Monthly Archives: December 2014

Allan’s video review of the CountyComm GP5/SSB

GP5SSB-MW-Antenna-1SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), writes:

Allan’s (W2AEW) excellent “You Tube” Video has just been posted here on the CountyComm GP-5/SSB:

Many thanks for sharing this video, Dave!

Readers: I suggest you check out the library of informative videos Allan (W2AEW) has created over the years and even subscribe to his YouTube channel. His tutorial videos are quite professional and he does a brilliant job explaining complex electronic principles.  Indeed, be sure to check out one of his latest on the ETOW HumanaLight kit:

Click here for our full review of the CountyComm GP5/SSB.

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Trevor Baylis: a CBE in the New Year Honours list

Trevor Baylis (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Trevor Baylis (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Inventor of the clockwork radio, Trevor Baylis, has been made a CBE in the New Year Honors list.

Mr. Baylis very much deserves this honor as his inventions have directly and indirectly fueled many self-powered innovations we enjoy today.

I’m honored to have spoken with Mr. Baylis over the years; he’s a brilliant, caring fellow with a sharp mind for solving problems and inventing solutions. Indeed, his advice has been invaluable for my charity, Ears To Our World. [Thank you, Trevor!]

I’m proud to own an original Freeplay/BayGen clockwork radio; somehow, winding up this radio and listening to it play from that released energy never gets old. Indeed, it’s still magic to me.


Read the full news item about Trevor Baylis at the BBC News Technology site:

Inventor Trevor Baylis has been made a CBE in the New Year Honours list.

Best known for creating the Baygen wind-up radio, Mr Baylis was honoured for services to intellectual property.

Throughout his colourful life, which involved a stint as a stuntman, Mr Baylis has spent much of his time inventing or involved with engineering.

Most recently he has campaigned to make the UK a more hospitable place for inventors, and is seeking to help them safeguard their creations.

Continue reading on the BBC website…

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Jonathan’s interviews with Gerry Wells

sup-obsessionGerald Wells, the Curator of the British Vintage Wireless & Television Museum passed away on December 22nd, 2014. In our previous post about his passing, I pointed to a brilliant BBC radio documentary which featured Mr. Wells.

Last week, Jonathan Marks posted his own tribute to Gerry Wells on Critical Distance. Jonathan’s post includes two half-hour interviews with Mr. Wells from 1986/1987.

Jonathan has kindly allowed me to embed an excerpt from his post, below, along with his interviews.

Jonathan writes:

“Sad to note that the Curator of the British Vintage Wireless & Television Museum, Gerald Wells, passed away on December 22 2014.

At the end of the 1960’s Gerry gave up his job as an electrical contractor. He could see wireless sets being discarded and felt there was a need for a “Vintage Wireless Museum”. The Museum for Vintage Wireless came into existence in 1974 and was later expanded to include Television.

I made a couple of half hour documentaries with Gerry in 1986/1987, hearing the stories of how radios were built and got their names. Other documentaries focused on his life as a lifelong radio engineer.

I remember visiting the UK’s Vintage Radio Wireless Museum in Dulwich, South London as though it were yesterday. It’s just an ordinary terraced house from the outside, but inside its a celebration of the tube (Valve) radio, especially in the era 1920-1950. What’s more, Gerald Wells, was one of the world’s experts on valves – and had a flood of stories about the famous names I heard second-hand as a child. Did you know that Vidor Batteries were named after the manufacturers two daughters? And what were the better brands of radios.

Enthusiasts in the UK have since made a DVD about Gerald which I can recommend. Part Two of this programme was made in Dulwich one year later is also here on this blogpost. I am sure you could visit Gerald 1000 times and still take away new and different stories about this era of broadcasting. Anyone restoring early iPods? Thought not.”

I encourage you to check out Jonathan’s full post on Critical Distance. I’m always amazed at the number of topics Jonathan has covered in his radio career and, especially, his tenure at Media Networks. You’ll find hundreds of recordings like the ones above at the Media Network Vintage Vault

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SSB for the non-technical


SWLing Post reader, Eleanor White, writes:

[I] have a short article I put together for those interested in disaster preparedness, to give non-techies the basics of tuning an SSB signal.s

Here’s the link:

Many thanks for sharing your article, Eleanor!

