WWV Radio

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chris319
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WWV Radio

Post by chris319 »

Maybe some of the erudite folk on this board know the answer to this.

WWV, run by NIST and which broadcasts ultra-precise time and frequency signals from Fort Collins, Colorado, used to come thundering in here in California on 5, 10 and 15 MHz. It used to come in loud and clear in Sacramento and Los Angeles, day and night.

Not too long ago I dusted off an old comm. receiver, connected a wire antenna, and tuned it to WWV. Nothing, not even a peep. Just hash. I tried at different times of the day and night and nothing. WWV is distinctive so you know when you are tuned to it. I tried tuning in some AM broadcast stations. Here in Hollywood I could pick up San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento and the local L.A. stations no problem. But on the WWV frequencies (all of them) I got nothing but hash.

I searched on line and could find nothing saying that WWV had ceased operations or even reduced power. Anybody know what's going on?

Some time later, I went to turn on this comm receiver and it didn't light up. "Oh, it's just a blown fuse" I thought. I checked the fuse and it was perfectly good. More Google searching and I saw where one guy had a winding break on the power transformer in his rx, so the transformer was putting out nothing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJewUiP0Ueo&t=185s
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burch
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by burch »

WWV is still operating, I just tuned in to it on 5MHz. It sounds like there may be an issue with your radio. You could try using the Utah WebSDRs to tune in to it. Just enter 5000 Hz for the frequency and switch the mode to AM.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by chris319 »

burch wrote: Mon May 31, 2021 10:12 pm WWV is still operating, I just tuned in to it on 5MHz. It sounds like there may be an issue with your radio. You could try using the Utah WebSDRs to tune in to it. Just enter 5000 Hz for the frequency and switch the mode to AM.
I was only able to get WWV at 2.5 and 5 MHz and KSL at 1160 AM on server #1. KOA 850 Denver was barely there which is odd. No KFI at 640.

Why would my comm receiver get everything else but no WWV?
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burch
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by burch »

That is indeed very odd. Is it possible there's a local source of RFI that's blocking out WWV?

Edit: Oh, also, the Utah WebSDRs don't cover all bands. I was able to hear WWV on 10Mhz using the Green WebSDR (#2)
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by chris319 »

Server #1 is the only one giving me anything besides hams. Am getting KFBK 1530 Sacramento on Server #1.
Is it possible there's a local source of RFI that's blocking out WWV?
On three WWV frequencies? Doesn't seem likely.

You mean QRM? :D
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by vitaflo »

I can get WWV on 5, 10 and 15 in MN on my mag loop antenna no problem. Sure it's not your antenna? You said you can get regional AM stations but some AM stations can put out 50kW and WWV puts out 10kW and is much further away from you.

Also don't forget propagation can also play a role. There are times I can't get WWV either if propagation is really bad. But it certainly is still there.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by Uniballer »

chris319 wrote: Mon May 31, 2021 11:04 pm
Is it possible there's a local source of RFI that's blocking out WWV?
On three WWV frequencies? Doesn't seem likely.
On the contrary, interference from a digital device that is radiating at 2.5 MHz will likely include high amplitude harmonics at 5 MHz and 10 MHz. Perhaps spacing WWV frequencies at octave intervals was not really a wise choice 8-) .
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by bob60014 »

I'm hearing WWV in the Chicago area.

Just curious, what is the make /model of the "old" receiver that the OP dusted off? Don't forget if truly old, it's likely it needs to have the capacitors replaced.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by chris319 »

We've established that WWV is on the air but that's about it.

To my ear I'm hearing white noise rather than a digital clock. I know what a digital clock sounds like.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by bob60014 »

chris319 wrote: Tue Jun 01, 2021 6:51 am We've established that WWV is on the air but that's about it.

To my ear I'm hearing white noise rather than a digital clock. I know what a digital clock sounds like.
What receiver are you using?
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by chris319 »

Kenwood R-1000
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by nisiprius »

It was going to be shut down, then hams petitioned to save it...

3/13/2019, WWV Funding Restored, Centennial Preparations Continue
Congress has restored full funding for WWV, WWVB and WWVH, despite a budget proposal from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to shut down the three standard time and frequency radio stations. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 included some $725 million for NIST's Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS), the budget category that includes the stations' funding...
That doesn't answer any of your questions, but it wouldn't be surprising if there were some kind of issue. Maybe you should just trying writing to NIST?

Reception was never reliable where I live in the New England area. The "atomic clock" (WWV receiver) I bought from Oregon Scientific never picked it up reliably, I was always moving it from window to window.

