Author Archives: Thomas

Maarconi Mathaai: A radio-centric teaser trailer

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nithin George, who shares this teaser trailer of an upcoming Malaysian film called “Maarconi Mathaai“:

Click here to view on YouTube.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand the dialog in this trailer, but it certainly appears that Nithin is correct in saying that it’s a “film dedicated to all radio lovers.”

Thanks for sharing this, Nithin!

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Inexpensive wideband amplified mag loop receiving antenna on eBay

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ola, who shares a link to this inexpensive mag loop antenna on eBay.

I have no clue if this antenna performs as well at all, but the price is certainly much lower than its competition at $47.99 US.

It appears you’ll need to supply your own dielectric center support¬† for this loop–a length of PVC would do the trick.

Copycat–?

I don’t like the fact this manufacturer has chosen the name “Mega Loop Active” for their antenna as the name is too similar to Bonito’s “MegaLoop FX Active.” I don’t like the confusion that could create, so I would hope this Chinese manufacturer would change this in time.

To be very clear, this product has no affiliation with Bonito and I certainly would not expect the quality or performance you would get from a Bonito product. Bonito products are pricey, but they’re design and manufactured in Germany and set benchmarks in terms of performance and quality. I’m a big believer in “you pay for what you get.”

I suppose though if you’re just looking for a cheap antenna to test, this one is quite inexpensive. Just know that it is not a Bonito MagaLoop, despite the similarities in product name! ūüôā

Click here to view on eBay.

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Bill recommends Slow Scan Radio

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

I have enjoyed listening to Scow Scan Radio SWL Program.

I used a WebSDR to receive it.

http://www.slowscanradio.com/

But it has been off the air for the past weeks due to some minor health issues. The program was interesting in that besides Slow Scan photos, he also did other digital modes using FLDigi.

Some of the test included multiple digital signals in the same waterfall.

When I went to website today to check to see if there were any updates on when it might return to the air, I discovered that he is doing a podcast: Daily Minutes Podcast. Following is podcast feed:

https://dmpodcast.net/feed/

This podcast is a combination of new items as well as some re-runs of earlier Show Scan Radio programs. They also are a combination of English & Dutch. The June 13 & 14 podcasts are about off-shore radio. Very interesting and enjoyable.

The Jun 12 & 14 podcasts include a re-run of an earlier Slow Scan Radio Show in the last thirty minutes of the podcast.

[The screen shot at the top of the page is a] sample of the start of the digital portion.

Very cool! Thank you for sharing this, Bill!

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The lab599 Discovery TX-500 ruggedized portable QRP transceiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Vlad, who shares some images and a video of a new QRP transceiver in development: the Discovery TX-500 by a company called lab599.

Specifications have not been published yet, but we have confirmed a few details from the manufacturer:

  • 10 watts PEP
  • HF plus 6 meters
  • Weight 570 grams (1.25 pounds)
  • Voltage 9 – 14 VDC
  • 105 milliamps at 13.8 VDC and with backlit display on
  • CAT control via USB and using Kenwood codes
  • I/Q outputs
  • Weatherized
  • Expected availability autumn 2019
  • Target retail price is $700 US
  • Product website is forthcoming

All of the following images came from the Discovery TX-500 gallery on Instagram:

Here are a few videos:

View this post on Instagram

Discovery TX-500, Lab599

A post shared by Laboratory599 (@discovery_tx_500) on

Click here to view on Instagram.

Click here to view on Instagram.

Click here to view on Instagram.

For someone, like me, who loves playing radio in the field (Parks On The Air and Summits On The Air) this looks like an ideal rig. It’s one of the only ham radio transceivers I’ve seen that is weatherized to some degree (how much, we don’t know yet).

I don’t see a speaker on the TX-500, so I’m guessing it might require a mic/speaker combo or an external speaker of some sort? I also don’t see a built-in ATU, but at $700, I certainly wouldn’t expect one.

With a power consumption of 110 milliamps at 13.8 VDC, this little transceiver should run for ages on a modest battery pack.

This is certainly a fascinating prototype QRP transceiver. If the Discovery TX-500 transceiver can be produced and marketed at $700 with all of the features mentioned so far, it should certainly fly off the shelves. They can certainly take my money!

Of course, I will plan to grab one of these for review. I’m also eager to see how this little SDR transceiver might perform on the broadcast bands.

We will post post TX-500 updates and details as they become available. Bookmark the tag Discovery TX-500 and stay tuned!


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New Raspberry Pi 4: Faster CPU, Dual Monitors, Gigabit Ethernet and up to 4 GB of RAM

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Srebnick, who notes that the Raspberry Pi 4 mini computer was unveiled this morning by the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

This model has a number of upgrades we’ve all been waiting for:

I love the Raspberry Pi and own a number of models that I’ve employed in various projects. For example:

What excites me most about the Raspberry Pi 4 is the improved processor speed and larger allotment of RAM (up to 4 GB). This could make the Pi a more effective stand-alone or portable SDR station. The dual monitor capability could also be a big bonus. And, of course, GigaBit ethernet speeds will help make the Pi a better/faster connected device.

When the Raspberry Pi 3B+ was introduced last year, I hesitated one day and had to wait weeks for the second shipment. Not this time! I purchased two 4GB units (in two different shipments as most suppliers have a maximum of one per customer) and hope to receive them by mid-July.

If you’re interested in pre-ordering the Raspberry Pi 4, check out the Raspberry Pi Foundation website for recommended resellers.

Do you plan to grab a Pi 4? Would you like to share a recent project with us? Please comment!

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