Category Archives: Accessories

Using A Mixing Console in the Radio Shack

As a result of numerous responses to another video I posted on my YouTube channel a few weeks ago, I have now prepared a video that gives you a detailed look at using the Behringer Xenyx Q802 USB mixing console.

The unit is wired up to four receivers, then sent off to a pair of powered speakers. I cover how the mixer is connected to the radios and the speakers, explain the various controls available to the shortwave radio listener and amateur radio operator, the advantages of using this system in the radio shack, and offer a few tips when buying a mixing console such as this Behringer unit.

If you have a few receivers kicking around in your radio shack, this is one way to hook them all together and send their audio on to your favourite monitoring speakers. Thanks for taking the time to watch this little video. As always, comments and feedback are most welcome.

 

73 and good DX to you all,

Rob Wagner VK3BVW

Rob Wagner, VK3BVW, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. He also blogs at the Mount Evelyn DX Report. He also has a grab bag of assorted radio videos to check out at his YouTube Channel.

Lunch with a friend (and a hearty side of enabling)

That’s BJ on the left and me on the right at our favorite burrito joint.

A few weeks ago, I had lunch with my good friend, BJ Leiderman.  If you ever listen to public radio programming, especially NPR, you’ve probably heard BJ’s name.

BJ is a musician, singer, and composer, and has written the bulk of the theme music you hear on National Public Radio (NPR). His music is hard to get out of your head. Every time I listen to NPR shows like Marketplace, Morning Edition, Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, Car Talk, or Science Friday, I hear BJ’s catchy tunes.

Moreover, BJ is an awesome fellow.  But it’s dangerous hanging with him because he’s also…well, an enabler, when it comes to sound gear.

Often, when we hang out, I walk away from the meet-up with a new app, a new song in my head, or the sudden need for a new piece of kit.

Friday was a prime example.  You may notice that I’m wearing headphones in the photo at the top of the page. Here’s how this played out…

BJ asked if I had seen one of his latest animated music videos–one that is was featured on his new album, “BJ.”  Instead of simply showing the video to me on his phone and/or playing the music through his iPhone’s speaker, BJ ran to his car and came back with a set of Bose Quiet Comfort 35 Noise-Cancelling headphones, then handed me his phone with the video queued up.

We were in a crowded, noisy restaurant during the lunch hour, but when I put on the headphones, all ambient sounds were instantly and utterly squelched. As his video played, it sounded like I was sitting in a recording studio listening to monitors. Absolutely phenomenal.

The headphone’s noise-cancelling technology is so good, in fact, I could barely hear my own voice as I spoke.

The audio fidelity was spot-on, too––there’s a nice balance from bass to treble.  Though I’m sure your audio player’s EQ could customize this.

I walk around all of the time with a cheap pair of in-ear headphones in my pocket for use with my phone, radios, or simply to decrease ambient noise while I’m trying to work or sleep.

Here’s the video BJ shared, by the way:

Click here to view on YouTube.

BJ, being the cool and compassionate character he is, had this fun song animated by young adult artists with autism at Exceptional Minds Animation Studios in LA, with the support of Howard Hoffman. 

In real life, his dog Maizey is a sweetheart, and certainly BJ’s fuzzy brown soulmate.

You can check out BJ’s album on his website, and if you like it, there are a number of ways you can purchase both digital and physical copies. Click here to buy a copy.

And BJ, if you’re reading this––thanks a lot for spending $300 of my hard-earned cash on headphones.

And I get accused of enabling––?  Karma, I guess.

DXtreme Monitor Log 11

Many thanks to SWLing Post sponsor, Bob Raymond with DXtreme Software, for sharing the following press release:


Product Announcement: DXtreme Monitor Log 11™

DXtreme Software™ has released a new version of its popular logging program for radio monitoring enthusiasts: DXtreme Monitor Log 11.

Monitor Log 11 lets listeners and DXers log the stations they’ve heard using advanced features that can enhance their monitoring experience.

Finding Broadcast Stations to Monitor

The Schedule Checker™ lets users import schedules from Aoki, EiBi, and FCC AM web sites and display schedule data according to the filter criteria they specify. A list box lets users switch between schedule types, and depending on the schedule type selected, users can filter schedule information by band, frequency, station, country, city, state, time of day, language, antenna direction, and target area.

When the What’s On Now? function is activated, the schedule refreshes automatically at the top of each hour for Aoki and EiBi schedules.

For each schedule item, Schedule Checker queries the Monitor Log 11 database to let users know – through user-defined, foreground and background display colors – whether they need to monitor a station for a brand-new or verified country. Schedule Checker also displays bearing and distance, runs optional Afreet Ham CAP1 propagation predictions, draws optional Afreet DX Atlas2 azimuth plots, tunes supported radios to schedule frequencies when users double-click schedule items3 4 5, and starts log entries for scheduled stations monitored.

Finding Amateur Radio Stations to Monitor

Monitor Log 11 integrates with optional Afreet Band Master6 to let users see, on its graphical interface, where hams are operating. Monitor Log 11 supplies Band Master with an Entity Needed List based on the user’s Monitor Log database, making it possible for Band Master to indicate the stations whose entities (countries) users need to monitor. When invoking Band Master, users can select an Entity Needed List for all bands or individually for the 160- through 6-Meter bands.

Finding Utility Stations to Monitor

A Links menu provides convenient access to user-specified blogs and web sites that can inform users as to where utility and other stations may be operating.
Logging Stations

Monitor Log 11 lets users log all kinds of stations — radio stations, television stations, broadcast stations, Amateur Radio stations, utility stations, military stations, and more! And it lets them log stations across the radio spectrum — from long wave, to medium wave, to short wave, and beyond.

The Last Log Entries Grid on the Monitor Log window shows up to 5000 of the most recent log entries added. Its records can be sorted, and double-clicking records displays detailed data on the Monitor Log window. Users can resize the grid columns and scroll horizontally to columns that do not appear initially. And because the names of stations and NASWA countries can be quite long, users can also display a larger, resizable Last Log Entries window. A Properties window lets users change the order of columns, the number of log entries to display, and the font and color attributes of grids and other program components, such as the Content Editor for describing the content monitored, the Script Editor for creating and editing scripts, the Direct Tune interface for tuning radios, and the Comments tab for typing ad hoc comments.

Reporting Reception

Users can create customized paper and e-mail reception reports for sending to stations plus club report entries for reporting catches to clubs and magazines.

When users add or display a log entry, Monitor Log 11 prepares a post announcing their DX catch and displays it on the Social Media Post tab. From there, users can drag the post to their favorite social media web sites to share their catch with others.

Using the Script Editor window, users can create and edit scripts that format reception reports, eReports, and social media posts to their liking. The software prompts users to select the script they want to use. Dozens of scripts come with Monitor Log 11.

Users can also print SWL and Address labels on industry-standard label stock, and send eQSL requests to hams automatically through the popular www.eQSL.cc site.

Imaging

Improv Imaging™ lets users associate ad hoc images with log entries using Capture, Scan, and Clipboard functions. Captures of stations received on digital applications, waterfall displays, facsimile and Amateur TV pictures are popular. The Improv Imaging tab and Application let users view images anytime, and an Improv Image Explorer lets them peruse their entire collection and display associated log entries.

QSL Imaging™ functions the same as Improv Imaging, but specializes in associating QSL cards and eQSLs with log entries.

Other Features

Rig Control — Retrieves the frequency and mode from supported radios and permits tuning from the Schedule Checker and Direct Tune interface. Rig control is provided through integration with Afreet Omni-Rig and the SDR applications listed on our web site, currently HDSDR4 (High Definition Software Defined Radio) and SDR Console5.

Audio Archiving — An embedded Audio facility lets users maintain an audio archive of stations heard.

Reporting — Produces Performance, Stations, and Log Entry reports that track the performance and progress of the user’s monitoring station. The software lets users FTP those reports to user-provided Web space for remote access. Some reports integrate with Afreet DX Atlas to generate pin maps.

Documentation — Context-sensitive Procedural Help, Field Help, and Microhelp are accessible per window to provide instructions quickly. A web-based Information Center is accessible from the Help menu for late-breaking assistance, and Installation Instructions and a Getting Started Guide are delivered in PDF format with the software.

Operating Systems, Pricing, Contact Information

DXtreme Monitor Log 11 runs in 32- and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. It retails for $89.99 USD worldwide for electronic distribution. Pricing for CD versions and upgrading users is available on our Web site. All prices include product support by Internet e-mail. For more information, visit www.dxtreme.com or contact Bob Raymond at bobraymond@dxtreme.com.

1 — Licenses for Afreet Ham CAP and Omni-Rig are required to use Ham CAP.
2 — A license for Afreet DX Atlas is required to perform plots and create pin reports.
3 — A license for Afreet Omni-Rig is required to use rig control with radios supported by Omni-Rig.
4 — Can be used for rig control. HDSDR is owned by Mario Taeubel. Refer to http://www.hdsdr.de/index.html for more information.
5 — Can be used for rig control. SDR Console is owned by Simon Brown, G4ELI. Refer to http://www.sdr-radio.com for more information.
?6 — A license for Afreet Band Master is required to use Band Master.

Click here to download a PDF of this press release.

A review of the W4OP portable magnetic loop antenna

The following review first appeared in the August 2017 issue of The Spectrum Monitor magazine.


The W4OP Magnetic Loop Antenna (Photo Credit: LnR Precision)

What can one say about portable antennas? They’re up, they’re down, they’re basic in design:  they either work for an intended purpose or they don’t.  But, I wondered, could they provide their service easily and conveniently, even in the field?

Last year, I decided to purchase a portable field antenna, and at the Dayton Hamvention I became the owner of the three-band (40/20/10) EFT Trail-Friendly antenna from LnR Precision.

Then, I caught a bug: the National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) bug. And, wow, I caught it in a bad way…! Having activated seven sites during the 2016 Dayton Hamvention with my buddy Eric McFadden (WD8RIF), I found NPOTA the perfect excuse to play radio outdoors. Last year, from August to December, I activated all but that initial seven of my ninety-one NPOTA park activations. All of these activations were QRP and all of them were “field” activations; meaning, I set up my field antenna each time; no activations were made with a mobile (vehicle) HF installation.  And I made 85% of all of my activations using LNR’s EFT Trail-Friendly antenna.

The EFT Trail-Friendly antenna is incredibly compact and quite easy to deploy.

The EFT Trail-Friendly antenna is end-fed and requires some sort of support system to raise the end of the 33’ radiator. Most of the time, I simply hung the lightweight EFT from a sturdy tree branch. On a few occasions, I hung the end on a 31’ or 22’ fiberglass telescoping pole. I was altogether pleased with its performance; indeed, I can’t recommend it enough for someone who wishes to have a simple, roll-up, resonant antenna for QRP field work. But it does have one limitation: it requires that source of external support, which I worried could undermine some NPOTA activations.

In December 2016, my buddy Eric (WD8RIF) and I organized a mini NPOTA DXpedition in Ohio.  I decided that en route to Ohio, I’d make a run through West Virginia and activate some relatively rare parks along West Virginia’s mighty river gorges.

Eric had made the same activation run earlier that year, and had advised me that when I seek permission to activate these parks, I would be asked to apply for and pay at least one, sometimes more, “special use permit” fees merely to drape the lightweight EFT antenna over a tree branch or to stake a fiberglass support pole in the ground. Even if my equipment is less invasive in the great outdoors than the poles and stakes of a basic pup tent, I understood US park trees and shrubs can be delicate, rare, or endangered, and even park soil can be, for example, geologically or archaeologically sensitive, so of course I didn’t want a mere antenna to bring about any harm––however minor––to the parks I was enjoying.

Eric had simplified this step by strapping a fiberglass pole antenna to his vehicle, thus avoiding either penetrating the ground or using park vegetation as a support.  So as not to potentially harm sensitive park environs, nor be obliged to hop through time-consuming (and expensive) administrative hoops, I decided I would adopt an option similar to Eric: I would use a portable antenna that could stand on its own, thus not requiring external support from park property.

Enter the W4OP magnetic loop antenna

LnR precision had only a few weeks before announced their new portable, self-supporting, magnetic loop antenna: the W4OP loop ($329.99 US).

I contacted LnR in November to tell them about my upcoming December NPOTA DXpedition, and inquired whether they thought the W4OP loop would be a good fit? They responded by sending me a loaner unit to both use and review. After all, what better way to evaluate an antenna than by using it in the field?  I said I’d be happy to give it a test drive.

The W4OP loop arrived in early December, about one week before my trip.

