Category Archives: Ham Radio

Winners of the SWLing Post “Dream Radio” Contest


Many thanks to the 86 responses we received from the SWLing Post dream radio contest!

Also huge thanks to Universal Radio who sponsored this contest and made it possible!

This morning, I entered the numbered contest entries into a tool on The following two winners were selected at random–one from the US, and one from Australia:

Thomas in Florida, USA:


Icom IC-R75

“I’ve been interested in all aspects of radio since I was a small child. My grandfather got me interested in the radio hobby . As a teen I acquired an old Hallicrafters S-40B. I would listen across the SW bands for hours each evening. This was back in the day when the Russians were running various jammers across the SW bands and OTH radar other wise known as the famous Wood Pecker.

I always wanted to upgrade to a more modern receiver that would have special filters to help reduce the interference caused from those types of man made devices. However, as the years went on, and I got married and raised a family my hobby fell to the wayside. It’s taken me almost 30 years, but I recently purchased an Icom R-75 and have gotten back into active SWLing again.

It is an enjoyable hobby and looking to one day spark an interest in radio in my own grandchildren.”

Adam Ellis in Melbourne, Australia:

The Yaesu FRG-7700 (Photo: Universal Radio)

The Yaesu FRG-7700 (Photo: Universal Radio)

“As a school kid, growing up in the 80’s, I had a friend who’s father owned (a then) brand new Yaesu FRG-7700 with matching FRT-7700 tuner. Every time I visited at my friends house, I would look at the Yaesu in awe and ask to have a listen.

His father was a VERY strict man and forbid any of the children from touching his radio or HiFi equipment. The combination of parentally installed fear and the mystique of such a military looking and expensive piece of kit meant that my curiosity grew and grew. One day, with his father safely away at work, we powered it up and had a tune around. After a few minutes, I was instantly hooked, having now heard SSB properly for the first time. My friend quickly got concerned that his younger siblings would tell their father that we had dared to use the Yaesu so it was quickly turned off.

Well! My friend still got into trouble because we had left it tuned to an obscure frequency, along with several controls in the wrong position and his father realized it had been fiddled with! The feel of the controls and the glow of the dial lighting made that radio seem like the best thing I had ever seen and just had to own one. Of course, as a 12 year old, owning one meant selling many hundreds of newspapers! A feat all but impossible on my limited paper round.

Fast forward 30 years and I came across a used example at a Hamfest, complete with FRT-7700 tuner in near mint condition. I made an offer which was accepted (AUD$150) and it came back to the shack with me, in it’s original box! Upon testing it out, it works flawlessly with no fading of the display or noise from any of the control pots.

My only real disappointment with the radio is the minimum 1Khz tuning steps. It makes SSB a bit painful to tune. You need to save a frequency into to memory to use the memory fine tune control. It sounds very nice on AM and is mostly used for broadcast reception with a Wellbrook ALA1530 loop.

Even today, looking at the Yaesu brings back the fear laden excitement of tuning around as a kid, with a petrified friend begging me to turn it off! I never did find out what his punishment was. The Yaesu FRG-7700 is now a part of a large collection of receivers, but is one I will not part with because it has taken me so long to finally get one! 73’s, Adam.”

Thanks to the generosity of Universal Radio, Thomas will receive a new copy of Shortwave Receivers Past and Present by Fred Osterman. As our international winner, Adam will be given a choice of  Joe Carr’s Loop Antenna Book or Buying A Used Shortwave Receiver: A Market Guide To Modern Shortwave Radios.

I’ve truly enjoyed reading each listener’s account about their dream radio–these stories bring back so many memories of my own!

Once I discover a way to display the results here on the SWLing Post, I will publish them. To keep the post from being too long, I’m trying to investigate a way that the results can be embedded, much like an image slideshow. Stay tuned!

The new CommRadio CTX-10 QRP general coverage transceiver


Many thanks to Fred Osterman and Dave Zantow for sharing information about the new CommRadio CTX-10 transciever.  Here is the description from Universal Radio’s catalog:

AeroStream Communications near Golden, Colorado entered the hobby radio market in 2013 with their revolutionary CommRadio CR-1 and follow up CR-1a SDR receivers. The success of these innovative radios left many asking for a transceiver of similar size and capability.

