Monthly Archives: August 2022

Wlodek Shares an Air Raid-Prompted Radio Comparison

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and friend, Wlodek (US7IGN), who writes from Kiev:

Hello!

Because of another air raid alert, I can’t sleep and I decided to make a small comparison of the receivers of the 60s and the modern one.

Of course, you can not compare their size and weight, as well as some features.

This Chinese XHDATA D-808 was given to me by a friend for comparison. When he was just choosing a good receiver, I advised him to buy an old Sony 7600 series or Panasonic B65, for example. But he decided that modern technology is better at handling the task of receiving. But it turned out to be not so clear:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Radios:

73 de US7IGN!

Thank you for sharing this, Wlod. I wish the circumstances for the radio comparison were better–even though I know air raids have sadly become a fact of life for many in Ukraine, I can’t imagine sleeping through them. 

Your short comparison is interesting too. I consider the D-808 to be an excellent little DSP portable, but the audio simply can’t compare with your vintage radios. Indeed, the vintage receivers seem to handle the QRM a bit better than the D-808 as well.

Thank you for sharing this and wishing you the very best, OM.

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NOAA weather radio “needs some serious upgrades”

The Midland WR120 weather radio.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dennis Dura, who shares the following article from Slate:

The Radio System That Keeps Us Safe From Extreme Weather Is Under Threat

NOAA Weather Radio needs some serious upgrades.

In March, a group of massive tornadoes struck communities around Des Moines, Iowa. Seven people were killed, including two children under 5. The crisis received attention not only due to its human cost, but also because of delays in emergency wireless communications: Thanks to a broken fiber optic cable at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Weather Service offices, wireless emergency transmissions were switched to an auxiliary satellite system, which all NWS offices use. Overloaded with extreme weather messages from elsewhere in the Midwest, the satellite messaging system found itself backed up just as the Iowa tornadoes reached their peak. This caused anywhere from a two- to nine-minute delay in tornado warning messages—and may have significantly reduced warning time at a moment when seconds count. The issue lasted for several hours as the deadly tornadoes ripped through the state.

NOAA Weather Radio, on the other hand, continued broadcasting effectively during the crisis. According to Bruce Jones, a weather radio expert and meteorologist with Midland Radio Corporation, “because the NWR broadcast comes direct from the National Weather Service local forecast office, those NOAA Weather Radio alerts and warnings were unimpeded and reached folks immediately.”

Often referred to as the “voice” of the National Weather Service, NOAA Weather Radio is a 24/7 public service that broadcasts weather information from more than 1,000 stations across the United States and many of its territories. And while Des Moines was a great success story for NOAA Weather Radio, the service faces mounting issues with aging technology and infrastructure, raising concerns over whether it will be able to continue protecting communities facing extreme weather.

[…]While NOAA Weather Radio has historically been an important, consistent, and life-saving means of emergency communication, it may not be for long. Outdated technology and failed attempts at modernization are threatening the NOAA Weather Radio system and resulting in extended outages for locations at risk. And as the climate crisis intensifies, this important technology is often vulnerable to the weather about which it’s meant to inform.

Interviews with NWS employees about outages reveal many local technical problems that take out communications, sometimes for weeks or months.

[…]Recent congressional action, however, has given new life to the possibility of systemic weather radio modernization. Rep. Stephanie Bice, a Republican from Oklahoma, has proposed the NOAA Weather Radio Modernization Act of 2021, which passed in the House of Representatives in May but has yet to pass in the Senate. From Oklahoma, Bice was well aware of the need for consistent weather communications during natural disasters like tornadoes, which affect her constituents.

The bill would authorize $20 million to expand coverage to the remaining 5 percent of the country without access to NOAA Weather Radio communications, as well as $40 million to modernize its hardware and software, including upgrading communication from copper wires to Internet services. According to Wesley Harkins, a representative from Bice’s office, “this paves the way for future development and provides failsafe options, so NWR is never down for an extended period of time.”

[…]The NWS itself acknowledges the benefits of this legislation. Maureen O’Leary, deputy director of public affairs at the NOAA, told me via email that improvements would include “expanding NWR coverage to rural and underserved communities, national parks, and recreation areas.”[…]

Click here to read the full article at Slate.com.

Click here to read articles relating to weather radio in the SWLing Post archives.

