Monthly Archives: November 2022

Checking out the new C.Crane CC Skywave SSB 2

By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

Folks who are regular readers of my posts here have already figured out that I am a big fan of the CCrane Skywave SSB. It is easily the most versatile radio I own, receiving AM (medium wave), FM, shortwave, HF single sideband, NOAA weather stations with alert, and scannable civilian VHF frequencies, and I have written enthusiastically about it here on multiple occasions.

I think of the Skywave SSB as my “anti-boredom machine.” It’s small enough to slide into a shirt or jacket pocket pocket or tuck into any pack. Get stuck waiting in line, whip out the Skywave SSB, plug in a pair of ear buds, and listen to whatever is available.

So when I noticed that a new version of the Skywave SSB – the Skywave SSB 2 – appeared on the first page of the C.Crane 2023 catalog, I was delighted that the folks at C.Crane decided to send one to me. The SSB 2 includes all the goodies of the original, plus a handful of incremental improvements; upgrades include a micro-USB port for external power or charging NiMH batteries, a slightly better speaker, and longer feet on the bottom for better stability.

But the improvement that really makes me grin is a two-fer: first, the inclusion of an external antenna socket on the side of the SSB 2, and, second, the CC Wire Terminal Antenna Adaptor for shortwave, which is a 2-wire to mono plug adaptor that plugs right into the external antenna socket. This allows a long wire antenna to be easily hooked up to the SSB 2, and it works like crazy.

Attaching a long wire to the SSB 2 is now really easy. Attach your long wire to the CC Wire Terminal Antenna Adaptor (you’ll need a small gauge screwdriver; the screws are really small). Next, plug the adaptor into the external antenna socket. You’re done!

I attached a 45-foot end-fed antenna to the CC Wire Terminal Antenna Adaptor while listening to some hams chatting on 80-meters and found that it delivered an impressive improvement to the signal-to-noise ratio. And when I wanting to hit the road, it was a simple of unplugging the adaptor so the adaptor and wire antenna combo would be waiting when I came back.

The SSB 2 includes a number of useful accessories: the CC Wire Terminal Antenna Adaptor, a portable 23-foot CC Shortwave Reel antenna, CC Ear Buds (very comfortable), and a faux leather carrying case (if packing the SSB 2 in your luggage,  be sure to press the LOCK button, otherwise you find yourself with a singing suitcase or backpack.).

Bottom line: with the introduction of the Skywave SSB 2, CCrane has taken an excellent, versatile radio and make it even better. Highly recommended for all-round use, but especially as a travel and/or emergency radio.

Note: Jessica from CCrane sent me the following note regarding the SSB 2.

Please note:  When using headphones or earbuds there is an easily discernable, but not loud “pop” when switching bands and on memory presets on airband. There is no pop when using the speakers. It will take time to find the hardware and software remedy. It will not be corrected on this first shipment but we are working it and expect it to be reduced on future shipments. The new Skywave SSB-2 was up for a price rise October 2022 but we’re keeping it at $169.99 for now.

For more of my musing regarding the CCrane Skywave SSB, please consult:

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Don Moore’s Photo Album: Santa Bárbara, Honduras

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Don Moore–noted author, traveler, and DXer–for the following Photo Album guest post series:


Don Moore’s Photo Album: Santa Bárbara, Honduras

by Don Moore

I first set foot in Latin America in January 1982 when I arrived in Tegucigalpa to begin three months of Peace Corps training. Three months later I moved to my Honduran home, the town of Santa Bárbara in the western mountains. For the next two years I worked as a teacher and resource person at the Escuela Normal Mixta de Santa Bárbara, a specialized high school that trained its students to teach primary school.

Santa Bárbara had a shortwave station, La Voz del Junco on 6075 kHz but it was rarely reported because it broadcast irregularly and was usually blocked by big international broadcasters when it was on the air. I had never heard it but I met Miguel Hasbun, the owner-manager, on my first visit to Santa Bárbara when he picked me up hitchhiking north of town. He told me that the shortwave transmitter had been broken down for a while but that he was going to fix it ‘soon’. Over the next year I kept inquiring about the shortwave and he finally did fix it. After that the station broadcast irregularly for the next year or so, mostly in the morning. I served as volunteer veri-signer and issued around fifteen QSLs. I even issued one to myself.

