Category Archives: Listener Posts

Listener Post: Fred remembers discovering the shortwaves

Radio Japan QSL (Source: Fred Waterer)

Many thanks to my buddy, Fred Waterer, who shared the following message with friends on Facebook and has kindly allowed me to post this here on the SWLing Post. I thought it would make a welcome addition to our Listener Posts category.

Fred writes:

On a hot humid day in July 1978, much like today, I discovered what would become a life long avocation. International broadcasting aka shortwave radio. I was playing around with a radio belonging to my father.

It was a Nordmende, manufactured just after WW2, everything on the radio, the dials and buttons were all in German. The summer before, I had figured out that UKW was FM and listened to it off and on, despite the fact it only went up to 100 MHz. No Rock 102 or CHUM-FM on this baby.

But on that day 40 years ago, I pressed KW, kurzewellen, German for shortwave. I turned the dial and heard a woman speaking English. Not unexpected. A few minutes later she identified the broadcast as coming from Radio Sofia, Bulgaria! I was astounded!!

Radio Sofia QSL (Source: Fred Waterer)

The rest of that day I tuned around and heard the BBC, and Radio Moscow, HCJB in Ecuador, Radio Prague, Radio Canada International and so many more. It was the beginning of what has become a life long hobby/obsession.

(Source: Fred Waterer)

In 40 years I have heard everything from the mundane to the dramatic. Lectures on Soviet grain production. The invasion of the Falklands. The fall of the Soviet Union. Wars. Elections. Assassinations. Music. Literature. Jamming. Propaganda. Three filing cabinets full of program schedules, reception logs, magazines and other goodies. Binders and boxes full of QSL cards, stickers and pennants. Bankers boxes full of audio recordings. That day in July 1978 changed my life. 40 years passes way too fast. Oh well, now it’s onwards to 50 🙂

Amazing, Fred! Yes indeed, for many of us one moment of discovery makes for a welcome lifelong companion!

Let me know if you’d like help digitizing those off-air recordings–I’d love to add them to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

I encourage other SWLing Post readers and contributors to submit their own listener post! Tell us how you became interested in radio! 

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Dean: An intrepid young DXer!

Dean’s trusty Tecsun PL-660

UPDATE (28 October 2017): We’ve updated links to Dean’s website to reflect his new URL.

A few weeks ago, I received a message from SWLing Post reader, Dean Denton, who lives in Hull, UK. Dean is not your typical contemporary shortwave listener–he’s twelve years old and has been DXing since the age of eight! While, decades ago, that used to be the norm–indeed, I started SWLing at eight–Dean is bucking the trend in 2017.

Dean’s listening post consists of a few receivers:  the Tecsun PL-660, a Tesco RAD 108, a Uniden UBC360CLT and a Hitachi TRK P65E. Dean also spends a great deal of time on the excellent University of Twente WebSDR.

Dean noted in a recent message:

“I typically love a lot of broadcasters, but generally China Radio International, Radio Romania International, BBC, Voice of America plus many more. I like talk and news on shortwave radio as it gives an insight of a typical country’s actions.

I also love music on shortwave due to Amplitude Modulation and its characteristics. Not to mention Pirate Radio, HAM Radio, Numbers Stations and anything else.”

Dean, you’re a kindred spirit indeed–to me, there’s nothing like the sound of music via the “sonic texture” of shortwave radio.

Not only is Dean a radio enthusiast, but he also started a website and is building a library of videos on his YouTube channel. Indeed, most recently, he’s been experimented with Narrow Band TV on his YouTube channel.

While looking through his channel, I found this screencast and recording he made as France Inter shut down their 162 kHz longwave service as 2016 came to a close:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Dean, keep us informed about your DXing adventures and don’t hesitate to ask questions!

Post readers: Let’s officially welcome Dean into our community! While you’re at it, check out his website and YouTube channel!

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Guest Post: Troy takes us on a tour of his listening post

DoxyTronics 8020CA Antenna

DoxyTronics 8020CA Antenna

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, who writes:

I don’t have a “shack”, but I wanted to take the time to share with you my “listening post”. But first, let me start from the beginning.  

I’d call myself an amateur astronomer first – and a Shortwave Listener (SWL’er) second (I have never been a Ham Operator).  

