Monthly Archives: May 2019

Hamvention Highlights: Affordable diversity reception with the SDRplay RSPduo

Each year at the Dayton Hamvention I enjoy checking out the latest radio products and services. This year (2019) I found an exceptional number of innovations and will share these in Hamvention Highlights posts. If you would like to check out 2019 Hamvention Highlights as I publish them, bookmark this tag: 2019 Hamvention Highlights

Diversity reception with the SDRplay RSPduo

Last year, during the 2018 Hamvention, SDRplay announced the RSPduo, a 14bit dual-tuner SDR. We posted a review of the RSPduo on the SWLing Post.

At the time, SDRplay mentioned that the RSPduo could eventually be used for diversity reception.

Diversity reception is the ability to combine or select two signals, from two (or more) antenna sources, that have been modulated with identical information-bearing signals, but which may vary in their fading/noise characteristics at any given instant.

In short, diversity reception gives one a powerful tool to mitigate fading and noise, and to improve a signal’s overall integrity.

Andy and Mike with SDRplay demonstrated SDRuno’s diversity reception functionality and noted that it will soon roll out as a free upgrade to SDRuno, SDRplay’s open SDR application.

I should note here that the SDRplay booth at the 2019 Hamvention was incredibly busy—no doubt, because the RSPduo must be one of the least expensive, most accessible, ways to experiment with diversity reception. Case in point: the new Elecraft K4D transceiver will support diversity reception, but the price is about $4,700 US; the RSPduo can be purchased for $280 US.

Based on the demonstration, this feature will be quite easy to use and I love how it has been implemented in the SDRuno GUI (graphical user interface).

To learn more about the RSPduo, check out SDRplay’s website or read our review. Of course, when SDRplay releases the diversity reception upgrade to SDRuno, we will make an announcement!

If you would like to follow other Hamvention Highlights, bookmark the tag: 2019 Hamvention Highlights

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FTIOM & UBMP, June 2-8, 2019


From the Isle of Music, June 2-8:
No interviews this week, instead we feature the music of Grupo Afrocuba, one of the best Jazz/Fusion bands in Cuba in the 1970s and 1980s
The broadcasts take place:
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 Sofia, Bulgaria (1800-1900 MSK) Station website: www.spaceline.bg
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0000-0100 UTC (New UTC) on WBCQ, 7490 KHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EST in the US).
Station website: www.wbcq.com
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany.
Station website: www.channel292.de

Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, June 2 and June 4, 2019:
Episode 115 helps return Classical music to the short waves with the demented works of PDQ Bach.
The transmissions take place:
1.Sundays 2200-2230 UTC (6:00PM -6:30PM Eastern US) on WBCQ The Planet 7490 KHz from the US to the Americas and parts of Europe
2. Tuesdays 2000-2030 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany for Europe.

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Hamvention Highlights: The Ten-Tec Model 588+ OMNI VII+

Each year at the Dayton Hamvention I enjoy checking out the latest radio products and services. This year (2019) I found an exceptional number of innovations and will share these in Hamvention Highlights posts. If you would like to check out 2019 Hamvention Highlights as I publish them, bookmark this tag: 2019 Hamvention Highlights

The Ten-Tec OMNI VII+

The Ten-Tec OMNI VII+

The Ten-Tec booth had more activity this year than I’ve seen in many years. The company is certainly showing signs of entering proper production again and innovating.

According to the T-T representative I spoke with at Hamvention, the company’s focus is on improving/upgrading many of their legacy products like the Eagle, Argonaut, 100 Watt Amplifier,  and the OMNI VII. Iterative improvements will eventually be made to the full product line. Upgraded gear will have an added “plus” to the model name.

Ten-Tec’s featured model at Hamvention was the OMNI VII+—their flagship transceiver.

According to the Ten-Tec website, pricing starts at $2,699 US ($3,078 US configured with an internal ATU) and there are a number of units in stock, ready to ship.

The new OMNI VII+ Features (via the Ten-Tec website):

