Monthly Archives: May 2021

Guest Post: Remembering the great “Radio Moving Day” of 1941

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Hemphill, who shares the following guest post and addendum to his most recent post on BBC Re-Tune messages:


Radio Moving Day

by Bill Hemphill (WD9EQD)

After listening to the BBC “Re-Tune” broadcasts, it reminded me of when the United States had its own “Re-Tune” day on March 29, 1941.  It was referred to as “Moving Day”.

At 3:00 am, 802 of the 890 radio stations moved frequency.  Following are a couple of articles about this day:

http://www.jimramsburg.com/the-march-of-change-audio.html

https://www.radioworld.com/columns-and-views/in-1941-stations-confronted-39moving-day39

And a previous SWLing Post article:

https://swling.com/blog/2021/04/am-radio-history-80th-anniversary-of-the-havana-treaty/

Like the BBC, there were also broadcasts helping listeners to get ready:

Audio Clip 1

Audio Clip 2

Audio Clip 3

Audio Clip 4

 

I love how it was used as an opportunity to get the radio listener to call on the radio technician to re-program the radio push buttons.  And of course while the technician is there, have him do a full alignment and maybe replace a tube.

The March 1941 issue of Radio and Television Retailing (Pages 16-17) had the article “Radio’s Opportunity for Contact”.

Link:  https://worldradiohistory.com/Archive-Radio-Retailing/40s/Radio-Retailing-1941-03.pdf

While the entire article is an interesting read, the first few paragraphs sums up the opportumities:

THE OPPORTUNITY for contact with consumers using pushbutton-tuned radios., afforded by dramatic March 29 broadcast station frequency shifts, represents an absolutely unique invitation to move more major merchandise, with the promotional expense at least partially covered by service and accessory sales.

Imagine what slick automobile salesmen could do if roads were suddenly altered in such a manner that 10,000,000 cars required some adjustment to operate properly, what refrigerator salesmen might accomplish if a change in current necessitated motor manipulation, how laundry equipment salesmen would positively gloat over the glut of prospects if that many people with old machines actually asked them to call.

Calls make sales, as the records of many home specialty retailers conclusively prove, and the beauty of this particular opportunity to make them lies in the three-fold fact that cold-canvassing is completely unnecessary, that the motivating power of any campaign built around it is obviously not just trumped-up by the trade and that only dealers selling or servicing radios can capitalize in all departments of their business.

So valuable from a major merchandising sales angle is the opportunity to call upon consumers afforded by the necessity for changing pushbutton settings that we suspect many radio retailers will hesitate to charge for this adjustment.

This may be particularly true where consumers so contacted are obviously prospects for new merchandise and will undoubtedly occur in some instances where customers are still being carried on time-payment accounts.

The Feb 1941 issue of Radio Service-Dealer (Page 8) also stressed the opportunities.

Link: https://worldradiohistory.com/Archive-Radio-Service-Dealer/40s/Radio-Service-Dealer-1941-02.pdf

From Page 8:

Reallocation of Broadcast Frequencies M arch 29th Opens Big Job For Service men Resetting Nation’s Push-Buttons

YOUR JOB

There are approximately 10 million push-button receivers in operation in this country. It will be your job to re-set the buttons for the new frequencies in the shortest possible time and with the least amount of confusion. It will also be your job and your opportunity to inspect these receivers for faulty operation. No such opportunity is likely to present itself again, so make the best of it.


And on page 7 of the Mar 1941 issue of Radio Service-Dealer has the article FREQUENCY REALLOCATION SERVICING PROBLEMS

Link: https://worldradiohistory.com/Archive-Radio-Service-Dealer/40s/Radio-Service-Dealer-1941-03.pdf

The first Problem discussed is the IF Frequency:

1A—If a station with a strong signal intensity happens to be operating on double the frequency of the intermediate frequency of a receiver, there is liable to be a heterodyne whistle. The frequency of 455 kc has been used as the standard intermediate frequency on receivers manufactured in the United States.  One main reason for selecting this frequency was that the broadcast frequency of 910 kc was assigned to Canada and, therefore, the possibility of a heterodyne note being produced on a receiver in the United States was at a minimum. Under the terms of the reallocation several American stations will be moved to 910 kc thus producing a problem in the cities where these stations are to be located. If a heterodyne note is heard due to this cause the remedy is to shift the intermediate frequency to one side or another.


Thank you, Bill, for shedding more light on Radio Moving Day and, especially, providing us with the broadcaster and technician’s point of view.

Spread the radio love

Marwan discovers this Philco console at a family home

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Marwan Baayoun, who writes:

Hello Thomas,

I hope this email finds you and yours well and in good health.

Before our trip to Turkey next Sunday, my wife and I went to see our three month and only grand kid we have. In her play room I noticed that our son in law has an antique radio that his father gave it to him. Upon close look up, I noticed it has shortwave and police bands on line-up. I thought I’d take a few photos and share them with you all. The radio was working but recently some of the tubes inside went out and they need to be replaced.

Below are the pictures I took. Oh, and I decided to take with me my Tecsun PL-880. I so want to take either my Sony SW-2010 or the ICF-SW77, but I don’t want to risk not seeing them in case they get confiscated. The next top model that I have and that I can alway replace is the 880 and I figured it is the one that’s going to accompany me on out trip.

Cheers and I hope the photos are of interest.

Marwan

Thank you for sharing this, Marwan! Those Philco console radios are simply stunning–I love the craftsmanship of the body. I’m not familiar enough with Philcos of this era to identify it, but perhaps someone here in the SWLing Post community can! I certainly hope your son-in-law can have it repaired–this radio would have amazing audio.

And, yes! I think the PL-880 would make for a great travel companion on your upcoming trip!

Spread the radio love

More Tecsun S-8800 hidden features/adjustments

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who has recently been in touch with Anna at Anon-Co and discovered a few Tecsun S-8800 hidden features we haven’t mentioned in the past.

Anna notes:

There are some hidden features for this model that are worth mentioning, and are available on all S-8800 radios, also the pre-2021 ones.

Backlight setting

In power-off mode, press and hold [ 2 ] on the remote until the display shows “ON” or “Off”, this to change the backlight setting to always-on or auto-off. In the auto-off setting the backlight turns on after pressing a button or using a tuning knob, and turns off automatically after a few seconds.

DNR (Dynamic Noise Reduction

In the AM band (LW, MW, SW), first press and hold [ 4 ] on the remote to activate the possibility of this feature. The display will show “ON” or “Off”. Make sure that it is turned on. Subsequently, press and hold [ 6 ] on the remote until the display shows “ON” (DNR activated) or “OFF” (DNR deactivated).

FM De-emphasis Time Constant

While receiving FM broadcasts, long press [ 5 ] on the remote to adjust the de-emphasis setting to 50?s or 75?s.

Adjusting the signal indicator sensitivity:

1. Enter FM, LW, MW or SW band

2. Select a weak station.

3. Press [ 7 ] on the remote for about 0.5 seconds.

4. Rotate the main tuning knob immediately to adjust the bars of the signal indicator.

5. Press any button for confirmation or auto save after 2 seconds.

While making the adjustment in step 4, the value in the top-right corner of the screen changes. The factory default value is supposedly around “6” for FM and SW: 6, and around 16 for MW. The adjustment range is -99 – 99.

Add Seconds to the Clock

With the device turned off, press and hold [ 8 ] on the remote to add seconds to the clock. Press and hold [ 8 ] again to hide the seconds from the clock.

Adjust the FM soft muting threshold

While in FM, press and hold [ 9 ] on the remote for about 2 seconds until the current level (probably around level 5) appears in the main display area. Then adjust it by rotating the tuning knob and then press [ 9 ] again to confirm the setting.

Many thanks to Dan and Anna for sharing these tips!

Spread the radio love

BBC Radio Stations Broadcasting Re-Tune Instructions

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Hemphill (WD9EQD), who writes:

Hi Thomas,

The BBC in their transition to digital radio has started closing some of their AM radio stations.

See following link:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/reception/work-warning/news/mw-closures-2021

The AM stations being closed are broadcasting “Re-Tune” instructions on their frequencies.

Not sure how long they will be doing this. The “Re-Tune” messages are interesting.

I have used the G4DYA KiwiSDR web receiver to listen and record some of the “Re-Tune” messages.

