Author Archives: Thomas

Photo gallery of the Rampisham Down transmitting site in 2003

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Porter, who shares a link to the following site which contains an extensive galley of photos taken at the Rampisham HF transmitting site on October 11, 2003.

Click here to view the gallery.

Thank you for the tip, Dave!

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Video: Thomas (N1SPY) takes a look at a “Future QST” magazine dated April 2041

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ivan Cholakov, who writes:

Hello Thomas,

Something entertaining – Thomas, N1SPY got his hands on a QST Magazine dated April 2041 if you can believe it! So he shared some of the stories in the magazine in a video and also attached the magazine to this email. I found some of the ideas in the magazine very entertaining.

There is also a story specifically regarding the golden years of shortwave listening – I really wish the “real” shortwave archive described in the magazine becomes reality one day!

The introductory video is here and the pdf magazine is attached.

Click here to download the “2041 QST” as a PDF (6.4 MB).

This is hilarious! Thank you for sharing Ivan and Thomas!

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Radio Bulgaria celebrates 85th anniversary

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Iurescia (LW4DAF), who shares the following feature from Radio Bulgaria who celebrates their 85th anniversary:

Speaking your language for 85 years

2021 marks the 85th anniversary of the Bulgarian National Radio’s foreign language service to the world. It all began on 16 February, 1936. One year after the Bulgarian radio was officially launched, what is now Radio Bulgaria went on the air. It was a Sunday when Radio Sofia’s full morning programme was launched, to reach Europe, North America and North Africa.

Now, 85 years later, Radio Bulgaria is still talking to the world about the country in English, German, French, Spanish, Russian, Serbian, Greek, Albanian, Turkish and Bulgarian.

Our special feature presents intriguing facts from the history of Radio Bulgaria, its golden voices, as well as reminiscences from the people who have worked at Radio Bulgaria through the years.

Click here to view Radio Bulgaria’s feature articles.

Thank you for the tip, David. This article reminded me to listen, once again, to the final shortwave broadcast of Radio Bulgaria. Seems like yesterday!

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Chuck’s re-capped GE Superadio II might set a new AM BCL benchmark

I recently took delivery of a better-than-new classic solid-state portable broadcast receiver: the venerable GE Superadio II.

This Superadio II was generously given to me by SWLing Post contributor, Chuck Rippel (K8HU), who has–in his spare time–been re-capping and restoring all three of the GE Superadio series models and bringing them back to life. Chuck wanted to send me one of the units he’d recently finished, knowing that it might help me when doing AM reception evaluations. He insisted “no strings attached.”

Besides thank you, all I can say is…

Wow–!

Note angels singing in the background.

When I received the Superadio II a week or so ago, I removed it from the box and it looked brand new; even sporting the original “Headset Capable” grill sticker.

This is a case, however, of a refurbished radio likely out-performing the original.  Here’s a list of the main modifications:

  • All of the original dry capacitors replaced with Nichicon Audio Grade components
  • FM AFC and AM and FM IF and RF sections have been aligned
  • Rebuilt the volume control

I’m sure there are other modifications Chuck didn’t mention.

Chuck told me each radio takes a full day to restore. Some of the alignment, rebuilding, and re-capping is surprisingly tricky and varies with each of the three models. Why is he doing this?

Chuck told me, “My enjoyment comes from giving these radios a new lease on life.”

A new lease on life, indeed!

Last weekend, we had a break in the weather–and I had a short break in my schedule–so I took the GE Superadio II, GE 7-2990A, C.Crane CCRadio3, and Panasonic RF-2200 outdoors for some fresh air.

It was late afternoon and, frankly, I didn’t have the time to do a full comparative session, but having spent the better part of an hour tuning around and comparing the characteristics of each radio, I decided to make a short video to share.

The video features the GE Superadio II, but I speak to some of the pros and cons of each model. Keep in mind, this is very much a casual/informal comparison:

Click here to view on YouTube.

The SR-II not only has the best audio fidelity in this bunch, but it’s also extremely stable and has no noise floor to speak of. No doubt, this is the result of those Nichicon Audio Grade components and a skilled technician.

Side note: Chuck is well-known in the radio world because he used to restore the Collins R390A which must be one of the most mechanically-complicated receivers ever made.

I haven’t even properly tested the SR-II on FM yet because I couldn’t pull myself away from the mediumwave dial that afternoon!

I asked Chuck if he would consider refurbishing GE Superadios for other people and I think he would.  If interested, contact me and I’ll put you in touch. Else, Chuck might leave details in the comments section of this post.

He does currently have a restored GE Superadio II on eBay. I just checked and in his listing, you’ll see a full description of the modifications made.

Click here to view on eBay.

Chuck, thank you once again for sending me this SR-II. It’ll become a permanent addition here at SWLing Post HQ. Again, I’m simply amazed at the audio fidelity of this 1980s era receiver. Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything made today that can even compare.

And thanks for doing your bit to refurbish these classic portables!

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Radio Waves: Australian Radio Stations Blocked on FB, Boomer Radio, Friedrichshafen 2021 Maybe a Go, and Ultra-Low Radio Frequencies Reveal Universe of Black Holes

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors William Lee, Sheldon Harvey, and Paul Webster for the following tips:


[Australian] Radio stations blocked from Facebook (RadioInfo)

Facebook has carried out its threat to remove news posts from its platform in response to the Australian Government’s mandatory bargaining code for digital media giants.

