Tecsun PL680 help

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Tecsun PL680 help

Postby DesertFox » Wed Dec 07, 2016 2:04 pm

Hi I've recently sewn many people venture in to HF and Shortwave. Last week I purchased a Tecsun PL680 and recieving a few commercial radio stations with transmitters in North Eastern Africa and North Western China.

I however can not seem to pick up anything in Europe or America.

I bought it with intention to listen to transatlantic flights but heard nothing all week.

I have since bought some speaker wire and crocodile clip which seems to only increase static and increase signal a little.

What am I doing wrong?

Also please note I live in a cluster house so no back garden and postage stamp size front garden (1.5mX2m patch of grass either side of front door) so external aerials limited.

The speaker wire is clipped to telescopic antenna out of bedroom window past bathroom and my little boys room wrapped round the plastic gutter and then restaurants is on the ground.

Thank you for taking the time to read and hope to receive assistance.
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Tecsun PL-680

Bedfordshire
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Re: Tecsun PL680 help

Postby m0lsx » Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:59 pm

You will only receive something if something is there & in todays world Shortwave comms are not common on the airband.
Distances on airband at VHF or UHF are good. I have heard air to air refuelling taking place over Germany on UHF using my handheld scanner, as an example.
So you are probably doing nothing wrong.
Buy a database from Kimmy JS19 via http://ukscanningdirectory.co.uk/
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Re: Tecsun PL680 help

Postby DesertFox » Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:52 pm

Thank you. So going away from airband hf, what can I do to increase my range for other hf frequencies to hear more from around the world, as I wrote earlier I'm picking up a transmitter in North East Africa and North West China, I did hear this afternoon Romania, but not getting much else closer to home especially the RAF Volmet 5450 or 11253 and even Shannon which I've seen on facebook someone post that they can hear and further away than myself.

Sorry I'm new to this and wanting to prove to my wife it's not money wasted :wink:
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Tecsun PL-680

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Re: Tecsun PL680 help

Postby JGR » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:13 pm

You have not wasted your money at all, there is plenty of stations to receive via the SW.

First question is are you fully versed with the workings of the PL680 and I mean no offence if I am teaching you to suck eggs here.
What antenna are you using is it just the telescopic one?
Get back to me and I will advise you more on the subject. :)
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Re: Tecsun PL680 help

Postby DesertFox » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:35 pm

DesertFox wrote:I have since bought some speaker wire and crocodile clip which seems to only increase static and increase signal a little.

Also please note I live in a cluster house so no back garden and postage stamp size front garden (1.5mX2m patch of grass either side of front door) so external aerials limited.

The speaker wire is clipped to telescopic antenna out of bedroom window past bathroom and my little boys room wrapped round the plastic gutter and then restaurants is on the ground.



As for the rest I'm new and not well versed at the radio. I bought it as an investment to expand my hobby so completely new to the actual machine as well as HF. Oh the Speaker wire is 10m long

I'd rather you teach me to suck eggs with this so I will appreciate all you have to offer.

Thanks
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Tecsun PL-680

Bedfordshire
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Re: Tecsun PL680 help

Postby JGR » Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:06 pm

First of all I am glad that you are using a bit of a longer wire than that of the whip antenna which is limited to say the least but does perform when the propagation is at its best.

HF works a little different to that of VHF and above which is as a general guide line of sight whereas HF signals bounce of the charged ionosphere and they can then return to earth and be either absorbed or reflected back up to the ionosphere many times and this is where you get your propagation effect to summarise it. Now we find that night time is the best time for reception as the ionosphere has been charged so to speak throughout the day time and this acts like the mirror we need where as in the daytime a lot of the signals are briefly propagated or absorbed by the atmosphere. Now the finer details is that certain bands will allow international contacts throughout the day dependant upon season and current solar state but that is enough of that as this will become a lecture and the internet is full of this information.

First thing first is get the antenna in a high as possible horizontal position away from any mains bourne electronic noise sources (easier said than done) then check that you have the switch on the left side set to DX as this is a form of attenuator.
Go to sites such as this for radio broadcast listings: http://www.shortwaveschedule.com/index.php?now=true enter your details such as GPS location and then fine line it offer only English languages unless your fluent in others, you may not be able to hear all those stations of course. Look for CRI (China Radio International) as they offer one of the most consistent signals on the airwaves. Try from the lowest frequencies and work up until you find activity on the air. Most SWL will be in AM of course and Volmet stations you mention will use USB.

Also check out that there is no active solar flares or solar winds as this basically strips the ionosphere of its reflective properties and makes HF sound deaf so check out: http://www.spaceweather.com/ at this time we are on a KP3 which is not good for HF reception, located on the left hand panel of the above website.
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Re: Tecsun PL680 help

Postby DesertFox » Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:06 pm

So because of this KP3 I am not hearing the volmet?

What is the best number on this scale 0/9?

As soon as I can get either some ladders or a handy man I will actually move the wire in to the loft.

If you can in layman's terms can you tell me how it's difficult to receive a station in UK (like Volmet0 or a station in Ireland or German compared to a transmitter in Africa or China.

Sorry if you may be repeating some parts, I just need to get head round it.

Many thanks
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Re: Tecsun PL680 help

Postby JGR » Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:41 pm

KP-0 is the best but it is not all about the KP number I might add and it can become very complicated but once you have the gained the fundamentals then all will be well and it will make sense, you do not need to absorb all the data provided.
Basically what one person can hear does not mean that a person 100 miles away from them cannot, this is not always antenna related either and to describe the how and whys in layman terms is a hard task to do without you doing your part and learning the basics of propagation, but I will offer you this flash player example and as they say that a picture speaks a thousand words, as other wise my explanations end up pages long as I can waffle so take a look at this and see what you think. http://www.ae4rv.com/tn/propflash.htm

HF is very variable and when it is good it is good and stations never heard and maybe never will be available again, but when something happens like a solar flare or solar wind the situation can become dire, so much so that you would think your antenna has been cut.
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Re: Tecsun PL680 help

Postby DesertFox » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:58 pm

Thanks JGR,

That has really helped and I understand a bit more than before.

Hopefully my wife will understand when I explain to her why sometimes it's not clear on the radio or when nothing is on.

It's not a simple hobby and suppose that's what makes hobbies interesting.
Uniden IBC125XLT
Tecsun PL-680

Bedfordshire
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Location: Bedfordshire

Re: Tecsun PL680 help

Postby JGR » Thu Dec 08, 2016 8:25 am

You will spend a great deal of time searching out the stations from the noise(s) and unless propagation is very good the stations you are listening to will never be in the same audio quality as FM broadcasts due to the bandwidth they transmit with as more bandwidth is able to carry more data and hence better quality audio like FM. FM is like a four lane motorway whereas AM SW is more of a single track road to put it into a descriptive sense.
Your other half will probably not understand the enjoyment of SWL as mine keeps saying to me why do I keep listening to noise etcetera.

So far propagation is marginal at best, and even here where I have access to a large transmit and receive antenna (40m long at 15m above ground level) connected to my SDR transceiver I am struggling to hear some stations. Oh by the way you do not require an antenna like mine to be a SWL as I am an amateur radio operator first and SWL second as it goes hand in hand. I would say the clip and wire you are using may benefit from a slight extension of about 15-20m, height above ground is the key factor to better reception.
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