Monthly Archives: December 2021

Looking back: What radios did you use the most in 2021?

I’m not sure why, but near the end of the year I always like to look back at my radio routine and figure out which radios I used the most. Often, the answer is surprising.

This year, I realized there was a very clear winner…

The C.Crane CCRadio3

The C.Crane CCRadio3 has taken lead position as my daily driver. I have it turned on most days for as much as 4-5 hours at a time depending on how much I’m at home.

Here’s why it has become my daily driver:

  • Benchmark AM/FM reception: The CCRadio3 grabs a solid lock on my favorite local and regional MW and FM stations. At the end of the day, my favorite news program (Marketplace) is available on a local WCQS and distant WFAE. The CCRadio3 can lock onto both equally well. I’ve very few portables that can do this. In addition, I use the CCradio3 for casual MW DXing when I’m not using the Panny RF-2200 or my Chuck Rippel-restored SRII.
  • Audio: The audio from its internal speaker is superb for voice content, but also robust enough for music. I love the dedicated Treble/Bass controls. The audio can be turned up to the point that it can be enjoyed throughout our house.
  • Bluetooth: I listen to a lot of content online and pipe it via Bluetooth from various devices to the CCRadio3. I stream the CBC, FranceInfo, ABC, and/or the BBC most mornings from my laptop. I use Radio Garden on my iPad to explore a world of local radio. I also stream Apple Music from my Mac Mini to the CCRadio3. When I do workouts on my stationary bike, I’ll often listen to both podcasts and music on the CCRadio3 via my iPhone.
  • Battery life: The battery life on the CCRadio 3 is simply stellar. It takes four D cells which offer up a lot of capacity. There are so few digital display radios today that can quite literally play for a few months on one set of batteries. I invested in a set of EBL D Cells and Charger (this package–affiliate link) and have been super pleased. When in the shack/office, the CCRadio3 is plugged into mains power via the supplied AC adapter. All other times, it runs on rechargeable battery power.

It’s ironic, too, because the CCRadio3 doesn’t cover shortwave which is, without a doubt, my favorite band. Thing is, now that so many of my staple news sources are difficult to reliably get on shortwave in the mornings (oh how I miss Radio Australia) I turn to FM and online sources for news content. I still listen to the BBCWS, RNZ, RRI, and at least a dozen other news programs on shortwave, but due to my schedule, it’s mostly casual listening.

On the go: The Belka-DX

Speaking of shortwave, though, the portable I’ve used the most this year for SWLing has been the Belka-DX. Besides it being a super-performing DX machine, it’s also incredibly compact and portable. I keep it in a small Tom Bihn zippered pouch and it lives in my EDC bag which accompanies me on all errands and travels.

The Belka-DX is so small, I forget it’s there. Even some of my smallest compact portables are nearly three times the size of the Belka-DX.

In the field: The Icom IC-705

If you follow, you’ll no doubt see that I spend a lot of time in the field doing QRP amateur radio activations of summits and parks. As I’ve pointed out in my review and 13DKA has pointed out in his reviews, the IC-705 is a benchmark shortwave, mediumwave and FM DXing machine. At $1300 US it’s pricey for sure, but it offers up a usable spectrum display/waterfall, audio RX controls, customizable filtering, HF/VHF/UHF coverage, and built-in audio recording/playback.

You don’t even need a 13.8V power supply with the IC-705 as it’ll charge from most any USB source via a Micro USB plug and run in receive for at least 5 hours without needing a recharge. Of course, you could invest in a second, higher-capacity battery pack and get even more battery life.

When I take the IC-705 on a field activation, I’ll often do a little listening after I finish the ham radio portion of my outing. It’s a great reminder of how important it is to take your radios to the field these days. With no QRM, it’s amazing what you can receive.

How about you?

What radios did you use the most in 2021? Please comment!

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Postcard Panorama premiers Saturday, 1 January 2022!

Postcard Panorama

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, T.D. Walker, who writes:

Postcard Panorama: A Shortwave Radio Conversation premiers Saturday, 1 January 2022, 7:30 pm ET/ Sunday, 2 January 2022 00:30 UTC via WRMI on 5950 kHz. Join us for listener stories and poems that focus on our monthly theme, “In with the New.”

