Monthly Archives: December 2013

WoodBoxRadio announces the ELAD FDM-DUO

(Source: WoodBoxRadio Facebook Page)

ELAD FDM-DUO Preliminay Specifications

ADC Linear LTC2165-16bit 122.88MHZ clock
DDC FPGA Spartan 6 XC6SLX25 + Serial Flash for stand-alone mode.

USB IQ path through CY68013 for RX bitstream (192KHz up to 6.144Mhz single channel and 384KHz dual channel in PC mode)

Stand-alone RX IQ path STM32F4 ARM floating point microcontroller

LCD Controller Keyboard controller LPC1766 Cortex M3

TX modulator use a second STM32F4 Floating Point microcontroller + AD9957 DDS clocked at 368,64 MHz

Clocking source Si5338 drived by 10MHz TCXO or External reference input

TX modulator use I2S sourcing from MIC input (Cirrus CS5346) or USB input (CODEC CM6510B with customized firmware)

The third USB is a FTDI controller for CAT interface

This versatile platform allow transceiving in stand alone mode or in PC mode or in dual mode.

Frequency range: RX 9Khz to 52MHz direct sampling receiver
TX 160m to 6m others frequency to be defined

MDS: -132dBm
BDR: +115dB (500Hz)

Power output 5W
There is available a secondary SMA connector output with 0dBm level for use or as generator
open from 400Khz to 150Mhz (TBD)

2m VHF RTX will be an option as a board to fit (TBD)

The RTX have 2 Antenna inputs and can work as single RTX antenna or separate RX and TX antennas
(selectable by front panel or by CAT)

Standalone MOdes: CW CW+ CW- LSB USB AM

Firmware upgrade:
Cortex M3 by CAT
CY68013 by PC
STM32 RX or TX USB by memory stick through internal dedicated USBs
St-alone PROM TBD

When working in ST-Alone mode it is possible to connect an Android tablet (for example a Samsung Galaxy) to see the 192KHz spectrum and send some commands to FDM-DUO. Connection is made done through USB host of the Android and a TTL FTDI cable to EXTio connector of FDM-DUO

In dual mode PC software can show the 192KHz bandwidth of the FDM-DUO and it possible to demodulate with PC Software and with FDM-DUO with internal demodulator

In PC mode the RX bandwidth may have up to 6MHZ and internal demodulator is disabled.

This is a Software Defined Radio and these mode can be changed depending on new software that will be available from ELAD or for from who want to use Extio Dlls.

For using existing programs like HRD and FLDIGI….It will be very simple to plug the USB for CAT and USB TX like an external sound card.

FDM-DUO will be available also as Receiver only as FDM-DUOr name

From aesthetic point of view the box will be available SIlver or Black.

Price: 1159,00 Euro VAT included
Availability: 2/2014

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BBC News on the long-term survival of shortwave radio

BBC-World-Service-007Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Alex, who shares this essential listening: an audio report aired at 17:45 GMT today by Lucy Burton of the BBC World Service.

In this report, Burton discusses the future (or lack thereof) of shortwave radio. Burton interviews staff at Radio Romania International and even Glenn Hauser. To listen, just click:

The report reminds me that shortwave radio is often viewed as only legacy technology, when, in fact, shortwave has many advantages over digital options and is as relevant as ever.

This photo was taken in South Sudan, after Ears To Our World distributed radios in this rural community for the fourth year running. This photo was taken prior to the outbreak of violence the country is currently enduring.  Can you imagine the power of information each radio can provide to its community?

This photo was taken in rural South Sudan, after Ears To Our World had distributed hundreds of radios via our partner Project Education South Sudan. This photo was taken prior to the recent outbreak of violence the country is currently enduring. Can you imagine the power of information just one radio can provide to a community during these turbulent times?

As I’ve mentioned before, Gareth Mitchell once interviewed me for the BBC World Service technology program Click. Mitchell’s interview focused specifically on my non-profit, Ears To Our World, which uses self-powered shortwave radios to further its mission. His description of our radios during his introduction was as insightful as it was humorous:BBC_Click

“…Portable battery powered devices that can stream audio in real time all via an intuitive touch interface.”

Aptly put.  Shortwave radio, after all, has several profound benefits over the Internet, the three most significant being: 1) radio has no regard for national borders, and crosses them effortlessly; 2) listeners retain anonymity (thus cannot be readily tracked nor penalized by repressive authorities); and 3) radio requires no apps nor subscriptions to work.  Nor even, for that matter, a power grid.  It’s “just” an inexpensive “battery powered device” that can bring listeners vital lifesaving information, and, well…the world.

In short, I continue to stand by what I reported to UNESCO last year:

This post joins our popular tag: Why Shortwave Radio?

