Sangean blames AM interference on power supply and government regulation

Sangean-AMFM-RadioAfter the Sangean WR-15 received low marks for AM reception in an Amazon review, Bob of Sangean America replied that poor reception is due to the radio’s switching power supply–a design that is federally mandated.

Many thanks to Jeff over at the Herculodge for posting this (click here to read the full response).

It’s a shame the WR-15 can’t accommodate internal batteries as battery operation this would solve the problem.

If I owned the WR-15, I would simply replace the switching type power supply with a regulated power supply.

Looking at the back of the WR-15 (below), it appears it requires 12 volts DC, 1.2 amps and an adapter with a positive center tip. Though I’m judging this only from the image, the plug looks to be a common size.WR-15-back I bet I have a power supply that would fit the bill in my junk drawer.

Bob, at Sangean America, claims moving the radio at least one foot from the power supply should help. In truth, I believe much of the noise may be conveyed by the power cord itself, though I may be wrong.

It’s a shame Sangean engineers couldn’t compensate somehow for the noisy power supply as it seems this radio was actually marketed to AM radio enthusiasts.

Posted in AM, Manufacturers, News, Radios | Tagged , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Photos from the VOA Bethany Museum

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Immediately after packing up our table at the Dayton Hamvention, my buddies Eric (WD8RIF), Miles (KD8KNC), and I made the 30 minute journey to Bethany, Ohio, to visit the VOA Bethany museum.

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Main entrance and front lobby (above).VOA-Bethany- - 1 (34) VOA-Bethany- - 1 (3)

Entering the transmitter control room.

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VOA-Bethany- - 1 (28)Eric pointed out an article on the future of shortwave radio I published last year that the museum has posted in the hallway next to the control room (above).  What an honor!

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The antenna switching array behind the main building (following four photos).

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WLW (700 kHz) 800′ tower in the distance (above).

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The satellite dish (above) was once used for VOA’s downlink/feed–now the West Chester Amateur Radio Association (WC8VOA) uses the dish for EME (Earth Moon Earth) contacts.

VOA-Bethany- - 1 (32)Back inside, WC8VOA has four full amateur radio operating locations stocked with Icom, Yaesu and Kenwood gear. The club president told us that an antique amateur radio station will soon be added.

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Our docent took us on a tour of two vaults filled with vintage radio equipment and then a museum devoted to the legacy of WLW. The item in the photo above is a corona ball from one of the original towers–notice the holes from lightning strikes.

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Example of an early radio kit (above).

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A rare Third Reich radio (above).

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When Ohio-based R.L. Drake Company stopped manufacturing amateur radio equipment, samples of their full product line were donated to the museum.

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The Museum is planning substantial renovations to restore the VOA Bethany Station and become a first class institution. During the restoration, the Museum is only open one day per month to the public: The third Saturday of each month from 1:00 PM – 4:00.

Click here to view the museum’s new website.

Posted in AM, Boat Anchors, Broadcasters, Ham Radio, International Broadcasting, Mediumwave, News, Nostalgia, Radio History, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Photos from the 2015 Dayton Hamvention Flea Market

Weather yesterday morning at the Dayton Hamvention was quite pleasant even if a little fickle at times. I had time in the morning and an hour or so in the afternoon to browse the various treasures scattered about in the flea market section. Here are a few photos of the vintage gear I found:

IMG_20150515_155324563_HDR-001 IMG_20150515_155434678_HDR-001 IMG_20150515_155443439 IMG_20150515_155448977_HDR IMG_20150515_155454414_HDR Zenith-Transoceanics RCA RCA-Dial HRO Zenith-Transoceanic-7000 BC-348 Sky-Buddy IMG_20150515_080420028 IMG_20150515_080728372 IMG_20150515_083338068_HDR IMG_20150515_084608184_HDR IMG_20150515_084618551_HDR IMG_20150515_084624951_HDR IMG_20150515_084715842_HDR IMG_20150515_090737380 IMG_20150515_091306152 IMG_20150515_092249982_HDR IMG_20150515_092652251_HDR IMG_20150515_093056292_HDR IMG_20150515_093106560_HDR IMG_20150515_093155333_HDR IMG_20150515_093210149_HDR IMG_20150515_093216094 IMG_20150515_094335853 IMG_20150515_094524046_HDR IMG_20150515_133437879

My friend and ETOW volunteer, Christine, purchased the mint condition Zenith Transoceanic above. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a better example of a vintage Transoceanic 7000 for sale. A good bit of well-deserved beginner’s luck for Christine!

If you’re also at the Dayton Hamvention, please stop by table 411 in the Ball Arena and introduce yourself!

Posted in Art, News, Radio History, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Jeffrey re-caps his Hallicrafters SX-110

The restored SX-110 sitting on the bookshelf in the shack. No one would mistake this for a new receiver, but it works just fine.

The restored SX-110 sitting on the bookshelf in the shack.

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Jeffrey Fritz, writes:

During the summer of 2012 you were nice enough to run an article in your blog about my reviving a 1961 Hallicrafters SX-110 General Coverage receiver. The radio has continued to perform reasonably well during the last few years. However, recently I acquired several pieces of professional test equipment. That encouraged me to delve even deeper into the restoration of my old receiver from my novice ham radio days.