Most are just straight forward instructions, but Radio Hereford-Worcester on 738 has recorded individual

messages by several of their on-air personalities. The messages just loop continuously.

Attached are MP3 files for 738 Radio Hereford-Worcester, 1035 Radio Sheffield, 1341 Radio Ulster and 1503 Radio Stoke.

73

Bill Hemphill, WD9EQD

Recordings

738 Radio Hereford-Worcester

1035 Radio Sheffield

1341 Radio Ulster

1503 Radio Stoke

Thank you so much for taking the time to make these recordings and for sharing them with us here!

Spread the radio love

Zack’s Sony ICF-S5W

In reply to our Caveat Emptor post, many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Zack (N8FNR), who writes:

Attached is a copy of the Sony brochure for the ICF-S5W, a photo of the front and also the inside. This is a fairly old rare radio and some of your readers might enjoy the following.

I just wrote to Dr. Vlado asking if he can restore my fairly rare Sony ICF-S5W. Luckily I have three of them, two of which are dead so I could send all three and he could possibly cannibalize them to make one good working rig. I also have an original copy of the manual.

Few people have heard of the ICF-S5W as it was only made from 1980-81. One of the interesting features of the radio is that the Sony engineers put the 16cm ferrite antenna at an angle as they claimed it improved incoming signals.

Many reviewers at the time claimed that it was better than the GE Superradio of that vintage.

If you would like to know more about this radio below are a few reviews.

Thank you for sharing this, Zack. I was not familiar with the Sony ICF-S5W. I love the simplicity of this radio–and that nearly diagonal ferrite bar? I can’t think of any other radio I’ve seen with that!

And having spare “parts” radios is a solid plan if you have a particular radio you love and want to keep it in working order over the long term.

Any other ICF-S5W owners out there? Please comment!

Spread the radio love

Radio Waves: Ireland and Northern Ireland Masses On The Air, Radio History Film, Improving ULR FM reception, UsedRadioMall.com, and Observations Needed for June 2021 Arctic Eclipse

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’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors David Shannon, Sheldon Harvey (Int. Radio Report), Jorge Garzón Gutiérrez, and Ulis Fleming for the following tips:


CQ CQ CQ IE —Holy Broadcasting from Ireland and Northern Ireland (DXing.info)

European DX listeners have recently discovered a wonderful new target. On 27 MHz it is possible to receive Catholic mass celebrations from Ireland and Northern Ireland. Hundreds of local churches around the island are broadcasting holy masses live. If you tune in between 27000 and 28000 kHz, you might be able to hear many interesting churches. The transmitter power is usually only 3 watts, so a strong F2 opening is needed. Luckily with the current solar maximum this happens quite often.

How did all this start? This is a fascinating story, told by a Father, who has been helping the idea to become reality.

The broadcasting of Masses was introduced in a rural Irish diocese over 30 years ago when the resident priest was considering a way of reaching out to those who were housebound in his parish. They had access to religious broadcasts on National Radio and TV, but he knew that it was no comparison to a local broadcast. There were many incidents of families coming home from Mass on Sunday and their housebound parent or grandparent had ‘all the news’ (they were aware of all the happenings in the parish) when they arrived home.[…]

Click here to continue reading at DXing.info.

Utica man producing film about the history of radio (The Voice)

Decades before Spotify, Pandora, and even satellite radio, terrestrial (land-based) AM and FM radio reigned supreme. Many listeners, including Utica resident Ron Robinson, idolized the disc jockeys just as much as the artists they played.

Robinson, 51, is working on a documentary film entitled “Radio Dayz… The Movie,” which focuses on the history of radio, including the early days of Detroit radio. “(The film) tells the story of radio through the people who worked in radio,” he said.

Robinson interviewed several well-known radio personalities such as Paul W. Smith, Dick Purtain, Fred Jacobs, Dick Kernen, and more for the film. Robinson, who worked for WJR for 20 years before starting his own production company, has several connections in the industry. He started interviewing for the documentary in 2013.

“Most people think of radio, they think of New York, California, and Chicago, and rightfully so. But, Detroit has been an important and ground-breaking city for the medium of radio,” Robinson said.

