Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mangosman, who shares the following review:
DAB+ digital audio/FM receiver and Bluetooth Audio Player with 2.4 inch LCD Display
Digital Audio Broadcasting with improved audio compression and error correction is called DAB+. I have had this radiofor a few years.
Retail in Australia DAB+/FM radios are generally double the price and more. There has only been one model of DAB+/FM/AM radios which is now no longer trading.
This is a size comparison, the sound is very clear and is surprisingly good on music as well, despite having such a small speaker. Even at maximum volume there is no audible noise or distortion. The stereo program HE AAC compressed and FM and Bluetooth and is available on cabled headphones. Such a small speaker cannot produce much in the way of bass, but it is present on headphones. Since DAB+ is a pure digital system, there is, full stereo, no noise as the radiated signal deteriorates, until the receiver mutes when error correction fails. The radio has a 400 mm long telescopic antenna.
On FM this receiver will decode Radio Data System data, I have had more sensitive FM reception.
This is the most sensitive DAB+ receiver I have owned. I am also currently also using two BUSH clock radios. I also have used older headphone radios, but push buttons and headphone sockets haven’t been very reliable.
This screen shows a full colour album cover which can fill the screen and title. Smooth FM is the broadcaster’s name because it is simulcast in some other cities on FM and DAB+. The indicators on this screen are level of battery change, muting, stereo indicator, when decoded and the signal strength. Continue reading →
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jack Kratoville, for the following guest post:
My Perfect Radio Trifecta
by Jack Kratoville
Last Fall, I asked SWLing readers to assist me in my decision as to what portable radio I should take on a two-week trip to Germany. While I came up with an initial list of portables I already own, there were some excellent suggestions on what I might pack. (Sidenote to Thomas – yes, my wife and I packed everything we needed into two carry-on pieces, including my 3 radios. Your expertise continues to serve us well!) To all else, thank you again for your thoughts, suggestions and comments.
The Tecsun PL-310ET was a top choice of many, yet one I had previously never taken into the field. It seemed a logical choice for this trip. The second is the Sangean PL-210 and it just fits in any pocket. The third is a DAB receiver someone had given me, tossed in a drawer, and forgotten about until I realized Germany implemented DAB to replace the MW and LW bands. The only name I can find online is the DAB-8. Being quite small, it made the cut and I shoved it in between a couple of tee shirts.
At our destination, I quickly realized I could not have chosen a better trinity for myself. Here’s why.
If this had been the only radio I brought, I would have been more than satisfied. SW signals abound (the war just two countries away was certainly a factor.) A quick hit of the ETM feature at the top of the hour brought in 40-50 listenable signals, with only a scant few broadcasts religious in nature. Even during the day, I could capture 25 easily. With the bandwidth set at 3 kHz, sound was most impressive. While some were the same broadcast on different frequencies, my only real disappointment was the lack of English-speaking broadcasts – but that was to be expected. The PL-310ET scans relatively fast and holds on to strong signals quite nicely.
We stayed with relatives who lived high on a hill not far from Kiel, in the north of Germany. One push of the ETM feature on FM filled the dial with German voices playing mostly English pop music (the eighties apparently a favorite decade there too.) Simply put, the selectivity on this radio is phenomenal. Odd / even frequencies happily sharing adjacent homes on the dial. And with the pre-emphasis on European FM at 50, the sound from this portable was absolute perfection. As a matter of fact, my first complaint about this radio was a bit of harshness on our over-processed FM commercial stations. In Europe, the audio characteristics of classical, pop, rock and talk stations was simply sweet.
My first night on the AM band was a disappointment. One, maybe two signals that didn’t come in very well. Thankfully, I quickly remembered to flip it to 9kHz and – wow! The BBC, Spanish, Italian, and signals that sounded very much like eastern Europe came booming in. I did not expect all of this and can easily say this was the most fun I’ve had band scanning and DXing in a long, long time! Traveling domestically, I’m more apt to load a memory page, but in this situation, the ETM feature was incredibly useful.
For all DXing, I only used the whip and internal antennas. The battery indicator dropped one notch on the second to the last day we were there. The PL-310ET is an absolute true travel performer.
The Tecsun PL-310ET now sits proudly alongside my CCrane Skywave, Digitech AR1780, Eton Executive Satellit (Grundig edition) and the semi-retired Grundig G5. When we travel to London next year, there’s no question this gets packed again.
A radio that became my constant walking companion during Covid. Hand-sized with a really nice on-board speaker for its size. The sensitivity is impressive and considering its PLL circuitry, has excellent selectivity on FM. AM was also impressive for an antenna no more than a half-inch – if that. It went with me to Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfort and Denmark; always just a quick pull from the pocket for a quick scan. To say I like this radio, well, I own three.
