Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Pete Madtone, who shares the following:
They say you better listen to the voice of reason
[…]Radio Lavalamp will be taking to the shortwaves very soon, as in this Sunday 2nd May 2021 at 2300 UTC (Midnight UK time) on 9395 kHz via WRMI. The show features some chilled tunes and also a mix from One Deck Pete called “The Purple Nucleus of Creation 004” with tracks from Floating Points, London Symphony Orchestra and Pharoah Sanders, Betelgeize ft. Ilya Chistyakov, Tranquility Bass and Hrair. Turn on and tune in.
And on the weekend after (and the one after that) KSOL is back in orbit in a “Satellite of Love” mode. It’ll be broadcast out of Germany via Channel 292 at 2200 UTC (11pm UK time) on 3955 kHz on Saturday the 8th and 15th May 2021.
And in keeping with the radio theme here’s a song about CW (Morse Code) by the great Ivor Cutler that was heard on BBC Radio 4’s Great Lives programme this afternoon.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Peter, who asks:
Two of the tabletop shortwave receivers recommended in the past are listed as discontinued by retailers. Do you have any current recommendations?
Great question, Peter. I’m guessing that you’re looking for a new tabletop communications receiver and I also assume you may be referring to the CommRadio CR-1a and the Alinco DX-R8T. Both of these have been discontinued by the manufacturer.
Fewer options than in the past
To my knowledge, there are very few dedicated, stand-alone tabletop shortwave receivers currently on the market.
The ELAD FDM-DUOr
One notable exception is the ELAD FDM-DUOr which is essentially a tabletop, stand-alone SDR. It is an excellent performer and I believe still available from ELAD for about $900 US. The FDM-DUOr is currently the best option I know of under $1,000 US.
There are still a handful of dedicated communications receivers on the market, but they tend to be wideband receivers and carry a heavier price tag than legacy HF-only receivers.
In my opinion, two innovations pushed dedicated tabletop receivers off the market:
The proliferation of high-performance, affordable software defined radios like the AirSpy HF+ Discovery and SDRplay RSPdx. Both of these models retail for less than $200 US new and offer superb performance when coupled with even a modest PC, laptop, or tablet. In addition, those seeking benchmark SDR receiver hardware and performance will invest in higher-priced models like the new ELAD FDM-S3. Click here to read Part 1 of our SDR primer.
General coverage ham radio transceivers now provide performance that’s on par or even better than legacy tabletop receivers. Many shortwave listeners now purchase transceivers and simply disable the transmit function so that they don’t accidentally inject RF power into the antenna. Transceivers lack some broadcast listener features like synchronous detection, but their single sideband performance often compensates for this, in my opinion. Some current (sub $1,000 US) favorites among SWLs include the Icom IC-7300, and the Yaesu FT-891. I’m also a huge fan of the new Icom IC-705 portable transceiver, although its price point is closer to $1,300 US. Click here to read more about general coverage transceivers.
If SDRs and general coverage transceiver lack appeal, keep in mind that there are a multitude of legacy communications receivers on the used market.
I should add here that one Ohio-based manufacturer, Palstar, has mentioned that they plan to produce the Palstar R30B tabletop shortwave receiver which would be the latest iteration of their R30 series. This announcement has been out there for some time, though, and I’m not sure when or if the R30B will ever come to fruition.
Have I missed something? Please comment if you know of other tabletop communications receivers currently on the market. Also, if you use a general coverage transceiver for SWLing, please share which make/model you like in the comments section! Click here to comment.
Today we learned that Michael Collins, the American astronaut who flew the Apollo 11 command module Columbia around the moon, has passed away at the age of 90. For those of us who’ve always looked to the sky and dreamed of exploring our amazing universe, Michael Collins was a hero.
As a little shortwave radio tribute, I thought I’d share a few recordings from the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive:
Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Tom Gavaras, for sharing the following recording and notes:
Voice of America studio quality recording of shortwave coverage of Apollo 11. Starts with newscast on the status of Soviet Luna 2 orbiter that was also sent to the moon, Egyptian-Israel conflict at the Suez Canal, Organization of American States call for a cease fire between El Salvador and Honduras, entire cabinet in South Vietnam resigns, American air attacks against the Viet Cong, etc. Followed by latest updates on Apollo 11 (lunar module is on the moon), international reaction to landing on the moon, etc.
Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Tom Laskoski, who shares the following recording and notes:
I thought this might be an appropriate file to upload considering we are about to mark the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. I recorded this program thirty years ago on July 20, 1989, the 20th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Omnibus takes a look back at the historic Apollo mission and how and why it happened. Another SWRAA program on Apollo 11 from VOA can be found at https://shortwavearchive.com/archive/voice-of-america-july-20-1979?rq=apollo
Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Tom Laskowski, who shares this recording of the Voice of America from July 20, 1979 at 0500 UTC on the 31 meter band. Tom notes:
The first 4:30 is from a VOA newscast that aired before the main part of the program. The main recording was presented on the 10th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. I enjoy listening to this every year on the landing anniversary.
“About the flight itself, the thing I remember most is the view of planet Earth … bright, beautiful, serene, and fragile.”
Radio Waves: Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio
Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers. To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Paul L, Pete Eaton, David Iurescia, and Troy Riedel for the following tips:
The PIRATE Act was signed into law more than a year ago, but the rules governing increased fines for unlicensed broadcasting are about to go into effect on April 26. The Act is intended to give the FCC additional tools for tamping down pirate radio activity in hot beds like Boston and Brooklyn, NY, but there are reasons to be skeptical.
Brooklyn-based writer, post-production mixer and field recordist David Goren joins to help us tease out the real-world implications. Goren is also the creator of the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map and has been monitoring and recording unlicensed radio activity in the borough for decades.
Also joining the show is Dr. Christopher Terry from the University of Minnesota. A professor of media law, he helps illuminate some of the legal and bureaucratic elements that complicate the Commission’s efforts. He also catches us up on the latest development in the battle over media ownership rules, with the Supreme Court issuing a narrow unanimous ruling in favor of the FCC’s most recent changes, but not quite addressing the decades-long gridlock in that policy area.
The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 after an unexplained course change sent it flying south over the Indian Ocean in March 2014 still holds the mystery of the wreck’s final location. There have been a variety of efforts to narrow down a possible search area over the years, and now we have news of a further angle from an unexpected source. It’s possible that the aircraft’s path could show up in radio scatter detectable as anomalously long-distance contacts using the amateur radio WSPR protocol.
WSPR is a low-power amateur radio mode designed to probe and record the radio propagation capabilities of the atmosphere. Transmit beacons and receiving stations run continuously, and all contacts however fleeting are recorded to an online database. This can be mined by researchers with an interest in the atmosphere, but in this case it might also provide clues to the missing airliner’s flightpath. By searching for anomalously long-distance WSPR contacts whose path crosses the expected position of MH370 it’s possible to spot moments when the aircraft formed a reflector for the radio waves.[…]
His provocative “Radio Unnameable,” long a staple of the New York station WBAI, offered a home on the FM dial to everyone from Abbie Hoffman to Tiny Tim.
Bob Fass, who for more than 50 years hosted an anarchic and influential radio show on New York’s countercultural FM station WBAI that mixed political conversation, avant-garde music, serendipitous encounters and outright agitation, died on Saturday in Monroe, N.C., where he lived in recent years. He was 87.
His wife, Lynnie Tofte, said he had been hospitalized with Covid 19 earlier in the month, but he died of congestive heart failure.
The Dicastery for Communication marks the 30th International Marconi Day with a celebration at Vatican Radio’s historic broadcast station outside Rome.
International Marconi Day is held every year on the Saturday closest to the birthday of the inventor of the radio, Guglielmo Marconi, on 25 April 1874.
This year’s commemoration fell a day earlier, and saw dozens of radio stations exchange messages, including Vatican Radio, which Marconi himself helped found in 1931.
The 30th iteration of Marconi Day was celebrated at Vatican Radio’s broadcast center at Santa Maria di Galeria, outside Rome.
Day for those who love radio
According to Dr. Paolo Ruffini, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, it was “a day spent in a family spirit” for those who love the Radio and the man who invented it.
He noted that the broadcast station forms both the center and periphery of Vatican Radio, since it is the place where radio waves are emitted which carry the Gospel and the words of the Popes throughout the world.
Marconi’s favorite Radio
The 30th Marconi Day falls within the 90th anniversary year of the founding of Vatican Radio.
The great Italian inventor’s daughter, Princess Elettra Marconi, who was present for the celebration, recalled that the station was her father’s favorite, though he had founded several others.[…]
From the Isle of Music, May 2-8:
This week, Carlos Miyares helps us present his excellent new Cuban jazz album Toma Uno, nominated for a Cubadisco this year.
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)
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0000-0100 UTC on WBCQ, 7490 kHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EDT in the US).
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 kHz from Rohrbach, Germany.
Our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/fromtheisleofmusic/
Our V-Kontakte page is https://vk.com/fromtheisleofmusic
Our Patreon page is https://www.patreon.com/tilford
Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, May 2-8:
In episode 215, special guest Sauli Heikkilä takes us through the wonderful world of Tuvan and Mongolian throat singing with recordings, explanations and demonstrations.
The transmissions take place:
1.Sunday 2200-2300 (NEW UTC) (6:00PM -7:00PM EDT) on WBCQ The Planet 7490 kHz from the US to the Americas and parts of Europe
2. Tuesday 2000-2100 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 kHz from Rohrbach, Germany for Europe.
3. Saturday 0800-0900 UTC on Channel 292, 9670 kHz from Rohrbach, Germany for Europe with a directional booster aimed eastward.
