The “Tecsun Radios Australia Q-3061” DRM Shortwave Radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Alan Hughes, who notes that Tecsun Radios Australia have announced a new DRM stand-alone receiver: the Q-3061.

When I first received Alan’s tip, I was surprised that I had not been been given some advance notice or even a hint about Tecsun developing and producing a DRM radio. Then I saw the Q-3061 product image and it looked to be a spitting image of the Gospell GR-216 DRM radio. A quick look at the radio’s back panel and the connection with the GR-216 was confirmed.

Reading through the product description, it appears they worked with Gospell to badge this for Tecsun Radios Australia’s primary markets:

“The Tecsun Radios Australia Q-3061 DRM Shortwave Radio is for experienced shortwave users. There a limited number of DRM signals available in our region although the total number of DRM broadcasts are increasing. This radio is squarely aimed at radio enthusiasts and DXers, most signals require an external antenna, experience, and patience. We recommend our Tecsun Radios Australia Q-3061 DRM Shortwave Radio be used in conjunction with our Tecsun Shortwave and AM Outdoor Antenna for the best results (this is the setup we have in our Brookvale NSW office).

The Tecsun Radios Australia Q-3061 DRM Shortwave Radio is the culmination of several years work. Tecsun Radios Australia has worked in close co-operation with the manufacturer providing testing results from locations across the Pacific, including Samoa, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, and New Zealand. Reception of DRM signals in Australia requires many factors to be optimised, because we are outside the traditional coverage area of most broadcasters. Nevertheless, with an optimised antenna, correct selection of DRM broadcaster, schedule and good propagation conditions DRM signals can be received. New DRM broadcasters are appearing every month.”

After the product description they also include this disclaimer:

Note: This DRM radio has no association with Tecsun of China and is an exclusive initiative and product of Tecsun Radios Australia

The price is $500 AU or approximately $357 US.

To recap, this isn’t a new Tecsun DRM radio, rather it’s a rebadged GR-216 for the retailer/distributor Tecsun Radios Australia.

Click here to read about the Q-3061 at Tecsun Radios Australia.

Click here to read a review of the Gospell GR-216 DRM receiver.

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Icom IC-R30: Free RS-R30 remote control software available

(Source: Southgate ARC)

After recently being demonstrated at the Tokyo Hamfair, we are pleased to announce that the new RS-R30I (for iOS)/RS-R30A (for Android) remote control software for the IC-R30 Communications Receiver is now available to download for FREE from the App Store and Google Play.

The RS-R30I and the RS-R30A enable you to wirelessly connect to the IC-R30 and remotely control VFO operation, memory channels, a variety of scans and the voice recording functions. Using the optional VS-3, Bluetooth headset, the VS-3 and iOS™/Android™ device can be wirelessly connected to the IC-R30 at the same time. You can control the IC-R30 from the connected device while listening to the received audio on the VS-3 optional Bluetooth headset.

To download either remote control software follow these links.

•  RS-R30I remote control software (for iOS)
•  RS-R30A remote control software (for Android devices)

For more details about the IC-R30 visit the dedicated  IC-R30 Wideband Communications Receiver Product Page .  More details and further documentation about the RS-R30 can be found on the RS-30 Product Page.

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I’m keeping the CoCo 2

Thanks to all of you for indulging me yesterday as I tried to decide whether or not I should keep my beloved TRS-80 Tandy Color Computer 2 (CoCo 2).

I conducted a survey asking this very question.  As of this morning, 158 readers responded to the survey, 81.4% replied (rather, shouted) “Keep it!”:

And so I shall.

It’s not just the survey that swayed me. Many of you pointed to the active community of CoCo 2 enthusiasts on the web that keep these simple machines alive and well and even continue innovating with add-on boards/features.   I know now that when the time is right, I should fire the old girl up and run a few simple programs–perhaps even code one of those Family Computing programs. (Incidentally, if anyone has a suggestion of how to connect the CoCo2 to a modern TV with HDMI or composite/component inputs, please comment!)

Many of you also told me that I would likely have regrets in the future if I sold the CoCo 2.

I suspect you’re all right about that.

And then Robert Gulley commented:

“As someone who is downsizing radios myself, I still have my limits. Keep the computer, mainly because it is a connection, no, a very important connection, to your past. As I have grown older I have come to realize the significance of being connected to the things which touch your soul, and therefore I keep watch over those things.”

Robert knows me pretty well, so I took these words to heart.

I only have wonderful memories with the CoCo 2 and hanging with my best friend, Junior, as we tried to hack and tinker with programs.

