Author Archives: Thomas Witherspoon

Mornings with the Panasonic RF-2200

It’s been a busy winter season here at SWLing Post HQ. Many of you might have noticed a slow response time if you’ve tried to contact me. I’m in the midst of a rather involved investment property renovation that’s consumed nearly all of my spare time.

Still, I’m keeping up with the Post and even managing a little one-on-one radio time in the early mornings/late evenings. Indeed, I’ve actually tried to turn my renovation project into an opportunity to play a little radio. The property is unoccupied and very rural, so there’s quite literally no RFI there. Woot!

Since I’ve been spending time evaluating the new CCRadio3 (click here to read my preview), I’ve also had the CCRadio EP Pro, Sony ICF-5500W and the legendary Panasonic RF-2200 nearby for comparison purposes.

All of these radios have their strong points, but the Panny RF-2200 is still the rig I reach for the most. That’s why I listed it as one of my daily drivers.

It also helps that my RF-2200 feels like a brand new unit after Vlado re-capped and cleaned it.

Band-scanning

Band-scanning with the RF-2200 is such a tactile experience. The ‘2200 tuning knob is quality and almost feels like a weighted encoder you’d find on a proper tabletop receiver. The RF-2200 even has fast/slow tuning gears and you can calibrate the dial so easily. Though tuning on the shortwaves feels a little vague, I find mediumwave is incredibly accurate.

Speaking of the dial and logging scale, I think it’s one of the most attractive from the 1970s:

Since I’ve been doing most of my listening around sunrise and sunset, it’s been a lot of fun to fit in a little mediumwave DXing as well. I see why the RF-2200 was one of The Professor‘s favorites.

If you ever find a good deal on a Panasonic RF-2200, don’t hesitate, just grab it!  Occasionally you’ll find one on eBay, but also check your local hamfests and swap meets! That’s where I’ve had the most luck.

If you ever find a ‘2200 for less that $100-125 that’s in decent cosmetic shape, with the original antenna, clean battery contacts, and is in good mechanical shape (meaning the tuning mechanism and dial work as they should), buy it! If there’s an electrical problem, Vlado can fix that. In fact, if your RF-2200 still has the original capacitors, you’d probably want to re-cap it anyway to keep leaky caps from eventually harming the board or internals. Plus, a properly re-capped ‘2200 will play like a new one!

My takeaway?  The RF-2200 is a keeper! I suppose that’s why I even have a spare!

Do you have or would you like an RF-2200? Please comment!


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Bonito tests the SDRplay RSPduo paired with two high-performance antennas

SDRplay RSPduo Antennentest von Bonito

Many thanks to Dennis at Bonito, who notes that he has just tested the SDRplay RSPduo on two of Bonito’s high-performance antennas: the MegaLoop FX and the new MegaDipol MD300DX. Bonito posted a detailed article about this on their website.

Click here to check it out!

SDRPlay RSPduo – Lasst die Spiele beginnen!

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VKS-737 Australian HF Communications services for travellers

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jerome van der Linden, who writes:

At the Adelaide Caravan & Camping Show this last weekend, I picked up a brochure outlining the services of the VKS-737 HF Radio Network operated by a Public Benevolent Institution Established in 1993.

Its mission statement is to provide emergency and general radio communications assistance services to travellers in rural and remote areas of Australia using Base stations located in Adelaide, Alice Springs, Cairns, Carnarvon, Charleville, Charters Towers, Darwin, Derby, Meekatharra, Mount Isa, Newcastle, Perth, Port Hedland, St Marys, and Swan Hill. Some of these stations are Royal Flying Doctor base stations.

The brochure details the Channels / Frequencies used as follows: 1: 5,455kHz; 2: 8,022; 3:11,612; 4: 14,977; 5: 3,995; 6: 6,796, and 7: 10,180kHz

The VKS-737 web site also has an interesting and at times humorous example of a couple of videos showing travellers making use of the system.
https://vks737.radio/how-good-is-hf-radio/

Apparently, apart from licensing requirements, the equipment required is not cheap, being in the order of AU$3,800 to $4,300. I think the equipment is made by Codan. The brochure also makes the point that HF radio can be used for entertainment such as to receive BBC World Service and Radio New Zealand. Clearly, the group is up to date in being aware that Australia’s own short wave broadcasting services are now – regrettably – a non event.

