Reminder: Share a photo of your shack or listening post for a chance to win a Grundig G2

Manisha's favorite listening post is her balcony in New Dehli where she listens with her Sony portable.

Manisha’s favorite listening post is her apartment balcony in New Delhi.

The November 1st deadline for our latest Reader Challenge is approaching!

In exchange for sharing a photo of your favorite listening post or your radio shack with the SWLing Post community, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a Grundig G2 portable radio/recorder and player! The choice will be made by random selection, so everyone has an equal chance of winning.

Click here to read a full description of the contest and how you can participate!

Many thanks to our friends at Universal Radio for sponsoring this contest!

Mini DXpedition: Oxford Shortwave Log and the Sony ICF-SW55

Sony-ICF-SW55

SWLing Post reader, “Oxford Shortwave Log” recently noted the following on our Facebook page:

“Hi there, I received some very nice feedback regarding almost perfect reception of Radio Australia during a mini DX-pedition into the Oxfordshire countryside and thought I would share it.”

“I use a (now vintage I guess!) Sony ICF-SW55 and a 25 metre long-wire. There are lots more videos at on YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log

Great proof that Mini DXpeditions can pay off!

Sounds like that Sony ICF-SW55 performs admirably–it is certainly a classic portable.

I remember when the ICF-SW55 was introduced in 1993-1994; back when I was doing my undergraduate studies and had no funds for it. In the 1990s, Sony’s portables almost seemed to be sent to us from the future–large informative displays, advanced memories, and incredible portable performance were the hallmarks.

On eBay, you’ll find that the ICF-SW55 still fetches a high price.

OSL: thanks for sharing the videos!

A PARI DXpedition update

Mark Fahey, scanning the bands with his WinRadio Excalibur/Surface Pro 2 combo

Mark Fahey, scanning the bands with his WinRadio Excalibur/Surface Pro 2 combo

The SWLing Post DXpedition at PARI is going very well.  We started yesterday around noon with beautiful fall weather; late last night, it started raining but that hasn’t dampened our spirits today.

Gary-Ultralights

Despite the wet, chilly weather, Gary Donnelly (above) has been logging numerous shortwave stations during the day and mediumwave stations at night via his assortment of ultralight radios. Bill Boyd, another DXpeditioner, has been travelling the 200 acre PARI campus and listening via his Tecsun PL-880.

CR-1-DXpedition

DXpeditioner, Mark Fahey, has traveled here from his home in Australia, thus he’s particularly enjoyed hearing South American stations which are somewhat rare in his corner of the world. Today alone, Mark snagged two other firsts: the time station CHU Canada, and a perfect two hour recording of the Voice of Nigeria in DRM. Mark says that his listening expectations are turned upside down, because day/night band openings are nearly opposite of what he’s used to. This is the great thing about SWLing during travels: exotic stations become much lower hanging fruit.

Screenshot of the Elad FDM-S2 on part of the 19 meter band

Screenshot of the Elad FDM-S2 on part of the 19 meter band

Mark and I have set up a table full of SDRs and have been actively recording spectrum while listening. We have a WinRadio Excalibur, Elad FDM-S2 and the SDRplay RSP.

We also have the CommRadio CR-1 hooked up: it has been a fantastic receiver for visitors to use and a brilliant auxiliary receiver while both SDRs have been recording spectrum simultaneously.

The SDRplay RSP via the HDSDR app

The SDRplay RSP via the HDSDR app

A few samples from the logs

Despite mediocre band conditions, we’ve managed to hear a lot of stations.

Here is our band scan at 1500 UTC on the 19 meter band:

  • 15140 Radio Sultanate Oman Arabic
  • 15255 Radio Free Europe Turkmen
  • 15265 Adventist World Radio Hindi
  • 15290 Adventist World Radio Punjabi (vy weak)
  • 15300 Radio Romania International Arabic
  • 15395 Athmeeya Yatra Radio Sindhi (vy weak)
  • 15410 Radio Liberty (faint)
  • 15420 BBC English
  • 15435 Radio Riyadh Arabic
  • 15460 Radio Free Europe Tajik
  • 15490 Radio Exterior de Espana Spanish
  • 15535 Radio Cairo Arabic
  • 15550 Radio Dabanga Sudanese Arabic
  • 15580 Voice of America English
  • 15595 Vatican Radio Arabic
  • 15610 EWTN (WEWN) English
  • 15620 Radio Veritas (?) Filipino (?)
  • 15670 Adventist World Radio English
  • 15700 China Radio International English
  • 15770 WRMI English

1600 UTC on the 25 meter band:

  • 11435 HM01 Cuban Numbers Station Spanish
  • 11550 EWTN (WEWN) Spanish
  • 11600 Bible Voice BCN Persian (faint)
  • 11620 All India Radio Russian (faint)
  • 11715 Vatican Radio Russian (faint)
  • 11775 Caribbean Beacon English
  • 11825 WRMI (Overcomer) English
  • 11950 Radio Habana Cuba Spanish
  • 12050 EWTN (WEWN) Spanish (vy weak)
  • 12055 Voice of America Somali
  • 12160 WWCR English

