Monthly Archives: December 2014

Video: 1940s-era holiday treat from Tommy Dorsey (c/o a vintage rig)


Below you’ll find a short video of my 1945 Scott Marine Radio Model SLR-M playing Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra’s  jazz-infused version of “March of the Toys” from Victor Herbert’s holiday classic “Babes in Toyland.”

It’s a little holiday time-travel I cooked up for you on this great vintage rig. I’m actually playing the song via an SStran Model AMT3000 AM transmitter I built from a kit (more on that in a future post). The transmitter has been set to 1410 kHz, to which the SLR-M is tuned.

Though the microphone on my Flip Video camera makes the sound in this little recording tinny (you’ll have to trust me that, live, it’s remarkably warm and rich), it does feel a bit like radio time-travel to hear a 1940s-era song played on a 1940s era-radio. This is just how WWII servicemen might have heard this music.

For your holiday enjoyment: “March of the Toys” by Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra:

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Dave’s review of the CountyComm GP5/SSB

GP5SSB-FrontDave Zantow (N9EWO) has just posted his review:

CountyComm GP5/SSB Pocket Portable (with SSB) Review Now Posted

Now posted up on my web page. It’s mid way down. Note : I also totally updated my Tecsun PL-360 review as well (the first top review on this same page).

Dave’s reviews are always top-notch, so you should read this one if considering the GP5/SSB. If you haven’t already, you can click here to read our recent review of the CountyComm GP5/SSB as well.

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Gerry Wells 1929-2014


Gerry Wells (1929-2014) Source: BBC World Service

Very sad to learn that Gerry Wells, Curator of the British Vintage Wireless & Television Museum passed away on December 22, 2014.

We featured Gerry Wells in this post from 2011; the included radio documentary is a must-listen.

Many thanks to the Southgate ARC for sharing the information below:

(Source: Southgate ARC)

The Curator of the British Vintage Wireless & Television Museum, Gerald Wells, passed away on December 22

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.

1994 Channel 4 TV documentary about Gerry Wells

British Vintage Wireless and Television Museum, West Dulwich, London


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Grimeton VLF broadcast on Christmas Eve

Alexanderlogga_ny-kopieraIn response to our announcement about WG2XFQ, SWLing Post reader, Kimmo, comments:

The Christmas Eve event by Swedish Friends of Veteran Radio on VLF 17.2 kHz and SW may also be of interest to some. See more information here:

The following is a machine translation via Google:

There will be a transmission with the Alexanderson 200 kW alternator on VLF 17.2 kHz from Grimeton Radio / SAQ on Christmas Eve, Wednesday, December 24th, 2014.

The message transmission will take place at 08:00 UTC (09:00 local time). The transmitter will be tuned up starting around 07:30 UTC (08:30 local time).

 There will be activity on amateur radio frequencies with the call SK6SAQ on any of the following frequencies:

  • 17.2 kHz CW
  • 3755 kHz SSB
  • 7035 kHz CW
  • 14215 kHz SSB
  • 14035 khz CW

QSL Reports on SAQ are kindly received by e-mail to:   or by mail to

Alexander – Grimeton Veteranradios Vaenner
Grimeton 72

The Radio Station will be open to visitors. No entrance fee. Also read our

Update: Elad posted the following video of the Elad FDM-DUO receiving the SAQ broadcast on 17.2 kHz:

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The Spectrum Monitor: only $24 for a year’s subscription

December14Cover.1On occasion, the things you enjoy most, you forget to share with your friends. Not sure why this happens, but this is certainly the case with the Spectrum Monitor magazine (TSM). I’m long overdue to properly pitch TSM to my readers, which I feel is an absolute bargain at just $24 per year.

Why? Many of you may recall that it was only July of last year when we learned about the closure of The Monitoring Times magazine.  I had always loved the magazine–not only were the management and editors a great group, but the magazine content was some of the best in the communications business when I began writing features and reviews for MT. But the owners of MT, Bob and Judy Grove, were ready to retire; ultimately, they decided to close their magazine down rather than sell it off.

Shortly after the announcement, MT‘s managing editor, Ken Reitz (KS4ZR), decided to make a go of a new publication. Albeit wholly digital, this magazine was to cover the same scope and content depth as MT, and would be known as The Spectrum Monitor (TSM).

