Category Archives: FM

Jason gives a favorable review of the Sangean DT-120

Sangean DT-120

In reply to Olivier’s post about the Sony SRF-M95, SWling Post contributor, Jason, notes:

Another amazing AM ultra light performer, the Sangean DT-120 or DT-180

I have the DT-120 in my pocket and it has got many hours of use. Travelling in outback Australia in April/May I was very impressed with it’s performance on AM.

Camped at the Devils Marbels 412km north of Alice Springs, I could receive it’s 783 kHz AM signal OK, weak obviously but definitely listenable. Of course the signal from Radio National at Tennant Creek on 684 AM was stronger, since it’s only 100km to the north of Devils Marbles.

Very happy with the little Sangean. It’s by far and away the pocket radio with the best DX reception I’ve ever owned, but the Tecsun R-209 and the Sangean SR-35 are probably the two best AM DX pocket radios with a speaker.

One day I will pick up a Sangean DT-250, but it’s probably not much better than the Sangean DT-210 I already have, which is another good choice with a speaker.

Thanks for sharing your comments, Jason! And, wow, I’d love to make that camping pilgrimage to the Devil’s Marbles–sounds remote and fantastic!

If you like ultralight radios like the Sangean DT-120, check out our endurance test of the Sangean DT-160CL and Sony SRF-39FP.

Links:

Guest Post: A DSP Hi-Fi “Stupid Radio Trick”

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


Stupid Radio Trick – DSP “Hi-Fi”

by TomL

If you can remember the 1960’s, there was an audiophile rage going on called Hi-Fi.  The base unit consisted of a ponderous piece of furniture consisting of a rectangular cabinet and equally large mellow sounding speaker of fairly smooth frequency response, say in the range of around 40 – 15000 Hz.  They would have a built-in radio (using vacuum tubes) with large analog scale. Most would also have a “record player” embedded on the top to spin some vinyl discs (78 or 33 rpm).

For pedestrian consumers, it became a decision of how to keep up with the Joneses, so-to-speak.  And that meant a trip to Sears to look at the latest offerings. When the decision finally came to purchase, of course no one could buy it outright.  So, to add to the suspense, one had to put money down on “Lay-A-Way” plan that did not allow you to take possession of your prized choice until the last monthly payment!  One had to visit or mail in a check every month.

So where am I going with all this?  Well, as you can see from the photo [above], I have purchased three portable radios for three very different purposes.   All three were painstakingly studied and reviewed and weighed against all other possible choices. All are highly rated by the usual reviewers like RadioJayallen, SWLing Blog readers and other internet personalities.  The Sangean is for home use and listening to baseball games when I did not want to fire up the stereo hooked up to the Grundig Satellit 800. The small Sony ICF-19 is a phenomenal knock around radio for the car and listening while out to lunch or a walk in the park.  The large Tecsun S-8800 is a possible replacement for my ailing 20+ year old Sony ICF-2010 for shortwave use.

Well, I was tired of listening to any one of them in terms of sound quality.  The Sangean has too much upper bass/lower mid range, the small Sony is very carefully maximized for total speech clarity, and the Tecsun seems to lack a little in the mid range frequencies (compared to highs and lows).  Staring at them, I thought to self, “What if I turn on the Sangean and Sony together???” What ensued was a revelatory sonic experience (it sounded pretty good)! One seemed to fill in the other in certain ways. But it was not perfect.

Duh, I had the new Tecsun in a carry case while trying to decide if I send it back for a tuning quirk and dug it out and plopped it on top.  Turning it on, I heard more lows and highs, just like a Field Radio should have but with the mid range filled in! After very careful volume adjustment, I now have something that could rightly be called DSP Hi-Fi.  At least, that is what I am calling it for now. ?

Violin and piano pop-out of an orchestra but not too harsh sounding.  Rock & Roll sounds loud and punchy without that boombox effect. Bass lows are there (could be better, now all I need is a small subwoofer connected to the Tecsun line-out ???).  Highs are there too but well controlled. Mid range voice clarity is stunning, as if someone is in the room with me but not sounding too forward! It is not room-filling but acts more like a near-field monitor.  I like that I can line-up the speakers over each other.

The really fortunate thing is that all three radios have complete DSP for FM and receive my favorite over-the-horizon station with very similar reception quality.  Also, they process DSP with a similar delay before output to its respective speaker. The sound is fairly coherent and even though it is still mono output, the full range of musical fidelity can be appreciated better.  It is not audiophile quality but it is very satisfying and I can actually hear more details in the music than with any one of the radios by themselves. Just goes to show you that you CAN teach a new Radio dog old Tricks (LOL)!

Happy Listening,

TomL


I love it, Tom!  Thanks for pointing out that sometimes it takes a “stupid radio trick” to really produce some amazing audio fidelity! This reminds me that in the early 90s, I used to have a Zenith Transoceanic and RadioShack DX-440 on my radio table in my room.  If I recall correctly, the Zenith was on my left and the DX-440 on the right. I used to tune to shortwave, MW and FM stations and produce a makeshift “stereo” effect by playing both at the same time. Sometimes, on shortwave, it actually helped me discern voices in weak signal work!

Thanks again, Tom!

Olivier is pleased with the Sony SRF-M95, shares internal photo

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Olivier Tkaczuk (F4BXV), who writes:

Hello, my name is Olivier TKACZUK 36 years F4BXV and I live in the north of France.

