Monthly Archives: September 2013

Grundig G3 discontinued, Tecsun PL-880 on the way

The Grundig G3 shortwave radio.

The Grundig G3 shortwave radio.

Not really a surprise, but I’ve confirmed that the Grundig G3 has been discontinued. They are still available, for the moment, from Universal Radio and online sources like I would not advise buying from Amazon as I’ve received numerous complaints that they’ve shipped faulty units. Universal Radio, on the other hand, is testing each an every G3 leaving their shop.

With the exit of the G3, this leaves Grundig with the following selection of shortwave portables:


Tecsun PL-880

Tecsun, meanwhile, is adding to their extensive line of shortwave portables. Indeed, this morning, W4ASZ comments:

“I found this link courtesy of the manly men at Herculodge :

Looking pretty good !”

I agree and I do feel cautiously optimistic about the Tecsun PL-880. Could it be my new travel radio? Though I still happily travel with the Grundig G3, Sony ICF-SW7600GR and Tecsun PL-380, a guy can’t have too many radios to choose from!

I’ll plan to review the PL-880 once it’s available. I’m particularly interested in seeing how it stacks up against the venerable Tecsun PL-660.

Stay tuned!

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The Voice of Greece Avlis shortwave transmitter site may be scrapped

GREECE-ECONOMY-MEDIAAccording to, 39 shortwave antennas located at the Voice of Greece Avlis transmitter site may soon be sold as scrap metal. It seems this information is based on a statement by ERT employees from Monday (September 16, 2013):

“in the shortwave broadcasting center of Avlis, a representative of a company that sells metal showed up and started taking photos of the site. After we, ERT people, asked him, we got informed that he had been mandated by the Ministry of Finance to give an offer for the dismantling of 39 masts and purchasing the metal as scrap.”

[…]The name of [the] company and the registration plate of the car are available. The union body of ERT notes that this is an area of 1160 acres, featuring 39 metal masts, with a height between 30 and 70 meters each, that function as the shortwave aerials that transmit the “Voice of Greece”, the ERA-pénte, across the world.

“Greek shortwave started operating in 1938 and later was also used sent information to the Greek soldiers fighting Fascists in Albania. The only ones who dared to turn it off were the Nazis during the occupation. Since the liberation, it never stopped to link the country with Greek seafarers and the Diaspora. The Voice of Greece broadcasts information, entertainment, culture and tradition from Greece with programs in 12 languages, all over the globe”.

You can read the full article by clicking here. Many thanks to Andrea Borgnino for the tip.

I’ve predicted that the Voice of Greece may not be on the air even by the end of 2013.  I certainly hope I’m wrong, but I simply can’t imagine there will be enough money in the reincarnated ERT budget to pay for the Voice of Greece Avlis shortwave transmitter site.

Follow the tag “ERT Cuts” for the latest developments.

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Review of the RadioShack AM/FM portable digital radio, Model 12-587

The RadioShack Model 12-587 AM/FM Radio

The RadioShack Model 12-587 AM/FM Radio

Three days a week, my father––now in his seventies––takes a three mile walk through his home town, revisiting the neighborhoods of his youth. He began the walks upon retirement, and in my opinion, the routine has helped keep him in great shape. When he first started walking I learned he was carrying around a heavy AM/FM radio with him.  I bought him a bargain one-off Coby AM/FM portable that is not only lightweight but sports a handy neck strap. Dad’s loved it. Indeed––much to my surprise––it’s lasted about ten years, and is still playing, although starting to show signs of wear…

So I decided it was time to test drive a suitable replacement. After searching, I found the RadioShack Model 12-587 AM/FM radio. At a clearance price of $14.99 (US), there will be no loss of sleep if Dad misplaces it or drops it on the pavement.

Still, I couldn’t resist giving it the once-over, and thought I might share the mini review that resulted. As I always say for radios in this price range, my expectations were low.

Here’s a summary of this little AM/FM radio’s pros and cons:

Back of model RadioShack 12-587

Back of model RadioShack 12-587


  • Very good FM selectivity and sensitivity
  • Excellent FM stereo lock
  • Scan function both useful and quick
  • 10 AM and 10 FM memories (see con)
  • Large, amber back-lit LCD display
  • Simple control lock switch on right side
  • AM (medium wave) sensitivity adequate
  • AM nulling above average
  • Plastic “blister” packaging very easy to open!


