Giuseppe upcycles and improves a homebrew MW antenna

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW), who shares the following:

Dear Thomas and Friends of SWLing Post …

This is Giuseppe Morlè. As always, I try recycling what I have and improving upon antennas I’ve built in the past. This is one way we radio lovers can experiment. Many years ago, I made an antenna only for medium waves; by adding a circuit, I can now listen to short waves.

I took advantage of a small frame that I recovered from an old commercial FM / AM stereo receiver by removing its coils for medium waves and I wound around it only two coils sufficient to have a frequency range from 3.5 to 18 MHz.

I remember that the antenna in question also receives medium waves as it was born.

I chose this small frame because I wanted everything to be small in order to carry this compact antenna everywhere.

Unlike my other projects for SW and MW, which have a cable that carries the SW signal to the receiver, this time I used the induction that is created around one end of the loop, which I spiraled to get inside the stylus of my Tecsun PL-660 and which then transfers the signal to the receiver.

I did some tests on my balcony the day after a strong storm and I noticed that the propagation was absent but I still wanted to make sure that everything was working.

I will keep you updated on other tests on more favorable days of propagation … I still invite you to follow me on my Youtube channel.

I wish everyone a good listening …
73. Giuseppe Morlè iz0gzw.

Many thanks, Giuseppe. I, for one, love all of your homebrewed and recycled antennas. This one is no exception! What a fun project. I love how you use what you have and aren’t afraid to experiment! Thank you for sharing.

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Radio Waves: Colombia’s life-saving pop song, FCC Commissioner Pro AM Radio, Experimental Radio News 6, FCC Comments on FM Power Increase, and Leo Laporte Retires

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!


Colombia’s life-saving pop song (BBC Sounds)

It is 2010 and Colombian Colonel Jose Espejo has a problem. Not only is the Farc increasing its kidnapping activity, targeting police and military hostages, but many of the soldiers already in captivity – some kept in barbed-wire cages and held isolation in for over a decade – are losing hope of ever being rescued.

Colombia’s dense jungle and mountainous terrain mean rescue missions can take months to plan, especially because Farc guerrillas are known to shoot all hostages dead at the first hint of a raid. Colonel Espejo knew that in order for future missions to succeed, he would need to warn the captives that help was coming so they could be ready to make a break for it when the army arrived. But how do you get a message across to military hostages without tipping off their captors and placing them in even greater danger?

The unexpected solution – hide the message in a pop song with an interlude in Morse code that the military hostages could decipher. Soldiers learned Morse code in basic training, and it was unlikely that the Farc, who were not military trained, would know it. This is the tale of Better Days, a pop song with a secret Morse code message that became an actual lifesaver.

Click here to listen to this program on BBC Sounds.

FCC Commissioner Advocates for Preservation of AM Radio (Radio World)

At the NAFB Convention, Simington said AM radio is an “indispensable resource”

FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington met with members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting during their 79th annual convention on Nov. 16. In his remarks, Simington emphasized the importance of AM radio and outlined the steps needed to ensure its future in a changing market.

Simington began his remarks with a more personal anecdote. He said he grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada, where “besides the trade papers, there was no media institution more trusted to inform us about all we needed to know than AM radio.”

“AM radio was for us then, and is for the more than three million farmers across the U.S. now, an indispensable resource,” he said.

Simington said AM radio is the “essential spine” of the Emergency Alert System and “lets you know what’s happening not just globally, but locally — from school closures and traffic delays to city council and county management meetings and high school sports games.”

He comments on the growing populations that view AM radio as a “dead” and outdated technology, and why he believes that to be a falsity. [Continue reading…]

Experimental Radio News 6

This issue is devoted entirely to experimental high-frequency (HF) or shortwave radio, including a new FCC docket accepting comments on a license application.

Click here to check out the latest Experimental Radio News issue!

Continue reading

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Top 10 DX of the Year SWL Contest 2022

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Istvan Biliczky, who shares the following announcement:

COMING SOON!

The TOP DX Radioclub invites you to the annual TOP 10 DX OF THE YEAR contest.
From 1 December 2022, 00:00 UTC to 31 December 2022, 24:00 UTC.

GOOD NEWS: Now you can get higher score! We’ve changed some of the rules from this year. The changes are highlighted in orange.

All details can be found on our website.

Thanks for sharing, Istvan! A number of SWLs here in the SWLing Post community truly enjoyed participating in the past! Click here for all contest details.

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Cyber Monday Sale: Sangean HDR-14 and many other Sangean models discounted

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Chan, who notes that the Sangean HDR-14 has been discounted to $67.99 for Cyber Monday at Amazon.com. We have to assume that the sale will end today.

This is an excellent little AM/FM HD radio that I reviewed several years ago. Click here to read the review.

Click here to check out the HDR-14 at Amazon.com (affiliate links).

Many Sangean models are being discounted for Cyber Monday. Check out their full product line here.

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Checking out the new C.Crane CC Skywave SSB 2

By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

Folks who are regular readers of my posts here have already figured out that I am a big fan of the CCrane Skywave SSB. It is easily the most versatile radio I own, receiving AM (medium wave), FM, shortwave, HF single sideband, NOAA weather stations with alert, and scannable civilian VHF frequencies, and I have written enthusiastically about it here on multiple occasions.