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From Moscow With Love: Comments on the future of VOR

RIA Novosti Newsroom, Moscow (Source: Wikipedia)

RIA Novosti Newsroom, Moscow (Source: Wikipedia)

SWLing Post reader, Richard, writes:

This is apparently a transcript from Vasily Strelnikov’s most recent “From Moscow With Love” that represents, probably as much as anything, the thinking currently within the halls of VoR.

Interesting reading & listening –

Many thanks, Richard, for sharing. Note that you can read and listen to the full show on the Voice of Russia website.

From Moscow With Love is hosted by Vasily Strelnikov and Natalia Stefanova. I thank them both for their refreshingly frank view of the the future of their show and the Voice of Russia.


Click for direct links to their show audio for part 1 and part 2. I’ve also pasted the bulk of the transcript below for the convenience of email subscribers:

(Source: Voice of Russia)

“This is our last show this year and, who knows, probably the last show on the VR.

There’s been a lot of talk on the internet all over the place about the end of shortwave broadcast from the Voice of Russia. Is it going to happen? I don’t know. I haven’t discussed it with anyone around here. Am I worried like some of you are? No. Am I losing sleep over it? No. Am I posting mindless crap about this all over the Internet? No. Do I care? Not really. Do I have a life? Yes, I’d like to think so. So, many stations have already left the shortwave for the same reasons. Are we as shortwave listeners happy? No. But can we put all our emotions aside and deal with reality? You might be asking why there hasn’t been on the air or on the website about this. Good question. I would probably guess it is because folks here don’t make such a big deal out of it. The fact is most of the comrades here at the office will continue working just as they always did. The programs will be carried online, on satellite and on the many local stations around the world in cities like Washington DC, New York, Miami, Chicago. There are DAB broadcasts in the UK and other European cities. The list grows all the time. Yes shortwave listeners are disappointed, I can understand this. But the hobby doesn’t end there. Get a grip.

But what about the merging of the station with RIA or RIA News Agency?

At the risk of sounding like the devil’s advocate, let me say I am not an employee of this radio station for as long as I’ve been a shortwave listener including the very early years as a kid in Maryland in the years I worked at radio Moscow World Service, I’ve always felt there was so much room left for improvement at radio Moscow. Now if this merger with the other Russia news organizations leads to something good, I can only welcome this. It’s been long overdue.

But aren’t you sad at all? This is bad news for the shortwave listeners around the world.

What I am sad about is the yet unconfirmed information dealing with having to move out of this historic building into a new facility several miles away because, maybe it is because we worked here for a long time, our lives are connected with this building at Pyatnitsaya street.

I suppose we feel like the BBC staff when they were forced to leave Bush House. It looks like most of the people are very worried about the future.

And what’s that got to do with leaving the building?
It is everything.

We are talking about our plans for New Year’s holiday as it is a time when the whole country goes on vacation for 10 days and the consequences are felt for the rest of the year. As for yours truly, I’ll probably spend a few days in the country in the fresh air, relaxing, playing with my new radio. But the atmosphere in Moscow if we talk about the first 10 days of January is very nice. It is very quiet during the holidays here. The city is empty, as all the oligarchs are out of here, off-shores. There is no traffic, the lighting is still there, it is magical. I also want to take a late night dinner cruise on the Moskva River aboard the Radisson fleet.

That must be a fantastic experience now that Moscow is sparkling with thousands of lights.

Let’s talk about traditions a bit more. You mentioned the one about throwing all the old stuff away. The one I never understood, I mean tradition speaking was how and why you are supposed to say farewell to the old year by having a drink a few minutes before midnight.

That is very simple, mind you, it is an absolute must to say goodbye to the old year and thank it for all the good things it brought you. After that you must have a shot of vodka or a glass of wine or any other alcoholic beverage provided it is not Champaign. Champaign is something to see the new year in.
I think it is just another excuse to drink. What about all the mythical animals that are always associated with this holiday? It may sound dumb coming from me and it probably is, but I don’t recall paying any attention to these things back in the US but here every year is assigned with an animal, like this time. It is the year of the horse.

Right, blue horse.

Are Russians really into that sort of thing?

I think they are and I am very much into this. And I am ready to tell you all that I know about the year of the blue horse and the oriental and occidental horoscopes, and their influence on people. But let’s do it next week because it is a very interesting topic and we simply have no time for it now.

One New Year’s tradition here is to have Santa Claus or Father Frost and his Snow Maiden visit kids from their parents workplace.

In USSR another New Year’s tradition which I hated was watching TV till the early hours of morning. There was nothing to watch but a lame soviet produced New Year’s special called Blue Light made up of ideologically safe jokes and unbearable Soviet singers. And later that night it would be followed by an east German production featuring dancers from the Friedrichstadt-Palast Cancan troop.”

