Category Archives: Ham Radio

Winter radio life and preparing for power outages

Listening to a local station with the BC-348-Q until we lose power.

Here at SWLing Post HQ we’ve been under a Winter Storm Warning since yesterday–it’s not set to expire until sometime tomorrow. This storm hasn’t been all snow–it’s a mixture of snow and ice. If this continues, I fully expect to lose power at some point today.

In general, we’re prepared to handle this sort of thing: our refrigerator and freezer are powered by solar and completely off-grid, we have a super efficient RAIS woodstove to keep us warm and of course, we have a generator at the ready if needed.

Playing radio off-grid

As I write this post, I’m listening to the Signal Corps BC-348-Q (photo above) which is tuned to a local AM broadcaster. It’ll fill my shack with local news/tunes and its vintage valves will do a fine job warming this small room until the power eventually goes out.

When it does go out, I’ll switch to my blackout buddy, the CommRadio CR-1A.

I find that the CR-1A is nearly ideal for off-grid and field listening, as long as you have a good external antenna. The internal Li-Ion battery powers the thing for ages and it has an incredibly capable receiver.

Of course, I also have an Elecraft KX3 and KX2 which can be powered by battery, but I tend to use the CR-1A for broadcast listening and save the KX2/KX3 for off-grid ham radio QRP fun.

In addition, I have the new battery-powered CommRadio CTX-10 transceiver in the shack.

I’ve been receiving numerous emails about this particular field rig because there are so few CTX-10 reviews out there even though it’s been on the market since late July.

Please note that I’ve been giving the CTX-10 a thorough evaluation over the past few weeks and plan to publish my initial review in the next few days.

Bye-bye noise!

Even though I live in a very rural and remote area with little-to-no RFI, when the power is cut, my noise floor still drops . We’re not immune–like most homes, we have power supplies and devices that emit radio interference.

It’s funny: most urban radio enthusiasts I know don’t fear power outages, they prepare for and embrace them! When all of those RFI-spewing devices go silent, it’s simply amazing what you can hear from home on frequencies below 30 MHz with pretty much any receiver.

Personally, as long as I have a means of 1.) powering my radios, and 2.) making coffee (extremely important), I consider myself properly prepared.

I’ve always got those two points covered.

Bring it, old man winter!  I’m ready to play radio!

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Neil’s updated QRP Kits page

The Ozark Patrol regenerative receiver kit is only one of NM0S’ many 4SQRP kit designs.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Neil Goldstein, who writes:

I know a lot of your readers (especially the QRP ones) may be interested in the update I FINALLY made to the radio kit guide. Added, removed, etc. Lots of cool stuff.

Thanks for sharing, Neil! What a great curated list of QRP kits!

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Black Friday Radio Deals: Icom IC-7300 $959.95 after rebate

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, James (W4AMP), who notes that the excellent Icom IC-7300 general coverage transceiver (click here to read our review) is currently $959.95 after coupons and rebates at GigaParts, DX Engineering and Ham Radio Outlet. 

DX Engineering

Click here to view at DX Engineering.

Ham Radio Outlet

Click here to view at Ham Radio Outlet.


Click here to view at GigaParts.

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Contribute equipment to restore an authentic WWII B-17F heavy

SSGT Roland Downs adjusts the radio mast on Heaven’s Above (42-97328, 388BG) [Photo source: Hangar Thirteen]

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Charlie Liberto (W4MEC), who shares the following:

Perhaps you could post somewhere a general call for anything WW II related that went into a B17F.

This website: under the ‘Parts Drive‘ menu, lists the many things that will be sought after for the next few years. There might be those who monitor your site that have some of this just stored away, not knowing what to do with it or what will happen to it.

Ray is basically taking what was remaining, inspected, and approved as air worthy from this ditched plane, and building the aircraft to hook all the pieces together.

WOW! What an amazing project, Charlie!

I must say, Lucky Thirteen is in good hands.

Hangar Thirteen has chosen the best vintage radio restoration expert for the job! I’ve known Charlie for many years and not only is he an expert at restoring vintage gear, but he’s passionate about WWII era Signal Corps equipment. He brought my BC-348Q to life and patiently showed me how to align it. He also restored my Minerva Tropic Master and helped me fix the 3rd band selection on my beloved Scott Marine SLRM.

Charlie, I’ll certainly keep an eye out for the these components when I visit hamfests and will contribute anything I find or might have tucked away.

Post readers: If you happen to have any items needed in their list, please consider contributing it to the project and help this B-17F eventually have a fully-functional radio position. Of course, Hangar Thirteen is also in need of other aircraft parts–click here to check out that list.

I’ve copied and pasted (below) the list of needed radio components at time of posting. Please check out the Hangar Thirteen website for the most up-to-date list:

BC-347 Amplifier
BC-366 Jack Box x8-10
PE-86 Dynamotor

FT-161 Beacon Mount

BG-81 Bag

BC-433 Radio Compass
BC-434 Compass Control Box x2
BK-22 Relay
I-81 Pilot’s Compass Indicator

BC-442 Relay
BC-451 Transmitter Control Box
BC-456 Modulator (with DM-33 Dynamotor)
FT-220 Receiver Rack Mount
FT-221 Receiver Shock Mount
FT-222 Receiver Control Box Mount
FT-225 Modulator Mount
FT-226 Transmitter Rack Mount
FT-227 Transmitter Shock Mount
FT-228 Transmitter Control Box Mount
FT-229 Relay Mount

BC-306 Antenna Tuning Unit
BC-461 Trailing Antenna Control
F-10 Trailing Antenna
FT-107 Dynamotor Mount
FT-115 Liaison Transmitter Mount
FT-151 Liaison Transmitter Mount
FT-142 Antenna Tuning Unit Mount
FT-154 Liaison Receiver Mount
J-37 Tuning Key
PE-73 Liaison Dynamotor
RL-42 Antenna Reel
TU-5 Tuning Unit (1500-3000)
TU-6 Tuning Unit (3000-4500)
TU-9 Tuning Unit (7700-10000)
TU-22 Tuning Unit (350-650)
TU-26 Tuning Unit (200-500)

BC-778 Transmitter
BG-155 Bag
M-278 Balloon x2
M-308 Signal Lamp
M-315 Generator Canisters x2
M-357 Kite
M-390 Parachute
W-147 Wire

Please contact Hangar Thirteen if you can help.

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Robert talks uBITX and navigating the world of used radio gear

Robert’s uBITX QRP transceiver kit with fire red chassis.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Robert Gulley (AK3Q), who shares the following announcement from his blog All Things Radio:

I have posted two new articles in the Reviews and How-Tos section. These were both previously published in The Spectrum Monitor magazine earlier this year.

The first article deals with buying used and new equipment, while the other article is a review of the uBITX QRP transceiver. Thanks go to Ken Reitz for graciously allowing these to be posted after their initial publication!

Many thanks for sharing, Robert!

Readers, I highly recommend both of these articles.  In his used equipment guide, Robert makes practical suggestions for navigating the world of pre-owned radio gear and shares some important tips. His uBITX QRP Transceiver article is essential reading for anyone who has considered building this incredibly affordable kit.

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