Just to present my last Sony SRF-M95 AM/MW bought on eBay for 13 euros.

[I regularly receive] Absolute Radio in England…and also Radio Nacional de España.

[H]ere is an internal photo:

Thank you for your website it gives me taste on the radio.73’s Olivier F4BXV

Many thanks, Olivier! I’ve always loved this über-compact AM/FM radios. They remind me of the small radios I used to sneak into school when I was a kid! Sounds like the SRF-M95 is a capable little receiver as well–thanks for sharing the photos.

Glad you’re enjoying the SWLing Post!

Click here to search eBay for the Sony SRF-M95.

Full text of the PIRATE Act (H.R.5709)

Photo by Michael Maasen

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ulis (K3LU), who shares a link to the full text of the H.R.5709 – PIRATE Act–a bill to “amend the Communications Act of 1934 to provide for enhanced penalties for pirate radio, and for other purposes.”

Here’s an excerpt from the preface of the bill:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act” or the “PIRATE Act”.

SEC. 2. PIRATE RADIO ENFORCEMENT ENHANCEMENTS.

Title V of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 501 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

“SEC. 511. ENHANCED PENALTIES FOR PIRATE RADIO BROADCASTING; ENFORCEMENT SWEEPS; REPORTING.

“(a) Increased General Penalty.—Any person who willfully and knowingly does or causes or suffers to be done any pirate radio broadcasting shall be subject to a fine of not more than $2,000,000.

“(b) Violation Of This Act, Rules, Or Regulations.—Any person who willfully and knowingly violates this Act or any rule, regulation, restriction, or condition made or imposed by the Commission under authority of this Act, or any rule, regulation, restriction, or condition made or imposed by any international radio or wire communications treaty or convention, or regulations annexed thereto, to which the United States is or may hereafter become party, relating to pirate radio broadcasting shall, in addition to any other penalties provided by law, be subject to a fine of not more than $100,000 for each day during which such offense occurs, in accordance with the limit described in subsection (a).

“(c) Facilitation.—Any person who knowingly and intentionally facilitates pirate radio broadcasting shall be subject to a fine of not more than $2,000,000.

“(d) Annual Report.—Not later than one year after the date of enactment of the PIRATE Act, and annually thereafter, the Commission shall submit to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation a report summarizing the implementation of this section and associated enforcement activities for the previous fiscal year, which may include the efforts by the Commission to enlist the cooperation of Federal, State, and local law enforcement personnel (including United States Attorneys and the United States Marshals Service) for service of process, collection of fines or forfeitures, seizures of equipment, and enforcement of orders.

“(e) Enforcement Sweeps.—

“(1) ANNUAL SWEEPS.—Not less than once each year, the Commission shall assign appropriate enforcement personnel to focus specific and sustained attention on the elimination of pirate radio broadcasting within the top five radio markets identified as prevalent for such broadcasts. Such effort shall include identifying, locating, and taking enforcement actions designed to terminate such operations.

“(2) ADDITIONAL MONITORING.—Within six months after conducting the enforcement sweeps required by paragraph (1), the Commission shall conduct monitoring sweeps to ascertain whether the pirate radio broadcasting identified by enforcement sweeps is continuing to broadcast and whether additional pirate radio broadcasting is occurring.

“(3) NO EFFECT ON REMAINING ENFORCEMENT.—Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the Commission shall not decrease or diminish the regular enforcement efforts targeted to pirate radio broadcast stations for other times of the year.

“(f) State And Local Government Authority.—The Commission may not preempt any State or local law prohibiting pirate radio broadcasting.

“(g) Revision Of Commission Rules Required.—The Commission shall revise its rules to require that, absent good cause, in any case alleging a violation of subsection (a) or (b), the Commission shall proceed directly to issue a ‘Notice of Apparent Liability’ without first issuing a ‘Notice of Unlicensed Operations’.

“(h) Pirate Radio Broadcasting Database.—

“(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this section, and semi-annually thereafter, the Commission shall publish a database in a clear and legible format of all licensed radio stations operating in the AM and FM bands. The database shall be easily accessible from the Commission home page through a direct link. The database shall include the following information:

“(A) Each licensed station, listed by the assigned frequency, channel number, or Commission call letters.

“(B) All entities that have received a Notice of Unlicensed Operation, Notice of Apparent Liability, or Forfeiture Order by the Commission.

“(2) CLEAR IDENTIFICATION.—The Commission shall clearly identify in the database—

“(A) each licensed station as a station licensed by the Commission; and

“(B) each entity described in paragraph (1)(B) as operating without a Commission license or authorization.

“(i) Definitions.—In this section:

“(1) PIRATE RADIO BROADCASTING.—The term ‘pirate radio broadcasting’ means the transmission of communications on spectrum frequencies between 535 to 1705 kHz or 87.7 to 108 MHz without a license issued by the Federal Communications Commission, but does not include unlicensed operations in compliance with part 15 of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations.

“(2) FACILITATES.—The term ‘facilitates’ means providing access to property (and improvements thereon) or providing physical goods or services, including providing housing, facilities, or financing, that directly aid pirate radio broadcasting.

“(3) KNOWINGLY AND INTENTIONALLY.—The term ‘knowingly and intentionally’ means the person was previously served by the Commission with a notice of unlicensed operations, notice of apparent liability, or citation for efforts to facilitate pirate radio broadcasting.”.

Click here to read the full bill at Congress.gov.

Click here to download the bill as a PDF.