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Introduction and questions (quite long, sorry!)

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  • Richard Parker
    Good Morning All, sorry about the long e-mail! Just joined the group so thought I would start things off with a brief introduction and a few questions. I am
    Message 1 of 8 , Aug 2, 2006
      Good Morning All, sorry about the long e-mail!

      Just joined the group so thought I would start things off with a brief
      introduction and a few questions.

      I am Richard and live in the SE of the UK, been interested in
      radio/electronics all my life. Spent my first 10 years of employment as
      a TV engineer, but have now changed career's completely. Still no had
      to use a soldering iron, but the theory has a gone a bit from the brain!

      Always had a scanner of some sought at my house, and at present have the
      following

      AOR AR2700 (for air shows and portable use)
      PRO-2045 (main base scanner)
      PRO-2039 (used for ACARS decoding on the PC and back up)
      Have a 8ft pole attached to the side of the house with an aerial
      specifically for the scanner on the top.

      Have to say very pleased with the results I get on the scanner and the
      ACARS stuff (I'm quite near to London's 3rd Airport!)

      So this last weekend at a boot sale I purchased the DX394, initially
      sucked in by the mystery's of the number stations after reading an
      article in Radiouser,I am also interested in listening to HF Aviation
      and Ham operators around the world.

      Got it home and out of the box and so far have been less then impressed
      with what I have received, which is not a lot.

      Aerial wise I originally had a long wire, which went up into the roof
      space and was starched out for 30 feet, but this didn't seem to bring
      any results, so I unplugged the aerial from the scanner and plugged it
      into the DX394, this did improve things (so what they say about having
      the aerial up high and outside is true), and I actually managed to
      receive "The Lincolnshire Poacher" at 1300 UTC on Monday (which gave me
      a real buzz I have to say). But to be honest apart from that I have
      received nothing apart from broadcast stations (which I'm not really
      interested in).

      So I've started looking for an antenna can either attach to my existing
      pole outside (not an easy task as I know longer have a ladder) or put in
      the loft space (easier, but not outside!). As I said main interests are
      HF Civil Aviation, Ham, Marine etc.

      I have so far looked at the following

      MILLER SW Receiving Antenna 1.8 - 30MHz (Passive)
      * Freq: 1.8 - 30MHz * Totally passive * Balun Matched * Direct 50 Ohm
      feed * SO-239 Socket * Wideband operation * Bracket included * Height 2m

      This unique short wave receiving antenna provides excellent reception
      over the range 1.8 to 30MHz. It is ideal for those with restricted space
      who want an efficient antenna system for use on the short wave bands.
      Just 2m in height, it mounts easily on a short mast or in the loft space
      and provides exceptional DX performance. Totally passive, there is also
      no risk of receiver overload. We have had many user reports back about
      the excellent results achieved. Simply connect the antenna to your
      receiver using any length of 50 Ohm cable.

      This is £70 from Waters and Stanton

      and this on e-bay (which has now ended, but I'm sure they'll be more)

      http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=017&item=270011072886&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&rd=1


      An outside long-wire is not an option due to space restrictions etc. so
      it looks like it may be the Miller from W&S, unless anybody on hear can
      recommend anything else.

      Would also like to start moding the receiver, have no problem in doing
      the work myself, just would like to know where to get the parts from (in
      the UK) does anybody do a specific kit full of parts? I see there is
      quite a few mods available, what would you recommend doing first
      (especially related to the particular areas of listening I have
      mentioned?)

      Anyway think that's about all for now, apologies again about this being
      so long and thanks for any help advice or suggestions anyone can give.

      --
      Richard Parker
    • mikemaghakian
      for those of you wondering what a boot sale is, read here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/antiques/buying_and_selling/carbootsselling.shtml
      Message 2 of 8 , Aug 2, 2006
        for those of you wondering what a boot sale is, read here:
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/antiques/buying_and_selling/carbootsselling.shtml
      • ISADUDE
        Welcome Mr.Parker. Have you joined the Yahoo! group Enigma2000 yet? Frequencies and schedules of many numbers stations can be found there. Best of luck,
        Message 3 of 8 , Aug 2, 2006
          Welcome Mr.Parker.

