FCC: Remarks on the Growth of Pirate Radio

SX-99-Dial-NarMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Bob, who writes:

Remarks on the Growth of Pirate Radio from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Communications and Technology Subcommittee, November 17, 2015:

“I know that this committee is concerned about pirate radio. During my tenure we have taken 280 enforcement actions against pirate radio, that’s in the last two years. Commissioner [Michael] O’Rielly has been a real leader in keeping us focused on this. We’re working with the NAB [National Association of Broadcasters] on a joint task force on pirate radio. But we need more tools.

“We’re playing whack-a-mole with pirate radio. Every time a pirate radio station pops up, we whack it. We need to have consequences for those who facilitate those stations popping up. The landlords who look the other way, because helping pirates is risk-free.

“Congress could make it illegal to aid or abet pirate radio operations. Denying them the opportunity to operate in this way would be a significant means of thwarting the continued growth of pirate radio.”


Posted in News, Pirate Radio | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Video: Shortwave listening and radio astronomy


On Thursday I attended an event at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI)–location of the 2015 SWLing Post DXPedition.

During a break, I had a couple of free hours, so I reached in my messenger bag and pulled out the Sony ICF-SW100: a radio that has quickly surpassed all others as my favorite EDC (everyday carry) radio. It has so many useful features in such a small package!

Radio astronomy observatories are ideal locations for impromptu shortwave radio listening as there is little to no radio interference/noise present.


PARI’s “Building 1” and the 26 West (left) and 26 East (right) radio telescopes.

While the weather on Thursday was gorgeous, HF band conditions were…well…miserable. There was very little to hear other than China Radio International, Radio Havana Cuba and a few other blow torch broadcasters.

Still, time signal station WWV was on my mind since I had just purchased Myke’s new edition of At The Tone and have been reading your excellent comments with early memories of listening to WWV and WWVH.

I tuned to 15 MHz and, of course, there was reliable WWV in Fort Collins, Colorado on frequency. Though WWV’s signal was relatively strong (despite the conditions) I turned on the SW100’s sync detector because fading (QSB) was pronounced at times.

Here’s a short video of the ICF-SW100 on a picnic table in the middle of the PARI campus. That’s PARI’s 26 (meter) West telescope in the background:

Posted in EDC, News, Portable Radio, Radios, Shortwave Radio, Travel, Videos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Scott’s Elecraft KX3 Go-Box

Many thanks to Scott (AK5SD) who shares the following photos and bill of materials for his custom Elecraft KX3 go-box:

IMG_0531 IMG_0534

IMG_0532 IMG_0535 IMG_0537 IMG_0536

Bill of materials

The panel was custom laser cut by Front Panel Express. I have the CAD
file and I’m willing to share it with anyone who wants to reproduce my effort.

Case B&W Type 1000 Outdoor Case with SI Foam
You won’t use the foam, so you can buy the version without it if you can find it cheaper.

Battery Anker Astro Pro2 20000mAh Multi-Voltage (5V 12V 16V 19V)
Portable Charger External Battery Power Bank
Avoid look alike batteries and the next generation model from Anker. The newer Anker
battery is only capable of delivering 1.5A from the 12V supply. Two look alike batteries
I tried did not have the auto-off feature that the Anker does.

ACC2 and I/Q Jacks 2 x 2.5mm Stereo Jack Panel Mount (PH-666J-B)
Phone, Key, and ACC1 3 x 3.5mm Stereo Jack Panel Mount (High Quality) (PH-504KB)
Mic Jack 1 x 3.5mm 4 Conductor Jack Panel Mount (PH-70-088B)
12V IN and CHG IN 2 x 2.1mm DC Power Panel Mount Jack (PH-2112)
12V OUT 1 x 2.5mm DC Power Panel Mount Jack (PH-2512)

You also need plugs and wire for interconnects. I bought some 2.5mm (CES-11-5502)
and 3.5mm (PH-44-468 for stereo, PH-44-470 for 4-conductor) audio cables with right
angle plugs and just cut them to use for the signal lines going to the KX3. I did the same
thing for the 2.5mm (PH-TC250) and 2.1mm (PH-TC210) power cables. A couple of
caveats are in order. The Phone, Key, and ACC1 interconnects require low profile
right angle connectors. The cables I listed above won’t work. Vetco part number
VUPN10338 will work. The power cables I’ve listed above use 24 gauge wire. This
is a little light, but the runs are small so I think it is OK. You can use higher gauge
cables if you can find a source.

USB OUT USB 2.0 Right Angle Extension Cable (RR-AAR04P-20G)

L Brackets 8 x Bracket Rt Ang Mount 4-40 Steel (612K-ND)
These L brackets are used to mount the KX3 to the panel and the panel to the case.
For mounting the KX3, I use a little piece of stick on felt on the bracket to protect the
KX3’s cabinet from damage. Replace the KX3’s screws with #4-40 Thread Size, 1/4”
Length Steel Pan Head Machine Screw, Black Oxide Finish (see below). For the panel
mounting, use #6-32 Thread Size, 3/16” Length self tapping sheet metal screw. You
may need to cut the tip off in order to not puncture the outside of the case.

RG316 BNC Male Angle to BNC Female SM Bulkhead Coaxial RF Pigtail Cable (6”)
This is not the original interconnect I used for connecting the KX3’s antenna output to
the panel. However, I think it is a better option for new designs. The caveat is that you
will need to verify the hole in the panel matches the bulkhead connector on this cable.
There will be a little loop in the cable when you are done, but that is fine.

