Monthly Archives: May 2017

The Como Audio Amico and Musica via Kickstarter

The Como Audio Amico

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tom Ally, who writes:

Saw this and wanted you to know about it since you mentioned loving his past Kickstarter [for the Solo WiFi radio].

I backed the Musica model instead of the Amico since it still has 18 days left and it had a CD player in it but thought you would like the portable Amico

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/819585793/como-audio-amico-portable-multi-room-wifi-music-sy

Thanks for the tip, Tom!

If I didn’t already own the Como Audio Solo, I would grab the Amico. It appears to be nearly identical to the Solo–save, in a vertical orientation–and includes an internal rechargeable battery option.

Here’s a full list of its specifications and features:

  • Multi-room: play different sources in every room or sync them all together
  • Internet radio accessing 30,000+ stations
  • Spotify
  • Bluetooth with aptX
  • High performance FM Tuner 
  • DAB+ (International version only)  DAB+ upgrade and VAT is included in shipping cost
  • NFC Android Bluetooth connection
  • DLNA WIFI Music player allowing easy navigation and playback through a USB or network-shared library of music files including AAC+, MP3, WMA, WAV, and FLAC
  • High-Res inputs: 1 analog and 1 USB
  • Dual alarm clock functionality
  • Snooze function
  • Sleep Timer
  • 2 X 30 watt RMS amplifier, <1% THD
  • 3″ woofer with four layer voice coil
  • 3/4″ dome tweeter
  • Independent Remote Control
  • Universal Switching Power Supply 110-240V

I continue to be very pleased with my Como Audio Solo–it pretty much lives in my radio shack and I use it daily to catch up on my favorite news and music sources. I distribute the Solo’s audio throughout the house with my SSTRAN AMT3000 AM transmitter–admittedly, an old school version of Como’s “multi-room audio sync”–!

When I need a battery-powered portable WiFi radio these days, I read for my Sangean WFR-28–thus, the Amico would be a pretty pricey impulse purchase for me at this point!

The Como Audio Musica

I find it fascinating Como has also introduced the Musica model which includes a CD player–somewhat of a unique feature in 2017.

Here are the Musica specifications and features:

  • Multi-Room: play different sources in every room or sync them all together
  • Internet radio accessing 30,000+ stations
  • Integrated music streaming services: Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, Napster, Amazon Music* (*Available Winter 2017)
  • On-board single slot-loading CD player engineered to meet stringent car audio standards
  • Supported CD formats: CD, CD-R, CD-RW/MP3/WMA
  • Bluetooth with aptX & AAC
  • High performance FM Tuner
  • DAB+ (International version only) – DAB+ upgrade and VAT is included in shipping cost
  • NFC Android Bluetooth connection
  • DLNA WIFI Music player allowing easy navigation and playback through a USB or network-shared library of music files including AAC+, MP3, WMA, WAV, and FLAC
  • Ethernet connection
  • High-Res inputs: 2 analog, 1 optical
  • Dual alarm clock functionality
  • Snooze function
  • Sleep Timer
  • 2 X 30 watt RMS amplifier, <1% THD
  • 2 X 3″ woofer with four layer voice coil
  • 2 X 3/4″ dome tweeter
  • Independent Remote Control
  • Universal Switching Power Supply 110-240V
  • Dimensions: 405 mm W x 143 mm H x 165.5mm D (including antenna)
  • Weight: 9.3 lbs, 4.21 kg

I still have (quite literally) hundreds of CDs. While many have been converted to AAC and MP3 formats, there’s still something to be said for CD audio fidelity and enjoying a proper album format.

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a Como Audio device, you might consider the new Amico and Musica via Como’s Kickstarter campaign.

Book review: A History of Soviet Radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, William Lee, who forwards this review of book on domestic radio history in Russia:

Russia in the Microphone Age: A History of Soviet Radio, 1919-1970

Click here to download as a PDF.

Click here to view/purchase this book on Amazon.com and Google Play.

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!