Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The KongSDR Location - Facts & Pics

Maybe it would interest some who listen to the KongSDR to know a bit about this area. So here follows: Facts and Pictures.

Kongsfjord is a small fishing hamlet, now also a tourist destination with top TripAdvisor ratings.
Kongsfjord - view to the southwest. 3G mast on the mountaintop.

Located half an hour from the nearest local airport and only three hours from a regional airport with direct connection to Oslo, Kongsfjord is far away but also quite close. Around 30 people live in the hamlet. Italians (!) make up a surprisingly large part of the population.

Kongsfjord - view to the northeast. My blue house in centre of the picture
The KongSDR location is also the KONG DX-pedition location. A group of four DX-ers use this for DX-peditions in September and October, and for remote listening via Teamviewer or LogMeIn Pro the rest of the season. We have three or four beverage antennas up, directed towards North America and Asia/Pacific.
The KongSDR and KONG DX-ped centre, in the centre of the picture
It is a quiet location, but not as quiet as we would hope. A relatively new windpark is located around 9 km away, and the turbines do generate noise of varying intensity, from 500 kHz up to around 8 MHz.
Noisy stuff!
The terrain in this part of Norway is quite flat - the wind turbines above are at around 400 masl, which is about as high as you get.  The terrain slopes towards the ocean with bays and points such as below.
View to the north.
Longwire antenna
The KiwiSDR antenna is a 70 metre long, N-S oriented longwire, terminated and fed via a DX-Engineering 1:9 transformer and coaxial cable. The shiny stuff you see on both ends above are actually reindeer deterrent. Super-thin sheets of aluminium-like material with holographic reflectors in many colours and make a noticeable noise. The reindeer migrate inland in late August, so this is a summer safety measure (both for the reindeer and for the wire).

And finally indoor, the KiwiSDR, s/n 1150, sharing the table with a ColibriNANO SDR.

KiwiSDR and ColibriNANO

I hope to have the KiwiSDR boxed soon, it's a bit hazardous to have the board exposed like that.

So there you go! Now you know how it looks outside the window from the radio you are listening to. Mind you, it doesn't look like this in December and January when it's pitch dark 23 hours a day, gale force winds, blowing snow and -20 Celsius...

Sunday, July 30, 2017

KongSDR Temporarily Offline (not anymore)

Well how long did it last... during an update from remote, connection with the KiwiSDR was lost. Likely to be back up on Tuesday some time.

Update: Now up.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The KongSDR Is Operational

As of this posting, the Kongsfjord, Arctic Norway KiwiSDR, probably the northernmost KiwiSDR in the world, is available for access.

It is connected to a triangular shaped longwire antenna with a maximum height of 6 meters and a minimum height of 1.5 meters. It is 70 meters long and set up in a North-South orientation. Since its front lobe is rather broad, this setup should ensure MW DX from North America (especially the western part) as well as Far East Asia and the Pacific. When conditions are auroral, you could expect to hear African (especially East African) stations, as well as Middle East and Indian stations.

Shortwave stations will also be heard well, and you might even hear the low-powered Catholic church stations from Ireland on 27 MHz.

There is an intermittent noise issue. It's been on and off for the past couple of years, and it may be due to a windpower facility 9 km away, but possibly also from motorized fans in the neighbourhood. When the signal level is high, it should not be too noticeable. However, when signal levels are low (typically around local noon in mid-winter, and after sunrise/before sunset at other times), the noise will mask stations. I hope to resolve this, but it's proven to be a very difficult task indeed.

Do not expect interesting DX on MW yet. The sun is just barely below the horizon at midnight in the beginning of August. From mid-August and onwards, Asian MW stations should be plentiful in the evening, and Australia may be audible towards the end of the month, also in the evening, around 1800-1900 UTC.

North American stations can be heard, conditions permitting, from the first week of September.

On this location, sunset and sunrise times will change a lot compared to what you're used to. You will find today's sun and moon data for Kongfjord here near the bottom of the page, and as an added bonus you will be updated on Arctic weather conditions!

This blog will be used for periodic updates. Quick updates, such as "Excellent signals from Japan today", or worse: "Blackout due to Proton event", will be Twitter only. So please follow me on @Arcticlistener. You don't need a Twitter account (I think).

And finally, if you think that KongSDR makes a difference in your radio life, please consider a small donation once in a while to keep a rather expensive mobile broadband up and running. The hardware and hard work is my contribution.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Site for the upcoming KONG KiwiSDR (late summer 2017)

If things work out well, a KiwiSDR will be available from the KONG DX-pedition site in Kongsfjord, Arctic Norway, from late summer. I have created this blog to help DX-ers optimize the potential of the KiwiSDR and this location, including:

  • When things are hot (and when they're not...)
  • Disruptions. Weather-induced noise is a very audible thing, and the Arctic coast of Norway has a lot of weather.
  • Connectivity issues. Downtime will be posted. There will be problems with internet going down, power failures etc. which will make the Kiwi unaccessible. I live 170 km away from Kongsfjord, so only weekends are availble for fixing errors. Rather frequent road closures due to weather (see above...) may delay fixes further. 
The most likely antenna will be a large-aperture Wellbrook ALA100. Should I decide to upgrade the Kiwi with an antenna selector, there may be two ALA100, perpendicular in a N-S and E-W pattern. We will see.

More info about the KiwiSDR is found here. In short, the KiwiSDR is a 0-30 MHz software defined receiver especially designed for remote operation. It allows up to four external connections. Lots of KiwiSDRs worldwide are already online at sdr.hu.

DONATIONS! For several reasons, The KiwiSDR will need to have its own internet connection with its own 3G/4G modem. This setup will set me back a few hundred dollars every year. This is why the KiwiSDR will have a Donations button (and possibly this blog too). There will be no "pay per listen", so if you want to use the KiwiSDR for free, I can't stop you. Of course, if I see much use and no money, I will most likely pull the ethernet plug.

Don't expect any further updates to this blog until late summer 2017.

If you are unfamiliar with the KONG DX-pedition site, please check these links: