Monthly Archives: July 2013

Mystery radio identified

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Wow, that was quick! Many thanks to Ulli who solved the case of the mystery radio we posted yesterday.

Ulli comments with details:

The radio was a giveaway about 1995.
I opened it :
1 IC Sony CXA1191S 314J22V , 5 Transistors , 3 -band filter , 5.5 cm speakers , 8ohm , 0.5 W.
Today’s AA batteries are a bit too long, the 3 AA not quite fit into the battery tray .
The display with the time can be tilted .
On the back is a sticker :
and on housing :
U.K.REG.NO.2013420 .

Thanks, Ulli!

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Bucking the trend, Taiwan invests in shortwave infrastructure

(Photo: Ampegon)

(Photo: Ampegon)

While countries like Canada are preparing to tear down their state-of-the-art transmission site, Taiwan appears to be investing in theirs.

Thanks to Andrea Borgnino for sharing a press release from the Swiss manufacturer, Ampegon, who has been contracted by RTI to upgrade two shortwave radio transmission sites in Taiwan.

Ampegon will “manufacture, install and commission a total of ten 300 kW DRM shortwave transmitters and twelve rigid dipole broadcast antennas HR2/2/0.3 securing low and efficient maintenance works.” Ampegon boasts that this is “the world’s biggest SW modernization project.”

Ampegon’s continues in their press release:

The transmitters are manufactured in Turgi, Switzerland while the antennas are designed in and delivered from Schifferstadt, Germany. At the first site near Taipeh four transmitters and two antennas will be installed, at the second site six transmitters and ten antennas. The new infrastructure is partially on air since May 2013 with two most modern transmitters and antennas and planned to be completed in several steps until autumn 2014.

Chi-Ming Wang, Director Engineering at RTI, is extremely satisfied with Ampegon as partner for the project: “Ampegon is very experienced and has delivered shortwave transmitters for us thirty years ago that still work to our full satisfaction. Ampegon offers a complete solution approach including transmitters, antennas, control systems and DRM integration. In addition Ampegon provides the best price/performance ratio”.

Significant benefit for the customer is a reduction in energy consumption by replacing the old equipment which leads to operation at higher efficiency rates. Savings in other operational costs are reached by a fully automated transmitter based on StationMaster Plus control system and because of a decrease in the amount of spare parts due to the market leading technology selected.

The challenges of this project are short delivery periods and the management of local logistics including building and feeder line modifications, while keeping existing old transmitters and antennas on air.

This is the largest contract for Ampegon since execution of the name change in November 2012. It means a significant factory load through 2014 for the locations Turgi and Schifferstadt. The project highlights that AM / DRM radio broadcasting keeps its important role in Asia and other areas of the world.

Tel. +41 58 710 44 00
[email protected]

Radio Taiwan International is obviously not pulling out of shortwave. Neither is neighboring China Radio International.

Note that RTI is not the only Taiwan-based broadcaster investing in shortwave radio; PCJ International has recently completed a series of test broadcasts from their new (still under construction) transmitting station.

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BBG Watch: Edward R. Murrow site appears safe in fiscal year 2014

The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station campus as seen by Google Earth (Click to enlarge)

The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station campus as seen by Google Earth (Click to enlarge)

This is good news for our friends at the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station (click to read tour):

(Source: BBG Watch)

Thanks to efforts by Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) member Victor Ashe, support of his board colleagues Susan McCue and Michael Meehan, and intervention from North Carolina congressmen G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) and Walter B. Jones (R-NC), the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station in Greenville, NC appears to be safe for now from budget cuts previously sought by officials of BBG’s International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB).

In a letter to both congressmen, IBB Director Richard Lobo assured them that the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), which utilizes more than 80 percent of the scheduled shortwave transmissions from the Murrow Station, will work with the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to utilize $50 million of existing democracy and human rights un-obligated funds to pay some of the costs of the station’s operations.

IBB Director Lobo assured both congressmen that under this proposal there will be no personnel changes at the Murrow Station and the employees would remain on the payroll of the International Broadcasting Bureau.

But with Victor Ashe expected to leave his post on the board soon. With new BBG members expected to be confirmed, long-term future of the Murrow Station is still not certain. Ashe and Congressmen G.K. Butterfield and Walter B. Jones worked hard to keep it open despite pressure and resistance from IBB executives who wanted to close it down. The station is the only BBG shortwave transmitting facility on American territory fully controlled by the U.S. government.

