Jeff’s Updated Sangean PR-D4W Review


Many thanks to Jeff McMahon, from the Herculodge, who shares an update to his Sangean PR-D4W review.

The good news is that Jeff continues to be impressed with the PR-D4W and ranks it above the venerable C.Crane CCRadio-2E in almost every category. At $64.50 on Amazon, the PR-D4W is a much better value.

Follow this link to his review:

Posted in New Products, News, Radios, Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Dan spots an extremely rare HRO-600 on eBay


SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, writes:

Wow . . . a huge, amazing rarity…this is perhaps the rarest of radios, the HRO-600.

It is almost never seen on the used market and when it is, it is usually in non-operational condition. In its day it was quite advanced, though now, a Tecsun could run rings around it, and it uses NIXIE tubes…good luck obtaining those…anyway for anyone who has never seen one in this condition, and for everybody, here it is…

Click here to view on eBay.

Wow–I thought that receiver might sit on eBay for a while, but it sold for $3,895 US only moments after Dan spotted it.

Assuming this listing will eventually disappear from eBay, I downloaded a few more photos:

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I really enjoy tips like this from Dan.  While rare radios like the HRO 600 are well beyond my budget, it’s so much fun to learn about them. Indeed, I had no idea HRO made a receiver that used Nixie tubes!

What is a Nixie tube you ask? Per Wikipedia:

Nixie2“A Nixie tube, or cold cathode display, is an electronic device for displaying numerals or other information using glow discharge.

The glass tube contains a wire-mesh anode and multiple cathodes, shaped like numerals or other symbols. Applying power to one cathode surrounds it with an orange glow discharge. The tube is filled with a gas at low pressure, usually mostly neon and often a little mercury or argon, in a Penning mixture.

Although it resembles a vacuum tube in appearance, its operation does not depend on thermionic emission of electrons from a heated cathode. It is therefore called a cold-cathode tube (a form of gas-filled tube), or a variant of neon lamp. Such tubes rarely exceed 40 °C (104 °F) even under the most severe of operating conditions in a room at ambient temperature. Vacuum fluorescent displays from the same era use completely different technology—they have a heated cathode together with a control grid and shaped phosphor anodes; Nixies have no heater or control grid, typically a single anode, and shaped bare metal cathodes.”

As Dan states, Nixie tubes can be very difficult to source these days. I’m sure the radio collector that purchased this HRO 600 is well aware.

Update: While I don’t know what Nixie tubes the HRO-600 takes, Leeds Radio, has a substantial collection of Nixie tubes at reasonable prices. Click here to browse through the collection. Leeds, by the way, is a fantastic resource for pretty much any sort of tube/valve you may need. Check out this piece on Leeds Radio from WNYC.

I hope someone uploads a video of the HRO-600 in operation; I’ve never seen one in action.

Dan, thanks again for sharing your eBay finds!

Posted in News, Radio History, Radios, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

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

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.

Want to share your shack or listening post with the world on the SWLing Post? Want a chance to win a Grundig G2? If so, keep reading…!


This month, we’ll be collecting photos of our readers’ listening posts, radio shacks or favorite listening spot. And we don’t care if your listening post or shack is filled with gear or consists only of one radio in a public park; we’re just glad you’re listening, and we’d love to see how.  

The fact is, I’ve always been interested to learn what sorts of receivers, transceivers, and accessories our readers––many of whom are also shortwave listeners and/or ham radio operators––have in their shacks or use at their favorite listening spots.  After some consideration, the notion to show other readers how we listen became the basis for a fun contest.  Fred Osterman at Universal Radio championed the idea, offering his encouragement in the form of a prize.

In exchange for a photo of your favorite listening post, along with a brief description of your equipment––see details below––you’ll be entered for a chance to win a Grundig G2 portable radio/recorder and player by random selection.

Again, many thanks to our good friends at Universal Radio, who will kindly make this excellent prize available to anyone in the world.  That’s right; excepting applicable import taxes or duties, for which you’re responsible, Universal will ship your prize to you for free, no matter where you live!

This contest is open to everyone, save Universal Radio employees, their families, and those of us here at the Post.

How to enter…

Simply send an email to that includes: 

  • a photo of your listening post or shack,
  • your name, as you’d like it to appear in the SWLing Post,
  • your call sign (if applicable), 
  • your shipping address, and
  • a brief description of your favorite shack gear as seen in your photo. You, too, can make an appearance in this photo if you like.

Again, the winner will be chosen at random, which means that everyone will have an equal chance of winning.  By submitting an entry, you’re consenting to have your name and photo posted on the SWLing Post; after all, that’s the idea. Of course, your information stays with us and will never be sold or used for any purpose other than this contest.

Your entry must be submitted by November 1, 2015…Can’t wait to see (and share with our readers) how you’re listening!

Posted in Contests, Ham Radio, News, Shortwave Radio, Specials | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Alternative sites for Dayton Hamvention proposed

Dayton Hamvention logo_2

Yesterday, the Dayton Daily News published an article about the problems with the aging Hara Arena, home of the Dayton Hamvention.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Fears about Hamvention leaving town because of Hara Arena’s economic struggles has local officials scrambling to propose alternative sites for the economy-boosting event.

Hamvention, the world’s largest gathering of amateur radio enthusiasts, injects millions of dollars into the local economy each year. It has been held at Hara Arena since 1964.