Our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/UncleBillsMeltingPot/
Our V-Kontakte page is https://vk.com/fromtheisleofmusic
Our Patreon page is https://www.patreon.com/tilford
16th Edition of the Global Radio Guide (Summer 2021) Now Available
Sometimes in life, what is old becomes new again. Familiar names and voices we long have placed into the recesses of our minds, suddenly spring back to the forefront.
It can be that way with radio as well. What we sometimes consider to be antique transmissions of a bygone era can re-emerge in a digital world, as if time had merely paused. They ensnare the attention of both those who were around for the glory days, as well as those hearing these signals for the first time.
Such is the case with the recently resurfaced “Russian Woodpecker.” The Cold War-era stalwart that once placed its distinct signal across large swaths of the HF band, is once again being heard amongst the crackles of static on shortwave radios and SDRs around the world.
For those who want to be part of the action, Gayle Van Horn’s 16th Edition of her Amazon bestselling Global Radio Guide (Summer 2021) has all the details you need to catch up with our vintage friend.
“My first thought was, ‘I have heard this signal before,’” writes Teak Publishing co-founder and editor of the Global Radio Guide (GRG), Larry Van Horn, in his in-depth look into the return of Russia’s famous Over-The-Horizon-Radar (OTHR) transmissions. “It did not take long for me to connect what I was hearing to the past and realize I was hearing a form of the old Russian Woodpecker again.”
Included in Van Horn’s article is everything you need to become a grizzled “woodpecker” expert: a historical review of Russia’s OTHR system, information on where in the world – and on the HF band – the newest version of the Woodpecker is being heard, links to audio samples so you know what to listen for, maps of transmitting locations and more.
Russia radars are not the only focus of this completely updated edition of the GRG, though. Worldwide, tensions are continuing to escalate and – in another case of what is old becoming new – people around the world are once again turning to shortwave radio to place themselves on the front lines.
With the help of the GRG, you can tune in shortwave broadcast stations from hotspots such as China, Cuba, India, Iran, North/South Korea, Taiwan, and many other counties. If you have a shortwave radio receiver, SDR or Internet connection, pair it with this unique radio resource to know when and where to listen to the world.
This newest edition of the GRG carries on the tradition of those before it with an in-depth, 24-hour station/frequency guide with schedules for selected AM band, longwave, and shortwave radio stations. This unique resource is the only radio publication that lists by-hour schedules that include all language services, frequencies, and world target areas for over 500 stations worldwide.
The GRG includes listings of DX radio programs and Internet website addresses for many of the stations in the book. There are also entries for time and frequency stations as well as some of the more “intriguing” transmissions one can find on the shortwave radio bands.
Larry Van Horn has also updated his now famous SDRBuyer’s Guide, a must-have compendium that helps you navigate through revolutionary world of software-defined radios (SDRs), the digital frontier of the radio hobby.
Continuing with the theme of this 16th edition of the GRG: Gayle takes a stroll into the seemingly not too distant past, into the role that radio played during the Falkland Island War, even as new government leaders within Argentina jockey for position to reclaim sovereignty over the islands.
Spectrum Monitor magazine editor, Ken Reitz, dives into the rise and fall of Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) on shortwave radio. Reitz gives the rundown on where you can still find DRM signals on the shortwave bands, even if you do not have a DRM-capable radio in your home.
Fred Waterer, also of Spectrum Monitor, checks in with a feature on one of the great pastimes of shortwave radio – travelling the world without leaving home. This is an especially poignant topic of discussion given the current travel restrictions found in most of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Waterer gives us a detailed RF-itinerary for circumnavigating the globe via broadcasters on shortwave radio. While many of the station names may be different than they once were, Waterer proves that there is still plenty of diversity and culture to be found on the bands.
Whether you monitor shortwave radio broadcasts, amateur radio operators, or aeronautical, maritime, government, or military communications in the HF radio spectrum, this book has the frequencies to help you to hear it all. Teak Publishing’s Global Radio Guide “brings the world to you.”
You can find this edition of the Global Radio Guide, along with all of our titles currently available for purchase, on the Teak Publishing Web site at www.teakpublishing.com. For a limited time, all previous editions of the Global Radio Guide will also be available at a reduced price. Details will be available at www.teakpublishing.com.
The 16th edition of the Global Radio Guide e-Book (electronic book only, no print edition available) is available worldwide from Amazon and their various international websites at
The price for this latest edition is US$8.99. Since this book is being released internationally, Amazon customers in the United Kingdom, Germany, France Spain, Italy, Japan, India, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Australia can order this e-Book from Amazon websites directly servicing these countries. Customers in all other countries can use the regular Amazon.com website to purchase this e-Book.
You can read any Kindle e-Book with Amazon’s ‘free’ reading apps on literally any electronic media platform. You do not have to own a Kindle reader from Amazon to read this e-book. There are Kindle apps available for iOS, Android, Mac and PC platforms. You can find additional details on these apps by checking out this link to the Amazon website at www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771.
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