Tag Archives: Wired

Wired.com reviews the Como Audio Solo

como-audio-solo-tableMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jeff McMahon, who shares this review of the Como Audio Solo:

Here’s a $300 internet radio review from Wired:

Review: Como Audio Solo

Click here to view on Wired.com.

I was an early backer of the Como Audio Solo and reviewed it in October.

Since then, the Solo has become my WiFi radio of choice. I have it hooked up to an SSTRAN AM transmitter and use it to pipe audio through my whole house via the AM broadcast band. Though this only concerns a tiny fraction of hard-core radio geeks: the Solo has a very quiet power supply and my AM transmitter picks up no hum from the Solo. All of my other WiFi radio induce a hum if connected to mains power. This is what makes the Solo so useful in my household and shack.

Of course, when I have it tuned to a music station, like RFI Musique, its built-in speaker system provides ample fidelity!

As I mention in my review, FM analog reception is mediocre, though I imagine it would improve with an external antenna.  Wired believes the Solo is good, but not great.

Wired: Listen to a Solar Flare Drown Out Radio Communications on Earth

(Photo: NASA via Wired)

(Photo: NASA via Wired)

(Source: Wired)

Over the weekend, a tiny spot on the sun erupted into a moderately sized solar flare that was particularly loud in radio waves. With the sound of a roaring wave, it completely drowned out radio communication all over the Earth between 28 MHz and 21.1 MHz.

The recording [found on this page] comes from either a short wave radio station or a Ham radio transmission, said amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft, who works with NASA’s Radio JOVE project. It’s interesting to hear the voices get “swallowed up as the solar wave passes through,” he added in an e-mail to Wired.[]

Read the full article on Wired.

Estonian engineer drags UVB-76 numbers station into the Internet era

It seems there’s no shortage of interest in numbers stations these days. This article, from Wired magazineInside The Russian Short Wave Radio Enigma:

From a lonely rusted tower in a forest north of Moscow, a mysterious shortwave radio station transmitted day and night. For at least the decade leading up to 1992, it broadcast almost nothing but beeps; after that, it switched to buzzes, generally between 21 and 34 per minute, each lasting roughly a second—a nasally foghorn blaring through a crackly ether. The signal was said to emanate from the grounds of a voyenni gorodok (mini military city) near the village of Povarovo, and very rarely, perhaps once every few weeks, the monotony was broken by a male voice reciting brief sequences of numbers and words, often strings of Russian names: “Anna, Nikolai, Ivan, Tatyana, Roman.” But the balance of the airtime was filled by a steady, almost maddening, series of inexplicable tones.

[…][A]feed of UVB-76 had been made available online (http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/09/ff_uvb76/), cobbled together by an Estonian tech entrepreneur named Andrus Aaslaid, who has been enthralled by shortwave radio since the first grade. “Shortwave was an early form of the Internet,” says Aaslaid, who goes by the nickname Laid. “You dial in, and you never know what you’re going to listen to.” During one 24-hour period at the height of the Buzzer’s freak-out in August 2010, more than 41,000 people listened to Aaslaid’s feed; within months, tens of thousands, and then hundreds of thousands, were visiting from the US, Russia, Britain, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Japan, Croatia, and elsewhere. By opening up UVB-76 to an online audience, Aaslaid had managed to take shortwave radio—one of the most niche hobbies imaginable—and rejuvenate it for the 21st century.

Today, the Buzzer’s fan base includes Kremlinologists, anarchists, hackers, installation artists, people who believe in extraterrestrials, a former Lithuanian minister of communications, and someone in Virginia who goes by the moniker Room641A, a reference to the alleged nerve center of a National Security Agency intercept facility at an AT&T office in San Francisco. (“I am interested in ‘listening,’” Room641A tells me by email. “All forms of it.”) All of them are mesmerized by this bewildering signal—now mostly buzzing, once again. They can’t help but ponder the significance of it, wondering about the purpose behind the pattern. No one knows for sure, which is both the worst and the best part of it.

Read the full 3 page article at Wired.com.

New to numbers stations? Check out our previous posts on the subject.

Also, check out UVB-76.net and listen to its live feed.