Category Archives: Ham Radio

Alive and Well: Post-Coup Amateur Radio in Turkey

Turkey

Many thanks to a number of Post readers who shared a link to this news item which claims that the government of Turkey revoked 3213 ham radio licenses after the recent coup attempt.

I was reluctant to post this story because I couldn’t find any other news source substantiating the claim.

Turns out, the story is completely inaccurate.

Aziz SASA (TA1E) President of TRAC (IARU-Member Society of Turkey) writes:

TRAC-logo-TurkeyThere is no ham radio licence [sic] revoked in Turkey and ham radio operators are operating normally.

The reports on ham radio licenses being revoked by The Supreme Council of Radio and Television (RTUK) are unconfirmed and speculative. RTUK is not a regulatory body of ham radio. We believe that it is against ham radio ethic to share unconfirmed information, especially in this sensitive time. We would like to remind every ham radio operator to avoid sharing unconfirmed news and speculation.

In addition, I can confirm that I’ve heard a number of Turkish amateur radio operators on the air since the coup attempt.

The site that originally made this claim has posted an update (at the bottom of the page) stating :

It’s [sic] look like this news has been labelled as “FAKE” – Yesterday we gave this news for first after a quick phone chat with ham radio op. In Istanbul. Apparently there was no interdiction to use HF radio

This blogger should consider adding the update at the top of the post and amending the title to reflect reality. I suspect he’s reluctant to do so due to the increased traffic this misleading post has brought him.

On a side note: I happened to be listening to (and recording) the Voice of Turkey during the coup attempt. Of course, the news had been pre-recorded earlier that day and almost completely focused on the Nice attack. There wasn’t even an interruption of service. One I’m back from travels, I’ll post this recording on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

Milwaukee AES to become Ham Radio Outlet store

logo_hamradioMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow, for sharing the following press release from HRO:

(Source: Ham Radio Outlet)

RE: HRO-Milwaukee, Amateur Electronic Supply’s closing on 7/28/2016

On July 1, 2016 Amateur Electronic Supply (AES) made the decision to close down their entire organization and terminate all retail operations at their Las Vegas, Cleveland, Orlando and Milwaukee locations.

Upon hearing the news, and with the concurrence of AES senior management, Ham Radio Outlet (HRO) sent senior management to each location to interview the staff with hopes of acquiring some of the Amateur Radio retail employee talent in each of the current AES locations.

Together with this interview process, HRO examined what it would take to perhaps acquire one or more of the AES store locations. At the time of these interviews, many opportunities were explored with current AES senior management.

We are very excited to announce that HRO was successful in providing offers of employment to a number of soon to be former AES employees and that to some, we have offered positions that involve HRO sponsored and funded relocation.

We are also extremely pleased to announce that, after the closing of the Milwaukee AES location on July 28, 2016, Ham Radio Outlet will begin an extensive remodeling project to create the largest Amateur Radio retail showroom in North America. We will open our newest and largest Ham Radio Outlet in Milwaukee at the end of August 2016.

Effective at the closing of AES on July 28, 2016, all former AES locations’ direct telephone numbers and toll free telephone numbers will be redirected to the closest HRO location so as to not disrupt providing service to the AES customer base. Additionally effective on July 28, 2016, the www.aesham.com website will be directed to www.hamradio.com also so as not to disrupt service for the AES online customer base.

Steve Gilmore, National Sales Manager for HRO states, “We are extremely excited to have a store in the Central Northern part of the United States. It will minimize shipping times for our products to be able to be delivered in 2 days or less in most of the lower 48 United States. We are building a showplace that all must come see! It will be expansive with massive inventory levels and a large all encompassing demonstration area featuring nearly all of the Amateur Radio transceivers on the market today.”

Robert Ferrero, President of HRO tells us, “It is with great pleasure that we are able to continue Terry Sterman and Phil Majerus’ legacy of providing a fantastic Amateur Radio store in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is our immediate goal to have the largest, most well stocked Amateur Radio retail store in North America and perhaps even the world.”

HRO is a family owned business with 14 sales locations throughout the United States which includes a formidable presence on the Internet, making it the largest Ham Radio dealership in the world.

HRO has been continually expanding with our most recent location in Plano, Texas which opened on February 2, 2015. HRO is also continuing to evolve with the relocation and expansion of our Portland store which will open on July 25, 2016 at 14405 SW Pacific Highway, Portland, Oregon 97224.

Ham Radio Outlet – Milwaukee is located at 5710 W Good Hope Rd, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It will be open for business at the end of August 2016.