I started my astronomy hobby as a young kid who was enthralled by the Apollo Missions.  I was also fascinated by weather & I learned how to make short-term 12-36 hour forecasts by making cloud observations, following the barometric pressure trend & noting changes in wind direction.  I am still an amateur astronomer (a very expensive endeavor).  I was able to pursue my childhood interest in weather and I became an Aviation Weather Forecaster in the military (I also instructed synoptic meteorology in the military at the schoolhouse).  I promoted myself out of meteorological jobs in my Service but I was able to transition to a deployable job that allowed me to visit 50 countries.  I retired with slightly over 30-years served.

When I was a kid, a buddy had a shortwave radio but we could never hear anything (we had no clue).  I had an Electro-Brand EB2100 5-band radio that had AM/FM, Police, Fire, Aviation & NOAA (if I recall).  We heard transmissions on that EB2100!  I didn’t truly discover shortwave until the early 1990s.  My first shortwave radio was a Panda 2006 (I challenge readers to look-up that model in the 1994 Passport to World Band Radio).  I liked shortwave so much, I sold the Panda to help finance my next radio.  I pre-ordered & subsequently received one of the first Gru?ndig Yacht Boy 400s released in the U.S. (I still have the radio & the receipt).

I think, for a SWL’er, I have a decent collection of shortwave radios & antennae:

  • Grundig Yacht Boy 400
  • Grundig  G6 Aviator Buzz Aldrin Ed.
  • Grundig G3 Globe Traveler
  • Tecsun PL-390
  • Sony ICF-7600GR
  • Tecsun PL-365
  • Grundig Satellit 750
  • Grundig G2000A Porsche
  • RadioShack 140-214 Digital Recorder
  • AMECO TPA Active Antenna
  • Crane Twin-Coil Ferrite Antenna
  • DoxyTronics 8020A Passive Antenna
  • Kaito KA35 Active Loop Proximate Antenna
  • NASA PA30 Wideband Passive Antenna
  • A Helical/Slinky Antenna
  • RadioShack 20-280 Active Antenna
  • Sony AN-LP1 Active Magnetic Loop Antenna
  • Tecsun AN-200 AM Passive Antenna
  • Terk Advantage AM-1000 Passive Antenna
  • TG34 Active Magnetic LoopAntenna
  • Yo-Yo Antennas & various Longwires
  • Extended AM Ferrite Rod for PL-365/360
Slinky, ST3 Scanner Antenna (EB2100 on top of the wall unit library)

Slinky, ST3 Scanner Antenna (EB2100 on top of the wall unit library)

Okay, so what is my “listening post”?  It’s a sitting room attached to my master bedroom.  I have a roll-top desk.  A slinky antenna stretched across one side of the room above the window.  And an ST3 “Sputnik” Scanner Antenna hung in front of the window (for my RadioShack Pro-651).  I use an old-school iPad 1st Gen next to my radios because I found that it emits virtually no RF compared to my iMac, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pros.  Besides using the iPad Gen 1 as an Internet reference, it’s also loaded with every one of my radio & antennae manuals, nearly every copy of Passport to World Band Radio, and many Spectrum Monitor issues.  If I cannot find a pdf version of a manual, I use my document scanner to create my own pdf’s.

Typical set-up (the metal basket bin is completely filled with radios, antennae, adapters, etc., all in their own cases)

Typical set-up (the metal basket bin is completely filled with radios, antennae, adapters, etc., all in their own cases)

Having my listening post essentially in the master bedroom causes conflict because my wife must get up early & drive 60-miles to work thus I am kicked-out and banished downstairs fairly early each night … while carrying a radio or two with me if I wish to continue listening.  Nearly all of my shortwave listening occurs before 8:30 P.M.

img_1855

I have all of my radios and antennae neatly organized in padded bags & cases within an arms reach of my roll-top.  Since everything is organized in its own case, I can easily grab whatever combination I want if I were to travel (or go outside, or go downstairs when my wife kicks-me-out of my listening post).

My radios in their padded cases (remember my GPS & Tablet case recommendations many months ago?)

My radios in their padded cases (remember my GPS & Tablet case recommendations many months ago?)

What are my favorites?  I typically use the Grundig Satellit 750 the most – mainly because of its size & large intuitive buttons.  The direct BNC connections make it quick & easy to transition from one antenna to another.  My favorite SW radio feature is Tecsun’s ETM (I wish every radio had it) thus I find myself using the PL-390 & PL-365 especially when out of my listening post.  My favorite antenna is the TG34.  I find that it greatly enhances the signal with a minimal increase in noise.  The Slinky is great in that I can add it to another antenna that I’m using to make a more effective combination (e.g., AMECO TPA with the Slinky & the NASA PA30 with the Slinky on the radio whip work well for me).

The bins and black cases with my gear (those are two Plano Gun Cases … a 2-gun case and a 4-gun case; I have 8 more filled with my astronomy gear but that’s another story).

The bins and black cases with my gear (those are two Plano Gun Cases … a 2-gun case and a 4-gun case; I have 8 more filled with my astronomy gear but that’s another story).

I think shortwave listening is a great hobby that compliments my amateur astronomy.  Why?  No matter the clouds, extreme temperatures, etc., I always have something interesting to do.  But I do miss the days when the wave bands were crowded with international broadcasters.  At least I know that Jupiter, Saturn & the thousands of deep sky objects within grasp of my many telescopes & binoculars will NOT be leaving the sky until long after I leave this planet!

You’ve set up an excellent listening post, Troy! As you well know, I’m a bit of a pack junkie, so I love the fact you have so many padded cases and protective gear for your equipment–no doubt, this is championed by your amateur astronomer half!

SWLing Post readers might recall that, last year, Troy actually put together a shortwave broadcast dedicated to amateur astronomy. We published a full recording of the show on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

Thanks, again, for sharing a tour of your listening post, Troy!

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Part 3: SWLing Post shack photos

IMG_9013

Rajesh Chandwani (VU2OEC), Gurgaon (Haryana), India INDIA

Several months ago, we conducted a shack photo contest sponsored by Universal Radio. I’m posting all of your excellent photos as time allows and putting them under the tag, shack photos.

The following is the third set of ten photos along with any notes that were included.

Click on images to enlarge and enjoy:


Robert Gulley (AK3Q)

ak3q-shack

Notes: I have a Kenwood TM-D710G with lots of bells and whistles (center-right), including APRS and packet capability, Echolink, computer control, programming and data output, not to mention the regular functions of a dual-band, cross-band repeat radio. Another rig above and to the left (under the computer monitor) is my main all-mode rig, a Kenwood TS-2000. To the right is an old Swan 350 transceiver and power supply. There is an old manual Dentron tuner above that, and sitting atop of it all is an analog Uniden Bearcat BC898T scanner. There is an amplifier, a 220Mhz rig, several HTs, and on the bottom right my pride and joy Yaesu FRG-7 shortwave receiver. I currently have 6 speakers for various sound outputs. Out of the frame are two more computers, two SDR receivers, another monitor and a sound mixing board. I won’t begin to mention all the portable SW radios and several old DX-160s (my first real SW radio). I love listening/transmitting here, but I also take portable radios around the house and on the front or back porch as the mood hits.


Mahesh Jain (57HS4688)

IMG_20151006_202620_HDR

Notes: I am radio hobbyist particularly my beloved shortwave radio. But it makes me sad to see that most of the radio stations on shortwave in my country India are closing their shortwave broadcast and they are going online and digital, which is available to few not the all people. Hope the radio and specially shortwave radio revive soon. Hope we all have good old days back. 🙂

I love my Graundig Yacht boy 80 radios which I won from DW (german radio) and later i bought Sony ICF SW35. I use telescopic antenna and sometimes I use a reel antenna. I have very little technical knowledge about the radios and antennas used. Still, I keep on experimenting and sometimes found far far away stations, which is obviously a thrilling experience. with this hobby of DXing I have learned a lot about different cultures and nations. Moreover i am using the internet technology to get far away stations which are not targeting my country/region and the WEB SDR is the best source.


Ray Sylvester (NR1R)

radio room 001

Notes: Ray’s main shack rig is the Yaesu FTDX5000MP.


Darwin McDonald (SWL/W8)

Shack2 Shack1Shack4 Shack3

Notes: The Drake Receiver is my best–using a long wire and an antenna tuner.


S B Sharma

my radio_1087 radio & me_1447

Notes: In the photo above, I am listening to radio at world famous Buddhist temple in Barbadur, Indonesia. Photo taken while I was surfing and listening voice of Indonesia and general overseas service of India on the temple. I have been listening to radio for the past 32 years and continue today. Due to this hobby, I won two free foreign tours till date and hope there will be some more.


Clyde Ramsdell (N1BHH)

my_station_004

Notes: My simple station/listening post is the Icom IC-735 using one of three antennas:

  1. Off Center Fed Dipole (130 feet) at 45 feet high,
  2. 160 meter (250 feet long) dipole at 30 feet high,
  3. Random wire, roughly 45 feet draped around my room.

My bedside radio is a Grundig Yachtboy YB-400 with another random wire draped around the room. In the photo (above) you’ll find the Icom IC-735 on the Astron RS-35 power supply, MFJ-949E tuner and Bencher paddle, a Radio Shack Pro-106 scanner, Icom IC-3AT 220 HT and Yaesu FT-2900R.


Jawahar Shaikh

Screenshot_2015-10-06-22-27-45

Notes:  My favorite receiver is none other than Tecsun PL-660 as it pulls a lot of far away radio stations without any external antenna!!! On MW I could log a number of South Korea, Japan, and Australian radio stations.On shortwave, numerous far away radio stations including 1 KW Australian Marine Weather Broadcast station VMW. On longwave…Vow…Ireland radio on 252 khz…What else do I need from a budget Tecsun?

The tinyTecsun PL-660 is my DX magic box !!!! So,This is my listening post!

Location: Tamil Nadu state, India.


José William

image

Notes:  This is my little shack that is located in my backyard.

Features:
Receiver- DEGEN DE 1103
Antenna- RGP3-OC Loop Magnética and DEGEN 31MS active loop antenna
Amplifier- Amplificador Indutivo de RF DXCB-V1
Recorder- Sony ICD-PX312F


Peter Ströhlein

WP_20151010_22_04_21_Pro

Notes: My Listeningt post consists of my fav. Kenwood TS-50 (30khz – 30Mhz) and a VHF YAESU FT-1900.

All night long when my kids are in bed, I spend my time listening to numerous SW Stations.

This is my hobby since nearly 30 years! 🙂 So that’s my little listening post, illuminated with two little LED-Spots for SWL Nights with “Style”. 🙂


Hank Dean (KU8S)

DSCN0918 DSCN0917 DSCN0916 DSCN0915

Notes:  Here are four photos of a portable outing “QRP to the field” op in April 2013. This park is called Bear Pond and is located in the Seminole State Forest, west of Sanford, FL on SR 46, about four miles from my house. I love this place. Great place to have lunch and play radio.

The rig is a Yaesu FT-817ND QRP transceiver, a PAR end fed wire antenna, and SLAB 12v 10AHr battery. Apple IPad does the logging chores. Add some Chinese food, some almond cookies, a little sweet tea, Hmmnnnnnn, life is good!


Life is good, indeed, Hank!  What a great way to cap off this third set of shack photos!

Again, many thanks to all who sent in their listening post photos. I absolutely love the variety! 

Follow the tag Shack Photos for more!

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Part 2: SWLing Post shack photos

image1 (1)

Arie van Bezooijen’s (PE1AJ) shack photo

Several months ago, we conducted a shack photo contest sponsored by Universal Radio. I’m posting all of your excellent photos as time allows and putting them under the tag, shack photos.

The following is the second set of ten photos along with any notes that were included.

Click on images to enlarge and enjoy:


Rajesh Chandwani, VU2OEC

IMG_9013

Notes:

?My radio shack has radio from two generations, that is, my father’s tube radio, viz., Murphy TAO 776 MARK II. My father, Mr. P. R. Chandwani, also a Shortwave Listener, purchased Murphy Radio in Summer of 1971.

MURPHY RADIOI used to see him install wire antenna between to bamboo poles or mesh antenna in our room for shorwave signals. I love this old murphy radio. I carried on further the legacy of radio listening till 2005 and then got my Ham ticket. My radio shack also have state-of-the-art technology radios, like, Kenwood TS-590s and Grundig Satellit 800 Millennium. Overall, it is the love for radio, experience of years & years of listening works out. Even after becoming ham, I still indulge in Shortwave Listening, AM Bands and FM Dxing. It is a lot of fun. My 14 year old son, viz., Chittaranjan too some time takes interest in radio technology.

?73?
Rajesh Chandwani, VU2OEC
Gurgaon (Haryana)
INDIA


Moshe Ze’ev Zaharia

Notes:

I actually have two favorite listening posts, as seen in the following pictures:

20151004_173027

In the first you can see the Ben-Gal Duet Stereo, Tube radio with record player. The Ben-Gal covers Shortwave in 3 overlap bands continues from about 2MHz up to about 23MHz, it has an RF stage and it is very sensitive. Above are (from left to right): the Sangean ATS909, Tecsun S2000, and Philips 90AL765.

IMG_0452In the second picture is the Ben-Gal Verdi. In contrast to the Duet Stereo, it lacks the RF stage, but 15 meters of wire as an antenna compensate for that. I like to lay down on the sofa, in the dark, spin the dial on this radio while gazing the green light of the EM84 tuning tube.

Best Regards,
Moshe Ze’ev Zaharia
Be’er Sheva
Israel


Elwood Downey, WB0OEW

IMG_0410Notes:

Main rig at this time is Elecraft KX3, both on-air and SWL. I also still have my Knight Kit Star Roamer I built in 1970 to which I added a BFO but it is not in the photo. Ham interests include antennas, building and digital modes. SWL interests include WX FAX, utility and military.

Thanks for a great website.

73, Elwood

Tucson Arizona


Gregory

IMG_20150816_182501_2

Notes:

Here is my Tecsun PL-600. My other toys include UHF-walkie and RTL-SDR, and that’s it for now. I was laying in my mother-in-law’s garden, in evening twilight, and this very friendly stray cat came and jumped on me to listen 20m hams too.

Best regards,
Greg,

Yekaterinburg Russia


Dan Robinson

DSCF0023

Dan Robinson sits in front of his “main stack” of  receivers in his basement shack in Potomac, MD.

The former VOA correspondent currently runs, from top to bottom, a RFT EKD-515, McKay Dymek DR33-C6, JRC NRD-301A, Drake R7A/RV75, Eddystone 6200, JRC NRD-515. Just behind Dan, you find a Drake R8, SONY ICF-6800W, and a Kenwood R-2000, while not seen behind this veteran DX’er is a NRD-545. Dan notes that the receivers shown constitute only about half of his collection.

DSCF0029In his “back room” he has everything from a Panasonic RF-9000 and Grundig Sat 650, to an R-390A and JRC NRD-93.


David Self, K8SSN

Shack 2014Primary radio is a Flex 3000 and a secondary FT900. Location is Hamilton, Ohio.


Satyan, VU3MES

shack rearranged.Notes:

Top is my ham radio equipment and bottom shelf is for my JRC NRD92 – 35 years young.


Art van Esch, VK4GO

PC-Table2

Notes:

I am a ham since 1963 was born in The Netherlands, moving to Australia in 1980. I am active on the short wave bands.

FTdx1200-artRegards de Art VK4GO

Queensland, Australia


Anthony Bueron

kk1012Notes: Hello, my name is Anthony Bueron from the Philippines. Here is a photo of my shortwave radio. Thanks!


Francisc GrĂĽnberg, YO4PX

YO4PX Callsign Lookup by QRZ.COM

Notes:

My name is Francisc GrĂĽnberg, a radio ham with the call sign YO4PX. I live in Constanta, Romania. More about me and my ham radio activities and publications may be found on my QRZ.com page at https://www.qrz.com/db/yo4px

From there you may see that I was a short-wave listener for 17 years because of the discrimination of the former communist authorities, before obtaining my transmitter license in 1980.

I am a writer, a journalist and a professional certified and sworn translator for 4 languages. I am also my own webmaster at http://yo4px.blogspot.ro where more than 850 articles (translations and own writings) were published in the last 6 years.
A picture of me in my shack is attached.

The gear I am using is presented on my QRZ.com page.
My postal address is also there, but I repeat it:

GrĂĽnberg Francisc
Constanta, Romania


Again, many thanks to all who sent in their listening post photos. I absolutely love the variety! 

Follow the tag Shack Photos for more!

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