Category Archives: Current Events

Celebrating ten years of the SWLing Post––and a chance to win a piece of broadcasting history!

Ten years ago, I created a blog.

I designed the SWLing Post as a simple site where I could share a few links and articles about my favorite topic: radio.  And maybe educate a few new listeners about the hobby.

Never would I have imagined that within a few years, the site would grow to over 7,000 daily readers.

It’s still hard for me to comprehend. It’s also hard to believe that ten years have passed since I started the Post. Incredible.

Of course, what makes this site so special is the community of dedicated SWLing Post readers, contributors and supporters. People who show up to share in the radio discussion everyday.

For this reason, I want to make the following twelve months special for the SWLing Post community.

And so…let’s have some fun!

Starting this month, until November 2019, we’re going to put together a series of contests and activities to help celebrate ten years of the SWLing Post.

Let’s get started today!

Our first prize is phenomenal…

RCA Window from MI-7330 (note that wooden base is not included)

This exceptional prize, an RCA transmitter window has been generously donated by our long-time friend and contributor, Dave Porter (G4OYX). Thank you so much, Dave!

Dave describes this unique prize as “a piece of broadcast history” from the Wooferton Transmitting station in the UK;

Click to enlarge

At 75 years old it is a round plate glass window that was fitted in the central main door of the RCA senders, installed in 1943.

The window is 12.25,” 315 mm in diameter, and is 5 mm thick. The glass is tinted in a shade of light blue and the RCA trademark letters are etched out in sunken relief.

It was one from the last pair of senders, either Sender 85 or Sender 86, both retired and removed in 1980. (S81 – S84, the previous four were removed in 1963.)

The pair of windows were retrieved by Jeff Cant and one was presented to long-time BBC/VOA staffer Mr Dick Lett on his retirement in 1988. Jeff kept the other. Mr Lett has recently died and his daughters returned the plate to Jeff. It is this plate that is the [prize] gift in this competition.

Jeff gave it to Dave Porter who thought [that] rather than keep it himself, it would be a good donation to this celebration of ten years of the SWLing Post.

Wow…when Dave volunteered this as a prize for the SWLing Post, I almost fell out of my seat. Frankly, I’m already envious of the lucky winner!

Here’s how you can enter to win this piece of shortwave history!

Each week, starting today–at the bottom of this page–we’ll post a question about the Woofferton Transmitting Site. There will be a total of five questions with the final question posted on December 10th. The contest will close on December 13 and a winner will be announced on December 14.

We’ll embed a Google quiz form with each question, and provide a space for you to answer the question. This is the only way to enter the contest as the Google form exports the results to a spreadsheet that we’ll use to pick a winner. Note: Please don’t email or comment with your answer, as the system won’t count it as a valid entry.

Each correctly answered question will count as an entry in the contest. Since we’ll have a total of five questions, this means you could have a total of five contest entries.  Good luck, Post readers!

Details & Fine Print

This contest is open to all SWLing Post readers and contributors, with the obvious exception of myself and Dave Porter, who donated this piece.

Each entry will require your name, email address, and shipping address. These details will be used to contact you and ship your prize to you, should you win. These details will also be one means of making sure multiple entries aren’t being made by one individual for each question (if we suspect someone of doing this, we would simply delete all of their associated entries.).  But I’m sure we’re all good sports here.

All email addresses, names, and shipping addresses will be deleted once a winner is selected, to protect your privacy.

All correct entries will be entered on a spreadsheet, which will assign each entry a sequential number. We will then pick a random number with the random number generator and thus choose the winner.

Please note: If you read the SWLing Post email digest, you will need to view our prize questions on the web to see the embedded form.

Ready?  Let’s get started! (FYI: Question #2 will be posted next week.)

If the form below does not display, click here to open it in a new window.

Our first question:

Many thanks again to Dave Porter for his generosity in offering us this wonderfully unique piece of broadcasting history and for kindly agreeing to ship it to the winner! 

Spread the radio love

Top DX Radio Club’s SWDX December contest

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John C, who writes:

I wanted to inform your readers and you of a really cool SWDX contest that’s free of charge and lasts throughout the month of December.

The attached website has all the contest rules. I participated last year and enjoyed it very much. They sent a really nice certificate suitable for framing for participating. Hopefully you will post this info on SWLing and maybe some SWDXers will participate. Thanks so much in advance, and 73!

http://www.topdx-radioclub.com/top10dx.html

Thank you for sharing details about this SWDX contest, John!

Spread the radio love

Today: W9IMS last special event station of 2018

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian D. Smith (W9IND), who shares the following information about SWL-friendly awards offered by his amateur radio club to commemorate the three major auto races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Brian writes:

W9IMS: Last special event station of 2018

Amateur radio station W9IMS will conclude its special event season during the coming week by commemorating the Brickyard 400 NASCAR race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The W9IMS crew will be working other amateurs around the world, but SWLs are welcome to tune in and qualify for the same QSL cards and certificate that are available to hams.