But the arena has struggled financially, and an Iowa-based consultant firm recently asked the city of Trotwood to buy the venue, which Trotwood officials declined. The venue’s owner says the arena is on better financial footing today.

A series of emails obtained by this newspaper through public records requests show that local officials fear Hamvention could pack up and move out of the region and highlight their efforts to keep the event in the Dayton region.

The Dayton/Montgomery County Convention & Visitors Bureau has worked with city of Dayton staff on a Plan B to ensure the event remains in the county if it needs to relocate, said Jacquelyn Powell, the bureau’s president and CEO.

“I want to make it clear that this isn’t the first year that we’ve looked at Plan B options,” she said. “There have been other years where we’ve had this conversation as well.”

The Hamvention board has no intentions of leaving Hara Arena, said Jim Tiderman, general chairman of the Dayton Amateur Radio Association, which hosts the event.

“We do not have any plans whatsoever for relocating,” Tiderman said.

News of Hamvention’s possible relocation was mentioned in an email dated July 7 that was obtained by this newspaper through a public records request.

Continue reading at the Dayton Daily News…

As mentioned in the article, the thought of the Hamvention leaving Hara is not a new one. The Arena leaves much to be desired cosmetically and even functionally–it’s an old venue that requires a sizable investment to maintain.

The Hamvention flea market is, without a doubt, my favorite part of the event.

The Hamvention flea market is, without a doubt, my favorite part of the event.

Earlier this year, I spoke to a long-time DARA representative who assured me that the club wants to keep the Hamvention at Hara for obvious reasons. He did admit, though, that they’ve always had a “Plan B” and even “Plan C” in place, should Hara close its doors.

He mentioned that, each year, Hamvention attendees urge DARA to find a new home, but the fact is Hara is not only the largest venue around, but is the only one on one level. With an aging ham radio population, accessibility becomes a higher priority every year. Those using scooters and wheelchairs would find it frustrating to compete for elevators and lifts in multi-level venues.

As the Dayton Daily News notes, one alternative would be to have two separate locations: one for the inside exhibits and one for the flea market. Selfishly, since I host an inside exhibit table, I appreciate the fact that the flea market is within easy walking distance. It would upset me if they decided to split the venues.

The fact is, no decision has been made yet. DARA still plans to host the 2016 Hamvention at Hara Arena and has no intention of moving anytime soon. That is, as long as the owners of Hara Arena can keep it afloat.

Posted in Ham Radio, News, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Universal Radio: new Whistler scanners and a “QRP corner” page

The Whistler WS1098 Scanner

The Whistler WS1098 Tabletop Scanner

I recently had a conversation with my good friend Fred Osterman, president of Universal Radio. Fred told me about a couple of items on their website I thought might interest Post readers:

  • A QRP Corner page with quick links to products and categories that are relevant to QRPers, portable operators and those interested in communications preparedness. The new QRP corner page can be found by clicking here. Fred notes that he page is a work in progress with regular additions.
  • Fred has also posted preliminary information about new Whistler Scanners: the Whistler WS1088 and WS1098. Fred is impressed with the preliminary product information and should have pricing and availability soon (both units are still pending FCC approval).

I’ve read through the specifications of the new Whistler scanners: I love the fact that they come with frequencies banks that can be loaded by simply entering your zip code (in the US). I find that programming scanners–as well as modern VHF/UHF handhelds–can lead to a serious headache. I’m happy to see that manufacturers like Whistler and Uniden are finally making the process much easier.

Many thanks for the update, Fred!

Posted in News, Retailers | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Aircraft Communications in 1915

A French communication system for use by airplane pilots in 1915: black powder could be puffed out into a Morse code message. Image: Scientific American, September 25, 1915

A French communication system for use by airplane pilots in 1915: black powder could be puffed out into a Morse code message.
(Image: Scientific American, September 25, 1915)

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Robert Gulley, who notes the following on his blog:

I found this interesting post from Scientific American concerning the lack of reliable wireless communication in aircraft in 1915 – just one of those fascinating historical tidbits.

You can read the full post on Robert’s website or Scientific American.

It is fascinating to see “old school” innovations that made long distance communications possible in 1915; before wireless technology became as practical and accessible as it was even only a decade later.

Posted in News, Radio History | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Adafruit Industries: an amazing resource for electronics experimenters

Adafruit_logo (3)

SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, writes:

In a recent blog posting, you mentioned the use of Arduinos in the radio hobby. Those of us who have experimented with Arduinos (and Raspberry Pis, etc.) likely have come across Adafruit Industries when looking for hardware bits and pieces to use in our maker activities.

There is a great article on Limor Fried and her company in the latest issue of the IEEE news magazine “The Institute” and it’s also available on line:

And there’s a short video up on the Web where Fried explains the company’s purpose and philosophy:

Richard then added:

[Here is a] cute Adafruit video introducing the concept of (radio) frequency to kids:

Very cool!  Thanks so much, Richard, for sharing this. Adafruit looks like not only a true community player, but a comprehensive source for the electronics experimenter! My daughters love the Adafruit video; now to dig up all of the previous episodes!

I’m planning to learn more about Arduinos and my RaspberryPi this winter, so I’ll keep Adafruit bookmarked!

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