Read more:


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The sixth edition of The Worldwide Listening Guide

wwlg-2013-cover-webI’m very pleased to have just received the 6th edition of John Figliozzi’s Worldwide Listening Guide (WWLG). This is the latest updated version of the guide I reviewed last year.

As I said then, you may want a copy of the WWLG in your shackand, may I suggest, next to your computer or wi-fi radio.

SWLing Post readers know that I’m a huge fan of the Word Radio TV Handbook (WRTH)–it’s my go-to guide for radio frequencies–and Figliozzi’s Worldwide Listening Guide is my helpful companion for programming and for content.

Figliozzi exhaustively curates more than 4,000 programs, indexing their airing times, stations, days of broadcast, program types, frequencies, and web addresses. He also sorts the programs by genre:  from arts, culture, and history; to music, sports, and more. In fact, he has a well-thought-out directory of at least forty genres–this directory has helped me locate programming about which I would otherwise have never known. Want to find jazz and blues programming, or shows focusing on sports?  This book’s got you covered. Frankly, I’m not sure how Figliozzi manages to curate such a vast assortment of programming, but I’m happy he does, and that he offers it for our benefit!

Figliozzi even dedicates a section of his book to “The Big Six” English language broadcasters–namely, NPR, BBC, CBC, ABC, RTE and RNZ. These networks are widely regarded as the best in the business, with audience numbers to back this claim. The WWLG dedicates several pages to describing the structure and programming diversity of each, with listening tips and more.

I’ve always liked the WWLG, and it has become a permanent reference book in my shack, alongside my trusty WRTH. There is a surprising amount of information packed into this slim, spiral-bound book…enough to keep even a seasoned DXer contented for years.

The 6th edition of Worldwide Listening Guide can be purchased here:

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Popular Communications to end print publication

WR FEB2012. Cover.qxdAs of February 2013, the magazine Popular Communications will become a digital supplement to CQ Amateur Radio magazine.

Pop Comm“–together with its sister publications CQ VHF and WorldRadio–will now be digital only.

Check out this ARRL News article for details.

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A little gift (for you) that keeps on ringing…

Apple-iPhoneWith a nod to the holidays, I thought I’d give a little gift to my readers– just in time to ring in the New Year, too.

One of the quirkier radio experiments I’ve made recently is to create ringtones based shortwave station IDs and interval signals. My favorite, thus far, is that of the Voice of Greece (a.k.a. Radio Station of Macedonia) because it has the hallmarks of a great ringtone: it starts very quietly (giving you time to turn it off if you left it off in a meeting) and is distinctive from practically any other ringtone on the planet. It’s also loud enough to get your attention.  Yet it’s wonderfully humble, suggesting a halcyon locale–a shepherd’s pan pipe underscored by the gentle arrhythmic ring of goats’ bells.  A Greek vacation in every ring.

I’ve had the Voice of Greece as my ringtone long enough that I was recently listening when the VOG ID hit the radio, and my daughter called out, “Daddy!  Your phone is ringing!”

If you would like my VOG ringtone, it’s yours–free! {Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!}

I have links to two formats below: one for iOS and one for Android.  Simply right click and save the file to your computer.

Click here to download the iPhone (iOS) version. If you have an iPhone, simply import the downloaded file into iTunes on your PC/Mac. It should recognize the file as a ringtone and place it in your “Tones” category. Once you sync your phone, it should appear in your ringtones on your phone.

Click here to download the Android version. Instructions for adding the ringtone to your Android phone can be found here.

Vintage-1920s-Christmas-Card (1)

Now, if you’d like to hear something a little more festive than a ringtone, I’d encourage you to listen to this studio recording of beHAVior Night on the SW Radio Audio Archive.

“Sir Scratchy” has kindly shared this with us.


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Kaito able to update PL-880 firmware in-house

Click here to learn how to display your PL-880's firmware version.

Earlier we posted that Tecsun PL-880s being sold by Kaito Electronics had an older firmware version (#8819) than those being sold by Anon-Co on eBay (#8820).

Fortunately SWLing Post reader, Tim, has been working directly with Kaito in California. Yesterday, he visited their headquarters where they updated his PL-880 from firmware version 8819 to 8820.

Tim writes:

“Just got back with my PL-880 from Kaito. It took about 5 seconds to update the firmware (they let me watch). Tecsun sent them a little silver box with a cord that plugs into the radio just below the LCD screen. After removing the face plate, they merely plug in the cord, press a button and voilà, the firmware is upgraded to 8820, and no more soft mute problems. They told me mine is the first one to get the update and it seems just great so far!

I asked if they will be updating new radios before they ship, and they said, “of course, by all means.” [T]hey are now selling the radio with 8820 firmware. People who bought the radio before are also welcome to send theirs back for the upgrade.”

The review of the Tecsun PL-880 we posted two weeks ago was purchased from Anon-Co and has the newer 8820 firmware version.

Tim, many thanks for the report!

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