Category Archives: Mediumwave

DX Central’s MW Frequency Challenge: Week 8 Results and Week 9 Announcement


Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor Loyd Van Horn at DX Central who shares the following announcement:

Another great week of loggings in our MW Frequency Challenge is in the rear view mirror, with week 8/1460 kHz closing out last night during our DX Central Live! livestream.

We now turn our attention to a new frequency for week 9: 550 kHz.

This will be a challenging frequency, as there are not as many stations here. There are opportunities though for both domestic and international DX, and US stations have a decent amount of space between them and a good smattering of 5kw stations to make this week one that should be a lot of fun!

We are already getting in some good logs from those that were on the livestream last night, be sure to get your logs in as well using the Google Form linked in the blog post, below.

https://www.dxcentralonline.com/post/mw-frequency-challenge-week-8-results-and-week-9-announcement

Good luck to all!
Loyd Van Horn

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The new Xiegu X6100: Is it a good SW/MW broadcast band receiver?

Late last year, Xiegu started shipping their latest portable rig: the Xiegu X6100.

The X6100 is an all-in-one QRP SDR field transceiver. It sports an internal antenna tuner, internal Li-Ion rechargeable battery pack, and even an internal mic for hams who don’t want to carry the supplied mic to the field. For field operators, it’s in the very desirable “shack in a box” category. Just hook up an antenna and you’re on the air.

The X6100 got a lot of attention in the ham radio market because in many ways it resembles the Icom IC-705.

The X6100 sports top-mounted controls, a beautiful high resolution color display, and front-facing speaker. At $630 US, it’s less than half the cost of a new IC-705.

As with pretty much all modern SDR transceivers, the X6100 has variable filters and a general coverage receiver. The X6100’s receiver has gapless coverage from 0.5 MHz to 30MHz and 50MHz to 54MHz, thus covering the mediumwave and shortwave broadcast bands.

Radioddity sent me a loaner X6100 that I took delivery of on December 23, 2021.

Literally, the first thing I did was tune it to the 31 meter broadcast band.

While I’ve spent the bulk of my time with the X6100 in the field testing it as a QRP transceiver, in the shack I’ve done a fair amount of SWLing both in AM mode and (pirate radio stations) in SSB mode.

My assessment

I’ve received a number of inquiries from SWLing Post readers about the X6100 asking how it stacks up to the IC-705 from an SWL’s perspective, so I thought I’d share my impressions so far to help guide any potential purchase decisions. I’ll provide much more detail in my upcoming review in The Spectrum Monitor magazine (likely in March or April 2022).

In short: I would not buy the Xiegu X6100 specifically for shortwave broadcast listening.

While the frequency coverage is ideal, the variable filters are useful, and the color spectrum display and waterfall (in terms of the interface) are benchmark, the radio has a few cons from an SWL perspective:

  1. I have noticed imaging on the spectrum display as I tune through the broadcast bands (shortwave and mediumwave). I seriously doubt this is something that can be addressed in firmware.
  2. The X6100 does not have a robust front-end. A number of my readers on QRPer.com who live near strong broadcast stations have noted that it’s almost unusable from home.
  3. The audio is typical of Xiegu radios, meaning it’s unrefined and a bit harsh. I find it a bit fatiguing over extended listening sessions both using the internal speaker and headphones.

In fairness, the X6100 wasn’t designed with the SWL in mind.

With the negatives out of the way, the X6100 is very much a usable radio for casual broadcast listening. You might even be able to push it into a little DX action as well. If you plan to purchase the X6100 for ham radio activities anyway, consider broadcast listening as a bit of “icing on the cake.”

X6100 vs. IC-705 from an SWL’s perspective

I’ve been asked specifically about how the X6100 compares with the IC-705 in terms of shortwave and mediumwave listening.

There’s really no competition: the IC-705 is better than the X6100 by orders of magnitude in this regard.

The IC-705 is a high-performance radio with receiver qualities that would please most serious DXers. (Check out some of 13DKA’s reports!). That level of RX performance and filtering comes with a $1,300 US price tag.

The X6100 was designed to be price-competitive and to have ample performance and a tool set to please the low-power ham radio field operator. I feel like it’s a success in this regard. When I’m in the field performing a park or summit activation, I’m typically far removed from urban RFI and blowtorch broadcasters. The field operations I’ve performed so far with the X6100 (mostly in CW/Morse Code) have been quite successful and enjoyable.

I hopes this helps! Again, I’ll have more detail about the Xiegu X6100 in my upcoming detailed review in The Spectrum Monitor magazine. If you’re interested in how the X6100 performs as a QRP transceiver in the field, check out my reports on QRPer.com.

Thank you!

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Radio Waves: VOA Museum a Historic Marvel, 1BCG Special Event Report, BBC Centenary Celebration, and Czech Radio Turns Off MW and LW

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors David Iurescia, Mark Erdle, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


Voice heard ’round the world: Voice of America museum near Cincinnati a historical marvel (The Columbus Dispatch)

WEST CHESTER, Ohio — Imagine, if you will, a voice so strong that it shakes the very foundations of global tyranny.

In the early days of World War II, a group of Americans, including President Franklin Roosevelt, actor and director John Houseman and Cincinnati entrepreneur Powell Crosley Jr. imagined such a voice, one that could counter Nazi propaganda in Hitler’s own backyard.

They named it The Voice of America.

Today, the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting, 8070 Tylersville Road, occupies the site from which the service beamed its message around the world for 50 years beginning in 1944, recounting its history and remembering the people, especially Crosley, who made it possible. [Continue reading…]

100th Anniversary Celebration of the First Trans-Atlantic Radio
Transmission of a Message by Amateur Radio (1BCG.org)

Saturday, December 11, 2021

On a cold winter night on December 11, 1921, members of the Radio Club of America were able to send the first amateur radio message from a small shack in Greenwich, CT to be received by American Paul Godley in Ardrossan, Scotland. This transatlantic test proved the value of shorter wavelengths – long considered worthless to long distance communications and through their success ushered in the age of global shortwave radio communications. The 1921 message was sent one-way. Acknowledgment of Paul Godley’s reception of 1BCG’s massage was sent back to the US via the Marconi high power radio transmitter in Wales.

The Antique Wireless Association, in association with the Vintage Radio and communications Museum of Connecticut (VRCMCT) in Windsor, CT, the Radio Club of America, the American Radio Relay League, and the Radio Society of Great Britain, participated in the 100th Anniversary special events held Saturday, December 11, 2021.

For the 75 th anniversary celebration of the 1BCG accomplishment in 1996, AWA members Bob and Mike Raide constructed a replica of the 1921 transmitter. For this 100th celebration, AWA Museum Staff restored the replica. The VRCMCT in Windsor CT has graciously offered to host AWA operation of the replica transmitter during the evening of December 11th. The 1BCG replica transmitter was placed on public display at the VRCMCT Museum during the day of Saturday December 11, 2021. [Continue reading the full report at the 1BCG website…]

Celebrations to mark the BBC’s Centenary began at midday today (1/1/2022) via shortwave radio (Southgate ARC)

BBC Radio 4 announcer/newsreader, Jim Lee, launched special event amateur radio station GB100BBC, from the BBC’s Broadcasting House, in London, at exactly midday.

Listen to the broadcast:
GB100BBC launches 1st Jan 2022
With thanks to the London BBC Radio Group

Within minutes amateur radio stations around the UK and throughout Europe were clamouring to contact the special BBC station and secure a prized entry in the logbook.

The London BBC Radio Group was granted an extended special event radio licence by the regulator OFCOM, to operate the station throughout 2022.

The amateur radio activity is one of many events organised to celebrate 100 years of the BBC, which began broadcasting from Savoy Hill in 1922 as the British Broadcasting Company, moving to the iconic Broadcasting House in 1932, gaining a Royal Charter as the British Broadcasting Corporation.

The London BBC Radio Group has a growing membership which includes engineers, journalists, producers and on-air talent in both TV and Radio. The group is independent but hosted and supported by the Corporation.

The group was launched in 2017 by a handful of radio enthusiasts to revive a long and rich history of amateur radio at the BBC dating back to the Second World War.

The ‘radio shack’ at the BBC’s headquarters, Broadcasting House in central London, was officially opened by the then Director General, Lord Tony Hall, with an over-the-air message of congratulations. Lord Hall was subsequently bestowed Honorary membership of the club. [Click here to read at the Southgate ARC…]

Czech radio switches off MW and LW as 2022 starts (Mike Terry via the Southgate ARC)

Prague (dpa) – Radio reception on medium wave (MW) and long wave (LW) has been history in many parts of Europe for years.

Now, in the Czech Republic, at least the public broadcaster will stop transmitting on MW and LW as the new year starts on Saturday.

The powerful transmitters on the frequencies 270, 639 and 954 kilohertz could also be received in large parts of Germany.

The reason given for the move was the widespread availability of terrestrial digital radio DAB+ and the high costs of broadcasting.

Those still listening using medium waves were to be persuaded to switch with a campaign. The radio station Cesky Rozhlas set up a telephone hotline to answer questions.

It was not known at first whether the transmitters would be retained or used for other purposes.

The antenna of the medium-wave transmitter Liblice B east of Prague is considered the highest structure in the Czech Republic, with a height of 355 metres.

Impuls, the most-listened to private radio station, wants to remain faithful to medium wave for the time being. It broadcasts its second programme, with pop and country music, on analogue transmission.

Click here to read at DPA-International.com.


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Looking back: What radios did you use the most in 2021?

I’m not sure why, but near the end of the year I always like to look back at my radio routine and figure out which radios I used the most. Often, the answer is surprising.

This year, I realized there was a very clear winner…

The C.Crane CCRadio3

The C.Crane CCRadio3 has taken lead position as my daily driver. I have it turned on most days for as much as 4-5 hours at a time depending on how much I’m at home.

Here’s why it has become my daily driver:

  • Benchmark AM/FM reception: The CCRadio3 grabs a solid lock on my favorite local and regional MW and FM stations. At the end of the day, my favorite news program (Marketplace) is available on a local WCQS and distant WFAE. The CCRadio3 can lock onto both equally well. I’ve very few portables that can do this. In addition, I use the CCradio3 for casual MW DXing when I’m not using the Panny RF-2200 or my Chuck Rippel-restored SRII.
  • Audio: The audio from its internal speaker is superb for voice content, but also robust enough for music. I love the dedicated Treble/Bass controls. The audio can be turned up to the point that it can be enjoyed throughout our house.
  • Bluetooth: I listen to a lot of content online and pipe it via Bluetooth from various devices to the CCRadio3. I stream the CBC, FranceInfo, ABC, and/or the BBC most mornings from my laptop. I use Radio Garden on my iPad to explore a world of local radio. I also stream Apple Music from my Mac Mini to the CCRadio3. When I do workouts on my stationary bike, I’ll often listen to both podcasts and music on the CCRadio3 via my iPhone.
  • Battery life: The battery life on the CCRadio 3 is simply stellar. It takes four D cells which offer up a lot of capacity. There are so few digital display radios today that can quite literally play for a few months on one set of batteries. I invested in a set of EBL D Cells and Charger (this package–affiliate link) and have been super pleased. When in the shack/office, the CCRadio3 is plugged into mains power via the supplied AC adapter. All other times, it runs on rechargeable battery power.

It’s ironic, too, because the CCRadio3 doesn’t cover shortwave which is, without a doubt, my favorite band. Thing is, now that so many of my staple news sources are difficult to reliably get on shortwave in the mornings (oh how I miss Radio Australia) I turn to FM and online sources for news content. I still listen to the BBCWS, RNZ, RRI, and at least a dozen other news programs on shortwave, but due to my schedule, it’s mostly casual listening.

