Tag Archives: Fred Osterman

Winners of the SWLing Post “Dream Radio” Contest

dial_closeup_1

Many thanks to the 86 responses we received from the SWLing Post dream radio contest!

Also huge thanks to Universal Radio who sponsored this contest and made it possible!

This morning, I entered the numbered contest entries into a tool on Random.org. The following two winners were selected at random–one from the US, and one from Australia:

Thomas in Florida, USA:

ICR75

Icom IC-R75

“I’ve been interested in all aspects of radio since I was a small child. My grandfather got me interested in the radio hobby . As a teen I acquired an old Hallicrafters S-40B. I would listen across the SW bands for hours each evening. This was back in the day when the Russians were running various jammers across the SW bands and OTH radar other wise known as the famous Wood Pecker.

I always wanted to upgrade to a more modern receiver that would have special filters to help reduce the interference caused from those types of man made devices. However, as the years went on, and I got married and raised a family my hobby fell to the wayside. It’s taken me almost 30 years, but I recently purchased an Icom R-75 and have gotten back into active SWLing again.

It is an enjoyable hobby and looking to one day spark an interest in radio in my own grandchildren.”

Adam Ellis in Melbourne, Australia:

The Yaesu FRG-7700 (Photo: Universal Radio)

The Yaesu FRG-7700 (Photo: Universal Radio)

“As a school kid, growing up in the 80’s, I had a friend who’s father owned (a then) brand new Yaesu FRG-7700 with matching FRT-7700 tuner. Every time I visited at my friends house, I would look at the Yaesu in awe and ask to have a listen.

His father was a VERY strict man and forbid any of the children from touching his radio or HiFi equipment. The combination of parentally installed fear and the mystique of such a military looking and expensive piece of kit meant that my curiosity grew and grew. One day, with his father safely away at work, we powered it up and had a tune around. After a few minutes, I was instantly hooked, having now heard SSB properly for the first time. My friend quickly got concerned that his younger siblings would tell their father that we had dared to use the Yaesu so it was quickly turned off.

Well! My friend still got into trouble because we had left it tuned to an obscure frequency, along with several controls in the wrong position and his father realized it had been fiddled with! The feel of the controls and the glow of the dial lighting made that radio seem like the best thing I had ever seen and just had to own one. Of course, as a 12 year old, owning one meant selling many hundreds of newspapers! A feat all but impossible on my limited paper round.

Fast forward 30 years and I came across a used example at a Hamfest, complete with FRT-7700 tuner in near mint condition. I made an offer which was accepted (AUD$150) and it came back to the shack with me, in it’s original box! Upon testing it out, it works flawlessly with no fading of the display or noise from any of the control pots.

My only real disappointment with the radio is the minimum 1Khz tuning steps. It makes SSB a bit painful to tune. You need to save a frequency into to memory to use the memory fine tune control. It sounds very nice on AM and is mostly used for broadcast reception with a Wellbrook ALA1530 loop.

Even today, looking at the Yaesu brings back the fear laden excitement of tuning around as a kid, with a petrified friend begging me to turn it off! I never did find out what his punishment was. The Yaesu FRG-7700 is now a part of a large collection of receivers, but is one I will not part with because it has taken me so long to finally get one! 73’s, Adam.”

Thanks to the generosity of Universal Radio, Thomas will receive a new copy of Shortwave Receivers Past and Present by Fred Osterman. As our international winner, Adam will be given a choice of  Joe Carr’s Loop Antenna Book or Buying A Used Shortwave Receiver: A Market Guide To Modern Shortwave Radios.

I’ve truly enjoyed reading each listener’s account about their dream radio–these stories bring back so many memories of my own!

Once I discover a way to display the results here on the SWLing Post, I will publish them. To keep the post from being too long, I’m trying to investigate a way that the results can be embedded, much like an image slideshow. Stay tuned!

Ends Today: “Dream Radio” Contest

dial_closeup_1

Think back to your first days in radio…What was your “dream” receiver?  And why?

Or–if you’re new to shortwave radio–what is your “dream” receiver currently, and why?

Many of us had a radio they dreamed of in their youth, or when they first began to hanker after the radio experience. What was yours?  For newer hobbyists, what is yours? And just what made–or makes–this radio so special? Did you ever obtain one?  And if so, did it live up to your expectations?

Share your experiences with the Post for a chance to win a prize from Universal Radio!

The winners of this contest will be chosen at random, using a randomizer application; an independent non-entrant will make these selections.

