Yet another house move

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Yet another house move

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 15 Mar 2017 00:07

Life has just taken a turn in a very sudden and unexpected direction. I've been away from the forum for a few days due to having to go through the awkward and unwanted situation of yet another house move.

I don't think this will mean much off-air time as I plan to get an antenna (probably an FM3 or FM5) set up in the new place asap. Hopefully as soon as tomorrow, but it has to be indoors and it is unlikely that it will ever see a rooftop.

I will be renting a small flat at the top of a four storey building. It was a choice between somewhere larger in town, but with a risk of QRM and possible degraded FM performance/no provision for an external antenna, or an out of town location which could be a little more radio friendly. Well, we can't have everything, so a choice had to be made. In the end I sacrificed living space (it's a small flat) for something more suitable to my hobby.

The flat I chose is right at the water's edge with steps to the beach. It's perfect for FM radio. But whether any FM DX potential will be a bonus when weighed up against the claustrophobic size of the property remains to be seen, though I suppose I could move on again if I find it too cramped. It's a DX dream come true, but not what I really wanted in the scheme of things.

Maybe the location will just provide the usual daily scatter, but with stronger signals and while not actually bringing in anything new. As always, time will tell. There is a little noise across the FM band, but only on a small number of individual frequencies. Putting my Degen DE1103 next to the window reveals a lot of German scatter. Egem and Lille are solid. If the Degen can do this, maybe the XDR and a small beam will only improve on that.

Medium wave seemed surprisingly clean too, but only on the Degen so far. That may change with a loop antenna - the only antenna I will probably be able to use and I need to construct one. I can't see the landlord allowing me to hang a long length of coax out of my window, down over the other flats and to a flag antenna in the gardens. (Which are actually quite large.)

The locator for the property is JO03ED, most of which is in the North Sea.

So it all seems positive enough, though I would have preferred to stay where I was.

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Re: Yet another house move

Post by daveB » 15 Mar 2017 11:01

Hi John,

It will all depend on whether you can mount your aerial on the roof or not. The Triax FM3 and FM5 have a really bad f/r ratio down at the LF - only 6 dB. The FM5 can be improved by increasing the reflector length by 1 - 2 inches at the expense of losing a bit of the f/b ratio mid-band. A compromise gives around 11-12 dB across the band peaking to 20 dB at the top end.

If you pull the outer reflectors off of the Korner 9.2 you lose a huge amount of f/b ratio - but it still gives a markedly better performance than an FM5. It starts off at 12.5-12.6 dB at 88 MHz and slowly climbs up to 22 dB around 104 - 108 MHz. The radiation pattern remains clean and the SWR only creeps up to 2.0 at 108 MHz.

I modelled the 9.2 using 4nec2 from published figures for the dimensions and got good agreement with the published performance figures - then I just pulled off the two outer reflectors with and support with no other changes.
SDRPlay, AirSpyMini, RTL dongles, SB920s, Yamaha TX930. 5 ele compact yagi on rotator at 18ft agl. FM5 facing east, FM5 facing south, FM3 facing NE, OIRT dipole, 3-ele Moxon vertical facing east.

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Re: Yet another house move

Post by eastangliauk » 15 Mar 2017 11:23

I wish I could move house signals are unusable inside here on FM its even hard to get radio 1 on 97.7.
DAB was unaffected before but has now become really bad and only these go on my out door aerial in the garden.
its very built up round me.
Radios Tecsun PL398MP + PL-600 & JVC KD-G632 - Blaupunkt BPR-3 DAB+ & Pure Evoke Flow

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Re: Yet another house move

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 15 Mar 2017 14:05

That's a shame. It'd true for most of us, sadly. Where I moved from had a lot of odd noises across the FM band, but they tended to move around and block different frequencies each day.

Where I've moved to is a win/lose thing. There are noises and I discovered some noise on MW today too. Nothing is ever perfect unless you are very lucky.

eastangliauk wrote:
15 Mar 2017 11:23
I wish I could move house signals are unusable inside here on FM its even hard to get radio 1 on 97.7.
DAB was unaffected before but has now become really bad and only these go on my out door aerial in the garden.
its very built up round me.

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Re: Yet another house move

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 18 Mar 2017 11:08

Sorry to hear about your noise troubles EAUK. I've been there.

I am relieved to say that I don't appear (so far!!!) to have any such problems at the new flat. This is only a short drive up the coast from Skegness at a place called Seathorne. It is proving to be very good for FM too.

