Share a photo of your shack or listening post for a chance to win a Grundig G2

The listening post and ham radio shack of Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW) from Ponza Island, Italy.

The listening post and ham radio shack of Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW) from Ponza Island, Italy.

[UPDATE: We have a winner! If you didn’t win, fear not! Follow this link for future contests.]

Want to share your shack or listening post with the world on the SWLing Post? Want a chance to win a Grundig G2? If so, keep reading…!

G2Reporter

This month, we’ll be collecting photos of our readers’ listening posts, radio shacks or favorite listening spot. And we don’t care if your listening post or shack is filled with gear or consists only of one radio in a public park; we’re just glad you’re listening, and we’d love to see how.  

The fact is, I’ve always been interested to learn what sorts of receivers, transceivers, and accessories our readers––many of whom are also shortwave listeners and/or ham radio operators––have in their shacks or use at their favorite listening spots.  After some consideration, the notion to show other readers how we listen became the basis for a fun contest.  Fred Osterman at Universal Radio championed the idea, offering his encouragement in the form of a prize.

In exchange for a photo of your favorite listening post, along with a brief description of your equipment––see details below––you’ll be entered for a chance to win a Grundig G2 portable radio/recorder and player by random selection.

Again, many thanks to our good friends at Universal Radio, who will kindly make this excellent prize available to anyone in the world.  That’s right; excepting applicable import taxes or duties, for which you’re responsible, Universal will ship your prize to you for free, no matter where you live!

This contest is open to everyone, save Universal Radio employees, their families, and those of us here at the Post.

How to enter…

Simply send an email to SWLingPostContest@gmail.com that includes: 

  • a photo of your listening post or shack,
  • your name, as you’d like it to appear in the SWLing Post,
  • your call sign (if applicable), 
  • your shipping address, and
  • a brief description of your favorite shack gear as seen in your photo. You, too, can make an appearance in this photo if you like.

Again, the winner will be chosen at random, which means that everyone will have an equal chance of winning.  By submitting an entry, you’re consenting to have your name and photo posted on the SWLing Post; after all, that’s the idea. Of course, your information stays with us and will never be sold or used for any purpose other than this contest.

Your entry must be submitted by November 1, 2015…Can’t wait to see (and share with our readers) how you’re listening!

Universal Radio: new Whistler scanners and a “QRP corner” page

The Whistler WS1098 Scanner

The Whistler WS1098 Tabletop Scanner

I recently had a conversation with my good friend Fred Osterman, president of Universal Radio. Fred told me about a couple of items on their website I thought might interest Post readers:

  • A QRP Corner page with quick links to products and categories that are relevant to QRPers, portable operators and those interested in communications preparedness. The new QRP corner page can be found by clicking here. Fred notes that he page is a work in progress with regular additions.
  • Fred has also posted preliminary information about new Whistler Scanners: the Whistler WS1088 and WS1098. Fred is impressed with the preliminary product information and should have pricing and availability soon (both units are still pending FCC approval).

I’ve read through the specifications of the new Whistler scanners: I love the fact that they come with frequencies banks that can be loaded by simply entering your zip code (in the US). I find that programming scanners–as well as modern VHF/UHF handhelds–can lead to a serious headache. I’m happy to see that manufacturers like Whistler and Uniden are finally making the process much easier.

Many thanks for the update, Fred!

Universal Radio: Used Tecsun PL-680 for $69.95

Universal-Radio-Used-Tecsun-PL-680

I just noticed that Universal Radio is featuring the following used Tecsun PL-680 in their used receiver collection. Here’s the description:

The Tecsun PL-680 receives longwave, AM, FM and SW bands plus VHF Airband. It features a backlit digital display, stereo FM (to ear jack), SSB, clock timer, 2000 Memories, Sync. Detection, ATS and keypad entry. The left side features earphone, external antenna and input voltage jacks. The right side features a variable BFO and tuning knob. The rear panel has a battery compartment for 4 AA cells (not supplied). This PL-680 system includes: box, nice carry case, printed manual and earphone.

The price is $69.95 plus shipping–very reasonable, in my opinion. The best part is Universal Radio offers a reputable 60 day warranty with all of their used items.

I regularly check Universal’s used and demo list. Occasionally, great bargains pop up and I feel I can always buy from them with confidence as they check over each item before posting.

Click here to read our review of the PL-680.

Virtual Radio Challenge III will include a prize!

GP5SSB-FrontA new SWLing Post reader challenge is on the way–the Virtual Radio Challenge III–and I’m especially pumped about this one. Like the previous two challenges, this one is not just hypothetical, but based on an actual query from an SWLing Post reader.  Yet this one is just a bit different from the previous challenges.

What I’m really excited about is this:  for the first time, there’s going to be a prize on the table for the winner!

Here’s how the challenge will work.  I’ll post the query this week; if you’re interested in participating, you’ll have until August 1st to craft and submit your response via a form on the reader challenge post or via email.

I’ve already lined up an expert who is uniquely qualified to choose the best entry for this particular reader challenge.

But that’s not all:  whoever our expert selects will receive…(drumroll)…a new CountyComm GP5/SSB portable radio, courtesy of Universal Radio. Thanks, Universal!  How cool is that?