Santa Bárbara had one other radio station, Ondas del Ulúa on 1140 kHz medium wave (later 1150 kHz). They also announced 4770 kHz shortwave in their canned IDs and station staff assured me they would be adding shortwave “soon”. It never did happen but the WRTH did list the frequency as future plans for several years.

Audio:

Ondas del Ulúa 1982 sign-off announcement mentioning 4770 kHz.

The department of Santa Bárbara had one other radio station, Radio Luz y Vida on 1600 and 3250 kHz in the town of San Luis. The founder, manager, and veri-signer for Radio Luz y Vida was a missionary from Oklahoma named Don Moore. Needless to say, this caused a lot of confusion in the DX world as some people assumed he and I were the same person. On the map, San Luis is only about thirty kilometers from Santa Bárbara but getting there involved a five-hour journey on two buses. I only went once and the other Don Moore was out of town, so I never met him. I did meet two nurses who were working at the mission’s health clinic.

Photos

These pictures were all taken in 1982 to 1984 while I lived in Santa Bárbara [click on photos to enlarge].


La Voz del Junco’s yellow sign on main street in downtown Santa Bárbara. The small tower on the left was the corner of what had been an army post but was being used as a regional prison in the early 1980s. I once went there every day for a week to supervise student-teachers doing adult literacy classes for the inmates. It was not a pleasant place to be.


Entrance to La Voz del Junco. The girl is examining a poster for the night’s showing at the makeshift movie theater that Don Miguel operated nearby. Continue reading

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Carlos’ Shortwave Art and recording of the Voice of Korea (November 24, 2022)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, who shares his radio log art of a recent Voice of Korea broadcast.

Carlos’ goal is to vividly illustrate the broadcaster’s message in his own unique artistic style and is not a reflection of his own beliefs or those of the SWLing Post. His objective is for his artwork to add historical context and put a visual with the news, reporting, and/or–as is often the case–propaganda:


Carlos notes:

Part of Voice of Korea’s news bulletin, broadcasted in English from Kujang, DPRK, and listened in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Shortwave frequency of 12015 kHz.

Press statement of Kim Yo Jong, Deputy Department Director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea stating, among other things, that “they (South Korea govt) are the ‘faithful dog’ and stooge of the United States” and “a stray dog gnawing at a bone given by the United States.”

Click here to view/listen on YouTube.

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Some select Black Friday Deals for 2022

[Note: This info. is also posted on our sister site, QRPer.com.]

The very affordable, tiny, and retro Raddy RF750 is on sale for $34.39. We have never tested it, but it receives mostly positive reviews.

I’ve been trying to avoid looking at sales this week because I don’t really need anything. That said, I’ve had a few pieces of gear on my mind that I’ve been wanting to review/evaluate and Black Friday has made a few of them more accessible.

Nanuk Waterproof Cases

If you’re not familiar with Nanuk, they produce a wide variety of waterproof cases in Canada. They’re essentially Canada’s version of the Pelican case.

I’ve been eyeing their Nanuk 903 which is actually a very compact case–something similar in size to the Pelican 1060 and the Evergreen 56.

Nanuk, DX Engineering, and Amazon all have their Nanuk cases on sale today. I picked up a Nanuk 903 that I hope to use with one of my ultra-compact field radios (perhaps the Penntek TR-35).

Prices vary, but Amazon seems to have the lowest. I just purchased a blue Nanuk 903 with pick foam for $28.00 shipped (affiliate link). Other colors may cost a few dollars more, but they’re all exceptional deals (I picked the least expensive color).

CP Gear Tactical

I believe it was Rod (VA3ON) who first introduced me to this Canada-based pack manufacturer.

I’ve had their their Aircrew/Pubs Bag with Padded Tablet Pocket on my wish list since the Ham Radio Workbench podcast episode where we talked about backpacks and pouches. CP Gear Tactical manufactures a wide variety of gear primarily for the Canadian military market. Everything is made either in Canada (NB) or the US (or both), thus prices are much higher than mass produced gear.

