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    Re: Short Wave Vs 2-Meter Ham Band frequencies for UT
    From: Paul Hirose
    Date: 2015 Nov 09, 22:50 -0800

    On 2015-11-09 2:07, Steve E. Bryant wrote:
    > 2. "C Crane CCRadio-2E Enhanced Portable AM, FM, Weather and *2-Meter Ham Band*."
    > My question is with regard to the second choice above.
    > Does the 2-Meter Ham Band frequencies necessarily mean that the radio will 
    be capable of picking up the stations that broadcasts the time signals?
    > And the follow up question is: Which of the two radios would have the best reception for my purpose?
    
    Steve, when you ask a question like that it's helpful to provide links
    to Web pages so respondents can see exactly what products you're asking
    about.
    
    If I identified your #2 correctly, it doesn't get shortwave frequencies
    so it's not suitable as a time standard. That leaves only #1.
    
    Recently my 1980s Sony ICF-2010 died so I bought a Tecsun PL-660
    portable because it has gotten good reviews. Price was $110 from
    Universal Radio:
    
    http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/portable/2540.html
    
    I'm really pleased with it. At $110 you can't expect a high class radio,
    but it's a fine value for the price. In some ways it's better than the
    Sony, which as I recall was $300+ back in the 80s. Wide and narrow
    bandwidth filters can be selected regardless of mode, and the narrow
    filter sounds better than the Sony's. The latter killed too much of the
    highs on AM for my taste.
    
    The Tecson sync detector works, though there's noticeable tonal
    difference when you switch between the upper and lower sideband. The
    Sony wasn't like that. I suspect the reason is that the Tecsun only
    tunes at 1 kHz steps vs. 100 Hz for the Sony, so you can't put it as
    close to the carrier freq. But that's just a guess.
    
    Happily there's a continuously variable BFO knob, so single sideband
    voice can be made to sound right despite the 1 kHz tuning steps. And SSB
    mode isn't just for single sideband transmissions! Very weak AM signals
    can become readable in SSB mode. This trick works well on the Tecsun,
    making CHU time beeps readable when nothing is audible in AM mode. (CHU
    suppresses the lower sideband, so use USB mode, not LSB.)
    
    With the PL-660 I can receive CHU on all frequencies (3330, 7850, and
    14670) indoors with the whip antenna on an overland path of 1980 nm even
    with the present mediocre solar activity. Two of those frequencies (I
    forget which ones) use only 3 kw transmit power. Of course WWV is easy
    with this radio.
    
    One point in the Tecsun's favor as a time standard is that its signal
    path is all analog. If a radio has digital signal processing there can
    be a noticeable latency. That may be significant if you're using the
    radio as a gold standard to verify by eye and ear that a time display is
    dead beat with WWV. Or maybe you want to test how much delay you get on
    a phone connection to WWV or the USNO.
    
    The instruction book was obviously not written by a native English
    speaker. Sooner or later you'll figure out what it's trying to say.
    
    Happily, the radio is supplied with a set of precharged rechargeable
    cells. They're covered with Chinese writing and the only clue that
    they're rechargeable is the 1.2 V marking vs. 1.5 V for normal
    alkalines. You can use the latter, but remember to turn off the function
    that charges the cells when the AC adapter is active.
    
    The clock setting function is stupidly designed, I think. Hold the clock
    set button down until the hours flash. Use the tuning knob or keyboard
    to set hours. Press button again. Now the minutes flash. Set minutes.
    Press the Set button a third time to start the clock. So far, so good.
    But if you leave the minutes unchanged for more than three seconds, the
    clock starts itself!
    
    To hack the clock precisely, you must dither the minutes back and forth
    with the tuning knob until within three seconds of the tick. Then set
    the correct minute, and press the clock set button exactly on the tick.
    
    The radio feels solidly constructed, as good as the Sony in my opinion.
    Unlike the Sony, it's small enough to hold comfortably for many minutes
    at a time as you tune around for interesting signals. Though the user
    interface has some annoying quirks, remember, it's only a $110 radio.
    
    

       
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