          Have you joined the Yahoo! group "Enigma2000" yet? Frequencies and
          schedules of many numbers stations can be found there. Best of luck,
          A.Warner
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Richard Parker" <richard.parker5@...>
          To: <RADIOSHACKDX394@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 6:57 AM
          Subject: [RADIOSHACKDX394] Introduction and questions (quite long, sorry!)


          Good Morning All, sorry about the long e-mail!

          Just joined the group so thought I would start things off with a brief
          introduction and a few questions.

          I am Richard and live in the SE of the UK, been interested in
          radio/electronics all my life. Spent my first 10 years of employment as
          a TV engineer, but have now changed career's completely. Still no had
          to use a soldering iron, but the theory has a gone a bit from the brain!

          Always had a scanner of some sought at my house, and at present have the
          following

          AOR AR2700 (for air shows and portable use)
          PRO-2045 (main base scanner)
          PRO-2039 (used for ACARS decoding on the PC and back up)
          Have a 8ft pole attached to the side of the house with an aerial
          specifically for the scanner on the top.

          Have to say very pleased with the results I get on the scanner and the
          ACARS stuff (I'm quite near to London's 3rd Airport!)

          So this last weekend at a boot sale I purchased the DX394, initially
          sucked in by the mystery's of the number stations after reading an
          article in Radiouser,I am also interested in listening to HF Aviation
          and Ham operators around the world.

          Got it home and out of the box and so far have been less then impressed
          with what I have received, which is not a lot.

          Aerial wise I originally had a long wire, which went up into the roof
          space and was starched out for 30 feet, but this didn't seem to bring
          any results, so I unplugged the aerial from the scanner and plugged it
          into the DX394, this did improve things (so what they say about having
          the aerial up high and outside is true), and I actually managed to
          receive "The Lincolnshire Poacher" at 1300 UTC on Monday (which gave me
          a real buzz I have to say). But to be honest apart from that I have
          received nothing apart from broadcast stations (which I'm not really
          interested in).

          So I've started looking for an antenna can either attach to my existing
          pole outside (not an easy task as I know longer have a ladder) or put in
          the loft space (easier, but not outside!). As I said main interests are
          HF Civil Aviation, Ham, Marine etc.

          I have so far looked at the following

          MILLER SW Receiving Antenna 1.8 - 30MHz (Passive)
          * Freq: 1.8 - 30MHz * Totally passive * Balun Matched * Direct 50 Ohm
          feed * SO-239 Socket * Wideband operation * Bracket included * Height 2m

          This unique short wave receiving antenna provides excellent reception
          over the range 1.8 to 30MHz. It is ideal for those with restricted space
          who want an efficient antenna system for use on the short wave bands.
          Just 2m in height, it mounts easily on a short mast or in the loft space
          and provides exceptional DX performance. Totally passive, there is also
          no risk of receiver overload. We have had many user reports back about
          the excellent results achieved. Simply connect the antenna to your
          receiver using any length of 50 Ohm cable.

          This is £70 from Waters and Stanton

          and this on e-bay (which has now ended, but I'm sure they'll be more)

          http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=017&item=270011072886&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&rd=1


          An outside long-wire is not an option due to space restrictions etc. so
          it looks like it may be the Miller from W&S, unless anybody on hear can
          recommend anything else.

          Would also like to start moding the receiver, have no problem in doing
          the work myself, just would like to know where to get the parts from (in
          the UK) does anybody do a specific kit full of parts? I see there is
          quite a few mods available, what would you recommend doing first
          (especially related to the particular areas of listening I have
          mentioned?)

          Anyway think that's about all for now, apologies again about this being
          so long and thanks for any help advice or suggestions anyone can give.

          --
          Richard Parker





          Trim all but the core of this message when replying to keep replies from
          mushrooming in size.
          For archives of prior messages, files, links, photos, user survey, members
          info, etc., visit our group on the WWW.
          Yahoo! Groups Links
        • KD7JYK
          Don t forget UDXF Kurt ... From: ISADUDE
          Message 4 of 8 , Aug 2, 2006
            Don't forget UDXF

            Kurt

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: ISADUDE <can_am_deploy@...>

            > Have you joined the Yahoo! group "Enigma2000" yet? Frequencies and
            > schedules of many numbers stations can be found there. Best of luck,
          • David
            You can t beat a good dipole ... don t spend £70 on an antenna, just get a dipole up there and feed it with some RG-58, make it as long as you can (say 60ft
            Message 5 of 8 , Aug 2, 2006
              You can't beat a good dipole ... don't spend £70 on an antenna, just get
              a dipole up there and feed it with some RG-58, make it as long as you
              can (say 60ft if you have 30ft at the front and 30ft at the back, and
              put the feed point in the middle of the house, perhaps on the pole.

