My problem is this. After reading the entire manual, reading the
Passport text and taking the plunge into the world of sw radio, I'm
having trouble getting reception for stations that I would expect to
I live in the northeast United States (northern New England). My condo
is on the third (top) floor of a 15 unit building. My living room
window looks out onto a massive lake with no building in the way
through an 8 foot by 8 foot window. I have placed the receiver in this
window and even covered the window in an X pattern with the external
Nevertheless, I can't get even a single station that Passport
recommends in the "First Tries: Ten Easy Catches" section. I've been
listening at night and the band that Grundig recommends as "Good all
night everywhere" in the 400PE manual - the 31m band - doesn't have a
single frequency that comes in for me. Neither does the 41m band -
also recommended as good all night in Northeastern America. The best
I've been able to manage are two frequencies in the 49m band - one of
which appears to be China Radio International on 5950. Neither of
these are terribly clear at that, and the best reception that I've been
able to get is with WWCR.
Does anyone have any recommendations? Being new to this, I don't know
what I should reasonably expect. Should I expect to be able to pick up
a variety of things with moderate clarity. I know that this is all
variable on many conditions, but realistically, what should I be
Thanks for your help.
Sounds like the radio's broken.
>Grundig Yacht Boy
Probably something simple. Is your dx/local switch set on dx, as it
Maybe a piece of wire, about 20 feet long, thrown out the window might
work better than the whip antenna.
I'd re-read the instructions and make sure all the switches are set
That said, no station is going to come in, all the time, on a given
frequency. Tune around within the 31 meter or other bands. Plenty of
stations should pop up.
- not quite stormy.. not great either . .
should all be receptable at some point..
try the 20 feet random wire on the antenna, check DX / Local switch..
also try 1170 WWVA, Wheeling West Virginia.. ( Just as a test)
You might try putting some batteries into that Yacht Boy and taking it
outside for a listen one evening...someplace away from power lines and
potential sources of noise. See what kinda difference that makes.
Many of our modern conveniences create a lot of noise that can
effectively bury many a shortwave signal. Granted, even with excessive
noise generating sources (e.g. computers, flourescent lights, etc.) in
your apartment, you'd expect that a bit more than just WWCR and CRI
would get through, if you're sitting by your window.
Actually 31 meter band reception here in NE is not that great lately. Try
the 49 and 41 meter bands first.
I had a similar experience in my apartment in downtown Chicago. I was
on the 52nd floor, facing west. Hot bands, clear skies, no matter.
Nothing, on a Grunding SAT 500. Out in the weeds, stations boomed in
like they were in my back pocket. At home, nothing.
Noise levels weren't much different, or so it appeared, in either
Further investigation revealed a couple of things. One was that my
radio was being overloaded with the FM's and TV signals downtown.
Rectification within buildings, and cross modulation of signals were
creating a near uniform blanket of across most of the SW bands. During
maintenance periods, this was not the case. Even so, there was still
too much noise for decent reception.
In the building were noise sources by the hundreds. Personal
computers with large, unshielded CRT monitors, 27" Trinitrons in every
apartment. Cable. Seems like every apartment had at LEAST two SCR
dimmers. All overlayed on each other. It sounded just like a slightly
elevated level of background, thermal and atmospheric noise. And then
there was the general shielding provided by the steel infrastructure of
the building, and the reinforced concrete floors.
To correct the problem, I asked and was granted permission to run a
dipole on the roof above the 57 th floor, and ran a heavily shielded
coax transmission line down a window channel to my apartment. It didn't
show, so they didn't care. Then a ground lead to the water system, which
was all copper to the feed line below ground. Not optimum, but it
worked. Not only for the Sat 500, but for the S-40B sitting on the
bishop's table in the living room.
Very likely, what you've got is not the huge RF overload that I had,
although, you may want to check that out, but a combination of
shielding, due to the construction of the building, and many high noise
sources from your own, and your neighbors' apartments.
Take your radio outdoors, away from the buildings. Into a park would
be a good test. See if you hear anything there. If so the problem is not
your radio, but your listening environment.
You said you live in a condo over looking a huge lake. Do you have a boat or
access to one? If so take that radio out in the boat and test it out on the
whip antenna and if the boat is big enough string up your reel antenna. If
it's a sailboat you could hook a jumper from the radio antenna or antenna
jack to the mast or a stay. Watch out for static producing conditions.
If you have a balcony with a metal railing, try hooking a jumper to that. If
you have access to the roof, a longwire should do wonders.
In dealing with radios for many years, the radio is part of the equation but
the antenna is a huge part of it... probably the biggest part of it,
assuming you have a decent radio, which you do. I wouldn't rely on that
telescopic whip unless it's your only choice.
Sometimes learning and experimenting in the beginning can be very
Please keep us informed on your progress.
If you run the long wire east to west, then the reception is best to
the north and south, and vice versa.