Contents of the loop package are straightforward:

  • The main loop assembly and support
  • The coupling loop assembly and clamp
  • The tuning box
  • The support feet assembly
  • An owner’s manual

The main radiator is a sturdy, flexible-yet-rigid shielded cable. The tuning box is a heavy PVC box, and the tuning knob has an appropriate amount of brake and drives a 6:1 reduction drive on the tuning capacitor.  

The overall package feels well-built and of very decent quality. The only piece of the equipment package I didn’t like are the four support feet: these feet attach to the bottom of the tuning box with red thumb screws, a very basic way of supporting the unit, since the red screws are challenging to tighten and almost any movement from the feet loosens the screws.  Since my review, however, LnR has designed a tripod mount for the W4OP loop which promises to make it much, much easier to deploy this antenna in the field. With the tripod mount, one would only need to pack a sturdy (camera) tripod, and then toss out the included stabilizing feet.

The manual is fairly simple and concise, but certainly provides enough information to get you on the air in short order.

On the air with NPOTA

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I was something of a newbie when it comes to passive mag loop antennas. I’ve used a number of wideband mag loops over the years––receive-only versions, to be precise––but had never used one specifically designed for amateur radio transmitting.

My first proper NPOTA activation using the loop was on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Folk Art Center in the mountains of western North Carolina. The loop operates best when raised off the ground and sitting on a dielectric base.

Having no tripod mount at that point, I simply sat the antenna on a plastic storage bin which sat on top of a picnic table where I operated. It’s not ideal to be so close to the antenna, of course, but I thought I’d give it a go.

And go I did.  What truly surprised me was how many contacts I racked up in relatively short order on the twenty and forty meter bands using SSB at QRP levels. I’ve always been a wire antenna guy in the field who believed in getting antennas up as high as possible; it still blows my mind that an antenna so compact, in such a compromised position, could rack up the contacts thousands of miles away.

This first activation was the only chance I had to properly learn the dos and don’ts of this antenna before I had to deploy it in the field on my river run through West Virginia. There, I simply didn’t have the time to worry about the process. I did take a few notes, however:

  • The W4OP loop is high gain and very narrow band; if you move off frequency even a few kHz, you’ll certainly need to re-tune;
  • The bandwidth is so narrow that, if you’re turning the capacitor too quickly in the field–especially in windy conditions– you’ll miss hearing the audio level increase when you make the loop resonant;
  • Sometimes being near the loop while tuning the capacitor can affect the results;
  • Loop antennas are not terribly practical for hunting and scanning for DX across the bands due to frequent re-tuning;
  • For NPOTA or SOTA type activations where you operate on one frequency, the loop performance is downright amazing!

Mini DXpedition

My excursion into the three river gorges of West Virginia––the Bluestone, New River and Gauley––took an amazing amount of planning for such a short trip. Firstly, I only had a limited amount of time to activate each site, yet these were rare sites and I wanted to log as many stations as possible at each site. Secondly, I had to announce my activation times and frequencies well in advance so chasers could find and spot me. Also, I knew a number of west coast chasers who really needed one or more of these sites, so had to plot on-air times to maximize 20 meter propagation. Finally, an actual valid activation site has a lot of requirements and is not easy to find on a map!

Surprise snow started falling well before I even entered West Virginia that morning.

And––oh, yes––the weather was really dodgy.

As soon as I hit the West Virginia state line on I-77, the snow started in earnest. Despite being from the southeast, I’ve no fear of driving in snow, but this was a bit unexpected and no roads had been prepared in advance. Also, I was driving into some pretty remote areas with my least snow-capable vehicle: a minivan. The snow was bad enough that I knew I would not attempt to activate the New River Gorge at the site I originally planned, which required negotiating a very long, steep, and winding road deep into the gorge. Instead, Eric advised me of another New River site option that was more easily accessed. I readily took him up on his suggestion.

And it was at the alternate New River site where the loop antenna truly saved the activation.

The activation site was essentially a one-car off-pavement parking spot next to a river access for small boats. Space was tight, but plenty big for the loop antenna.

It was about 20F with sharp wind, and spitting snow; wind gusts were high. I set up two plastic storage bins with the W4OP antenna on top, only about four feet off the ground; fortunately it did not blow over. I tuned the loop quickly to my pre-announced frequency of 14.312 MHz. I made a couple of calls, was answered by a chaser who spotted me…and whoosh! In less than an hour, as I sat there in the freezing wind, I worked 70+ chasers with 15 watts SSB with my Elecraft KX3. It was exhilarating.

