SSB and WeatherFax

I recently picked up a Degen DE1103 handheld SW/SSB/etc receiver via Hong Kong.  It’s a pretty cool little unit.  So far I’ve listened to broadcasts in a variety of languages without knowing exactly where they might be coming from.

Tonight I used a spare halyard to run the wire antenna that came with the radio (just a single conductor) up the mast to try to pick up some weather imagery from HSW64 at 7395.0 kHz at 1720 UTC, following the NWS Radiofax Schedule.  In getting set up I found of all the stuff on my boat, the battery charger generates a pretty insane amount of interference.  To receive the WeatherFax I turned off as much as I could, although I needed my laptop, which generates a fair bit of interference; and I needed AC to power the radio as I didn’t have any charged AAs.  I haven’t been able to use my insulated backstay antenna because the connector on the coax is a big old UHF instead of the little TS audio jack used for the DE1103’s antenna input.   I’ll need to find and crimp on a TS connector to the backstay coax.

Anyway, I sort of received the weather imagery.  There was a lot of noise, and never having done it before it took me quite a while to find the best tuning of the radio for what’s listed as 7395.0 kHz.  The answer was somewhere fine-tuned between 7396 and 7397 kHz.  I was originally expecting to need to listen somewhere around 7393.1 kHz as NWS indicates you usually need to subtract 1.9 kHz for carrier frequency on non-dedicated radiofax hardware.  Oh well.

So, here’s my first ever weatherfax:

I used acfax to decode the image.  The first half of it is the result of trying to get the tuning right.  The second half is still pretty darn noisy and hard to understand.  Presumably that’d be better with the backstay antenna and better grounding, which I haven’t figured out how to do with the DE1103 yet.  Still, a pseudo-promising start.

Leave a Comment

Filed under electronics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *