Monthly Archives: August 2020

Any advice on compact Lipo batteries, in-ear earphones with volume control, and portable amplified speakers?

The MTR-3B 3 band transceiver is about the size of a pack of playing cards.

SWLing Post readers: I originally published the following post on QRPer.com. I thought I might share it here on the SWLing Post as well since we’ve so many readers who regularly use compact battery packs, earphones, and portable speakers. I’m looking for some advice as I build a super-compact SOTA/POTA field kit around the Mountain Topper MTR-3B. If interested in helping me sort this out, read on:


I received my Mountain Topper MTR-3B last week, and I’ve already taken it on a POTA activation.

POTA Park Hampton Creek Cove

Last weekend, I decided to break it in on a POTA “two-fer” site: Hampton Creek Cove State Natural Area (K-6246) and The Overmountain Victory Trail (K-4577) in Tennessee. Hampton Creek Cove was actually an ATNO (all time new one) so it was a trial by fire!

POTA Park Overmountain Victory Trail

In short, the MTR-3B was marvelous. I’m so impressed.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m building a full SOTA/POTA activation kit for the MTR-3B. I already have a kit built around my KX2 and I don’t want to “borrow” any items from it (so I’m not surprised later in the field when an item is missing).

The TalentCell Rechargeable 12V 3000mAh Lithium Ion Battery Pack is the little black box.

For this activation, I powered the MTR-3B with this inexpensive 12V battery pack a friend recommended on Amazon.com (affiliate link). The battery pack is almost identical in size to the MTR-3B and works perfectly. The battery, charger and cable all set me back a whopping $25.

I also used my Whiterook paddle (which needs new paddle arms at this point) but that will soon be replaced with a set of N0SA portable paddles I recently ordered.

Since the MTR-3B has no volume control, I used a pair of 20 year old Sennheiser earphones I bought when I lived in Munich. These have been in a drawer for ages because I now prefer using in-ear earphones with silicon earpieces for better comfort and sound isolation. But the Sennheisers have one thing none of my other earphones sport: in-line volume control.

While the earphones worked well for this activation, I’d still prefer a set of in-ear earphones with in-line volume control. Any suggestions from MTR-3B owners? Also, I’d like a compact amplified speaker with volume control to carry as an option when needed. If you can recommend one, please comment!

I’m writing an article for The Spectrum Monitor magazine about portable power later this year. I noticed that a number of MTR-3B owners swear by 11V rechargeable Lipo cells that are used in the RC and drone markets. Many have a similar compact form-factor as the common 9V battery. I understand, however, some of these cells need special chargers and equipment to balance them.

I would appreciate any and all information about these batteries.

In the meantime, Rich (N8TGQ), recently shared a pic of his Mountain Topper portable pack. Check it out:

MTR Kit

I think it’s brilliant how he’s mounted everything on a compact plastic cutting board inside the case. Rich says that what he loves about this set-up is that everything is there, ready to go–simply plug in the antenna!

Please comment or contact me if you have any suggestions as I build out a compact MTR-3B kit!

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WBCQ purchases World Harvest Radio (WHRI)

WBCQ’s Ampegon antenna at the Monticello transmitting site.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Benjamin, who shares the following news tip via Radio Insight:

Family Broadcasting Corporation is selling shortwave Christian “World Harvest Radio” WHRI Furman SC to Allan Weiner for $1.25 million. Weiner also owns shortwave Talk “The Planet” WBCQ Monticello ME as well as Talk/Rock 780 WXME/98.3 W252DW and Classic Country “Kixx 94.7” WBCQ-FM Monticello. The seller owns multiple Christian television stations as well as Christian AC “Pulse-FM” 103.1 WHME South Bend IN, 96.9 WHPZ Bremen IN, and 92.1 WHPD Dowagiac MI.

Click here to read this item at Radio Insight.

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Elecraft KX2 3D model tour with Wayne Burdick (N6KR)

Wayne Burdick (N6KR) was one of the QSO Today Expo presenters this year and he took his audience on a very deep dive into the design philosophy behind the Elecraft KX2 (click here to read our KX2 review). The presentation is absolutely fascinating!  If you want geek-out on radio design, I highly recommend you take a look:

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Val’s Morse Code videos and practice sessions

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Valery Titievsky, who writes:

Perhaps it will be interesting to SWLing Post subscribers. A short video for those wishing to improve their skills in Morse code. Poem by George Byron “Prometheus».

The channel also has lessons in studying Morse code and a few videos with my SWL on shortwaves of various radio broadcasting, weather and other service and number stations.

73! Best Regards

Valery Titievsky (R9O-16) SWL

Click here to check out Val’s YouTube channel.

When I practice my CW skills, I do like listening to real content like this instead of randomly-generated characters. One reason is you start to recognize the sound of common words (like “the” “an” “and” “is” etc).

Thank you for sharing this, Val!

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Don recommends “Ham&HiFi” for late-model and vintage radio gear

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Don, who sent a message recently recommending Ham&HiFi as a source of late-model and vintage radio gear. Don writes:

They buy amateur radio, audio, vacuum tube collections from around the US.
They ship worldwide and have lots of inventory!

They are a good source for both vintage, newer equipment and accessories. They’re always looking for good quality items to buy.

Click here to check out Ham&HiFi’s website and click here to view their items on eBay.

Thank you, Don. I’m often asked where people can sell radio gear when they don’t want deal with it on eBay or at a hamfest directly. This could be a nice option!

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TX Factor Episode 26

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Eric (WD8RIF), who notes that the 26th episode of TX Factor was recently released. Here’s the show summary:

A post-lockdown special – well, not really! Just a bumper edition of TX Factor that was planned for March 2020, but due to the Covid-19 restrictions never quite happened! We hope you are all safe and well and enjoying the summer opportunities for amateur radio despite the various restrictions upon us.

Back in February we dropped in for tea and biscuits at the new(ish) QTH of Tim Kirby GW4VXE to learn more about his passion for all things VHF / UHF. Also in February, Bob and Mike fitted a Radio Analog PTRX-7300 RF interface module into Bob’s beloved IC-7300, and, yes, can it be possibly true . . . bang up-to-date, Bob reviews one of the first Icom IC-705 SDR QRP all-mode transceivers in the country. We hope you enjoy the show!

Click here to view on YouTube or on the TX Factor website.

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Giuseppe’s cross-loop experiments

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW), who shares the following:

I’m Giuseppe Morlè from Formia, central Italy, on the Tyrrhenian Sea.

I wanted to share with you and friends of the SWLing Post community this antenna project of mine dedicated to those who do not have enough space on the roof or in the garden to install antennas.

These are two separate loops, with two different diameters, one 60 cm, the other 90 cm, each with two variables for tuning … the system is able to receive from 3 to 30 MHz.

I joined these two loops in an opposing way, better to say crossed that can communicate with each other due to the induction effect that is created between the two small coupling loops that are placed one under the other at the top.

In the videos you will be able to see how the antenna system receives. I can use one loop at a time, to detect the direction of the signal or I can use them together for a more robust signal and in an omnidirectional way.

I really like experimenting with the induction effect and you can see that even when closed at home the two loops do a great job.

From my YouTube channel:

I’m not a technician but I really want to experiment to try to listen as well as possible.

Thanks to you and CIAO to all the listeners of the SWLing Post community.

Giuseppe Morlè iz0gzw.

Very cool, Giuseppe! I must say I’ve never tried dual loop experiments like this where one can experiment with the induction interplay. I imagine this could give you some interesting nulling capabilities if you have an unwanted station interfering with a target low-band signal. Thank you again for sharing!

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