The first thing I did was to take Bob's advice and double check all the
switches. It's always something simple, right? Well, the SSB switch
was set to off, so I set that to on right away. Everything else is as
it should be.
As it *is* the middle of the night, procuring wire for antenna is an
impossibility so I did what I could in the meantime. On the
recommendation of Junius and others I grabbed some batteries, popped
them in the Yacht Boy and ventured out onto one of the piers here on
the lake. Not much around save water, though there are some power
lines not far in the distance. It was bitter cold, so I didn't bother
trying to rig up the reel antenna to anything and relied only on the
I tried all of the frequencies recommended by mcdonald606a - 5975,
7415, 6616, 12095 & 1170. This was all just after the start of the
0600 UTC hour. My research tells me that I should have heard the
WBCQ (from Maine, USA) on 7415
BBC World Service on 12095
Nothing on 5975 (gap in schedule)
but I couldn't turn up anything at any time for any day on 6166.
And what did I hear? Nothing, save for some weak voices on 1170. Now
by my understanding, 1170 would technically be an AM or MW frequency,
correct? And mcdonald606a says that it's WWVA from West Virginia. I
also turned up, in my reading, a listing for Radio Farda on the same
frequency. Is this correct? I have to say though, the voice seemed to
indicate much more of the scheduled "Truckin' Bozo" from WWVA than
anything that could possibly have been on Radio Farda. Am I in fact
correct in understanding that they are the same frequency though? The
bad news is that the reception was still not terribly intelligible.
Lots of noise. Distorted voices.
I then packed up, hopped in the car and drove out of town to a fairly
remote location where I found a wonderful field to stop at. Again,
much of the same. The good news is that since I changed the SSB switch
to "on", I can pick up a lot more, but only enough to make out that it
is supposed to be a broadcast of some sort, never anything that could
actually be listened to and understood. While in the field I cruised
around the 49 and 41 meter bands per Brian's recommendation. No luck.
Just more of the "ooh, ooh, what was that" experience. Nothing ever
actually comes in.
I'm going to continue pushing forward and will be visiting the
electronics store tomorrow to look into antennas. After all the
recommendations - and especially the encouraging words of GYT - I'm
hoping that a decent antenna will help to solve the problems.
Feel free to weigh in again after reading this update, and I'll be sure
to post the results of the next step in testing.
BTW - Regarding the question about that X pattern... My huge window
faces west - much like Peter Maus' - and the X crosses it, which would
make it run north/south (or more of a slightly NE/SW in my case). I
also have a lot of electronics in the house - something that Peter also
mentioned - so I did take the liberty of turning them all off, but who
knows what others in the building are running. It's a small building
and I can pick up at least 4 wireless networks so I'm guessing that the
neighbors are pretty tech-laden as well. But the outdoor tests should
have shed some light on all this...
You should easily be able to hear Radio Exterior de España about 3 p.m.
Boston time every afternoon. I used to hear them at 15110 kHz, but that
frequency does not seem to be in use now. REE broadcasts futbol
(soccer) games; you'll recognize the animated play-by-play commentary
For your first DX catch on the east coast try listening to 9580 in the
morning from 6:00 to 8:00. You should hear Radio Australia loud and
clear. I've been SWLing for 20 years and it is still thrilling to
catch that signal from down under.
For an up to date listing of current radio broadcasts get a copy of
Monitoring Times magazine http://www.monitoringtimes.com/ . The
center section is an extensive listing of frequencies by time and
The time of day that you are listening will determine which bands you
are most likely to hear signals on. Rather than searching for specific
frequencies at this point just tune around the following bands at these
5.8 to 6.4mhz late afternoon, evening and morning.
7.0 to 7.5 mhz late afternoon, evening and morning.
9.5 to 10mhz late afternoon, evening and morning.
11.6 to 12.2 mhz afternoon and evening.
13.5 to 13.8 mhz daytime and evening.
15.0 to 15.8 mhz daytime and early evening.
17.4 to 17.9 mhz daytime and early evening.
21.4 to 21.8 mhz daytime.
You should find something on each of these bands, and expect that 5.8
to 6.4 and 7.0 to 7.5 will have a good deal of activity at night. Sit
close to a window with the antenna fully extended and you should hear
something. Good luck and tell us what you hear.
Roughly or loosely speaking,UTC is five hours ahead of your New England
Time Zone over there near London town,England.That married Irish woman
(she is pi..ed off at me right now because once in a while,I put my foot
in my mouth,,, but she always comes back,it's a long story,dont ask)
wayyyy over yonder across the big pond is six hours ahead of my
Mississippi Coon Ass Time Zone.
Another helpful tool is:
Scroll down to the bottom and click on
"LIST PROGRAMS AT CURRENT HOUR"
It's sort of like a TV Guide for Shortwave radio.
That SSB (Single Side Band) switch should be off for now. It is used
primarily for the Amateur Bands (Ham Radio). It can be used on AM broadcasts
in certain situations to cut down on interference but we are skipping ahead
just a bit.