TX Factor Episode 11

ISS

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Eric (WD8RIF) and Mike (K8RAT) who remind me that TX Factor episode 11 is online:

“In this special edition, we follow the progress of a Devon School in their attempt to be one of the ten lucky UK schools to link up with Tim Peake aboard the International Space Station.”

Click here to view on YouTube.

Night of Nights XVI: July 12, 2016

Chief Operator Richard Dillman at Position 1 (Source: Maritime Radio Historical Society)

Chief Operator Richard Dillman at Position 1 (Source: Maritime Radio Historical Society)

Update: Please read Brian’s update regarding frequencies.

SWLing Post contributor, Brian D. Smith, writes:

“Thought I’d forward you this information on the annual “Night of Nights” event on July 12 (U.S. local time)/July 13 UTC, which provides an opportunity for shortwave QSLs – assuming the listener understands Morse code!

I’m sure you’re familiar with this one-night-a-year happening, in which maritime radio stations rise from the dead and transmit Morse code messages again for a few hours.

As a guy who honed his CW sending skills by listening to these stations’ constantly repeating messages, I have a sense of nostalgia and gratitude toward these stations, which helped me obtain my first Novice license, WN9ICB, at the age of 15 … less than 2 months after I taped the WWV recording that I submitted.”

Many thanks for the notice and sharing your nostalgia! Brian also forwarded an announcement from the Maritime Radio Historical Society of America. The MRHS describe the event:

It’s that time of year again. Time to honor all those ops who came before us by preserving their skills, traditions and culture through on the air operations.

Why 12 July? Long time True Believers know the story. But it may be worth repeating for new arrivals and to remind everyone of the traditions we hope to keep alive.

On 12 July 1999 some very tough looking grizzled old radio pioneers had tears in their eyes as the last commercial Morse code radiogram was sent. It was the end of an era. And as the last beeps faded away into the static they witnessed the end of the career to which they had devoted their lives.

These men – and some women – had stood watch over the airwaves on shore and at sea. Theirs was mostly the business of maritime commerce. But when their ship was in peril they were called upon to send the most electrifying three letters in radio, S O S, knowing that all their fellow radio operators would press their earphones close to get every scrap of information and bring aid to their stricken ship.

Once, our coasts were dotted with great Morse code radio stations, all communicating with ships at sea. They’re all gone now… all except one, the one they called the Wireless Giant of the Pacific, located at Point Reyes.

On that sad day in 1999 another event took place. The Maritime Radio Historical Society (MRHS) was formed. We made it our life’s work to honor the men and women of wireless by restoring that wireless giant. One year and one minute later the giant’s voice once again spanned the oceas as we picked up the thread and kept the faith with our colleagues of the air.

Every year since, in an event that became known as the Night of Nights, Morse code station KPH has returned to the air, joined by KFS and the station of the MRHS, KSM.

This year our friends and colleagues at USCG station NMC have labored mightily to bring that storied call sign back to life on Morse code for the evening along with NMQ in Cambria, CA..

And station NMW in Astoria, OR will be on the air as well.

Stations WLO and KLB will join us again as hey have in years past.

This is a global and local event. Hundreds of listeners around the world will be waiting with their earphones on, waiting for the signals of the great station to once again arc over the dome of the Earth to their receivers.

You can be with us in person!

The frequencies for this event are numerous! I have listed the USCG (NMC) frequencies below, but please check the MHRS newsletter for MRHS and other maritime station frequencies.

Again, Brian, thanks for the heads-up!

Happy listening, everyone!


NMC (Transmit Bolinas, Receive Pt. Reyes)

Frequency            Transmitter                         Antenna

472.0                    Nautel ND2500TT/6           173′ monopole tower
500.0                    Nautel ND2500TT/6           173′ monopole tower
6383.0                  Rockwell-Collins RT-2200  Omni-directional
8574.0                  Rockwell-Collins RT-2200  Omni-directional
17220.5                Rockwell-Collins RT-2200  Omni-directional

Guest Post: Patrick compares four receivers

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Patrick Canler who writes to us from France and shares the following guest post which he translated into English:


4 rec

The number of receivers on the market is quite large, and all are sold to be the “best”. I have thought it useful to compare materials using them in the shack as a neophyte SWL; going beyond the features in the brochures to talk about everyday utility. This article does not pretend to do “scientific” testing of the four receivers–skills and special equipment are needed and some specialized laboratories already do it.

