Category Archives: Antennas

Sony ICF-SW100: Whip vs. DE31MS active vs. Sony AN-LP1

Click here to view on YouTube.

Guest Post by: Troy Riedel

It’s been a while since I posted a video on my YouTube Channel (but I’ve gotten the urge to make several more videos as I’ve been recently comparing my equipment – 16 portable receivers & many antennas).

I try to tune in to Radio Prague via WRMI on many weekday East Coast USA mornings from 1300-1325 UTC. Yesterday I encountered bad propagation but today was much better.  The video linked to this post is from today – 30JAN2019 recorded around 1310 UTC.

[Sorry, no tripod for this one]

People often ask, “are amplified antennas helpful” – as evidenced by this post from Thomas from a few years ago.

Without repeating the debate, just take a look at this one example.  As stated, reception was pretty good today off the little whip – but – there is an improvement using an amplified antenna.  My question: is there a difference between the two amplified antennas?  And if so, is the difference worth the price?

My TG34 is a clone of the DE31MS – purchased from Tquchina Radio & Component (ebay user: Tao Qu … they used to have an eBay store “Sino Radios” if I recall, but they stopped selling on eBay when the Post started cracking down on shipment of batteries – I actually exchanged an email with a frustrated Tao Qu when they closed the store).

I paid about $21 if I recall for my TG34 (the DE31MS is available today on eBay for as little as $17.28).  I paid over $100 for the Sony AN-LP1 (out of production now and can be listed for as high as $300 on eBay).  So … $21 versus “over $100”.  Is there a difference – and if so – is it 5x the difference – 5x better?!

You be the judge.

P.S. Just a quick slightly over 1-minute video recorded inside my house (sitting in my breakfast nook) … typically “okay” reception but not my usual Listening Post.

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Guest Post: Review of the Tecsun AN-07 whip antenna extender

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nicolás Colla, who shares the following review:


Tecsun AN-70 antenna

 

The Tecsun AN-07 is a whip antenna extender that is approximately 65 cm long. I bought mine from eBay seller Anon-co, and it arrived from Hong Kong in approximately twenty days.

The first thing I noticed with my new antenna is that it probably works only with Tecsun radios.

The antenna on my Degen DE-13 self-powered radio is too thin for the extension; the one on my Panasonic RF-3500 kitchen radio is too thick. I have another Tecsun antenna, the AN-05, which is a 6 m wire with a clip on the end that can be put on the radio’s aerial. I hung the AN-05 indoors, in the place with the least amount of RFI (just next to a window), and decided to compare the performance of my Tecsun PL-310ET with the default whip, the longwire and my new extension, on shortwave and FM.

For that, I made a quick scan of the bands with the Easy Tuning Mode (ETM) function of this radio, between 1330 and 1355 UTC. The results were the following:

Shortwave

  • With the default aerial: 3 stations found.
  • With the AN-07 antenna extension: 9 stations found.
  • With the AN-05 longwire antenna: 23 stations found.

As you can see, the AN-05, which is 6 times longer than the AN-05 (the aerial’s height is 1 meter with the added extension), gives by far the best results. Ironically, another scan with the AN-05 AND the AN-07 at the same time, with the clip adjusted on the extension, gives 29 different stations. I don’t know why, but it works better!

FM

  • With the default aerial: 42 stations found.
  • With the AN-07 antenna extension: 57 stations found.
  • With the AN-05 longwire antenna: 35 stations found.

The AN-07 seems specifically designed for FM reception, and it really shines on this band. The signal of a local station increases approximately +12 dbµV on this set’s signal meter.

In short, if you would like to get outstanding FM reception, or if you want to increase your shortwave signal quality JUST A BIT and don’t want to mess with wires, the Tecsun AN-07 is ideal.

Click here to view the Tecsun AN-07 on eBay.

Thank you, Nicolás, for the quick review! As you say, that’s impressive performance on FM especially. What I like about the AN-07 is that it’s passive and requires no power supply or batteries.  It’s also compact and easy to pack for travels. Many thanks for sharing your evaluation!


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Boeing 787 Antennas

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

Besides being a bit of a radio geek, I also love aviation and am working on my PPL (private pilot license). I recently discovered this image [above] of the Boeing 787 antenna compliment. It’s amazing to see how many antennas they fit on this heavy bird!

Thank you for sharing, Sally! I can assure you, you’re not the only aviation nut here on the SWLing Post. I’m guilty as well!

It is amazing to see just how many various antennas are install on modern commercial aircraft. Looking at this image, you would think it’s a flying antenna farm!

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Update: Photos of WBCQ station construction

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Lee Reynolds, who shares these images and notes after a recent visit to WBCQ in Monticello, Maine:

Looks as if the basic antenna construction is all done up there now.


Thank you, Lee. Wow–that is an amazing antenna! I can only image what the foundation of that tower would entail!  Thank you for the updates!

Click here to see Lee’s previous photos.

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Are we entering the age of atomic radio?

(Source: arstechnica via Scott Schad)

A new antenna using single atoms could usher in the age of atomic radio

The team tested their device by recording themselves singing “Mary Had a Little Lamb”

JENNIFER OUELLETTE

In the 1950s, atomic clocks revolutionized precision time-keeping. Now we may be on the verge of so-called “atomic radio,” thanks to the development of a new type of antenna capable of receiving signals across a much wider range of frequencies (more than four octaves) that is highly resistant to electromagnetic interference.

An antenna is typically a collection of metal rods that pick up passing radio waves and convert their energy into an electrical current, which is then amplified. One might argue that the good old-fashioned radio antenna has served us well since the dawn of the 20th century, so why do we need anything to replace it?

According to David Anderson of Rydberg Technologies, those antennae are wavelength-dependent, so their size depends on whatever wavelength of signal they are trying to measure (they need to be about half the size of whatever wavelength they are designed to receive). That means you need antennae of several different sizes to measure different radio frequencies.

Anderson is a co-author of a new paper posted to the arXiv describing a novel alternative to conventional antennae, based on vapor cells filled with a gas of so-called “Rydberg atoms.” That just means the atoms are in an especially excited state, well above their ground (lowest-energy) state. This makes them especially sensitive to passing electric fields, like the alternating fields of radio waves. All you need is a means of detecting those interactions to turn them into quantum sensors.[…]

Read the full article at arstechnica.

Click here to download the research paper: An atomic receiver for AM and FM radio communication (PDF).

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