Happy Thanksgiving

Here in the States, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving today. It’s my favorite holiday because it’s all about giving thanks and spending time with friends, family, and eating some amazing food. Of course, it’ll be a bit different this year as families opt to meet virtually in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19.

I believe we radio enthusiasts, who are used to meeting wirelessly, are especially adept at making this work. Besides, nothing can stop us from being grateful!

Speaking of giving thanks, thank you dear readers for making the SWLing Post such a welcoming community to radio enthusiasts of all stripes. The SWLing Post is a true labor of love, and it’s an honor to serve it up to you!

I’d especially like to thank our Sponsors, Patrons, Producers, Executive Producers and Coffee Fund contributors. Your financial support helps keep this a dynamic radio space over the long haul!

You all make this a terrific place for everything radio!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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“QSL: How I Traveled the World and Never Left Home” by Ronald W. Kenyon

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by author Ronald W. Kenyon who has written non-fiction books covering a variety of subjects, but primarily collections of essays and albums of photography.

He was very proud to announce that his latest book, QSL: How I Traveled the World and Never Left Home, focuses on his pursuit of DX during his youth.

Kenyon is a radio archivist at heart.  He has carefully preserved QSL cards that he received between 1956 and 1961–a time period many of us consider the zenith of international broadcasting and DXing.

From Ronald W. Kenyon’s collection

Kenyon’s book presents color reproductions of over 100 vintage QSL cards—most displaying both front and back—issued by 89 shortwave stations in 75 countries. For the uninitiated, he includes an introduction that acquaints with shortwave radio listening, submitting listener reports, and obtaining QSL cards. Radio enthusiasts will be familiar with these topics, but this addition is an important one since we often forget that we’ve a niche pursuit and for many of his readers, this will be their first introduction.

From Ronald W. Kenyon’s collection

Kenyon sent me a pre-sales sample of his book. It’s what I’d call a “coffee table” paperback. The format is 8.5 x 8.5 inches which gives each QSL image proper page space to be presented. The color reproduction and print in this publication is excellent.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed taking in Kenyon’s book at a very leisurely pace. It’s divided into three main sections:

  • Section One of his book is a gallery of 107 vintage QSL cards from radio stations in 78 countries.
  • Section Two features SWL and ham radio cards.
  • Section Three features seasonal greeting cards sent to listeners by radio broadcasters from nine countries.

There’s even an appendix featuring, “A Letter from Antarctica,” which recounts how Kenyon was linked to a British meteorologist at a base in Antarctica via a radio station in Montevideo, Uruguay of all places. A fabulous example of how radio–especially in the late 50s and early 60s–was a fabulous medium for connecting listeners across vast distances.

I’m a nostalgic fellow–especially during the Thanksgiving and Holiday season. I’ll admit: this wonderful, simple bit of radio nostalgia is just what the doctor ordered as we celebrate the season. We all can relate to and enjoy Kenyon’s gallery of radio nostalgia and history. Indeed, my hope is that his book will encourage others to document their radio journey as well.

Being a limited print, full-color, 150 page book, the price will be $35 US. However, the author has offered 10% off his book if ordered before December 31, 2020. That will lower the price to $31.50 US via Amazon.com or £23.95 via Amazon.co.uk.

If you enjoy browsing QSL cards like I do, you’ll love QSL: How I Traveled the World and Never Left Home. Certainly, a fabulous gift idea for the radio enthusiast in your world.

Amazon purchase links

(Please note that some of these are affiliate links that also support the SWLing Post)

Note that this book will appear on other regional Amazon sites over time. Simply search Amazon for “QSL: How I Traveled the World and Never Left Home” or the author, Ronald W. Kenyon.

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Radio Waves: Guardians of Early Recordings, VOA Firewall, New DRM-Based HF Station, and Breakfast on BBC Essex Features Amateur Radio

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: 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 SWLing Post contributors Kim Elliott, Benn Kobb, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


Meet the guardians of the world’s earliest musical recordings (LA Times)

The voice seeps in as if from another dimension, hissy and distant, like an AM radio broadcaster transmitting through late-night static.

