Amazon Prime: $72 sale, today only

amazonprimeWhile I prefer supporting true radio retailers like Universal Radio and C. Crane with my radio-related purchases, there are many products (including a number of imported radios) only available from Amazon.com and eBay.

Amazon’s pricing can change from day-to-day, but I do end up buying quite a lot of stuff from them–everything from groceries to technology to books and music.

Today–and today only–I found out that Amazon Prime is being offered to new (and existing!) subscribers for $72.  This is a one year membership to all of Prime benefits: 2 day shipping, instant videos, Kindle lending library and a lot of streaming music (click here for the full list).

Prime has never been this cheap and the normal annual price is $99. It’s so tempting, I may just bit the bullet.

Click here to view the deal on Amazon.com.

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The Quadrus SDR: A New Military-Grade Software Defined Radio Receiver

Quadrus-SDRDr. Bertalan Eged of Spectrafold Technologies recently contacted me regarding a new military grade SDR they’ve produced: the Quadrus SDR. Today is the Quadrus official release.

The Quadrus SDR has phase-coherent multi-channel capabilities with up to 16 channels, which means that it can be used for direction finding, diversity reception, as well as MIMO applications.

While the Quadrus line is aimed squarely at government and scientific research markets, the $1490 US Quadrus DRU-244A-1-1-PCI, a four-channel SDR, might appeal to the discerning DXer, amateur radio operator, or radio experimenter.

Below, I’ve posted the full press release from Spectrafold Technologies along with several photos and screen shots.

Since I’m not a radio engineer, I’ve asked a representative of Spectrafold to answer any questions you may have about the Quadrus SDR line and its receiver architecture.


Military-Grade Software Defined Radio Receiver Platform
Now Commercially Available for Building Better Receivers

Quadrus-SDR-2

Phase-coherent, Multi-channel Quadrus Platform Brings New Features to Commercial Market

Spectrafold Technologies today released the Quadrus software defined radio (SDR) platform for commercial use, enabling access to advance, professional-grade platform for signal intelligence, spectrum monitoring communications systems and missions. The long-standing platform has features are still unmatched by other commercially available products, and include four cutting-edge, phase-coherent antenna inputs with 16 bit, 80 MSPS; high-sensitivity, high-dynamic range Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADCs) driven by a low phase noise; and high-stability sampling clock. The input signal chain also contains a Low-Noise pre-Amplifier (LNA) and an input leveling attenuator providing the necessary sensitivity while still maintaining the proper input drive. The architecture provides the capability of using high gain antennas, and standing against the overload by the crowded radio spectrum.

“Today there is strong international community of radio enthusiasts and listeners using SDR technology, looking for platforms that implement advanced radio signal processing algorithms,” said Dr. Bertalan Eged, chief architect of the Quadrus. “Physically and logically phase-coherent multi-channel SDR platforms provide the capability to implement various algorithms and receivers such as diversity reception, interference cancelling, beam forming and correlative receivers. These applications can help to deliver better sensitivity, more stable fading free reception, longer connectivity and collecting more information on the radio signal environment.”

The platform input bandwidth is wide enough to be used up VHF/UHF bands as Direct Digital Receiver (DDR). The samples are fed into an FPGA, where a non-blocking switch matrix is used to forward them to the input of the four on-board receiver signal processors. The on-board processing is capable of forming a 16 multi-channel receiver. The platform also features a standard PCI interface for PC integration, and comes with a Windows®32 bit kernel driver and fully open API, which can be downloaded from the website along with the operating SDR software. The SDR receiver software has remote control capability for system level integration via TCP/UDP/IP links. Further details on these capabilities are available at the Spectrafold website. The system has spectrum recording capability to binary files, some example can be downloaded for evaluation purposes.

SAGAX DRU244A-1-1-PCI  Stock photo 15-Jan-2015

The Quadrus API is available as a Windows® DLL, and developers and system integrators may download it from the SUPPORT page on the Spectrafold website. The hardware API is meant for direct hardware access, but a higher level remote control interface API is available as well, which can be used to (i) set up the receiver channel parameters and to (ii) access the IF as a UDP/IP stream. If you prefer to not use any of these methods, it is possible to fall back to a virtual audio card connection between the SDR software and external applications, like decoders and post processors.

Additional information on the performance and usage scenarios is available in the BLOG. Users interested in experimenting with the hardware can gain access to remote access to a computer with SDR hardware digitizer and installed SDR software. Interested parties should contact the team by email: quadrus.eval@spectrafold.com

Hardware orders may be placed through the manufacturer’s ORDER page. Standard secure payment option is provided via PayPal. International shipment by UPS is part of the service. The hardware is manufactured in batches with limited stock. Introductory pricing starts at $1490.