In January of this year, TSM launched, and like many SWLing Post readers, I was eager to see if the content met the benchmark MT had set for so many years.

I needn’t have worried.  Ken had corralled many excellent contributors, in many cases drawing upon previous writers for MT.  And in the past year, I don’t believe it’s a stretch to say that in many respects, TSM not only met that benchmark, but has actually even exceeded itTSM is now–unquestionably–a good, solid, thoroughly enjoyable publication. 

Each issue is packed with topics covering the radio spectrum: shortwave, ham radio, vintage radio, pirate radio, scanning, public service, satellite, AM/medium wave and host of digital/mobile technologies, as well. Really, everything a listener could hope for.

November2014Cover Initially, I had my doubts.  I frankly wasn’t sure whether I’d like reading a “digital-only” radio publication, or whether other readers would. I confess to being a bit “old school;” as a radio listener, I like to hold a radio in my hands, to physically tune it; as a reader, I prefer holding a printed publication in hand, to turn the (paper) pages…How would I feel with an e-reader or laptop, instead? Would reading that way feel like work?

But TSM soon swayed me toward the digital as both reader and as a columnist. As a writer, there was less stress on word count. If it was a bit short, or lengthy– as my October column was–I soon found it mattered less. In a digital publication, page count is comparatively irrelevant as long as content is worthwhile and captivating for the reader.  And as a reader, I appreciated that the columnists that I was reading would have the freedom to write at length, too.

Secondly, a digital publication gave its writers an opportunity to infuse columns with a multi-media element–something I’d become accustomed to as a blogger here on the SWLing Post. When I published a review of a radio, I could include actual audio clips in the article. If I wrote about pirate radio, for example, I could embed actual pirate radio recordings. Brilliant! And, again, more fun for the reader.

Also, including links or references to external websites is a cinch in a digital format, and quite easy for the reader to check out. Instead of copying a long gangly URL from a printed page, you simply click on a link as you would on a website, such as on this one. Second nature, really.

FEB2014CoverFinally, in a digital publication, I found writers could use more full-color images in their articles. I really enjoy the addition of the images; they make articles come to life…

So, I soon learned to relax with the e-reader just as I had with the printed Monitoring Times.  No pages to turn, but then again, not so different from reading…well, a blog like this.  I’ve received excellent feedback from TSM readers, too, many of whom admitted their initial bias against a “digital” magazine had since been withdrawn completely.

I continue to enjoy reading TSM every month.  And although–due to time constraints–I’m no longer TSM‘s primary shortwave radio columnist, I still enjoy writing for TSM when time permits, so you will see my reviews and features pop up in TSM now and again.

But why take my word for it?  Check it out for yourself–it’s one of the best magazines for the radio enthusiast, digital or print…And at only $24 annual cost, it’s a terrific and affordable last minute Christmas gift for a friend, family member, or–let’s be honest–for yourself.

Afraid to commit to a one year subscription? Individual issues of TSM are available online for $3 each. If you like what you’re reading (you will), you can then purchase a one year subscription, and the cost of your issue will be refunded.

If you’re lucky enough to receive a subscription to TSM in your stocking, I can assure you that you’re in for a real treat.  Happy reading!

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2015 Winter SWL Fest registration now open

Art the Winter SWL Fest, my good friends (from left to right): Sheldon Harvery (of The International Radio Report), Tina Shields and Dan Srebnick

Art the Winter SWL Fest, my good friends (from left to right): Sheldon Harvery (of The International Radio Report), Tina Shields and Dan Srebnick

(Source: Winter SWL Fest)

Announcing final arrangements for the Winter SWL Fest!

The 28th (!) Annual Winter SWL Fest will be held Friday and Saturday, February 27th – 28th, 2015 at the Doubletree Guest Suites hotel in Plymouth Meeting, PA.

A registration form will be available in the January NASWA Journal; online registrationis available at the Winter SWL Fest website, . Printable registration forms are also available (click here to download).

The forum list is taking shape already, and we’ll have more information over the next few weeks once speakers are confirmed.

-Your Co-Festmeisters, Richard Cuff and John Figliozzi

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