Part 1: SWLing Post shack photos

The listening post and ham radio shack of Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW) from Ponza Island, Italy.

The listening post and ham radio shack of Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW) from Ponza Island, Italy.

Several months ago, we conducted a shack photo contest sponsored by Universal Radio. At the time, I promised to post all of your excellent photos soon–apologies to all for the extended delay!

The following is the first set of ten photos along with any notes that were included.I plan to post these photos in sets of 10 and tag your names in each post. These actually take time to format for the blog, but I hope to post new sets of shack photos in the coming days.

Click on images to enlarge and enjoy:


Stu McLeod

Stus listening post

Notes:

  • 1937 Philco 620 EZ 121
  • 1936 Ultimate
  • 1936 Philips P626 Superhet Radio Player
  • 1937 World Radio
  • 1936 Stewart Warner R-146X

Lower is my tweaked Icom IC-R71. Most fun is with the 1936 Philips P626 Radioplayer–for its age , its tuning sensitivity and selectivity is simply amazing.


Stephen Morshead

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Notes: An Icom R71E and CommRadio CR-1a and a transmatch tuner running a sloping dipole longwire. My favourite rig at the momemnt is my Icom–maybe older but quite sensitive compared to the CommRadio–but the CommRadio is quite good on CW decoding. SWL callsign is MA3087swl.


John Magee (W4GLX)

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Notes: My favorite gear to use is The Kenwood TS 2000. I also have an Kenwood R2000 for my short wave listening …


Robin Gist (K4VU)

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Notes: Elecraft K3 transceiver, Alpha 78 amplifier, Vibroplex Iambic Deluxe paddle


Matt Champion (AC0TW)

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Notes: My shack is simply a bedside table connected to a homebrew multiband dipole. I use the Radio Shack DX-394 for most of my DXing and the Grundig Aviator G6 Buzz Aldrin edition for local FM and shortwave during outdoor excursions.


Ken Carr (KE1RI)

KE1RI Listening Post

Notes: My ham shack is my favorite listening post. Since all the children are now adults I am able to dedicate this second floor bedroom to radio.

From left to right: Ten-Tec Omni VI transceiver (with all Plus upgrades), Collins 302C-3 wattmeter, Yaesu FTDX-3000 transceiver,Ameriton AL-811H amplifier, Hammarlund HQ-OneSeventy receiver, Hallicrafters HT-37 transmitter, and, National HRO-Sixty receiver. To the far right can be seen part of a Grundig 8080 / USA.

Unseen are an additional 4 consoles, several Trans-Oceanics, and many others.


Vance Thompson (K7VNZ)

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Notes: Attached is a photo of probably one of the smallest, most cluttered/disorganized (to the naked eye) listening station ever. Then again, maybe not… But seriously, I read your latest post, and just immediately took a picture. No cleaning up, staging, adding or removing things, or photoshop used. It is what it is and I like it.

My name is Vance Thompson and my callsign is K7VNZ, and this is where I listen.

Some highlights starting from top to bottom:

Top shelf: An old Griffen “Radio Shark” (1st gen) nestled in a homemade loop antenna made with an old Roi-Tan cigar box as the base, a lava lamp, a Colonial Viper, a Buddha box that looks like a weird radio.

Middle shelf: WWII blackout lantern, toy safe to hold all my secret spy number decoder books in :-), misc. vaseline glass and ‘glowy’ stuff, and a mask my daughter made. Dixie Cannonball crystal radio headset hanging on left, unnamed headset on right with cool radioactive stickers I put on it.

Monitor shelf: Viewing SWLing Post, of course. Raspberry Pi on left running ADS-B software when I turn it on, green laser pointer I used to tease my dog with, stack of misc. papers with a homemade crystal radio made on an expired plastic gift card on top.

Bottom shelf: Baofeng BF-F8+ with diamond antenna, recent hand-wound coil connected to breadboard prototype crystal radio I’m currently working on (tuning capacitor seen below next to the keyboard), digital audio recorder in there somewhere, Radio Shack DSP processor I found at a junk store for $4 with various alligator clip jumpers on top, round tin for small radio parts, moleskin logbook, Yaesu FT-60, my grandfather’s D-4 flight computer from WWII.


Arie van Bezooijen (PE1AJ)

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Notes: I’m using a Kenwood 950s and an Icom IC7400 for HF. For 2m i’m using a Yeasu FT-7800 and other SW listening I can do with a Kenwood R2000.


Mitul Kansal (VU3MCN)

On air at VOI - Mitul Kansal
listening radio _ Mitul KansalNotes: Recently, I visited RRI- Voice of Indonesia & Republic of Indonesia in September 2015 as a winner of International Quiz, “Wonderful Indonesia 2015.” I visited the RRI- Voice Of Indonesia Broadcasting Station .

There, I went on air, shared my views about RRI- Voice of Indonesia. It was an unforgettable moment for me. With other winners , I enjoyed listening on radio.