I’ve decided that I’m going to hang the CoCo 2 on the wall in my shack and, eventually, turn it into some sort of functional art. I want to be able to pluck it from the wall and connect it to a monitor from time to time. I might even take some of your suggestions and employ it in a simple ham radio application…just because.

Thanks again for helping me with this decision!

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Start of the fall term School Club Roundup!

Many thanks to Ken Reitz (KS4ZR) who reminds us that the School Club Roundup started today:

[T]his is it! The start of the fall term SCR is today. Challenge yourself to work as many school clubs as possible and see if you don’t feel optimistic about the future of amateur radio.

Here are the SCR rules: http://www.arrl.org/school-club-roundup

Thanks, Ken! I’ll try to put some of the participating schools in the log this week!

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Should I let go of the CoCo 2?

[Click here to read the follow-up to this post.]

We radio enthusiasts are a nostalgic bunch. Let’s just admit that and get it out of the way.

I’ve always found it difficult to let go of vintage radios, but over the past three years I have. I used to have well over a dozen boat anchors (heavy metal tube/valve radios) here at SWLing Post HQ. Today, I have three: my Scott Marine Model SLR-M, Signal Corps BC-348Q and Minerva Tropic Master (the Minerva being the lightweight of the bunch).

I found solace in donating some of my radios to museums and selling or giving them to friends who appreciate and will maintain them.

This radio played no small part in my life.

Outside of vintage radios, I have much less trouble selling or giving away my stuff; especially consumer electronics. I have very little attachment to those. I’ve never fallen in love with a phone, laptop, desktop or desktop PC.

Save my first personal computer, the TRS-80 Tandy Color Computer 2 (a.k.a. Coco 2).

I always tell people the two things from my childhood that had the most impact on my life were my Zenith Transoceanic shortwave radio and my Tandy Color Computer 2.

The shortwave radio kindled my interest in world news, languages, culture, music and traveling. And…well, it eventually lead to a lifelong passion in radio and, consequently, the SWLing Post.

Incidentally, The CoCo 2 taught me a skill that would also change my life.

Without knowing it at the time, the CoCo 2 taught me programming.

I couldn’t afford game cartridges as a kid, so I programmed my own simple CoCo 2 games with Family Computing magazine (remember them–?).

Each month, Family Computing featured a number of programs and games  you could input yourself. It was brilliant! My best friend, Junior, had a subscription to the magazine and would bring each issue over to the house and we’d type in lines and lines of code with the ultimate goal of playing a game or making our computers do something new.

Of course, 11 year old kids aren’t the best typists, so we’d always had to debug the code, following the error trail before the program would work. We’d also modify the code afterwards to see how it would change the program–it was amazing fun!

 

Keep in mind my CoCo 2 only had a whopping 16K of memory and all of it was volatile. Each time I’d turn the unit off, I’d lose everything I’d typed in. That is, until I could afford a tape recorder to save and load my programs (I still have it around here somewhere…).

Fast forward a dozen or so years…

In my first “real” job out of college, my manager noticed quickly that I could program and modify local copies of company databases so that my applications were more efficient and tailored to my job. The database system used a formula language that followed the same logic as the CoCo2’s Basic, so was pretty simple to pick up once I sorted out the commands and syntax. To be clear, I wasn’t hired for programming or IT skills, in fact it never came up in the interview as I was being hired for my French language skills.

 

Other than the Coco 2, I had no IT or computer studies in any formal setting–not in high school and not in college. Within three years at the company, I was promoted and sent to Europe to tie together and develop a number of database systems for the company’s various international sites. It was an dynamic, fun and rewarding career.

None of that would have ever happened had it not been for the CoCo 2.

So why am I considering selling the Coco 2?

Frankly, I never use it and don’t even have the adapter to plug it into any of my modern monitors. I’ve only been keeping it for sentimental reasons. I’ve been trying to let go of things I don’t use and this would certainly fall into this category.  I doubt it’s worth a lot…perhaps $20-$40? I’m not really sure.

Then again, I almost gave my Zenith Transoceanic away once and am very thankful now that I didn’t.

As I was about to put the CoCo 2 on eBay, I pressed pause and wrote this post instead.

What do you think?  Should I sell it or keep it? What would you do? 

Also, are there any other early PC enthusiasts out there? Please share your thoughts! While this isn’t a PC blog, I image this might be a common thread among us radio enthusiasts. Please comment!

And for fun, here’s a little poll to help sway me:


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