Tag Archives: shortwave

Free job and accommodation for couple willing to live on this island

The red flag marks Maatsuyker Island.

When I first saw this item on Popular Mechanics, I spent a bit of time fantasizing about  an interference-free half year DXpedition:

This Tasmanian Island Will Give Any Couple Willing to Move There a House and Job

Depending on how strong your relationship is, this will either sound like a romantic six-month getaway or the plot of The Shining. According to The Telegraph, Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service is looking for couples to apply to be caretakers of Maatsuyker Island, a 460-acre island located six miles off the southern coast of Tasmania, for periods from March to September or September to March for the next two years.

For “safety reasons,” they are actually encouraging couples to apply together if they “can demonstrate they have spent time together in a remote setting,” according to the application.

So whats’ the catch? If selected, the only time you could leave the island during your six month stay would be a helicopter evacuation in case of an emergency. Otherwise you’ll be completely cut off from the mainland. Did I mention there’s no internet or TV?

But if you’re okay living on a “sometimes wet and often windswept island” with minimal contact from anyone else, this might be the job for you.[…]

Click here to continue reading the full article at Popular Mechanics.

Aerial view of the southern coast of Tasmania. In the background South East Cape, in the foreground the Maatsuyker Islands (Needle Rocks are on the right; just to the left of them is Maatsuyker Island; De Witt is the larger island on the left). Artificial view generated from satellite data. (Source: Wikipedia)

Remember Tristan Da Cunha?

This article reminds me of our first Reader Challenge: One year, one radio, one (very) remote island where we imagined spending a year on the most remote populated island on earth: Tristan Da Cunha.

The responses for this challenge were amazing and diverse.  But Tristan’s population is about 300 people–we’re talking about a Tasmanian island with no population other than you and your spouse!

Since the Tristan Da Cunha radio challenge, technology has changed quite a bit. I wonder what gear we’d choose in 2017?

Post readers: Would anyone else jump at the opportunity to live cut off from humanity for six months? What radio gear would you take?

Dean: An intrepid young DXer!

Dean’s trusty Tecsun PL-660

A few weeks ago, I received a message from SWLing Post reader, Dean Denton, who lives in Hull, UK. Dean is not your typical contemporary shortwave listener–he’s twelve years old and has been DXing since the age of eight! While, decades ago, that used to be the norm–indeed, I started SWLing at eight–Dean is bucking the trend in 2017.

Dean’s listening post consists of a few receivers:  the Tecsun PL-660, a Tesco RAD 108, a Uniden UBC360CLT and a Hitachi TRK P65E. Dean also spends a great deal of time on the excellent University of Twente WebSDR.

Dean noted in a recent message:

“I typically love a lot of broadcasters, but generally China Radio International, Radio Romania International, BBC, Voice of America plus many more. I like talk and news on shortwave radio as it gives an insight of a typical country’s actions.

I also love music on shortwave due to Amplitude Modulation and its characteristics. Not to mention Pirate Radio, HAM Radio, Numbers Stations and anything else.”

Dean, you’re a kindred spirit indeed–to me, there’s nothing like the sound of music via the “sonic texture” of shortwave radio.

Not only is Dean a radio enthusiast, but he also started a website and is building a library of videos on his YouTube channel. Indeed, most recently, he’s been experimented with Narrow Band TV on his YouTube channel.

While looking through his channel, I found this screencast and recording he made as France Inter shut down their 162 kHz longwave service as 2016 came to a close:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Dean, keep us informed about your DXing adventures and don’t hesitate to ask questions!

Post readers: Let’s officially welcome Dean into our community! While you’re at it, check out his website and YouTube channel!

Letter from Australian Leader of the Opposition to the Prime Minister regarding NT shortwave service

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor,  Phil Brennan, who shares the following letter sent to The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister, by Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition:

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP Prime Minister
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister

I write in relation to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) decision to cease its shortwave transmission service in the Northern Territory from 31 January 2017.

My letter follows repeated representations from members of my Shadow Ministry, Northern Territory Caucus and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion to secure the continuation of this vital service.

As you know, shortwave radio provides vital news and information services, including local radio and emergency messages that are crucial to those living in remote areas, particularly in time of natural disaster.

The ABC’s claim that the majority of listeners will be able to access ABC services via AM/FM radio, digital radio and online streaming, or via VAST platform does not account for the reality of service availability in remote areas.

This helps to explain why listeners and users of the ABC shortwave in the Northern Territory have been unequivocal in voicing their concern at the Coalition’s failure to intervene in this matter. This includes emergency services workers and cattle growers.

I am also deeply concerned that the ABC took this decision without satisfactory consultation with affected listeners, community representatives and emergency service workers and agencies. ABC Managing Director, Michelle Guthrie, has since acknowledged shortfalls in this regard.

For these reasons I ask that you work with Labor, ABC management and local stakeholders as a matter of urgency to ensure the continued provision of shortwave radio service in the NT beyond 31 January 2017.

Yours sincerely

Bill Shorten MP
Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

26 January 2017

cc: The Hon Mark Dreyfus MP, QC Mr Stephen Jones MP
Senator Malarndirri McCarthy Hon Warren Snowdon MP
Mr Luke Gosling OAM, MP Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion

Click here to download the original PDF version of this letter.