“‘The Ambassador March’ by Brown’s Orche-streee for the Los Angeles Phonograph Company of Los Angeles, California,” a man announces with a gentlemanly accent. After a moment’s scratchy pause, a violinist opens with a melody, and a small orchestra jumps in. Led by a Long Beach-based bandleader named E.R. Brown, the song dances along for two minutes.

The fidelity is primitive by today’s high-definition audio standards, a quaint toss-away. But “The Ambassador March” and the Coke-can-sized wax cylinder upon which it was etched into permanence in the late 1800s open a portal to another era.

That wax cylinder and others like it — rescued from rural estate sales and dusty attics — have survived earthquakes, heat waves, mold and indifference. They feature Mexican folk songs; military band marches; minstrelsy songs of the kind that preceded American blues, folk and country music; and the voices of former Lincoln cabinet members, Southern senators, popes, preachers and comedians. Their survival is emblematic of a revolution that allowed sound to be freed from its origins. Once untethered, the world would be forever changed.[]

US international broadcasting: Rebuilding the firewall in the new administration (The Hill)

by Kim Andrew Elliott

President-elect Joe Biden, who as a senator had a key interest in U.S. international broadcasting, is looking at its future.

He named Richard Stengel, former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, to head the transition team for the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM). Under USAGM are the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Inc., Radio Free Asia Inc., Office of Cuba Broadcast (Radio/TV Martí to Cuba) and Middle East Broadcasting Networks Inc. (the Arabic-language Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa).

With government officials under President Trump instructed not to cooperate with Biden’s teams, the transition for the time being will have to be done from afar. The Trump-appointed USAGM CEO Michael Pack, whose leadership has fomented several controversies since he was installed in June, might decide to be a benign, if uncooperative, caretaker until the new management comes in. Or he could impose personnel changes and alterations in content that could diminish the credibility of the USAGM entities, a situation that could take years to repair.

During his campaign, Biden promised to fire Pack. Pack might try to serve out the three-year term stipulated in the legislation that replaced the bipartisan Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) with a politically appointed CEO (Pack being the first). If such an attempt ends up in court, a June Supreme Court decision overruling the fixed term of the director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, a victory for the Trump administration, could, ironically, be the undoing of any plans by Pack to stay on at USAGM.

Pack has already left his mark by rescinding the firewall “rule” published in June by the outgoing BBG. The rule, however, was not an act of Congress or a presidential directive. It was simply language placed in the Federal Register “to codify and memorialize definitions and practices associated with the firewall.” On such shallow roots, this tree was easy to fall. In October, Pack issued a repeal, which waved away the firewall rule as readily as it was instituted.[]

A New HF Station that’s Similar, but Different (DRMNA.info)

On October 21, 2020, DPA Mac LLC filed a FCC license application for a new, DRM-based International Broadcast Station to be located in Maple Park, IL. The principal is San Francisco entrepreneur Seth Kenvin and its technical consultant is Tamir Ostfeld of Raft Technologies, an Israeli developer of low-latency HF systems for so-called algorithmic trading.

No station devoted to algorithmic trading has ever been authorized for regular commercial operation in the U.S., as there is no formal radio service or spectrum allocation for that purpose. Several such stations have been licensed in the Experimental Radio Service (ERS), which is ostensibly for scientific studies only.

If the FCC licenses DPA Mac, it will be the first such station to make the transition from the ERS to regular, non-experimental licensing. This station would be the successor to experimental station WI2XXG. Other than the license document, the FCC has withheld most of WI2XXG’s records from public disclosure since it was first licensed in 2017.

DPA Mac is similar to other DRM stations on which we previously reported: WIPE in Alpine, NJ, which is built and is waiting on its FCC license; and WPBC, proposed for Batavia, IL. With regard to their use for non-broadcast, private data transmissions, those stations made general and non-descriptive representations to the FCC. On the other hand, DPA Mac’s license application is fairly transparent. The station aims to transmit “investment data from points within the United States to locations outside the United States carried over a channel immediately adjacent to the HF broadcasts…a low-power, low-latency digital data transmission service provided to private investors, including small- and medium-sized firms.” [Continue reading…]

Amateur radio on BBC Radio Essex

On Tuesday, November 24, CB and amateur radio featured in Sonia Watson’s popular Breakfast show on BBC Radio Essex

Among those interviewed was the Chair of Essex Ham, Pete M0PSX, who talked about the resurgence of interest in amateur radio.