On the go: The Belka-DX

Speaking of shortwave, though, the portable I’ve used the most this year for SWLing has been the Belka-DX. Besides it being a super-performing DX machine, it’s also incredibly compact and portable. I keep it in a small Tom Bihn zippered pouch and it lives in my EDC bag which accompanies me on all errands and travels.

The Belka-DX is so small, I forget it’s there. Even some of my smallest compact portables are nearly three times the size of the Belka-DX.

In the field: The Icom IC-705

If you follow QRPer.com, you’ll no doubt see that I spend a lot of time in the field doing QRP amateur radio activations of summits and parks. As I’ve pointed out in my review and 13DKA has pointed out in his reviews, the IC-705 is a benchmark shortwave, mediumwave and FM DXing machine. At $1300 US it’s pricey for sure, but it offers up a usable spectrum display/waterfall, audio RX controls, customizable filtering, HF/VHF/UHF coverage, and built-in audio recording/playback.

You don’t even need a 13.8V power supply with the IC-705 as it’ll charge from most any USB source via a Micro USB plug and run in receive for at least 5 hours without needing a recharge. Of course, you could invest in a second, higher-capacity battery pack and get even more battery life.

When I take the IC-705 on a field activation, I’ll often do a little listening after I finish the ham radio portion of my outing. It’s a great reminder of how important it is to take your radios to the field these days. With no QRM, it’s amazing what you can receive.

How about you?

What radios did you use the most in 2021? Please comment!

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A look inside: The Worldwide Listening Guide’s Tenth Edition

As I’ve mentioned many times here on the SWLing Post, I’m something of a “content DXer.”

Clearly, I enjoy chasing obscure programming––news, documentaries, music, variety shows, anything the broadcasting world has to offer.   Even though my favorite medium for doing this has been shortwave radio, these days, I often turn to Wi-Fi or over-the-internet radio.  Wi-Fi radio offers the discerning listener the ability to track down fascinating regional content from every corner of the globe––content never actually intended for an international audience.

If you, too, like the chase, The Worldwide Listening Guide (WWLG) will be your go-to, and this recent edition––the tenth!––is the latest in a long line of handy volumes that help the listener catch what’s out there, noting that with each passing year there’s more content to catch.

Cornucopia of content

The variety of content from online broadcasters today is surely orders of magnitude more than any one individual has ever had via over-the-air (OTA) radio sources.

Though my WiFi radio offers an easy and reliable way to “tune” to online content––both real-time station streams and on-demand podcasts––the content discovery part is actually quite difficult. I liken it to browsing a large public library looking for a new and interesting book to read, but without the guidance of a librarian. The options are so plentiful that even with superb indexing and organization, one simply doesn’t know where to begin.

On the other hand––and I’m speaking from very recent experience here––if you find a good local independent bookstore, you might actually discover more meaningful titles because the bookstore selections are curated by both the proprietor and the local community.

With this analogy in mind, The Worldwide Listening Guide is essentially my local bookstore for online content and programming.

I recently received a review copy of the new 10th Edition of the Worldwide Listening Guide  by John Figliozzi and, as always, I enjoyed reading it from cover to cover.

The WWLG speaks to the types of programming I enjoy as an SWL because the author, John Figliozzi, is a devoted shortwave radio and international broadcasting enthusiast.

And while the bulk of the WWLG is a detailed and beautifully organized programming guide, it’s also so much more…

“The Many Platforms of radio”

As I’ve so often said, the WWLG is a unique guide; there’s nothing quite like it on the market because it truly takes a deep dive into the world of broadcasting and content delivery both from a technology and programming point of view.

Each media delivery platform, whether on AM, Shortwave, FM, Satellite Radio, Internet (WiFi Radio), and Podcasting, has a dedicated section in the book where Figliozzi explores each in detail. He also speaks to the state of each platform both from the broadcaster’s and the listener’s perspective.

