Remote radio listening

Radio is one of my main information sources, both private and of course at work. For shortwave and mediumwave reception you need a good antenna, preferably a longwire of several hundred metres of length. Where to put that kind of antennas in an urban setting? And how to avoid man made noise from tv sets, motors, Ethernet over powerline and so on?

The solution was to move radio and antennas to the countryside!

My DX listening station in Södra Möckleby is located in the Southern part of the island of Öland, in Southeastern Sweden. As I live close to Malmö, some 350 kilometres from Södra Möckleby, I have put a lot of effort in making the remote station in my summerhouse technically reliable and easy to control from a distance.

I am using a SDR receiver, Microtelecom Perseus, connected  to a Dell Optiplex 790. This compact desktop PC has a 120 Gbyte SSD for operating system and oher software. Radio signals can be stored on the 3 Tbyte hard disk. My general idea when picking the hardware was reliability rather than raw processing power.

When I built the listening station in the autumn of 2013 there was no fixed line Internet access in the house. I had to rely on 4G/LTE Mobile Broadband. It worked, but since IP-Only a few years ago connected the house to their fibre network I enjoy greater speeds and far better stability.

From home or office I take full control over the SDR receiver by using the Splashtop Remote Desktop Access software. The computer in the summerhouse is always on, so I can log in and listen whenever I want.

For the moment I can chose between three different antennas. Unfortunately, there is no room for traditional beverage type of antennas, so I use compact designed active antennas in the garden.

I am listening with a ALA-100 flag antenna in direction 250 degrees. The Wellbrook 1530S+ loop loop is adjusted to 320 degrees. A Super KAZ, FLG100LN, in 280 degrees is my most recent addition to the antenna farm. All antenna interfaces are from Wellbrook. Andrew Ikin of Wellbrook has kindly also supplied the splitter that makes it possible to feed several receivers if needed.

Switching between the different antennas when listening is done by using a Remoterig AS-1269 antenna switch. With ten antenna inputs I have room to expand!

Autumn and winter there are still problems with power outages on Öland. The PC is set to start up automatically when the power comes back. A UPS unit is under consideration, but not yet installed.

Sometimes there is a need to manually reboot after PC system crashes, and that I do by using wifi-connected ”smartplug” remote power switches. To control them I use a handy Android app.

The listening station (with computer, radio, amplifiers, router etc) is equipped with a ”master power switch” from Ontech. I just send a SMS to close it all down when, for example, thunder hits the island.