Tag Archives: Radio Guinea

The Eton Satellit: my thoughts after 3 weeks of DXing and some recent catches…

Hi there, it’s been about three weeks now since I started DXing with the Eton Satellit and I thought it time to post an updated review, based on my experiences thus far, along with some recent catches. Noting that other radio hobbyists with a strong presence online have been posting neutral to negative reviews on this receiver, I would just like to point out, perhaps rather obviously, that no receiver is perfect and just as importantly, the criteria on which a portable radio is judged will be different from user to user, based on their listening habits. I am almost exclusively engaged in DXing with the Satellit, whilst others will be listening on the broadcast bands on a more casual basis. I know that for some, the ultimate quality and finish of a product is as important as performance and they would make their physical assessment in a very detailed manner. I on the other hand focus mainly on performance and as regards quality, I’m reasonably satisfied if it doesn’t fall apart in my hands, straight out of the box! That actually happened – and it’s sort of where I draw the line 🙂 I guess the point is, I try to respect everyone’s opinion, irrespective as to whether we are in agreement or not and I believe that’s healthy for the future of our hobby.

Ok, back to the Satellit. Firstly, I am able to confirm that in terms of ultimate sensitivity, this portable is very close to my Sony ICF-2001D – one of the most highly regarded portables ever made. The delta in performance between the two is most perceptible on the weakest of fading signals that intermittently deliver audio with the Sony, but can’t be heard on the Eton. On stronger signals, my experience is that either radio might provide the strongest and or highest fidelity audio. I have a series of comparison videos already in the can, which will be uploaded to the Oxford Shortwave Log YouTube channel soon.

In terms of selectivity, the digital bandwidth filters work very well, although I note that even on the narrowest setting (2 kHz) when operating in a crowded band, adjacent channel QRM can occasionally still sound quite pronounced, as compared to my Sony ICF-SW55 or ICF-2001D receivers. As regards synchronous detection, this is more of a hit-and-miss affair. Subscribers to my channel might notice that in nearly all of my reception videos featuring the Eton Satellit, I have not engaged the SYNC. That isn’t to say it doesn’t work, however, even with selectable sidebands, the SYNC mode often appears to increase the overall signal amplitude and noise floor, without positively influencing the SNR. However, it’s interesting to note that signals on the Satellit in AM mode often almost match the ICF-2001D in SYNC mode, in terms of overall SNR. More on that to come.

There are a number of ways to tune the radio; manually using the tuning knob (and this has a decent feel/ resistance to it), direct frequency input which requires pressing the ‘AM’ button to engage, automatic search and access to 700 memory locations, via 100 screen pages. In the real world – and by that I mean ‘my world’ which is most often in the middle of a field, or the woods, all of the above tuning options are as ergonomic as most of my other portables. With regard to SSB reception, there are fast, slow and fine tuning options with a maximum resolution of 10 Hz and this works very well to reproduce natural sounding speech in LSB and USB modes. The tuning speed/fine options are engaged by pressing the tuning knob inwards towards the set – quite a neat idea. With SSB and SYNC there’s always a little pause whilst the electronics engage – a set of chevrons appear on the screen to indicate the receiver is actually doing something. It’s similar to the Sony ICF-SW77 where you effectively toggle between SYNC USB and LSB and wait for lock. Not an issue for me, but it might annoy some, particularly those who have experience with the ICF-2001D, where SYNC engagement is instantaneous, if the signal is of sufficient strength. A small point, but worth making.

 

So, overall, a brilliant little radio that in my opinion is completely worthy of the ‘Satellit’ branding, at least in terms of ultimate performance. As I mentioned previously, one of the most experienced DXers I know, with more than 3 decades of listening to the HF bands and an owner of a number of vintage Satellit receivers noted that the Eton Satellit outperformed them – and by some margin. To further demonstrate this, I have included links to recent reception videos. In particular, I copied three of the regional AIR stations with signal strength and clarity that had never previously been obtained. I also copied HM01, the Cuban Numbers Station for the first time on the 11 metre broadcast band, Sudan and Guinea on the 31 metre broadcast band (a whopping signal from Guinea) and Polski Radio 1 on longwave. I hope you find them interesting. Since featuring the Satellit on my channel, one of two of my subscribers have purchased this radio and thus far have been very happy indeed with it’s performance.

