Monthly Archives: October 2017

From the Isle of Music & Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, Nov 5-11

Our B-17 schedule begins this week:

From the Isle of Music, November 5-11
If you were with us last week for Ruy López-Nussa, we mentioned the superb Estado de Animo project. This week, we listen to some of that along with some subsequent solo projects by Ruy and former members Elmer Ferrer, Roberto Carcassés and Descemer Bueno.
Four opportunities to listen on shortwave:
1. For Eastern Europe but audible well beyond the target area in most of the Eastern Hemisphere (including parts of East Asia and Oceania) with 100Kw, Sunday 1500-1600 UTC on SpaceLine, 9400 KHz, from Kostinbrod, Bulgaria (1800-1900 MSK)
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0100-0200 UTC on WBCQ, 7490 KHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EDT in the US) (NOTE THAT UTC CHANGES BUT EASTERN US TIME IS STILL THE SAME)>
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany.

Episode 35 of Uncle BIll’s Melting Pot will feature a nice mix of Mexican and Mexican-American music including some tasty Norteño, Latin Rock and Latin Funk.
Sunday, November 5 at 2300-2330 UTC (NOTE THAT UTC CHANGES BUT EASTERN US TIME IS STILL THE SAME, 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT US) on WBCQ 7490 Khz, for the Americas and parts of Europe.

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Video: Watch students at KSDB perform a numbers station radio drama

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, James Copeland, who writes:

I have enjoyed reading the SWLing Post for years and appreciate all your hard work. I wanted to share something with you that might interest the readers.

A few months ago, I was inspired to start writing a radio drama about a number station after reading an article on the SWLing Post about someone working at a number station.

I am the program director for the student-run radio station at Kansas State University, and we performed this drama live last Tuesday on our radio station.

The plot follows a worker at the station who has to decide what to do when she learns that the numbers she reads end up killing people and could start a nuclear war.

There are also a lot of short recordings from various active and inactive stations, including one of my recordings of HM01 at the end of the show.

We at KSDB love producing radio dramas and make them just like the golden days of radio with as many live sound effects as possible.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Many thanks for sharing this, James! I love it!

I listened to the audio as I hiked this afternoon–I actually prefer “theatre of the mind” without visuals with the first listen. Now I’ll watch the studio video and enjoy the reading, sound effects and direction!

James, you’re welcome to share your radio dramas here anytime! Bravo for putting together such a cool little radio drama. I love the off air numbers station recordings and clips!

Post readers: If you’d like to learn more about KSDB-FM or to stream their programming, check out their website and TuneIn stream.

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Shortwave Archives, Spectrum Archives and the Radio Preservation Task Force meeting

This week, I’m looking forward to participating in the three day Radio Preservation Task Force meeting in Washington, DC.

The Radio Preservation Task Force (RPTF), a project of the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, will be held on November 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, 2017 at the Library of Congress, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the University of Maryland.

I’ve been invited to serve on the RPTF Material & Digital Curation panel where I’ll have an opportunity to talk about our work with the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive and a new project I’ve been working on: the Radio Spectrum Archive.

The Radio Spectrum Archive

For several years, I’ve been championing the concept of archiving radio spectrum recordings.

As many of you know, through the use of software defined radios (SDRs), we can record not just one individual broadcast from one radio station at a time, but we can record an entire broadcast band, all at once. Each recording can easily contain dozens of stations broadcasting simultaneously. Later, via an SDR app, recordings can be tuned and listened to as if they were live. We believe spectrum recordings will be valuable material for the future historian, anthropologist, enthusiast, etc.

Screen shot of the RSA homepage.

I’ve published a new website for the Radio Spectrum Archive and I encourage you to check it out as it outlines our mission, goals and challenges. I also include a video demonstration using a spectrum recording from 1986 (originally recorded on a HiFi VCR!).

Note that the website is a work in progress, there are still sections to add including bios of our spectrum archive team.

Click here to check out the Radio Spectrum Archive website.

Though I didn’t mention this in my Patreon campaign post earlier this week, the Radio Spectrum Archive is yet another important radio project you are supporting with your pledge. This week, for example, extra funds help me with travel expenses associated with the RPTF conference (many thanks to a kind friend who is hosting me at his home for four nights, saving me several hundred dollars!).

If you have the means and would like to support the SWLing Post, the Shortwave Radio Index, the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive, and the Radio Spectrum Archive please use the link/button below to become a Patron. If you’d like more details or support options, check out this recent post.

Become a Patron!

And to all of you who have supported us through Patreon and with one time gifts: thank you, thank you, thank you!

If you’re not in a position to become a patron or coffee fund supporter, no worries! Just enjoy our radio sites and resources!

One more note: Due to travels and a heavy workload over the next couple of weeks, please allow extra time for replies to correspondence and comments. Thank you so much!

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RadioShack store re-opens: offers ham radio classes, Maker’s Space and educational outreach

Many corporate RadioShack stores, like the one above in North Carolina, closed after headquarters filed for bankruptcy.

I love it! Yet another story of a RadioShack store finding opportunity and serving their community in the wake of bankruptcy.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, for sharing this article from The Citizen Tribune:

It is not often that you see a company go out of business and quickly reopen in the same location, but that is exactly what Jeff Pederson and Trevor “Reed” Freers have done with the Jefferson City RadioShack.

Freers was the manager of the original store for six years before RadioShack went bankrupt and closed all of its stores nationwide.

“I saw a lot of people lose their jobs,” Freers said. “As the marketing manager, I was the one who had to let a lot of those people go. It was really sad.”

Freers’s store was one of the last to close as they continued to do well under his high level of customer service, which often including going to customers’ homes to make sure they were satisfied with their purchases and helping customers set up or troubleshoot new devices.

“Running this store, I really grew to love the community,” Freers, who is originally from Kansas City, Missouri, said.

When Pederson contacted him about managing a privately owned RadioShack in the same location, Freers was excited at the chance to get back to doing what he loves.

[…]The newest addition to the store, unique to the Jefferson City location, is the area Freers named the “Makers’ Space.”

This open area of the store will be home to the many classes the store now offers, such as soldering classes, drone classes and monthly training sessions on how to set up and use a cell phone.

Freers has already partnered with a local gym which has requested a monthly class teaching older participants how to set up their Facebook profiles, as well at the Lakeway Amateur Radio Club to offer HAM Radio classes.

Schools and other learning programs are welcomed to use the area for classes, and Freers will also make himself available to travel to schools to teach those classes.[…]

Click here to read the full article at The Citizen Tribune.

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Tecsun PL-300 series modification: disabling soft mute

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, who shares the following tip. Troy writes:

While surfing the Net I found the following procedure that is said to “disable soft muting in Tecsun 300-series radios”.

I have a PL-390 and this has indeed seemed to work on it but I didn’t notice a difference with my PL-365.

Since I just found & tried this, I don’t know if this procedure must be repeated each time you use the radio? Maybe [Post readers] have heard of this before and/or have experience with it?

Here is the “reported” [supposed?] procedure that worked for the PL-390:

To disabling “Soft Mute” on Tecsun 300-series radios:

1. Select a shortwave frequency, preferably where there is no stations transmitting.
2. Tune down the frequency range with the dial, don’t tune up or it won’t work
3. Press the VF Scan button to let it automatically tune down
4. Tune down with the dial to stop the automatic scan. If the background noise is higher, then the “soft mute” / “dynamic squelch” has been disabled.

Thank you, Troy! I was unaware of this modification, but it seems easy enough to implement.

Post readers: Anyone have experience using this mod across the Tecsun 300-series receivers? Please comment!

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Patreon: A new way you can support the SWLing Post


Dear SWLing Post readers:

As the SWLing Post has grown to a community of over 7,000 daily readers, so to have costs and time. I’m reaching out today in a campaign to ask for your support to insure this site’s future.

In short: If you have the means and would like to support the SWLing Post each month, I would love to welcome you as a Patron or Producer on Patreon!
Become a Patron!

Why support the SWLing Post?

The SWLing Post is a labor of love, powered out of my energetic passion for radio and the radio community that we’ve established.

When I first launched the SWLing Post almost ten years ago, I would never have guessed that it would draw the huge readership it now has. At the time, I was simply putting a blog out there with links and articles I personally found to be of interest.

I’m incredibly proud of what the SWLing Post has become, and how the site has grown over the years––thanks to you, readers!  We routinely have anywhere from 5,000-7,000 daily readers on our site, and 1,200 subscribers to our email digest. I’ve made so many terrific friends through this site that I can scarcely count them all. Moreover, it has turned what is often a solitary hobby into a global community for many of us.

But with a growing site, expenses grow, too. Sponsorships and coffee fund contributions certainly help; we’re really grateful for those. Still, these don’t cover all the costs.

That’s where Patreon comes in. Establishing a reliable monthly income––however modest––through Patreon will help assure that the SWLing Post stays active and current well into the future. 

Your contribution will help:

  • Keep the SWLing Post online and secure: hosting, daily backup, malware protection, and professional support
  • Cover the cost of review radios and review equipment
  • Offset travel costs to events, conferences, and meetups
  • Support new site features
  • Pay for professional editing and content
  • Insure the overall longevity of the SWLing Post

Patreon Support levels

If you would like to support the SWLing Post, the most direct way is to become a producer through a monthly contribution program like Patreon’s.


You can become an SWLing Post Patron for as little as $2 per month–less than a cup of coffee! We’ll add your name (in the order received) to our Patron’s page.
Become a Patron!


Of course, you can contribute any amount per month….But at $10+ per month, you’ll receive in thanks, three times each year, a Radio Postcard that’s worthy of framing. Each large color Postcard will feature a stunning classic radio dial. 

Our first Radio Postcard will be issued December 1, 2017, so you should receive it by the first or second week of December depending on where you live.

Looking for a radio-inspired gift for a friend or family member? Producer status can also be gifted.
Become a Patron!

Executive Producers

If you contribute $20 or more per month, you’ll get all of the benefits of being a Patron, including the Radio Postcard and Producer plus we’ll link to your personal or business website on our patron’s page. Executive producers can be individuals or businesses, and will be listed at the top of the page.

Looking for a radio-inspired gift for a friend or family member? Executive Producer status can also be gifted.
Become a Patron!

Other ways to support the SWLing Post

Coffee Fund

Of course, you can always simply drop the occasional contribution in our Coffee Fund through PayPal. Thanks!

Note: Even though these funds go to supporting the site, we really do purchase coffee with these contributions, too!  “Coffee fuels the Post!”

Recurring PayPal contributions

If you’d rather not give through Patreon, you can set up a monthly recurring payment through PayPal…and receive the exact same recognition and benefits as above.

Coffee Fund Options

Help us find sponsors

Want to help market the SWLing Post? Ask your favorite retailer to contact us to set up a sponsorship ad! We prefer radio-relevant companies, but it never hurts to ask.

Amazon purchases

At no cost to you, if you make purchases through our affiliate link––even if not items to which we link directly––the Post will receive a tiny percentage of your total purchase as a commission.

Click here to search with our affiliate ID and support the SWLing Post.

You can use this link to help support the SWLing Post through Amazon for any purchase(s) you make.

Spread the word!

We’re always looking for new radio enthusiasts to join the community. The more, the merrier! Please use our social media links at the bottom of our page. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Consider writing a Guest Post or Guest Review!

If you enjoy sharing your knowledge of the radio world, consider submitting a Guest Post or Guest Review which, if suitable for publication, will add to the knowledge base here on the SWLing Post!

Check out some of the 100+ Guest Posts in our archive.

…Or Just enjoy the content

If you’re not in a financial position to directly support the SWLing Post, we understand, friend. Seriously. We’re just glad you’re here and enjoy the site.

This is indeed a labor of love and we’ll always keep our content free to you and all our readers, and avoid obtrusive flashy ads as well.

Thank you!

If you’ve made it this far down the page, thanks for reading and understanding why I must sometimes make these calls for support.

I really love what I do here at the SWLing Post, and although I recognize the work I do here takes a great deal of my time––often competing with the income-producing work I do to keep afloat––the truth is that I still feel a bit uncomfortable asking for financial support to do it.

But I recognize it must be done; the future of the Post depends upon it.

So…thank you, friend, for your understanding and your support, in any form.

Because it’s you that powers the SWLing Post!

Become a Patron!

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Outernet Dreamcatcher board on sale



The Outernet Dreamcatcher has recently gone on sale and is now only $39 USD. Previously it was priced at $79 and $59 USD. The Dreamcatcher is an RTL-SDR and computing board all built onto the same PCB. It has two SMA inputs – one is an L-band filtered and amplified input and the other is a standard wideband port good for all frequencies covered by a standard R820T2 RTL-SDR. For $39 it appears that you get the board itself, and a WiFi dongle, but no antennas, cables or SD cards are supplied with the unit.[…]

Read the full post at

Many thanks to the excellent site for posting this. I just purchased a Dreamcatcher board via this sale and the total with USPS shipping came to $45.05 US.

Anyone interested in this deal, however, should be aware that it is for the board only. Indeed, Outernet offers these warnings:

Although some assistance can be found on our forums, Outernet provides no direct support for this product. If you are not a tinkerer, hobbyist, or hardware hacker, you may be disappointed with your purchase.

[…]Although we do replace or repair defective units, we are unable to provide refunds for any reason.

[…]Although this product can be used to receive the Outernet broadcast data channel, the availability of the broadcast is in no way guaranteed.

If you purchase a Dreamcatcher board, in other words, purchase it because you’re fascinated with the hardware and other possible uses.

Ultimately, Outernet plans to produce an all-in-one, solar-powered receiving station called the Lantern–I was an early backer, but I haven’t seen an update about the project in months. I do wonder what Outernet’s future looks like at this point.

The folks at Outernet follow the SWLing Post–perhaps one of their representatives can comment with an update?

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