Video: Shortwave listening and radio astronomy


On Thursday I attended an event at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI)–location of the 2015 SWLing Post DXPedition.

During a break, I had a couple of free hours, so I reached in my messenger bag and pulled out the Sony ICF-SW100: a radio that has quickly surpassed all others as my favorite EDC (everyday carry) radio. It has so many useful features in such a small package!

Radio astronomy observatories are ideal locations for impromptu shortwave radio listening as there is little to no radio interference/noise present.


PARI’s “Building 1” and the 26 West (left) and 26 East (right) radio telescopes.

While the weather on Thursday was gorgeous, HF band conditions were…well…miserable. There was very little to hear other than China Radio International, Radio Havana Cuba and a few other blow torch broadcasters.

Still, time signal station WWV was on my mind since I had just purchased Myke’s new edition of At The Tone and have been reading your excellent comments with early memories of listening to WWV and WWVH.

I tuned to 15 MHz and, of course, there was reliable WWV in Fort Collins, Colorado on frequency. Though WWV’s signal was relatively strong (despite the conditions) I turned on the SW100’s sync detector because fading (QSB) was pronounced at times.

Here’s a short video of the ICF-SW100 on a picnic table in the middle of the PARI campus. That’s PARI’s 26 (meter) West telescope in the background:

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3 thoughts on “Video: Shortwave listening and radio astronomy

  1. Dan Robinson

    The SW-100 is, as Tom notes, a fantastic piece of technology – for its time and still today. As has been discussed in the past, the radio suffers from a characteristic that is common to it and another SONY portable, the SW-07, which is slightly unstable BFO. It’s impossible to correct this, and some SW-100s came out of the factory better than others in this respect. It is possible to do mico-adjustments on SW-100s and SW-07s to bring them almost exactly on zero beat for SSB. There are two persons who still do this kind of work (which is amazing in itself that anyone would tackle such a detailed job). One is Noel Ramos in Massachusetts (who can be contacted via various Yahoo groups, including I believe the SONY 2010 group). The other who performed this work for me was Rod Wallberg (Rod has email problems and I’m not sure he is still accepting jobs but it might be worth a contact). As Tom notes, the SW-100 has got to be nearly the perfect radio for EDC, due to its size, sensitivity and features, including SYNC. Same with the SW-07. I would advise people to stay clear of the Japan-based sellers on Ebay who are trying to get $500+ for brand new SW-07s, unless you have cash to burn. Beware on the SW-07s that the original SONY viny case starts to fall apart over time, leaving small specks black vinyl on the radio (these can be easily blown off with an air can). Just some thoughts and thanks to Tom for posting this…

    1. Thomas Post author

      As always, very useful info, Dan! Thank you!

      Someday, I hope an SW07 falls in my lap. I would love to do a side-by-side comparison with the SW100.

      I will keep this info tucked away for the future!


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