Thanks to Universal Radio and Fred Osterman’s generosity, there will be two winners of this simple contest–a US winner and an international winner.

The US prize will be a copy of Shortwave Receivers Past and Present by none other than Fred Osterman. I reviewed this book a couple years ago: it is an invaluable reference tool and also a fun “dream” book.  With sincere apologies to my international friends, this prize must be limited to the US simply because shipping this weighty volume internationally would cost more than the book itself.

ShortwaveReceiversPastAndPresent

The international winner may select between the following (less weighty!) books, also very good references: Joe Carr’s Loop Antenna Book or Buying A Used Shortwave Receiver: A Market Guide To Modern Shortwave Radios.

Entering the contest is easy. Simply go to our entry form (below or click here) and fill in the required fields.  Be descriptive! This will make the contest fun. Let us know in detail why that radio was (or is) so significant to you.

Your entry will be recorded, and the winners chosen at random. We will close the contest entry form by the end of the day today (October 16, 2016)We’ll publish the responses once the contest concludes, sharing only the name you provide.

Contest Reminder: Your “dream radio”

dial_closeup_1

Think back to your first days in radio…What was your “dream” receiver?  And why?

Or–if you’re new to shortwave radio–what is your “dream” receiver currently, and why?

Many of us had a radio they dreamed of in their youth, or when they first began to hanker after the radio experience. What was yours?  For newer hobbyists, what is yours? And just what made–or makes–this radio so special? Did you ever obtain one?  And if so, did it live up to your expectations?

Share your experiences with the Post for a chance to win a prize from Universal Radio!

The winners of this contest will be chosen at random, using a randomizer application; an independent non-entrant will make these selections.

Thanks to Universal Radio and Fred Osterman’s generosity, there will be two winners of this simple contest–a US winner and an international winner.

The US prize will be a copy of Shortwave Receivers Past and Present by none other than Fred Osterman. I reviewed this book a couple years ago: it is an invaluable reference tool and also a fun “dream” book.  With sincere apologies to my international friends, this prize must be limited to the US simply because shipping this weighty volume internationally would cost more than the book itself.

ShortwaveReceiversPastAndPresent

The international winner may select between the following (less weighty!) books, also very good references: Joe Carr’s Loop Antenna Book or Buying A Used Shortwave Receiver: A Market Guide To Modern Shortwave Radios.

Entering the contest is easy. Simply go to our entry form (below or click here) and fill in the required fields.  Be descriptive! This will make the contest fun. Let us know in detail why that radio was (or is) so significant to you.

Your entry will be recorded, and the winners chosen at random on Sunday October 16, 2016. We’ll publish the responses once the contest concludes, sharing only the name you provide.

SWLing Post Reader Contest: remembering your “dream radio”

The Sony ICF-2010 was my dream portable in the 1980s.

The Sony ICF-2010 was my dream portable in the 1980s.

Fred Osterman, President of Universal Radio, recently expressed his interest in supporting another SWLing Post Reader Contest. Of course, I eagerly agreed, and we quickly came up with a theme:

Think back to your first days in radio…What was your “dream” receiver?  And why?

Or–if you’re new to shortwave radio–what is your “dream” receiver currently, and why?

Many of us had a radio they dreamed of in their youth, or when they first began to hanker after the radio experience. What was yours?  For newer hobbyists, what is yours? And just what made–or makes–this radio so special? Did you ever obtain one?  And if so, did it live up to your expectations?  Share your experiences with the Post!

ShortwaveReceiversPastAndPresentThe winners of this contest will be chosen at random, using a randomizer application; an independent non-entrant will make these selections.

Thanks to Universal’s generosity, there will be two winners–a US winner and an international winner.

The US prize will be a copy of Shortwave Receivers Past and Present by none other than Fred Osterman. I reviewed this book a couple years ago: it is an invaluable reference tool and also a fun “dream” book.  With sincere apologies to my international friends, this prize must be limited to the US simply because shipping this weighty volume internationally would cost more than the book itself.

The international winner may select between the following (less weighty!) books, also very good references: Joe Carr’s Loop Antenna Book or Buying A Used Shortwave Receiver: A Market Guide To Modern Shortwave Radios.

Entering the contest is easy. Simply go to our entry form (below or click here) and fill in the required fields.  Be descriptive! This will make the contest fun. Let us know in detail why that radio was (or is) so significant to you.

