Category Archives: Ham Radio

How Giuseppe protects his Icom IC-705 during travels

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW), who writes:

Dear Thomas and Friends,

Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW) here from Formia, central Italy.

This my latest video is about everything I have done to protect and transport my Icom IC-705.

I bought an aluminum case, light and very resistant with everything one needs inside to be able to use the IC-705.

    • 2 power banks, one of which is solar-charged to be able to recharge the battery while in operation
    • 2 wire antennas: a dipole type with BNC / banana socket with 10 meters of cable per arm and a 20 meter row, monopole, to be used in reception as you saw during the DXpedition to the Island of Ponza
    • I also bought the Mydel protective “cage” with antenna attachment on the front and PVC protection of the display

Given the high cost of this little jewel, it is advisable to take all precautions for its safety during transport and use.

Click here to view on YouTube.

I hope I made you happy …
Thank you all,
73. Giuseppe Morlè iz0gzw.

This is great, Giuseppe! Like you, I’ve taken extra measures to protect my Icom IC-705 as well. Your kit looks comprehensive–I love the fact that pretty much everything you need is inside. 

Thank you again. We always enjoy your posts from beautiful Italy. Ciao!

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Kostas pairs his Collins 51S-1 with a Heathkit SB-620 bandscope

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kostas (SV3ORA), for sharing the following guest post which originally appeared on his radio website:


Collins 51S-1 band scope using a Heathkit SB-620

by Kostas (SV3ORA)

The purpose of this project, is to connect a Collins 51S-1 receiver with a Heathkit SB-620 “scanalyzer”, so as to give the 51S-1 band scope capability. Right into the schematic presented below, a slight modification is needed to the 51S-1. I usually do not do modifications to old equipment unless absolutely needed and even when I do so, I take care for them to be easily undone and to modify them as little as possible.

The modification to the 51S-1 is simply a small coupling capacitor connected to the plate of the mixer tube V4A and a short run of thin coaxial cable, connected as shown, to one of the several SPARE RCA connectors at the back of the 51S-1. Collins engineers were smart enough to include SPARE RCA connectors at the back of the radio, which are not connected to anything inside the radio circuit, to be used for different future purposes. So we do not have to drill any holes to the chassis of the precious receiver, which would be catastrophic.

 

Click to enlarge.

The coupling capacitor is just 5pF, so compared to C125, this presents only a tiny fraction of the loading to V4A plate, i.e. not affecting the normal operation of the receiver. Note, you cannot take directly the 500KHz IF output that is originally provided by the 51S-1 RCA in the back of the radio. This is because this IF is AFTER the filters, so it is a narrow IF. We need WIDE IF for the scanalizer to work properly, so you have to perform this tiny modification to the 51S-1.

No need to say that the SB-620 needs to be re-tuned for 500KHz instead of 455KHz. I was unlucky and my SB-620 did not have the appropriate L3 to be tuned to the IF of 455/500KHz. Mine had the L3 used for an IF of 5.2-6MHz. I converted the SB-620 to work down to 500KHz by using this original higher-frequency L3 and adding two additional inductors to it, one at its bottom and one at its top, so as to make L3 larger. The additional bottom inductor I added (connected from the bottom of L3 to the ground) was a 15uH choke. The additional top inductor I added (connected from the top of L3 to C3 and C5), was a 455KHz IF CAN transformer (the one with the adjustable yellow-painted cap) taken out of a transistor radio. Of course I have removed the internal capacitor of the transformer before using it. My transformer had something like 200-300uH in the mid-set point. It is not too critical as this is a tunable transformer.

By making this modification to the SB-620 you can bring the 5.2-6MHz L3, down to 500KHz. Of course the slug of L3 now has limited tuning range. But we can coarse tune the hybrid L3 now, by tuning the IF transformer that has been added. This solution worked like a charm and the original L3 is still fit in place, looking original and helps in fine tuning if needed. For the optional mixer input (points A, B, C on the SB-620), I used circuit #1, but I did not notice any real difference from circuit #3. RFC1 is 304uH and I connected three 100uH chokes in series to make this RFC.
The solution described in this page, will add a huge value to your vintage receiving station. SWLing feels just different by having an all-tubes computer-free band scope. Here is a picture of the setup, nicely glowing in the night. That P7 CRT blue phosphor with its green afterglow “memory” effect looks amazing! Narrow resolution is actually only achievable, because of this afterglow of the CRT, which allows for much slower sweep rates.

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Today (14 May 2022): Annual Armed Forces Day Crossband Test

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ulis (K3LU), who notes that today is the annual Armed Forces Day Crossband Test.

Click here to download a PDF document with all details including frequencies, schedule, and QSL info. Thanks for the tip, Ulis!

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Giuseppe’s Ponza Island DXpedition with the Icom IC-705

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW), who shares the following guest post:


Report from Ponza Island: May 6-9, 2022

by Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW)

Ciao Thomas and Friends at the SWLing Post!

This is the summary of 3 days of testing of my Icom IC-705 just purchased and immediately taken to Ponza Island, my hometown, for a full immersion DXpedition only listening to amateur radio bands especially on 20 m.

Day 1

I left Formia on the ship that went to Ponza and it was not a good start given the adverse sea weather conditions. After 3 hours of crossing in the rain and the strong sirocco wind, I arrived on the island at my father’s house.

In the early afternoon in the rain, I hoisted a 20 meter row on the “sloper” type roof not so high from the ground and connected directly to the Icom 705 without any counterweight given the place without electrical noise.

The position of my father’s house is open from West to North but totally covered to the South by a hill of 200 meters …

In this video you can see all of this:

During the first night, 20 meters was full of signals especially from the USA; it was, in fact, what I had hoped for given the position open to the West.

Really good overseas signals despite bad weather … below is a series of mixes of North American stations: Continue reading

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2022 W9IMS Special Event Station Details!

W9IMS Special Event No. 1: The 2022 Certificate Chase Begins

By Brian D. Smith, W9IND

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, as the proverb goes, and the road to a 2022 W9IMS Checkered Flag Award begins with a single QSO – or a single SWL reception.

W9IMS will stage special event stations commemorating each of the three major races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year: the Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and the NASCAR 200 at the Brickyard.

Your weeklong opportunity to complete the first of three required contacts with W9IMS starts Sunday, May 8, and ends at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, May 14 (0359 UTC Sunday, May 15). The special event schedule will resume only 8 days later with the Indy 500 operation (May 23-29), followed by the NASCAR 200 from July 25-31.

Individual QSL cards accompany each of the three events, and a Checkered Flag certificate awaits those who bag the trio. Hams and SWLs alike may apply for the cards and certificate; see www.w9ims.org for further information.

Where to find W9IMS? The station fires up on 20- and 40-meter General Class frequencies, usually on or near 14.245 and 7.245 MHz. But the easiest way to locate W9IMS is to check DX spots, especially on DX Summit at http://www.dxsummit.fi/

Type “W9IMS” in the search box at upper right and you’ll see which, if any, frequencies the station is currently occupying. Note that special event operations are not continuous throughout the week, but you’ll find scheduled times and operators on the W9IMS QRZ page – and there’s always the possibility of unscheduled appearances by operators with an hour or two to spare.

Any hour of the day or night is fair game, but the surest way to catch W9IMS is during prime time: weekdays from 6 to 10 p.m. Indy time or 2200 to 0200 UTC. And if all else fails, listen for happy hour – the last blast on Race Day (May 14 for the Grand Prix), usually starting at 11 p.m. Indy time or 0300 UTC. That’s when W9IMS ops traditionally switch to contest-style QSOs, exchanging only signal reports, to put as many stations in the log as possible.

Don’t stake your certificate on any announced schedule, however; W9IMS on-air times can be curtailed by adverse solar or weather conditions or a paucity of QSOs.

Likewise, the station has been known to activate an unannounced band, such as 80 meters, at the drop of a hat. Again, DX Summit and other DX spotting networks are your best friend in this regard.

Feel free to submit all of your 2022 QSL and certificate requests in the same envelope, and if you don’t have a QSL card, a printout of your W9IMS contacts or reception reports will suffice.

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The Icom IC-705: Giuseppe’s pairs his new radio with his homebrew crossloop antenna

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW), who shares the following:

Dear Thomas,

I wanted to share my new purchase with all SWLing Post friends: the Icom IC-705.

It is truly a great portable QRP transceiver and a great receiver for broadcast listening.

In this video, shot on my balcony at home, is the first listening test on short waves. Crystal clear audio with cathedral effect. My portable cross loop antenna pairs very well with the IC-705.

It’s a simple video but it brings out all the listening potential of this 705.

Greetings to you and all the friends of our community.

73,

Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW)

Click here to watch on YouTube.

Thank you for sharing this, Giuseppe! I’ve found that the IC-705 has become one of my favorite portable receivers. It’s truly an amazing radio and, I believe, worth the hefty price tag. 

I published a very favorable review of this radio and 13DKA has as well. Also, check out Giuseppe Fisoni’s comparison of the IC-705 and IC-R8600. The IC-705 is a proper enthusiast-grade radio–I would purchase it just for the receiver functionality. Being a ham radio operator, I also take the IC-705 to the field very regularly–I post many of my field reports on QRPer.com. Recently, we’ve posted a number of articles about protecting the IC-705 during travels and in the field.

Thank you again for sharing this, Giuseppe!

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Radio Waves: AMARC Africa, Discussing HD Radio Australia, Learning by Doing, and RadCom Seeking New Editor

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


Study recommends revival of AMARC Africa (Red Tech)

HARARE, Zimbabwe — The unavailability of critical information about community radio in Africa has led the University of the Witwatersrand(Wits) journalism department and a consortium of media, civil rights and business NGOs — Fojo Media Institute, Civicus, Civil Rights Defenders, Defend Defenders and Hub Afrique — to carry out a study entitled “Mapping Community Radio in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

“Even basic information is hard to get, and it is often not even certain how many stations are on air. Operations collapse, and others start, with hardly anybody outside the immediate environment noticing. Even the licensing authorities sometimes struggle to keep accurate records,” revealed Prof. Franz Kruger, head of Wits Journalism.

Conducted by Jacob Ntshangase, the head of Wits Radio Academy, the study sought to gather information and better understand the community radio landscapes in different parts of Sub-Saharan Africa to identify needs, opportunities and potential partners for developing a program of support for community radio on the continent. [Continue reading…]

Can the HD Radio experience be of use in regional Australia. (RadioInfo)

The 2022 NAB Show is already underway in Las Vegas, and fresh from presenting some new research on HD radio in the US, Xperi SVP Broadcast Radio, Joe D’Angelo (pictured), sat down with radioinfo’s Wayne Stamm.

Joining the conversation was Commercial Radio Australia’s Head of Digital, Jamie Chaux, to add an Australian perspective and view on what might be gained from the HD experience in the States.

radioinfo: We’re talking about a couple of the presentations that are going to be made at NAB this year. Joe you’ve already done one of those presentations and taken a look at some very interesting studies that have been done recently about the penetration of HD radio, especially here in the US.

Joe D’Angelo: Yes, I finished a session today on actually UX guidelines (NABA Radio In-car User Experience) for in-car receiver design and that that went very well. And what’s really exciting about not only the work of the UX group, but the progress of HD radio, is we’re now at 85 million vehicles on the road.

And so we surveyed users of the technology and 91% of them came back and said that HD radio has significantly improved their radio listening experience.

74% of people said they would not buy another new car unless it had HD radio, which is very affirming.

Read more at: https://radioinfo.com.au/news/can-the-hd-radio-experience-be-of-use-in-regional-australia-nabshow/ © RadioInfo Australia

Learning Electronics By Just Doing It (Southgate ARC via Hackaday)

Learning anything new, especially so broad and far reaching as electronics, can be hard. [IMSAI Guy] knows this because he gets asked regularly ‘how do I learn electronics?’ Many of you reading this will have a few ideas to pass along (and we encourage you to share your take on it in the comments below) but there is an even greater number of people who are asking the same question, and [IMSAI Guy]’s take on it is one that this particular Hackaday writer can relate to.

According to [IMSAI Guy], an excellent place to start is the ARRL Handbook. The ARRL Handbook is an electronics and RF engineering guide published by the Amateur Radio Relay League in the US. It’s a wonderful reference, and past editions can be had very inexpensively and are every bit as handy. Many hams will have a copy they could be talked out of, and you can likely find one at your local library. Where to start in the Handbook, then?

[IMSAI Guy] recommend starting with whatever catches your fancy. As an example, he starts with Op Amps, and rather than diving straight into the math of how they work or even worrying to much about what they are- he just builds a circuit and then plays with it to intrinsically understand how it works, a “learn by doing” approach that he has found extremely helpful just as many of us have. We also appreciated is very straightforward approach to the math: Don’t bother with it unless you need to for some reason, and definitely don’t start by learning it first.

Read the full article and watch the video at:
https://hackaday.com/2022/04/25/learning-electronics-by-just-doing-it/

RadCom Managing Editor role (Southgate ARC via the RSGB)

As previously announced, RadCom Editor Elaine Richards, G4LFM is to retire in the summer and there will be a vacancy for a person to edit RadCom, the Society’s journal and one of the most respected amateur radio publications in the world.

The successful candidate will need to show demonstrable experience of producing professional and technical publications in both print and digital formats as they will need to take the entire co-ordinated portfolio forward and exploit new media opportunities.

The role also includes overseeing the publication of RadCom Basics and RadCom Plus with their editors, as well as being part of the team that puts together GB2RS news each week.

The role is being advertised by Redwood Publishing Recruitment and is also on the Guardian Jobs website and LinkedIn. If you’d like an informal chat about the role, please contact the General Manager via gm.dept@rsgb.org.uk

All applications must be made via the Redwood website: https://www.redwoodrecruitment.com


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