Ultimately, I have to strongly recommend this portable to anyone interested in DXing and in particular those that embark on DXpeditions. I just hope that should you decide to buy one, you receive an example that performs was well as mine. Embedded reception videos and text links follow below, In the mean time and until my next post, I wish you all great DX!


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Clint Gouveia is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Clint actively publishes videos of his shortwave radio excursions on his YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log. Clint is based in Oxfordshire, England.

The Tecsun S-8800 tuned to Radio Guinea

Yesterday, while comparing the new Tecsun S-8800 with the PL-880 and ICF-SW7600GR (on the tail gate of my truck) I tuned to Radio Guinea and was instantly reminded why I love music over shortwave.

Here’s a clip I kept rather short for fear that YouTube might note the off-air music and pull the video for copyright infringement (happens all the time). I shot this with my mobile phone, so you can’t hear the bass notes:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Some of my favorite stations for music over the shortwaves are the Voice of Greece, Radio Guinea, Radio Havana Cuba, All India Radio, Radio Romania International, Medi 1 and Zanzibar Broadcasting Corp. Not to mention all of the private broadcasters like WRMI, The Mighty KBC and Bill Tilford’s productions!

Of course, there are so many more stations that play wonderful music! I keep a copy of Alan Roe’s music guide handy!

Though it’s still early days with the S-8800, I can say that it does a fine job reproducing music in full fidelity. Receiver-wise, it mops the floor with my S350DL.

The Eton Satellit: a short history & first impressions as a DX workhorse

Hi there, I’m sure some of you will read the title of this post and conclude ‘that’s exactly that the Eton Satellit could never be’. I was of the same opinion, having read many reviews online suggesting this little radio on shortwave at least was essentially a bit ‘duff’ as we say in the UK. The fundamental flaws identified when it was first released included, but were not limited to – a general lack of sensitivity, poor AM SYNC stability and poor AM SYNC audio, poor filtering, particularly in SSB mode, muting whilst tuning, poor display visibility in sunlight, poor AGC timing…the list goes on.

On MW and FM there was a general consensus that this little radio performed very well, but with all the other flaws highlighted here, it certainly did not represent good value for money. A number of reviewers concluded that the Eton was an insult to the ‘Satellit’ brand. Oh dear, yet another shot in the foot for Eton then. User perception was confirmed when I posted my first reception video using this radio –  a number of my Oxford Shortwave Log subscribers got in touch to say they were essentially scared off buying this radio at the time and that this was of course driven by the negative reviews that proliferated the internet.

 

Since the original launch, however, it would appear that firmware updates have improved this receiver immesurably, although I am quite certain this news hasn’t really filtered out into the market because there still appears to be a consensus that the newest Satellit is ‘not worthy’ so-to-speak. So, how did I come to buy a Satellit, a decision that could very well be perceived as risky to say the least, even foolhardy?! Well, one of my DXing fellows on YouTube (check out his YouTube channel – it’s full of amazing DX) posted a video of his recently purchased Satellit in a number of tests against the (largely) brilliant Tecsun PL-880. The Satellit equalled or bettered the PL-880 on MW and SW. I was very surprised at this outcome, for the same reasons as everyone else – it wasn’t supposed to be that good.

Even though the poster himself suggested the Eton might not be classified as a classic Satellit, it’s interesting to note that another DXer with three decades of experience and someone who’s owned the Satellit 400, 500 and 700 models concluded the opposite and that for various reasons, the newest Satellit is a far better performer with weak DX than those vintage receivers ever were. In his experience, the classic Satellit receivers always delivered excellent audio and thus were brilliant for listening to international broadcasters. However, for weak DX the Satellit 500 didn’t perform as well as the budget Sangean ATS-803A  and the ICF-2001D wiped the floor with the 700. So, is the Eton worthy of the Satellit branding? Perhaps the problem is it’s just so small – I mean compared to the Satellit 800….you could confuse the Eton to be it’s remote control – if it had one! It is diminutive and I’ve purposely taken a picture of it with my calculator to demonstrate this. It’s actually not much bigger than the Tecsun PL-310ET, so in terms of form-factor, definitely a departure from Satellits of the past.