Indeed, each chapter dedicated to these topics very much reminds me of the old Passport to Worldband Radio that I first picked up in the 1990s. The WWLG serves as a primer, but also speaks to the health and potential longevity of each platform.

I appreciate the fact that Figliozzi also addresses the nuts-and-bolts side of both over-the-air and online broadcasting.  For while I’d like to think that I’m reasonably knowledgeable about the world of radio, I find I always discover something new in each edition.

There’s a surprising amount of information packed into this slim, spiral-bound volume. The Worldwide Listening Guide is enough to keep even a seasoned content DXer happy for years…or at least, until the latest edition comes out!

In short? The WWLG is a bargain for all it offers, and I highly recommend it.

The 10th edition of The Worldwide Listening Guide can be purchased here:

Note that at time of posting copies of the WWLG can be pre-ordered at Universal Radio. Amazon.com will soon have links to purchase the 10th edition when they’re in inventory. I assume the W5YI group will also have the 10th edition available for purchase soon!  

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Guest Post: An Introduction to DXing the MF Marine Bands

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Don Moore–author of  Following Ghosts in Northern Peru–for the following guest post:


Monitoring the MF Marine Bands

By Don Moore

For me, DXing has always been about the challenge of receiving difficult-to-hear radio stations, regardless of the type of station or frequency range. In my five decades in the radio hobby I’ve logged a lot of different kinds of stations – shortwave broadcast, medium wave, shortwave utility, longwave beacons, etc. But some of my favorite catches have been in the upper end of the medium frequency range.

Technically speaking, medium frequency (MF) is the range from 300 to 3000 kHz and includes the standard medium wave (AM) broadcast band. The upper end of the MF band, from 1600 to 3000 kHz (except for a small portion reserved for amateur radio),  has always been assigned to various types of utility uses including broadcasts and other voice communications from regional maritime stations. And while digital modes and satellites have done a lot to change the nature of communication with ships at sea, there is still a lot of good human-voice DX to be heard.

Several dozen stations, mostly in Europe and North America, broadcast regularly scheduled marine information broadcasts in the MF range. These broadcasts are usually between five to ten minutes in length and include weather forecasts, navigational warnings, and other notices to keep ships at sea safe. On occasion it’s possible to hear two-way voice communication here between ships and shore stations, although that’s much less common today.

The Equipment

Nothing special is needed to DX the marine MF band other than a receiver that covers the frequency range and can receive USB mode (which all these broadcasts are in). However, for reasons explained below, I highly recommend using an SDR to make spectrum recordings of the entire band to go through later. Continue reading

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Guest Post: Don targets rare Norwegian stations during Newfoundland DXpedition

Photo by the Bjørnøya Meteorologiske Stasjon

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Don Moore–author of  Following Ghosts in Northern Peru–for the following guest post:


The Rarest DX?

By Don Moore

In mid-October I received an invitation to attend the annual DXpedition in Cappahayden, Newfoundland with Jean Burnell, John Fisher, and Jim Renfrews. It didn’t take long for me to say yes. Newfoundland is one of the best places in the world to DX from and all kinds of amazing stuff has been heard there. I was excited at the prospect of great medium wave DX and being able to log low-powered European private and pirate shortwave broadcasters.

But something else was at the top of my try-for list. One of my many DX interests has always been logging coastal marine stations in the 1600 to 3000 kHz range. In preparation I started checking online sources to update my spreadsheet of schedules. In going through a recently added section on Marine Broadcasts in the DX Info Centre website I came across listings for twice-daily weather broadcasts from Hopen Island on 1750 kHz and Bjørnøya (Bear Island) on 1757 kHz.

I didn’t remember ever seeing anything about broadcasts from these remote islands in the Norwegian Arctic before. Were these stations actually on the air, I wondered. And if they were, could I hear them in Newfoundland? Continue reading

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