  • NEW! the 588+ has an All aluminum front face, side feet and side carry handle.
  • NEW! dedicated rear panel pan adapter output jack
  • HF 6 Transmit coverage on 6 through 160 meters, 100 watts output, even on 6. General coverage receives from 500 kHz to 30 MHz continuous plus 48 to 54 MHz. SSB, CW, AM, FM, Digital modes. Dual VFOs with SPLIT and REVERSE functions.
  • Full function Color Screen STN transmissive color LCD display with CFL backlight, 320 240 pixels.
  • Legendary QSK CW includes adjustable rise and decay times. User adjustable at the touch of a knob for hard or soft keying according to your taste. Built-in keyer can be used in Curtis A or B modes, adjustable 5 63 WPM.
  • 17 selectable transmit bandwidths from 1000 4000 Hz. DSP generated to give your SSB audio a well-rounded sound tailored to your voice characteristics. A low-frequency roll off provides further control.
  • RX EQ and TX EQ in 6 dB octave filters selectable in 1 dB steps from high pitched at minus 20 dB to essentially flat response at 0 dB to bassy at plus 20 dB.
  • DSP Noise Reduction, automatic notch, and manual notch reduces interference from undesired carriers and random noise. Manual notch range 20 4000 Hz center, 10 300 Hz width, gt 50 dB rejection.
  • Band Sweep gives you a snapshot of the entire band in seconds. Find the pileups or scout for a clear spot automatically without touching the tuning knob.
  • Broad range Auto Tuner identical tuner as used in the ORION II, matches most antennas up to 10 1 SWR HF only. 100 Tune Memories. Order your OMNI VII with or without this option.
  • Three antenna connectors Two SO 239 transceiver outputs, plus a third SO 239 connector for auxiliary receive only antenna. Antenna switching is front panel selectable.
  • Updates by Flash ROM Serial port interface for local rig control via PC and for Flash ROM updates available via the Internet. Commands are a superset of those used for the Jupiter. To obtain the very latest version of the OMNI VII, visit our firmware download the software below. Connect the radio to a serial port on your PC and you are up to date in a flash. Easy!
  • Quad band-stacking registers and 100 memories
  • Optional Model 302R remote encoder keypad works with the OMNI VII. Plug it in and control selected features sitting back in your easy chair.
  • Aluminum chassis construction and steel outer case makes the rig an easy traveler at only 5 inches H x 12 inches W x 14.75 inches D. Weighs just 14 pounds
  • 8 pin mic connector
  • 70 MHz IF up conversion
  • 455 kHz 2nd IF with Collins Mechanical filters

One of the unique features of the OMNI VII+ is that it sports Collins mechanical filters—likely the only modern transceiver that can make this claim.

I’m happy to see that Ten-Tec is innovating and manufacturing again. Certainly a highlight from the 2019 Hamvention!

If you would like to follow other Hamvention Highlights, bookmark the tag: 2019 Hamvention Highlights

Click here to check out the Ten-Tec website.


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Hamvention Highlights: The Palstar TR-30A EMP, an EMP-hardened HF transceiver

Each year at the Dayton Hamvention I enjoy checking out the latest radio products and services. This year (2019) I found an exceptional number of innovations and will share these in Hamvention Highlights posts. If you would like to check out 2019 Hamvention Highlights as I publish them, bookmark this tag: 2019 Hamvention Highlights

And now for our first highlight…

The Palstar TR-30A EMP

I’ve long been a fan of Palstar, a US company known for their fine antenna tuners and the classic R30 series HF receiver.

At the 2013 Dayton Hamvention, Palstar showcased a prototype HF transceiver called the TR-30. I posted a note about this at the time on my ham radio blog, QRPer.com. The TR-30 never seemed to make it to the market, but that’s not surprising considering the Elecraft KX3 and a number of other QRP transceivers were released the following year.

This year when I approached the Palstar booth, I found a new prototype transceiver: the Palstar TR-30A EMP.

This TR-30 iteration will, without a doubt, have a unique place in the radio market since it has been designed to withstand electromagnetic pulses (EMPs). To be clear, I know of no other transceivers on the ham radio market that are EMP hardened.

Post readers might recall a primer we published about how to protect your gear from EMP pulses (click here to read).  I believe taking some simple precautions to protect gear from natural or man-made EMPs is simply a sound practice. In fact, I keep one complete rig stored in an EMP-proof container as described in our primer.

The Palstar TR-30A EMP requires no external EMP shielding or special handling/storage. It will be natively EMP-proof, even while hooked up to an antenna and without an RF ground attached.

I spoke with Paul Hrivnak (N8PH), President and CEO of Palstar, at Hamvention and he shared a few details about the Palstar TR-30A EMP:

  • The transceiver will be general coverage and will be able to operate on all of the HF ham radio bands.
  • It will have a very simple set of functions–at this point, he doesn’t even plan to have dual VFOs.
  • The output power will be 20 watts.
  • The front panel controls will be very simple and intuitive.

The TR-30A EMP’s unique internal antenna tuner will–if I understand it correctly–be able to match pretty much any load.  It will have manual controls, but will be digitally controlled. Paul said that the ATU is being designed so that a satisfactory match can be found for any make-shift field antenna. I can’t wait to check it out for myself because I hold Palstar in high regard when it comes to antenna tuners.

Of course, from the ground up, the TR-30A EMP will be hardened against EMPs.

He hopes the Palstar TR-30A EMP will be in production by the end of 2019 and retail for $1,100 – 1,200 US.

Of course, I will post any news and updates about the Palstar TR-30A EMP here on the SWLing Post. I will also plan to review and evaluate the transceiver when it hits the market.

If you would like to follow product updates, please bookmark the tag: Palstar TR-30A EMP

If you would like to follow other Hamvention Highlights, bookmark the tag: 2019 Hamvention Highlights

Click here to check out Palstar’s website.


Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

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