Let’s hope the new BBG board members understand the importance of keeping at least one BBG shortwave transmitting on US soil. In my opinion, every country should do this; not only for diplomatic and free press reasons, but for reasons of national security. In an emergency, if other communications systems were to fail, shortwave radio could still cover a vast broadcasting footprint–even the whole of the US.

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Brian Hongwe reports on importance of shortwave radios in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe-MapMany thanks to Dave for sharing this excellent radio documentary from the BBC World Service show, The Fifth Floor. In this brief report, reporter Brian Hongwe clearly explains why police are seizing shortwave radios and arresting those who own them in the run up to the Zimbabwe elections.

Hint: Information = power / Shortwave radio = information / Those in power fear shortwave radio

Click here (or use the embedded player below) to listen to this short segment or listen to the entire program–definitely worth it!– on The Fifth Floor’s web page.

This post has been tagged in our ever-growing collection labeled: Why Shortwave Radio?

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On sale now: the CommRadio CR-1, a great little receiver


[UPDATE: Check out our full review of the CR-1 by clicking here.]

A hot tip:  currently, CommRadio offers the CR-1 software-defined tabletop receiver for just $500 (US), until August 1, 2013. Check out the sale on CommRadio’s website and at Universal Radio.

I have been using the CommRadio CR-1 for almost two months now. I had planned to provide a brief review for The SWLing Post by early July, but my travel schedule has simply been too hectic.

MTcover0813coverlgFortunately, however, I offer a full in-depth review in the August 2013 issue of Monitoring Times magazine (incidentally, their turn-around time from submission to print is simply amazing). If you subscribe to MT–or can get your hands on a copy–you will have my full review.

Many of you have been asking me for my thoughts on the CR-1 so you will know whether or not to take advantage of promotional pricing.

In a nutshell, here is the answer your question:

Q: Is the CommRadio CR-1 a good deal?

A: Yes!

Though I was skeptical about this little receiver when I first saw the announcement in January, the CR-1 truly does hold its own. It’s a sturdy radio built with longevity and performance in mind. It’s the little touches I love: a near-perfect tuning knob (in my opinion), size & portability, multiple antenna jacks, an excellent internal battery and gold-plated circuit board pads…Performance-wise, the CR-1 has great sensitivity and selectivity on the HF bands…

Though there are a few negatives, in my book, the positives far outweigh them. If you really want to dig into the juicy details, I would encourage you to check out my full review in the August 2013 issue of Monitoring Times magazine (especially since MT, sadly, is slated to stop publishing at the end of the year).

If you’ve been on the fence about buying the CR-1, I would encourage you to give it consideration before August 1st, 2013, when the price increases to $599 US.

Here is the press release from CommRadio regarding the current $500 sale:

(Source: CommRadio)

CR-1 News for Friday, July 26th, 2013

Our Promotional Price of $500 will increase on August 1st.

All orders made after July 31st will be priced at $599 (battery included).

Order now before the price goes up.

Please note we are working hard to get all radios out as soon as possible, although the lead time could be up to 4 – 5 weeks starting this week (7/24/2013)

For any questions about ordering and shipping

or international orders please contact

Lizz Arias

[email protected]

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Bonito introduces the AntennaJet AAS300 active antenna splitter

The Bonito AS300 AntennaJet

The Bonito AS300 AntennaJet

This year, at the Friedrichshafen Hamfest, Bonito introduced the AntennaJet AAS300–an active antenna splitter that will allow three receivers to use one antenna with very little loss. Dennis Walter, with Bonito, recently contacted me with info:

The AAS300 is a 3 way active antenna splitter with excellent specifications (like isolation of 70dB!) between the outputs.

No extra power supply is necessary, because it’s USB powered– no switching, no buttons. The physical size is exactly like the Bonito RadioJet IF Receiver.

It was one of the most popular devices at the Friedrichshafen show and we already have many preorders.

The device is fully made here in Germany.

We are starting now to resell it.

The Price for end costumers is: 210,-€ / 278 US$ as an introductory offer and will be 230,-€ / 299,-US$ regular (next year)

antennajet_rear_hamradio2013Thanks, Dennis!

If you would like to read more about the new AntennaJet AAS300, click here for specs on Bonito’s site.

This is certainly a device I will consider purchasing. I tend to use one large multi-band delta loop for all of my receivers. I often record broadcasts on one receiver and wish that I could band-scan with the same antenna on another receiver. The AAS300 would make for a simple solution.

Dennis tells me that the AAS300 will be available through North American retailers and global distributors that currently carry the Bonito RadioJet.

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