Author Archives: Thomas

Initial impressions of the ALT-512 QRP transceiver

So the ALT-512 QRP SDR transceiver has landed at SWLing Post HQ. This little rig is on loan from Aerial-51 and I’ll be spending the next month or so putting it through the paces.

I can already tell that the ALT-512 has some strong points:

  • It’s incredibly portable and easy to take to the field, providing you have a battery and resonant antenna (or external ATU).
  • The color backlit display is quite readable at any angle despite being rather information-dense.
  • I really like the waterfall display. It’s large enough to be quite useful.
  • The ALT-512 can connect directly to your computer for digital modes like FT-8. No external sound card needed.
  • The menu system contains a wide array of features and options for granular tweaks and modifications.
  • The ALT-512 includes the European 4 meter band.
  • Although I prefer using headphones with small radios, the ALT-512’s small internal speaker does a fine job.
  • Rob Sherwood tested the ALT-512 (indeed, this very unit) recently and added it to his receiver test data. It performed quite well especially considering the price.

Any negatives so far?  Nothing major:

  • No internal ATU or battery options. At this price point (799 EUR), I wouldn’t expect either of these.
  • The ALT-512 is not general coverage. This is a negative for those of us who like SWLing, but a positive for ham radio use as the ALT-512 sports band-specific bandpass filters to reject out-of-band strong stations. You can tune to some stations above the 40M band and also the full mediumwave band and below (down to 100 kHz), although I wouldn’t expect stellar performance in those regions.

So far, I’m very pleased with the ALT-512’s performance.

Next, I’ll be taking it to the field and see how easily I can activate a few POTA (Parks On The Air) sites! Stay tuned!

Click here to check out the ALT-512 at Aerial-51.

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Giuseppe captures LRA36 special on the coast of Italy with a portable receiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW), who writes:

Giuseppe Morlè

I’m Giuseppe Morlè from Formia, Italy, on the Tyrrhenian Sea … I had the pleasure of listening to the transmission of LRA36 Base Esperanza Antartida Argentina on 15,476 MHz on 21 September 2019 at 14.01 UTC.

I used a 25 meter wire, on the ground, with salt water resistance in a SSW direction that I have been using for years … similar to a “beverage on salt ground”.

I made the following video of the broadcast on my YouTube channel:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Wow! Giuseppe I am most impressed with your reception of the elusive LRA36. No doubt, this is testament to the power of combining a low noise environment, a capable shortwave receiver, and a longwire on a salt ground.


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Dan records the LRA36 special broadcast

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who writes:

As the DX/SWL community knows, LRA-36 Radio Arcangel San Gabriel in Antarctica Argentina put on a special broadcast on September 21st for listeners around the world. This had some pre-publicity via an announcement from the station, so chances are many people heard it.

My listening began at around 1253 UTC when I was surprised to find the broadcast already in progress, though the time was originally set for 1300-1415 UTC. Because the Paradinho, Brazil Kiwi site was full I tuned to one of two Iceland-based SDRs at 1253 to find an Argentine song often used by the station in progress, then sign on announcements, including what sounded like English greetings to listeners, followed by a program that consisted mostly of two female announcers in conversation, punctuated by occasional drop-ins by a male announcer with ID’s and sending “abrazos” (embraces/hugs) to listeners.

At 1400 UTC, there was a period of CW ID followed by some more discussion until about 1415 when they went into straight music. Programming actually lasted through 1430 when I tuned away — the transmitter was not on when I checked at noon EDT, but the station said they intended to repeat the special program later in the day. Here is video of the beginning of the program as heard at 1253 UTC, as well as the CW ID at 1400.

Click here to watch/listen via Vimeo.

Excellent! Thank you, Dan for sharing your recording.

I also made a recording remotely via my home SDR while travelling this weekend. I’ll review the recording the coming days.

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WMR QSL card surprises Dan

May thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Srebnick, who writes:

Unexpected SWBC QSL in the mail today [see above], the first in years.  World Music Radio 5815 kHz (7 kw) for a May 2004 report! Interestingly, mailed from Andorra where the EDXC meeting was just held.

Wow! A 5,588 day turn-around! As they say, “better late than never!” Thank you for sharing, Dan.

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Glenn Hauser’s World of Radio reaches a milestone

Glenn Hauser’s World of Radio will air episode 2,000 this weekend.

The thirty minute World Of Radio show, which covers all things DX, debuted in 1980 on WUOT-FM in Knoxville, Tennessee, and moved to shortwave outlets two years later. Glenn Hauser has faithfully produced the show since then.

SWLing Post Executive Producer, Scott Gamble, contacted me recently and wrote:

In 1980 I was a freshman in high school when my parents gave me a shortwave radio for Christmas. This was during the heyday of international broadcasting, and it opened up an entire world of content that my teenage brain was excited to soak up. I’m not sure exactly when and where, but I soon after stumbled across Glenn Hauser’s World of Radio program immediately became a fan. Glenn’s unmistakable style and ability to jam so much news into a short broadcast provided a wealth of programming information in an era where access was nowhere near as ubiquitous as it is today. Glenn’s weekly broadcasts kept us all informed about schedules and content, and shortly after I became a subscriber to his Review of International Broadcasting publication. RIB provided a fascinating deeper dive into programming, politics and people behind the broadcasts, forever expanding my worldview and I’m sure thousands of others.

Writing about this in 2019, on the eve of the 2,000th episode of World of Radio, it is a testament to Glenn that his work has evolved so well into the digital age, and shows that even in a world where unlimited information is constantly available via the internet, curation and expert commentary are still highly valuable commodities. I still enjoy listening to WOR (as a podcast) every week. Congratulations, Glenn!

Thank you for sharing that memory with us, Scott. I also started listening to World of Radio in my youth. In the 1980s, I had no friends that were into shortwave listening and didn’t have the means to join any of the listener clubs, so World of Radio was my window into all that was DXing.

Share your WOR memories and comments to win an Eton Mini!

If you comment with a memory or positive message about World of Radio, you will be entered in a contest to win a Grundig Edition Eton Mini shortwave receiver. I will pick a commenter at random next Friday (September 27, 2019) and ship them their prize! (Congrats to Robert Graham who won our last giveaway).

This prize was donated by the good folks at Universal Radio.

The giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere in the world (although if international, you may be responsible for any duties/taxes paid in customs clearance).

Good luck and congratulations to Glenn Hauser and his World of Radio!


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