Liberty Net: September 26, 2015

Liberty-Net---Weston-meterby Kevin Strom, WB4AIO

AT THE BEGINNING of my involvement in amateur radio (I was first licensed in 1972), I was an advocate of AM over SSB. I didn’t even operate SSB regularly until the late 1980s. My main reason for this was the vastly inferior audio quality then prevalent on SSB. (There were rare exceptions, like old Central Electronics phasing exciters used by operators who paid exceptional care to frequency accuracy.) Of course, unmodified commercial AM gear was only a tiny bit better, but that’s a story for another time. There were several problems with SSB in those days: 1) frequency instability; 2) the lack of frequency accuracy (leading to “tuning by ear” by people with tin ears); 3) poor frequency response due to excessively narrow filters; 4) SSB filter ripple; and 5) distortion. Add all these things together, and amateur SSB audio usually sounded very mechanical, robotic, and horribly unnatural. Give me home-built, or broadcast, or modified high-fidelity AM any day!

I still love AM, but today there is great improvement in SSB: the PLL and TCXO and OCXO have made frequency accuracy and stability within ten Hertz or less routine, which by itself makes a huge improvement in how SSB sounds. Add to that the fact that AM and eSSB experimenters have encouraged manufacturers to widen frequency response and lower distortion figures, and the SSB of 2015 has the potential to sound very good indeed — especially if you use a software defined radio.

Lower distortion and wider frequency response actually lead to better communication, because the subtleties and nuances of personality and meaning come through better than they ever could with the old, low-fidelity, so-called “communications quality” audio of the past.

Listen: Liberty Net 9/26

Here’s my brief digest of, and comment on, just a few of the issues discussed on this week’s Liberty Net:

• More than 100 Jewish rabbis recently signed an open letter to Prime Minister Cameron calling on Britain to open its borders for even more non-White invaders, bizarrely invoking the largely-fictional “Holocaust” of Jews in WW2 as justification. (43 minutes)

Continue Reading →

Amazingly Good-Sounding SSB (ESSB)

by Kevin Strom, WB4AIO

TO PROVE THAT STANDARD AM (a mode that is very close to my heart) isn’t the only HF mode offering good fidelity these days, here’s a 10 MB mp3 audio file I recorded (with one of the Flex SDR-1000s  I’ve been experimenting with lately) Labor Day evening of some ESSB operators on 3630 kHz. The band hadn’t completely formed yet, as these Central Daylight Time fellows were propagating to the East Coast at about 7:30 pm their time — full daylight. And static from the remains of Hurricane Isaac was very much present. Yet these only moderate strength signals — some just equal with the static crashes — are still quite intelligible. I think the good intelligibility is because of the wide broadcast-style frequency response, not in spite of it.

It’s amazing what excellent sound some of these experimenters are getting out of single sideband. For years — decades really — only (highly modified to broadcast standards) AM gear was getting this kind of audio quality on amateur radio. But improved techniques have really made SSB sound better than ever!

For best results, listen on a high fidelity set of speakers or headphones:

Continue Reading →