My curiosity in DAB was basically zero. One reader actually PM’d me and offered their own DAB receiver, saying I should check it out. (Thank you, Mike, for that generous offer.) This radio sounds great, but has very poor FM reception. (No MW). It does have inputs for mp3 and Bluetooth, so I figured just in case there was nothing to listen to, I could stream something on it. Its small size was the biggest factor in making the trip. Once settled, a quick daytime scan grabbed nine signals easily on DAB and they sounded great. It was the only band that featured more traditional (even country!) music. It’s back in the drawer at home, but I am very glad it made the trip.
I truly had a blast listening to the various captures on these three radios, the Tecsun being the most impressive and fun. I’m sure many newer models would be excellent choices, but not once did I wish to have something bigger or better. That doesn’t happen on trips very often, so perfection indeed.
My apologies to those looking / hoping for recordings. I stopped recording from the radio back when I opted to purchase 45rpm records rather than record them, complete with DJ patter on my father’s Webcor reel-to-reel. Once I got into the biz, I recorded enough DJ patter to last a lifetime! Again, thanks to everyone for their input.
RNZ Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief Paul Thompson has welcomed the budget investment in RNZ Pacific shortwave transmitters.
In Budget 2022 the Government announced $4.4 million dollars capital funding for a new transmitter for RNZ Pacific.
RNZ Pacific broadcasts into the wider Pacific on shortwave 24 hours a day, collaborating with 22 broadcasting partners across the region. Its current primary transmitter is nearing end of life, and its other transmitter has in effect already been retired.
“The value of the RNZ Pacific service can’t be underestimated. Our voice reaches all parts of the Pacific, at times with critical information such as cyclone warnings. During the Tonga eruption, when the undersea cable was cut, RNZ Pacific short wave was a lifeline source of information,” said Thompson.
This investment secures a productive future for our unique voice. The attraction of the shortwave service is its robustness, and the ability to have the signal travel great distances, and achieve good audiences,” he said.
RNZ Pacific broadcasts enhance the Government’s Pacific strategy as we share our history, culture, politics and demographics. The strategy is underpinned by the building of deeper, more mature partnerships with Pacific Island countries, and by supporting their independence and sustainable social and economic resilience.
Since the ABC ceased its shortwave broadcasting the only other shortwave broadcaster in the region is Radio China. Thompson says RNZ can now start work on its infrastructure development with a new transmitter likely to take approximately 12 months to get in place depending subject to further project planning.
More than 14 million people have fled their homes since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the war shows no sign of ending. For World Refugee Day on 20 June, we are highlighting some of the issues faced by displaced Ukrainian people – and reaffirming that the support from the EBU and its Members will continue.
That support has manifested across a range of projects:
Air strikes on the TV towers in Kyiv and Rivne underlined the vulnerability of broadcast communications in a war zone. Together with our Members, we have coordinated the supply and delivery of critical equipment such as IP connectivity solutions, satellite phones, AM transmitters, and studio support to enable the uninterrupted transmission of vital news and information.
In these circumstances, being able to rely on accurate news sources is key. Many EBU Members have launched dedicated news services specifically for refugees in their own language, so that they can tap into vital updates from home, wherever in the world they are. Rai News in Italy has a daily news bulletin in Ukrainian; RTBF UKRAINE is a new web-based radio station for Ukrainian refugees in Belgium, with 100% of its content in Ukrainian; and Yle in Finland has a Ukrainian-language news service for providing the latest news bulletins in Ukrainian. Many public media outlets are also re-transmitting content directly from Ukrainian public broadcaster, UA/PBC for Ukrainian refugees.
Providing practical information to help people navigate the uncertainties of settling into new homes has also been a priority and has seen the launch of many dedicated programming and channels: GPB has a hotline for Ukrainians in Georgia; Czech Radio and Radio Prague have launched a podcast, ‘News for Ukrainians in Czech Republic’, that offers practical information for incomers. While ARD in Germany presents How To Deutschland Insta; Swedish Radio’s Ukrainian service for new arrivals includes practical advice on how to access medical care or education facilities for kids and RTP’s online service helps with learning a new language.
For children, displacement through war is particularly traumatic. TVP in Poland has developed a site for kids from Ukraine which, as well as showing selected content in Ukrainian, also presents lessons in learning Polish; ARD and ZDF in Germany have included content in Ukrainian for children, including German-language learning programmes, and Czech Radio has recorded fairytales in Ukrainian.
Noel Curran, Director General, EBU, said “Few of us can understand the trauma of being forced to leave our homes, not knowing when or if we will return. I’m proud to belong to a community that has mobilized a wide range of practical support so quickly while ensuring trusted news and information continues to reach those who need it, wherever in the world they are. World Refugee Day is a moment to reflect on a situation that continues to need targeted support. And to reaffirm our commitment to giving it for as long as it takes.”