There is another possibility in all of this and this is that the radio could
be defective. You should be able to pick up something. Let's not throw in
the towel just yet though.
CAUTION! This is a last resort suggestion. I take no responsibility for the
outcome. Sometimes when things appear hopeless, I read the instruction
booklets. Yes I know that this sounds desperate but there have been times
when I have actually gotten useful information from these things. Try it if
you haven't already to see if there might be some useful tidbit of
information that would pull this whole thing together.
You might want to list what city (not address) you are in and possible
someone on here is located there and can help you out by checking out your
radio by letting you hook it up to one of their antennas.
One other thing, if you are using batteries, make sure that they are fresh.
This can have an effect. Keep us informed on your progress.
Radio Australia is a killer signal on the left coast. Are you east
coasters getting it relayed?
Try this tomorrow night, indoors (in front of your window) with the
whip antenna only.
Make sure your SSB control is "off."
Between 0100 - 0200 UTC (8 - 9 PM ET) tune to 6165 kHz (R. Nederland)
and 11935 kHz (R. Japan). Both of these are relayed from the
Between 0200 - 0400 UTC (9 - 11 PM ET) tune to 5975 kHz (BBC). This is
relayed from French Guiana.
If you cannot hear any of these, send your radio back for exchange (NOT
"repair") as DOA. It is defective.
Only 3330 from Canada, and that is *extremely* static-filled. None of
the other time signals come in. Not a single one from the US (5, 10,
I've reread the manual a million times, rechecked the radio just as
many and everything is absolutely as it should be.
Extremely helpful advice, as is all the other discussion in this
thread! Unfortunately I was out for most of the evening and didn't
have an opportunity to test this. I will be at the window during these
times tomorrow though.
On a seperate note, I should mention that each time that I've tested
all of these myriad frequencies I have been thorough insofar as I have
tested with every combination of antenna (built-in, reel and none) and
also on both power from the wall as well as battery power - and yes,
they were fresh.
The advice that I'm seeing here, though my problems are not yet
resolved (many, many variables to test) is priceless and my thanks go
to you all. I hope that others may be able to gain information from
these messages as well.
Here in Seattle, this time of year, a bit before midnight, I would expect
to get what you've got. Nothing. Some bad space weather this week, a low
spot in the solar cycle, and the seasonal poor propagation means that
there's nothing to hear until the Asian/Pacific stations drop down to
lower frequencies for their evening (their local time) broadcasts.
They're broadcasting, but the 17, 15 and 13 MHz signals just don't
get here. Even Radio Australia on 9590 and 9580, at 08:00 UTC, has
been iffy this week.
Try 6165 from 0:00 to 2:00 UTC for Radio Netherlands from their Caribean
site. And try the 15 and 17 MHz bands (I don't do Meters) around 3-4
PM local time. And the 6, 7, and 9 MHz bands in the morning before 9
Mark Zenier mze...@eskimo.com
Googleproofaddress(account:mzenier provider:eskimo domain:com)
The previously mentioned suggestion of taking the radio outside for a
walk is an excellent tip. This is how I achieve the best reception.
What exactly are you hearing when you step through the 49m or 31m bands
at night? Any faint voices? What kind of noise?
A good test signal for you since you're in the USA is the WWV
(http://tf.nist.gov/timefreq/stations/wwv.html) broadcasts on 2.5 mhz,
5 mhz, 10 mhz, 15 mhz, and 20 mhz. 5 mhz is the most reliable for me
in the evening (over here in northern California). Use the
daytime/nighttime recommendations in your radio manual to determine
which frequency is best at any given time.
For very up-to-date shortwave frequency listings, give
www.primetimeshortwave.com a try. You'll have to learn how to convert
local time to coordinated universal time (aka UTC). Search for
listings labeled "NA" (North America), although reception of stations
broadcasting to other regions is possible.
One of my favorite broadcasts is Radio Havana Cuba:
0500-0700 UTC: 6 mhz, 6.06 mhz, 9.55 mhz, 9.82 mhz, 11.76 mhz
Thanks for the tip. I did indeed take it outdoors - out on a pier into
the lake - and the change in reception was hardly noticeable. Then for
safe keeping I drove quite a distance outside of town to the
middle-of-nowhere VT - no mountians, no woods, just a big open field -
with the same results.
> What exactly are you hearing when you step through the 49m or 31m bands
> at night? Any faint voices? What kind of noise?
31m - nothing. 49m - occasional extremely static-filled voices.
Absolutely nothing that would be considered intelligible.
> A good test signal for you since you're in the USA is the WWV
> (http://tf.nist.gov/timefreq/stations/wwv.html) broadcasts on 2.5 mhz,
> 5 mhz, 10 mhz, 15 mhz, and 20 mhz. 5 mhz is the most reliable for me
> in the evening (over here in northern California).
Historically I don't receive any of them, though this afternoon I just
barely received the 20mhz broadcast - but again, completely filled with
static and almost unable to be heard.