Listen to the interview at 1:38:20 in this recording
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08xv7dv

You can find out more about amateur radio and the free Essex Ham Foundation Online training course at
https://www.essexham.co.uk/train/foundation-online/

You can follow Essex Ham on Twitter at
https://twitter.com/EssexHam

 


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Can you ID the radio in this pharmaceutical ad?

Many thank to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans (W4/VP9KF), who writes:

I was watching a TV advert (well, no I wasn’t), but then this one
comes on with a drug for COPD.

On the kitchen table, along with the inhaler thing there just happens
to be a radio 🙂

Let’s see who can find out what it is! Thanksgiving Quiz!

Oooh…good challenge. The resolution is pretty poor int he photo, but I’m almost certain I can ID the radio. Can you?  Please comment!

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Guest Post: Zenith Trans Oceanics Still Command Big Prices

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, for the following guest post:


Zenith Trans Oceanics Still Command Big Prices

by Dan Robinson

For many radio collectors and users, the Zenith Trans Oceanic R7000-2 is a must-have item in the collection. This was the final version of the Zenith Trans Oceanic line that stretched back for decades — production was shifted to Taiwan and tuning in this radio is accomplished with internal gears, with concentric knobs for main and fine tuning.

The R7000-2 has Longwave, AM, FM and importantly for fans of aircraft listening, the radio
has excellent VHF reception. The huge Zenith TO telescopic aerial is a real eye turner — it is
super tall and compares only to the SONY CRF-1 in length.

Some years ago, the used market saw a few NIB or LNIB Zenith R7000-2 every year or so.
That hasn’t been the case — at least it was not until just recently when a LNIB TO appeared from a California seller.

NIB or LNIB R7000-2 radios could often bring more than $1,000 and sometimes much higher —
even as high as $1500!

That did not stop bidding on this-2 R7000-2 from topping the $700 mark and reaching nearly
$800 in this auction.

This does not mean, however, that every R7000-2 will be out of reach but other R7000-2 radios on eBay at this time suffer from cosmetic issues of one kind or another (see photos) such as detached side vinyl and missing antennas.

Amazingly, as this is being written there is yet another R7000-2 on eBay, complete with original
box and papers, and the original purchase receipt. This one could well hit the $1,000 mark.

If you’re hunting for an excellent late production Zenith TO, this may very well be the time
to pull the trigger — but for one in 9.9 to 10.0 NIB condition you will pay a price!

Click here to check this Trans Oceanic R-7000-2 out on eBay.

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A True Treasure Trove: International Radio Club of America Free Reprints

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nick Hall-Patch, who writes:

Since 1964, the International Radio Club of America has been documenting medium wave DXing and DXers’ efforts to improve their understanding of radio reception and to develop better listening techniques.  During that time, over 900 articles have been written, that have furthered the art of DXing.  Many of these continue to be relevant to the more general radio hobbyist, including articles about antennas, radio propagation, receivers and accessories, plus general technical information.

Previously, those articles were available only to club members, but they are now available to all.  Go to www.ircaonline.org, and click on the “Free IRCA Reprints” button to download your own copies.

Oh wow! What an amazing and deep treasure trove of articles! Thank you so much for the tip, Nick!

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Radio Deals: C.Crane CCRadio 2E $20 off today only

I just received a message from C.Crane noting that they’re discounting the excellent C.Crane CCRadio 2E $20 today (25 Nov 2020) until 11:59PM PT.

Simply add the radio to our shopping cart and the price will be adjusted automatically.

The CCRadio 2E, along with the CCRadio 3, is considered one of the best mediumwave portable radios currently in production. If you’ve been considering purchasing one, this is a good time.

Click here to check out the CCRadio 2E at C.Crane.

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