Projected cost reductions cited as reason for Germany to accelerate the migration to DAB+
As energy costs rise, Deutschlandradio Director Sefan Raue sees a further reason to hasten an FM switch-off for Germany.
“We will not be able to afford two terrestrial distribution channels in the long run. The signs are clearer than two or three years ago,” Raue told German press agency dpa, according to Hadelsblatt. “FM is an energy guzzler.”
A public broadcaster, Deutschlandradio is based in Cologne and Berlin and operates several national channels on DAB+ and FM. The channel been steadily replacing its remaining FM transmitters with DAB+; six of its short-range analog transmitters are going dark at the end of June 2022. The broadcaster expects to have at total of 161 locations broadcasting its DAB+ channels nationwide by year-end, reaching some 90% of the German populace. [Continue reading at Radio World…]
Public broadcaster Polish Radio is on Thursday launching a new weekly programme for Ukrainians escaping the Russian invasion and their compatriots residing permanently in Poland.
The hour-long broadcast will be delivered in Ukrainian, airing every Thursday at 7 p.m. on Polish Radio’s mobile app, web player and DAB+ platform, the public broadcaster’s IAR news agency reported.
Listeners will hear advice on where to find help, how to apply for assistance available to refugees, and how to obtain information about their loved ones, according to IAR.
Also, the programme will feature news on how the Polish government, local authorities and charities are working to support refugees from Ukraine, and on Poland’s efforts to facilitate Ukraine’s entry into the European Union and the NATO alliance, IAR reported.
The weekly broadcast is prepared and hosted by journalists from Polish Radio’s External Service, also known as Radio Poland.
‘Countering Putin’s false narrative’
“The priority is to counter the Putin regime’s false narrative,” said Radio Poland’s Director Andrzej Ryba?t.
He added: “We’ll be reporting at length on Polish-Ukrainian relations, as well as the policies of the European Union and NATO. In addition, Ukrainians who had been forced to flee their country will hear about what is happening in the places they had had to abandon as a result of the Russian aggression.”
As the programme develops, it is also set to feature Polish-language courses for Ukrainians seeking shelter in Poland, and items on Ukrainian music and culture, IAR reported.
Ever since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, Polish Radio has been airing news bulletins in Ukrainian on several of its channels, as well as launching a 24-hour live audio and video stream about the war on Youtube.
It is also broadcasting the signal of Ukrainian Radio on its web player and DAB+ platform so that the people escaping the Russian attack can listen to programming in their native tongue, executives said.
Poland on Thursday reported it had admitted nearly 2 million refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
As I’ve mentioned many times here on the SWLing Post, I’m something of a “content DXer.”
Clearly, I enjoy chasing obscure programming––news, documentaries, music, variety shows, anything the broadcasting world has to offer. Even though my favorite medium for doing this has been shortwave radio, these days, I often turn to Wi-Fi or over-the-internet radio. Wi-Fi radio offers the discerning listener the ability to track down fascinating regional content from every corner of the globe––content never actually intended for an international audience.
If you, too, like the chase, The Worldwide Listening Guide (WWLG) will be your go-to, and this recent edition––the tenth!––is the latest in a long line of handy volumes that help the listener catch what’s out there, noting that with each passing year there’s more content to catch.
Cornucopia of content
The variety of content from online broadcasters today is surely orders of magnitude more than any one individual has ever had via over-the-air (OTA) radio sources.
Though my WiFi radio offers an easy and reliable way to “tune” to online content––both real-time station streams and on-demand podcasts––the content discovery part is actually quite difficult. I liken it to browsing a large public library looking for a new and interesting book to read, but without the guidance of a librarian. The options are so plentiful that even with superb indexing and organization, one simply doesn’t know where to begin.
On the other hand––and I’m speaking from very recent experience here––if you find a good local independent bookstore, you might actually discover more meaningful titles because the bookstore selections are curated by both the proprietor and the local community.
With this analogy in mind, The Worldwide Listening Guide is essentially my local bookstore for online content and programming.
I recently received a review copy of the new 10th Edition of the Worldwide Listening Guide by John Figliozzi and, as always, I enjoyed reading it from cover to cover.
The WWLG speaks to the types of programming I enjoy as an SWL because the author, John Figliozzi, is a devoted shortwave radio and international broadcasting enthusiast.
And while the bulk of the WWLG is a detailed and beautifully organized programming guide, it’s also so much more…
“The Many Platforms of radio”
As I’ve so often said, the WWLG is a unique guide; there’s nothing quite like it on the market because it truly takes a deep dive into the world of broadcasting and content delivery both from a technology and programming point of view.