Jackie LaVaque (KC0ODY)

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Notes: Here’s my humble listening post! Right now it consists of a Kaito KA1102, a Tecsun PL310, a Baofeng UV5R, and not seen because it’s not up and running yet, an RTL-SDR USB dongle which I plan to make into my winter project. My favorite rig is the Tecsun PL310 because not only is it a great performer on SW and MW, it also does pretty well with longwave using an added homemade cake form antenna.


Again, many thanks to all who sent in their listening post photos. I absolutely love the variety! 

Follow the tag Shack Photos for more!

Vasily discovers an ETM quirk on his GP5/SSB

Vasily-GP5SSB

While doing a little shortwave listening in the field (obviously a very cold field) Vasily Strelnikov noted an anomaly while using the ETM function on his CountyComm GP5/SSB. He posted the following video on the Shortwave Listeners Global Facebook page and on YouTube so that I could share it with Post readers:

Click here to view Vasily’s video on YouTube.

I’ve never noticed this on my GP5/SSB. My first thought would be that there’s a strong broadcaster nearby that may be overloading the front end on Vasiliy’s receiver. With that said, it looks like a pretty rural area. Anyone else notice this on the GP5/SSB?

Star Wars sound designer is, indeed, a radio enthusiast

StarWars-LogoSWLing Post readers may remember a post I recently published in which I believed I’d identified a familiar shortwave time signal station in the Battle of Hoth scene from The Empire Strikes Back. If you haven’t read this post, feel free to do so and listen to the embedded video/audio clips.

Upon hearing this, I went so far as to muse that the Star Wars sound designer might be a radio listener. I asked our readers if anyone could confirm this–?

Well, we’ve got our answer!  I’m truly indebted to an SWLing Post reader who passed my post along to his friend, Ben, who could provide this definitive response:

“This is Ben Burtt, sound designer of the Star Wars films. A friend sent me a link to this blog thinking I would like to comment.

Ben and old recorders

Ben Burtt with his recording gear, circa 1980. The mike on the stand at Ben’s feet is one from his grandfather’s ham radio station in the 1950s, or possibly earlier.

“The answer is yes, I have always been a ham radio enthusiast.”

 

“My grandfather, Harold Burtt, operated W8CD out of his home in Columbus, Ohio 1930s-1960s. I was enthralled as a kid listening to the sounds on his receiver. I heard alien worlds and cosmic ‘voices.’

Harold Burtt, (Chairman of the Psychology Dept Ohio State) with his attic gear approximately 1935

Harold Burtt, W8CD. (Chairman of the Psychology Dept Ohio State) with his attic gear,  approximately 1935

“So not only did I record his radio, but continued to do so on the Star Wars series and Star Trek as well.

My memory of the Hoth transmission was that it was WWV but it could have been CHU since I was recording all that interested me on the dial.”

Terrific! Thank you, Ben, for taking the time to respond. As I said, you’ve certainly started off this radio enthusiast’s year on the right wavelength…no doubt some of our readers will agree.

Indeed, the powerful sonic experience of the Star Wars and Star Trek films has, in my estimation, helped shape many of us into the radio/sound enthusiasts we’ve become–myself certainly included. Thank you, Ben, for this!  You’ve sharpened my ear to a greater appreciation of sound, especially filmic sound, and your work in particular.    

For readers who are less familiar with Ben Burtt’s work, check out his Wikipedia page and IMDB profile–you’ll find he’s been the sound designer on numerous influential films including the recently released Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

A special thanks to Ben Burtt for sharing these wonderful photos and kindly giving me permission to use them here on the SWLing Post.  I must say, considering my love of radio in the thirties, I especially like that photo of Harold Burtt (W8CD) in his shack.

Happy combo: Steve’s coffee mug and the RF-2200

SWLingPost-Coffee-Mug-Panasonic-RF-2200-2Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Steve Lebkuecher, who sent the above photo; Steve notes:

“What a nice cup! I wish you and all of your readers a very happy New Year!”

And a happy cup of new year cheer to you as well, Steve! I must say, that classic Panasonic RF-2200 does pair well with your new SWLing Post coffee mug…Enjoy!

If you, too, would like a mug with our new logo, click here for the SWLing Post CafePress shop.

The best shortwave radio for cross-continent cycling?

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SWLing Post reader, Pat, is an avid cyclist and is seeking a radio for his next cross-continent adventure. There are a limited number of products on the market that meet Pat’s requirements, so I thought posting his inquiry might bring a few options out of the woodwork. Check out Pat’s requirements and please comment if you have a suggestion!

Pat writes:

I’m a professional ski coach from Colorado. When I’m not on skis, I like to get on my bicycle and go explore the world. I’ve ridden across the USA a few times, covering all 48 states in the Continental US. A couple of years ago I got my 49th state when I rode from Alaska back home to Colorado.

Next year I plan to ride to Argentina, a journey of 12,000 miles over six months.

One of the things that keeps me sane is to have a radio strapped to the handlebars of my bike. I used to have a cheap AM/FM transistor, but have slowly improved the choice of radios on each trip.

