Monthly Archives: August 2017

WWII Radio: Truman and the Scott Radio Labs RBO-2

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kim Elliott, who recently shared the photo above of President Harry S. Truman via @RealTimeWWII.

If I’m not mistaken, that is a Scott Radio Labs Model RBO-2.

I’m guessing that’s also the speaker mounted on the wall directly above the receiver.

Scott Radio Labs marine receivers were shielded to the point that they had very low local oscillator radiation. This design prevented detection of the ship via the enemy’s use of radio direction finding gear.

I have a commercial Scott Marine Radio Model SLRM–it is my favorite receiver and I use it daily.

Post readers: Anyone else have a Scott Radio Labs receiver in their shack? Please comment!

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Leaving a comment? reCaptcha is back…for now…

Seriously…we know you’re not a Robot!

If you’ve been an SWLing Post contributor for a few years, you’ll recall that we used to use Google’s Captcha system to prevent SPAMbot comments on our site.

A few readers complained about how difficult the Captcha system was at the time (and I agreed with them), so we removed Captcha. At the same time, I implemented a stronger backend system for flagging SPAM comments. You’ve likely noticed many of your normal comments are moderated automatically–we try to approve them within a couple of hours.

Spambots are a real pain: they attempt to leave phony comments on our site in an effort to link back to their target site (some of which are loaded with malware).

How many SPAM comments do we get from Spambots and other Spammers?  Here are the statistics from our anti-SPAM system:

After we removed Captcha, the more clever SPAM comments would still make it through the various filters and fall in a moderation pile. At first, this amounted to, perhaps, a dozen or so comments to moderate each day. Lately, the number has become overwhelming–closer to 12+ per hour falling in the moderation queue among legitimate comments.

“Separating the wheat from the chaff” has become a full time job. 🙂

Until I can find a user-friendly solution to this, I’ve implemented Google’s latest system called reCaptcha. It has its quirks and presents interesting challenges, but I believe if you’ve used it on other sites and proven you’re not a robot, Google remembers and all you have to do to prove yourself is check/tick the box next to “I am not a robot.”

Anyway, I just ask for understandnig as I sort out a more simple solution to SPAM-proof our site!

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Hurricane Harvey: Mike stresses the importance of local AM radio

Earlier this week, I received a message from my good friend, Mike, who lives south of Houston in Galveston County, Texas. Mike noted:

Here in Texas, we’re still dealing with the impact of hurricane Harvey.

[…]The absolute best hurricane information came from AM 740 KTRH Houston. A 50,000 Watt AM transmitter that covers a major portion of the gulf coast.

I’m learning that the Corpus Christi AM news station was evacuated and secured operations. KTRH kicked in and served the listening public very well.

I haven’t heard from Mike in a couple of days and, since then, Harvey has caused unprecedented levels of flooding in south Texas. I hope he’s doing okay and hope to hear from him soon.

Indeed, I hope SWLing Post readers in the affected area, their friends and family have all made it to safety.

Click here to listen to KTHR via iHeart Radio’s portal.

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Video: Shortwave shootout with the Tecsun S-8800

After enjoying an afternoon testing the Tecsun S-8800 on the Blue Ridge Parkway this past weekend, I decided to return to the parkway yesterday and test the S-8800’s shortwave performance.

I carved out about two hours of my afternoon and spent the entire time comparing the S-8800 to the Tecsun PL-880 and the Sony ICF-SW7600GR. I tested the radios on several shortwave bands and in both AM and SSB modes.

On Sunday, we discovered that mediumwave performance is lacking on the S-8800. Not so on shortwave! Check out this short video:

Click here to view on YouTube.

In my comparisons, the Tecsun S-8800 has consistently outperformed the PL-880 and Sony ICF-SW7600GR on the shortwave bands. The AGC is pretty stable and sounds much like that of the PL-880 when QSB (fading) is present. Sensitivity is better than the PL-880, though, so the S-8800 can dig those signals out of the noise a little better.

Note, too, I had to pick up both the PL-880 and ‘7600GR  in my hand to obtain the best performance–that additional grounding gave each a slight boost. Quite common for portables. The S-8800 didn’t require this.

After I returned home yesterday, it struck me that perhaps a longer telescopic whip gave the S-8800 an advantage. Turns out, it’s only three inches longer than the PL-880’s whip.

Next, I need to spend a little time with the S-8800 mapping out any birdies on HF–a tedious process. I hope to start on that today.

To follow updates on this yet-to-be-released receiver, follow the tag: Tecsun S-8800.

UPDATE: Click here to read our full Tecsun S-8800 review.

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RadioShack franchises expand in wake of corporate bankruptcy

(Source: Twice.com via Tom Hacker)

RadioShack’s second bankruptcy in two years may have brought its company-owned stores to the edge of oblivion, but it has apparently sparked a renaissance among the chain’s approximately 425 independent franchisees.

As Wisconsin dealer-owner PJ Kruschel explains, inventory is beginning to flow again, and the departure of the corporate stores has ramped up customer demand and unshackled RadioShack dealers from restrictions on expansion.

Kruschel, who will grand-open the country’s first post-bankruptcy RadioShack tomorrow in Baraboo, Wis., shared his observations in an email to TWICE, which we posted below with his permission:

“I’ve owned a RadioShack dealer store for the past ten years and just opened a new store a couple weeks ago. It’s the first new RadioShack since the latest bankruptcy. There is another store opening in Utah and a couple more in Tennessee coming in the near future, but I’m the first.[…]

Continue reading at Twice.com.

Thanks for the tip, Tom!

This is encouraging news indeed and verifies what I’ve seen at the two RadioShack franchises I’ve visited since the bankruptcy. In both cases, they are serving the needs of a local community–their inventory and services have always included products and services the corporate stores weren’t allowed to offer. RadioShack franchises have always had more freedom to expand their offerings, but now it appears they can even expand their locations. Excellent news, I say.

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