Eton Elite Satellit Pricing and Context

As the Eton Elite Satellit comes closer to fruition, I’ve gotten a lot of questions and comments from readers about the price retailers are publishing. Here they are so far (all in USD):

Even the lowest price ($599.99 via Universal) is no trivial amount for most of us.

That said, the pricing doesn’t surprise me.

Back in 2005 when this radio’s predecessor, the Eton E1/XM, finally hit the market, it was sold for $499.95. Here’s a screenshot from Universal’s site in 2005 courtesy of the Wayback Machine:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statists, $499.95 in June 2005 has the same buying power as $751.33 in May 2022. If we add to that the recent elevated prices for many radio/electronic goods due to increased component cost and availability of chips, frankly I’m a little surprised Eton’s even able to release a new product this of all years. These aren’t easy days for electronics manufacturers. Then again, Eton has been producing radios for decades and obviously knows the manufacturing landscape quite well.

When I first learned about the new Elite Satellit, you could have painted me seven shades of surprised. With the advent of inexpensive high-performance SDRs, affordable DSP portables, and knowing full well the shortwave portable radio market is on the decline (in terms of customer numbers), I would have never guessed a new enthusiast-grade portable would be introduced.

My hope is that the Elite Satellit will deliver the performance we all want. I firmly believe that high-performance, quality gear enriches the hobby as a whole.

In terms of Elite Satellit specs and features, there’s a lot of confusion out there right now [great article, Guy!], but I’m sure this will be cleared up in coming weeks.

Many have also commented about Universal Radio especially since they officially closed their brick and mortar store near Columbus, Ohio in November 2020. Fred Osterman mentioned to customers at the time that Universal would still be selling books, parts, and some accessories online, but they would no longer carry inventory like ham radio transceivers.

Universal will be an authorized distributor of the Eton Satellit Elite and I wouldn’t hesitate purchasing from them. I suspect Fred and Barbara made an exception for Eton because they’ve been such a long-term distributor (dating back to the 1980s).  I also think Universal will continue being a limited online retailer at least into 2023 or even beyond. Eton will fully back a warranty from products purchased at Universal regardless.

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The solution for apartment/condo dwellers, perhaps?

By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

It was research on preselectors that led me to this: Improving HF Reception – The RadioReference Wiki

In that section of the RadioReference Wiki, written by Mike, KA3JJZ, I found the following:

Another way an active preselector could be used is to use it to load a very short dipole – say not more than 1 meter (roughly 3 foot) for each leg. A number of years ago, a company called Datong marketed such an antenna (with a preamp right at the antenna feedpoint) that was popular in Europe and to some lesser extent in the Americas because it’s easy to hide the antenna.

In the magic of my mind, I could picture using the short dipole strung across two windows — or a large window — in an apartment or condo (or anyplace with antenna restrictions) and connected to an MFJ 1020C. I had not yet done the experiment, but I had tested the 1020C and found it to be a worthy piece of gear. So I thought the short dipole/1020C experiment might be worth a shot.

The heart of the short dipole, the LDG 9:1 unun.

So I cut two yard-long lengths of wire and attached them to a 9:1 unun. I created loops at the outer end of each leg of the dipole and hung the whole assembly from a curtain rod covering two windows. A coax links the short dipole to the MFJ 1020C, and a jumper connects the output of the 1020C to my Satellit 800 receiver.

The completed dipole. Not fancy, but it works.

Bottom line: it works. The vast majority of the time, even when the 1020C preselector is in bypass mode, the short horizontal dipole/1020C combo delivers a better signal-to-noise than the Satellit’s vertical telescopic antenna. (In rare cases, they are equal.) And when the preselector amplification circuits are activated and properly tuned, the signal is usually improved, often significantly. The Big Trick is to use the preselector to peak the noise at the frequency you want to hears and then tune slightly to the side of best listening.

Obviously that would be cumbersome for band-scanning, but you could band-scan in bypass mode and then tweak the “hits” with the amplification circuitry. In all, if you are living in an antenna-challenged situation, the short dipole/1020C combo just might make your shortwave listening better.

Final thought: Mike, who wrote the section of Radio Reference wiki that inspired this experiment, said:

You do have to watch your gain otherwise you will get a lot more noise than signal. I did my experiment using an old Palomar preselector. You can also try using a YouLoop as the antenna – it should, in theory, work even better than just a simple whip.

One thing that you could mention in your article is that there is an advantage to having a small dipole like that as the receiving element. Not only is it fairly easy to hide, it can be moved around to find a somewhat quieter location. However the coax should be kept as short as you can, otherwise there is a chance that common mode noise would become an issue – particularly if it runs near computers or other RFI sources

Remember that even a 1 or 2 S unit improvement might make the difference between hearing a signal and not hearing it at all. All we are doing here is trying to improve the signal/noise ratio coming into the unit. That little vertical whip on the 1020c is not likely to be the best choice, and that’s what I am trying to improve upon.

– Mike KA3JJZ

Thanks, Mike!

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Adi spots an Eddystone among other radios in the Netflix series Spycraft

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Adi, who writes:

Hi Thomas,

I just finished watching “Spycraft” on Netfilx. It’s 8X30min parts documentary.