As a kid I could never get it on my Allied Radio kit (regenerative!) whereas the Canadian station, CHU, always came in loud--but not clear. What was with that? The voice always sounded slurred. "Dominion Obshervatory, Canada. Eassern Shtandar Time. Fourteen hours, twenty-three minutes. [Rusty screech sound]."
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by chris319 »

Here is a coverage map:

https://tf.nist.gov/images/radiostation ... 800utc.jpg

It's funny, I have a little GPS receiver that locks onto satellites all over the place, but I can't pick up WWV.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by chris319 »

chris319 wrote: Tue Jun 01, 2021 10:01 am Here is a coverage map:

https://tf.nist.gov/images/radiostation ... 800utc.jpg

It's funny; I have a little GPS receiver that locks onto satellites all over the place, but I can't pick up WWV.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by nisiprius »

chris319 wrote: Tue Jun 01, 2021 10:01 am Here is a coverage map...
For 0800 UTC.

Image

Did you notice how much hour to hour variation there is? 1400 UTC.

Image
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by vitaflo »

nisiprius wrote: Tue Jun 01, 2021 10:22 am Did you notice how much hour to hour variation there is?
This is why I mentioned propagation above. Sometimes the bands just aren't open. And of course during the day the D layer is going to hinder lower frequencies, so it's best to test this at night when the D layer goes away and signals can refract off the F layer. But even that is no guarantee. The atmosphere is a weird thing.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by bob60014 »

chris319 wrote: Tue Jun 01, 2021 9:07 am Kenwood R-1000
Check the attenuator switch. Those radios had issues with the switch being dirty/stuck. Jiggle it a bit and, if comfortable doing so, clean it. Do the same with the antenna switch on the back as it had similar issues.

Fuzzy memory but IIRC, the power supplies ran hot and degraded some of the connections on the ps board heatsink. One quick fix was to resolder all the connections.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by crefwatch »

Although manufacturing quality can be a problem, I continue to use more than one digital clock that synchronizes itself to WWV's digital information signals automatically. They tend to be made by companies that make home weather stations, for example. Their reception is affected by terrain and building structure.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by One Ping »

Didn't there used to be a station in Hawaii? Is it still operational. Did it use the same frequencies?
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by bob60014 »

One Ping wrote: Tue Jun 01, 2021 11:05 am Didn't there used to be a station in Hawaii? Is it still operational. Did it use the same frequencies?
Yes, still operational, WWVH.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by nisiprius »

I'm not clear on whether this receiver is currently functional or not. And, if not, whether you plan to fix it and make any further attempts to solve the mystery.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Back in the dark ages, I had to manually set time for certain network equipment using WWV.

Fun times, for sure.

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Re: WWV Radio

Post by Nestegg_User »

nisiprius wrote: Tue Jun 01, 2021 9:26 am It was going to be shut down, then hams petitioned to save it...

3/13/2019, WWV Funding Restored, Centennial Preparations Continue
Congress has restored full funding for WWV, WWVB and WWVH, despite a budget proposal from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to shut down the three standard time and frequency radio stations. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 included some $725 million for NIST's Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS), the budget category that includes the stations' funding...
That doesn't answer any of your questions, but it wouldn't be surprising if there were some kind of issue. Maybe you should just trying writing to NIST?

Reception was never reliable where I live in the New England area. The "atomic clock"(WWV receiver) I bought from Oregon Scientific never picked it up reliably, I was always moving it from window to window.

As a kid I could never get it on my Allied Radio kit (regenerative!) whereas the Canadian station, CHU, always came in loud--but not clear. What was with that? The voice always sounded slurred. "Dominion Obshervatory, Canada. Eassern Shtandar Time. Fourteen hours, twenty-three minutes. [Rusty screech sound]."

Nisi

back in the day, if I needed to see the atomic clock... I'd just go over to Duane physics building :D and WWV was easily heard in the Denver metro (end snark)

(agree though that it could either be antenna problems or some type of atmospheric thermal issue that is limiting the transmission)
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by Kagord »

Is this what my titanium Casio atomic tough solar triple sensor watch uses?
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by nisiprius »

Kagord wrote: Tue Jun 01, 2021 1:30 pm Is this what my titanium Casio atomic tough solar triple sensor watch uses?
I can't speak to that particular model, but when I go to the Casio Wave Ceptor page and type in 5135 because that number is shown in the picture and download the manual, it says:
Time Calibration Signal Reception:

Auto receive 6 times a day (5 times a day for the Chinese calibration signal) (Remaining auto receives cancelled as soon as one is successful); Manual receive

Receivable Time Calibration Signals: Mainflingen, Germany (Call Sign: DCF77, Frequency: 77.5 kHz); Anthorn, England (Call Sign: MSF, Frequency: 60.0 kHz); Fort Collins, Colorado, the United States (Call Sign: WWVB, Frequency: 60.0 kHz); Fukushima, Japan (Call Sign: JJY, Frequency: 40.0 kHz); Fukuoka/ Saga, Japan (Call Sign: JJY, Frequency: 60.0 kHz); Shangqiu City, Henan Province, China (Call Sign: BPC, Frequency: 68.5 kHz)
So... yeah... I guess. If WWVB ever goes off the air maybe you could ship your watch to Casio in Tokyo and they could keep it for long enough for it to sync to JJY and then ship it back to you... thus "fixing" it without even opening the package.

