Monthly Archives: April 2020

FCC comment period on RF exposure limits

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans, who writes:

Readers will recall that the FCC formulated new RF Exposure rules in November 2019. They were released for the Federal Register in early December. There was to be a comment period of 30 days followed by a 30 day reply from the FCC.

Nothing was published until April 1, 2020, when the Federal Register published a FINAL rule on *part* of the original proposals. There was no comment period!

On April 6, 2020 the Federal Register published the rest of the document, but this time with “Comments are due on or before May 6, 2020, and reply comments are due on or before May 21, 2020.”

This too was incorrect and was changed to “Comments are due on or before May 15, 2020, and reply comments are due on or before June 15, 2020.”

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/04/15/2020-07866/human-exposure-to-radiofrequency-electromagnetic-fields-correction

Somebody clearly forgot how to count. Most importantly, these documents should be examined in detail. They should be checked for discrepancies and ‘failures in method’ of their new methods of measurement, testing and realisation. They ignore all the other existing worldwide standards, stating that they need a simpler set of standards in the USA. In the process a clear set of standards (int’l and EU) are muddied and require an entire new suite of tools in order to legally produce RF!

Don’t assume the ARRL will deal with things and that ‘they will be alright’. Time is running out to comment.

Thank you for the heads-up, Paul!

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FTIOM & UBMP, May 3-9

From the Isle of Music, May 3-9:
This week we present part one of El Infierno según Virulo, a “Songo Opera” recorded in 1982. We will also listen to very tasty Cuban funk and soul, including a brief visit from Cimafunk, who will share a new single with us.
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)
If you don’t have a shortwave radio or are out of range, you can listen live to an uplink from a listening radio in the Netherlands during the broadcast at
http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/?tune=9400am
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0000-0100 on WBCQ, 7490 KHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EST in the US).
If you don’t have a shortwave or are out of range, you can listen to a live stream from the WBCQ website here (choose 7490): http://www.wbcq.com/?page_id=7
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany.
If you don’t have a shortwave radio or are out of range, you can listen live to uplinks from various websdrs in Europe.
Visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fromtheisleofmusic

Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, May 3 and 5:
Episode 163 takes us to Thailand for Thai classical, folk and psychedelic music.
features items from our listeners.
The transmissions take place:
1.Sundays 2200-2300 (6:00PM -7:00PM Eastern US) on WBCQ The Planet 7490 KHz from the US to the Americas and parts of Europe
If you don’t have a shortwave or are out of range, you can listen to a live stream from the WBCQ website here (choose 7490): http://www.wbcq.com/?page_id=7
2. Tuesdays 2000-2100 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany for Europe.
If you don’t have a shortwave radio or are out of range, you can listen live to an uplink from different web SDRs in Europe
including a live uplink from a listening radio in the Netherlands at http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/?tune=6070am
Visit our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/UncleBillsMeltingPot

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KJJR DX Test on Saturday (May 2, 2002)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who shares the following announcement:

KJJR 880 Whitefish, MT(Kalispell) will test for 1 hour at 10kw non directional Saturday May 2nd 12:01am to 1am mountain time. It will consist of morse code, sweep tones, along with various telephone sound effects

There will be no paper QSL’s issued for this test. Only emailed confirmation. Send an email to walkerbroadcasting@gmail.com with “KJJR 880 DX Test” in the email (You MUST put that in that subject line so I don’t accidentally delete it thinking it’s spam!). The reply will likely be a simple email reply with details of the station and confirming the details of what/when you heard it. You WILL get a reply from me in due course, please give me some time!

This is done on short notice and being kept simple as to not burden anyone involved. Thanks to Les Rayburn for creating the test material and Todd Clark for generously offering up the station. I’ve already seen communication between him and the station, asking them to block out an hour from the logs, so he can tinker around with things at the tower site.

Thanks for the heads-up, Paul! Here’s hoping a few MW DXers can log this test.

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When Dagwood decided to become a radio repair technician

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow, who shares a link to this 1947 “Blondie & Dagwood” episode #21. Dave notes that the part of the episode with a radio slant starts at approx. 24:22:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Thanks, Dave! I’m not sure I’ve ever watched an episode of Blondie and Dagwood, although I’ve certainly read hundreds of the comic strips and listened to many episodes of the OTR shows.

In fact, if you’d like to listen to some of the Blondie and Dagwood radio shows, the Internet Archive has a collection of 42 episodes that you can stream or download.

I’ve embedded the Internet Archive Playlist below for your convenience:

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The story of a 1970s CB Radio QSL card print house

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ulis (K3LU), who shares the following story of a popular CB Radio QSL Card design and print house:

73s and 88s :: The Ballad of Runnin Bare and Lil White Dove

We set a custom screensaver on Our AppleTV. Told it to pull images from Flickr tagged with “British Columbia.” After my wife and kids and I spent a few weeks in Vancouver and in various places on Vancouver Island, it had become one of our favorite places. We missed it.

And so, at night, after a show or movie ended and the AppleTV sat idle for a few minutes, a slideshow would automatically begin. The Parliamentary Buildings in Victoria, the Inner Harbor, the wild, rocky, tidepool-rich shores of Tofino, the murals of Chemainus.

Then, every once in a while, an illustration of some sort. I couldn’t tell what. A one-panel comic? Some kind of advertisement or flyer? It would be gone from the screen before I could really get a good look. Weeks would go by and I wouldn’t see it until, once again, there it was. It looked old, like something from the 60s or 70s. And it had numbers on it, like a code or a message: 73s and 88s.

It was the numbers that got me. Like the park rangers in The Shining calling for Wendy Torrance on the radio: “This is KDK-1 calling KDK-12. KDK-1 calling KDK-12. Are you receiving me?” They seemed to be saying something. But what? I had to find out. So, I took to Google, and began my search.[…]

Click here to continue reading the full article.

FYI: Although the CB Radio landscape is quite different than it was in the 70s, most modern shortwave radio receivers can tune to CB channels. Here’s a quick tutorial from our archives.

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Special Radio Event: WBCQ’s Big Broadcast of 2020


Radio has been a beacon of hope and a way to spread good feelings in bad times for over a century. In that spirit, WBCQ The Planet, courtesy of Allan and Angela Weiner, will present WBCQ’s Big Broadcast of 2020 as a special simulcast on 5130 and 7490 kHz on Tuesday, May 5 from 2100-2200 UTC (5pm-6pm EDT in the US). This collaborative broadcast will feature the presenters and music of some of WBCQ’s most innovative music offerings including an introduction from Area 51 and a taste of Marion’s Attic, Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, From the Isle of Music, beHAVior Night and the Lost Discs Radio Show. This is a chance to escape that COVID-19 gloom for an hour and maybe discover a new favorite program in the bargain.

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The Tecsun PL-330: Some details about this compact shortwave portable in development

Source: tecsun.com.cn

Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post readers who shared a link to this website (in Chinese) with photos and details of the new Tecsun PL-330. Note: The server hosting the PL-330 page has been unreliable the past few days.

Some of you might recall the PL-330 in photos of the new Tecsun product line we posted last year. Recently, a handful of preliminary working prototypes have been produced,  so I reached out to my trusted Tecsun contact for more information. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Position in Tecsun product line

In terms of the Tecsun product line, the PL-330 appears to be the successor to the venerable Tecsun PL-310ET and/or PL-380.

The PL-330 will have features these legacy Tecsun models do not have, namely:

  • synchronous detection,
  • single-sideband reception,
  • and an upgraded ETM (auto tune and store) feature.

It also appears the SSB tuning steps could be as fine as 10 Hz. Most impressive, if true.

Size

Size comparison: PL-330 (left), PL-990 (middle), H-501 (right)

I refer to radios in this size class as “ultra-compact.”

The PL-330 measures 139 × 85 × 26 millimeters (5.5 x 3.3 x 1 inches). Its form factor is very similar to the PL-310ET, but much thinner in profile. The total depth of the radio is only 26 mm.

I love the idea of an even thinner profile, although this certainly limits the type of internal battery that can be used.

Battery

The PL-330 is powered by a single BL-5C lithium battery.

In my world, this is a bit of a negative, but I’m sure the BL-5C was one of the only viable battery options for a radio that’s only 26mm thick.

On the plus side, the BL-5C is widely available, affordable, and can be charged internally.

On the negative side?

Well, I find that the overall capacity doesn’t match that of, say, three AA batteries. Also, I find that the battery’s longevity (meaning, how many charge cycles it can handle) is not that impressive–arguably worse than any other rechargeable battery system I’ve used.

Another reason I prefer AA batteries in compact portables is I know no matter where I travel, I can easily purchase them at almost any retailer, airport, or even hotel, in a pinch. In the past, when I’ve traveled with radios that use the BL-5C, I simply carried a fully-charged spare in a poly zip-lock bag (to protect the battery contacts from inadvertently shorting.

In addition, when I fly, I like to carry as few Lithium batteries as possible.

Perhaps, however, I can find a very high quality BL-5C to use in the PL-330? I would appreciate any leads from readers.

Performance

Since the preliminary prototypes were more or less mechanical prototypes and lacked most of the features planned for this model, there are no performance reports as of yet. In fact, I would be skeptical of any reports you might read in advance of the final production model.

Availability

Like the PL-990 and H-501, there are no reliable estimates for availability or shipping yet. The Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down this process. Most likely, the PL-330 will be released after the PL-990 and H-501, but that isn’t even certain.

Stay tuned!

The PL-330 will have a number of other features and specs, but these are early days and I prefer sticking with what we do know now. As soon as I learn more, I’ll post updates–bookmark the tag PL-330.

Note this reddit thread with an English translation of the Chinese page I mentioned at the beginning of this article (thanks, Tom Daly). It mentions more details, but again, it’s such early days I prefer to stick with what has been confirmed. As with any product in development, a number of changes could occur before the first production run.

Of course, I will review and evaluate the export version of the PL-330 when as soon as it’s available. Stay tuned!


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