###

About Spectrafold Technologies

Spectrafold is a dedicated community of professionals, who work tirelessly to invent and create affordable, cutting edge SDR solutions. Together we have decades of hands-on experience delivering working solutions to the toughest missions and environments. Our customers include academic, governmental, and military organizations, but radio enthusiasts as well.


Screen shots

Click to enlarge:

srm-4 srm-3 srm-2 srm-1

Posted in Digital Modes, Manufacturers, New Products, News, Radios, Shortwave Radio, Shortwave Radio Index, Software Defined Radio | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio Slovakia

RadioSlavakia

For your listening pleasure: the English language service of Radio Slovakia–recorded on January 23, 2015 at 1230 UTC on 9,955 kHz.

This broadcast of Radio Slovakia comes by way of the World Radio Network and is relayed by Radio Miami International (WRMI).

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Posted in Broadcasters, News, Recordings, Shortwave Radio, What's On Shortwave | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Andrew Lack sworn-in as CEO of the Broadcasting Board of Governors

Jeff Shell, Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, congratulates Andy Lack after swearing him in as the first ever CEO of U.S. international media. (Image Source: BBG Press Release)

Jeff Shell, Chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, congratulates Andy Lack after swearing him in as the first ever CEO of U.S. international media. (Image Source: BBG Press Release)

Below, you’ll find the full press release from the BBG regarding Andy Lack’s appointment. At the end of the press release I’ve noted another article from the NY Times.

(Source: BBG Press Release)

WASHINGTON – Respected journalist and media executive Andrew Lack was sworn-in today as the Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the federal agency that oversees the five networks and broadcasting operations of U.S. international media. Those networks include the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio and TV Martí, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks.

Lack is the first-ever CEO of U.S. international media. Creating the position of a CEO has been a key objective of the agency’s governing board and the Administration.

“We are at a unique time in the extraordinary history of this agency. The 21st Century’s global war on information is increasingly threatening to our country and our values,” said Lack. “I am lucky to join a great group of journalists and news professionals spread across the globe who care so deeply about our critical role in that battle.”

Lack’s selection follows an almost year-long search process that began in October 2013.

“To say we are fortunate that Andy has agreed to accept this challenge is a huge understatement,” said Jeff Shell, Chairman of the BBG. “He is an experienced media executive, a respected journalist, and an energetic and inspirational leader. We are grateful that Andy has decided to serve his country and lead the BBG at this critical juncture.”

Prior to being selected by the BBG, Lack served as the Chairman of the Bloomberg Media Group. He joined Bloomberg in October 2008 as CEO of its Global Media Group and was responsible for expanding television, radio, magazine, conference and digital businesses.

Previous to joining Bloomberg, Lack was Chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, where he led the company’s roster of prominent international artists and vast catalog of recorded music from around the world. Before joining Sony Music Entertainment, he was president and chief operating officer of NBC, where he oversaw entertainment, news (including MSNBC and CNBC), NBC stations, sales and broadcast and network operations. He was responsible for expanding the Today show to three hours and creating the show’s street-side studio in New York’s Rockefeller Center.

From 1993 to 2001, Lack was president of NBC News, which he transformed into America’s most-watched news organization through NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press, Today and Dateline NBC.

Before going to NBC, Lack spent much of his television career at CBS News. After joining in 1976, within a year, he became a prominent producer for 60 Minutes and subsequently, senior executive producer of CBS Reports. Lack’s broadcasts at CBS earned numerous honors, including 16 Emmy Awards and 4 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Journalism Awards.

Lack received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Fine Arts at Boston University, where he is currently a trustee.

SWLing Post contributor, Richard Cuff also notes this article about Andrew Lack from the NY Times. An excerpt:

Before Mr. Lack’s appointment, day-to-day international broadcasting operations were overseen by a board that had become known more for its dysfunction than for managing broadcast programs that reach more than 200 million people every week. Now, with Mr. Lack at the helm, the feeling in the agency and in Congress is that the broadcasting board is better positioned to counter the increasing hostile and suspicious views of Americans aboard, and more forcefully engage international rivals such as China and Russia in the high-stakes information war.

I was particularly drawn to to a quote by Ted Lipien, a former VOA staffer and outspoken critic of the BBG. Mr Lipen states:

“I’m quite optimistic, and if anyone can turn the organization around, it’s [Andrew Lack], given his background,” […]“But he faces immense challenges.”

Indeed, “immense challenges” may even be an understatement.

Bon courage to you, Mr. Lack! Let’s certainly hope for the best.

Posted in Broadcasters, International Broadcasting, News, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

C.Crane CC Witness USB AC Adapter on sale

CCraneACAdaptorMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO) who writes:

I see that CCrane Witness USB AC Adapter is on sale for $9.95 right now.