Our first episode explores what brought listeners to radio, and our second will focus on what keeps you listening. For our February 2022 episode, “Radio / Love,” we’re looking for your radio-related stories about music you’ve discovered on air, connections you’ve made at home and to the world, technology that fascinates you, or anything else that fascinates you about the medium. I’ll also read poems from a few poets whose work I love, including Amy Lowell, H. D., and Djuna Barnes.

For more information about the show, including how to submit your stories, visit

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Carlos’ Shortwave Art and Recording of Raadiyoonii Dirree Shaggar (29 Dec 2021)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, who has been exploring the world of clandestine radio, documenting the on-going conflict in Ethiopia via shortwave radio. The image above is yet another example of his radio log art, this time for Raadiyoonii Dirree Shaggar.

Carlos notes:

Raadiyoonii Dirree Shaggar, 15330 kHz, clandestine broadcast in the Oromo language from Issoudun, France, to warring Ethiopia.

Final excerpt of an interview, where the guest says:
“…The government that used the name of the Oromo people now uses it in many ways to deceive them…”
“…Now the Oromo only think about carrying on the armed struggle to overthrow this system and preserve its existence…”

Signal captured at Parque da Catacumba, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 12/29/2021, 13:28 (local time).

Thanks again to Hamza Oromo for the translation.

Click here to view on YouTube.

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Exercising Over the Air: Carlos’ Shortwave Art and Recording of Radio Oromiya

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, who shares yet another example of his radio log art, this time for clandestine station, Radio Oromiya.

Carlos notes:

Thomas, as you know I’m monitoring broadcastings from and to war-torn Ethiopia, documenting the conflict via shortwave broadcastings.

This one is particularly curious.

The presenter is counting from zero to ten, in Oromo language. At first I thought it was a number station or codified message of some sort.

But thanks the patience and kindness of Ethiopian Twitter users, I realized that I listened to a physical fitness training via radio, part of Ethiopian govt’s effort to fight sedentarism and encourage its citizens to engage regular physical activity.

Clcik here to listen via YouTube.

This is brilliant, Carlos! I don’t think I’ve ever heard an exercise program on shortwave before. As always, I love your artwork.

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Recordings of WI2XLQ: 2021 Commemorative Fessenden Broadcast on 486 kHz

WA1ZMS’ 600 meter transmitter

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian Smith (W9IND), who shares the following recordings and notes:

Since 2012, experimental radio station WI2XLQ in Forest, Virginia, has presented an annual Christmas Eve/Christmas Day transmission in honor of Canadian radio pioneer Reginald Fessenden. Operated by Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, the station transmits on 486 kHz, just below the American AM broadcast band.

Here are two short recordings of the 2021 broadcast that I made around 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve (Indianapolis time) or 0200 UTC Christmas Day.

No DXing feat on my part: Unable to receive the station in the Indianapolis area, I listened via the online SDR of K1RA in Warrenton, Virginia, about 120 miles northeast of WI2XLQ.

My recording equipment? Again, nothing to brag about — just my trusty Android cell phone, which captured 4- and 6-minute snippets of the broadcast.

Signal strength varied widely from inaudible to excellent — mostly in between — and not surprisingly there’s plenty of QRN (static). The repeating program consisted of two songs, including a violin rendition of “O Holy Night,” followed by a station ID.

For those who’ve never managed to hear WI2XLQ’s annual transmissions, I hope you’ll enjoy this sampling of what you missed.

NOTE: As even Justin acknowledges, these broadcasts commemorate a reputed 1906 event that may not actually have taken place. Despite Fessenden’s claim of achieving the first voice (and music) transmission, substantiation is lacking. Whatever the truth, Fessenden was unquestionably one of the foremost radio experimenters of his era.


Many thanks for sharing this, Brian!

Note that if you missed the WI2XLQ on Christmas, note than Brian Justin plans to repeat the Fessenden broadcast on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day!

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Anyone recognize this “DEER” Chinese transistor radio?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Carlos Latuff, who writes:

I just bought this fully operational AM-only pocket radio made in China at the traditional flea market of Praça XV, in Rio de Janeiro, for only 25 reais (around US$ 4.39). It looks more like a response from the Chinese market to pocket radios manufactured in Japan in the 70s.

Maybe one of your readers has more information about this model.

If you have more info about this small AM transistor radio, please comment!  Thanks for sharing, Carlos!

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