Scatter was interesting this morning. MDR Figaro from Inselberg was noise free on 87.9 for a time. Antenne Niedersachsen was also doing very well on 104.9. Many other Germans noted. I don't there's any 'tropo' involved as such as overall conditions seem subdued. For instance, the usual Dutch stuff isn't coming through on the car radio as I drive across the sea front. Egem, Ijsselstein, Rotterdam, etc.

I am still using my Degen DE1103 and an FM3 up against the window approximately three feet above the floor. I might try an FM5, but the cramped space will make it difficult to rotate it and it may even degrade the perform as I have known happen elsewhere.

There is some loft space, but I guess the roof tiles will present more of a signal blockage than having the FM3 in the flat itself.

I might give 10m a try now we are approaching the summer. I have a Yaeseu VR-X7 which could be interesting when the Es begin.

I have no internet access for a while but should be having broadband installed later this month. It only has a guaranteed download speed of 0.25 MBPS. Yes, I'll repeat that. 0.25 MBPS! I dread to think what the upload speed is. I don't even think that will allow me to stream internet audio successfully - does anybody know?

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Re: Yet another house move

Post by eastangliauk » 18 Mar 2017 18:48

wow that is bad the good about being in a town is you have far better chance getting FTTC I have about 69 down and 19 up right now on BT.
I wonder if 4g could be an option but would need good data.
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Re: Yet another house move

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 18 Mar 2017 20:09

Problem with 4G is the data limit. It's just not 'unlimited' like it is in some other countries. Plus I only have a 'mobile phone'. i.e. no data. It makes phone calls. Nothing else. My typical monthly bandwidth back at the other place with Sky was around 250 GB per month. I was shocked when I discovered that, but I stream a lot of music and upload/download large files, so it all adds up very quickly.

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Re: Yet another house move

Post by daveB » 18 Mar 2017 21:26

You might consider making a 3 element Moxon antenna from 0.5 inch tubing - it only requires 48 inch elements and a length of just over 27 inches. That gives a 55 inch diameter turning circle.
SDRPlay, AirSpyMini, RTL dongles, SB920s, Yamaha TX930. 5 ele compact yagi on rotator at 18ft agl. FM5 facing east, FM5 facing south, FM3 facing NE, OIRT dipole, 3-ele Moxon vertical facing east.

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Re: Yet another house move

Post by satnipper » 19 Mar 2017 13:25

I have unlimited 4G data with my Three package.

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Re: Yet another house move

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 19 Mar 2017 15:42

Thanks Dave and Stuart.

Hardly any time at the moment to act on these things. I have been hoping to get the XDR running at the new place but it appears to have a problem. That is probably my priority in radio terms at the moment.

Since I signed for a package with EE for the new broadband ('narrowband' I think), I have found a vastly better offer. EE say I have a 14 day no-questions cooling off period, so I may cancel tomorrow and try the TalkTalk package which is almost half the price and offers 27 MB broadband.

Just wish I had more time. Head still all over the place.

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Re: Yet another house move

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 19 Mar 2017 15:48

Earlier this morning I found general scatter reception at the new flat very interesting indeed.

At midnight, band 2 was flat. Lille and Egem were struggling. This is with the 3 element beam some three or four storeys up (depending on how you class the floors in this building) my DE1103 and an immediate outlook over the sea. (I'll attach a quick photo).

I was awake at 4:30 am and London stations (LBC, etc. and not pirates - the FM3 was horizontal) were blasting through. Not a lot from the continent.

At 07:30 I had good reception of dozens of German transmitters. I was intrigued by the two Germans on 98.7. I guess one is the replacement for AFN - DLR Kultur, but the other was classical.

Scatter was good from Brocken, Torfhaus, Heidelstein, Remda, Hoher Meissner and many more, but nothing from Inselberg this morning. All very interesting how it changes so quickly there.

All German scatter peaked noise free.

Nothing on DAB so far, though I must admit I haven't a clue what to look for. I must install my DAB log-P at some point.

2.jpg

This is the view from my flat window. Note that the streetlamp is some way below me.

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Re: Yet another house move

Post by daveB » 19 Mar 2017 18:50

An interesting location - Seathorne appears to be a sea (pardon the pun) of caravans. Germany and Denmark straight out of the window. Hope you can get settled in and sorted out. Do you notice any cyclic fluctuation in signals from the wind turbine blades offshore?

That lamp post would have made an ideal place to lash a temporary aerial mast to!
SDRPlay, AirSpyMini, RTL dongles, SB920s, Yamaha TX930. 5 ele compact yagi on rotator at 18ft agl. FM5 facing east, FM5 facing south, FM3 facing NE, OIRT dipole, 3-ele Moxon vertical facing east.