Thank you for sharing this, Jerome! I’ve heard of the VKS-737 service, but did not realize their network was so robust and that it piggybacks on a portion of the Royal Flying Doctor network.

Post readers: Anyone here familiar with the VKS-737 network?  Have you ever used the system  Please comment!

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United Nations: Radio still a powerful worldwide tool for ‘dialogue, tolerance and peace’

Post-earthquake, Ears To Our World radios continue to be a vital link for those in need in Haiti. Here, Erlande, who suffered a stroke in her early 30s and can barely walk, listens to one of our self-powered Etón radios. (Photo: ETOW)

(Source: United Nations News via Mike Hansgen)

“Even in today’s world of digital communications, radio reaches more people than any other media platform” explained the UN chief, adding that it “conveys vital information and raises awareness on important issues”.

“And it is a personal, interactive platform where people can air their views, concerns, and grievances” he added, noting that radio “can create a community”.

UN Radio was established on 13 February 1946, and since 2013, the day has been commemorated to recognize radio as a powerful communication tool and a low-cost medium.

“For the United Nations, especially our peacekeeping operations, radio is a vital way of informing, reuniting and empowering people affected by war”, said Mr. Guterres.

Despite the rise of the internet, many parts of the world, especially remote and vulnerable communities, have no access, making radio broadcasting via transmitters, a vital lifeline. Joining a community of local listeners, also provides a platform for public discussion, irrespective of education levels.

Moreover, it has a strong and specific role in emergency communication and disaster relief.

“On this World Radio Day, let us recognize the power of radio to promote dialogue, tolerance and peace”, concluded the Secretary-General.

Radio still sparking ‘new conversations’

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) underscored “the unique, far-reaching power of radio to broaden our horizons and build more harmonious societies”.

“Radio stations from major international networks to community broadcasters today remember the importance of radio in stimulating public debate, increasing civic engagement and inspiring mutual understanding”, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in her message.

Since its invention as the first wireless communication medium well over a hundred years ago, “radio has sparked new conversations and broadcast new ideas into people’s homes, villages, universities, hospitals and workplaces,” she continued. “To this day, dialogue across the airwaves can offer an antidote to the negativity that sometimes seem to predominate online, which is why UNESCO works across the world to improve the plurality and diversity of radio stations”.

The UNESCO chief pointed out that radio has adapted to 21st century changes and offers new ways to participate in conversations that matter, retaining its role as “one of the most reactive, engaging media there is”, especially for the most disadvantaged.

For example, she flagged that rural women constitute one of the most under-represented groups in the media and are twice as likely as men to be illiterate, “so radio can be a critical lifeline to express themselves and access information”.

Ms. Azoulay made clear that “UNESCO provides support to radio stations in sub-Saharan Africa that enable women to participate in public debate, including on often-neglected issues such as forced marriage, girls’ education or childcare”.

Linguistic diversity, and people’s right to express themselves on-air in their own languages, is also crucial – especially true in 2019 which has been designated by the International Year of Indigenous Languages by the UN.“In former conflict zones, radio can dispel fear and present the human face of former foes”, she elaborated, citing North-West Colombia where community radios are healing old wounds “by highlighting the good deeds of demobilized combatants, such as clearing polluted waterways”.

Around the world, the “inclusion of diverse populations makes societies more resilient, more open and more peaceful”, Ms. Azoulay spelled out.

“The challenges we face – whether they be climate change, conflict or the rise in divisive views – increasingly depend on our ability to speak to each other and find common solutions”, she concluded.

Click here to read this article at the UN News website.

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Book review by Dave Porter: The History of Rugby Radio Station

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Porter (G4OYX), who shares the following:

Enclosed is a book review of a recent one published in the UK.

Click here to download PDF copy of review.

I wrote it for Signal the quarterly journal of the Vintage Military Amateur Radio Society.

I also write a column in Signal called Tricks of the Trade and many of those are here:

https://www.bbceng.info/Technical%20Reviews/tott/tott.htm

There is more about the Rugby book in article ToTT for Signal issue 50.

Thanks so much for sharing this, Dave! Sounds like a fascinating read!

I should also note that you can feel good about your purchase of this book as all proceeds benefit the Air ambulance. Click here to purchase.

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