The bands are open! Make time to listen.

Sony-ICF-SW100-Outside-Fall

Though I’ve spent the entire day sawing and splitting firewood, I’ve been actively recording spectrum on the 31, 25, 19 and 16 meter bands with the WinRadio Excalibur, Elad FDM-S2 and the SDRplay RSP. Why? Propagation–especially on the higher bands–has been the best it’s been in several weeks.

As I discovered at the recent SWLing Post DXpedition, my shack PC can handle making multiple spectrum recordings simultaneously as long as I limit each recording to the width of a broadcast band. (I’ve never tried pushing the limit very hard.) Someday in the future–perhaps when we’re having terrible propagation–I’ll play those spectrum recordings back and tune through them as if they were live.

Radio time travel at its best.

Sony-ICF-SW100-Outside-2

When I decided to throw in the towel with all of the firewood processing, I fired up the Sony ICF-SW100 (above) and tuned in a game on 17,855 kHz: Radio Exterior de España.

The REE signal was simply booming into eastern North America!

Hard to break away from the radio on days like this.

My advice? Take advantage of these conditions and make time to listen!

For me, SWLing a great excuse to relax and let me back heal after a long day of splitting wood. For some, perhaps it’s a good excuse to take the radio outdoors and away from urban interference. Whatever the excuse, don’t hesitate to fire up your radio!

There are some interesting stations on the bands this evening. Feel free to comment with some you’ve logged.

SWLing Post, Number 2,000

SX-99-Dial-Nar

This morning, I noticed that we’ve crossed a small milestone here at the SWLing Post: as of this post, there are now 2,000 published posts in our archives.

It’s a bit incredible that it’s already been almost seven years since I started this blog. In the beginning, I had no aspirations for the SWLing Post to become a popular destination for shortwave and amateur radio enthusiasts; it was mainly a site where I could jot down things I found of interest to me and keep tabs on the radio and international broadcasting industry.  I was simply making my bookmarks and thoughts public, perhaps a little in advance of the social media outlets that now exist for shortwave radio and related topics.

A couple of months after starting the SWLing Post, I began using Google Analytics to track readership. I was absolutely floored to discover that, after a year or two online, I had about 200 pageviews per day–meaning, our website guests were reading about 200 pages/posts of information per day! It seemed surreal.

Each year–indeed, each month–that number grew. Now, it’s hard for me to believe the site has about 5,500 daily pageviews.  Per month? We’re up to 167,000. As of today, here’s what Google Analytics gives for our monthly figures:

SWLingPost-Numbers

The thing is, these numbers continue to grow.

Best of all, what does this say–loud and clear!–about these “dying” radio shortwaves, about this old and washed-up medium of communication–?  It says to us:  interest in this hobby is far from dead, but rather, is still alive and well…and perhaps even growing.

And the very best part about hosting the SWLing Post? The community it’s created.  So:

Thanks to everyone who makes this possible–to all of those who create guest posts, to those who comment, and to those who help other readers; thanks to those who participate in and moderate the chat room.  Thanks to the readers who follow, to the SWLers who listen, to all those who care about radio.  Thanks to you all…for the camaraderie, the coffee, the chance to enjoy the growing company of so many readers and fellow-listeners from all around the globe…I am now, and will remain, most humbly grateful.

And to extend my thanks, I’m looking into hosting a forum here on the SWLing Post which should allow for even more interaction within the community.  So, yet again, allow me to say:  Stay tuned!

There’s even more to come.

Buying a shortwave radio in India?

Tecsun-PL660

SWLing Post reader, Muthu Kumar recently asked if I knew of a good source of shortwave radios–specifically, the Tecsun brand–in India.

I’m asked this very question at least a few times each year and have always replied that eBay may be the best option.

I’m curious if any of our readers living in India have good suggestions of shortwave retailers either within the country or who ship to India without many hassles. Please comment.

Radio Spaceshuttle International final broadcast tomorrow

Space_Shuttle_Atlantis-NASA

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill F., who shares this message from Dick (DJ Spacewalker) at Radio Spaceshuttle International:

Dear listeners,

Special announcement! Wish you all to be ready to listen very last transmission of Radio Spaceshuttle on 13600 kHz Sunday 13th of September 2015 [19:00-20:00 UTC].

Sad goodbye px with…

1. Results of 2015 Radio Spaceshuttle contest
2. Listeners corner- with musical requests
3. Special announcement from Radio Spaceshuttle International
4. Best ever Spaceshuttle music- worth of listening and recording.

This will be your “Once in Lifetime” change to hear Radio Spaceshuttle and sent reception report. Special e-mail QSL is ready to sent to you-you will got yours very soon after this transmission- if getting your report during Sunday- your QSL is on your post during Monday 7th of September.

Also reports wanted to our Herten Box- will be verified with printed QSL.

All older reports are under work for QSLs….

Many thanks for all regular listeners as well to new ones…. It has been so fun with you.

Your letters/reception reports are very welcome to our address in Herten:

Radio Spaceshuttle International
P.O.Box 2702
NL: 6049 ZG Herten
The Netherlands A little fee (2 euros) for return postage (for full
info printed QSLs) is needed!

I’m not sure if propagation will favor me here in eastern North America, so I’m hoping an SWLing Post reader or SRAA contributor can make an off-air recording of the show. (Hint, hint!)

Shortwave portables that are PC-programmable?

