Category Archives: New Products

Video: Nick’s initial review of the Eton Elite Satellit

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nick Booras, who writes:

I bought [an Eton Elite Satellit] on Amazon and received it today. Here is a link to my YouTube review.

I have made several radio videos on YouTube recently and your audience may enjoy them.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Many thanks for sharing your initial review, Nick! I look forward to seeing any comparison videos you might produce as well!

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Radio Waves: AM/FM Receiver Sales Stabilize, Asheville Radio Museum Adds Model HS2, Legacy remains of WSY, and Farewell to WCFW

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


AM/FM Receiver Sales Have ‘Stabilized’ Even As Audio Turns Up On More Devices. (Inside Radio)

Anyone who has tried to find an AM/FM receiver in a big box retailer knows they are not as easy to find as they once were. It is little surprise then that the Consumer Technology Association expects fewer to sell this year. But at roughly five million units now sold each year, CTA expects that number to hold steady in the years to come, in part due to the role radio plays during emergencies.

“That category has stabilized,” said Rick Kowalski, Director of Industry Analysis and Business Intelligence at CTA. “It’s a low number relative to other categories, but there’s a steady demand, just in terms of people having an AM/FM radio for those situations where you might need a battery-powered radio as a backup.”

CTA forecasts 4.7 million traditional radio receivers will be sold this year in the U.S. That is six percent lower than the five million units sold in 2021. “Looking out in the next five years. It’s not going to get much lower than that,” Kowalski said in an interview.

CTA projects 24.5 million smart speakers will sell this year, or roughly five-times as many as traditional radio receivers. But in what may be a surprise to many, that estimate is actually two percent lower than the 25 million smart speakers that CTA says were sold last year. [Continue reading…]

“Bringing it home” Asheville Radio Museum adds local piece of history to its collection (WLOS)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — The Asheville Radio Museum has added a new piece of history to its’ collection!

It’s a 1922 radio receiver built by an Asheville-based business.

The model HS2 radio the museum procured is only one of two known to exist.

Collector and restorer Robert Lozier found that it was the first name brand radio built in North Carolina.

News 13 spoke to the director of media communications Peter Abzug about why this radio is so significant.

“Having this radio here, in Asheville, where it was built is really significant,” he said. “It’s bringing it home. Although the company itself didn’t last for years and years, it did employ people and it was a significant part of Asheville’s history, and something we can be very proud of.”

Click here to watch the video at WLOS.

Legacy remains of WSY, Alabama’s first radio station (Alabama News Center)

Innovation is at the historic heart of Alabama Power, beginning with its founding in 1906 and Capt. William Patrick Lay’s vision of electrifying the state by harnessing the power of Alabama’s rivers.

But the company’s embrace of another cutting-edge technology, just 16 years after Alabama Power’s incorporation, is also historic.

One hundred years ago this year, on April 24, 1922, Alabama Power hit the airwaves with the state’s first operating radio station. WSY (an acronym for “We Serve You”) began broadcasting from rented space in a building on Powell Avenue in Birmingham.

The 500-watt AM station was initially designed as a company tool, to provide better communications among employees – especially those in the field and at remote generating plants. In fact, radio technology was so new – regularly scheduled radio programming in the United States started only in 1920 – Alabama Power engineers had to design and build most of WSY’s transmitting equipment.

“We began assembling the set … with intentions of using it for purposes of operation of the system exclusively,” wrote George Miller, the employee in charge of the station, in the July 1922 issue of the company’s Powergrams. “The broadcast feature came up, though, and materially changed our plans.”

Indeed, a month before the station went on the air, The Birmingham News published a do-it-yourself piece about “how to make your own radiophone receiving set” so local residents could pick up WSY when it began broadcasting.

Interest in the station was so strong that within weeks it began offering entertainment programs, according to “Developed for the Service of Alabama,” the centennial history of Alabama Power, written by noted historian Leah Rawls Atkins.

Dee Haynes, with the Alabama Historical Radio Society, recalled one story that underscores WSY’s popular embrace. Soon after WSY went on the air, earpieces began disappearing from the handsets of payphones all over Birmingham, apparently because people were swiping them to use in home-built receiving sets. [Continue reading…]

FAREWELL TO FM: A Grandson’s Recollections of His Family’s Legacy Radio Station, WCFW (Volume One)

For 54 years, WCFW has been a beloved independently owned radio station on 105.7FM. But for lifelong Eau Claire resident Parker Reed, it has been more than that: it’s his family’s life, love, and legacy.

A catchy jingle – featuring the melody “WCFW, where FM means fine music” – came across a young radio station owner’s desk in 1969.