Screws for Sound Card 2 x FMSP2510 – M 2.5 x .45 x 10mm
Screws for KX3 Bracket Mount 4 x MSPPK0404 – 4-40 x 1/4
Screws for Countersunk Panel Holes 8 x FMPPK0403 – 4-40 x 3/16
Screws for USB Connector *** 2 x FMPPK0406 – 4-40 x 3/8

I’m pretty sure these are the right length for the USB connector. I am doing it from memory.

Amazon.com or eBay.com
Soundmatters foxL DASH A Wireless Bluetooth Soundbar (OPTIONAL)

Sonoma Wire Works GJ2USB GuitarJack 2 USB Portable Audio Interface (OPTIONAL)
(Make sure you get the USB model, not the 30-pin model.)

This is optional if you want a built-in sound card interface for a waterfall display using iSDR. Make sure to eliminate the holes in the upper left corner of the panel if you are not installing. You will also need 2.5mm x 10mm screws to mount this to the bottom of the panel (see below).

bhi Compact In-Line Noise Eliminating Module (OPTIONAL)

In my opinion, the KX3’s noise reduction is totally ineffective for SSB communications. This external noise reducing DSP is one solution, albeit an expensive one, to that problem. It is only for SSB, not CW or digital modes. It is also available from GAP Antenna Products.


Scott: you have done a beautiful job here and have spared no expense to make a wonderfully-engineered and rugged go-box. No doubt, you’re ready to take your KX3 to the field and enjoy world-class performance on a moment’s notice. 

Though I’ve never used them personally, I’ve noticed others who have taken advantage of the Front Panel Express engraving service–certainly makes for a polished and professional front panel.

Again, many thanks for not only sharing your photos, but also your bill of materials which will make it much easier for others to draw inspiration from your design!


Speaking of designs, when I looked up Scott on QRZ.com, I noticed that he also sports a QSL card (above) designed by my good friend, Jeff Murray (K1NSS). Obviously, Scott is a man with good taste!

Posted in Guest Posts, Ham Radio, News, Portable Radio, Preparedness, Radios, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Reminder: Only two days left to enter our latest radio challenge!

Click to enlarge

Enter our challenge and you could win this prize package worth over $200 courtesy of CountyComm!

Let’s imagine that your area suddenly loses power–as well as cell phone and internet service–for an indeterminate period. Home and personal electronics remain unaffected, but must be powered off-grid (without mains power).  Moreover, you may be required to evacuate your home…perhaps even on foot.

In preparation for this event, what portable radio kit would you assemble?  

Submit your answer to this question and you could win a preparedness prize package courtesy of CountyComm!

All entries must be received by November 21, 2015.

Click here to read about this challenge and how to submit your answer!

Posted in Accessories, News, Preparedness, Reader Challenges | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

List of seasonal shortwave radio pirates


Many thanks to SWLing Post reader Chris Smolinski who shares a link to this listing of  “seasonal” shortwave pirates–pirates that are usually only heard one or two days out of the year: http://www.radiohobbyist.org/blog/?p=1725

I love logging seasonal pirates–at least, when I remember to tune in! For example, Radio Paisano [see QSL above] only airs around Columbus Day.

Posted in News, Pirate Radio, What's On Shortwave | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Updated release: “At The Tone: A Little History of NIST Radio Stations WWV & WWVH”


Almost five years ago, I wrote about a unique collection of archived recordings called At The Tone: A Little History of NIST Radio Stations WWV & WWVH.

Producer Myke Dodge Weiskopf recently released a new and expanded edition of At The Tone which is now available for purchase and download.

Myke describes the update:

“The new edition significantly expands on the previous CD reissue from 2009. It incorporates a bunch of tapes sourced from the original announcer tracks made by Jane Barbe herself for WWVH, as well as a handful of vintage broadcast recordings previously left out of the set. I’ve also taken the opportunity to clean up and remaster the set overall, so it’s a much more cohesive listening experience as a body of work.”

Click here to purchase the new digital edition of At The Tone.

Please comment!

Myke is also giving away a free download of At The Tone to a lucky SWLing Post reader!

Simply comment on this post, noting the first time you heard WWV: note both the year and the model of receiver used.

For example, I would comment: “The year was 1976 and the receiver was an RCA Model 6K3 console radio.”

Myke will pick a winner from the comments next Wednesday (November 25th). If the winner has already purchased the expanded edition of At The Tone, Myke will reimburse the purchase. Good luck!

Posted in New Products, News, Nostalgia, Radio History, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , , , | 40 Comments

Radio Romania International: “Personality of the Year” survey

RRI-RadioRomaniaInternationalMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Iurescia (LW4DAF), who shares information about a new survey via Radio Romania International:

2015-11-14 16:21:00

Dear friends, RRI continues its traditional polling of listeners on short wave, the Internet and social media, with a new challenge.

We would like to ask you which person you think left their imprint on the world in a positive way in 2015. We are preparing to designate, based on your options, “The Personality of the Year 2015 on RRI”.

We also want to ask you why you picked that particular person. It could be a politician, a trendsetter, a businessman, an athlete, an artist, a scientist, or even a regular person with a special story. It’s up to you!

You can send your answers, as usual, by commenting on our website, at rri.ro, by e-mail at engl@rri.ro, on our Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, by fax at, or by post, at 60-64, General Berthelot street, sector 1, Bucharest, zip code 010165 (PO Box 111), Romania.

The “Personality of the year 2014 on RRI” was the young Pakistani human rights militant Malala Yousafzai, a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

“The Personality of the year 2015 on RRI” will be announced on January 1st 2016.

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