  • Tinny sounding audio via built-in speaker
  • Headphone audio lacks high/low; mid-range only
  • Memory allocations supposedly volatile (when batteries are replaced)
  • AM frequency steps fixed at 10 kHz (cannot adapt to 9 kHz steps used in rest of the world)
  • AM (medium wave) sensitivity mediocre at best
  • Complete mute while tuning; not capable of band-scanning
  • Dimple on tuning knob not useful
  • Very sensitive to noise (QRM) on the AM band, resulting in static popping/crackling in audio

Obviously, this is not a radio for the radio hobbyist or world traveler, as it lacks any real medium wave sensitivity and cannot tune in 9 kHz steps. FM tuning is also locked on odd frequencies, thus will not work throughout parts of the world with even spacing. And though the radio is touted as having “extended bass,” the audio is tinny, even via headphones.

RadioShack-Model12-587-AMFMRadio-2BUT.  This is a perfect example of a situation in which, though cons outweigh pros, the RS Model 12-587 is a great match for its intended purpose: my father’s morning walks. Why? It’s a simple-to-operate radio with a large, back-lit display (Dad won’t need to put on his glasses to read it). It receives local AM and FM stations very well. The mid-range audio––while lacking ample fidelity for music––are perfect for the talk shows he listens to while walking. The radio is durable, lightweight, easy to tune, and has a lock feature. It is also remarkably easy to program memories: simply press the program button until preset flashes in the LCD display, use the scan up/down buttons to choose a memory number then press program again.  It’s also very affordable, so no problem to replace as necessary.

In conclusion, the RS Model 12-587 is not a performance radio––and I wouldn’t generally recommend it––but it suits my father’s needs very well.  Like to walk or run? Maybe it’s just what you’re looking for, too.

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Shortwave Radio Recordings: BBC World Service Hausa

BBC-HausaFor your listening pleasure: the BBC World Service Hausa language service recorded on 17,885 kHz on September 16, 2013, starting at 19:30 UTC. This BBC WS broadcast originated from a 250 kW transmitter located on Ascension Island in the south Atlantic ocean.

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

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Newsweek: Can radio turn the tide in Syria?

Syria_(orthographic_projection)Thanks to The Professor for sharing this brilliant article by Mike Giglio in The Daily Beast:

“Twenty minutes—this was the small window of time that Majid (not his real name) usually gave himself to broadcast his radio dispatches and then flee. The Syrian was making a name for himself as a bold, young journalist in Damascus, venturing into contested neighborhoods in the capital’s war-torn suburbs to deliver his reports. The broadcasts were low tech and old-fashioned, produced for an upstart radio station called Al-Watan FM, or “The Homeland FM,” and went out on the local airwaves, crackling into a sphere otherwise tightly controlled by the regime. Any Damascus resident scanning the dial could tune in.

It was dangerous work. Pushing into the capital’s FM frequencies meant transmitting an easy-to-track signal from within the city. Government soldiers or regime thugs often came looking for Majid when he went on the air, so he tried to be quick—setting up, going live, then packing up and disappearing within the span of 20 minutes.”[]

Continue reading the full article in Newsweek’s The Daily Beast online.

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Shortwave Radio Recordings: Voice of Russia

VoiceOfRussiaSyria is one of the biggest international news items at the moment. If you want to hear Russia’s side of the story, there’s no better place than via the Voice of Russia.

Many thanks to Shortwave Radio Audio Archive contributor, Frank, for submitting this recording of the Voice of Russia English language service. Frank recorded this broadcast on September 14, 2013 starting at 22:00 on 9,465 kHz with his Kenwood R-5000 receiver.

Click here to download an MP3 of the broadcast, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

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Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio Thailand

wiki-800px-Watchaiwattanaram050617Many thanks to Frank, a contributor on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive, for this recording of Radio Thailand World Service.

This broadcast was recorded in Europe on September, 13 2013 starting at 19:00 UTC on 9,390 kHz.

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

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