2000 UTC on the 25 meter band:

  • 11600 Denge Kurdistan Kurdish
  • 11670 All India Radio Hindi
  • 11700 All India Radio GOS
  • 11735 Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation Swahili
  • 11760 Radio Habana Cuba French
  • 11775 Caribbean Beacon English
  • 11810 BBC English
  • 11825 WRMI (Overcomer) English
  • 1900 Voice of America French
  • 11930 Radio Marti Spanish (being jammed by Cuba)
  • 11955 Adventist World Radio Dyula
  • 11995 Radio France International French
  • 12050 EWTN (WEWN) Spanish
  • 12060 Radio Algerienne Chaine 1 Arabic
  • 12095 BBC English
  • 12105 WTWW Portuguese

Alan logs shortwave stations while camping

ka1103_at_night

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Alan, who writes:

I really appreciate your site. It has been my favorite since I got back into shortwave listening and DXing…great enough that I actually subscribe to posts via e-mail so I don’t miss anything.

In case you are interested, I did a post about what I was able to hear using my Kaito KA1103 and a Sangean antenna while camped in a tent in the back yard. Nothing amazing by many people’s standards…but I enjoyed it enough to stay up too late!

http://strasburg.rocks/2015/10/late-night-dxingswling/

Either way, thanks again for SWLing.com.

Alan, there are few pleasures in life better than SWLing while camping–even if it’s in your own back yard! Thanks for sharing your experience and thanks for the kind comments. This weekend I hope to log a few stations from my tent at the SWLing Post DXpedition.

Frank shares 1991 recordings and original notes of station IDs and interval signals

Sony-ICF2010

SWLing Post reader, Frank, writes from Germany:

First let me say that I enjoy your blog a lot.

After a 2005-13 hiatus, I have rediscovered a childhood hobby and your reviews have helped me find my way to the post-Sony portable shortwave radio markets.

First, I obtained my “childhood dream” radio (Sony ICF 2001D), because at the time I made these recordings I was still in school and 1300 DM would have equaled over 1 year of pocket money, so a Supertech SR16HN had to do. I thought I got some fine results with this Sangean-Siemens re-branded receiver then, using a CB half-length antenna, a random wire, and much endurance.

The Supertech SR16HN (photo: Radiomuseum.com)

The Supertech SR16HN (photo: Radiomuseum.com)

I kept regular logs throughout the years, wrote to 50 international and pirate stations for QSL and compiled this cassette.

A few years before I got that trusty SR16HN, however, I recorded a few number stations (such as G3, Four Note Rising Scale etc) with an ordinary radio cassette recorder, and in 1991 I put them onto this tape as well. The other recordings are done with the same radio placed right in front of the SR 16HN.

Feel free to make use of these recordings. Most of it are the well-known international state-owned shortwave stations of the past; plus European pirates; plus number stations; and at the end, a few (off-topic) local Am and FM stations interval signals.

As I said, this collection I made shortly after the Wende/reunification period, when all former-GDR state broadcasters changed their names, sometimes more than once.

Please continue your good work on the blogs! Weather permitting I am often outside cycling and always have the tiny Sony ICF 100 with me (which I call my then-student’s dream radio of the later 90ies).

Cassette Side 1

Click to enlarge.

Frank’s original hand-written notes. Click to enlarge.

Click here to download Side 1, or listen via the embedded player below:

Cassette Side 2

Click to enlage.

Click to enlage.

Click here to download Side 2, or listen via the embedded player below:


Wow! Frank, what a treat to listen to all these station IDs!

I had forgotten how many interval signals have changed over time and how many, of course, have disappeared. This tape represents a flood of nostalgia for me.

I should add, too, that I’ve enjoyed hearing so many IDs in German. It’s funny, but we all get hooked on listening to language programming from our native or second languages. It makes me realize just how many broadcasters used to have German language services.

Again, many thanks, Frank, for taking the time to digitize these recordings and scan your original hand-written notes. This stuff is invaluable, in my book!

Moshe’s early birthday gift: a Philips 90AL765

Philips-90AL765-FrontSWLing Post contributor, Moshe, writes:

After reading your post about your Panasonic RF2200 pre-birthday present, I decided I want to do the same. The radio I chose has a story behind it…

My Grandfather had the same exact radio. I used to play around with the radio as a child, (especially with the shortwave bands, looking for number stations…). When my Grandfather died, about 23 years ago, the radio disappeared.

I decided this is the radio I want for my birthday. I could not remember the maker of the radio, nor it’s model, but I remembered how it looked.