Tecsun-PL-680-MW

SWLing Post reader, Mark, recently contact me with the following question:

“What portable shortwave radios under $300 have an option to have their memories programmed using a computer?”

I replied to Mark that I can’t think of a single shortwave portable that can be programmed via computer–at least, not a “typical” portable radio like a Sony, Sangean, Tecsun, Degen, or Redsun.

Yaesu-VX-3R

The Yaesu VX-3R HT tuned to the AM broadcast band.

I may be wrong, however, so please comment if you can help Mark identify a model.

I am aware of portable wideband communications receivers/transceivers that cover the shortwave bands: handhelds like the Icom-IC-R6, Icom IC-R20, Yaesu VX-3R, AOR AR8200 Mark III B and Kenwood TH-F6A.

Wideband handhelds are more akin to a scanner, though, and typically shortwave sensitivity is simply not on par with a dedicated shortwave portable. The AOR AR8200 Mark III B  ($700+) and discontinued Icom IC-R20  may be a couple of exceptions.

Please comment if you can help Mark with his quest.

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio St. Helena

radiosthelenaMany thanks to Shortwave Radio Audio Archive contributor, Brian Smith, who shares the following recording of Radio St. Helena Day 2006 and notes:

“Beginning in 1990, Radio St. Helena was known for transmitting an international shortwave radio broadcast only once a year — and sometimes not even that — on a frequency of 11092.5 kHz USB. I managed to hear its 2006 broadcast to North America for about an hour on Nov. 4 and 5 UTC (straddling the 0000 hour).

Because of its relatively low power, it was never an easy catch in the American Midwest. That’s why this recording, which lasts just over an hour — I spliced together both sides of a cassette — captures a signal quality that is merely fair at best. But that was typical of Radio St. Helena, whose 1 kw signal in 2006 (it was 1.5 kw in the 1990s) seldom packed much of a punch.

I was listening on the borrowed rig of a now-deceased friend, Mike Koss, W9SU, and have long since forgotten the type of radio (probably a ham rig) he let me use. However, if memory serves, it was attached to a Beverage antenna that stretched across his 10-acre property in the heart of Indianapolis.

Mike deserves the lion’s share of the credit for the creation of this recording.”

In all of the years I tried to hear Radio St. Helena’s annual broadcast, timing never worked on my end; either I was travelling, the station had transmitter problems, or conditions were simply too poor. Many thanks for sharing this recording with us, Brian!

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Moshe’s early birthday gift: a Philips 90AL765

Philips-90AL765-FrontSWLing Post contributor, Moshe, writes:

After reading your post about your Panasonic RF2200 pre-birthday present, I decided I want to do the same. The radio I chose has a story behind it…

My Grandfather had the same exact radio. I used to play around with the radio as a child, (especially with the shortwave bands, looking for number stations…). When my Grandfather died, about 23 years ago, the radio disappeared.

I decided this is the radio I want for my birthday. I could not remember the maker of the radio, nor it’s model, but I remembered how it looked.

I spent many days looking for all variations like “portable transistor radio” and so on, until I found a photo on the Internet: I was looking for a Philips 90AL765 radio.

I found it on Ebay. A very kind seller from Australia had it.
I purchased and receive the radio on the 26th of June (my birthday was the 12th of July). As soon as I got the radio, I opened it up; it needed cleaning (the case itself and the contacts).

Philips 90AL765-Back

After cleaning the contacts and washing the case, the radio runs (and looks) like new. I thought I would have to recap the radio, but it sounded perfect and without even a hint of hum, so I left it as it is.

It has the volume and tone knobs missing, but it can be operated with no problem. Sound quality is amazing (I added a video of the radio playing All India Radio on 6155 kHz)–it works very well on all bands and is very sensitive. By ear, the bandwidth sounds like 8 kHz or more. Radio bands are: MW, SW (2 bands) And FM.

The shortwave band is divided in two: SW1: 2.3MHz- ~7.4MHz, SW2: ~9.4MHz- 22.5MHz. For fine tuning on shortwave, the radio has a “Fine Tuning” control, which is a potentiometer connected to a varicap.

If you place the control in the middle (It lacks a detent spot) and tune in a station, this control will put you spot-on (the receiver is very stable).

Some info about the radio: According to Radiomuseum.org, the radio is dated to 1977, and was made in Austria (mine and my Grandfather’s were made in Singapore).

It contains 13 transistors, 3 of them are can transistors (not plastic).

Tuning is slide ruler type, and the only connection is A DIN5 for recording (wired for mono).

Philips 90AL765-Back2The radio can be operated from 4 D cells, or directly from AC (in the picture you can see the transformer). It can be operated from 230V or 120V. Note that if you move the plastic pin cover from the left pin to the right one, the center pin remains visible at all times. Also you will have to move the plastic cover piece on the back to the left.

The Ferrite is 14cm long, the telescopic antenna is 79cm fully extended, and it has an elbow joint that allows you to place the radio in your lap and still the antenna will point up with no problem. Only thing is that if the antenna is extended, the handle cannot change position since the antenna is in the way.

Philips 90AL765-Side

Width of the radio itself is 29cm (31cm with the handle and the knobs).
Depth is 7cm.
Height is 16.5cm (21cm with the handle).

All in all, it is a very fine radio and I love it!

Moshe, thanks so much for sharing your story!

Perhaps, one of the true virtues of sites like eBay is that they allow us to search the world for somewhat obscure devices that have such a strong family and nostalgic connections. Congratulations on your find!