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Re: The Belka DSP/DX appreciation thread

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2022 11:06 pm
by 13dka
NEI3ZKI wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:01 pmI really need to take mine out more; it's so much fun using a high-performance receiver in an electrically quiet spot.
Believe me, I'm not a big fan of walks, particularly in fall, winter, spring and parts of the summer. :) But then again, this radio occasionally made this so rewarding that I walked for 2 hours instead of the intended 30 minutes because I was actually just enjoying my hobby, a few 100m away from the village outskirts without any QRM even, always much better reception than in my noisy home and even better than all of the (more or less) local KiwiSDRs.
NEI3ZKI wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:01 pmAnd in places that are free of QRM but not of other people, it's great that the whip is equally discreet and effective.
In times when young people walk around on the street wearing giant headphones, I have no problem with looking like I'm remote controlled. :) This proved to be funny even: I live in a tourist town at the coast and I usually pass a pretty big public parking area on my way to my favorite lap around the neighborhood. This parking lot is closed to RVs and camping trailers from 8pm to 8am anyway, and during the lockdown periods when all the camping grounds were closed this parking lot was a popular destination for RV owners, who often came in little convoys after sunset to set up camp there.

In winter, I often just circle this parking lot a few times (because I'm never far away from home then) and obviously I was looking so "official" with my whip and the earphones that I had several occasions of RVs arriving, seeing me then making a turn and departing again, some already being there packing up their things and leaving, or a trio of them coming back 2 times in the hope I'm gone just when I passed the main entrance again. :D

Re: The Belka DSP/DX appreciation thread

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 11:29 am
by KnoxvilleMike
13dka wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 3:14 am Alex'' shop )https://www.belrig.by is still there, Belkas are in stock and I think the (US and EU) sanctions against Belarus are not affecting this kind of private business at all. If need be, for an admittedly juicy markup, a version of the Belka (with special speaker and full battery capacity) can be obtained from Boris in Bulgaria (www.mobimax.bg).
Unfortunately, Alex uses Alfa Bank, which is apparently under sanction:
On April 6, 2022, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) added two of Russia’s largest banks, Public Joint Stock Company Sberbank of Russia (“Sberbank”) and Joint Stock Company Alfa Bank (“Alfa-Bank”), and their subsidiaries to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (“SDN List”).
I read Alfa-Bank - Ukraine is not sanctioned, but I would assume the Belarus subsidiary would be.

Also Mobimax has only seemed to offer their over-priced version for quite some time now, with the standard DX model always being out of stock.

Re: The Belka DSP/DX appreciation thread

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 1:27 pm
by 13dka
Short of bothering Alex with that certainly annoying question I just asked my bank and it looks like they have suspended their service with Alfa too. :(

Re the Belka DX Max - the markup is 80€ and of course there is some profit margin in that price but you also get some upgrades for the money, the most important probably being the speaker not reducing the battery capacity (the original speaker version has a smaller battery to fit the speaker). I'd personally not care that much for the cable, the silicone buttons or the fold-out legs, the glass screen protector sounds nice tho. I like the Belka speaker-less and minimalistic but I think the radio inside would be certainly worth the 235€ to me if I'd want all that.

Re: The Belka DSP/DX appreciation thread

Posted: Sun Jul 03, 2022 11:19 pm
by 13dka
This Sunday afternoon I was at the dike again with just with the Belka. Condx were just getting odd again (SFI=100, A=19, K=1) and there wasn't a lot of DX to hear. I still wanted to check the IBP beacon reception with the whip anyway (that didn't really work well last time), so I did just that. I didn't really expect much, also because 5 hours before sunset is generally not the greatest time for hardcore DX. IIBP beacons heard:

Around 14:00 UTC:

18 MHz

Venezuela, NYC, Canada, California, Japan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Siberia, South Africa, Kenya, Israel.

14 MHz

Canada, California, Hawaii (vy weak), Japan, Siberia, Sri Lanka, Israel, Finland (weak), Azores, Venezuela, NYC.

One hour later:

18 MHz:

Japan (loud!), Siberia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Israel, Finland, Azores, Peru (early!), NYC, California.

14 MHz

Thunderstorm closing in, had to pack up. :)

WWVH was 90% readable on 15 MHz all the time, WWV Colorado audible but barely readable. AUS/NZ beacons were missing but I heard Australian VOLMET on 11397.

Not all of the beacons were clearly readable, for example I got only some signal debris from the Hawaiian beacon, but still...this is a small whip with a tiny little bit of radio at one end, receiving so many of these 100W signals radiated by omnidirectional vertical antennas from all over the world.

You probably know that the nearby (200') ocean boosts the signals quite a bit and part of the exercise today was to get a feeling about the difference to my evening walks pretty much outside of the 10 Lambda saltwater enhancement zone, but on these walks I regularly pick up e.g. the Australian IBP beacon, with most of the above being present as well (with some elevated/undisturbed condx of course).

One reason why - of all small portables - the Belka can really pull this off is that it's a quiet radio, another one is the true CW mode: The 300Hz filter is miles above the 500 Hz filter settings of the other portables, which turned out to be more of a 1kHz filter with a pronounced peak and such wide shoulders that you can still get intelligible audio out of a broadcast station with it. The 300 Hz filter is as narrow as it says on the tin and as steep as a filter should be, so you get the full SNR benefit of CW reception to dig the beacons out of the noise.

Re: The Belka DSP/DX appreciation thread

Posted: Sun Jul 31, 2022 5:56 pm
by Andrew (grayhat)
As for the belka, it would be nice if they'd decide to release a slightly larger model, say the size of a regular portable receiver, that would allow a larger speaker and battery and maybe a larger display and some additional external connectors, just to say, being able to connect it to a computer through USB and control it from the computer, would result in a double duty receiver which could be operated standalone or used as an SDR

Re: The Belka DSP/DX appreciation thread

Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2022 6:19 pm
by 13dka
Got the new Belka (2022 model) today, went to the dike with it... <3 <3 :mrgreen:

Re: The Belka DSP/DX appreciation thread

Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2022 8:00 pm
by Andrew (grayhat)
13dka wrote: Sat Oct 22, 2022 6:19 pm Got the new Belka (2022 model) today, went to the dike with it... <3 <3 :mrgreen:
hmmm... sounds like you had some wild fun :D

Re: The Belka DSP/DX appreciation thread

Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2022 8:38 pm
by 13dka
Well maybe not THAT wild, I forgot to bring the booze..:D Alas it was too rainy to do any serious testing but dang... I didn't expect it to be any good with the whip on MW but it is actually pretty decent! I have portables (cough, S-8800. cough) with a pretty huge loopstick inside that don't pick up some of the stations I picked up in the afternoon with the Belka (my favorite example is 1449 Aberdeen)...at all!. Now on my evening walk MW was wall to wall full of signals (of course) and it shows that an omnidirectional whip isn't great in that situation of course but anyway, the sensitivity down there is great! It's that sensitive all the way down to 100kHz.

Maybe you know that -- I'm always wary of new versions of whatever, because I've seen so often that something was added and something else got worse... but nope -- Alex absolutely knows what he's doing.

Re: The Belka DSP/DX appreciation thread

Posted: Fri Oct 28, 2022 11:26 am
by 13dka