Garcia discovers two positives about Tecsun PL-880 sleep timer

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Garcia (PU3HAG), who writes:

Not sure if you noticed this before, for me it was a glad surprise how well the sleep timer works on Tecsun PL-880.

To use the sleep timer, you press the power button for a about 2s-3s until you see the timer, using the tuning knob you can choose several options between 1 and 120 minutes.

Neat finding #1: the timer settings is kept between power cycles. So, you only have to set it once (in some radios, you need to set the timer for each use).

Neat finding #2: when using the timer, you would expect – as every other radio – the radio to shut off immediately along with ‘pop’ on the headphones. This is not the case with PL-880. When the timer kicks in, the radio gently fades out the audio for 20s-30s and then shuts off. No pops to hear. Amazing.

That is brilliant! I never use the sleep timer on the PL-880, but perhaps I will now. As you state, most sleep timers simply turn off the radio without warning and include an audio pop–not great if you’re wearing headphones and trying to sleep. Very happy to hear the PL-880 slowly fades. Happy dreams!

Reminder: “Afternoon On The River” via WRMI Friday at 2200 UTC

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who shares the following reminder:

On Friday February 24th (today) starting at 2200 UTC and going until 0100 UTC on Saturday February 25th, the local afternoon program “Afternoon On The River” From KIYU 88.1 Galena, Alaska will be broadcast via the WRMI transmitter on 15770 kHz for the east coast of North America and western Europe. We’ll also be on 6855 kHz at the same time, beamed to the SW USA!

I’ve footed the bill for this personally and am doing this just for fun. No QSL’s being offered for this broadcast.

Just listen in and enjoy. A phone number is given out from time to time during the show for requests.

Many thanks, Paul!

The W6LVP magnetic loop antenna

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, who asks:

Just curious if you or anyone you know have any experience with Magnetic Loops from W6LVP? […]Here’s his eBay page – 458 feedbacks and 100%.

Thank, Troy! I’ve never used the W6LVP loop, but the price–in comparison with other wideband mag loop receive antennas–is very attractive.

W6LVP currently offers two models of loop antennas:

Here’s the product description of the Mag Loop with Power Inserter from the W6LVP website (where orders can also be made–pricing identical to eBay):

The Wellbrook Model ALA1530LN-2 and DX Engineering (Pixel/Inlogis) Model RF PRO-1B magnetic loops are both good amplified receive antennas.  However, they are both expensive.  Shipping the Wellbrook antenna from the UK to the US adds another $100.

Extensive side-by-side testing of the Wellbrook, DX Engineering, and W6LVP receive loops was compiled using simultaneous WSPR signal-to-noise reception reports on all LF, MF, and HF amateur bands.  In addition, extensive laboratory bench tests measuring gain, signal-to-noise ratio, and IMD were also performed.  Signal-to-noise ratio is important to pull weak signals out of the noise and IMD is important to reject distortion caused by nearby strong transmitters such as AM broadcast stations.  In both test regimens, all three antennas performed very well and without significant difference.

The antenna version listed here includes a power inserter for use with receivers or with transceivers that have a separate receive antenna input.  If your rig doesn’t have a receive antenna input, check out my antenna with a transmit/receive switch.

If you live in the shadow of one or more high-power AM broadcast transmitters, contact me about a special version just for you.  Please contact me at lplummer@vcnet.com.

W6LVP amplified receive-only magnetic loop antenna (boy is that mouthful):

  • The W6LVP mag loop is a complete receive antenna system delivering top-of-the-line performance to amateur radio operators and SWLs – particularly for those with space and/or budget limitations.  It is a great complement to vertical or wire transmit antennas.   You have a knob to turn up the power but don’t have one to turn up the received S/N.
  • Ten foot circumference (approximately 1 meter diameter) loop.  Small size yields a natural stealth for HOA challenges.  The loop is rigid enough to maintain its shape but flexible for portable transport or attic installation.
  • Includes a low-noise, broadband amplifier covering 2200 (135 kHz)  through 10 meters (30 MHz) with no tuning or adjustment.  Perfect match for continuous tuning SDR receivers.  Great for contesters to quickly check all bands.  Greater coverage is possible at reduced performance.
  • Light-weight antenna structure fabricated from furniture-grade PVC yields a strong but very light antenna weighing only 2 pounds (not including power inserter or power adapter).  Great for both portable/camping as well as fixed installations.  Light weight and small size make for lower shipping cost – particularly compared to shipping from the UK.
  • Directly compatible with a low-cost speaker tripod stand (not included) for portable operation.
  • Compatible with light-duty rotator (recommended) for fixed operation.  Loop can be rotated to null interference by up to 30 dB or enhance desired signals.
  • Includes low-noise linear AC power adapter to generate clean 12 volts for the loop amplifier.  Unlike the DX Engineering antenna which requires 24 VAC, power can be easily supplied by 12 volt batteries during portable operation.  Reverse polarity and short circuit protection provided by automatically resettable fuse.