 

What about performance? I tested the Eton at the woods I use for DXing, with a 50 metre longwire. In the space of a couple of hours, I’d recorded ABC Northern Territories on 2325, 2485 and 4835 kHz, Pyongyang BS, North Korea on 3320 kHz, Angola on 4950 kHz, Guinea on 9650 kHz and a weak signal from the Solomon Islands on 5020 kHz. The signals from ABC on 2485 kHz, Angola and Guinea were stronger and clearer than I’d ever heard previously. Pyongyang on 3320 kHz and the Solomon Islands were personal firsts.

The Eton performed way beyond my expectations and I hope this post will go some way to restoring the repuation of this brilliant little radio, which in my opinion fully deserves to be called a Satellit. More testing is necssary, including direct comparisons with other receivers – all of that to come in due course. Text links and embedded reception videos follow. Thanks for reading/watching/listening and I wish you all great DX!



Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Clint Gouveia is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Clint actively publishes videos of his shortwave radio excursions on his YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log. Clint is based in Oxfordshire, England.

The diminutive but brilliant Sony ICF-SW100: a few autumn/winter DX catches

Hi there, I posted an article on this brilliant little radio a few months ago because it had demonstrated a level of performance way beyond my expectations. Notwithstanding it’s incredibly small size the DX results I obtained with it were beyond my ICF-SW55 and up there with the iconic ICF-2001D. Armed with synchronous detection, selectable side bands, SSB, CW and sensitivity seemingly boyond it’s tiny form factor I can’t recommend this radio highly enough.

 

Originally introduced into the market in 1993 and discontinued in 2005, the ICF-SW100 won’t ever be repeated – a point I made in my original post, but of course they are available on eBay and prices remain robust for what is now essentially a vintage receiver. Unfortunately, I don’t get to use my ICF-SW100 very much as I have various other receivers and have been involved in antenna building/testing and MW DX for the past few months. However, on the couple of occasions when I have taken the Sony on a mini DXpedition, it’s resulted in some fine DX. As demonstrated in the examples below, Mali, Guinea, Alaska and Japan are amongst the more difficult signals to copy in Europe and yet the ICF-SW100 delivered them! Text links to reception videos on the Oxford Shortwave Log YouTube channel follow below and futher down you will find embedded videos. Thanks for reading/watching/listening and I wish you all great DX!



Clint Gouveia is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Clint actively publishes videos of his shortwave radio excursions on his YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log. Clint is based in Oxfordshire, England.

Recent Shortwave Logs From Alaska

Paul-Walker-Galena-Alaska-TEcsun-PL880

It’s been quite a while since I posted any logs. I picked out my best ones from the last 2 months.

Equipment: Tecsun PL-880, 225 foot long wires oriented for different directions, EmTech ZM2 Antenna tuner, DX Engineering RPA-1PLUS HF PreAmp and EmTech ZM2 antenna tuner.

5040 kHz, All India Radio Jaypore from 1641UTC to 1645UTC on September 22nd in the Oriya language with some singing and/or chanting. I would give this broadcast a SINPO Rating of 33343. The signal was overall on the higher side of fair but there ewas some static and noise with a light to moderate amount of fading and some digital data/pulsing kind of noise. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvtOZFbYMxo (Walker-AK)

7295 kHz & 7345 kHz, Radio Sahka via Yauktsk 1020UTC to 1030UTC on September 11 in Russian. What sounds like contemporary russian music is being played. 7295 is a bit louder and stronger for me, sometimes by a fairly noticeable margin most days but this time, the difference is hugely noticeable between the two signals. I would give these broadcasts a SINPO rating of 45455 I am rating this good as there was almost no atmospheric noise and very little fading! 7295 kHz audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g24DkJgv0qc 7345 kHz audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia4N62KB2gM (Walker-AK

7315 kHz, The Voice of Vietnam via Cypress Creek, South Carolina from 0100 to 0115UTC on September 22. The program begins with the incredibly recognizable and lovely VOV interval tune/intro signal. A female announcer gives a quick preview of the show and headlines then a news report begins.with a male. I would give this broadcast a SINPO of 34233. The signal was pretty fair, listenable but with lots of atmospheric noise/fading/static, but thankfully no interference. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_PH8MraW7A.