I do get the 3330 time broadcast from Canada, but it too is not exactly
> One of my favorite broadcasts is Radio Havana Cuba:
> 0500-0700 UTC: 6 mhz, 6.06 mhz, 9.55 mhz, 9.82 mhz, 11.76 mhz
I suspect that would be one of my favorites as well. ;-) Unfortunately
I have tried and tried - those seem to be common hours for me to be
trying - and have not been able to get it.
Spoke with Grundig tech support today and they didn't have too much too
offer. Very nice people, to their credit, but because of all the
variables involved they were unable to say if it sounds more like a
receiver hardware problem or just general reception issues. I'm going
to continue testing this evening.
Due to the return policy of the company it was ordered from (universal
radio) I need to decide quickly if I'll be returning/exchanging it.
The question that comes up is that, if I do exchange it, would I be
better off upgrading to a different radio? Aesthetic appeal aside, the
Eton E1 seems to have good reviews everywhere. But is the difference
in sensitivity enough to justify the extra money?
I'm also interested in, eventually, tracking down some of the SSB
traffic around my area. I have an international airport down the road,
coast guard virtually next door and a city full of people. The YB
isn't picking up anything there either when in SSB mode, but then, it
got poor reviews on that aspect. Would the E1 be any better?
I have the older Sony 7600. It works fine on shortwave broadcast. The
VFO resolution isn't fine enough for sideband, though it does have a
analog control to tweak it in (clarifier).
If you expect to do sideband, you need a radio with two filter
bandwidths (at the very least). Using the wide filter for AM lets too
much noise through on sideband.
Still testing the YB.
> Though I'm not a non-technical person, my area of expertise - or even
> moderate knowledge - does not rest in the realm of shortwave radios.
> However, I've always had an interest in pursuing the subject, and
> towards that end my wife was kind enough to buy me a Grundig Yacht Boy
> 400PE for the holidays.
> My problem is this. After reading the entire manual, reading the
> Passport text and taking the plunge into the world of sw radio, I'm
> having trouble getting reception for stations that I would expect to
> I live in the northeast United States (northern New England). My condo
> is on the third (top) floor of a 15 unit building. My living room
> window looks out onto a massive lake with no building in the way
> through an 8 foot by 8 foot window. I have placed the receiver in this
> window and even covered the window in an X pattern with the external
> reel antenna.
> Nevertheless, I can't get even a single station that Passport
> recommends in the "First Tries: Ten Easy Catches" section. I've been
> listening at night and the band that Grundig recommends as "Good all
> night everywhere" in the 400PE manual - the 31m band - doesn't have a
> single frequency that comes in for me. Neither does the 41m band -
> also recommended as good all night in Northeastern America. The best
> I've been able to manage are two frequencies in the 49m band - one of
> which appears to be China Radio International on 5950. Neither of
> these are terribly clear at that, and the best reception that I've been
> able to get is with WWCR.
> Does anyone have any recommendations? Being new to this, I don't know
> what I should reasonably expect. Should I expect to be able to pick up
> a variety of things with moderate clarity. I know that this is all
> variable on many conditions, but realistically, what should I be
> expecting here?
> Thanks for your help.
Try a descent antenna ... probably a clip-on wire antenna would work
well enough until your skill improves and you graduate to something
----== Posted via Newsfeeds.Com - Unlimited-Unrestricted-Secure Usenet News==----
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The XM capability only adds a few dollars (less than 5) to the cost of
the radio. The XM smart antenna option for $50 has the actual
satellite receiver on it. The E1 itself is just the human interface.
< Snip >
> > What exactly are you hearing when you step through the 49m or 31m bands
> > at night? Any faint voices? What kind of noise?
> 31m - nothing. 49m - occasional extremely static-filled voices.
> Absolutely nothing that would be considered intelligible.
< Snip >
If you are outside away from big buildings as an example in a park tune
in a local AM broadcast station and set the radio to a reasonable
listening level. Around sunset your time switch to a SW band 49 meters,
which is 5900 kHz to 6200 kHz. The radio should have a low volume
static hiss unless you are on a SW station. Tune through that frequency
range and you should get at least several stations clearly. This band
at this time of day usually has the strongest stations you are likely
to receive. Conditions are good today so you should pick a number of
stations up. If not the radio may have a problem.
What I meant was that the XM-ready nature of the E1, actual XM hardware
costs aside, is what makes this radio so significantly more expensive
than some of the other high-end portables. My research seemed to
indicate that the E1 wouldn't offer significantly better reception on
the SW bands than the YB 400PE, so for a difference of $350+ it's not a
Please do correct me if I'm wrong, but that's what I came to undertand.
Thanks go to Telamon for posting a timely message. I grabbed my radio
and went out into the park. Not hard to do, as I live essentially in
one. I walked between 50 and 100 yards into the middle of the park,
sat down on a bench and fired up the radio. I tooled around the 49m
band as Telamon suggested and I'm pleased to report that the results
were extremely encouraging. Not sure why I wasn't having better
results the other night when I was miles away from nowhere...
