Category Archives: Articles

Photos from an EP2C field event

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Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mehdi Asgari, who writes with news from his amateur radio club (EP2C):

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We had a one-day [amateur radio] program on July 16, 2016.

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Our club organized an activity from 5:00 AM local time to 8:30 PM (local time) in Karaj’s heights (50 km of Tehran).

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We had a vertical for 15 and 20m, an Inverted-Vee for 15 and 20m and a Magnetic loop (can be tuned from 10 to 22 MHz).

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We operated two bands (mainly 20m and some 15m), both SSB and CW.

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Propagation was not very good but we managed some good DX contacts (East of USA: Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, etc, Japan, Canada, …).

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Antennas were made by us and we used two rigs (Icom 735 for CW and Elecraft K3 for SSB).
It was also an educational program for enthusiasts and beginners.

Cheers
Mehdi

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Thank you so much, Mehdi, for sharing EP2C special event!

I imagine your field station attracted a lot of attention on the DX Clusters and I bet you were on “the other end” of more than one pile-up despite the bad propagation.

Your club also used two great field radios: the benchmark Elecraft K3 and  the Icom IC-735. Two radios from two completely different eras! I imagine the age gap between the two was pushing three decades. The IC-735 was my first ham radio transceiver. Though it’s an older rig, it holds its own in the field and has proven itself reliable (the ‘735 also had one of the better general coverage receivers of the era). Of course, the Elecraft K3 has become the DXpeditioner’s choice transceiver due to its performance, versatility and efficiency.

Thanks again for sharing your event with us, Mehdi.  I hope to hear EP2C on the air again very soon!

Edward restores a Star-Lite Town & Country FM-820 portable receiver

Star-Lite TownAndCountry_FM-820_2Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Edward Ganshirt, who writes:

This is a “mystery brand” radio that I picked up at a swapfest for a buck, I never heard of a Star-Lite Town & Country FM-820 by the HOKUYO MUSEN KOGYO CO in Japan. This portable behemoth is not “lite”, It is heavy (13 pounds).

The only thing I came up with is Sam’s photofact that refer to radio. (I am not about to buy a service manual for something that is not broken). There is a Chrysler Town & Country station wagon, which is also a behemoth that swamps out all Google searches. This set appears to be made in the mid sixties. I was told that is was on a fishing boat as evidenced by its condition it was very dirty with a lot of corrosion on the bezel and missing a tuning knob.

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I fabricated a tuning knob on a lathe, which was a 2-piece affair. The outer knob is tuning and the inner knob is the fine tune. It cleaned up well and I had to repaint the bezel. The auto parts store said that the Chrysler of that area did not use metal flake paints but they matched a touch-up spray can of a Toyota millennium silver.

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This radio has 8 push-button bands: long-wave, AM, short-wave 1.6 to 26 MHz, and FM along with tone controls. The sound is surprisingly good it is a 6-cell battery only (no AC). It has reasonably good short-wave drift-free performance. The paint job looks good, there is a rusty chrome bumper next to the push-buttons. I decided to to restore this part. It is ok for your 1960’s Town & Country to have rusty bumpers.

While you would not take your Panasonic RF9000 your Transoceanic or Grundig, This radio is my “beater” to take to the beach.

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Does anyone know about the Star-Lite brand?

Thank you, Ed, for sharing this.  I am not at all familiar with this make and model of radio. I must say…I’m most impressed that you were able to fabricate a tuning knob! It would have been a challenge to find a replacement knob otherwise.

I bet she plays well, too–looks like a decent ferrite bar inside and a substantial telescoping antenna.

And you’re right, Edward, it is ok for your 1960’s Town & Country to have rusty bumper! Now take that girl to the beach! 🙂

Post readers: please comment if you’re familiar with the Star-Lite brand!

Wembley Stadium: A Superb DXing location

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Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Clint Gouveia, who writes:

As the designated driver, I found myself waiting for friends at the Beyonce concert at Wembley Stadium last Sunday [July 3rd], Not wishing to miss an opportunity and taking advantage of 8 stories of elevation (top floor of the car park!) I spent about 3 hours DXing with the legendary Panasonic RF-B65 and a Wellbrook ALA1530 active loop, running on my home-brew battery pack.

Rather counter-ituitively, I quickly discovered there was basically zero QRM and recorded wonderful signals from Zanzibar BC, Radio Bangladesh Betar and Radio Oromiya. Links to the reception videos on my youtube channel ‘Oxford Shortwave Log’ follow below. I thought readers of your excellent website/blog might be interested to learn that sometimes the most unlikely of places can provide just about optimum conditions for DX! There are more reception videos for this particular session to upload,including Radio Fana, Voice of Tigray Revolution and Radio CANDIP.

73!

Reception Videos

Video 1: Zanzibar BC 11735 kHz, best ever reception

Video 2: Bangladesh Betar 13580 kHz, wonderful reception

Video 3: Radio Oromiya 6030 kHz, Ethiopia, best reception to-date

Wow! What amazing reception, Clint!  I would have never guessed that a car park next to the largest stadium in the UK would offer up such excellent listening conditions. Honestly–that Bangladesh Betar broadcast sounds like a local station.

You also have a great receiver there in the Panasonic RF-B65. If memory serves, the RF-B65 is also a favorite of SWLing Post contributor/DXer, Dan Robinson.

Post readers: Follow Clint’s many DX catches on his YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log.

Thanks again for sharing, Clint, and reminding us that DXing locations aren’t always remote and exotic.

Propaganda from the air

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Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ken Hansen, who (several weeks ago) shared a link to this article from The Daily Beast:

China Now Has A Flying Propaganda Machine

The Chinese military has a new warplane with an unusual purpose: to beam propaganda and disinformation into hostile territory.

In that way, the new, four-engine Y-8GX7 psychological operations plane—also known by its Chinese name, Gaoxin-7—is analogous to the U.S. Air Force’s EC-130J, which it says“conducts military information support operations and civil affairs broadcasts in F.M. radio, television and military communications bands.”

A flying radio outpost might seem rather retro, even quaint, in the internet era. But in many of the world’s worst conflict zones, internet access is limited—and people still get much of their information from radio and television.

EC-130s—which has its own nickname, “Commando Solo”—and similar U.S. aircraft like it have broadcast propaganda in nearly all U.S. conflicts since the Vietnam War. Perhaps most famously, EC-130s flew over Libya during the 2011 international intervention in that country, in one case advising Libyan navy sailors to stop resisting and remain in port.

“If you attempt to leave port, you will be attacked and destroyed immediately,” the EC-130J crew warned via radio in English, French, and Arabic. A Dutch ham radio operator overheard and recorded the broadcast.

According to the Air Force, the EC-130Js deployed to the Middle East in 2015. While the flying branch didn’t specify exactly where the psyops planes went or why, it’s likely they supported the U.S.-led war on ISIS, perhaps bombarding militant fighters with warnings similar to those the EC-130J crews broadcast over Libya five years ago.[…]

Click here to read the full article on The Daily Beast.

Icom IC-7300: Field Day reports?

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I’m curious: any Post readers use the new Icom IC-7300 on Field Day?

While I gave Icom’s new transceiver a very positive review, it was based on operation at my home QTH. There were no significant contests in progress during my review window.

Field Day has, arguably, some of the toughest receiver conditions out there.  If a transceiver/receiver performs well during Field Day’s dense signal environment, without overloading or distorting, it’s a good receiver.

I’m very curious if anyone tested the IC-7300. I assume someone took it out to play on Field Day!

Please consider commenting with your report!