              Ok it won't be ideal but it will be a start. Also, try connecting that
              30ft bit of wire to the "Hi-Z" connector, rather than the SO-239 socket
              (Low-Z).
            • Tom Holden
              Hi Richard, In answer to your questions at the end of your message: 1. Parts for mods a) kits - only ones I am aware of are from Kiwa for replacement AM filter
              Message 6 of 8 , Aug 3, 2006
                Hi Richard,
                 
                In answer to your questions at the end of your message:
                 
                1. Parts for mods
                 
                a) kits - only ones I am aware of are from Kiwa for replacement AM filter and audio improvements (www.kiwa.com), but kind of pricey. There are many other mods for which no one supplies kits - you will have to source the components yourself.
                 
                b) UK suppliers - perhaps one of your countrymen could advise. I'm sure some parts may be found in Maplins stores or on their website.
                 
                2. Recommended mods: quoting from the FAQ...
                 

                Index of Mods

                Over 90 modifications and key tips have been conceived or developed for the DX-394. They are all indexed with a short description of the benefits and the work involved in the Index of Mods to be found at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RADIOSHACKDX394/links under the Mods folder. Check it out for modifications and tips that may help your DX-394 perform up to its potential. If you have a new mod or tip, post it to the Message forum. After positive review in the group, it will be added to the Index.

                Best Mods

                Much depends on your listening objectives and the radio frequency environment in your area. The DX-394 is certainly deficient in the areas of selectivity, overload and shielding so these are areas of improvement that are probably of common interest and benefit. Other modifications may be of more special interest. Here are the key mods and tips:

                1.        Frank Cathell's Crosstalk mods are a must to correct a design deficiency in all models that results in strong stations 15-40 kHz away from the desired frequency being detected as though they were on frequency.

                2.        One of the IF filter mods is also highly advisable for SW AM DX’ing - Frank's "Poor Man's Kiwa" that changes the logic to force the narrower filter in all modes is the easiest.

                3.        The DX-394 is susceptible to overload from strong signals and internally generates multiple appearances of them. Countermeasures depend on the desired frequency band and the frequencies of the offending signals:

                a)       For SW listening bothered by LW/MW overload, a 1.8 MHz outboard high pass filter is a great start.

                b)       For SW listening suffering from SW overload, a passive pre-selector (tuned or fixed bandpass) or a high quality active pre-selector may help on SW bands removed from the interfering frequencies.

                c)       For LW and MW listening, it may be necessary to shield or disable the built-in antenna and use a tuned loop external antenna for added selectivity and directionality to discriminate against the strong signals.

                d)       An outboard attenuator may also be necessary in difficult conditions in any of these cases.

                Fortunately, apart from shielding or disabling the ferrite antenna, all of these are tips, not modifications of the DX-394, but are covered under Mods because overload is such a common problem.

                4.        Shielding is also essential for the suppression of interference picked up from computers and CRT's operating in close proximity to the DX-394. Its plastic case is useless in this respect - SW signals can be picked up even with the whip antenna removed. Tom Holden's "Ultimate Shields" mod is among the most effective for both RF and magnetic screening.

                 

                Hope that helps!

                 

                73, Tom VE3MEO

                 
                ----- Original Message -----
                Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 6:57 AM
                Subject: [RADIOSHACKDX394] Introduction and questions (quite long, sorry!)


                Would also like to start moding the receiver, have no problem in doing
                the work myself, just would like to know where to get the parts from (in
                the UK) does anybody do a specific kit full of parts? I see there is
                quite a few mods available, what would you recommend doing first
                (especially related to the particular areas of listening I have
                mentioned?)

                .