Your entry will be recorded, and the winners chosen at random on Sunday October 16, 2016. We’ll publish the responses once the contest concludes, sharing only the name you provide.

FM DXing: Troy’s unexpected catch

Troy-FM-DX

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, who writes:

Thomas, if I were to read this on your blog, I would not have believed the following.

I live in Virginia nearly equidistant from RIC/Richmond Int’l AP (east of Richmond) and PHF AP (in Newport News). I had a 1:40 P.M. doctor’s appt. [July 12] and I took to I-64 East en route to the doctor near Newport News. My Silverado has an XM Radio that I typically listen to, but the reception is bad in the summer because of the wooded nature of the interstate.

I hit the “FM” button and I quickly found a station at 105.7. There were two other 105.7 stations that periodically interfered, but one station was dominating/booming. After music I heard commercials about concerts in Iowa. I heard an Iowa Lottery Commercial. And a Lasik commercial – yes, all from Iowa. I heard a weather forecast that definitely wasn’t for Virginia. After 10-12 minutes I got a station I.D.. It was KSUX Sioux City, Iowa. Sioux City, Iowa is 1,332 miles away or an estimated 22-hour drive!

KSUX dominated the airwaves until I got very close to my Newport News, VA appt. By then (around 12:55 P.M.) I had picked-up one of the other two stations that were competing on 105.7. It was a station on the Outer Banks, NC (about 2.5 hours by car away).

When I went back to my Silverado at exactly 2 P.M., the KSUX was barely audible as the Outer Banks, NC station was now the most clear. I drove back towards my home on I-64 West and after a few miles (5-10 at most) the third of the three stations became clear. The third station was “Kiss 105.7” originating in Richmond, VA. That means the Sioux City, Iowa station, 1,332-miles away, had obliterated the Richmond, VA signal from 12:30 P.M. to almost 1:00 P.M. even though at this juncture of my drive Richmond was 45-55 miles away.

The KSUX Sioux City, IA station … even though weak on the drive home … still occasionally popped through the airwaves to cause interference with the Richmond, VA signal.

If I hadn’t heard it, I would have never believed it. I did a quick check and I didn’t see anything regarding closer stations possibly simulcasting the KSUX signal. It appears to be 100% legit.

I’m dumbfounded. It’s a head scratcher for sure.

Thanks for sharing your experience, Troy. You, sir, were the recipient of some excellent FM DX openings!

FM DXing conditions

There are a few conditions that make for proper FM DX:

  1. Sporadic-E and tropospheric ducting (DXers often call this, “Tropo”)
  2. Meteor scatter, where signals bounce off of ionized trails left by meteors
  3. Also, when there is exceptionally high sunspot activity, FM signals have been known to bounce off the ionosphere (like shortwave signals)

I strongly suspect you were enjoying FM DX from sporadic E. If memory serves (and keep in mind, I’m currently vacationing in an off-grid cabin without Internet), we had a K Index of 5 or so on July 12–at least, I believe I heard a ham radio operator report this on 40 meters that day. I can confirm that the HF bands were absolutely obliterated parts of that particular day. Conditions were very unsettled for the HF (high-frequency) bands, but potentially excellent for sporadic E.

Source: Wikimedia

Source: Wikimedia

Fred Osterman writes about Sporadic E on DXing.com:

Sporadic-E propagation is caused by patches of intense ionization in the E-layer of the ionosphere (approximately 35 to 60 miles above the Earth’s surface). Signals on frequencies above 30 MHz normally pass through the ionosphere and into space. However, sporadic-E “clouds” are capable of refracting such signals back to Earth. The term “clouds” is an apt way to describe the patches of highly charged particles that form during a sporadic-E event. Like clouds, these patches move and are highly irregular in size and shape. It is possible to track the movement of a sporadic-E “cloud” by noting the locations of stations that fade in and out on a frequency as the cloud moves.

Sporadic-E propagation can occur any time of day or year. However, sporadic-E is most common from about mid-May to late July, with another peak a week before and after the winter solstice. Sporadic-E seems to be most common from about mid-morning to noon, local time, and again from late afternoon through the evening hours.

If you’re interested in chasing a little FM DX (’tis the season–!), read Fred’s full article about FM and TV DXing on DXing.com. What I like about Fred’s article is that it’s simple and easy to understand.

Post readers: Has anyone else enjoyed a little FM DX this summer? Please comment! This is a part of the DXing hobby that I rarely feature on the SWLing Post, but would love to highlight more often. Let me know if you’d like to write a guest post on this topic!