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Re: Yet another house move

Post by eastangliauk » 19 Mar 2017 20:11

that is so close to the sea hope there is not any flooding there though at least your up higher than the other floors.
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Re: Yet another house move

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 19 Mar 2017 21:02

It's a lot closer than I ever thought I would live by the sea. I even have steps to the beach! I would like something a little larger, but this has given me a great opportunity to DX right by the beach and from a reasonably high point. I am quite excited.

I thought I'd already replied about Seathorne, Dave. Unless it was in another thread I obviously didn't press Send before closing the browser.

Seathorne and Winthorpe are two small communities, sandwiched between Skegness and Ingoldmells.

Skegness has the highest density of caravans in Europe! That's official. If you look on Google Street View and click "Earth", you will see a sea of caravans which are probably 'visible from space' as they might say.

If only I could run a small Beverage on to the beach for Asia. That's not going to happen from this flat, unfortunately. Can't have everything.

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Re: Yet another house move

Post by Nick Gilly » 19 Mar 2017 22:00

It certainly looks like the ideal spot for FM DXing John! Will the landlord allow you to put up a rooftop beam?
Good DX.

Nick, Whitchurch, Hampshire.

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Re: Yet another house move

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 20 Mar 2017 13:03

It's excellent Nick.

I don't see why he should't allow me to put up a small beam, but I am reluctant to jump into anything suddenly at the moment. I could do with a ground floor flat or a bungalow and the landlord has other properties so I might be able to move into another one more suitable, then I might be able to have a flag antenna again.

Scatter was excellent again this morning yet the weather said it shouldn't be. Strong, gusty winds and heavy showers. Yet Brocken, Torfhaus, Hoher Meissner and MANY other German transmitters were rolling in with noise free peaks. Nothing overnight, so the sudden lift in conditions around 0700+ is most probably aircraft scatter.

Denmark is almost on-demand, as Dave said. 97.2 had brief, very weak smatterings of DR P3 for a time. I assume Bjerkreim was there on 91.8. The Kreuzberg-Rhon transmitter was struggling but fairly often heard on 105.3 and 107.9 this morning. I even wondered if I could hear the vaguest noises from Grunten on 106.9 and Santis on 107.8. Probably something else but worth keeping an eye on.

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Re: Yet another house move

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 06 Apr 2017 15:56

Sorry Dave - I overlooked some of your post. That is interesting information about the Korner 9.2 and the removal of the reflectors. Thank you for this,

The other detrimental effect would be the pattern of the antenna being ruined by using it indoors. My FM5 is pressed right up against the window. I walk underneath it - but only just as the walls and ceiling are sloping, this being an attic space. You should see the bumps on my head already!

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Re: Yet another house move

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 07 Apr 2017 11:22

I seem to be losing steam. My interest in the hobby is waning.

I listen to FM scatter at my flat most mornings. It's the same thing, over and over again. Nothing new. Well, apart from the Sonneberg transmitter.

FM aircraft/general Scatter is stronger at the new flat. It's been interesting to a point, but I want something new. Listening to Brocken and Remda every morning at noise free peaks manages to hold my attention for a short time only. It's weird as I would have given my right arm for DX like this years ago. German scatter is amazing.

There was a minor bit of tropo two mornings ago shortly after midnight with Koblenz and Scharteberg weak but stable.

I am still no further with internet access and have to find wi-fi points. But I found the wi-fi of a nearby caravan park a couple of days ago and this lets me access the chat on Google Hangouts, but nothing else. I suppose Hangouts is still within the Google platform and so the wi-fi thinks I am simply connecting to Google's home page and nothing beyond that. When I try to look at another website, a new window springs up advertising the caravan site and asks for my credit card details to continue to use the wi-fi.

Medium wave is not really possible from the flat. I would have to throw a wire out of the window to DX. Actually, I have been thinking about doing that, but it would surely annoy the people in the flats below me. I would be walking right in front of their window to retrieve the wire. The flat would be an excellent place to DX the far east. It's probably too late in the season now for that. And what a rubbish season it's been!

If I am to continue with MW then I would be better going mobile and camping out overnight somewhere, using a Beverage. I have no enthusiasm. Plus I would be shattered for a day or two afterwards.

To be honest, the whole thing fills me with dread. I am not myself at the moment. I know worse things could have happened than the split with my wife, but my enthusiasm for life in general has taken a dive.

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