So, stay tuned! The Virtual Radio Challenge III will be posted soon.

Used CommRadio CR-1 at Universal Radio for $379

The CommRadio CR-1

The CommRadio CR-1

While browsing the Universal Radio used equipment index during lunch, I noticed Universal currently has a used CommRadio CR-1 (not the CR-1a) for $379.95. In my opinion, that’s a brilliant price for a used CR-1 in good condition.

You can buy used gear with confidence from Universal Radio; they back their items with a 60 day warranty and have excellent customer service

Click here to see my review of the CommRadio CR-1 and click here to view Universal Radio’s used radio index.

Eton Traveler III/AN200 bundle at Universal Radio

The Eton Traveler III

The Eton Traveler III

This morning, I noticed that Universal Radio is now bundling that AN200 medium wave loop with the purchase of a Eton Traveler III.

TecsunAN200I’ve had an AN200 for years and it does make quite a different when inductively coupled with portable radios. You simply set the AN200 next to your portable radio, tune your radio to a station, then adjust the AN200 tuning knob for maximum gain. It’s pretty impressive, especially when used with radios hat lack a good ferrite bar antenna.

Gary DeBock gave the Eton Traveler III high marks for medium wave reception (less for shortwave, though) in his recent Ultralight Shootout.

Click here to view this deal on Universal Radio’s website.

Shortwave Receivers, Past & Present: a book for every radio enthusiast

ShortwaveReceiversPastAndPresent

Last month, I received an unexpected–and most welcome–package: a copy of Fred Osterman’s Shortwave Receivers Past & Present, now in its fourth edition. My copy was a signed version, sent to those who contributed to the volume. Although my contributions to this impressive and highly comprehensive work are quite modest, I was  grateful nonetheless; author Fred Osterman is not only a good friend, but a radio mentor.  He’s also a supporter of my non-profit, Ears To Our World (ETOW); indeed, without his warm encouragement, I doubt I would have launched that enterprise so successfully.  Fred continues to support ETOW in innumerable ways. And more than anyone else I know, Fred is a guru of all that is shortwave radio. As the president of Universal Radio, he has the good fortune of seeing a number of new/used radios appear on his doorstep every day, many of which are quite rare. In short, Fred Osterman knows his stuff.

But what a pleasure, to be able to recommend whole-heartedly this book, not because my long-time mentor penned it, but because it is…well, good.  Really good.  The first time I opened Shortwave Receivers Past & Present, I couldn’t put it down for nearly an hour.

Why? First of all, to say that this reference is chock-full of information about shortwave receivers is an understatement. It catalogs virtually every model of any significant receiver about which I’ve ever heard; that alone is fascinating.  But there’s more. This volume lists receivers–and even manufacturers–that are entirely new to me.  Clearly, if you’re intrigued by all things shortwave, this book has much to teach…

ShortwaveReceiversPastAndPresent-HQ-180

Each section of Shortwave Receivers Past & Present lists the most relevant information about each receiver model–features, specifications, internal components, accessories, readout type, physical dimensions, review notes, current pricing. (Click to enlarge)

The book is logically laid out by manufacturer and model; each section devoted to a particular model and all of its iterations are noted. As you can see in the example above, in-depth information including the author’s comments are provided, as well as the vitals on each rig–features, specifications, internal components, accessories, readout type, physical dimensions, review notes, current pricing–all beautifully and clearly presented. Clear black-and-white pictures of the radios as well as manufacturer logos are also shown.

While one can, of course, research radios online, rarely can you find all the information you seek so complete; this book has done all the painstaking work for you, and made it infinitely more convenient.

Secondly, Shortwave Receivers is a quality publication.  Back in the 1990s, I had the good fortune to work in university archives for a period of time; since then, I notice things others might overlook–binding, paper, quality of print. This book feels like the archival volume it is, with heavy, glossy pages, a robust binding and sturdy spine. It feels like one of those heavy encyclopedias you might have found in libraries in the past, created to endure many page turns and, indeed, stand the test of time.

As heavy as this book is–and it is very heavy, I admit–I think I might start carrying it to hamfests, especially to those with antique radios (i.e. “boat anchors”) on offer. With this work in tow, not only could I determine, on the spot, if a particular model of radio is a bargain, but also tell at a glance if it’s rare, if the components can be sourced readily, and anything else noteworthy I really ought to know about it. This would give me a leg up when bargaining, not to mention, make the whole radio experience more fun.

Indeed, if you collect or restore vintage shortwave receivers, or dream of doing so, this book is an absolute must. That’s the power of a proper reference book with an author who is as passionate about these receivers as the readers.

In short:  I highly recommend Shortwave Receivers Past and Present. At $49.95 US, it’s pricier than most individual books; however, considering its role as an all-in-one encyclopedic reference, it’s a value that will serve you for decades.

But if you do obtain a copy of Shortwave Receivers, I leave you with a warning: if you’re like me, you may find it just about impossible to put this book down.

Purchase Shortwave Receivers Past and Present, Fourth Edition at Universal Radio.

[Note to international readers: international shipping costs are substantial on this book, no doubt due to its significant weight and dimensional size. Just make sure you note shipping costs prior to purchasing.]