This analog regulated supply (as reviewed on my web page) works very well with other 5 volt mini-USB powered sets for MW/SW RADIO use (not just for charging) as it’s NOT a switching type supply or contains any switching type regulator, so no switching supply RF noise.

http://www.ccrane.com/%21w55eP7vo0DN3XyseXl%21vtw%21/Cables-and-Adapters/CC-Witness-Plus-AC-Adapter

See the bottom of either one of these 2 web pages for my comments (if you have not already).
http://webpages.charter.net/n9ewo2/g2reporter.html
http://webpages.charter.net/n9ewo2/ats909x.html

Many thanks for the tip, Dave! At this price, I think I may pull the trigger.

Posted in News | Tagged , | 1 Comment

23 January 2015: A Friday morning 31 meter band scan

31-Meter-Waterfall-SpectrumThis morning, I tuned around the 31 meter band and was surprised with favorable propagation out of Asia (see spectrum waterfall above–click to enlarge).

I started logging a few stations, but the effort quickly turned into a full band scan/survey.  I logged everything I could easily hear between the 9,390-10,000 kHz portion of the 31 meter band.

I logged 52 stations and omitted eight that I considered too weak for good copy.

I used my WinRadio Excalibur SDR connected to a large horizontal delta loop wire antenna.

The number of broadcasts originating in or targeting China is pretty phenomenal: the 31 band is your oyster, if you speak Chinese.

31 Meter Band 1200 – 1300 UTC, all frequencies in kHz

  • 9390 Radio Thailand Malaysian (1200Z) then English (1230Z)
  • 9410 China National Radio 5 Chinese
  • 9430 FEBC Radio Chinese
  • 9440 China Radio International Cambodian
  • 9460 China Radio International English
  • 9475 Radio Australia English
  • 9490 Voice Of America Korean
  • 9500 China National Radio 1 Chinese
  • 9515 China National Radio 2 Chinese
  • 9530 Voice Of America Chinese
  • 9540 China Radio International Chinese
  • 9550 China Radio International Vietnamese (covered by CRI Cantonese distortion)

    Note the CRI signal on 9,570 kHz which is blanketing the surrounding spectrum with noise.

    Note the blowtorch CRI signal on 9,570 kHz which was blanketing the surrounding spectrum with noise.

  • 9570 China Radio International Cantonese (transmitter spewing distortion 50 kHz wide)
  • 9580 Radio Australia English (covered by CRI Cantonese distortion)
  • 9590 China Radio International Russian (covered by CRI Cantonese distortion)
  • 9600 China Radio International English
  • 9620 China National Radio 6 Chinese
  • 9635 Voice of Vietnam 1 Vietnamese (slightly below freq)
  • 9640 Radio Havana Cuba Spanish
  • 9645 China Radio International English
  • 9655 China Radio International Chinese
  • 9660 Radio Taiwan International Chinese
  • 9680 Radio Taiwan International Chinese
  • 9700 Lower Sideband communication (UNID)
  • 9710 China National Radio 1 Chinese
  • 9720 China Radio International Filipino
  • 9730 China Radio International English
  • 9735 Radio Taiwan International Indonesian
  • 9740 BBC English
  • 9745 Guanghua zhi Sheng Chinese
  • 9750 Radio Kuwait Arabic
  • 9730 China Radio International English
  • 9770 KBS World Radio Chinese
  • 9775 China National Radio 2 Chinese (vy weak)
  • 9785 China Radio International Laotian
  • 9790 Voice Of Islamic Republic of Iran Pashto
  • 9810 China National Radio 2 Chinese and All India Radio Telugu
  • 9820 Radio Havana Cuba Spanish
  • 9825 Voice Of America Chinese
  • 9830 China National Radio 1 Chinese
  • 9840 Voice of Vietnam English
  • 9850 Radio Habana Cuba Spanish
  • 9855 China Radio International Chinese
  • 9860 China National Radio 1 Chinese (vy weak)
  • 9880 KSDA-AWR Guam Korean (vy weak)
  • 9900 Radio France International Chinese
  • 9920 FEBC Radio Bahnar (w/Jamming)
  • 9940 Reach Beyond Australia (HCJB) Indonesian
  • 9955 Radio Slovakia International English (via WRMI/WRN)
  • 9975 KTWR Guam Chinese
  • 9990 Radio Farda Persian
  • 10000 WWV Fort Collins English

I recorded two broadcasts during the scan–both at 12:30 UTC: Radio Thailand (9,390 kHz) and Radio Slovakia (9,955 kHz). I will post them soon.

Posted in Broadcasters, News, Schedules and Frequencies, Software Defined Radio, What's On Shortwave | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

DXtreme Station Log — Multimedia Edition, Version 11.0

dxslme_v11I just received the following note from SWLing Post sponsor, Bob Raymond (NE1I), at DXtreme software:

DXtreme Software is proud to announce the release of: DXtreme Station Log — Multimedia Edition, Version 11.0.

For details, check out DXtreme Software’s Product Announcement in PDF format.
And many thanks to DXtreme for supporting the SWLing Post!

Posted in New Products, News, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , | Leave a comment