I wonder what technology can make an antenna tiny enough to fit in a watch that can pick up a 60 kHz signal? That's a five-kilometer wavelength...

As far as I know they don't make a watch with an actual cesium-atom atomic clock inside yet...
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by oldlongbeard »

Most likely you've had bad luck with propagation. We are entering a new solar cycle, but sun spots are still few and far between. They have a profound effect on propagation of multi-hop radio waves.... as well as a profound effect on those that want to bounce off the ionosphere back to earth, but instead, due to lack of ionization, due to lack of sun spots, get "sucked into" the ionosphere, never to be heard from again. Fascinating stuff. Do some research....look up the Maunder minimum.... hope we aren't in another one of those.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by Kagord »

nisiprius wrote: Tue Jun 01, 2021 2:42 pm As far as I know they don't make a watch with an actual cesium-atom atomic clock inside yet...
Why only one?
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by LadyGeek »

8-) BTW, I watched it in 1080p60 resolution.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by chris319 »

I'm thinking about getting a small battery-powered receiver which can tune to WWV and walking around the neighborhood with it to see if WWV comes in anywhere. Any suggestions for such a receiver, not too expensive? This would hopefully get me away from any sources of QRM.

From here in Los Angeles I'm able to pick up stations in San Francisco and San Jose at night and San Diego during the day. Picking them up is an easy feat.

For WWV I was using a piece of wire cut to 1/4 wavelength at 15 MHz as an antenna IIRC.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by LadyGeek »

I have a different suggestion - drive around the neighborhood with your car's radio tuned to AM broadcast. It might give you an idea if this is related to propagation or a stuck front-end attenuator suggested earlier in the thread.

My location is an RF sink hole. I get zero, zip, nada but QRN on all AM stations until I drive a few miles away. Power line noise like you wouldn't believe.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by bob60014 »

I use a CCRANE Skywave SSB for portable use. Works well for it's size.

https://ccrane.com/cc-skywave-ssb-am-fm ... vel-radio/
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by chris319 »

I've ordered one of these. I said "not too expensive" and this certainly isn't.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08V8 ... _qh_dp_hza
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by Call_Me_Op »

Note that we are at or near a solar minimum, which makes the ionosphere less effective at returning signals back to earth. This is usually more evident at higher frequencies, but does effect communication at 5 MHz as well.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by chris319 »

My cheap little radio arrived and I was able to tune it to 5 MHz with its fiddly and awkward controls.

Indoors - nothing but hash. No trace of WWV. I took the radio outside and WWV came in but it was covered by a thick blanket of white noise. I walked around with the whip antenna vertical and tried to get away from buildings and power lines. WWV was there but blanketed with hash. I'm thinking this is natural noise (QRN) rather than "man-made" (QRM).

Either it's the solar cycle or there is simply a lot of QRN in this area for some unknown (to me) reason.

I did hear some WWVH (female voice) faintly under the hash but it was there. It is such an ordeal to tune this little radio that I didn't try it on other frequencies.

The local AM stations came in adquately well.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by LadyGeek »

Did you try this during the day or at night? I recommend doing both for a comparison.

For those who follow solar activity, here's an excellent site: SpaceWeather.com ... about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by chris319 »

LadyGeek wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:01 am Did you try this during the day or at night? I recommend doing both for a comparison.

For those who follow solar activity, here's an excellent site: SpaceWeather.com ... about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
At night.

Indoors during day.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by LeeInTN »

Lots of new noise sources such as LED lamps and switching power supplies are wreaking havoc on HF in both city and suburban locales.
But hey, noise is less troublesome at higher freqs - and since we've had a couple of weeks of good Sporadic-E, tune up to 10 meters and listen to all the DX.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by chris319 »

It's daytime now and even 50 kW KFI has some noise under it, but it's perfectly readable. I am 24 miles from the KFI transmitter.

KNX is closer and I don't hear noise. KABC is even closer and is clean.

Last night I was in a park where there were no buildings and no power lines around and still there was a considerable amount of hash. If it's man-made noise, it's blanketing everything. I'm thinking any LED lights or the like that generate QRM can't carry more than a few feet. The hash is really intense and seems to be blanketing the whole neighborhood.

