These shortwave bandscan recordings are the last I’ll offer from my trip to the Catskills at the end of September. This is from September 29, 2006, and the recordings start just before midnight. Officially, this first scan starts out at about 0344 UTC (11:44 EDT). This was the first time I tried to record two scans at once. And I’m using the radios I’ve used for most of these bandscan posts – the Tecsun BCL-2000 and the Degen 1103. As I’ve previously discussed, I like a few things about the BCL radios (specifically analog tuning/digital readout, a nice big sound and a bright always-on display), but the Degen is a much better portable and you hear that in these scans. The Degen is a digital receiver (also known as the Kaito 1103 here in the states) which is available for around the same price, or cheaper, than the BCL-2000 (which is known in the US as the Grundig S350 or the Eton S350DL). I bought my versions of these radios directly from China via ebay, which even with the shipping is a considerable savings over their counterparts branded for America. That said, if you happen to have a problem with a radio you bought from China you might have a harder time getting it fixed or replaced. But I took that risk.
These radios are comparable in that they are recent products from the growing and maturing Chinese electronics industry, and are innovative in the fact that they marry elements of digital and analog tuning. And compared to radios in the recent past, they offer more bang for the buck. Specifically, the Degen 1103 is probably one of the best shortwave portables to retail for less than a hundred bucks. The BCL radios are quite sensitive, but there is no filtering of wayward images of strong stations. The Degen is a dual conversion radio, which greatly reduces the chance of hearing signal "images" at places they don’t belong on the dial. And it can be a little confusing and annoying to find out you’re actually hearing a station from another band instead of a broadcast at the frequency you’re scanning.
The BCL-2000 is really better for AM than shortwave, although strong medium wave stations can cause the same problems. For example, I live near WQEW which blasts all sorts of images on a number of bands around my house on a radio like the Tecsun and others. There’s an especially loud image at 650kHz that eliminates the possibility of ever hearing WSM in Nashville near my place with the BCL.
Anyway, it’s not a contest. The Degen is obviously superior in most practical ways. But I was interested in general reception comparisons and how the images would pop up along the dial on the BCL. As I recorded these I was alternating between each radio, moving up to the next signal on one, then on the other. So, each scan is also a little bit different in that segments of a broadcast often start up or end at separate times. However, in my descriptions the Degen is the reference. The scan recording from the BCL-2000 is really only for those who are interested in hearing the differences.
As I mentioned in previous posts, there’s wasn’t much action that weekend on the bands I often haunt, 41 and 31 meters. But there was some stations popping up in lower bands than I usually listen to, so this time around you get to hear a bit of that– stations broadcasting late at night on the 90 and 60 meter band. Here’s the first scan segment from each radio.
The DE1103 scan…
90 Meter Band – 0344 UTC 09-30-06 – Degen 1103 14:48
And the BCL-2000 version…
90 Meter Band – 0344 UTC 09-30-06 – Tecsun BCL-2000 17:59
3185 – WWRB – Manchester, TN
The first solid signal I found coming up the shortwave bands. Some Bible parable on camels, water and servants. Kind of sad that people in Europe might hear this and it would confirm how ignorant they really think we are in here in the states.
3215 – WWCR – Nashville, TN
I actually thought this was Pastor Peters, but he just has a similar white guy delivery. The show is "Viewpoint," a fountain of ignorance hosted by a bible-brained attorney, Charles Crismier. On the official Viewpoint website it says the show is "Not Conservative…not Liberal…but CHRISTIAN!
You hear some advice on how to get ready for the end of time, more on that pillar of salt tragedy, and how homos generally ruin the world. It’s mildly amusing how he uses the fact that evangelicals as a whole have a higher divorce rate as a way of selling the lifestyle to listeners anyway.
3320 – Radio Sonder Grense – Meyerton, South Africa
Well, here’s Mary Hopkins big hit riding on a signal from eight thousand miles away. RSG is South Africa’s national Afrikaans cultural service. As you probably know, the Afrikaans language is like Dutch but kind of African, or something like that. And along with English, it’s an official language of South Africa.
Not a bad copy on this station with the Degen. However, with the BCL-2000 it’s quite noisy and indistinct. First "Those Were The Days," by Hopkins and then a female announcer, and I turn the station right after the annoying keyboard bumper music.
3350 – Radio Exterior Espana – Spain
In Spanish. Female announcer, and then a pop song. The BCL recording starts earlier, with another pop song before the announcer. Again, the Degen pulls in a much more robust signal out of the noise floor.
Now up the dial a bit. Here’s the Degen…
60 Meter Band – 0414 UTC 09-30-06 – Degen 1103 14:49
And what I recorded on the Tecsun…
60 Meter Band – 0414 UTC 09-30-06 – Tecsun BCL-2000 19:32
5025 – Radio Rebelde – Cuba
The clip kicks in with some kooky "la la la" number with an epic flair, sounds like it could be from a movie. I hear some dance steps in there somewhere. Then an interview. All in Spanish.
5050 – WWRB – Manchester, TN
It’s funny how now and then you can definitely hear a shortwave station that’s broadcasting in English, and even without that much noise it’s still difficult to hear what’s actually being said. That’s the case here and the signal is only coming from a few hundred miles away (at fifty kilowatts). Listening to the bandscan recorded on the Degen, I can tell it’s a discussion of aircraft hitting towers. Most likely this a conspiracy type of show.
However, the reception on the Tecsun is quite a bit different. For one, the reception of WWRB is even more indistinct and it’s being eaten by a heterodyne. The whine is being caused by the image of another station, which I eventually tune in although the whine never goes away. The image sounds to be Japan’s NHK, broadcasting from a relay in Canada at 5960kHz.
And then moving up the dial on the Tecsun I come across another image at 5065kHz, which is actually Radio Netherlands (speaking Dutch?) at 5975 (along with another heterodyne). Neither of these images appear on the Degen.
More Christian mumbo jumbo, this time correlating biblical stuff with power politics. The idea being that "we," the "great unwashed," are kept from the technology of freedom because we’re not responsible enough to be free. Or something like that.
5110 – WBCQ – Monticello, ME
Some corny country gospel, followed by a more saccharin Jesus tune.
Then at 5145kHz I come across Spain’s shortwave service on the Tecsun, which is an image of their broadcast at 6055. And then I come upon an image of Radio Netherlands at 5255, which is actually an image of 6165. It’s a news magazine program in English. Again, the Degen picked up nothing but static at these frequencies. Which is all there really was there in the first place.
That’s all for now. Thanks for listening.
(This post originally appeared in Beware of the Blog.)