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Treasure trove of radio nostalgia

AmericanRadioHistoryMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Jarno, who shares a link to where you’ll find hundreds of issues of popular radio magazines from the 20th century. All of the issues are downloadable PDFs, thus can be viewed on any computer, smart phone, or tablet PC.

I find it amazing that many, if not all, of the magazines are even searchable. I could (and probably will) spend hours looking through and downloading these issues; I’ve been reading through the 1930s-era Short Wave Radio magazine this morning, and enjoying it thoroughly.

Many thanks for the tip, Jarno!

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Yes, there is a shortwave…!

Virginia letter Dash

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no shortwave. Uncle DX Dash! says, “If you see it on the SWLing Post, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a shortwave?

Virginia E. Layer
330 Independence Ave., S.W.

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a digital age. They do not believe what can’t be heard or seen on their smart phone. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by Google. They seek credit cards, not QSL cards.

Yes, Virginia, there is a shortwave. It exists as certainly as sound and circuits and tubes exist, and you know that these abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no shortwave! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no heterodynes, no band openings, no propagation to make tolerable this existence. It would be a world without London Calling.

Not believe in shortwave! You might as well not believe in the ionosphere. You might get your papa to hire men to listen to all of the wi-fi radios of the world, but even if you did not hear shortwave, what would that prove? The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see ground waves dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can casually conceive or imagine all the wonders there are heard and unheard in the listening world. For that, you must wear headphones.

No shortwave! Thank goodness! It lives, and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, shortwave will continue to make glad the hearts of listeners.

Happy Holidays from your friends at Dashtoons and the SWLing Post!

With apologies to The New York Sun.  Our tongue-in-cheek editorial borrows from the timeless classic, “Is There a Santa Claus?” printed in the September 21, 1897, issue of The New York SunClick here to read the original

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A report from Antarctica

McMurdo Station, Antarctica. (Source:

McMurdo Station, Antarctica. (Source:

Regarding our post about Christmas carols in Antarctica, Nathaniel Frissel (KC4/W2NAF) at the McMurdo Station in Antarctica writes:

Hi, everyone! Merry Christmas!

We had a wonderful time singing over the radio from Antarctica this year on 7995 kHz. We heard carols not only from McMurdo Station, but many of the other bases and remote field camps as well. This includes South Pole Station (American), Mario Zuchelli Station (Italian), Siple Dome Station (Italian), Grounding Station (American), Diamond Hills Field Camp (We think!) (American), and Science Event I-196 (American).

I have already received SWL reports from a number of listeners, and am very happy to report that a number of operators reported that they heard Hark the Herald Angels

Sing come through the static for about 30 seconds. This transmission originated from South Pole Station. So far, these reports have come from the Netherlands, Germany, and Australia. A few US stations believe they heard the transmission as well. Many reported using the University of Twente Web SDR.

Here are some recordings you can listen to:
Hark the Herald Angels Sing transmitted from South Pole Station recorded on 7995 kHz USB with U of Twente Web SDR (Netherlands):

Hark the Herald Angels Sing transmitted from South Pole Station recorded on 7995 kHz USB from MacOps (McMurdo):

We Wish You a Merry Christmas transmitted from McMurdo Station (Recorded live in McMurdo):

Your e-mail reports made everyone very happy down here. We are all very excited to receive Christmas greetings from around the world!

Merry Christmas, and VY 73 from the Ice,
Nathaniel, KC4/W2NAF

McMurdo Station – Deck the Halls
Mario Zuchelli (Italian Base) – Italian Christmas Carol
McMurdo Station – Let It Snow
Siple Dome – Anges We Have Heard On High (in Italian)
McMurdo Station – Little Drummer Boy
South Pole Station – Jingle Bells
Grounding Station – Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
Diamond Hills Field Camp – Silent Night (with Ukelele Accompaniment)
Mario Zuchelli Station – Adeste Fideles
South Pole Station – Joy to the World
Siple Dome – Silent Night (in Italian)
McMurdo Station – 12 McMurdo Days of Christmas
Science Event I-196 -Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
Siple Dome – Adeste Fideles
McMurdo Station – We Wish You a Merry Christmas
South Pole Station – Hark the Herald Angels Sing (Reported heard by SWL Stations)

Nathaniel, I’m so happy to hear your signal was heard around the world. I listened, but never heard your carols break through the static; in truth, conditions were less than favorable here. I did make a spectrum recording, and will go back through it again.

Here’s wishing you and all of your colleagues and family a very Merry Christmas!

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