During my Alaska ride I used a Degen DE1123, which was a great item. Not a great radio, but having an mp3 player built in made a world of difference. There were some mighty long distances without radio signal, so having the mp3 was great. But like I said, the 1123 wasn’t the most user-friendly item. Plus, it ate up AA batteries, which were pricey in the Yukon. So I upgraded to the Degen DE1125. Certainly an improvement, but still some things that could be improved. [See photo above.]

For my Argentina trip I want to have something really good; something that works well and will hopefully last six months. Also, I really like the idea of having a radio with a mini SD slot. I’ll have to download a lot of music and podcasts to keep me happy.

Someone suggested the Melson S8. I purchased one and it is a great unit, but way too big to fit on the handlebars.

You obviously have experience with many different portables and I was wondering if you could give me your suggestions. Maybe something from Degen, ShouYu, Tecsun?

Things that are important:

  • Ease of use (I’ll be using the controls while pedaling)
  • Weight (smaller and lighter is better)
  • Durability
  • Mini SD capability
  • Radio reception
  • AM, FM and SW capability
  • Li-ion batteries

Not overly important:

  • Ability to scroll through songs/find songs
  • Sound quality (I’ll have wind in my ears anyway)

Things that are not important:

  • Recording ability (I don’t foresee recording anything along the way)
  • Looks
  • Cost (I don’t want to spend $150 on a CC Crane, as the radio may get broken or stolen, but I’m willing to spend some money on a quality product if available).

[…]I’d love to select the best option for this silly ride I’m taking next summer and will happily take any advice.

A cycling trip to Argentina? Nothing silly about that, Pat! What an adventure!

Shortwave radios with MicroSD slots are somewhat limited in numbers, but more and more models have appeared on the market in the past few years.

Readers: can you help Pat with some suggestions/options?  Please comment!

William Westenhaver, RIP

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Sheldon Harvey kindly posted the following notice regarding William (Bill) Westenhaver on the NASWA Winter SWL Fest Facebook group:

I’m sad to report the passing this week of a person well known within the radio hobby community, William (Bill) Westenhaver.

A native of Angola, Indiana, Bill moved to Montreal in the late 1960s, where he spent the rest of his life. An avid shortwave listener, DXer and QSL collector, Bill was an active member of several radio clubs including CIDX and Speedx. He was a participant in numerous ANARC conventions and Winter SWL Festivals.

Bill took a job with Radio Canada International, working in the Audience Relations department. One of his principal duties was issuing RCI QSL cards for reception reports received from around the world. Bill went on to other duties within the CBC/Radio-Canada headquarters in Montreal.

Bill was an active member of the Coalition to Restore RCI Funding and the RCI Action Group, the ad hoc groups that worked tirelessly to restore and/or retain the services of Radio Canada International on shortwave.

Bill was also the original co-host of The International Radio Report, with Sheldon Harvey, on CKUT-FM in Montreal. He also worked on a number of other programs on CKUT over the years.

Bill passed away earlier this week here in Montreal. We extend our condolences to all of his family and friends. He will be fondly remember throughout the radio community.

Sheldon Harvey

RCI’s The Link also posted the following message:

All members of RCI are mourning the sudden loss this week of William Westenhaver Bill was an integral member of the RCI team for years, handling our mail and prize mailouts, as well as participating in a number of shows over several years, especially on the various iterations of the “mailbag” shows. Bill adored shortwave radio, and with the budget [cuts], found work in another department of Radio Canada, but stayed in touch with many of us, always with a smile and friendly word in the hallways of this big building. We shall miss him dearly.

I never met Bill in person, but I communicated with him many times. He received my reception reports, issued QSL cards, and set up a couple of interviews on RCI.

If you’ve ever requested a QSL from RCI, Bill was most likely the fellow who issued your cards. Bill was an incredibly friendly and helpful fellow.

I’m also forever grateful for his help in securing a special guided tour of the RCI Sackville transmitter site–only months before it was closed.

Many thanks, Sheldon, for sharing your memories–condolences to his family and many friends.

Update: RCI recently posted this memorial page for Bill.

Paul’s SWLing videos

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Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Paul Walker, who writes:

I think you and your readers might enjoy these videos.

I’ve upgraded from a Tecsun PL880 and Sangean ATS909X to a JRC NRD535D. I live in Camden, Arkansas which is in southern Arkansas, 75 minutes east of Texas and 75 minutes north of Shreveport, Louisiana

When DX’ing on shortwave, I often record a short video with my iPhone 6plus held up close to the radio so you can see the frequency and signal level meter.

I record videos anywhere between 20 seconds and 5 minutes depending on what I feel like at he moment and what I will be using the video for. Sometimes I record a shorter video to post on Facebook then record longer audio via an MP3 recorder in my phone to use in a reception report.

Sometimes I record long 3-5 minute videos and send those to the station instead.

I don’t record everything I hear but what I feel is a worthwhile catch or is interesting. My videos can be seen here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/OnAirDJPaulWalker

Thanks for sharing a link to your videos, Paul! You’ve got some good catches in your library. That JRC NRD535D is a great receiver, too–noise floor seems quite low!