or MW antenna is in one of the mod lists. you have to take the back off and wind a 6 or 8 turn fine wire around the cold end of the ferite stick inside and solder one end to ground and the other to the pad that goes to the ring on the ant jack. A half hour job if you can solder :D
Connect a stereo phone plug to your MW antenna coax feedline so the center wire goes to the ring and shield to the shaft . the tip is not used .
This has no effect on using an external short wave or FM antenna , that uses the Tip for the center of the coax feed lines.
I love my PL 880 ! Especially like the SSB and CW reception on the amateur radio bands !
I still love my OLD GE Superradio 3, for the AM band DXing, and it's Hi Fi sound on local AM signals (and FM, even in Monaural :D) !!!!!



k8jd
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Re: Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

Post by k8jd » Wed May 29, 2019 2:13 pm

The only PH beacon I have heard is on 332 kHz in Port Huron !!!!!



CK-722
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Re: Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

Post by CK-722 » Wed May 29, 2019 2:42 pm

You know, that makes a lot more sense. It must be that, but I could find no other beacon online that IDed PH .__. .... 333 kHz. I would have thought that 332 kHz would have come up on a search. The readout must be off 1 kHz. Of course, that makes much more sense. I'm new to LW listening. Never had one before that I remember, except some Technics Tuners that weren't functional from what I could hear. Seems like I checked for an oscillator but there was none. I could hear UIZ 215 kHz on the sixth harmonic on 1260 kHz, and maybe on someone else's radio that tuned LW. But that's a sub now.


Is THAT where they got the idea for the 486-SX?

Same (x, y, z), different (t)

Your bullet missed my trial balloon.

RTN Price. Not guaranteed. As of 12:30, 157.71 Down 0.22.

Artificial Intelligence is a Child that needs a Parent to guide it through.

CK-722
Posts: 709
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2018 3:53 pm

Re: Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

Post by CK-722 » Wed May 29, 2019 5:36 pm

From ~42.6 N 83.0 W, I was able to tune 107.9 WCRZ by orienting the whip to eliminate the "allegedly" "too hot" translator signal from the WNIC 100.3 tower (How convenient that Clear Channel's (or whatever it's called this week) WNIC rents space on its tower to a signal that blots out a similar format that might put a 0.1 rating point dent in their Neilsens (and often did with a 0.1 to 0.3 rating in the Detroit Arbitrons. The FCC should crack down on these "alleged" shenanigans. The new rules might address this. Funny that when WIOT was being gored, CC/iHeart was against translator interference in the fringe areas of WIOT.) Sounded great in Monaural. I'll try Stereo next time I try. Also got WFUM 91.1 over the 24/7/365 new TL IBOC side bands of WRCJ 90.9 by orienting the whip antenna. I could get WGRT 102.3 by nulling out the CINA-FM 102.3 signal from Windsor, but I didn't have a chance to move around the room to optimize the RL. WGRT 102.3 was noisy where I did it.


Is THAT where they got the idea for the 486-SX?

Same (x, y, z), different (t)

Your bullet missed my trial balloon.

RTN Price. Not guaranteed. As of 12:30, 157.71 Down 0.22.

Artificial Intelligence is a Child that needs a Parent to guide it through.

Rich
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Re: Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

Post by Rich » Thu May 30, 2019 8:23 am

CK-722 wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 12:00 pm
... I see what causes the problems with trying to get a usable readout on the signal strength meter. It looks like it is processed after the AGC, making a large range of FI read nearly the same. ...
My PL-880 displays "signal strength'" variations exceeding 25 dB during some nighttime fades on Class A stations distant from me, such as WJR, WHAS, WCCO etc.
Can you think of the best way to couple a 300 Ohm or 75 Ohm FM Outside Antenna to a telescoping whip?
That's a tough problem, for an elegant solution.

A few minutes of Googling found an inelegant one at https://www.ccrane.com/pdf/ccrane/fmw-c ... iagram.pdf, but I have no idea if it will work well or not.



fairbankshockeypuck
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Re: Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

Post by fairbankshockeypuck » Thu May 30, 2019 9:43 am

Does the alligator method to the telescoping antenna help both AM and FM or just FM??



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Turkeytop
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Re: Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

Post by Turkeytop » Thu May 30, 2019 10:02 am

On my mini DXpedition last November I caught the following LW Beacons. The most distant were in Mississippi and British Columbia.

245 KHZ YZE Gore Bay ON

269 KHZ YQ Castlegar BC

278 KHZ ADG Adrian Mississippi

326 KHZ VV Wiarton ON

335 KHZ ZKF Kitchener ON

338 KHZ DE Detroit

353 KHZ QG Windsor

366 KHZ YMY Maniwaki Quebec

382 KHZ XU London ON

404 KHZ ZR Sarnia ON

419 KHZ RYS Detroit


You have to use the good brand of duct tape. The cheap stuff, they can work it loose with their tongue.

Rich
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Re: Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

Post by Rich » Thu May 30, 2019 10:26 am

fairbankshockeypuck wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 9:43 am
Does the alligator method to the telescoping antenna help both AM and FM or just FM??
FM, maybe, when connecting to an external, elevated FM receive antenna.

It might help SW reception, when connecting to an external wire antenna 20 or 30 feet long.



CK-722
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Re: Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

Post by CK-722 » Thu May 30, 2019 10:54 am

I remember a book about wave propagation years ago that had a graph of skywave field strength of a LW signal, which could be heard at great distances. The 0.1 mV/m ground wave of WWVB on 60 kHz encompasses most of the Continental United States, and a skywave over Western Europe. That's why I thought it COULD be from Penzance. When it was there 2 hours later, and with no signal variation, I knew it had to be much closer.


Is THAT where they got the idea for the 486-SX?

Same (x, y, z), different (t)

Your bullet missed my trial balloon.

RTN Price. Not guaranteed. As of 12:30, 157.71 Down 0.22.

Artificial Intelligence is a Child that needs a Parent to guide it through.

k8jd
Posts: 396
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 3:35 pm
Location: Commerce, MI

Re: Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

Post by k8jd » Thu May 30, 2019 2:29 pm

fairbankshockeypuck wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 9:43 am
Does the alligator method to the telescoping antenna help both AM and FM or just FM??



Whip just does FM and SW bands. It makes more sense to plug into the Ext ant jack on the side, you could possibly damage the whip by letting your aligator clip wire yank on it.
Read my post about coupling to the ferrite stick inside the radio.



k8jd
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Re: Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

Post by k8jd » Thu May 30, 2019 2:32 pm

With no ext antenna I can hear about 5 LW beacons in the daylight hours.



Rich
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Re: Bought The Tecsun PL-880; Logged PH 333 kHz; Questions For Rich

Post by Rich » Thu May 30, 2019 2:34 pm

As for the AM sensitivity of portable/mobile receivers, the two best that I own are a Sangean PR-D15, and the stock radio in my 2016 Toyota Corolla.

Both of them provide understandable (but quite noisy) reception of a 530 kHz TIS station about 35 miles away, which has a field intensity of less than 40 µV/m at my receive location.

My PL-880 detects nothing but noise on 530 kHz, at that same receive location.
Last edited by Rich on Fri May 31, 2019 4:45 am, edited 2 times in total.



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