For those who logged the station during the IndyCar Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500, this is your chance to complete the clean sweep and earn the colorful 2018 certificate. Even if you missed one or both of the previous races, you’re still eligible for a Brickyard 400 QSL card, which is redesigned every year.

A previous SWLing post highlighted the 2018 W9IMS events.

Operating SSB on 20 and 40 meters (as close as possible to 7.245 and 14.245 MHz), W9IMS will take to the airwaves at various times between 0400 UTC Monday, Sept. 3, and 0400 Monday, Sept. 9. One of the best times to look for the station is during the evening from 2200 to 0200 (6 to 10 p.m. Indianapolis time). W9IMS also has a digital presence, periodically transmitting in FT8 mode.

To find out if we’re on the air at any given time, go to DX Summit – http://dxsummit.fi/#/ – and type “W9IMS” in the search box. For more information about W9IMS and the Brickyard special event, including scheduled operators, go to www.w9ims.org. Just remember that ops can get on the air at any time between now and Sunday night!

Spread the radio love

Building the Cricket QRP Transceiver at HOPE 2018

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m currently at the Circle of HOPE (Hackers On Planet Earth) convention in New York City.

Yesterday morning, I grabbed some breakfast and a cup of coffee then headed to the Hardware Hacking Village–a space in the Hotel Pennsylvania with over 50 soldering stations–sat down and started to build the Cricket QRP transceiver.

I’ve always found that kit building and soldering calms my nerves and since my presentation was later that day, it was just what the doctor ordered.

I opened up the kit at 9:00 am and started working.

All of the components were accounted for and the instructions were clear and easy to follow.

Although I didn’t need extra help I did have the extraordinary luxury of having the kit’s designer, my buddy David Cripe (NM0S), sitting across the table from me at one point.

Dave (NM0S) giving my Cricket the nod of approval.

The Cricket was incredibly easy to build, taking only about one hour or less start to finish.

The cool thing about this transceiver is that there are no coils to wind (they’re traced into the board) and by breaking off a pre-scored length of the circuit board, you can build an on-board hand key.

I had it on the air by 10:30 at the special event station W2H.

The Empire State Building as seen from the roof of the Hotel Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, the blowtorch AM broadcaster on the Empire State Building (ahem…next door!) overloaded the Cricket in no small way. I was, however, able to confirm output power, audio and that the receiver was functioning.

Most impressed!

Incidentally, Dave tells me he has a limit number of the Cricket kits available on his eBay store for about $37 US shipped, if you’re interested.

Click here to view the Cricket on eBay.

As for HOPE? It has far exceeded my expectations.

I’m looking forward to Chris Fallen’s presentation about HAARP later today, followed by David Cripe’s EMP presentation (who I will introduce).

Spread the radio love

“Night of Nights” Returns Tonight!

Chief Operator Richard Dillman at Position 1 (Source: Maritime Radio Historical Society)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian Smith (W9IND), who writes:

The cast may be smaller than in previous years, but the “Night of Nights” nostalgia show will go on. At 8:01 p.m. Eastern Time today (0001 UTC July 13), two maritime CW stations operated by the Maritime Radio Historical Society will begin transmitting Morse code on shortwave and medium wave bands, while the Society’s amateur radio station will be active on four ham bands.

Venerable KPH will reappear tonight in the company of KFS and ham station K6KPH, all transmitting from a century-old Marconi site at Bolinas, California. They’ll be directed from a 1930 RCA station at 17400 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Point Reyes National Seashore. Several previous participants will be absent this year, including ship-to-shore powerhouse WLO of Mobile, Alabama, and a quartet of Coast Guard stations.

The annual July 12 event commemorates the date in 1999 when commercial Morse code operations ceased in the United States. One year later, “Night of Nights” debuted in a defiant declaration that maritime CW stations would not go gentle into that good night.

Typically, the two 5 kw coast stations transmit “code wheels” (repeating messages), personal messages, and tributes to long-gone maritime stations and operators, remaining on the air till at least 0700 UTC. And K6KPH will not only be heard, but contacted by fellow amateur radio stations. A list of KPH, KFS and K6KPH frequencies can be found at www.radiomarine.org, including those used by ships. Reception reports go to P.O. Box 392, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956.

The public is welcome to observe today’s event and tour the facility at Point Reyes. Doors open at 3 p.m. local (Pacific) time, and Morse aficionados are invited to operate K6KPH. Whisper the words “true believer” for a peek at the Treasure Room!

https://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/events_nightofnights.htm

For a comprehensive list of frequencies please click here.

Many thanks for the notice, Brian! We’ll tune in!

Spread the radio love