Thought I’d have a change this weekend and give up the usual Sunday shortwave session to instead spend a good chunk of the day listening for any possible CB radio DX coming out of America. European CB signals can be easy enough to find (especially the high power stations) but its been a long while since I concentrated solely on signals coming out of the USA.
While it might not be the best time of year for this (and then some), the breakers down on 27025 MHz (so called ‘Superbowl’ frequency) like to use the sort of RF power that helps make the trip across the ‘pond’ easier, even when propagation isn’t at its best.
Its been a while since I’ve checked out channel 6 and was curious if it still had the same level of activity as it did a few years ago.
Even though the plan was just to have a day listening, its difficult not to put out a call when it could mean bagging a bit of very log distance DX. If band conditions looked favorable later on, I thought I’d try and squeeze a signal between the ridiculously high power US stations 🙂
Starting out nice and early so I had enough time for the possibility of creating a decent log (and some audio) of the days received transmissions, meant getting up early to work through all the daily emails and other stuff connected with my radio websites.
Deciding not to go with a physical CB radio for this session, I wired up a SDR dongle and run it from my existing dipole antenna.
This arrangement does give the advantages of being able to see whats happening on the rest of the CB channels (via the SDR waterfall display), makes recording any juicy audio a whole lot easier by taking it directly from the computer and the finished audio is so much better than if I took it straight from a CB radio.
And the Waiting Begins…..
Playing with radio always means some kind of hanging around listening to static while your waiting for something to happen and I do believe its taught me a certain degree of patience over the years 🙂
Starting when most of America is safely tucked up in bed probably didn’t help but I was also checking out other parts of the CB radio bands to keep me occupied. I wasn’t really expecting much activity til later in the day, but I kept coming back and checking every now and then.
Sunday Superbowl Log
All Times in GMT
09.40am Band starts to wake up with a few European stations coming in.
12.26pm First hint of a signal from America on 27.025 but too weak to make out properly.
13.00pm Bands turns very messy
1.30-2.00pm had to pop out for half an hour and things were a lot better by the time I’d returned.
Could still only really hear one breaker (who seemed to be running a net), there was the odd blip from those others in the ‘net’ but the rapid fading screwed with the audio too much to get a decent copy.
Pretty sure the net controller said he was from Milwaukee and the slight echo on his audio made a great difference given the poor signal at my end.
4.00pm All signals on the band dropped away completely. A check around on a few WebSDR’s showed a lack of any U.S signals right across Europe.
4.40pm The one breaker I could almost hear popped back up for an hour before the whole band closed down except for the odd station transmitting out of Europe.
Plans for Audio Scuppered!
Did try to record some audio to load up on this post, but the quality was appalling. I was almost sure it wouldn’t fly given that I could just make out what was going on through a good pair of headphones 🙂
Overall not a very good result, even when you consider I was up against it from the start. Will have to give this another go in mid 2016, when (hopefully) propagation will be a whole lot better.