I have a light dimmer in my study and it definitely puts a buzz into my AM reception. When I turn off the light the buzz is gone. I also have an LED desk lamp near the radio and it is perfectly quiet - zero hash.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by Teague »

nisiprius wrote: Tue Jun 01, 2021 9:26 am
...
As a kid I could never get it on my Allied Radio kit (regenerative!) whereas the Canadian station, CHU, always came in loud--but not clear. What was with that? The voice always sounded slurred. "Dominion Obshervatory, Canada. Eassern Shtandar Time. Fourteen hours, twenty-three minutes. [Rusty screech sound]."
Because Canadian beer actually contains a meaningful amount of alcohol?
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by LeeInTN »

The Allied/Knight SpanMaster Regen radio was actually a pretty sensitive rig. Not especially selective, though.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by jasc15 »

I just came across this on another forum. Perhaps it's relavent to the OP.

https://www.weather.gov/nwr/outages
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by bob60014 »

jasc15 wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 10:25 pm I just came across this on another forum. Perhaps it's relavent to the OP.

https://www.weather.gov/nwr/outages
Two very different services and more significantly, frequencies.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by chris319 »

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Re: WWV Radio

Post by backpacker61 »

chris319 wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 2:56 pm It's daytime now and even 50 kW KFI has some noise under it, but it's perfectly readable. I am 24 miles from the KFI transmitter.
AM radio frequencies are called "Medium wave", and their propagation characteristics will be different than "Short wave" frequencies such as WWV at 5 MHz. "Medium wave" signals tend to "roll" along the surface of the earth.

We are at a pretty low point in the Solar cycle, and, depending on your location relative to Fort Collins, Co, you will probably be depending on NVIS or "near-vertical incidence skywave" propagation on 5 MHz.

You can check the "state of the ionosphere" via this foF2 ionosonde data, which measures a property called the "critical frequency":

https://ngdc.noaa.gov/stp/IONO/rt-iono/ ... 0_foF2.png

For NVIS propagation to "work", the "blue line" will need to be at a level higher than the "5" on the y axis on the left side at the point where the blue line stops (which will be within 15 minutes of the current time). I believe the WWV antennas are verticals, which really aren't the best for making use of NVIS propagation anyway.

You might actually have better luck getting WWVH in Hawaii at 10 MHz or 15 MHz at many times of day.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by chris319 »

I found this big book of WWV by NIST. It explains everything.

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GOV ... 258eff.pdf
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by dude19 »

My Radio controlled clock keeps getting the time wrong. A lot of times I feel that I should just set it myself.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by RetiredAL »

LeeInTN wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 4:29 pm The Allied/Knight SpanMaster Regen radio was actually a pretty sensitive rig. Not especially selective, though.
+1

I had one as a kid. Mine worked fine in Waukegan IL and San Diego. When we moved to Guantanamo Bay and at first lived on the point that housed the Navy Radio Communication center, that radio was near useless that near those strong transmitters. It got upgraded to a Knight R-100 which worked fine.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by dratkinson »

dude19 wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:14 pm My Radio controlled clock keeps getting the time wrong. A lot of times I feel that I should just set it myself.
Had a similar problem. Sometimes the time would remain accurate for several months, then it would change. (Use a nightly clock alarm to remind me to take meds, so it's quickly obvious when the time is incorrect.)

My weather radio (Sangean CL 100) sets its time using RDS (radio data system)---gets its time from a user-selected FM radio station, not from WWV.

My solution. After calling the radio stations to complain to the engineers that their time signal was wrong... I gave up and changed the user-selected FM station* used to set the time... until the time seemed to remain accurate. Third times the charm. (* When I tune to a RDS-capable FM station, the display says "R.B.D.S" (radio broadcast data system), which is the official name used for the U.S. version of RDS. Those stations are the candidates from which I may get time information.)

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Data_System


Idea. Read your user's manual and learn how to change the FM station from which your clock gets its time information. Change to a different station and see if it's engineers do a better job. Keep changing stations until you find one that keeps accurate time information. May require several months.
Last edited by dratkinson on Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: WWV Radio

Post by dratkinson »

LeeInTN wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 4:29 pm The Allied/Knight SpanMaster Regen radio was actually a pretty sensitive rig. Not especially selective, though.
Built a Knight Kit Star Roamer as a teenager in the early '60s and fed it from a north-pointing long wire. Remember the first station I heard and identified was HCJB out of Quito Ecuador. Got a large world map for the wall and push pins to track stations heard. Eventually added an external RF pre-amp to pull in weaker stations.

Life intervened and no longer had time for s/w listening, so gave it away in the late '70s to the young son of friends when he expressed interest in s/w radio. Showed him how to use it.

Good times.
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