Newbie WWV and Broadcast FM

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  • #448
    KN6FYZ
    Participant

    I just got a RSP1A. As, what I thought, would be a simple exercise, I dialed up the various frequencies of WWV 5, 10, 15, 20 mhz on AM as this was an easy target when I had a shortwave radio as a kid. I can’t get any signal or even a carrier on any of these frequencies! I’ve got a ~60′ random length wire. I also tried to get some of the big stations on broadcast FM in my area. The signals are very weak and I can’t get the software to go into stereo FM.

    Any thoughts or advise?

    Thanks!

    #450
    diysdr
    Participant

    What software are you using? I tinkered with SDRPLAY 1.3 and under w10 64 bit I found its functions to be unpredictable and did not seem to come up in a optimal default mode. I tinkered with it at length and got it kinda working. There’s lots of windows boxes that pop up that do lots of things some of which are not consistent. Maybe the problem is my windows ver.

    I had been using HDSDR a lot on a cheap dongle and downconverter so I was more familiar with that so I downloaded the RSP version. I launched it and it came up working great just as I expected. Try HDSDR and see what happens. It comes up running in an operational default mode. If you have a decent antenna you will be quite pleased at what you can hear so easily.

    Is your antenna simply a wire with no ground or is it a dipole with a coax cable?

    #452
    Andy2
    Participant

    Are you selecting/using the correct antenna port?
    Are you entering the frequency in the correct format? Default is kHz, so you have to add three zeroes to get MHz or you can use the blue ‘MHz’ button.
    For instance, just entering ‘100’ will put you on 100 kHz and you won’t hear much. Entering 100,000 will do the trick and you’ll be on 100 MHz. Or enter 100 then press the blue MHz button.
    This has come up so many times over the years.
    The RSP’s are good, sensitive receivers and will get you listening in seconds, even with just a few feet of wire as an aerial.

    #456
    diysdr
    Participant

    Andy, you are so correct about this. I futzed around with sdrplay a long time with those settings kept changing from mhz to hz etc. To me it just doesn’t get going in a useable default mode. HDSDR on the other hand just comes up working has a good menu of desirable frequencies you can just jump to and get going. That’s why I recommended HDSDR especially just to get started.

    The other thing is that if your antenna is simply a piece of wire lying on the floor you are going to hear a lot of EMI from all the devices in your house, switching power supplies, phone walwarts, led bulbs, AC fans…..

    I don’t recall any of the software decoding FM stereo however. May be there, but wasn’t important to me.

    73 de don

    #465
    Andy2
    Participant

    Don, that’s very true about the noise picked up on an indoor wire. SDRUno does decode FM stereo, all you do is click on the SWFM (Stereo Wide FM) button. AFAIR, it should just work.

    #466
    KN6FYZ
    Participant

    Thanks! I downloaded and tried HDSDR and although it’s a bit easier, I still don’t receive stations that I thought would be a chinch. I live in Los Angeles and KNX 1070 comes in loud and clear (but, in LA, one can almost pull it in on teeth fillings ;). I’ve gotten a couple 2m ham signals but nothing on broadcast FM or WWV. I have a ~60′ piece of wire for an antenna, as was recommended by Ham Radio Outlet where I bought it.

    #468
    diysdr
    Participant

    I am thinking your antenna is not effective, you say its a wire but where is it and how is it connected? Just a piece of wire will work some but you really need a good ground to go with it or a wire counterpoise.
    take a look at this fellas you tube he explains it quite well

    nice uk chap that demonstrates how adding a ground to the overall setup makes a big difference. Without that ground its like plugging in a lamp with only one of the blades of the plug, it won’t light up, similarly you need a good rf ground or counterpoise to complete the circuit for your radio

    When its working you will see/hear very strong signals. I do have a nice 120ft g5rv dipole like antenna and I can hear wwv on 2.5, 5, 10, sometimes 15mhz and overwhelming signals in between not to mention little weak signals of WSPR. aircraft, weather stations, all that stuff. It receives better than almost all low-med $$$ transceivers. I listen with it and if I hear an interesting ham I turn on my transceiver to talk to the person. On ~7mhz heard hams in South Africa, Hawaii, Austrailia on the same evening.

    #469
    KN6FYZ
    Participant

    I have the RSP1A that has a single SMA antenna. This I have connected to a SMA to UHF jumper cable. The center of the UHF cable is soldered directly to my ~60′ piece of wire. The wire is about 3m above the ground draped over my roof. I have some left over wire that I will use as a counterpoise and see what happens. Should the two wires be at 90degrees or so for maximum effect?

    #472
    diysdr
    Participant

    First I would get some coax cable and connect the center conductor and shield to that sma connector center and outside shield. 75ohm TV coax cable is fine. run the coax cable out of a window and THEN connect that 60′ piece to the center conductor of coax and then your counterpoise to the shield on that end. Ideally the counterpoise would go in exactly the opposite direction but for listening only it doesn’t make as much difference just string it out, same 60′ length would be better in about the opposite direction. Doing it this way gets your antenna outside of your noisy house environment. In the old days some 60 years ago it didn’t make as much difference but these days the inside of your house is just loaded with noise that can mask the signals that you are wanting to hear.

    Some will say to install a balun where the coax attaches to the antenna but depending on your noise environment it may not make much difference.

    ck out these links or just google dipole antenna
    m/search?q=simple+dipole+antenna&rlz=1C1PRFC_enUS549US549&sxsrf=ACYBGNSexWCrbaBbdXhIMM_0ZwwoOn4X5A:1577472731439&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=zFXy6Nwb0DAzlM%253A%252CsvcZGKqPMN0wvM%252C_&vet=1&usg=AI4_-kRVWH7RgwA7axCKLwACPtXzBof2WA&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiDg7Puv9bmAhWJZM0KHVh1AtYQ_h0wIXoECAkQDw#imgrc=zFXy6Nwb0DAzlM:

    sunspots must be up again, 15M dx is up. 73 have fun, oh on the antenna the higher the better of course.

    #473
    diysdr
    Participant
    #484
    Andy2
    Participant

    I can’t help feeling there some ‘finger trouble’ going on here. You shouldn’t have any trouble receiving FM broadcast signals as long as you select the right mode (wide FM) and set the gain to midway. Likewise, MW broadcast should come romping in, even on a fairly basic wire antenna. Can you post a screenshot of SDRUno receiving broadcast FM so we can see the various settings?

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