I've recorded the success below, with a small "key" to indicate exactly
what I mean by my terms.
Telamon, you mention the static hiss which you say should go away when
I tune into a sw station. The hiss and static has never in any of my
tests, including this one, gone away. I'm not sure if this is normal
or not, but as some people actually listen to music via sw, I'd have to
say that either it should if the signal is strong enough else those
users have a strong tolerance of poor quality music signals. When
people talk about strong, clear signals and reception, are they in fact
indicating that there is no static?
Okay, here it goes. This was 6:16 to 6:46pm local time (EST), so not
"too" long after sunset.
TIME: 23:16 to 23:46 UTC
CLEAR = strong voices, no distortion or interference (always some
OKAY = decent, intelligible voices with significant static
BORDERLINE = heavy static, able to ocassionally hear clear voices but
majority is not clear enough to be understood.
NOTHING = complete unintelligible static
FREQ OUTSIDE INSIDE
5950 clear okay
5960 okay nothing
5975 okay borderline to nothing
5990 borderline borderline to nothing
6000 clear okay to borderline
6030 okay to borderline nothing
6055 okay borderline to nothing
6075 borderline nothing
6090 okay to borderline borderline to nothing
6165 clear borderline to nothing
Outside I was using nothing but the whip antenna. Inside, I have a
I have yet to look up the frequencies to see what I caught. There were
also several frequencies that the auto tuner decided to stop on, though
there was nothing to be heard. I did not record these here.
You are very mistaken. The YB-400 is a 20 year old design. It lacks
dozens of advanced features found on the E1.
The good news is you made a step in the right direction and you are
picking some stations up.
The bad news is that you listened at a time and band that should have
provided the strongest signals you can encounter and the result was
kind of weak. Conditions have been good tonight so I expected that you
should have done better.
You have probably become aware by now that listening to SW takes a
little more effort and that it can be inconsistent as signals reflect
or refract off the ionosphere above and that is affected by the time of
day because of the sun lights ionizing effect, which then also varies
according to the season just like the amount of daylight hours varies.
In addition SW broadcasters only transmit to where you live at certain
times. You can listen to signals beamed to other areas of the world but
they are generally weaker.
Portable SW radios generally do well with only the strongest signals
and you need to help them to do better. I believe that the YB-400 comes
with an external plug-in antenna. If not you will need to get one.
Sitting in the park if you tune to a marginal signal then plugging in
the external wire should improve it. You will have to work with your
listening situation a little more to get better results.
Assessing your results so far I don't know what you were listening to
on 5950 as I don't see a strong signal to your area at that time. In
Passport. That does not mean that things have not changed but you need
to listen long enough to identify the station as local strong AM
broadcast stations can over load your radio and show up in the SW
The fact that 5960 has nothing means you found a locally electrically
quiet place to listen.
5975 should have had the BBC on it and it should have been good
6160 if you had waited a little longer 6160 should have had a good
signal from radio Netherlands.
One tip here is that your radio has a sensitivity switch on the side.
For SW you will probably want that switch to be in the "DX" position.
If that switch is in the local position that will cause the radio to be
insensitive and you will not hear much on it.
Well, you need to make another try at this.
1. Try for the "10 easy catches" again in passport.
2. Listen for a station that the guide indicates is strong or easy.
3. Pay attention that this signal you are listening for is beamed to
your area of the world.
4. The frequency of the signal.
5. The time of the signal.
6. Time to try is around sun set or later time paying attention to the
time and frequency of the guide. The band would be 49 or 31 meter.
7. Your location is in the park again.
8. Use the external plug-in antenna. String this antenna off the ground
by hanging the end off a tree or bush near a bench.
9. Make sure the switches on the sides of the radio are set to "DX" not
local and the switch next to it is "wide." On the other side of the
radio the SSB switch should be "OFF."
Once you have picked up a station well and listened long enough to it
so you can identify it as being the right station then you can
experiment a little. Lets say you listen to 6165 from 00:00 to 01:00
UTC. You should get radio Netherlands in english.
Lets say that you are getting a SW station clearly and it does not have
static noise in the background. Flipping the switch to local position
may make it disappear or make it noisy. Disconnecting the external
antenna may do the same thing. In any event once you tune in some
stations successfully you can try the radio controls in order to
understand their effect on reception. Once you are successful in the
park then you can try your apartment again with the external antenna
across a window. Chance are you will get more local noise than in the
park and it will be harder to hear a SW signal as well as in the park.
Basically if you can get a AM broadcast station well in your apartment
then the chance of getting a SW station well in your apartment improve.
Most stations ID around the hour and half hour times. They will usually
tell you what other frequencies they are on and the time. Hopefully you
will be able to ID them and again in your apartment you can then try
disconnecting the external antenna wire and see what a difference than
makes. You can also try flipping the switch on the side to local and
hear the difference than makes.