Eham reviews are very positive–so far, 5 stars on all six reviews.

I also discovered this short video of W9OY comparing the W6LVP loop to a full size 80 meter vertical (verticals are much more susceptible to noise than loops):

Click here to view on YouTube.

I am very curious if any SWLing Post readers have ever compared the W6LVP loop to the Wellbrook or Pixel Loop antennas.

I actually own the Pixel Loop and might very well purchase, review and compare the W6LVP loop later this year (if time allows).

If you own the W6LVP loop and/or have compared it with the Pixel or Wellbrook, please comment!

Click here to view W6LVP antennas on eBay.

Click here to view the W6LVP website.

VORW Radio International expands with shortwave broadcast to Australia

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John from VORW Radio International, who writes:

My weekly radio show “VORW Radio International” has now expanded with additional transmissions to Europe and even a transmission to Australia!

Each broadcast features a mixture of my commentary and listener requested music. You’ll hear a great variety of music in this program, from Classical to Classic Country, from Rock to Smooth Jazz, you’ll hear it all!

If you’re interested in listening, the updated broadcast schedule is as follows:

  • Thursday 1300 UTC – 1400 UTC – 6070 kHz to Europe
  • Thursday 2000 UTC – 2100 UTC – 6070 kHz to Europe
  • Friday 0100 UTC – 0200 UTC – 7490 kHz to North America (8 PM – 9 PM Eastern, Thursday)
  • Friday 1130 UTC – 1230 UTC – 3210 kHz to Northwest NSW, Australia

Questions, comments, reception reports and music requests may be sent to vorwinfo@gmail.com

Reception reports will receive a QSL!

Very cool and bravo for expanding your broadcasts, John!

CKZU unlikely to return to shortwave

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow, who writes:

From DXLD today in case you missed it . Well at least CKZN St. Johns [also on 6160 @ 1kw] is still on (last I checked) , the one I can hear at my QTH.

***************************************************
Bad news re: CKZU 6160 Khz

Volodya S

Fellas, from an insider at the CBC. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look good for CKZU ever returning to the air. 🙁 Thanks to Colin Newell for digging into this further.

Walt Salmaniw, Victoiria, BC

Got the answer.. not gonna like it.
Basically, it broke and they don’t have parts to fix it because it’s too old and no parts available. The money required to purchase a new transmitter doesn’t make sense because of the low numbers of people who use it (changing world, everything’s online, blah blah). Before you say it, yes I know, I know.

Anyway, there is no other way to voice your displeasure than the 1-866-306-4636 audience relations number. If enough people call, they might notice, but I doubt it.

Sorry to be the bad news messenger. I kinda figured that was the deal of why it was off the air.

This is sad news indeed for those who enjoyed CKZU. What amazes me, is how a 500 watt shortwave relay covered such a large broadcast footprint in British Columbia and western North America.

On that note, I just discovered this post by Colin Newell (referenced above) on his blog, the Coffee Crew Blog. Colin mentions when he started listening to CKZU and what it meant to him. Check out his post.

CKZU was a reasonably tough catch here on the east coast of the US–especially due to CKZN who shared the frequency–though I’ve heard them numerous times. Indeed, this will prompt me to go back a few years in my SDR spectrum archive recordings and tune them in once again–sort of a postmortem DX–? I’m sure I’ve captured them.

As Dave mentions above, CKZN St. Johns is still on the air and, perhaps, listeners on the west coast will have a better chance snagging their 1 kW signal now. According to an article about CKZN in the latest WRTH, the station should be around for many years to come.

Thanks again, Dave, for the tip and many thanks to Colin for the research.