              • Robert W. Betts
                Hi Tom: I d like to add a few comments, if I may (sorry, I m still trying to figure out the best way to trim the messages). Item 3B, below: On my test bench, I
                Message 7 of 8 , Aug 3, 2006
                  Hi Tom:
                  I'd like to add a few comments, if I may (sorry, I'm still trying to figure out the best way to trim the messages).
                  Item 3B, below:
                  On my test bench, I keep a JRC NRD-545 and a DX-394. After playing with one of my preselector designs (I do that way too much) I run the preselector through its paces with test equipment, under lab conditions. Then, I usually spend several hours in the evening, after gray line, and listen around with the two receivers which are switched between the preselector and the same antenna (for comparison purposes). My logic for the two vastly different radios is to see what I've accomplished and the effects to a top end radio and a decent mid-priced radio.
                  My point is that preselection (signal preconditioning) can make a world of difference with the 394. I primarily listen to SW broadcasts, Lowfer surfing and AM broadcast DXing. In all those cases, the 394 really shines! As you mention, a good quality preselector can, and will, be a great addition to a serious listener's station.
                  On an unrelated note: Even the 545 can benefit, at times, with some amount of preselection/preconditioning.
                  The last 394 I bought cost me $80.00 - an amazing "bang-for-the-buck" investment, especially when some of the mods you refer to are incorporated.
                  happy listening,
                  Bob, N1KPR

                  Tom Holden <holden_family@...> wrote:
                  Hi Richard,
                   
                  In answer to your questions at the end of your message:
                   
                  1. Parts for mods
                   
                  a) kits - only ones I am aware of are from Kiwa for replacement AM filter and audio improvements (www.kiwa.com), but kind of pricey. There are many other mods for which no one supplies kits - you will have to source the components yourself.
                   
                  b) UK suppliers - perhaps one of your countrymen could advise. I'm sure some parts may be found in Maplins stores or on their website.
                   
                  2. Recommended mods: quoting from the FAQ...
                   

                  Index of Mods

                  Over 90 modifications and key tips have been conceived or developed for the DX-394. They are all indexed with a short description of the benefits and the work involved in the Index of Mods to be found at http://groups. yahoo.com/ group/RADIOSHACK DX394/links under the Mods folder. Check it out for modifications and tips that may help your DX-394 perform up to its potential. If you have a new mod or tip, post it to the Message forum. After positive review in the group, it will be added to the Index.

                  Best Mods

                  Much depends on your listening objectives and the radio frequency environment in your area. The DX-394 is certainly deficient in the areas of selectivity, overload and shielding so these are areas of improvement that are probably of common interest and benefit. Other modifications may be of more special interest. Here are the key mods and tips:
                  1.        Frank Cathell's Crosstalk mods are a must to correct a design deficiency in all models that results in strong stations 15-40 kHz away from the desired frequency being detected as though they were on frequency.
                  2.        One of the IF filter mods is also highly advisable for SW AM DX’ing - Frank's "Poor Man's Kiwa" that changes the logic to force the narrower filter in all modes is the easiest.
                  3.        The DX-394 is susceptible to overload from strong signals and internally generates multiple appearances of them. Countermeasures depend on the desired frequency band and the frequencies of the offending signals:
                  a)       For SW listening bothered by LW/MW overload, a 1.8 MHz outboard high pass filter is a great start.
                  b)       For SW listening suffering from SW overload, a passive pre-selector (tuned or fixed bandpass) or a high quality active pre-selector may help on SW bands removed from the interfering frequencies.
                  c)       For LW and MW listening, it may be necessary to shield or disable the built-in antenna and use a tuned loop external antenna for added selectivity and directionality to discriminate against the strong signals.
                  d)       An outboard attenuator may also be necessary in difficult conditions in any of these cases.
                  Fortunately, apart from shielding or disabling the ferrite antenna, all of these are tips, not modifications of the DX-394, but are covered under Mods because overload is such a common problem.
                  4.        Shielding is also essential for the suppression of interference picked up from computers and CRT's operating in close proximity to the DX-394. Its plastic case is useless in this respect - SW signals can be picked up even with the whip antenna removed. Tom Holden's "Ultimate Shields" mod is among the most effective for both RF and magnetic screening.
                   
                  Hope that helps!
                   
                  73, Tom VE3MEO
                   
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 6:57 AM
                  Subject: [RADIOSHACKDX394] Introduction and questions (quite long, sorry!)


                  Would also like to start moding the receiver, have no problem in doing
                  the work myself, just would like to know where to get the parts from (in
                  the UK) does anybody do a specific kit full of parts? I see there is
                  quite a few mods available, what would you recommend doing first
                  (especially related to the particular areas of listening I have
                  mentioned?)