As I packed up my station to move to the next site, I quickly scanned over my log sheet: I found I had worked much of the east coast of North America, almost all of the west coast states, several Canadian provinces, Italy, Slovakia and Croatia.  All with this incredibly modest antenna.

Weather was much better in the New River gorge.

Signal reports were averaging about S7.

Of course, I was a DX target, which, as any ham will tell you, gives you an automatic 30 dB of gain! Still, people could hear me clearly even though I was at a fairly low elevation in a gorge.

Impressive.  I was really beginning to appreciate this antenna.

Problems at Gauley River

My next destination, the Gauley River, was about a seventy-minute drive from the New River and at a much higher altitude. The light rain turned into snow again accompanied by more very strong winds. I was really feeling chuffed about the easy loop setup ahead of me at the site.

 

After arriving on site, I set up the loop quickly, my Elecraft KX3 quickly followed, and started the tuning process. Unfortunately, I could not get the antenna to find a match on the 20 meter band. No doubt, the cold, the wind, my frozen hands, and a desire to stay on the tight schedule all influenced my ability to tune the antenna.

After ten minutes of trying to tune the loop, I initiated Plan B, pulling out the trusty EFT Trail-Friendly antenna and launching it into a nearby tree. The EFT didn’t fail me: once I was on the air, I worked almost 100 stations in a little over one hour.

I felt a little badly about hanging an antenna in a tree limb since I did not seek permission from the NPS in advance. Still, I was the only person at the park that day. No one in their right mind would have been hanging out by the roadside, save your author. I took comfort in the fact that the mature tree that aided me was entirely unharmed, and by the fact that not only do I strictly adhere to the Leave No Trace philosophy, I also clean up other visitors’  trash in the vicinity of all of my activation areas, as a means of honoring the park. I don’t think even the CSI would be able to find evidence of my activation.

Back to the loop.  When I finally arrived at the QTH of my buddy, Eric, we took the loop out and he hooked his antenna analyser up to it. Again, we were not able to get the excellent match I had on 20 meters earlier that day at the New River. Eric and I both assumed (incorrectly, it turns out) that something had happened to the capacitor inside the tuning box.

Once I returned home, I called Larry with LnR and described what was happening. He quickly identified the problem: the coupling loop wasn’t positioned and clamped correctly. Whoops…I should have considered that.  Once I adjusted the coupling loop an inch or so, it worked fine again.

Summary

Every radio, accessory, and antenna has its pros and cons. When I begin a review of a product, I take notes from the very beginning so that I don’t forget some of my initial impressions. Here is the list I formed over the time I’ve spent evaluating the W4OP.

Note that, since this was my first proper experience with a loop antenna for QRP operations, many of these items are indicative of loops in general, not just the W4OP.

Pros:

  • Excellent build quality and overall value
  • Excellent gain when tuned to a frequency (see bandwidth con)
  • Overall impressive performance in the field and super fast and simple setup
  • Excellent choice for those living in high-density neighborhoods with antenna restrictions
  • LnR telephone customer support is excellent

Cons:

  • Bandwidth is very narrow and the loop requires re-tuning on frequency changes (see gain pro)
  • Supplied support feet are very basic; splurge for the new tripod mount
  • Not always convenient and accessible to tune the antenna on the antenna base (though LnR will soon produce a remote tuning W4OP loop)

LnR Precision has recently released a remote tuning W4OP loop ($354.99) and a 6m kit for the current loop.

The W4OP Remote Loop Antenna (Photo: LnR Precision)

I think a remotely-tuned W4OP loop would make this an excellent antenna for amateur operators who wish to set up the antenna as a semi-permanent home installation; certainly a bonus for those living in restricted neighborhoods. Without a remote tuner, you would need to go to the antenna to make frequency adjustments. Note that LnR even has an upgrade program if you wish to turn your W4OP loop into a remote loop.

Of course, this first version of the W4OP loop isn’t designed as a permanent home antenna; it’s designed for field use.

And am I impressed with the W4OP loop? Absolutely.

Like me, if you’ve never used a mag loop antenna for field operations, spend a little time at home learning how to deploy it and tune it in advance.