It was short, simple, and it worked. The owner paid $25 for it, and more than 50 years later that same jingle – which has aired thousands of times on 105.7FM radio – exemplifies the values of WCFW in Chippewa Falls and the couple who have owned it for over half a century: simplicity and consistency.

My grandparents, Roland and Patricia Bushland, have owned and operated WCFW since its inaugural broadcast on the airwaves on Oct. 20, 1968. Earlier this summer, they decided to end their 54-year stint in radio, selling the legacy station to Magnum Media – a Wisconsin-based media organization owned by Dave Magnum who now owns 25 radio stations across the state and will take over operations of the quaint, easy-listening station later this fall.

It’s a bittersweet moment – for the community, yes, but especially for our family, for whom the station has been an integral part of our lives for decades.

“It’s hard to not have mixed feelings about it, because it was our life for so long,” said my grandmother, Patricia Bushland. “When you start something, and you’re the only people who ran it all those years, you get attached to it. But after so many years, I’m thrilled to death that someone new is coming in, and we can finally take a break.”

When my grandfather, Roland, was young, he would draw pictures of radio towers during school – as his life too began with radio, front and center. My great-grandfather Roy Bushland owned and operated multiple Bushland Radio Specialties storefronts in Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire since the early 1930s – a business where my grandfather got his start in 1952 after he graduated Chippewa Falls High School as salutatorian. [Continue reading…]


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Eton Elite Satellite Update (August 20, 2022)

Eton Elite Satellit HD

Eton Elite Satellit Update (August 20, 2022)

As many SWLing Post readers have pointed out, Universal Radio has posted the following update to their product page for the Elite Satellit:

Our initial allocation of radios arrived 08/17/22. Our Q/C testing detected a problem with the radio. We are working closely with Eton to find a solution to the issue. We will begin shipping radios as soon we are satisfied the radio fully meets specifications.

Some early adopters noted that the receiver controls freeze when engaging HD radio stations. We suspect this may be one of the issues.

Universal Radio will no doubt post updates as soon as they’re available. For now, though, they are not shipping the Eton Elite Satellit. We assume this will be the case for other retailers as well.

Internal Photos

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Noel, who shares the following internal photos he took of the Elite Satellit (click images to enlarge):

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Introducing the amazing SULA: An affordable unidirectional DX-grade loop antenna that you can build!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor extraordinaire, 13dka, who brings us a three part series about the new SULA homebrew antenna project. This first article describes this affordable antenna and demonstrates its unique reception properties. The second article will focus on construction notes. The third and final article will essentially be a Q&A about the SULA antenna. All articles will eventually link to each other once published.

This wideband unidirectional antenna is an outstanding and innovative development for the portable DXer. I love the fact that it came to fruition via a collaboration between Grayhat and 13dka: two amazing gents and radio ambassadors on our SWLing.net discussion board and here on the SWLing Post. So many thanks to both of them!

Please enjoy and share SULA Part 1:


Introducing the Small Unidirectional Loop Antenna (SULA) 1-30MHz

A small and simple, unidirectional and DX-capable loop “beam” for SWLs!

by 13dka

In early June, Andrew (grayhat), SWLing Post‘s resident antenna wizard suggested a variation of the “cardioid loop” on the SWLing Post message board: The original “cardioid loop” is a small loop receiving antenna deriving its name from a cardioid shaped (unidirectional) radiation footprint. The design is strikingly simple but it has a few downsides: It relies on a custom preamp, it needs a ground rod to work and it is unidirectional only up to 8 MHz.

Andrew’s version had the components all shuffled around and it did not only lose the ground rod, it also promised a nice cardioid pattern over the entire shortwave, from a small, diamond shaped loop. Wait…what? It can be made using parts available on Amazon and your DIY store:

You need some 3m wire and PVC tubes to create a support structure to hold the wire, a 530 Ohm resistor and a 9:1 balun like the popular “NooElec One Nine”. Since it’s a “lossy” design, adding a generic LNA like the NooElec “LANA HF” would help getting most out of it. When you put that all together you have what sounds like an old shortwave listener’s dream: a small, portable, tangible, and completely practical allband shortwave reception beam antenna with some more convenient properties on top, for example, it is a bit afraid of heights.

That sounded both interesting and plain crazy, but the .nec files Andrew posted were clearly saying that this antenna is a thing now. Unfortunately Andrew suffered a little injury that kept him from making one of those right away, I on the other hand had almost all the needed parts in a drawer so I ended up making a prototype and putting it through some of its paces, with Andrew changing the design and me changing the actual antenna accordingly, then mounting it upside down. Let me show you around:

  •  Small, diamond shaped wire loop (with 76cm/29.92″ sides), needing as little space as most other small loops.
  • Unidirectional with a ~160° wide “beam” and one pronounced minimum with a front/back-ratio of typically 20dB over the entire reception range 1-30MHz.
  • Moderate height requirements: It works best up to 3m/10′ above ground, where it gives you…
  • …a main lobe with a convenient flat takeoff angle for DX
  • Antenna is comparatively insensitive to ground quality/conductivity.
  • Wideband design, works best on shortwave and is pretty good up to 70cm.

A functional small beam antenna for shortwave reception that’s just as small and possibly even more lightweight (prototype:~250g/9oz) than your regular SML, that can be easily made out of easy to obtain parts and easily carried around for mobile/portable DXing and due to its cardioid shaped directional pattern also for direction finding, a “tactical” antenna that’s also doing DX? Unlike conventional, Yagi-Uda or wire beams it can achieve a low takeoff angle at only 3m/10ft height or less, the front/back ratio is typically better than that of a 3-element Yagi, with a particularly useful horizontal pattern shape. That it’s rather indifferent to soil quality could mean that more people get to reproduce the good results and being a real wideband antenna is making the SULA an interesting companion for multiband radios and SDRs. Really? A miracle antenna? Is it that time of year again? If I had a dollar for every….

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Can the Eton Elite Satellit meet 2022 expectations?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, for the following guest commentary:


The Elite Satellit: Can Eton Deliver to Radio Users Who Expect Higher QC and Feature Standards?

by Dan Robinson

It’s been many years since the original E1 took the hobby world by storm. Everyone remembers the issues that plagued the E1, from the rubber coating that degraded over time, to display and encoder issues, and the calibration issues that frustrate some users.

In anticipation of the arrival of the Elite Satellit, I got both of my E1s out of storage — one in the 9xxx serial number range required a de-gooing session, accomplished quite well using Max Pro cleaner and 70% alcohol. It was interesting note, during that process, that the XM module on one side of the radio was more sensitive to color loss than other parts of the cabinet, reducing to an almost silver color when all was finished.

Original Eton E1 XM

Using the original E1s provided a reminder of how good these receivers were and still are, if you have managed to avoid display and encoder issues. The combination of PBT, triple selectivity and highly-effective SYNC was a blockbuster combination. The radio failed only in the area of quality control.

As Universal Radio and other distributors prepare to send out the first tranche of receivers, some thoughts are in order. The first is that one hopes Eton has lessons from the first go around regarding Quality Control. I have a sinking feeling about this based on my experiences in recent years reviewing receivers by Tecsun.

Eton needs to know that those who will buy the Elite Satellit, and that includes old-timers like myself but newcomers to the hobby, now have much higher standards specifically because of the features we have seen Tecsun and some other manufacturers put in portables.

Primarily, the presence of a recalibration capability really poses a challenge where the Elite Satellit is concerned. Discerning buyers no longer have to put up with a radio that has calibration and/or stability problems. This is why I am curious as to whether Eton included an adjustment function through software or an adjustment hole as with the original E1. So far, there has been no confirmation on this question from Eton or anyone else.

Original Eton E1 XM

With an older E1, tweaking of the master oscillator was possible through the small adjustment hold in the rear of the radio cabinet. This was tricky since in many units the hole was inconveniently located directly under one of the plastic ribs on the back.

I solved this problem by gently cutting a small section of one rib with a Dremel or similar tool, providing easier access. Still, adjustment has to be done carefully due to the sensitivity of the pot, and preferably with a non-metallic jewelers flat head screw driver. Even then, movements of the radio would often throw the radio back off.

But again, E1 users were spoiled by the recalibration capability which Tecsun included on receivers from the PL-880 to the 990x and 501s and even the PL-368, all of which provide a software method of zeroing frequency in SSB. Even Malahit SDRs have a fine adjustment setting in software.

If Eton has not taken this into account, and has not made any recalibration possible, I fear that it may face a good number of buyers who will simply return radios that suffer from significant frequency error. In short, a “good enough for government” approach by Eton when it comes to calibration QC is simply not going to be sufficient because for years now, Tecsun has been setting a higher standard.

Physical cosmetic issues too will also be an important indicator as to Eton’s attention to QC. If Eton learned its lesson from the rubberized cabinet fiasco, this should not be a major problem. But I would urge owners of the new Elite Satellit to examine your radio for QC issues, like LCD pixel problems, wobbly knobs and loose encoders, and issues with the telescopic antenna.

All of this becomes even more important because Eton is charging so much for this radio. Even taking inflation into account since the original E1 appeared, $599 for a radio that adds only HD and AIR band as features, but which still might suffer from QC problems is extremely high and I fear Eton may end up with numerous returns if the Elite Satellit fails in any key areas.

So, the clock ticks down to the moment when many of us will receive that box containing the Eton Elite Satellit. The question is will what is inside be able to meet the higher standards we have come to expect from a multi-band portable?

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Eton Elite Satellit Pricing and Context

As the Eton Elite Satellit comes closer to fruition, I’ve gotten a lot of questions and comments from readers about the price retailers are publishing. Here they are so far (all in USD):

Even the lowest price ($599.99 via Universal) is no trivial amount for most of us.

That said, the pricing doesn’t surprise me.

Back in 2005 when this radio’s predecessor, the Eton E1/XM, finally hit the market, it was sold for $499.95. Here’s a screenshot from Universal’s site in 2005 courtesy of the Wayback Machine:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statists, $499.95 in June 2005 has the same buying power as $751.33 in May 2022. If we add to that the recent elevated prices for many radio/electronic goods due to increased component cost and availability of chips, frankly I’m a little surprised Eton’s even able to release a new product this of all years. These aren’t easy days for electronics manufacturers. Then again, Eton has been producing radios for decades and obviously knows the manufacturing landscape quite well.

When I first learned about the new Elite Satellit, you could have painted me seven shades of surprised. With the advent of inexpensive high-performance SDRs, affordable DSP portables, and knowing full well the shortwave portable radio market is on the decline (in terms of customer numbers), I would have never guessed a new enthusiast-grade portable would be introduced.

My hope is that the Elite Satellit will deliver the performance we all want. I firmly believe that high-performance, quality gear enriches the hobby as a whole.

In terms of Elite Satellit specs and features, there’s a lot of confusion out there right now [great article, Guy!], but I’m sure this will be cleared up in coming weeks.

Many have also commented about Universal Radio especially since they officially closed their brick and mortar store near Columbus, Ohio in November 2020. Fred Osterman mentioned to customers at the time that Universal would still be selling books, parts, and some accessories online, but they would no longer carry inventory like ham radio transceivers.

Universal will be an authorized distributor of the Eton Satellit Elite and I wouldn’t hesitate purchasing from them. I suspect Fred and Barbara made an exception for Eton because they’ve been such a long-term distributor (dating back to the 1980s).  I also think Universal will continue being a limited online retailer at least into 2023 or even beyond. Eton will fully back a warranty from products purchased at Universal regardless.

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Radio Waves: Plasma Bomb from the Sun, Radio to Russia, Radio Aquarius, and Universal Taking Eton Elite Satellit Orders

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

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 Eric Jon Magnuson for summarizing these news items for Radio Waves!


Here Comes the Sun—to End Civilization (Wired)

Every so often, our star fires off a plasma bomb in a random direction. Our best hope the next time Earth is in the crosshairs? Capacitors.

TO A PHOTON, the sun is like a crowded nightclub. It’s 27 million degrees inside and packed with excited bodies—helium atoms fusing, nuclei colliding, positrons sneaking off with neutrinos. When the photon heads for the exit, the journey there will take, on average, 100,000 years. (There’s no quick way to jostle past 10 septillion dancers, even if you do move at the speed of light.) Once at the surface, the photon might set off solo into the night. Or, if it emerges in the wrong place at the wrong time, it might find itself stuck inside a coronal mass ejection, a mob of charged particles with the power to upend civilizations.

The cause of the ruckus is the sun’s magnetic field. Generated by the churning of particles in the core, it originates as a series of orderly north-to-south lines. But different latitudes on the molten star rotate at different rates—36 days at the poles, and only 25 days at the equator. Very quickly, those lines stretch and tangle, forming magnetic knots that can puncture the surface and trap matter beneath them. From afar, the resulting patches appear dark. They’re known as sunspots. Typically, the trapped matter cools, condenses into plasma clouds, and falls back to the surface in a fiery coronal rain. Sometimes, though, the knots untangle spontaneously, violently. The sunspot turns into the muzzle of a gun: Photons flare in every direction, and a slug of magnetized plasma fires outward like a bullet.

The sun has played this game of Russian roulette with the solar system for billions of years, sometimes shooting off several coronal mass ejections in a day. Most come nowhere near Earth. It would take centuries of human observation before someone could stare down the barrel while it happened. At 11:18 am on September 1, 1859, Richard Carrington, a 33-year-old brewery owner and amateur astronomer, was in his private observatory, sketching sunspots—an important but mundane act of record-keeping. That moment, the spots erupted into a blinding beam of light. Carrington sprinted off in search of a witness. When he returned, a minute later, the image had already gone back to normal. Carrington spent that afternoon trying to make sense of the aberration. Had his lens caught a stray reflection? Had an undiscovered comet or planet passed between his telescope and the star? While he stewed, a plasma bomb silently barreled toward Earth at several million miles per hour. [Continue reading at Wired…]

Radio To Russia: Can Old Technologies Make A Dent In Putin’s Information Blockade? (Information Professionals Association)

The following article is an original work published by the Information Professionals Association. Opinions expressed by authors are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.

By Tom Kent

As Vladimir Putin tightens his stranglehold on what his citizens see and hear, will radio once again become an effective way to get outside voices into Russia?

For the time being, U.S. broadcasting officials believe the best way to get their content to Russia’s population is still through the internet, despite all of Putin’s attempts to control it. Activists in the United States and Europe, however, are convinced that in a wartime situation, those wanting to reach Russians should be trying everything – including shortwave radio, the mainstay of Cold War broadcasting by the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

The U.S. government’s reluctance to return to shortwave has led to the odd spectacle of American volunteers taking broadcasting into their own hands. Activists have crowdfunded projects to transmit on shortwave channels programs produced by VOA and RFE/RL that the government declines to broadcast with its own transmitters.

Shortwave broadcasting uses high frequencies that can reach across continents. During Soviet rule, VOA, RFE/RL, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and other stations used shortwave to punch news, religious programs and forbidden Western music through the Iron Curtain. Soviet jamming stations tried to drown out the broadcasts, but much of the content got through.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the internet in Russia, foreign shortwave broadcasting tapered off. Boris Yeltsin let RFE/RL open local stations in some 30 Russian cities, but under Putin they were forced to close because of Russian laws. The United States then switched its radio and video services for Russians almost entirely to the web and social networks.

Since the war began, however, Russian authorities have increasingly blocked from the internet any content that criticizes the war or Putin’s rule. Many Russians use VPNs and other software to get around the blocks, and have come to the US broadcasters’ websites and social network feeds in droves. But Russian officials are working feverishly to block these circumvention tools, and may be able to determine which citizens are using them. [Continue reading on the IPA website…]

An Epic Tale of Pirate Radio in its Golden Age (Hackaday)

With music consumption having long ago moved to a streaming model in many parts of the world, it sometimes feels as though, just like the rotary telephone dial, kids might not even know what a radio was, let alone own one. But there was a time when broadcasting pop music over the airwaves was a deeply subversive activity for Europeans at least, as the lumbering state monopoly broadcasters were challenged by illegal pirate stations carrying the cutting edge music they had failed to provide. [Ringway Manchester] has the story of one such pirate station which broadcast across the city for a few years in the 1970s, and it’s a fascinating tale indeed.

It takes the form of a series of six videos, the first of which we’ve embedded below the break. The next installment is placed as an embedded link at the end of each video, and it’s worth sitting down for the full set.

The action starts in early 1973 when a group of young radio enthusiast friends, left without access to a station of their taste by Government crackdowns on ship-based pirate stations, decided to try their hand with a land-based alternative. Called Radio Aquarius, it would broadcast on and off both the medium wave (or AM) and the FM broadcast bands over the next couple of years. Its story is one of improvised transmitters powered by car batteries broadcasting from hilltops, woodland, derelict houses, and even a Cold War nuclear bunker, and develops into a cat-and-mouse game between the youths and the local post office agency tasked with policing the spectrum. Finally having been caught once too many times, they disband Radio Aquarius and go on to careers in the radio business.

The tale has some tech, some social history, and plenty of excitement, but the surprise is in how innocent it all seems compared to the much more aggressively commercial pirate stations that would be a feature of later decades. We’d have listened, had we been there!

Not only pirate radio has made it to these pages, we’ve also brought you pirate TV!

Click here to wattch the first installment on YouTube.

Click here to read the full article on Hackaday.

Universal Radio Taking Eton Elite Satellit Orders

Dave (N9EWO) reports:

Eton dealer “Universal Radio” in Ohio USA is accepting orders as of June 28, 2022 for the Eton Elite Satellit ($ 599.99 + $ 14.95 USA shipping, sorry Universal will NOT ship outside the USA) for late July 2022 delivery. The new Eton Elite Executive HD ($ 249.99 tentative) is now listed for November 2022 release (sorry no pre-orders are being accepted yet).


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