VOV also heard at 1624UTC on 7220 kHz via Hanoi with a traditional Vietnamese song and a SINPO rating of 33232. The signal itself was ok but there was a lot of noise, fading and at times, interference which resulted in my overall poor rating.  The signal itself was ok but there was alot of noise, fading and at times, interference which resulted in my overall poor rating. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9Kf2AYVeDA .

1209 kHz via Hanoi at 1130UTC is heard at fair to good levels from with a little fading and noise but not bad overall. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIFVztEl1yM .

12005 kHz VOV heard via Woofferton on August 29 at 0230UTC with good signal. Audio here of 15520 kHz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6F0ktPTDuc

I have not heard the claimed VOV broadcasts in English on 5955 via Moosbrun or the 9550 broadcasts, wherever that comes from! (Walker-AK)

9445 kHz, All India Radio General Overseas Service from 1826 to 1830UTC on August 27th in English. Indian music followed by a sports program, co produced by AIR, BBC and Radio Australia.I would give this broadcast a SINPO rating of 45454. THe signal was pretty darn good and audio was good too. Only a slight bit of fading and ever so slight noise. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ka9mc7c_F8 (Walker-AK)

9650 kHz, Radio Guinea via Conarky from 2357UTC to 0035UTC in French. Lively Afro-pop type music and announcers talking in french. I would give this a SINPO Rating of 35333. The broadcast was moderately fair, the unique music made this broadcast a bit easier to pick out of the noise but it was moderately listenable. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lmG9ms3ucU (Walker-AK)

9870 kHz, All India Radio Vividh Bharati Service from 1728UTC to 1741UTC on August 27th. Stellarly awesome signal with some lovely indian music and female announcer. I would give this a SINPO Rating of 5555! Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyJAJmwoE8I (Walker-AK)

9895 kHz, Radio Rossi via (???) from 0951UTC to 1002UTC on September 11. Enjoying some Russian music on Shortwave!  I would give this a SINPO rating of 44344. I rate this overall as good because of the strong signal and overall high listenability signal/audio quality wise. If it weren’t for the slight fading and noise, this would be nearly a 55555. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XcsJEAgDuc

5900 kHz heard a day earlier with what sounds like a news or feature interview segment with more then one man talking in Russian at 1000UTC. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWEgjpT1vwU (Walker-AK)

I would give this a SINPO rating of 44343. This signal was on the lower side of good but the overall quality was the higher side of fair due to the fading, noise and slightly low modulation.

11735 kHz, Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation via Dole, Zanzibar from 2049UTC to 2059UTC on September 5th. Some music playing, maybe middle eastern-like? somewhat lively tunes. A male announcer speaking, possibly in Swahili This is far from the best I log ZBC with, but also far from the worst I give this broadcast a SINPO rating of 44434. It was a fair to good signal with a bit of fading and choppy propagation but not bad. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn7o4G2iHSU (Walker-AK)

11750 kHz, Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation via Trincomalee, Sri Lanka from 1721UTC to 1725UTC on September 24th in the Sinhalese language. Unfortunately, I do understand what is being said other then it appears this is an interview or discussion program hosted by a woman with a male guest on the phone.. A friend who listened to the recording says she gives a station ID at some point. I would give this broadcast a SINPO rating of 34444. The signal was fair and there was no interference but fading was moderate and propagation was somewhat choppy. If the signal had been a bit stronger with a little less fading and better propagation, this would’ve been a very enjoyable signal to listen to. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfqEK4caKKo (Walker-AK)