Most of the criticisms of the W4OP loop I mention in this review are simply indicative of passive mag loops in general: narrow bandwidth, sensitivity to nearby metal objects, and the need for frequent re-tuning.

I understand that the W4OP may have even narrower bandwidth than other similar field-portable antennas. While some may consider this a disadvantage, I think I prefer it; in fact, I would rather be inconvenienced by re-tuning in exchange for higher overall gain.  After all, even broader bandwidth loops require re-tuning if you move frequency more than a few kHz.

The W4OP antenna meant that my mini NPOTA DXpedition was a success, especially at the super-restrictive New River access point. Though I’ve used it in the field on a number of occasions now, I’m still in awe when such a compact antenna performs so well on such little power.  I unhesitatingly recommend it.  Great job, LnR Precision!

The W4OP is made in the USA by North Carolina manufacturer LnR Precision. The loop, and its accessories, can be ordered directly from LnR:

http://www.lnrprecision.com/loop-antennas/

Guest Post: Old School Infrared Wireless Headphones

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mario Filippi (N2HUN), who shares the following guest post:


Old School (Infrared) Wireless Headphones

by Mario Filippi (N2HUN)

Have you ever mindlessly walked away from your TV with headphones/ear buds still tethered, causing all sorts of havoc? Been there, done that hi hi! Let’s face it; there are plenty of avenues to remedy the situation by upgrading to wireless headphones. Nowadays most state of the art wireless headphones use radio frequencies to achieve a wireless method of listening. For example, my XYL blissfully listens to TV audio with Sony stereo wireless headphones, using a frequency of 915.5 MHz; below is the actual signal viewed with an RTL-SDR dongle.

Sony wireless headphones signal viewed via a SDR dongle; FM modulation.

But hold the presses: there’s good news for folks not averse to old-school technology.

I recently purchased a set of RCA wireless headphones using infrared technology from shopgoodwill.com.  Yes, those of us who are somewhat long in the tooth remember infrared as the common method for consumers to “cut the headphone cord” way back when.  Infrared is located just above the radio frequency spectrum starting around 300 Gigs (Gigahertz) and is still commonly used in TV and satellite remotes, but less so now with modern wireless headphones operating in the  900 MHz  and 2.4 GHz ISM (Industrial, Scientific, Medical) bands.

Admittedly, the new breed of wireless headphones possesses an array of options not available with older infrared units, but if you are satisfied with a no-frills method of headphone freedom (well about 25 feet range that is), check out the pre-owned inventory offered on shopgoodwill.com.  The pair I purchased started at  $7.99 with no other interested bidders so the total with shipping was $16.82 with the original box and was complete, including the rechargeable NiCad batteries which still functioned but undoubtedly will need replacing.  To boot, the money went to a charitable organization.

Wireless IR stereo headphones from shopgoodwill.com

Interestingly, I tried using the wireless IR headphones in conjunction with a shortwave receiver (Panasonic DR22) but there was lots of interference, evidently from the IR transmitter; shortwave and the AM BCB were wiped out by the interference. Now on the FM BCB it worked fine. Even tried it with a scanner and it seemed to work well with FM transmissions (police, fire, EMS) but not with aero AM (108 – 136 MHz).

In the end my venerable older headphones have been relegated to the “shelf of infrequently utilized equipment.” Radio hobbyists might want to visit www.shopgoodwill.com as there are lots more radio memorabilia for window shopping or adding to one’s armamentarium. Remember to read the descriptions carefully as to the working condition. In the interest of full disclosure, I am not associated with ShopGoodWill in any way except that I’m a very satisfied customer. And yes, there are new, state-of-the-art wireless headphones available at a comparable price, so why the reason for this tale? Well, for knowledge, a little history, and a dash of sentimentality, that’s all! hi hi!


Thanks, Mario!

I briefly worked in a RadioShack store in the mid 1990s. We had a set of IR wireless headphones on display and hooked up to a receiver. I remember putting them on and listening to music after/before store hours completing mindless tasks like inventory, clean up, etc. It felt incredibly liberating to walk around the store without a headphone cord umbilical cord! The IR footprint covered the entire store, but fell apart if I had to duck below an end-cap or shelf partition.  

Thank you for taking us on a wireless stroll down memory lane, Mario!