                  .


                • ST EDWARDS
                  Hi Richard, The best place for parts is a company called Sycom on 01372372587 the guy s name is Robin he is semi retired so is only open onTuesday and Thursday
                  Message 8 of 8 , Aug 3, 2006
                    Hi Richard,
                                      The best place for parts is a company called Sycom on 01372372587 the guy's name is Robin he is semi retired so is only open onTuesday and Thursday but gets gear away quickly,
                     
                    Regards Steve Edwards

                    Richard Parker <richard.parker5@...> wrote:
                    Good Morning All, sorry about the long e-mail!

                    Just joined the group so thought I would start things off with a brief
                    introduction and a few questions.

                    I am Richard and live in the SE of the UK, been interested in
                    radio/electronics all my life. Spent my first 10 years of employment as
                    a TV engineer, but have now changed career's completely. Still no had
                    to use a soldering iron, but the theory has a gone a bit from the brain!

                    Always had a scanner of some sought at my house, and at present have the
                    following

                    AOR AR2700 (for air shows and portable use)
                    PRO-2045 (main base scanner)
                    PRO-2039 (used for ACARS decoding on the PC and back up)
                    Have a 8ft pole attached to the side of the house with an aerial
                    specifically for the scanner on the top.

                    Have to say very pleased with the results I get on the scanner and the
                    ACARS stuff (I'm quite near to London's 3rd Airport!)

                    So this last weekend at a boot sale I purchased the DX394, initially
                    sucked in by the mystery's of the number stations after reading an
                    article in Radiouser,I am also interested in listening to HF Aviation
                    and Ham operators around the world.

                    Got it home and out of the box and so far have been less then impressed
                    with what I have received, which is not a lot.

                    Aerial wise I originally had a long wire, which went up into the roof
                    space and was starched out for 30 feet, but this didn't seem to bring
                    any results, so I unplugged the aerial from the scanner and plugged it
                    into the DX394, this did improve things (so what they say about having
                    the aerial up high and outside is true), and I actually managed to
                    receive "The Lincolnshire Poacher" at 1300 UTC on Monday (which gave me
                    a real buzz I have to say). But to be honest apart from that I have
                    received nothing apart from broadcast stations (which I'm not really
                    interested in).

                    So I've started looking for an antenna can either attach to my existing
                    pole outside (not an easy task as I know longer have a ladder) or put in
                    the loft space (easier, but not outside!). As I said main interests are
                    HF Civil Aviation, Ham, Marine etc.

                    I have so far looked at the following

                    MILLER SW Receiving Antenna 1.8 - 30MHz (Passive)
                    * Freq: 1.8 - 30MHz * Totally passive * Balun Matched * Direct 50 Ohm
                    feed * SO-239 Socket * Wideband operation * Bracket included * Height 2m

                    This unique short wave receiving antenna provides excellent reception
                    over the range 1.8 to 30MHz. It is ideal for those with restricted space
                    who want an efficient antenna system for use on the short wave bands.
                    Just 2m in height, it mounts easily on a short mast or in the loft space
                    and provides exceptional DX performance. Totally passive, there is also
                    no risk of receiver overload. We have had many user reports back about
                    the excellent results achieved. Simply connect the antenna to your
                    receiver using any length of 50 Ohm cable.

                    This is £70 from Waters and Stanton

                    and this on e-bay (which has now ended, but I'm sure they'll be more)

                    http://cgi.ebay. co.uk/ws/ eBayISAPI. dll?ViewItem& ih=017&item= 270011072886& rd=1&sspagename= STRK%3AMEWA% 3AIT&rd=1

                    An outside long-wire is not an option due to space restrictions etc. so
                    it looks like it may be the Miller from W&S, unless anybody on hear can
                    recommend anything else.

                    Would also like to start moding the receiver, have no problem in doing
                    the work myself, just would like to know where to get the parts from (in
                    the UK) does anybody do a specific kit full of parts? I see there is
                    quite a few mods available, what would you recommend doing first
                    (especially related to the particular areas of listening I have
                    mentioned?)

                    Anyway think that's about all for now, apologies again about this being
                    so long and thanks for any help advice or suggestions anyone can give.

                    --
                    Richard Parker


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