The answer is the just announced CTX-10.

The CommRadio CTX-10 blends high performance, internal SDR technology, high efficiency circuit design, compact size and simple operation. This multi-mission QRP radio is ideal for field use and emergency operations. Transmitter covers 160-10 meter amateur bands with output power adjustable from 1 to 10 watts. The new design uses ruggedized land mobile power amps in push-pull. Every aspect of the radio design is optimized for low power consumption.

The efficient and sharp OLED display is readable in low or high lighting conditions. The radio has three built-in #18650 3.7V 2600 mAh Li-ion batteries providing 28.8 watt-hours of operation. A built-in intelligent charger provides seamless power management.

The general coverage receiver section uses multiple preselectors for optimized reception from 200 kHz to 30 MHz. An integrated CW reader and antenna tuner enhances portability. The premium tuning knob optical encoder is rated at a million revolutions.

Entire enclosure is aluminum with metal knobs and front panel. External connections are through-hole mounted for durability. Includes USB cable, DC power cord and manual. DC power requirements: receive 1.5 W, transmit 20 W. This quality device is robustly built in Colorado, U.S.A.

I’m really looking forward to reviewing the CTX-10. If the CR-1 and CR-1a are indicators, this could be a very well-built unit with a top-notch receiver!

Follow the tag CTX-10 for updates.

Contest Reminder: Your “dream radio”


Think back to your first days in radio…What was your “dream” receiver?  And why?

Or–if you’re new to shortwave radio–what is your “dream” receiver currently, and why?

Many of us had a radio they dreamed of in their youth, or when they first began to hanker after the radio experience. What was yours?  For newer hobbyists, what is yours? And just what made–or makes–this radio so special? Did you ever obtain one?  And if so, did it live up to your expectations?

Share your experiences with the Post for a chance to win a prize from Universal Radio!

The winners of this contest will be chosen at random, using a randomizer application; an independent non-entrant will make these selections.

Thanks to Universal Radio and Fred Osterman’s generosity, there will be two winners of this simple contest–a US winner and an international winner.

The US prize will be a copy of Shortwave Receivers Past and Present by none other than Fred Osterman. I reviewed this book a couple years ago: it is an invaluable reference tool and also a fun “dream” book.  With sincere apologies to my international friends, this prize must be limited to the US simply because shipping this weighty volume internationally would cost more than the book itself.


The international winner may select between the following (less weighty!) books, also very good references: Joe Carr’s Loop Antenna Book or Buying A Used Shortwave Receiver: A Market Guide To Modern Shortwave Radios.

Entering the contest is easy. Simply go to our entry form (below or click here) and fill in the required fields.  Be descriptive! This will make the contest fun. Let us know in detail why that radio was (or is) so significant to you.

Your entry will be recorded, and the winners chosen at random on Sunday October 16, 2016. We’ll publish the responses once the contest concludes, sharing only the name you provide.

George Knudsen (W4GCK): A Life in Apollo


I’m very proud to note that my good friend, George Knudsen (W4GCK), has been featured on the excellent omega tau podcast.

The interview is absolutely fascinating–here’s a description:

George Knudsen started working in 1958 on the Redstone missile, and moved on to working on the Atlas ICBM. Later he worked on the Saturn 5 launch vehicle, where he was responsible for the fuel tanks. He was on the launch team at Cape Canaveral for various Apollo missions. In this episode [we] talk with George about his work in this fascinating period of science and engineering history.

Click here to listen via the omega tau site.

omega tau, hosted by Markus Völter, covers a wide variety of topics from engineering and science. It’s one of my favorite podcasts, so I would encourage you to not only listen to this episode, but subscribe to the podcast.

The Icom SP-38: A matching external speaker for the IC-7300


(Source: Southgate ARC)

Icom are introducing a new external speaker for its revolutionary IC-7300 Software Designed Radio.

The new SP-38 complements the appearance of the IC-7300 as well as improving the listening experience from its large diameter speaker.

The SP-38 external speaker will be available in October with a suggested retail price of £156.00 inc.VAT from all Icom Authorised Amateur radio dealers.

Specifications about this new external speaker can be downloaded from the SP-38 data sheet.

Click here to view this article on the Southgate ARC site.