Category Archives: How To

Make your own 3-D printed crystal radio

(Source: Southgate ARC)

Did you know you can build your very own working 3D-printed radio – without any soldering, electronics experience, electric cord, or even batteries?

Digital Trends reports that’s exactly what talented Houston, Texas-based 3D-printing and electronics enthusiast Sage Hansen has created. And he’s willing to show you how to do it, too.

Called a crystal radio receiver, or sometimes a “cat’s whisker receiver,” this is an incredibly simple type of radio receiver that was popular in the earliest days of radio. The only power it requires to work is the received radio signal, which is used to produce sound. It is named after its most important component, the crystal detector or diode.

“AM radio was one of the first ways of transmitting audio to a very broad audience in the early 1900s, but it is still very popular today,” Hansen told Digital Trends. “It starts with the radio station converting their audio sound waves into electromagnetic waves, which can travel great distances.

Each radio station uses a specific frequency that is constant, but the sound waves are mixed so they amplify and modulate the base radio wave. What makes the crystal radio so exciting is how simple the circuit is, and how it can be made out of normal household items.

Watch the video and read the full story at
https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/3d-printed-working-radio/

Tecsun PL-880 hidden feature/hack: 1 kHz bandwidth on shortwave

[Note: This procedure was updated and simplified by Guillermo on 22 December 2017]

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Guillermo, who writes:

I own the PL-880 and just discovered a new feature : a 1.0 kHz bandwidth mode on shortwave (SW only not in MW).

The procedure to get it is as follows:

  1. Turn on the radio and tune any frecuency on SW . There is no need to connect or disconnect an external antenna and turn on or off the radio during this procedure.
  2. Be sure that on SW the 4 button feature(press 4 for about 2 seconds) is ON and 9 button feature(press 9 for about 2 seconds) indicates a value of 13 or more and not less than 10.
  3. Then turn OFF 4 button feature and then ON again . Press BW button and see the 1.0khz new BW on the screen. Now you can use it permanently on SW and ALSO on MW , UNTIL you press BW button again .

Well, I hope you understand this description–if not please let me know, and tell me if it works on your unit, or it is just works on mine.

Thank you, Guillermo! I see where this is somewhat of a fragile adjustment in that a number of actions could change the bandwidth back to a previous setting, but nonetheless is quite a fascinating hack/hidden feature! Thank you and I’ll add this to our list of PL-880 hidden features.

Post readers: please comment if you can successfully enable the 1.0 kHz bandwidth on your unit.  Please comment with your radio’s manufacture or purchase date if possible.

Tecsun PL-660: A simple hack to scan the air band

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bruce F, who writes:

HI Thomas, I thought I would put this idea out to your site – in case it isn’t already there. It’s a brilliant solution to the apparent lack of a working Air Band scan function on the Tecsun PL-660.  Note – I did not come up with this idea, but came across it in a Yahoo group.

It IS possible to scan the Air Band on the PL660, as long as you have picked out WHICH Air Band frequencies are in use in your area. There are websites which list these frequencies for each airport:

Here’s how to set up the PL-660:

  1. Pick an empty page in the Memory.
  2. Put in a shortwave frequency in the first empty space; the “00” slot.
  3. Then fill in the succeeding spaces on that page with the Air Band frequencies you’ve chosen.
  4. Now go back to the “00” slot and hold down the scan button.

Works on my set!

What a cool trick!  I’ve lent my PL-660 to a friend, but as soon as I get it back, I’ll also try this trick by setting up a page dedicated to my local aviation frequencies!

Thanks, Bruce!

Video: Comparing the SDRplay RSP1 with the RSP1A and intro to SDRuno

(Source: Jon Hudson on the SDRplay Facebook page)

This latest video from Mike starts by showing the differences between the RSP1 and the RSP1A, and then gives an excellent demonstration of how the latest SDRuno works – this is a great place to start for any newcomers to SDRuno – https://youtu.be/qUZerxeHJvc

We continue to regularly add video guides to our Youtube Channel. The original series are listed in a playlist called ‘Part 1’ – newer guides are listed in a playlist called ‘Part 2’

The SDRplay YouTube Channel can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/c/SDRplayRSP

Rolf’s PL-680 modification allows external antenna on LW and MW

The Tecsun PL-680

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rolf Snijder, who writes:

I did a modification today on the Tecsun PL-680 [which allows for an] external antenna on LW and MW.

The internal ferriet is also working, but on my active loop, MW and LW is now working !

So far away stations I can now receive on this portable radio.
It is only a560 pF capacitor added!

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

It works on LW and MW now with this mod.

FM is less now I think, maybe I will put it on a switch so I can turn it off.
And now also the ferrite is still working, so I hope to find a solution for that.

Many thanks for sharing your modification and photos, Rolf! Check out Rolf’s other PL-680 mod by clicking here.