I think of the Skywave SSB as my “anti-boredom machine.” It’s small enough to slide into a shirt or jacket pocket pocket or tuck into any pack. Get stuck waiting in line, whip out the Skywave SSB, plug in a pair of ear buds, and listen to whatever is available.

So when I noticed that a new version of the Skywave SSB – the Skywave SSB 2 – appeared on the first page of the C.Crane 2023 catalog, I was delighted that the folks at C.Crane decided to send one to me. The SSB 2 includes all the goodies of the original, plus a handful of incremental improvements; upgrades include a micro-USB port for external power or charging NiMH batteries, a slightly better speaker, and longer feet on the bottom for better stability.

But the improvement that really makes me grin is a two-fer: first, the inclusion of an external antenna socket on the side of the SSB 2, and, second, the CC Wire Terminal Antenna Adaptor for shortwave, which is a 2-wire to mono plug adaptor that plugs right into the external antenna socket. This allows a long wire antenna to be easily hooked up to the SSB 2, and it works like crazy.

Attaching a long wire to the SSB 2 is now really easy. Attach your long wire to the CC Wire Terminal Antenna Adaptor (you’ll need a small gauge screwdriver; the screws are really small). Next, plug the adaptor into the external antenna socket. You’re done!

I attached a 45-foot end-fed antenna to the CC Wire Terminal Antenna Adaptor while listening to some hams chatting on 80-meters and found that it delivered an impressive improvement to the signal-to-noise ratio. And when I wanting to hit the road, it was a simple of unplugging the adaptor so the adaptor and wire antenna combo would be waiting when I came back.

The SSB 2 includes a number of useful accessories: the CC Wire Terminal Antenna Adaptor, a portable 23-foot CC Shortwave Reel antenna, CC Ear Buds (very comfortable), and a faux leather carrying case (if packing the SSB 2 in your luggage,  be sure to press the LOCK button, otherwise you find yourself with a singing suitcase or backpack.).

Bottom line: with the introduction of the Skywave SSB 2, CCrane has taken an excellent, versatile radio and make it even better. Highly recommended for all-round use, but especially as a travel and/or emergency radio.

Note: Jessica from CCrane sent me the following note regarding the SSB 2.

Please note:  When using headphones or earbuds there is an easily discernable, but not loud “pop” when switching bands and on memory presets on airband. There is no pop when using the speakers. It will take time to find the hardware and software remedy. It will not be corrected on this first shipment but we are working it and expect it to be reduced on future shipments. The new Skywave SSB-2 was up for a price rise October 2022 but we’re keeping it at $169.99 for now.

For more of my musing regarding the CCrane Skywave SSB, please consult:

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Don Moore’s Photo Album: Santa Bárbara, Honduras

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Don Moore–noted author, traveler, and DXer–for the following Photo Album guest post series:


Don Moore’s Photo Album: Santa Bárbara, Honduras

by Don Moore

I first set foot in Latin America in January 1982 when I arrived in Tegucigalpa to begin three months of Peace Corps training. Three months later I moved to my Honduran home, the town of Santa Bárbara in the western mountains. For the next two years I worked as a teacher and resource person at the Escuela Normal Mixta de Santa Bárbara, a specialized high school that trained its students to teach primary school.

Santa Bárbara had a shortwave station, La Voz del Junco on 6075 kHz but it was rarely reported because it broadcast irregularly and was usually blocked by big international broadcasters when it was on the air. I had never heard it but I met Miguel Hasbun, the owner-manager, on my first visit to Santa Bárbara when he picked me up hitchhiking north of town. He told me that the shortwave transmitter had been broken down for a while but that he was going to fix it ‘soon’. Over the next year I kept inquiring about the shortwave and he finally did fix it. After that the station broadcast irregularly for the next year or so, mostly in the morning. I served as volunteer veri-signer and issued around fifteen QSLs. I even issued one to myself.

Santa Bárbara had one other radio station, Ondas del Ulúa on 1140 kHz medium wave (later 1150 kHz). They also announced 4770 kHz shortwave in their canned IDs and station staff assured me they would be adding shortwave “soon”. It never did happen but the WRTH did list the frequency as future plans for several years.

Audio:

Ondas del Ulúa 1982 sign-off announcement mentioning 4770 kHz.

The department of Santa Bárbara had one other radio station, Radio Luz y Vida on 1600 and 3250 kHz in the town of San Luis. The founder, manager, and veri-signer for Radio Luz y Vida was a missionary from Oklahoma named Don Moore. Needless to say, this caused a lot of confusion in the DX world as some people assumed he and I were the same person. On the map, San Luis is only about thirty kilometers from Santa Bárbara but getting there involved a five-hour journey on two buses. I only went once and the other Don Moore was out of town, so I never met him. I did meet two nurses who were working at the mission’s health clinic.

Photos

These pictures were all taken in 1982 to 1984 while I lived in Santa Bárbara [click on photos to enlarge].


La Voz del Junco’s yellow sign on main street in downtown Santa Bárbara. The small tower on the left was the corner of what had been an army post but was being used as a regional prison in the early 1980s. I once went there every day for a week to supervise student-teachers doing adult literacy classes for the inmates. It was not a pleasant place to be.


Entrance to La Voz del Junco. The girl is examining a poster for the night’s showing at the makeshift movie theater that Don Miguel operated nearby. Continue reading

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