Generally you need to pay attention to the guide where it indicates
that the signal is beamed to your area at what frequency and time. This
guide is written for the world so you need to pay attention to the time
and frequency for where you live.
> You are very mistaken. The YB-400 is a 20 year old design. It lacks
> dozens of advanced features found on the E1.
David, I understand that there may be many "features" that the E1 has
that the YB-400 is lacking, but are you saying that at the very core of
the reception issue, the E1 would outperform the YB-400. Out of the
box, if I were to put an E1 next to my YB-400 with the same reel
antenna or a 30ft long wire, would the E1 grab more signals and grab
them more clearly?
As you have undoubtedly read, I don't get even the strongest BBC
signals in the park away from all interference on a good night with the
current YB-400. Do you think I would with the E1?
> The good news is you made a step in the right direction and you are
> picking some stations up.
It was very encouraging, but now I'm back on the fence of the radio
problem vs. reception problem issue. I was beginning to swing towards
the radio problem side of things seeing as how I haven't been able to
get even the strongest signals.
> The bad news is that you listened at a time and band that should have
> provided the strongest signals you can encounter and the result was
> kind of weak. Conditions have been good tonight so I expected that you
> should have done better.
And likewise, I too was hoping that it would have been better. There
are simply too many variables to easily pinpoint the issue.
> You have probably become aware by now that listening to SW takes a
> little more effort
No doubt, though I suspected that. I must confess that it's been fun
trying to ascertain the problem, but it would be oh so more delightful
if I new that I wasn't dealing with a defective radio - both the
manufacturer and the retailer are unwilling to make a call one way or
another. I would have infinitely more energy in trying to hunt down
stations and hatch elaborate antenna plans if I new that there was
definately a possibility of a positive outcome. As it stands, I may be
trying to start a car with no engine - all the while worrying about the
path I'm going to travel.
> Assessing your results so far I don't know what you were listening to
> on 5950 as I don't see a strong signal to your area at that time. In
> Passport. That does not mean that things have not changed but you need
> to listen long enough to identify the station as local strong AM
> broadcast stations can over load your radio and show up in the SW
I couldn't find anything either, be it in Passport or on the web, and
that left me a bit confused. Your suggestion that it's an AM station
sounds like a strong possibility, as it consistently gives me better
signal than anything else.
> 5975 should have had the BBC on it and it should have been good
Argh! You see, this is what is starting to rub me the wrong way. I'm
having trouble with even the biggies. How could I possibly hope to
find anything more exotic...
> 6160 if you had waited a little longer 6160 should have had a good
> signal from radio Netherlands.
I should have checked the schedule. :-(
> One tip here is that your radio has a sensitivity switch on the side.
> For SW you will probably want that switch to be in the "DX" position.
> If that switch is in the local position that will cause the radio to be
> insensitive and you will not hear much on it.
All of the switches - DX/LOCAL, WIDE/NARROW and SSB On or Off are set
as they should be. DX, WIDE and OFF.
> Well, you need to make another try at this.
Indeed. And I will be taking your 9 point checklist with me. I'm not
going to sleep - and that's probably meant literally - until this is
> Basically if you can get a AM broadcast station well in your apartment
> then the chance of getting a SW station well in your apartment improve.
That's just it, the AM stations do in fact come in well in the
apartment. I've just retested to be certain, and even without the reel
antenna there are a million of them that come in strong and crystal
clear - as I would hope that some sw stations would eventually come in.
Is this indicative of anything?
The work continues. And thank you for your help in all of this.
Send the radio to Universal, tell them you believe the radio is defective
and have it checked or just exchange it. If you exchange it, ask them if
they will test the new unit before they send it to you. I don't know if
they'll test a new one out of the box like I suggested but they should.
Universal will exchange the radio for you if it is defective I believe
within 30 days with no penalty. A Sony 7600 may be available from them for
about the same money and even though I have not played with one, I've heard
a lot of good things about it. It also has a sync detector on it which will
help with AM broadcasts.
Keep in mind that the best radio in the world won't make up for a bad
reception area or a bad antenna. The worst radio with the best antenna will
be better than the best radio with the worst antenna. Think of it like
this.... What will a $4000 stereo receiver sound like with $50 speakers?
Maybe I'm elaborating too much but my point is that the antenna is the key.
Just for kicks I picked up my Yaesu VX 5
(a very small handheld radio/transmitter) which tunes basically from the AM
broadcast band up through the shortwave bands and well beyond the UHF band.
It is also a transmitter. The antenna that I have on it currently is about a
1.5 foot long whip cut for roughly 146 megahertz. It is "electrically" way,
way, way too short for shortwave listening. However, tuning through it now I
pick up some far away stations in Europe and parts unknown. I hear this as I
sit surrounded by all sorts of interference generating devices in my second
story bedroom. This is less ideal than any scenario you have described thus
far and it is for this reason that I believe you may have a bad radio. It
happens sometimes. Again, I'm not sure what city you live in but maybe there
is someone that is on here that lives nearby that could assist you. I would
be more than happy to but I am in Texas and it's just a little bit too far
away from me.
