Thursday, June 04, 2009

Sunspots and Radio Propagation

You may have noticed that I added a current radio propagation and solar statistics chart to the sidebar.

The chart is refreshed every 3 hours, but you will need to refresh the page that has it to see the latest.

If you want one for your blog or webpage you can click on the chart or the link in this sentence. When solar activity starts rising propagation on the higher frequency bands will improve. There will more skip. That is the radio waves can bounce from the ground to the ionosphere to the ground more than once without the power being reduced to undetectable levels.

If short wave radio interests you this is a good starter radio. You will need an to buy an AC adapter to reduce spending on batteries.
Sangen SG-622
Sangean SG-622 AM/FM 10 Band Shortwave World Band Radio

Here is a cute short wave radio kit. It will take you back to the old days of radio with modern components. It is all solid state. Because of the single tuning knob with no vernier the tuning is apt to be a bit twitchy. Good for the kids as a starter or just for fun. But the price is right. $15 plus shipping. You will need an antenna for weaker signals - but that can be just a few tens of feet of copper wire strung out where convenient. In the old days you could just clip the antenna terminal to the stop of a rotary phone. Gone are the days. Of course with a better antenna you will get better reception.
Ramsey SW Radio Kit
Ramsey SR3 Shortwave Receiver Learning Kit

If you want to build your own outdoor antenna this book is a good place to start:
Arrl Antenna Book: The Ultimate Reference for Amateur Radio Antennas

And for a moderately priced top end radio receiver:
Grundig 750
Grundig Satellite 750 AM/FM-Stereo/Shortwave/Aircraft Band Radio with SSB (Single Side Band)

This book has a good section on radio propagation and a number of other topics including antennas, receivers, and transmitters. A good starting point for the beginning experimenter or the budding engineer interested in radio.
Radio Amateur's Handbook
The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications 2009 (Arrl Handbook for Radio Communications)

Ah, the romance of short wave radio.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

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