Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympic Special Event Stations

I activated my own special event call, Mo0BGR with a short session on CW (Morse) last night. Conditions were not great, but the first station I worked was UX5MZ - thanks Igor.

Meanwhile over in Eltham, SE London not far from the Olympic venues, the Cray Valley special event 2o12L is going great guns, having worked over 5,000 contacts and 100 countries since Wednesday. For more details go to where you can find a list their working frequencies. 

If you are in London, before 9th September, then try to go along and visit 2o12L, how to get there is also on the web site and it is a really impressive station.

Monday, 16 July 2012

FM Switch Off - OFCOM Response

In August ast year I published a post on the governments plans to switch off FM radio in UK( ). At that time OFCOM was holding a 'consultation' and they have now responded to its findings. Their report is at .

As predicted, OFCOM have swept aside all objections to the plan and asserted their previously held position that DAB is very wonderful so we don't need FM (subtext, the government have told us to sell the spectrum, just like they are now selling part of 143MHz - 156MHz band).

I have nothing against DAB radio, but I do not see it as a replacement for FM. It is technically inferior in many ways, particularly its coverage charateristics. DAB is based on obsolete technology and UK will have to adopt DAB+ or DRM at some point. DAB and FM do not use the same spectrum so, unlike the TV digital switch over, there is no need to close FM to allow expansion of DAB. Reading the consultation responses, the radio industry seems distinctly like warm about  switching to DAB.

If you use FM radio in UK, please let OFCOM know what you think.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Roberts DAB Radios

We have recently bought two new DAB radios.

The first was a Roberts Ecologic 1. We bought this for the house we own in Wells-next-the Sea in Norfolk.

This is an area where we are told that DAB radio signals are not available ( but with the Ecologic 1 we are able to get good signals from two multiplexers and one more when the radio is upstairs. By comparison, my older Sony XDR-S55 radio does not get anything there on DAB.

The Ecologic 1 is a small DAB/FM radio with ½ Watt audio output. This is fine for normal listening, but is not really powerful enough for use in the kitchen when there is lots of background noise. Otherwise, it is a very good radio with excellent mono (stereo with headphones) sound quality. It is well designed and very easy to use. The only thing I don’t like is that it has push-button volume control, but this is a matter of personal preference.

The Roberts Unologic DAB / FM radio is a bit larger but with 1 Watt audio output it is better for use in normal areas. This radio also has excellent sensitivity, but I have not yet done a side-by-side comparison. The Unologic has an analogue volume control, which I like. The controls are large and easy to use so it would be suitable for old or infirm people.

DAB radios eat batteries, but at long last, a DAB radio designer has realised that we don’t want to run our radios from mains power or change the batteries every 10 hours or so. The Roberts Ecologic 1 and Unologic both have built-in battery chargers so can be run on AA alkali batteries (if you are very rich) or rechargeable batteries. The only criticism I have of the design is that it is not possible to charge the batteries while listening.

All round, these are both excellent radios and well worth the recommended price of £60. It is particularly suitable if you want to use it in a poor signal area.