The documentary is a chronological look at the history of radio, starting with the first radio stations. It also takes aim at the first radio “celebrity,” Fr. Charles Coughlin. The Detroit-area priest took to the airways in the 1920s and eventually garnered an audience of 30 million to his weekly radio show. Coughlin would later become a polarizing figure as World War II approached. “He’s on the wrong side of history, if you will,” Robinson said.

[]

Improving ULR FM reception (Iberia DX)

Often I get surprised when I listen to the FM Band with my autoradio. It has no bandwidth options, no filters, but sensitivity and selectivity are much better than most of the well-know portables. Mine is inserted into the Skoda console so I have no way to know who manufactured it, the brand/model or its tech specifications. Most of the times I wonder why other portable firmwares does not include, for instance, similar choices like the high speed decoding RDS info. Then I thought… Will be my ULR Sangean DT-800 up to the task?

An autoradio like mine (SKODA Spaceback car) decodes RDS and hears weak signals at once. It is part of a well balanced system: receiver-feedline and rubber antenna on the metallic car roof. My pocket ultralight radios use the earphone cable as an aerial, so even being very good receivers, the antenna is far to be reliable with tricky and changing reception as it depends on the cable position at every moment. Uhmmm! I needed to find a better way to listen using my small toys.

In the shack I had some whips with male BNC and PL-359 connectors, but the Pocket ULR has a 3,5 mm female plug-in, so I found a “female BNC > male jack 3,5 mm” adapter and connected the whip. I chose a telescopic antenna 20/115 cm long folded/unfolded to test the Sangean DT-800T versus the SKODA autoradio, focused on the BOTB from 87,5 to 91,5 MHz. When a long whip is used some unwanted effects come into the scene. The first is related with audio; connecting the whip the sound must be heard via the small speaker so don’t forget to choose a quiet environment not to miss weak stations. The second one is pure physics; due to the whip length, the ULR 3,5 mm female plug-in gets extra strain and that could damage the inner weldings, so extra care must be kept in mind at any time.[]

Read the full article at Ideria DX.

UsedRadioMall.com

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Matt, who shares a link to a radio classifieds site he has created. Check it out!

The UsedRadioMall.com web site lists radios and items related to the subject of radio. The list may include receivers, transmitters, transceivers, amplifiers, antennas, parts, and components related to amateur radio, two-way radio, cb radio, broadcasting, recording, production, and hi-fi.

Introduction
Changes in ionospheric electron density caused by space weather and diurnal solar changes are known to cause Doppler shifts on HF ray paths. For example, see Figure 7 in Boitman et al., 1999. As part of the WWV centennial, 50 stations collected Doppler shift data for the original Festival of Frequency Measurement, demonstrating the value of volunteer participation in collecting this data. This June, we request that all amateur radio stations, shortwave listeners, and others capable of making high-quality HF frequency measurements help us collect frequency data for the June 10 annular eclipse. Researchers will use the crowdsourced data to investigate the superimposed effects of auroral particle precipitation and the eclipse on Doppler shift.

All you need to collect data is an HF rig connected to a computer running open-source software. A precision frequency standard, such as a GPS-disciplined oscillator, is desired but not required to participate. All ham operators and shortwave listeners around the globe are invited to join in, even if your station is far from the path of totality. Last year’s eclipse festivals included over 100 participants from 45 countries. The experiment will run from 7-12 June. All participants will receive QSL certificates and updates as the data is processed. This is a pilot experiment for HamSCI’s Personal Space Weather Station project, which seeks to develop a global network monitoring the geospace environment.

Contact information:
Kristina Collins: kd8oxt@case.edu

Click here to read the full article at HamSci.org.


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!

Spread the radio love

Videos: Nick explores synchronous detection and the Racal 6217

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nick Boras, who shares the following:

I was motivated by one of Tom Styles videos (hamrad88) about Sync detection to make one of my own. It is no secret that Tecsun offers Sync on several of their radios but only the 660 and 680 really work. My take on Sync is that the results are not consistent even on some of the highest rated Sync radios. While my video is not scientific or nearly complete, I think it gives a good representation of what we can expect from Sync for SWL.

[In addition] today was Radio Day, so I made another video on a very interesting radio:

Thought your readers might be interested.

We are indeed! Thank you for sharing these videos, Nick! That Racal, by the way, is a beautiful beast of a rig!

Spread the radio love