I spent many days looking for all variations like “portable transistor radio” and so on, until I found a photo on the Internet: I was looking for a Philips 90AL765 radio.

I found it on Ebay. A very kind seller from Australia had it.
I purchased and receive the radio on the 26th of June (my birthday was the 12th of July). As soon as I got the radio, I opened it up; it needed cleaning (the case itself and the contacts).

Philips 90AL765-Back

After cleaning the contacts and washing the case, the radio runs (and looks) like new. I thought I would have to recap the radio, but it sounded perfect and without even a hint of hum, so I left it as it is.

It has the volume and tone knobs missing, but it can be operated with no problem. Sound quality is amazing (I added a video of the radio playing All India Radio on 6155 kHz)–it works very well on all bands and is very sensitive. By ear, the bandwidth sounds like 8 kHz or more. Radio bands are: MW, SW (2 bands) And FM.

The shortwave band is divided in two: SW1: 2.3MHz- ~7.4MHz, SW2: ~9.4MHz- 22.5MHz. For fine tuning on shortwave, the radio has a “Fine Tuning” control, which is a potentiometer connected to a varicap.

If you place the control in the middle (It lacks a detent spot) and tune in a station, this control will put you spot-on (the receiver is very stable).

Some info about the radio: According to Radiomuseum.org, the radio is dated to 1977, and was made in Austria (mine and my Grandfather’s were made in Singapore).

It contains 13 transistors, 3 of them are can transistors (not plastic).

Tuning is slide ruler type, and the only connection is A DIN5 for recording (wired for mono).

Philips 90AL765-Back2The radio can be operated from 4 D cells, or directly from AC (in the picture you can see the transformer). It can be operated from 230V or 120V. Note that if you move the plastic pin cover from the left pin to the right one, the center pin remains visible at all times. Also you will have to move the plastic cover piece on the back to the left.

The Ferrite is 14cm long, the telescopic antenna is 79cm fully extended, and it has an elbow joint that allows you to place the radio in your lap and still the antenna will point up with no problem. Only thing is that if the antenna is extended, the handle cannot change position since the antenna is in the way.

Philips 90AL765-Side

Width of the radio itself is 29cm (31cm with the handle and the knobs).
Depth is 7cm.
Height is 16.5cm (21cm with the handle).

All in all, it is a very fine radio and I love it!

Moshe, thanks so much for sharing your story!

Perhaps, one of the true virtues of sites like eBay is that they allow us to search the world for somewhat obscure devices that have such a strong family and nostalgic connections. Congratulations on your find!

Jim’s shortwave listening post is a Navy ship

USNS Button - 02

USNS Sgt William R Button (Photo: NavySite.de)

SWLing Post contributor, Jim Clary (ND9M/VQ9JC) contacted me in June to obtain details about the BBC’s Midwinter broadcast to the British Antarctic Survey Team. Jim has been working on board the USNS Sgt William R Button since mid-June. While on board Jim has no web access, but he can send and receive emails and some files. I kept Jim informed about the time and frequencies of the BAS broadcast.

Jim had hoped to make a recording of the Midwinter broadcast at sea, but timing and some technical problems got in the way and he missed the bulk of the 30 minute program.

That’s okay, though, because Jim is an avid SWL and ham radio operator. During time off, he has logged a number of stations, so I asked if he would consider making a recording for us.  I mean, SWLing from a Navy ship?!  How cool is that?!

Within a week, Jim sent me a recording of the Voice of Korea. Here are some of his notes:

I’d heard [the Voice of Korea] many times before when Stateside (and they were Radio Pyongyang at the time), but their signals were always weak and had major polar flutter. Out here, the signal was in-my-face loud, so even though the station is not much of a rare DX catch, I wanted to get them on tape.[…]

[M]y location is the east southern Atlantic Ocean, not far from St. Helena.

[…]My ship is named USNS Sgt William R Button. The ship has been active since the mid 80s and was a “motor vessel” (M/V) until we became a Navy asset in 2009.

USNS Button - 04

[…]My receiver that I’m currently using is my QRP rig, a Yaesu FT-817ND. I changed over to a Navy antenna that I’m feeding with about 70 feet of 75-ohm RG-6 cable. There’s obviously some signal loss from both the length and impedance mismatch of the coax, but at these freqs it’s fairly negligible.

The antenna itself is an AS-2815/SSR-1 that’s mounted above the wheelhouse (bridge) of the ship. I can’t really describe the make up of the antenna simply because I don’t see why it works so well but it really does a good job. If I’d figured out where its feed point is a couple weeks ago, I would’ve had no problem logging the BBC’s Antarctic service!

.Click here to download Jim’s recording of the Voice of Korea or simply listen via the embedded player below. This broadcast was recorded on July 1, 2015 at 1900 UTC on 11910 kHz:

Many thanks, Jim! We look forward to any other recordings you wish to share!