The last part is “Recruiting the best spy“.

I first spotted this lovely 880 Eddystone receiver but coming into the ~20 min was the story of the ICF-2010 and how an American spy for Cuba used it to receive the “numbered” code massages.

Later on there is nice illustration how the code was used.

There are few other radios pop here and there on this documentary as you can expect from the Spy Craft .

73’s Adi

Thank you so much, Adi!  Some years ago, I actually read the book upon which I believe this series was based. Many thanks for the tip!

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Eton’s New Elite Satellit HD – Consistently Inconsistent (Or… Is There A Proofreader in the House?)

by Guy Atkins

As reported yesterday by Dave Zantow N9EWO and in the SWLing Post, the Eton Elite Satellit HD receiver has left the vaporware zone and arrived in production. Universal-Radio started taking orders on June 28th.

Any new receiver is cause for celebration, but the closer I inspect the available manuals and marketing materials, well, the more questions I have!

I’m sorry Mr. Eton, but it appears your marketing materials are very confused. I’ll need to send you to a proofreading specialist.

I began comparing Eton’s product page for the new receiver, with their own datasheet and owner’s manual… as well as Universal-Radio’s catalog page and photos. The deeper I dug, the less certain I was of the feature set and specifications of this “revival” version of the Eton E1/E1XM receiver.

How best to describe what I was finding? I decided to create a table showing the inconsistencies between the sources / materials.

You can download a PDF version of the above chart here: ELITE SATELLIT HD CHART 
Note that the PDF contains links in the header to the sources of information on Eton’s web site and Universal-Radio’s catalog page.

I’m sure there are more mysteries and puzzlers lurking within the documents and pages referenced above. The biggest question of all, in my opinion, is the circuitry itself. Is the receiver a superheterodyne design as in the original E1/E1XM (with three discrete ceramic I.F. bandwidth filters), or is it a DSP circuit, a la SiLabs-based portable radios with additional (but poorly performing) bandwidths?

I personally hope Eton’s new flagship includes filters that are a copy of those in the original E1/E1XM. They have better shape factors and ultimate rejection prowess than the filters in DSP portable radios on the market today. Coupled with selectable synch-AM and Passband Tuning, they are a powerful combination for fighting interference in a portable receiver.

What do you think about all the conflicts as described in the above table? Perhaps it’s just a jumble of preliminary prototype specs and final features. I hope Eton will take steps soon to bring clarity and consistency to their materials. Also, as Eton’s leading–or only–USA dealer, Universal’s web page should match too.

Please leave your comments below!

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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Dave spots a Realistic PRO-16 in WKRP episode

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave (N9EWO), who shares the following:

“WKRP In Cincinnati” – “Tornado” S01 E12 (February 1979)

“The station staff finds themselves in danger when Herb unplugs a teleprinter just as it is receiving a local tornado warning.”

Look for the Radio Shack Realistic PRO-16 (cat no. 20-165) scanner receiver at 35:15 in this dual episode “Internet Archive” video. A Midland 13-902 weather radio sits on top of the PRO-16 scanner.

Dave Zantow N9EWO
Janesville WI

Sharp eyes there, Dave!  Thank you for sharing this! WKRP is classic!

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Squeezeboxes on shortwave

Hi SWLing Post community, Fastradioburst23 here letting you know about two transmissions of  WELK, another installment of the imaginary radio stations show to be broadcast this weekend and next by the good folks at WRMI.

The first transmission is on Sunday 3rd July 2022 then Sunday 10th July 2022 both at 2200 utc on 9395 kHz. If you love all things accordian and squeezebox based you’ll love these broadcasts!

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Radio Waves: Plasma Bomb from the Sun, Radio to Russia, Radio Aquarius, and Universal Taking Eton Elite Satellit Orders

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to Eric Jon Magnuson for summarizing these news items for Radio Waves!


Here Comes the Sun—to End Civilization (Wired)

Every so often, our star fires off a plasma bomb in a random direction. Our best hope the next time Earth is in the crosshairs? Capacitors.

TO A PHOTON, the sun is like a crowded nightclub. It’s 27 million degrees inside and packed with excited bodies—helium atoms fusing, nuclei colliding, positrons sneaking off with neutrinos. When the photon heads for the exit, the journey there will take, on average, 100,000 years. (There’s no quick way to jostle past 10 septillion dancers, even if you do move at the speed of light.) Once at the surface, the photon might set off solo into the night. Or, if it emerges in the wrong place at the wrong time, it might find itself stuck inside a coronal mass ejection, a mob of charged particles with the power to upend civilizations.

The cause of the ruckus is the sun’s magnetic field. Generated by the churning of particles in the core, it originates as a series of orderly north-to-south lines. But different latitudes on the molten star rotate at different rates—36 days at the poles, and only 25 days at the equator. Very quickly, those lines stretch and tangle, forming magnetic knots that can puncture the surface and trap matter beneath them. From afar, the resulting patches appear dark. They’re known as sunspots. Typically, the trapped matter cools, condenses into plasma clouds, and falls back to the surface in a fiery coronal rain. Sometimes, though, the knots untangle spontaneously, violently. The sunspot turns into the muzzle of a gun: Photons flare in every direction, and a slug of magnetized plasma fires outward like a bullet.

