Monthly Archives: July 2012

Advances in Software Defined Radios could (will) change our wireless world

(Photo Source: New Geography)

Note that I’m not speaking strictly of the HF spectrum here. But mark this:  a radio revolution is, right now, in the making. ARS Technica just last week published an article entitled, “How software-defined radio could revolutionize wireless” in which the authors argue that software defined radios (SDRs) might not only open the door to new uses for our radio spectrum–uses we can’t currently fathom!–but also open the door to unlimited free innovation.  Innovation in the form of experimental hacking, much of which could simply fall below or outside of the FCC and other spectrum governing bodies, could become the province of literally anyone who wants to give it a go.

The article takes the reader through the evolution of SDRs and introduces a company manufacturing a product that could be to the radio spectrum and wireless communications what Apple became to personal computing.

I typically quote my favorite parts of an article, but this one is so very well-written and comprehensive, you really will want to read it in its entirety.  Click here to read, “How software-defined radio could revolutionize wireless“–and let your imagination take flight.

Radio Australia’s live coverage of the London 2012 Summer Olympics

This morning, I’ve been enjoying Radio Australia’s live coverage of the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

In an era where Olympics coverage is tightly controlled by television networks (and swallowed with a generous amount of sponsorship ads) it’s a relief to know that I can hear live, uninterrupted coverage via Radio Australia on shortwave.

Here’s a recording from 9,580 kHz at 14:00 UTC today (coverage begins after the news):

Radio Australia is well known for their sports coverage. Indeed, I’ve heard their dedication to cricket, football and rugby coverage secures their listenership throughout Asia and Oceania.

I believe it. Thanks, RA!

Do you own a Quantum shortwave radio?

The Quantum FX J-114U portable analog shortwave radio features an analog radio dial, but USB/SD media playback. Who knew?

Several of you have written to me in the past few months asking about the new Quantum analog shortwave radios found on eBay. The prices for the various models are anywhere between $20-40 US.

I’ve resisted checking into these radios as they have very little technical information available and I assumed would not be worth the bother. In fact, sellers don’t even list the frequency coverage of the shortwave bands, only how many “bands” each unit has (i.e. “SW 1-7”). However, one unit (the Quantum FX J-114U) is available on Amazon, and there have been a few favorable reviews. Now I’m a bit curious.

Do you have experience listening to shortwave on one of these radios? If so, please share your comments.

I just added three of them to the Shortwave Radio Index:

CNET reviews the Grundig G2

, with CNET, has written a review of the Grundig G2.  What’s more, he offers a fairly thorough review of the Grundig G2’s features and design.

First of all, I’m very impressed that CNET would bother reviewing a shortwave radio at all.  Typically, I look to CNET for reviews of portable hi-tech like cell phones, iPods, cameras, computers, and the like; to see them review a shortwave seems like a broad-minded effort.

However, the focus on the G2’s actual shortwave performance was glossed over, at best.  The reviewer merely writes:

If you’re most concerned with pulling in FM stations, you’ll be happy with the G2 Reporter. Even some stations that I’ve found difficult to tune with other portables came in strong. Tuning of AM and SW was good, too, but less reliable than FM.

And…that’s it. So much for the G2’s shortwave.

So, though this is not a review of the merits of the Grundig G2 as a shortwave radio, it does cover the radio’s recording features, battery, .mp3 and .wav file playback, battery, design, and similar features.  Which, at least, is a step in the right direction.

Click here to read the entire review.