Another suggestion is to see if there are any ham radio stores in the area
you could take the radio by and have them give it a look. Personally I would
contact Universal Radio before your time runs out.
Please don't give up!
"HFguy" <HF...@connifer.net> wrote in message
Without a doubt. The more hostile the environment the more you need a
world class receiver.
>No doubt, though I suspected that. I must confess that it's been fun
>trying to ascertain the problem, but it would be oh so more delightful
>if I new that I wasn't dealing with a defective radio - both the
>manufacturer and the retailer are unwilling to make a call one way or
>another. I would have infinitely more energy in trying to hunt down
>stations and hatch elaborate antenna plans if I new that there was
>definately a possibility of a positive outcome. As it stands, I may be
>trying to start a car with no engine - all the while worrying about the
>path I'm going to travel.
Put the radio next to an analog TV. Tune from 4 to 10 megaHertz. You
should get all manner of buzzes and whistles. Good and loud.
Tune to an empty spot on the MW band around 600 kiloHertz. Then take
an infrared remote controller (cable, VCR, whatever) and operate it
near the top of the radio. You should hear Buck Rogers machine gun
The inside of buildings depending on construction or how much metal is
used will reduce the signal based on frequency. Often times lower
frequencies suffer more than higher so the fact that you can get AM
broadcast is a good sign that SW signals will make it through.
The radio could have a problem on just SW bands and be OK on AM
broadcast. Do you know anyone with a SW radio that you could compare
yours with? If not you will have no choice but to return it for another.
Check on that 5950 signal. It should not be there in the daylight hours.
If it is there at all hours then it probably is a local AM broadcast
station over-loading your radio and showing up on the dial where it does
not belong. If this is the case then maybe your radio is over-loaded to
the extent that it is desensitized to SW broadcasts.
Check for local AM broadcast stations on the SW band they are usually
multiples or a harmonic of their frequency. Say you have a strong local
station on 1190 kHz. You should look for it on 2800 kHz or 2 times its
main frequency. Up to 5950 kHz, which would be the 5th harmonic.
I think this radio is single conversion so there are other ways for a
strong local to mix with circuits in the radio and show up where it does
not belong. You need to check this out and ID the station if it is there
all the time, which it will not if it is a SW station reflecting off the
Regarding the E1, I would recommend paying careful attention to the
portability aspect. For me, price was the main consideration when
buying my first receiver (Kaito 1102) but the portability turned out to
be a great advantage.
Have you listened to the radio in the AM and FM bands? How does it
sound there? How does it compare to other AM / FM radios? I'm asking
to help determine if the noise reception is specific to shortwave or if
it affects the radio as a whole.
If you tune the radio to a weak/noisy shortwave broadcast, are there
reception differences when you're holding onto the radio compared to
when you're not touching it?
My hunch is that upgrading to a more powerful radio would not provide
dramatically clearer reception. If you're just trying to improve
shortwave reception, that's probably not a wise investment.
The best indicator would be if you could get your hands on a radio
known to receive strong broadcasts in your area and do a side-by-side
Failing that, if you can make a risk-free exchange with Universal
Radio, try a different radio. The Kaito 1103 gets excellent reviews
(see radiointel.com for a review and a mention in Phil's Portable Radio
Guide 2005). A radio like that should give you clear reception once you
have minimized interference sources.
This is not necessarily true. Telamon and I are both in California,
where we manage to pick up the BBC, but the BBC broadcast is not
actually intended for North America. It's actually a broadcast to
Latin America. You can learn more about this on primetimeshortwave.com
It's called "space weather". It's been pretty dreadful for the last
week or so and is now much better. For a rather cryptic introduction
listen to WWV at 18 minutes past the hour (45 past for WWVH in Hawaii).
Yes that's true and someone in Peter's area can certainly give better
guidance than I can from California but it is my understanding that 5975
is heard well throughout the USA.
It definately seems as if the problem is isolated to the shortwave
bands, as both the AM and FM come in loud and clear, and I daresay even
affords better reception than the other AM/FM radios in my house.
> If you tune the radio to a weak/noisy shortwave broadcast, are there
> reception differences when you're holding onto the radio compared to
> when you're not touching it?
Only insofar as the quality of static changes. ;-)
> The best indicator would be if you could get your hands on a radio
> known to receive strong broadcasts in your area and do a side-by-side
Unfortunately not a possibility. I also loved the recommendation of
buying another YB 400PE and putting them side-by-side, but
unfortunately I don't have any local retailers. Seems that all the
standard electronics chains stop just short of the YB 400.
> Failing that, if you can make a risk-free exchange with Universal
> Radio, try a different radio.