Each media delivery platform, whether on AM, Shortwave, FM, Satellite Radio, Internet (WiFi Radio), and Podcasting, has a dedicated section in the book where Figliozzi explores each in detail. He also speaks to the state of each platform both from the broadcaster’s and the listener’s perspective.
Indeed, each chapter dedicated to these topics very much reminds me of the old Passport to Worldband Radio that I first picked up in the 1990s. The WWLG serves as a primer, but also speaks to the health and potential longevity of each platform.
I appreciate the fact that Figliozzi also addresses the nuts-and-bolts side of both over-the-air and online broadcasting. For while I’d like to think that I’m reasonably knowledgeable about the world of radio, I find I always discover something new in each edition.
There’s a surprising amount of information packed into this slim, spiral-bound volume. The Worldwide Listening Guide is enough to keep even a seasoned content DXer happy for years…or at least, until the latest edition comes out!
In short? The WWLG is a bargain for all it offers, and I highly recommend it.
The 10th edition of The Worldwide Listening Guide can be purchased here:
Note that at time of posting copies of the WWLG can be pre-ordered at Universal Radio. Amazon.com will soon have links to purchase the 10th edition when they’re in inventory. I assume the W5YI group will also have the 10th edition available for purchase soon!
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’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Skip Arey, Mike Hansgen, and David Iurescia for the following tips:
Britain’s anti Amazon and Google war gets a second front
The UK may require smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home devices to broadcast UK DAB radio stations, over government fears that Brits aren’t consuming enough of the unloved radio tech.
Under the guise of “protecting UK radio stations’ accessibility” the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a report calling for smart speakers to rebroadcast domestic radio stations’ output. The recommendation is as follows:
The government to consider regulatory changes to ensure radio stations and radio and audio content can be easily found and is discoverable by users of voice assistant platforms, including smart speakers and in-car infotainment systems.
The call, made in the Ministry of Fun’s Digital Radio and Audio Review, was backed by national broadcaster the BBC and commercial radio groups.
The same report found that 64 per cent of audio on smart speakers is live radio, though smart speaker users make up around 6 per cent of radio listeners at present. Nonetheless, DCMS called for governmental action to enforce the provision of something that’s already provided.
Media minister Julia Lopez said in a canned statement: “We must make sure this treasured medium continues to reach audiences as listening shifts to new technologies and that we have a gradual transition away from FM to protect elderly listeners and those in remote areas.” [Continue reading…]
Earlier this year, the IEEE Princeton / Central Jersey Section’s Broadcast Technology Chapter (IEEE PCJS BT) received a generous grant to provide mentoring and equipment that encourages understanding of digital and analog aspects of radio communication, through hands-on activities and explorations. Over the next 2 years, our Make Operating Radio Easier (MORE) Project will be training 500 new U.S. Amateur Radio (“Ham”) operators in small (10 to 15 person) groups. We are especially seeking youth (ages 12-18) and non-males to help increase the demographics for these underrepresented groups on the air, but are currently accepting applicants of all ages (12+) and all genders.
Class sessions are primarily virtual (via Zoom) but may be arranged to be on-site if there is sufficient interest by a school, club or organization (as allowed, given the ongoing health situation). Virtual or in-person FCC amateur license testing sessions will also be arranged (throughout the USA) by our ARRL-certified MORE Project Volunteer Examiner (VE) team. There is no charge for the classes, and ALL testing and licensing fees for participants in the MORE Project are covered by our grant. Trainees in our program will also receive (paid by the MORE Project) a Software Defined Radio USB dongle, a pre-assembled 25-foot longwire receiving antenna, and (after successfully licensing) a hand-held Yaesu 2 Meter (HT) radio. The MORE Project course will provide instruction in the use of this equipment and assistance in Getting On The Air (GOTA) to make radio contacts.
Additional information about the MORE Project, including how to register for a training course, is at n2re.org/m-o-r-e-project and in our IEEE PCJS Call for Participation flyer. Questions should be directed to Dr. Rebecca Mercuri K3RPM at [email protected].
During the third quarter of every year, Radio Taiwan International (RTI) broadcasts a special one-hour radio program via shortwave directly to German-speaking countries. The programs were transmitted over four weekends between July and August. Usually, RTI’s German programs are relayed through Bulgaria.
This year, thanks to conducive weather conditions and precise engineering, RTI’s signal was stronger than in prior years. In response to the program, listeners from 33 countries sent over a thousand reception reports confirming they received the broadcast. According to RTI, it received a record number of reports.
Radio Taiwan International President Chang Cheng says that even though most of the station’s programs are available online, there is still a significant community of people that prefers listening to shortwave radio.
This year, listeners who sent in a reception report for the special one-hour broadcast will receive a limited edition RTI QSL card featuring Taiwan’s iconic Formosan Blue Magpie. RTI says that it is still in the process of responding to all of the listening reports it received.