Over the past week, I completely recapped the SX-110 (except, of course, for the mica and ceramic caps as they still good, and the electrolytic caps as they were replaced in 2012.)

The SX-110 isn’t a complex receiver, but there are quite a few caps, so I worked methodically and carefully. I started working from the audio amp stage and continued working back through the IF stages and the BFO to the RF stage. I recapped each stage replacing the old caps with new Orange Drop caps. Each stage was tested before I moved on to the next stage. Here’s a photo of the recapped chassis:


Here are the capacitors that were removed from the receiver. Most are the old Bumble Bee caps–called that because of the color stripes that mark their value:


Virtually every Bumble Bee cap tested leaky and out of tolerance.

Next, I tested every tube replacing the weak or bad ones with NOS (New Old Stock) tubes. Every pot and switch was cleaned with DeOxit and moving parts were lubricated where appropriate. Finally, I did a complete re-alignment following the instructions in the Service Manual.

As with all vintage tube gear, restorations require patience, care and a decent knowledge of electronics. It’s easy to make a fair radio–even a good radio–into a disaster if you are not careful. Also there is enough voltage and current inside of the chassis of a tube radio to toss you across the room. So care is always the order of the day as is a VARIAC to bring the radio up to AC line voltage slowly.

The receiver now sounds as good as ever–perhaps even better than ever. It has marvelous AM audio and can pick up ham and broadcast stations on all bands with nothing more than a wire in my basement. It even does a decent job on SSB–something that I don’t recall it ever bring adept at in the past.

That say that you can’t keep a good man down. Similarly an old radio, with some new parts and some TLC, can run virtually forever.

I agree with you: you can’t keep a good radio down! Repair work is certainly the commitment we make when we fall in love with these old rigs. It’s a good thing that almost all of the parts are still available and relatively affordable.

Thanks again, Jeffrey!

Posted in AM, Articles, Boat Anchors, Guest Posts, How To, News, Nostalgia | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Jeff Murray presents: Love, Death & Shortwave


From my buddy, Jeff Murray (K1NSS), the Mastermind behind Dashtoons:

“Created for the North American Shortwave Association’s Winterfest 2015, this unflinching documentary recalls a time when tuning a short wave radio was something akin to enjoying a schnapps in a cool West Berlin jazz bar less than a klick from Checkpoint Charley, especially if you were eleven years old.”

Posted in Art, Funny, News, Shortwave Radio, Videos | Tagged , | Leave a comment

ERT reopens under direction of Dionysis Tsaknis

(Photo source: AP / Petros Giannakouris)

(Photo source: AP / Petros Giannakouris)

SWLing Post contributor, Ayar, confirms that ERT employees did indeed returned to work yesterday after having been laid off nearly two years ago. Ayar shares this link to which has full details.

Posted in Broadcasters, International Broadcasting, News, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

VOA to increase broadcasts to Burundi

voa logoMauno Ritola shared the following message on the WRTH Facebook page this morning:

VOA Boosts Broadcasts to Burundi as Civilians Flee Political Violence

Monday through Friday:

  • 0400-0530: 7350 kHz, 9815 kHz, 11905 kHz

  • 1600-1630: 13630 kHz, 15460 kHz, 17530 kHz

  • 1930-2000: 9470kHz, 11615 kHz, 12140 kHz

Mauno also notes that the late evening frequencies are incorrect in the following VOA news release:

(Source: VOA News)

Voice of America today began boosting broadcasts to Burundi where at least 14 people have been and killed and more than 200 injured in protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza running for a third term.

VOA has additional shortwave and FM broadcasts in Kirundi, Kinyarwanda, Kiswahili, French, and English with an expanded call-in show, more reporting from the ground, and new drive-time newscasts.

“At this critical moment for democracy in Burundi, we are stepping up to keep our audiences informed, “ says VOA Director David Ensor. “Voters deserve to know what is going on with presidential elections just one month away.”

The African Union and the United States say the Nkurunziza candidacy violates a regional peace deal that ended civil war in 2005. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the president’s move “flies directly in the face of the constitution of his country.”

President Nkurunziza says he is exempt from the two-term limit because his first term was chosen by parliament.

VOA is one of the last remaining sources of news in Burundi after authorities blocked access to social media, closed Radio Publique Africane, and suspended relay transmissions for two other independently owned stations — Bonesha FM and Isanganiro.

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns this harassment and says the Nkurunziza government is “blatantly trying to gag” coverage of its opponents.

VOA is adding reporters in Burundi and Rwanda along with additional staff in Washington D.C., where its U.S. government-funded transmissions originate.

Daily broadcasts air on 95.2 FM and 94.9 FM in Bujumbura and on 104.3 FM in Kigali.

There are new VOA shortwave broadcasts from 04:00 to 05:30 UTC and from 19:30 to 20:00 UTC on 7350 kHz, 9815 kHz, and 11905 kHz; and from 16:00 to 16:30 UTC on 13630 kHz, 15460 kHz, and 17530 kHz.

“With thousands of Burundians fleeing to neighboring Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, VOA is committed to providing accurate and reliable news to this critical region,” says Ensor.

Posted in Broadcasters, International Broadcasting, News, What's On Shortwave | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment