Hi SWLing Post Community, FastRadioBurst 23 bringing you news of this Sunday 24th September 2023 broadcasts. At 2000 hrs UTC on 3975 & 6160 kHz we have a link up with the hardest to catch radio station on the shortwaves, Radio Morania. Some very interesting content is promised.
While at 2200 hrs UTC on 9395 kHzvia WRMI the Imaginary Stations crew bring you the Imaginary Stations Polka Party. Expect lots of polka classics, all recorded live in front of an all singing and dancing audience in Poland. Poland, Maine that is. It will be one exciting polka party!
Hi SWLing Post Community, FastRadioBurst 23 bringing you news of this week’s Imaginary Stations related broadcasts this Sunday 17th September 2023. At 2000 hrs UTC on 3975 & 6160 kHz we have DJ Frederick’s Shortwave Music Library where he picks out some choice classics and rarities not usually aired heard over the wireless. Expect all sorts of eclectic stuff.
Talking of wireless, at 2200 hrs UTC on 9395 kHzvia WRMI the Imaginary Stations crew bring you WTAB. A trip back in time where trebly voices and music flowed through horn type loudspeakers and when it got too loud a spare sock would dampen the sound. The days when radio stations always kept a box of rose thorns as back up needles for their gramophones too! Expect some old tunes from way back in the day!
On 2200 hrs UTC on Sunday 10th September 2023 on 9395 kHzvia WRMI the Imaginary Stations crew bring you WS7S, a show in praise of the humble seven inch single. Expect to hear some gems, some light scratches and a little bit of off-centre pressing madness.
And over on Shortwave Gold a couple of hours earlier at 2000 hrs UTC on 3975 & 6160 kHz there’s a guest show from WJST –Jet Set Radio.
Hi all in SWLing Post land, Fastradioburst23 letting you know about the Imaginary Stations shows this Sunday 3rd September 2023. The first transmission will be beamed to Europe via the services of Shortwave Gold in Germany at 2000 utc on 6160 kHz and it will be WTBR, tea and biscuits radio. Expect an assortment of tunes, some musical crackers (without cheese) and a urn of the finest tea money can buy. It may not be 3pm where you are (or it may be) but make anytime a tea-time with WTBR!
Then later at 2200 hrs UTC on 9395 kHzvia WRMI we bring you another episode of CTRN for all of us who love that wonderful mode of transport, the train. We will bring you songs about level crossings, ticket machines and guard’s vans for all the trainspotters out there. So tune in, make yourself comfortable, please don’t put your feet on the seats, do have your tickets ready for inspection and enjoy a nice ride across the country by shortwave radio.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Hemphill, who shares the following guest post:
Remote Antenna Switching Remote Low Noise Amplifier Switching and Switching an Antenna and Audio Between Two Radios
by Bill Hemphill, WD9EQD
Remote Antenna Switching
I have two YouLoop Antennas. I had been placing them at right angles to each other. I would then put one of them on the AirSpy software defined radio. But manually switching from one antenna to the other was a real pain. If only there were a way to electrically switch between the two antennas.
It would be nice to place the antennas remotely from the radio (and computers) and then have some sort of remote switch that would select an antenna and then a single feed line to the radio. It was research time.
The YouLoop and the Airspy both use SMA connectors. An SMA switch would be required. A little research and I came across the following small board that can switch between two SMA antennas:
This board is perfect for RECEIVE only projects. Apply 5V to the board and then 5V to the VCC (control pin) to switch from RF1 to RF2.
Now that I had the SMA switch module, a way to actually do the switch remotely was required. Maybe WI-Fi or Bluetooth module would do the trick. I found a nice Wi-Fi module on Amazon that looked like it would do the trick:
BIngo!! I could just press a button and switch antennas. But a problem quickly arose. I hadn’t fully read the description of the RODOT switch:
The blue output wire is ALWAYS Vcc (input voltage)! The device only switches the ground.
So the RODOT switches the ground but the HMC349 uses positive voltage to switch. OOPS. Next step was to place a latching relay to take the on/off ground and convert it to on/off positive. Again, another nice board was found:
The nice thing about the Relay Module is that it can be latched either High or Low, so the RODOT switching ground can be used to latch the relay and then provide a positive voltage to the HMC349 antenna switch.
All modules are powered by 5V. There are other modules available that use higher voltages. But I wanted to be able to use a 5V power source for everything.
I learned a quick lesson on the first layout I did. I had directly connected the antenna cables to the HMC349 module. A quick accidental side yank on one of the antenna cables and the SMA connector tore off the board. A replacement board and some quick wiring and I had a workable antenna switch that with the press of the car fob button, either antenna could be selected.
I found a nice small plastic box that allowed for the HMC349 module to be suspended between SMA bulkhead connectors. By using bulkhead connectors, there is no strain placed on the HMC349 connectors. The relay module was attached to the box lid. The modules are mounted using brass standoffs. The finished box is about 3”x4”x 2” high. Either battery or a 5V wall module can be used to power it.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with the results. I find that sometimes switching antennas (and their orientation) can make a big improvement in the signals. Other times, there’s very little difference.
Remote Low Noise Amplifier along with Antenna Switching
For testing purposes, I first did a quick layout of just using one antenna with the ability to switch the LNA in and out. Note: I took a gamble on hooking the antenna cables directly to the HMC349 modules. Luckily, the SMA connects didn’t tear off the boards.
Two HMC349 modules are used. The first module selects the bypass or the LNA. Likewise, the second module also selects either the bypass or LNA. Note that the second module is turned upside down so that the switches match up when activated. Two modules were used so that the LNA is totally switched out of the circuit. Continue reading →
Hi to all of the SWLing community worldwide, Fastradioburst23 here with news about Imaginary Stations on the shortwaves this Sunday 27th August 2023. Our next show Skybird Radio International will be beamed to Europe via the services of Shortwave Gold in Germany at 2000 utc on 6160 khz (and 3975 kHz). You won’t need any baggage, airport parking or a plane ticket to enjoy this interesting international musical ride around the world. For more information on our shows please email [email protected] and check out our old shows here.
Costa Rica is one of the most visited countries in Latin America. I only visited there once, for three weeks in May-June 1990 when the country was just beginning to become a major international eco-tourism destination. Visitors were few and prices very affordable. Except for a short trip to the Monteverde cloud forest, we spent all our time in the central valley, staying in San José and nearby Heredia. Rather than nature, our visit focused on cultural and historical sites … and a lot of radio stations.
Since the 19th century, Costa Rica has been one of the most literate and educated countries in Latin America. That quality is reflected in its radio broadcasting industry, which has always been very professional. Curiously that’s even reflected in station verifications. Almost every Costa Rican shortwave station that I’ve verified had a professionally printed QSL card.
Despite being one of the smallest countries in Latin America, Costa Rica had a lot of shortwave radio stations. I have fifteen in my logbooks and some of the most famous ones were already off the air when I started DXing. Unfortunately, shortwave broadcasting from Costa Rica ended almost twenty years ago so there’s no more to be had. It is still possible to log Costa Rica on medium wave but it’s not as easy as it once was. When I started DXing in the early 1970s, stations in the San José were spaced twenty-five kilohertz apart. That meant that every other station, such as Radio Sonora on 675 kHz and Radio Columbia on 725 kHz, was on a split frequency that fell between the normally assigned 10 kHz channels. I logged nine Tico stations on medium wave while DXing from Pennsylvania in 1972-1981 and only one of those, Radio Reloj on 700 kHz, was on an even channel. Those split channels were eliminated in the 1980s so logging Costa Rica on medium wave is no longer a slam-dunk.
I visited a lot of radio stations and took a lot of photos on my one long-ago trip to Costa Rica. I’m going to focus on just five shortwave broadcasters in this first look at Costa Rica. The others will be featured in two or three future columns.
In the 1970s the first Costa Rican station most shortwave DXers heard was Faro del Caribe, or Lighthouse of the Caribbean. This religious station used two kilowatts on 9645 and 6175 kHz and got out surprisingly well as long as there wasn’t a more powerful international broadcaster also using the same frequency. In the late 1970s they added 5055 kHz in the sixty-meter band.
When I visited in 1990 the antennas were located right next to the studio building. The site was outside the city of San José when the station was founded but gradually a residential area built up around it.
Engineer checking one of Faro Del Caribe’s shortwave transmitters.
Fortieth Anniversary pennant from 1988. When Faro del Caribe began broadcasting on February 23, 1948, it was the first Evangelical Protestant radio station in Central America.
For DXers, Radio Reloj was one of Costa Rica’s best known radio voices for several decades. The station was founded as Radio Cristal by Roger Barahona in 1945. The shortwave frequency of 6006 kHz was added in the early 1950s. In 1958 the station was renamed to Radio Reloj when the format changed to focus on news and community announcements with very frequent time checks. (Radio Reloj means Radio Clock.) Roger’s brothers Isaac and Francisco had joined the broadcasting company and Radio Reloj was assigned the callsign TIHB for Hermanos Barahona (Barahona Brothers). Continue reading →
Spread the radio love
Please support this website by adding us to your whitelist in your ad blocker. Ads are what helps us bring you premium content! Thank you!