Category Archives: How To

Robert’s reviews and how-tos


Like a few of us contributors here on the SWLing Post, Robert Gulley (AK3Q), writes features for The Spectrum Monitor magazine (TSM).  Robert and I are both passionate supports of TSM–for a mere $24 per year, you get a monthly digital magazine that is simply chock-full of articles covering all aspects of our radio hobby. A phenomenal value indeed!

I’ve just discovered that Robert has published a number of his past TSM articles–reviews and how-tos–on his excellent blog All Things Radio.  Each article can be downloaded as a PDF. Here are the topics:

  • Using Weak Signal Software to Reach for the Sky! (Part 1)
  • Using Weak Signal Modes for Propagation, RFI, and Antenna Analysis (Part 2)
  • Putting My Handheld Antennas to the Test
  • Going Mobile with Software Defined Radio
  • Multipsk Software – A Review
  • TEN-TEC 1253 Build Review

Click here to view and download these articles at All Things Radio.

Thank you, Robert, for sharing these excellent articles with everyone! And many thanks to TSM for allowing its writers second publication rights. Click here to subscribe to The Spectrum Monitor.

Preparing for Your Next DXpedition – New Videos

Regular readers of the SWLing.com blog will be aware that I am passionate about going portable/mobile with my radio listening hobby. There’s just nothing like communing with both nature and a bunch of electrons whizzing along the wire!

As a follow-up to an article I wrote several years ago, I have now prepared two new YouTube videos entitled Preparing for Your Next DXpedition – Parts 1 and 2.  

Part 1 covers:

– why we should even think about bothering to go portable with the radio

– the goals to consider when undertaking a DXpedition

– planning your listening depending on the time of day and time of year

– the all important decisions regarding location


Part 2 discusses:

– choosing the right radio for portable operations

– your options for powering the radio

– the antennas you could consider including on the trip

– handy auxiliary equipment

– references and notes to take along with you

– the importance of operator comforts while away

– developing a checklist…..so that you don’t forget to take something important!

These videos will be of interest to shortwave radio listeners and new amateur radio operators. Hopefully, they may be able to assist you in further enjoying our great hobby. They are embedded in this blog post below. You can also view these and other videos on my YouTube channel at Rob Wagner’s YouTube Channel

 

As always, thanks for watching and your comments are always welcome. 73 and good DX to you all,

Rob VK3BVW

Rob Wagner, VK3BVW, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. He also blogs at the Mount Evelyn DX Report.

A comprehensive SDRplay and SDRuno how-to video series

The SDRplay RSP2

Mike Ladd, with SDRplay, has done an amazing job putting together a comprehensive series of how-to videos for those of us with the SDRplay RSP1 and RSP2 receivers. His first set of videos have focused on using SDRuno (SDRplay’s custom SDR application), and now he’s started an SDR Console series as well.

I’ve embedded much of his video series below, but you can also find them at the SDRplay YouTube channel.

If you own an SDRplay RSP, take time to watch some or all of these videos as they’ll help you unlock RSP functionality you likely never knew existed. I’ve learned something new in each one I’ve watched.

Below, I’ve embedded 23 SDRuno how-to videos, a new SDR Console video and PDF/printable SDRplay documentation. Enjoy! (And thanks again, Mike!)


SDRuno Videos

#1 SDRuno Basic layout and settings

Click here to view on YouTube.

#2 SDRuno with VAC 1 of 2

Click here to view on YouTube.

#3 SDRuno VAC 2of 2 (showing MultiPSK)

Click here to view on YouTube.

#4 SDRuno Noise reduction intro on HF.

Click here to view on YouTube.

#5 SDRuno Memory Panel part 1 of 2

Click here to view on YouTube.

#6 SDRuno Memory Panel part 2 of 2

Click here to view on YouTube.

#7 SDRuno Calibrate your RSP-1 & RSP-2

Click here to view on YouTube.

#8 SDRuno VAC & DSDdecoder

Click here to view on YouTube.

#9 SDRuno Notching filter function

Click here to view on YouTube.

#10 SDRuno FM Broadcast RDS data decoding

Click here to view on YouTube.

#11 SDRuno, FTDX 3000, Omnirig & LOG4OM Logger

Click here to view on YouTube.

#12 SDRuno, FTDX 3000, Omnirig & LOG4OM Logger In Action

Click here to view on YouTube.

#13 SDRuno EX-Control Module

Click here to view on YouTube.

#14 SDRuno with CSV user list browser using virtual com ports.

Click here to view on YouTube.

#15 SDRuno & MultiPSK decoding APRS

Click here to view on YouTube.

#16 SDRuno & MultiPSK decoding ACARS

Click here to view on YouTube.

#17 SDRuno with the TM-2 USB Controller

Click here to view on YouTube.

#18 SDRuno Tune-LO-LO Lock

Click here to view on YouTube.

#19 pre-selection filters of the RSP-1 and RSP-2

Click here to view on YouTube.

#20 SDRuno and the VRX feature

Click here to view on YouTube.

MISC SDRUno videos

SDRuno EXT/IO Edition for a range of SDRs and dongles

Click here to view on YouTube.

SDRplay RSP with the DX Engineering RTR-2

Click here to view on YouTube.

Using the RSP-1 for the IARU HF World Championship

Click here to view on YouTube.

SDR Console videos (Brand new series)

#1 SDRplay RSP 1 & 2 with SDR Console v3

Click here to view on YouTube.

SDRplay How To documentation

Brand new SDRuno User Manual
http://www.sdrplay.com/docs/SDRplay_SDRuno_User_Manual.pdf

Frontend Reset
http://www.sdrplay.com/docs/SDRplay_Software_reset.pdf

Optimizing WIndows 7 for SDRuno
http://www.sdrplay.com/docs/SDRuno_Windows7.pdf

Setting up VSPE
http://www.sdrplay.com/docs/SDRuno_VSPE.pdf

Setting up VAC
http://www.sdrplay.com/docs/SDRuno_VAC.pdf

Decoding APRS using SDRuno and MultiPSK
http://www.sdrplay.com/docs/SDRuno_APRS.pdf

Decoding MIL-ALE using SDRuno and MultiPSK
http://www.sdrplay.com/docs/SDRuno_ALE.pdf

Decoding AIS Marine messages using SDRuno and MultiPSK
http://www.sdrplay.com/docs/SDRuno_AIS.pdf

Decoding ACARS messages using SDRuno and MultiPSK
http://www.sdrplay.com/docs/SDRuno_ACARS.pdf

Ed gives this Realistic DX-440 a bath!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Edward Ganshirt, who shares the following:
I found this critter [a Realistic DX-440–see photo above] at a flea market. At first I pondered as to when I had my last tetanus shot before handling it, then again it had something that I see rarely in these portable radios … a BFO..!

I always said that a shortwave radio without a BFO is like a Harley-Davidson with a top speed of 25 mph, so I bought it. On the way home I could smell a barnyard aroma. I ruled out chicken and hog but I think it could have been sheep or goat. So I decided to see how well it works. It took a little bumping around with loose connections to get it working. But first since it was going to be taken apart to service the case and knobs would get a nice hot bath in a sudsy ammonia citrus cleaner with a bristle brush. Also the PCB’s would get brushed down with a mixture of denatured alcohol and acetone.

Now for the hard part: finding the rickety connections. This turned out to be simple, just inspect each wire at attachment point. I found 3 broken wires that were re soldered. Now it is together I am looking for a 9 inch antenna. The one here is not original it extends 66 inches.

As to it’s performance, This Hogg can go up to 75mph now that I have the plug wires on. The user interface speaks to me as a lab instrument more than a daily listener which I think will become its role.


Absolutely amazing transformation, Ed!

I’m especially pleased to see you’ve given this level of TLC to a Realistic DX-440. I regret having ever sold mine as it accompanied me across the ocean when I studied in Grenoble, France, for a year just after high school.

The DX-440 and I did a lot of travel and a lot DXing together! I hope your DX-440 takes you across the globe, Ed!

How to fix the Grundig S350DL’s mechanical tuning drift problem

The S350DL may look like a digital radio, but it’s actually analog inside and tuning is prone to drift.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ed, who noted my comments about the Grundig S350DL’s tuning drift yesterday, and shared the following fix found on Jeff McMahon’s Herculodge blog.

Ed writes:

The Grundig S350DL’s mechanical tuning drift problem is reportedly easily correctable with a screwdriver:

(Source: The Herculodge)

[…]The drift on AM was terrible! After 10 minutes, it is jumping all over the place – if you touch the radio, the sound mutes and the display goes nuts. I pack it up to take it back but then I decide to google the problem and find this:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Grundig-S350/message/4644

I do exactly what he says – I pull off the cover after unscrewing all of the screws (including the 2 in the battery compartment).

Only the speaker is attached to the front. I remove the three screws from the display and then tighten the two screws on the tuning wheels. They were barely loose – almost not noticeable – so I was not too optimistic. I carefully got it all back together (the plastic pieces that hold the fabric handle on only go back on one certain way and were sort of a pain!). I cross my fingers, plug it in, and wow – a brand new radio. The tuning is perfect. Zero drift on FM and AM. AM sounds excellent.[…]

I have an earlier Grundig S350 that I bought at a hamfest years ago which had an easily-fixed power problem. For $20 it makes a nice bathroom radio and it sounds great, especially on FM.

BTW, I found schematics for it on radiomuseum.org, which is a great resource for radio schematics.

Thanks for the tip, Ed! I think I’ll crack open my S350DL later today and give this a try!