The four receivers cover thirty years of electronics manufacturing; four different brands with their own technology and specifications. Over such period, technologies and innovations have evolved. One of the questions I had was: “Does efficiency give any receiver an advantage?”.

The Contenders:

NRD-535 from Japan Radio Company.

nrd535

A reference of the 90s! It received 5 stars from WRTH (which publishes annually the almanac “World Radio and TV Handook”). The NRD-535 has conventional construction with an electronic card per function and discrete and analog filters.

This is a home station receiver, weighing in at 10 kg. The NRD-535 ceased to be produced in 1996, and its value second hand is growing due to its reputation.

AR7030 from AOR

ar7030

Designed by the engineer who developed the LOWE receiver line, the AR7030 is also famous for its reception. It uses special ergonomics and a hybrid of software menus and conventional controls. Quite small, it is easily transportable, due its design that already uses SMC but keeps the analog filters.

IC-R75 ICOM

ICR75

Modern device, classical format and renowned–the R75 is the only receiver tested that is still in production [Note: it was recently removed from production]. It uses CMS, combines analog and DSP filtering (the DSP option is present on the device under test). Its ergonomic design is intuitive and so too are controls and menus.

1102S RADIOJET Bonito,

SDR windows

The 1102S RADIOJET is the only unit in this comparison that is produced in Europe!
The Radiojet includes the latest developments in technology, its performance is simply stunning on the data/spec sheet. The application includes many tools (spectrograph, digital filters, IF and AF recorders, decoder, list of broadcast stations, etc.). It brings together all the SMC receiving electronics in a small box that can fit in a pocket.

SSDR box

The commands and tools are assigned to a software (highly evolved) that runs on the PC which is connected the SDR. The power of the PC also brings graphics, memory, recordings etc.

Why these four rigs?

In the beginning, and it was it which led me to be SWL, I acquired the RADIOJET based on its announced characteristics: sensitivity of “secret services”, adaptable to all cases with filters, graphics tools–“Star Wars equipment” is not it! Later I learned about 50 MHz and at the same time I was struggling to exploit the Radiojet SDR.

A good opportunity to purchase an ICOM R75 brought me back to conventional radio ergonomics. As time passed, I felt my listening skills improved with these 2 receivers and the receiver syndrome grew! A Kenwood R5000 joined the others for its VHF potential and HF reputation.

Then I discovered an NRD-525 on Ebay at a fair price point (rare)–it joined the group of receivers. The latter two were sold and replaced respectively by an AOR 7030 and by NRD-535. I really enjoyed the 525, but the 535 is even better.

In use, the RADIOJET and R75 have always posed problems with settings and sound quality. Kenwood reassured me about the fact that we could get some nice reception without fighting against the controls. validated by the AOR, the NRD 525 & 535. Perhaps I did not understand the manipulation of digital filters???

Now to the shack!

The four receivers are placed side by side, but arranged so as not to disturb each other (eg. the display of the ND535 disrupted the RADIOJET).

The antenna is a 25m random wire oriented East/West with 9:1 balun and its own ground. The passage from a receiver to the other is done by a conventional antenna switch.

All the tests were performed in one evening for constant conditions, there was a fairly present QRM which, was not too bad for comparison purposes. The tests were made in SSB or AM. Preliminary tests had shown that the results in digital modes (PSK31, JT65, ..) relied more on the decoder performance of the PC rather than the receiver. The tests increased from the lowest frequency detected this evening (Europe 1-163 kHZ) to the highest (Foreign Broadcast =15,545 MHz).

The highest frequencies, up to 30 MHz, were deserted in phone, at least for my installation.
The procedure was:

  1. Signal is detected from the spectrograph SDR: it typically “sees” almost inaudible signals.
  2. The candidate frequency is tuned on all four receivers
  3. I listening to all of the signals on all receivers, seeking to get the maximum performance, using all possibilities (notch, passband, IF Shift, integrated amplifiers, attenuator, etc.)
  4. Results are reported in the table below.