The sun has played this game of Russian roulette with the solar system for billions of years, sometimes shooting off several coronal mass ejections in a day. Most come nowhere near Earth. It would take centuries of human observation before someone could stare down the barrel while it happened. At 11:18 am on September 1, 1859, Richard Carrington, a 33-year-old brewery owner and amateur astronomer, was in his private observatory, sketching sunspots—an important but mundane act of record-keeping. That moment, the spots erupted into a blinding beam of light. Carrington sprinted off in search of a witness. When he returned, a minute later, the image had already gone back to normal. Carrington spent that afternoon trying to make sense of the aberration. Had his lens caught a stray reflection? Had an undiscovered comet or planet passed between his telescope and the star? While he stewed, a plasma bomb silently barreled toward Earth at several million miles per hour. [Continue reading at Wired…]

Radio To Russia: Can Old Technologies Make A Dent In Putin’s Information Blockade? (Information Professionals Association)

The following article is an original work published by the Information Professionals Association. Opinions expressed by authors are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.

By Tom Kent

As Vladimir Putin tightens his stranglehold on what his citizens see and hear, will radio once again become an effective way to get outside voices into Russia?

For the time being, U.S. broadcasting officials believe the best way to get their content to Russia’s population is still through the internet, despite all of Putin’s attempts to control it. Activists in the United States and Europe, however, are convinced that in a wartime situation, those wanting to reach Russians should be trying everything – including shortwave radio, the mainstay of Cold War broadcasting by the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

The U.S. government’s reluctance to return to shortwave has led to the odd spectacle of American volunteers taking broadcasting into their own hands. Activists have crowdfunded projects to transmit on shortwave channels programs produced by VOA and RFE/RL that the government declines to broadcast with its own transmitters.

Shortwave broadcasting uses high frequencies that can reach across continents. During Soviet rule, VOA, RFE/RL, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and other stations used shortwave to punch news, religious programs and forbidden Western music through the Iron Curtain. Soviet jamming stations tried to drown out the broadcasts, but much of the content got through.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the internet in Russia, foreign shortwave broadcasting tapered off. Boris Yeltsin let RFE/RL open local stations in some 30 Russian cities, but under Putin they were forced to close because of Russian laws. The United States then switched its radio and video services for Russians almost entirely to the web and social networks.

Since the war began, however, Russian authorities have increasingly blocked from the internet any content that criticizes the war or Putin’s rule. Many Russians use VPNs and other software to get around the blocks, and have come to the US broadcasters’ websites and social network feeds in droves. But Russian officials are working feverishly to block these circumvention tools, and may be able to determine which citizens are using them. [Continue reading on the IPA website…]

An Epic Tale of Pirate Radio in its Golden Age (Hackaday)

With music consumption having long ago moved to a streaming model in many parts of the world, it sometimes feels as though, just like the rotary telephone dial, kids might not even know what a radio was, let alone own one. But there was a time when broadcasting pop music over the airwaves was a deeply subversive activity for Europeans at least, as the lumbering state monopoly broadcasters were challenged by illegal pirate stations carrying the cutting edge music they had failed to provide. [Ringway Manchester] has the story of one such pirate station which broadcast across the city for a few years in the 1970s, and it’s a fascinating tale indeed.

It takes the form of a series of six videos, the first of which we’ve embedded below the break. The next installment is placed as an embedded link at the end of each video, and it’s worth sitting down for the full set.

The action starts in early 1973 when a group of young radio enthusiast friends, left without access to a station of their taste by Government crackdowns on ship-based pirate stations, decided to try their hand with a land-based alternative. Called Radio Aquarius, it would broadcast on and off both the medium wave (or AM) and the FM broadcast bands over the next couple of years. Its story is one of improvised transmitters powered by car batteries broadcasting from hilltops, woodland, derelict houses, and even a Cold War nuclear bunker, and develops into a cat-and-mouse game between the youths and the local post office agency tasked with policing the spectrum. Finally having been caught once too many times, they disband Radio Aquarius and go on to careers in the radio business.

The tale has some tech, some social history, and plenty of excitement, but the surprise is in how innocent it all seems compared to the much more aggressively commercial pirate stations that would be a feature of later decades. We’d have listened, had we been there!

Not only pirate radio has made it to these pages, we’ve also brought you pirate TV!

Click here to wattch the first installment on YouTube.

Click here to read the full article on Hackaday.

Universal Radio Taking Eton Elite Satellit Orders

Dave (N9EWO) reports:

Eton dealer “Universal Radio” in Ohio USA is accepting orders as of June 28, 2022 for the Eton Elite Satellit ($ 599.99 + $ 14.95 USA shipping, sorry Universal will NOT ship outside the USA) for late July 2022 delivery. The new Eton Elite Executive HD ($ 249.99 tentative) is now listed for November 2022 release (sorry no pre-orders are being accepted yet).


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