Category Archives: Accessories

Mark recommends the Otterbox 3000 as a robust case for the XHDATA D-808

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Hirst, who writes:

Thomas,

I’m something of an obsessive when it comes to hardcore protective cases for radios, phones and other gadgets.

I was very pleased then to discover that my new XHDATA D-80, which arrived today from Amazon UK, fits inside my Otterbox 3000 dry box with room to fit small accessories.

Click to enlarge

Although they are discontinued now, I’ve picked up Otterbox dry boxes (such as the 2000 box) from eBay new or lightly used.

My early impressions of the radio are all positive, and I’m looking forward to exploring it further in the next few days.

Click here to search eBay.

As you well know, Mark, I’m a certified pack and case geek. Seeing how well it fits your D-808, I know the Digitech AR-1780 should fit too.

How enabling of you, Mark! I think I’ll have to grab one of these. I have a couple of Otterboxes, but all larger (deeper) than this one. Purchasing a used case would be safe as Otterbox products are incredibly durable and nearly indestructible.  Thanks for the tip, Mark!

Bill recommends the Hermitshell travel case for CC Skywave radios

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill (KD5XN), who writes:

I enjoyed your article on the C Crane Skywave SSB this month in the Spectrum Monitor. I too have both of the Skywaves now, and agree they are near-ideal travel radios.

I bought a protective case by “Hermit Shell” that I stumbled across on Amazon that may well be one of the best protective cases I’ve ever seen for a portable radio.

It is made specifically for the Skywave(s) and fits like a glove. I believe one could kick it across a parking lot and never worry about any damage to your radio it’s so well padded. I put the earbuds and a clip lead for attaching to a reel antenna into the pouch in the cover. Not much else is going to fit.

I know that you are also a “bag geek” so I’ve sent the Amazon link for you to peruse.

[…]The only slight negative that I could say is that the cased radio is approximately twice the thickness of the radio alone, if tight packing is an issue.

I just thought I’d pass this along as I don’t recall ever seeing anyone mentioning it. At $14.99 it’s cheap but good insurance if you travel where things “take a beating.”

73, Happy Holidays and thank you for all your reviews and articles.

ccskywavecase

Click here to view on Amazon.com (affiliate link).

Thank you for your recommendation and tip, Bill!

We actually have mentioned this on the SWLing Post before, but obviously the article is rather buried at this point. Thanks for the reminder.

Like you, I do see the negative that this case effectively increases the size of the CC Skywave for one bag travel, but it would certainly do a fine job protecting the Skywave in transit. Indeed, I believe that’s a pretty acceptable compromise. I especially like the fact that the earbuds will also fit in the case.   I might pick one of these up with some Christmas credit I have at Amazon.

Afterall, the CC Skywave SSB is a $150 radio–! I suppose since I buy $15-$20 protective cases for my $150 smartphone, my radio should at least get the same treatment! It’ll certainly outlast my smartphone!

Off-the-shelf affordable SWL antennas

The Par EF-SWL antenna.

One of our SWLing Post contributors recently sent the following message with a request:

I have a suggestion/challenge for a post: what’s out there for low cost, off-the-shelf HF antennas?

I simply can’t drop $500 on a Wellbrook. The AirSpy HF+ and the new $100 RSP1A SDR are super enticing, but then I look at the antenna connectors and think, “What do I have to connect to that…!?!”

Googling takes you down the rabbit hole of home brew antennas. I’ll admit that I don’t have the skill or patience to dig through hundreds of DIY posts of antenna construction. For my first proper outdoor antenna, I’d like to purchase one that’s rugged, well-tested and optimized for HF and MW listening. Something easy to install.

You know? I get it.

Many listeners simply don’t have the free time or enthusiasm to explore home brew antenna options especially if they’re seeking one optimized antenna for their location and listening habits.

Like it or not, antennas can become a barrier of entry to proper, low-noise radio listening and DXing.

I have built almost all of the antennas I use so I’m not an expert in this area, therefore I asked Fred Osterman at Universal Radio for a couple of suggestions. He and I have talked about antennas in the past and he’s the most knowledgeable person I know on the topic. I’m willing to bet Universal Radio stocks more SWL antennas than any other radio retailer. Fred also has the added benefit of hearing customer feedback daily.

I asked Fred specifically for wire antennas that are easy to install, require no soldering or tuning/cutting and work well right out of the box. Something under $200.

