Listening to the Voice of Greece on the Signal Corps BC-348-Q

SignalCorps-BC-348-Q

Yesterday evening, I warmed up my Signal Corps BC-348-Q and tuned to 9,420 kHz to see if the Voice of Greece happened to be on the air.

Fortunately, I was rewarded with a strong signal from Avlis.

The ‘348 did a fine job playing all that lovely Greek music, too. Though the WWII era ‘348 was never intended to be an HF broadcast band receiver, when paired with a good speaker, it sounds pretty darn amazing!

Here’s a short video (apologies for the dark image):

1944 WWII Hallicrafters Shortwave Radio Promo

WWII-HallicraftersInteresting 15 min. video demonstrating the Army Signal Corps using an Hallicrafters SCR-299.

While certainly a promotional piece for Hallicrafters, this has great footage and captures a bit of the excitement of radio expanding into new frontiers. There is a discussion of how the radio was modified for military conditions as well as some innovations which were implemented to make such a system mobile.

As an aside, it never ceases to amaze me how clear and crisp black and white film technology of the time seems somehow better than the color images which replaced it. But that may just be me — a black-and-white guy living in a colorized world!

There is a second part to this video, as well as other WWII-era videos available on YouTube with a bit of searching, and of course don’t forget to check out the SWLing’s Shortwave Radio Archive page for more interesting shortwave audio old and new!

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

From the Shortwave Archives: BBC World Service report on the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

STS-51-L crew: (front row) Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair; (back row) Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik.

STS-51-L crew: (front row) Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair; (back row) Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik.

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Tom Laskowski, who submits the following notes with his timely off-air recording of the BBC World Service from January 28, 1986:

Thirty years ago today the US Space program came crashing down with the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

I was a student at Purdue University at the time, living in a dormitory.

I decided to make some recordings knowing this would be a historic event.

This is a recording I made of the BBC on the evening of Jan 28 (0200 UTC on January 29). The frequency was most likely 5975 kHz or 9590 kHz. The dorm environment didn’t make a great place for SWL reception and the recording is noisy but still of decent quality.

Recorded using a Sony ICF-2001 with a wire attached to a window screen for an antenna.

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Thank you so much for sharing this recording, Tom. What a brilliant way to remember and honor the Challenger crew.

To listen to a wide array of off-air shortwave radio recordings, explore the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

Jagadish Chandra Bose and the invention of radio

Jagadish Chandra Bose in Royal Institution, London

Jagadish Chandra Bose in Royal Institution, London

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, A Black, for sharing the following article from the excellent Hackaday blog:

J.C. BOSE AND THE INVENTION OF RADIO

The early days of electricity appear to have been a cutthroat time. While academics were busy uncovering the mysteries of electromagnetism, bands of entrepreneurs were waiting to pounce on the pure science and engineer solutions to problems that didn’t even exist yet, but could no doubt turn into profitable ventures. We’ve all heard of the epic battles between Edison and Tesla and Westinghouse, and even with the benefit of more than a century of hindsight it’s hard to tell who did what to whom. But another conflict was brewing at the turn of 19th century, this time between an Indian polymath and an Italian nobleman, and it would determine who got credit for laying the foundations for the key technology of the 20th century – radio.

Appointment and Disappointment

In 1885, a 27-year old Jagadish Chandra Bose returned to his native India from England, where he had been studying natural science at Cambridge. Originally sent there to study medicine, Bose had withdrawn due to ill-health exacerbated by the disagreeable aroma of the dissection rooms. Instead, Bose returned with a collection of degrees in multiple disciplines and a letter of introduction that prompted the Viceroy of India to request an appointment for him at Presidency College in Kolkata (Calcutta). One did not refuse a viceroy’s request, and despite protests by the college administration, Bose was appointed professor of physics.

Click here to continue reading on Hackaday…

Historic Bawdsey Radar site receives £1.4 million grant from the UK government

(Source: Bawdsey Radar)

(Source: Bawdsey Radar)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, for sharing this article about the historic Bawdsey Radar site:

(Source: Engaget)

save-radarA radar site considered by some to be as historically important as Bletchley Park will be preserved, thanks to a £1.4 million ($2 million) grant from the UK government. The Bawdsey facility in eastern England, established in 1938, was the world’s first operational radar station. The then-brand new technology helped the allied forces win the Battle of Britain, and some historians think it may have shortened World War II by as much as two years. The facility was closed in 1991, and is on Britain’s “at-risk” heritage list because of structural issues and water damage.

According to the preservation group Bawsdey Radar, construction work will start in September 2016 and the building will open to visitors in September 2017. The goal is not just to conserve it, but also to unveil a new visitor exhibition featuring physical and virtual displays. The UK’s “Heritage At Risk” adviser John Etté said the facility “played a vital part in the development of radar technology during [WWII], and had a huge impact on post-war electronics and defense system,” including GPS, water technology, radar guns and the microwave oven.[…]

Continue reading at Engaget…

eBay find: Acoustical Manufacturing of England

Acoustical Mfg England - AM Tuner

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Korchin (K2WNW), who writes:

I remember when I was a young kid back in Saskatoon, being invited over to a friend’s house to hear his “English stereo.”

We both worked at the CFMC-FM radio back then (he did the 10 PM-2AM slot, and I worked overnights). He being a little older, wise, cooler, than me, I jumped at the chance to browse his vinyl collection, read through his punk magazines and generally look to have his coolness rub off on me.

It was the first time I heard a Quad stereo system. He had the pre-amp, amp, and FM tuner (I think he might have had a Technics turntable, and a pair of Klipsch speakers). I remember being awestruck by the warm sound and the precise imaging of the system. Tracks that I thought I knew intimately took on new dimension. I wanted that system!—and I still don’t have it.

But I’ve noticed a few pieces on eBay, and I wondered if you’ve heard of them, too?

http://ebay.to/1n90DYm

Surprisingly, Acoustical made MW and SW tuners, too!

Acoustical Mfg England Shortwave

http://ebay.to/1PxLSEP

Here’s an early FM example: 

Acoustical Mfg England FM Tuner

http://ebay.to/1n915Wz

And a later one, that I think I saw at his house: 

Acoustical Mfg England FM TunerII

http://ebay.to/1OoIQoJ

These are all tube rigs, OM! And if nostalgia carries any weight, they are worth checking in to.

Many thanks for the links and trip down memory lane, David!

Some of you may know that David is my ultimate radio enabler; my savings account nemesis! :-)  He about got me this time, too. I almost pulled the trigger on that Acoustical Manufacturing Shortwave Tuner. It is a beauty indeed!  Though not tested (and one would assume it could use some new caps), it does look very clean and I bet it performs like a charm.

Still, I’ll pass this time. I recently dipped heavily into my radio savings so I need to allow a little time for the account to build up again!

I’m curious if other SWLing Post readers are familiar with Acoustical Manufacturing products? Please comment!

The Russian Woodpecker movie: now online

woodpecker_movie-graphic

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrea Borgnino, who tweets:

The Russian Woodpecker movie is now on Vimeo, Google Play & Itunes:

http://www.russianwoodpecker.com/

Thanks, Andrea!

It appears the movie costs $9.99 (buy) or $3.99 (rent) via Google Play, $12.99 (buy) via iTunes, and $12.99 (buy) or $4.99 (rent) via Vimeo on Demand.

Via Amazon, the movie costs $9.99 (buy) or $4.99HD/$3.99SD (rent) but, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, it’s offered as a “free” stream. If I can finish a few projects on my table, I hope to watch this tonight.