Monthly Archives: May 2017

Surviving a nuclear disaster: “Go in, stay in, tune in”

There are so many reasons having a reliable radio at the ready is a good idea.

We radio geeks get it.

This morning, an item from Business Insider UK appeared in my news feed. The focus of the article was what not to do after a hypothetical nuclear detonation. Researchers discovered that the knee-jerk reaction from most would be to get in their car and drive away from the affected area as quickly as possible. Turns out, this is about the worst thing you can do because vehicles are such poor insulators from deadly nuclear fallout.

Here’s what’s recommend instead, according to Brooke Buddemeier, a health physicist and radiation expert at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory:

“Your best shot at survival after a nuclear disaster is to get into some sort of “robust structure” as quickly as possible and stay there, Buddemeier said. He’s a fan of the mantra “go in, stay in, tune in.”

“Get inside … and get to the center of that building. If you happen to have access to below-ground areas, getting below ground is great,” he said. “Stay in 12 to 24 hours.”

The reason to wait is that levels of gamma and other radiation fall off exponentially after a nuclear blast as “hot” radioisotopes decay into more stable atoms and pose less of a danger. This slowly shrinks the dangerous fallout zone — the area where high-altitude winds have dropped fission products.

(Instead of staying put, however, a recent study also suggested that moving to a stronger shelter or basement may not be a bad idea if you had ducked into a flimsy one.)

Finally, tune in.

“Try to use whatever communication tools you have,” Buddemeier said, adding that a hand-cranked radio is a good object to keep at work and home, since emergency providers would be broadcasting instructions, tracking the fallout cloud, and identifying where any safe corridors for escape could be.”

Read the full article at Business Insider UK.

Regardless of the scenario, a preparedness kit should always include radio. Mobile phones have limited utility when the network infrastructure is disrupted or overloaded. TVs aren’t practical or portable.

Radios are a simple way of main-lining life-saving information during disasters.

But again, we radio geeks get it!

Buyer Beware: Dan shows us how to spot a scam on eBay

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who writes:

This is an example of a classic scam — and these are usually seen involving
Watkins-Johnson 8711/A receivers.

The seller puts a photo of what appears to be a good condition WJ up,
with additional photos. But often these photos are faked or taken from
other ended Ebay auctions.

The description is usually, as with this item, in blue letters noting
the item is available only for immediate sale, and not for auction,
despite the fact that the auction is — an AUCTION and has a
starting price.

I make it my business to reports items like this to eBay and eBay has
a pretty good record of recognizing scams and removes them.

I think it’s important to point out these items to SWLing readers to
help avoid people being ripped off.

No doubt!  Thank you so much for sharing this, Dan. I didn’t realize scams like this were prevalent on eBay.

I’m willing to bet this scammer’s plan is to get you to outside the boundaries of eBay’s protection as soon as possible, luring you with a believable bargain price. This is why they ask for you to message them instead of bidding.

In my opinion, eBay is one of the safest sites for online purchases, but it is certainly not void of scammers. Remember the proverb, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”

Thanks again, Dan!

DK’s Barn Find: A GE Super Radio II

My good friend, David Korchin (K2WNW), has a knack for finding diamonds in the rough.

He’s been known to find a radio that needs TLC, take it home and restore a bit of its former glory. He’s had some amazing luck in the past.

Recently, DK sent a video of of his recent acquisition: a beat-up GE Super Radio II he purchased for two dollars. This radio will win no beauty contests, but it still plays well.

Check out DK’s video:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Many thanks, DK, for allowing me to post this video. It goes to show you that you should never pass up an opportunity to adopt a Super Radio. Even if the telescopic antenna is all but missing, the internal ferrite bar is where the money is!

Play on!

Tom reviews the Tivdio V-115

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tom Stiles, who notes that he’s recently posted a video review of the Tivdio V-115 on his YouTube channel. He added that the V-115 is an, “amazing little shortwave radio with many functions including MP3 recording.”

Check out Tom’s review via the embedded player or YouTube link below.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Many thanks, Tom, for sharing your review!

Funny story…

After watching most of Tom’s video this morning while packing for YAT (Yet Another Trip–!) I thought purchasing a V-115 from Amazon might make a lot of sense. Frankly, it would be handy to have a portable that does even a mediocre job of recording shortwave to MP3 files.

I did a quick search on Amazon only to discover, in the search results, that the quickest I could receive the V-115 was next Wednesday. I considered shipping it to my hotel.

Once I opened the product link for the V-115, I saw the following message from Amazon:

I thought, “What?!?  I don’t remember this purchase…!”

A bit confused, I opened the large container that holds all of the portables I use for review benchmarks. It was the only place this radio could be hiding. Inside, I discovered an unopened box containing an Audiomax SRW-710S–looking in my Amazon order history, I confirmed that the Tivdio V-115 is also badged as the Audiomax 710-S and Amazon linked the two.

Then, my memory kicked in! I purchased the SRW-710S for review, but pushed it to the backburner. Then in December 2016, SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, submitted a full review of the SRW-710S.

Click here to read Troy’s review.

After Troy’s review, I sat the 710S aside and, frankly, forgot I had even purchased it (after all, quite a few radios come into and go out of my shack!).

I’ll pack the 710S and test its recording capabilities on the road this week.

Tom seems to have been favorably impressed with the Tivdio V-115–perhaps the Tivdio version has had some performance tweaks?

Post readers: Anyone else have a version of this radio?  What are your impressions?  Please comment!

VOA Radiogram to end (Viva La Radiogram!)

(Source: VOA Radiogram/Kim Elliott)

VOA Radiogram, 20-21 May 2017: Special doomed edition

I will retire from the Voice of America on June 23, after 32 years as audience research analyst and broadcaster.

I was hoping to continue to produce VOA Radiogram as a contractor.  I approached various BBG and VOA offices. They all declined.

And, therefore, the last VOA Radiogram will be the weekend on June 17-18

Money is not the issue.  I am willing to work cheap.  My main interest is to be authorized to continue the show and maintain a VOA email address, so that I can keep in contact with the audience.

The irony is that, after retirement, I will finally have time to answer your emails – but I will no longer have access to the VOA email system to do that.

But, the show must go on.  In addition to the four weekly transmissions via the BBG North Carolina transmitting site, VOA Radiogram is also broadcast on WRMI in Florida twice on Sundays. I can hardly allow those half-hour slots to be filled by light recorded music. So, beginning the weekend of June 24-25, a program similar to VOA Radiogram, but with a new name and email address, will be broadcast by WRMI.

More about the demise of VOA Radiogram, and the emergence of its replacement, in the weeks to come.