One can notice rather quickly:

  • that age is not a handicap
  • the number of functions is not always an advantage
  • 1102S RADIOJET
    Performance and capabilities above the rest (on paper) and requires being connected to a PC. At the present time, on an old Celeron 2Gb ram, the RadioJet’s application never saturated the CPU. The band spectrum display allows one to find the QSO, to filter theoretically perfectly, but it does not always equate to the understandability of the signal or give a pleasant audio. And the number of software features and functions complicates the signal manipulation. The sound is still a little metallic, perhaps due to the signal processing software. Its small size makes it a unbeatable mobile receiver for travel, functions are incredibly useful for those who master the RadioJet application.
  • AOR AR7030
    Inherently simpler at face value–the AR7030 is ultra easy to use. It makes it easy for the user to find and tweak a candidate signal. It’s intuitive and has essential functions only. It has well-designed electronics. The AR7030 is also best receiver tested for handling strong signals without overloading (broadcasts stations or nearby hyper-kilowatted amateur radio operators) which seems to prove that it is designed for these stations. Its limit is the lack of adaptive notch filter types to clean the noise, which is still quite present when the QRM is there. (The newer version 7030+ has added features to help). Finally, it is the smallest stand-alone, portable and with 3 options of antennas connections.
  • ICOM R75
    The R75 climbs up the frequency band all the way to 50 MHz, the only receiver tested with this frequency range. It enjoys an excellent reputation, and can be equipped with a DSP (digital signal processing) on audio. The DSP provides adaptive noise reduction and automatic notch, but has a relative effectiveness which is not always successful in clarifying the signal. Sometimes it adds an unpleasant “rattling”. In use, the interface is pretty intuitive–mixing commands by buttons and menus. Twin pass band tuning (PBT) is effective and allows for IF Shift and/or notch. The speaker is (very) small and gives an aggressive/harsh sound. This receiver is relatively small in size and lightweight. It has a mobile stand and is designed for a 12-14V power supply.
  • JRC NRD-535
    The NRD-535 is the oldest tested–indeed, it was already discontinued before the other receivers were in production. A solid and reliable construction, good ergonomic with conventional front panel controls, good sensitivity, and a decent sized speaker have earned it status as a benchmark in its time. Very sensitive, it extracts the signals and, once found the right filter, gives it pleasant audio. Some signals are not completely cleaned but it does rarely less than others. The NRD-535 is designed for home use: it is heavy, almost 10 kg, and is contains several circuit boards which should not be too exposed to excessive shocks, especially considering they’re over 20 years old.

Summary

My ranking is as follows:

  1. JRC NRD-535 for its ease of use and ability to dig out a usable signal from the QRM.
  2. AOR AR7030 for its simplicity, portability and the fact that it extract good sound/audio quickly, even if a little noisy at times.
  3. Bonito RADIOJET for its small size and its extensive feature set. It is ultra-mobile with a laptop.
  4. ICOM R75 does the job and covers a wide frequency range. But lags in performance relative to the other receiver tested, with a “nasal” sound and a DSP that does not keep its intended promises.

About digital filters: the SDR and ICOM have them, the possibilities are extensive and allow adaptive filtering that others do not with analog filters. By cons they give a dry sound and sometimes add “snap” under whistles. Listening is overall less pleasant in comparison.

Receivers Advantages + / Disadvantages –

Bonito RADIOJET
+ Top technology, visual and many new features over the others on this point
– Complicated, metallic sound, emphasizing the sometimes painful receiver interaction with a computer mouse

Icom R75
+ Great value at the present time
– Audio and imperfect signal cleaning

AOR AR7030
+ Simple and effective
– Ideal companion if it had a notch filter: noise is present

JRC NRD-535
+ Effective sensitivity and clean audio
– Older technology, less portable

Note that this is a personal opinion: a computer geek will certainly get the most of performance and possibilities from an SDR like the Bonito RadioJet.

The NRD-535 shows its age, will one day reach the end of its useful life despite its robust construction. ICOM can cover up to 6m remaining mobile and has a good filter possibilities (DSP). The AOR is easy, fast and gives a correct listening, general purpose. It is the only one to pass the VLF.

The ideal then?
* RADIOJET for sensitivity,
* The RADIOJET for tools/features and functions
* AR7030 for the lower bands
* Icom for the higher bands
* NRD-535 for ergonomics
* AOR for portability

Personally, I use the NRD-535 for DXing (due to superior audio), the AR7030 for digital modes,
the RADIOJET to visually search for signals, and to sometimes clarify the signal even better and because it’s ultra-mobile and always in my PC case.

73,
Patrick F61112


Thank you, Patrick!

I should mention that I think you did a fine job translating your article into English for us! I would not be as successful writing an article in French!  

I’ve never owned a JRC of any sort. If I ever found an NRD-535 for a good price, I would purchase one without hesitation. I’ve never spent much time on the AR7030 either. It’s simple “Lowe-like” front panel is quite appealing for field use. I found that the RadioJet audio is quite nice when paired with a good set of headphones.