Video: Dan listens to RNZI’s Sunday Night with Grant Walker on a Hammarlund SP-600


Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Daniel Hawkins, who writes:

One of my favorite Radio New Zealand International programs is Sunday Night with Grant Walker. This program is heard on RNZ in New Zealand from 8:06-10:00 p.m. and is run at the same time on RNZI. Sunday Night features hit oldies and one interview. Each program highlights oldies from one year. Last Sunday was 1977 and the week before was 1955. My video from last Sunday includes a favorite that I haven’t heard for many years.

The RNZI broadcast of Sunday Night is 0806-1000 UTC Sunday on 9700 kHz. That’s 1:06-3:00 a.m. Sunday, PDT. Definitely a show for night owls. West Coast reception is nearly spectacular for the distance: 6,600 miles from my location in Davis, CA, USA. The radio used for the video is a Hammarlund SP-600 JX-21, built in 1956 or 1957. Yes, the tuning dial is a little off on this band. I’m using the 8 kHz selectivity setting with fully advanced AVC. The antenna is a 106’ outdoor random wire. The speaker is antique as well: a 10” Jensen PM-10C with matching transformer connected to the 600 ohm audio output on the SP-600.


Click here to view on YouTube.

Wow! Thank you for the program recommendation, Dan!  I, too, have an SP-600–there are few valve receivers that can rival it for both audio fidelity and sensitivity. What a beauty of a rig you have there!

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5 thoughts on “Video: Dan listens to RNZI’s Sunday Night with Grant Walker on a Hammarlund SP-600

  1. DanH

    Sad to report, but effective during the last days of July the 9700 kHz RNZI transmission from 0659-1258 UTC is no more. This was an excellent frequency and time for US West Coast reception. The new frequency for this time is 7245 kHz, which offers only fair reception. Reception of 15720 kHz from 2051 to 0458 UTC and 11725 kHz from 0459 to 0758 UTC remain unchanged and excellent.

  2. DanH

    Paul, I checked the RNZI website. The older Thomson transmitter is 27 years old. Thomson became known as Thales. The Thales SW transmitter company is now known as Ampegon. They still build 100 kW SW transmitters.

    The RNZI 35 degree beam is aimed almost directly to my location. The signal travels over less than 150 miles of land with the remaining 6,450 miles skipping over the Pacific Ocean. No wonder I get good reception. During the summer I can receive an RNZI frequency during most of the day and night. If I had the gear I could probably receive their DRM very well.

  3. DanH

    Thanks for the insight into RNZ programming and funding, Paul. Sunday evening often pulls down the largest audience of the week for television: at the the expense of the radio audience. This has been true in the US for at least seventy years. Sunday evening is a radio graveyard and it only gets worse as younger audiences drift away from radio and television for online entertainment. On the bright side, Sunday evenings can be an opportunity for a creative broadcaster to earn a large audience share if they don’t mind the smaller numbers.

    I am surprised that the retired RNZI SW transmitter is only seventeen years old! Indeed, that is the prime of life for a good piece of gear.

  4. Paul

    As a regular RNZ National listener (I’m in New Zealand), the current Sunday evening lineup is a very poor substitute for ‘Sounds Historical’ with Jim Sullivan which occupied the time slot up until the end of last year

    I suspect that recent change with RNZ International has more to do with a shortage of funding (it’s been frozen by the excuse for a government we have since 2008) than their claim the analogue transmitter is getting too old. At 17 years old I would have thought that it would still have a lot of life left in it. After all, they are well versed in coaxing old transmitters to air, the former 7.5 KW shortwave transmitters were in use from 1948 to 1990.


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