I’m hoping their Aircrew bag might fit my 2nd Yaesu FT-817ND which is now outfitted with the TPA-817 pack frame I purchased from a reader.  If it doesn’t, I still have many other uses in mind.

Everything in their store is 20% off today if you use the coupon code BKFRIDAY20.

The pack, shipped to my address in the US was $92.60 CAD.

Yaesu FT-891

I noticed that Gigaparts and Ham Radio Outlet has the venerable Yaesu FT-891 on sale for $599.95 US. That’s a brilliant deal.

Last year, I came so close to buying the FT-891 for $629 during a Black Friday sale. I decided against it at the last moment because I know I tend to reach for my lightweight QRP field radios that can provide me a few hours of radio fun on a 3Ah battery. Even at QRP output levels, the FT-891 needs a larger capacity battery.

That said, if you’re looking for a new 100W radio for the shack or field? The FT-891 is a solid choice. The ‘891 is also an excellent general coverage radio for shortwave radio listening.

Radioddity

Radioddity always has deep discounts on Black Friday. This year, they have a store-wide 15% off sale with a coupon code.

Radioddity is a great place to purchase Xiegu Products. They are a sponsor of QRPer.com.

SDRplay RSPdx

SDRplay manufactures affordable, high-performance SDR receivers in the UK. They are currently offering their RSPdx for £130/€156/$169.95. Click here for details and click here for my review of the RSPdx. The RSPdx is a choice radio for mediumwave and low band work. That said, the frequency range is exceptionally wide. This and the RSPduo are my favorites from SDRplay. Note that SDRplay is a sponsor of the SWLing Post.

Airspy

Another SDR and radio accessory manufacturer, Airspy, is offering 20% off of all of their products. I consider their HF+ Discovery SDR to be one of the best sub-$200 SDRs for the HF bands–check out these posts and reviews on the SWLing Post.

Amazon portable radio deals

I noticed that Amazon.com does have a wide variety of shortwave portables in their Black Friday sale. Click here to search through the ones listed in the Black Friday promotion (affiliate link).

Ham radio retailers with Black Friday deals

Here’s a list of ham radio retailers who have Black Friday sales today. If you’ve been looking for an item in particular, you might compare prices between these stores:

Spot any other great deals? Share them in the comments section!

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Don’t look into the oil-wheel projector lamp for too long

Hi SWLing post community and bargain hunters everywhere, Fastradioburst23 here letting you know of The second episode of Shortwave Garage Sale from the Imaginary Stations crew.

On Sunday 27th November 2022 from 2300 utc on 9395 kHz we will be opening the up and over door yet again to reveal the second part of our Garage and Psyche special. Tune in and enjoy some wild sounds and visuals.

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SDRplay Special RSPdx holiday promotion

SDRplay RSPdx SDR

(Source: SDRplay)

SDRplay Special RSPdx holiday promotion

At SDRplay, we recognise that times are very tough for a lot of people. In view of the economic pressures that people are facing, we want to lend a helping hand by offering the very popular RSPdx at a special low price for this holiday buying season. After discussions with our dealer network, from Black Friday until the 31st December, we (along with participating dealers) plan to offer the RSPdx at a holiday discounted suggested retail price of £130/€156/$169.95 plus shipping and any applicable taxes. This represents a substantial discount of more than one fifth when compared to the normal retail price.

Starting midnight EST, Thursday November 24th visit https://www.sdrplay.com/purchasehome/  to purchase an RSPdx at the special price or contact your local SDRplay dealer for more details.  Please also note that stocks are limited and this offer will certainly end on the 31st December and prices will revert to normal commercial levels thereafter.

This is a great opportunity to get the RSPdx as a gift for a newcomer or a returning radio enthusiast at a price which won’t be repeated, as our suppliers are already increasing their prices for the new year.

  • Prices shown are prices offered when buying direct from SDRplay. Shipping and taxes are extra.  SDRplay ships from the UK to most countries in the world.  However some countries will require import duty to be paid on top.
  • SDRplay dealers who usually include free shipping will adjust the prices accordingly
  • Check with your local dealer to see if they are participating.
  • Links to both the SDRplay direct purchasing page and our list of authorised resellers can be found here
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