12035 kHz, Voice of Mongolia via Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia from 0859 to 0908UTC on September 25 in English. My recording starts out with the carrier but no program audio yet. The interval tune begins, a male announces the name of the radio station. A female announcer comes on, welcoming people to the radio station. Frequency and broadcast schedule information is given out along with your website information. Another female announcer comes on and welcomes people to a New Edition of The Sunday Music Program. That female announcer reads a few news stories before a Mongolian song plays. I would give this broadcast a SINPO rating of 44344. Overall this broadcast was good because the signal was strong and with no noise or interference, just moderate fading and slightly choppy propagation. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpfoLtxkr70 (Walker-AK)

15275 kHz, Deutsche Welle via Issoudun from 1835 to 1838UTC on September 24 in French. It sounds like a news discussion/interview program with one man doing the large part of the talking. I would give this broadcast a SINPO rating of 45444. It was a pretty good signal with no noise or interference and only a slight bit more fading then my 1530 kHz reception of RFI on the same date and nearly same time from the same site with nearly the same target area. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTUzBk3FjeY (Walker-AK)

15300 kHz, Radio France International via Issoudun  from 1837UTC to 1841UTC on September 24 in French. What sounds like a woman possibly interviewing a man. I would give this broadsast a SINPO Rating of 45444. The signal was very good, there was no interference and very little noise. Just a bit of fading and ever so slightly choppy propagation. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1sJs9P0Qrw (Walker-AK)

15320 kHz, Radio Taiwan International via Paochung, Taiwan from 0356UTC to 0359TC on September 8th. There is ALOT of static/atmospheric noise on the channel and the signal is very weak. I recorded 5 minutes worth and took the 3 best segments of the reception and put them together. If I didn’t know what to look for, this would be impossible to have nailed down In the first part of this one clip which is 11 seconds, a male gives out a frequency and time schedule. In the second part of this clip which is 9 seconds, the same man gives out what I assume is the PO Box mailing address for RTI. In the 3rd and final part of this clip, that same man says simply “Radio Taiwan International” I would give it a SINPO rating of 12112. Audio here: https://app.box.com/s/kkcoe959r5iphbjvvnjoz2n0qxslhevz. I have also heard RTI’s 9465 kHz and  11685 kHz english broadcasts in the 1500 to 1600UTC time frame usually at barely fair levels, but occasionally at fair to good levels. (Walker-AK)

15520 kHz, Voice Of Turkey via Emirler, Turkey from 1628UTC to 1650UTC on September 24th in English. The lovely Voice of Turkey interval tune played for about 2 minutes before time pips played followed by a male announcing the start of the english service and the frequencies and times to listen. A Female announcer then came on and read news stories for about 10 minutes before the letter box program came on with a male announcer reading listener letters and reception report. I give this broadcast SINPO rating of 44333. This broadcast was teetering between fair and good. If it wasn’t for the choppy propagation, this signal would’ve been alot more listenable. Audio here of 15520 kHz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6F0ktPTDuc   I caught 9830 the next day and they played their interval tune for about 9 minutes before signing off about 10 minutes early!! 9830 kHz audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3o7_LINGYMA .  I’ve heard the 9515 kHz Turkey broadcast in English in early September as well at fair signal levels with somewhat choppy propagation. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anc_8jznz_k  (Walker-AK)

15590 kHz, Radio Thailand via Udon Thani from 02359 to 0015UTC on August 19. Superb signal with interval tune, station introduction and a news segment of national headlines.An ad or two was heard for local/regional businesses along with promotional announcement inviting advertising inquires and giving an email address. I would give this a SINPO rating of 55455. This broadcast is near perfect! Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPQaA_RM74I. 9390 kHz heard in English on September 24th at 1937UTC with business and financial report information in english. SINPO of 54444 Almost as good as 15590 kHz and it should be noted that 9390 isn’t usually this good. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQnEexGUBoE (Walker-AK)

Paul Walker is the Program Director at Community Radio For Alaska: KIYU located in Galena, Alaska and is a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Be sure to check out Paul’s YouTube channel and SoundCloud channel where everything he logs is recorded and posted. Click here to read his other contributions on the SWLing Post.