March 2-4, 2017: Join us for the 30th (!!!) NASWA Winter SWL Fest!

Broadcasting a live performance of the Shortwave Shindig at the 2015 Winter SWL Fest.

Every year, I look forward to the only event I know that brings together both my avid interest in radio and my loyal radio-listening friends: the Winter SWL Fest. This is the one place where, among the 125-plus attendees, you can talk freely about all aspects of the shortwave hobby without any need of explanation as to why you find radio so fascinating. As a result, over the course of the eight years I’ve attended the ‘Fest, it has begun to feel less like a technical hobbyists convention and more like a (most enjoyable) family reunion.

The DoubleTree hotel where the Winter SWL Fest is held. Notice anything unique about the top floor of this hotel?

This year, the Winter SWL Fest is celebrating its 30th (!!!) Anniversary. The ‘Fest organizers have added an extra day to the convention making it a special three day event.

Here’s the description from the Winter SWL Fest website:

The Winter SWL Fest is a conference of radio hobbyists of all stripes, from DC to daylight. Every year scores of hobbyists descend on the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania suburbs for a weekend of camaraderie. The Fest is sponsored by NASWA, the North American Shortwave Association, but it covers much more than just shortwave; mediumwave (AM), scanning, satellite TV, and pirate broadcasting are among the other topics that the Fest covers. Whether you’ve been to every Fest (all 29, starting with the first year at the fabled Pink & Purple Room of the Fiesta Motor Inn) or this year’s will be your first, you’re sure to find a welcome from your fellow hobbyists.

For 2017, the 30th Annual (!!) Winter SWL Fest will have three days of sessions where you can learn about the latest developments in the radio listening hobbies, but there’s so much more going on. There’s a silent auction that takes place, where you’re bound to find something of interest. There’s the Hospitality Suite, where attendees partake of tuning oil and other treats and engage in spirited conversations. There is the closing Banquet, with after-dinner remarks by a luminary from the field, often one of the many broadcasters who attend the Fest, followed by the raffle, where you could win one or more of the dozens of prizes, ranging from pens from stations up to top-notch communications receivers. And of course, the infamous midnight ride of Pancho Villa that closes things out every year.

Early registration fees are available through the month of January, as an incentive to register early. We strongly urge you to do so as fees will increase for those registering January 28th and later.

Hotel Registration: The Doubletree Guest Suites offers a special $109 rate (single or double) that includes a full breakfast buffet. Reservations may be made by phone at +1-610-834-8300 or 800-222-8733 or online here; click on Special Rates and enter the group code NAS. If at all possible, please reserve hotel rooms using our group code, so we can maintain proper credit and keep costs down.

Fest Registration: A paper reservation form may be downloaded here; you may also register online via PayPal here.

Your hosts, Richard Cuff and John Figliozzi, work throughout the year to ensure that attendees have a great time over the weekend, and by all accounts, they succeed stunningly. How else could this event have lasted for 30 years (egad) and draw people from around the world to southeastern Pennsylvania? Won’t you join us?

This year, the grand prize at the Winter SWL Fest is the new Icom IC-7300 transceiver (which also happens to be an exceptional general coverage HF receiver).

If you can make a pilgrimage to Plymouth Meeting, PA, please do so. I think you’ll enjoy the diversity of programs and people who attend. I’ll be there along with a number of regular SWLing Post contributors. It’s a great time to exchange stories and ideas in person.

I always leave the Winter SWL Fest energized about a new aspect of our radio hobby. I think you will too.

Click here to register for the Winter SWL Fest online.

The Icom IC-R8600 shipping early 2017

The Icom IC-R8600 (Image source: Icom)

This morning, while browsing the latest ARRL QST magazine, I noticed an advertisement for the new Icom IC-R8600 wideband receiver.  If you recall, last August, Icom made the announcement that it was introducing two new receivers: The IC-R8600 and the IC-R30 handheld.

The IC-R30 is the successor to the IC-R20 compact handheld receiver, but will have advanced receiving capabilities and be able to decode D-STAR, P25, NXDN and dPMR digital (conventional) modes.

Icom IC-R8600 back panel (Image source: Icom)

The IC-R8600, on the other hand, is more akin to the IC-7300 transceiver in terms of design, but has much more functionality than the IC-7300 and covers a wide range of frequencies (10kHz-3GHz).

The Icom IC-R8600 is essentially a tabletop SDR receiver.

Here are a few features mentioned on the IC-R8600 pre-release brochure:

  • Ultra-wide frequency coverage with RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication) function
  • Fast moving, real-time spectrum scope and waterfall functions
  • Decodes multiple digital protocols, including D-STAR, NXDNTM, dPMRTM and APCO P25
  • Large 4.3 inch TFT color touch screen display
  • Clear audio quality using FPGA/DSP base architecture with superheterodyne circuitry
  • Optional RS-R8600 PC remote control software allows control of all receiver functions
  • I/Q signal output for use with third-party SDR software and/or external decoding
  • The SD card slot for received log, decode log and voice recording
  • Optional SP-39AD external speaker with integrated power supply

The back panel connections are pretty comprehensive (click to enlarge):

I will plan to review the IC-R8600 once it has become available. I have no clue yet what pricing will be.

I will post all IC-R8600 updates with the tag: IC-R8600