In a Faceboook post William Easton, Managing Director, Facebook Australia & New Zealand said:

In response to Australia’s proposed new Media Bargaining law, Facebook will restrict publishers and people in Australia from sharing or viewing Australian and international news content.

The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content. It has left us facing a stark choice: attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship, or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.

Facebook has deemed radio stations as news publishers, along with newspapers and tv stations.

A check of radio facebook sites this morning shows most no longer contain any new content, with a message saying “no posts yet” on each page. All previous content also seems to have also disappeared.

When we checked shared posts to radio websites, the links were broken.

Read more at: https://radioinfo.com.au/news/radio-stations-blocked-facebook © Radioinfo.com.au

Meet the boomers taking on the BBC and launching a radio station for their generation (The Telegraph)

Baby boomers have found themselves increasingly dismayed when tuning into BBC Radio 2, the station that used to be theirs of choice. Time was when Terry Wogan would greet them in the morning with music from the likes of the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Queen. But Wogan gave way to Chris Evans, who in turn has passed the mic to Zoe Ball. And with each generation, there has been a change in sensibility. This month, the logic behind the move emerged: Radio 2 is trying to target ‘Mood Mums’, lower-income women in their 30s.

“Their playlist is full of Dua Lipa and Ariana Grande,” says David Symonds, 77, who is, incidentally, my grandfather. “I don’t want to listen to Justin Bieber, thank you very much. There’s a gap in the market left by Radio 2 in its continuous pursuit of youth.”

He has never been one to hold his tongue and his criticisms of Radio 2 are biting. “It is now full of D-list TV celebs who know nothing about music at all,” he continues. “Rylan Clark-Neal, for f**** sake, was a contestant on The X Factor singing badly, and now he’s everywhere.”

Grandad has been out of the radio establishment for decades – he was one of the original Radio 1 DJs and helped launch Capital Radio, but left the UK in 1995 to set up his own stations in Cyprus (Limassol FM) and then France (The Roolz). Then he received a call from fellow radio veteran David Lloyd asking if he wanted to be one of the first presenters on a new British station: Boom Radio.[]

Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen, Germany, Tentatively on for 2021 (ARRL News)

Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen, Germany, was canceled last year because of the pandemic. Organizers for Europe’s International Amateur Radio Exhibition this week expressed optimism that the 45th Ham Radio, sponsored by the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC), will be able to take place June 25 – 27.

“We are watching the situation closely, of course,” a message from Friedrichshafen Fairgrounds CEO Klaus Wellmann said. “At the moment, we are assuming that we will be able to hold Ham Radio in accordance with an extensive, tried-and-proven safety and hygiene concept and are looking forward to seeing everyone again at Europe’s most important trade fair for amateur radio.” []

A starry sky made of more than 25,000 supermassive black holes (Astron)

An international team of astronomers has produced the largest and sharpest map of the sky at ultra-low radio frequencies, using the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) radio telescope. The map published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics reveals more than 25,000 active supermassive black holes in distant galaxies.

At a first glance, the map looks like an image of a starry night sky. However, the map is based on data taken by LOFAR and shows the sky in the radio band. Stars are almost invisible in the radio band, but instead black holes dominate the picture. With this map, astronomers seek to discover celestial objects that only emit waves at ultra-low radio frequencies. Such objects include diffuse matter in the large scale structure of the Universe, fading jets of plasma ejected by supermassive black holes, and exoplanets whose magnetic fields are interacting with their host stars. Albeit among the largest of its kind, the published map only shows two percent of the sky. The search for these exotic phenomena will continue for several years until a map of the entire northern sky will be completed.

The radio waves received by LOFAR and used for this work are up to six meters long which corresponds to a frequency of around 50 MHz. They are the longest radio waves ever used to observe such a wide area of the sky at this depth. “The map is the result of many years of work on incredibly difficult data. We had to invent new strategies to convert the radio signals into images of the sky, but we are proud to have opened this new window on our Universe.”, says Francesco de Gasperin, scientist at the Hamburg Observatory and leading author of the publication.

There is a reason why the Universe at these long radio wavelengths is almost uncharted: such observations are very challenging. The ionosphere, a layer of free electrons that surrounds the Earth, acts as a lens continuously moving over the radio telescope. The effect of the ionosphere can be compared to trying to see the world while being submerged in a swimming pool. Looking upwards, the waves on the water bend the light rays and distort the view. To account for ionospheric disturbances, the scientists used supercomputers and new algorithms to reconstruct its effect every four seconds over the course of 256 hours of observation.[]


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Dan receives his new Sangean ATS-909X2

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, DanH, who writes:

Thomas,

My Sangean ATS-909X2 arrived in excellent condition late this Friday afternoon. I will enjoy a shortwave session with the radio this evening and early next morning. Other than setting the clock to UTC and tuning in XEPPM Radio Educacion in Mexico City I haven’t spent much time with it yet. This 909X2 was purchased from Amazon in the USA and is a retail production model distributed by Sangean USA. I will check-in on Sunday night to share some early impressions.

DanH

Many thanks, Dan! We look forward to your impressions and evaluation!

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