Fred replied with two recommendations–I include his comments in quotes:

Alpha-Delta DX-SWL Sloper $129.95

“[The Alpha-Delta DX-SWL Sloper] is very well built. Actually, over-built for listening. Easy to erect with the feed point being up high. And really works well on the SW bands (including Tropical) and MW too. Fully preassembled. Down-side is it is kinda obtrusive with the heavy wire and large coils.”

Click here to check it out at Universal Radio.

Par EF-SWL $72.95

“[The EF-SWL is very popular] these days. It does work best with a ground, but still usable without. It is interesting, as it can be configured many different ways. I suspect it is popular because it is very easy to erect, and very, very stealthy. (Increasingly important these days). And the wire is flexible, not too thick and not obtrusive. Seems more immune to noise than others. Priced right.”

Click here to check it out at Universal Radio.

Thank you, Fred!

I have some experience with the Par EF-SWL antenna. It offers excellent performance and the antenna line has a durable black coating that makes it nearly impossible to spot from a distance. I’ve even taken the EF-SWL on travels and posted a review a few years ago. I agree that it performs very well.

I have a friend that’s relied on the Alpha-Delta DX-SWL Sloper as his main SWL antenna for years. He lives in an urban area and I’ve been favorably impressed with its performance. I agree with Fred–it’s incredibly durable and beefy! Built like a tank.

Of course, there are also incredibly low-profile antennas like the Bonito Mini Whip (check out some of Oxford Shortwave’s posts) but note that some versions don’t handle a noise-rich environment very well.

Post readers: Please comment if you know of other off-the-shelf antenna options–especially those you have personal experience using and installing.

C. Crane SoftSpeaker Pillow Speaker Deals

Credit: C. Crane (PillowSpeaker2™)

Through 11:59 P.M. on 12/13/17, C. Crane is offering 50% off their popular SoftSpeaker & SoftSpeaker2.  These are “pillow speakers” with soft, washable covers – great for listening while drifting off to sleep.

For the SoftSpeaker, use this promotional code: PS17

For the SoftSpeaker2, use this promotional code: SSV17

I must admit, I don’t own either but I’ve often thought about purchasing version 2 because it has in-line volume control.  This would be a great time to try them!

Troy Riedel, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Check out Troy’s YouTube Channel by clicking here.

Review: LE Rechargeable Book Light as a shortwave radio listening accessory

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Daniel Hawkins, who shares the following guest post:


LE Book Light as an SWL Accessory

by DanH

The LE Book Light (Lighting Ever, LTD.) is a handy portable LED lamp that provides light for reading, music stands, or even use with portable radios. I have run into very bad luck in the past with cheap LED reading lights that run directly from USB power. The LEDs always burned out after a couple of days or weeks making me very nervous about putting my computer power supplies at risk by using these things. This LE light is very different. The LE lamp runs from a rechargeable built-in Li-ion battery. This battery may be charged by plugging the included USB cable to USB or the included AC power adapter.

LE makes a few different models of book lights. This model features two lighting pods on sturdy goosenecks. These pods look like classic cobra head street lights to me, which I kind of like. Each pod includes four bright white LEDs and an OFF/LOW/HIGH switch. The lamp will stand unaided on a flat surface and features a clip for temporary mounting. The end of the clip is jointed and padded for improved grip. I purchased a pair of these LE lights early in 2017 and have used them often for eleven months. Each lamp has been charged at least a half dozen times since then. I get about ten hours of light if one pod is lit at low power. Charging time from dead battery (no light) is about two and a half hours. I keep one LE light in use and another charged and ready to go when needed.

My Sangean ATS-909X has a very nice display for use in the dark but the front panel controls are not lit, just like every other multi-band portable I know of. Just try to use keyboard frequency entry or enter a station into memory in the dark! The LE Book Light comes in handy for using portables at home or on field trips in low to no light. Likewise, the meter light on my vintage Hammarlund SP-600 is unlit. I simply clip the LE lamp onto the side panel of the SP-600 for that. There is no way that I’m going to drill into that Marion Electric meter to hack in an indicator light. I can also read the WRTH from the LE Book Light.

This is a nice accessory for portable radio listening at night and many other jobs. I paid $10.88 plus shipping for one of these on eBay in January. I think that was a good deal. Here is $9.99 with free shipping from the Walmart online store. Sold directly by LE from Walmart. The LE Book Light is a very nicely made little light and small enough to make a nice stocking stuffer.

LE Book Light at Walmart

DanH


No doubt a great accessory for the SWL! Thanks for the review, Dan!