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More shortwave time travelling

Hi everyone to everyone in SWLing Post land, this Sunday we’ve another old-time treat for you thanks to the good folks at WRMI. WTAB will be “Transmitting by the magic of wireless” on 9395 kHz at 2200 utc on Sunday 7th August 2022.

Like last week’s KTAB, the show will feature music from yesteryear and as the flyer says “It’s not just a different letter, it’s a different time…” Tune in for more shortwave time travelling! Fastradioburst23 

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What are your favorite portables in 2022 and why?

I’m traveling this morning and packing up my EDC (everyday carry) bag here int he hotel room.

Last night, I was using the Tecsun PL-330 to do a little band-scanning and it dawned on me that I’ve used this radio along with the Belka DX quite extensively this summer while on an extended family road trip. Even before this trip, both of these radios were in heavy rotation.

I go through phases of using portables–sometimes I’ll dig out a vintage radio and use it for weeks, then I’ll switch it out for a modern rig. I like variety and giving all of my radios a little air time.

I packed the Belka DX and Tecsun PL-330 for our trip because they’re some of the most compact, lightweight radios I own.

I’m curious what radios you’re using now and why–? Please comment!

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Radio Waves: Brooklyn Pirate Radio Interview, Emergency Radio Evolution, SOTA Hams Prevent Forest Fire, and Morse Code Documentary

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

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


Interview about Brooklyn pirate radio (Irish Pirate Radio Audio Archive)

Although Irish pirate radio is our main interest, today we explore the lively pirate scene in the Brooklyn area of New York City. The Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map is a fascinating project established by radio producer and audio archivist David Goren and provides interactive maps and historical and contemporary recordings of the many unlicensed stations in Brooklyn.

This is a longer version of an interview by John Walsh with David Goren first featured in Wireless, a series about radio, audio and media on Flirt FM in Galway. It covers the history of pirate radio in Brooklyn and New York generally, attempts to crack down on the unlicensed stations, the role of low-powered FM, the background to the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map itself and plans for the future. Many thanks to David for taking the time to explain this fantastic project for us. [Read the full article and listen to the interview on the Irish Pirate Radio Audio Archive…]

The Evolution of the Emergency Radio (Radio World)

From AM-only portables to multi-function machines

With the advent of the 9V battery-powered transistor radio in the 1950s, the “Emergency Radio” was born.

Unlike vacuum tube receivers with heavy batteries or unpowered crystal radios, these handheld AM portables were small and simple enough to keep in a drawer. They could then be retrieved whenever man-made or natural disasters knocked out the power, providing listeners with lifeline connections to news, weather and relief information. Continue reading

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A most unusual QSL . . . card?

By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

Okay, I realize this is ham related, but I thought it was fun, and I hope you do too.

On a quiet Saturday morning in May, the “Big Gun” Motorola 1250 (which is used for running the Commuter Assistance Net) is quietly scanning through half a dozen frequencies.

The scanning stops on the 147.330 repeater, and a computer voice announces: “Echolink activated.”

Huh, that’s unusual, I think.

According to echolink.org, here’s the scoop on EchoLink:

EchoLink® software allows licensed Amateur Radio stations to communicate with one another over the Internet, using streaming-audio technology.  The program allows worldwide connections to be made between stations, or from computer to station, greatly enhancing Amateur Radio’s communications capabilities.  There are more than 350,000 validated users worldwide — in 159 of the world’s 193 nations — with about 6,000 online at any given time.

A few seconds later, a male voice with a distinct British accent drops a call on the repeater: “GB2022ER.”

What?!! A Great Britain call sign with multiple numbers in the middle? What’s going on?

I reply: KB2GOM.

Mark, the British ham, tells me he is running a special events station with a special call sign to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. He tells me I am the very first contact for the special events station. I tell him that he is my very first Echolink contact.

We chat for a bit, exchange good wishes and sign off.

A bit later, I look him up on QRZ and send Mark an email. Since I am his first contact for the special events station, is there a QSL card available? He replies that he will see what he can do.

A few weeks later, an envelope arrives with this coaster inside:

For a moment, I felt like James Bond:

Also inside were these postcards:

In all, it made me smile.

Bottom line – moral of the story, if you will – you never know what’s going to happen on the radio.

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