I'm going to have them bench test the current radio. Hopefully they'll
turn up a problem with it, for if they don't god only knows what the
Last night I tried 20+ feet of long wire antenna out the window on all
of the time signals frequencies. Not a single one came in, save the
weak one from Canada on 3330. Most importantly, there was no change in
reception whatsoever between using the long wire and not. That is, in
my opinion, indicative of something, as most people seem to agree that
20+ feet should create a decided change in reception. Moreover, most
everyone seems to agree that the US time broadcasts - from Colorado
with significant power - should be received without issue. I don't get
them at all. Not even a hint of a weak reception. Just static.
On another note... What I'm about to say shouldn't impact the previous
discussions about reception and my radio, as I've tried numerous tests
in remote locations as well, but I do have a question about the
possibility of my building itself being used as an antenna.
I live in a rather curious building - an old converted railroad
warehouse. To the best of my knowledge, and given the creaks in the
floor ;-), most of the internal construction is wood - big exposed
beams and all. The outside, however, looks like a massive (quite
unattractive actually, but I like to say "eclectic") tin can. It is
sided all around, from top to bottom (three floors), but
aluminum-looking siding, raw color and all. I saw mention in another
thread of someone attaching a long wire antenna to a rain gutter. I
wonder, would attaching a long wire to my siding render the entire
building into an antenna? I know nothing about the propagation of
waves over differing materials, so I'm uncertain as to whether or not
this would be effective, or perhaps even have a negative impact.
If the entire building exterior is coated with aluminum this could explain
the reception problem but you said you have taken the radio outside and also
strung up a 20 foot antenna outside with little or no positive results. In
my opinion the radio is defective. Contact Universal ASAP.
Have you thought about the Sony 7600 instead? It is rated somewhat better
than the Yacht Boy 400 and can't be more than $20-$30 more. I would pay that
much more just for the sync detector the Sony has.
One other thing to keep in mind, you have about $130 in the YB 400 already.
That's a good step forward toward getting a radio in the $500 range if you
think you are going to get into this pretty seriously. If nothing else I
would consider getting the Sony 7600 for just a little bit more money.
I hope this helps.
So what you're saying is that I *can't* use it as an antenna, eh? ;-)
> but you said you have taken the radio outside and also
> strung up a 20 foot antenna outside with little or no positive results.
Exactly. I've tried it all, with no positive results.
> my opinion the radio is defective. Contact Universal ASAP.
Done. They are leaning that way as well, after hearing the evidence.
We'll find out in time.
> Have you thought about the Sony 7600 instead? It is rated somewhat better
> than the Yacht Boy 400 and can't be more than $20-$30 more. I would pay that
> much more just for the sync detector the Sony has.
I hadn't considered it, but it's been recommended several times so I
may go that route.
> One other thing to keep in mind, you have about $130 in the YB 400 already.
> That's a good step forward toward getting a radio in the $500 range if you
> think you are going to get into this pretty seriously.
Exactly, and I have considered this as well. I do believe that, once I
am up and running, I will be enjoying this enough to justify increasing
investment - so I might as well jump in now.
Radios in the $500 range are certainly a possibility, rather than
getting another one comparable to the YB, but the question is which
one... There seem to be just as many recommendations as there are
people. I've been looking at these:
Icom R75: Looks very decent and right around the price I was thinking
of. What concerns me is that it really is *just* a shortwave receiver,
and I wouldn't have any possibility of playing in the higher
frequencies (it doesn't even have the FM broadcast range - not that I'd
necessarily need that anyhow...) if I wanted to.
Yaesu FRG-100B: Same as above, but the range is even more restricted.
Grundig Satellit 800 Millenium: A bit less expensive (that's not
really a selling point...) and it *does* have a wider range than both
the R75 and 100B, including the VHF aeronautical band, but I've heard
more than a few negative reviews of it.
Eton E1: Of course, it's the new one and keeps coming up in all the
reviews. I have no interest in the XM capabilities and I wonder how
much I'd be paying just for that possibility rather than genuinely
The one that *really* seems to excite me is the Yaesu VR-5000 with its
massive range of coverage - something that I think that I'd ultimately
be interested in - and all for the same price. What concerns me,
however, is that the compromise in getting such a wide range of
frequencies with the VR-5000 may mean that there is less sensitivity
over all of them leading to a less-than-desirable *shortwave*
If I could determine that the VR-5000 would perform comparably to the
others in the shortwave bands, I'd grab it immediately. As I think
that my interest would ultimately extend into these other frequencies,
it seems like a waste to spend $500 to $600 on a shortwave-only radio.
But I suspect that the VR-5000 may have shortwave shortcomings as a
result of it being such a "jack-of-all-frequencies" receiver.
I'd be interested to know not only what you folks think of the
shortwave reception capabilities of these radios - broken down into a
numbered list, but I also really don't know where things like the YB
stand in relation to these radios. Out of the box, where do these
things stand in relation to one another?