Category Archives: New Products

Inexpensive wideband amplified mag loop receiving antenna on eBay

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ola, who shares a link to this inexpensive mag loop antenna on eBay.

I have no clue if this antenna performs as well at all, but the price is certainly much lower than its competition at $47.99 US.

It appears you’ll need to supply your own dielectric center support  for this loop–a length of PVC would do the trick.

Copycat–?

I don’t like the fact this manufacturer has chosen the name “Mega Loop Active” for their antenna as the name is too similar to Bonito’s “MegaLoop FX Active.” I don’t like the confusion that could create, so I would hope this Chinese manufacturer would change this in time.

To be very clear, this product has no affiliation with Bonito and I certainly would not expect the quality or performance you would get from a Bonito product. Bonito products are pricey, but they’re design and manufactured in Germany and set benchmarks in terms of performance and quality. I’m a big believer in “you pay for what you get.”

I suppose though if you’re just looking for a cheap antenna to test, this one is quite inexpensive. Just know that it is not a Bonito MagaLoop, despite the similarities in product name! 🙂

Click here to view on eBay.

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The lab599 Discovery TX-500 ruggedized portable QRP transceiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Vlad, who shares some images and a video of a new QRP transceiver in development: the Discovery TX-500 by a company called lab599.

Specifications have not been published yet, but we have confirmed a few details from the manufacturer:

  • 10 watts PEP
  • HF plus 6 meters
  • Weight 570 grams (1.25 pounds)
  • Voltage 9 – 14 VDC
  • 105 milliamps at 13.8 VDC and with backlit display on
  • CAT control via USB and using Kenwood codes
  • I/Q outputs
  • Weatherized
  • Expected availability autumn 2019
  • Target retail price is $700 US
  • Product website is forthcoming

All of the following images came from the Discovery TX-500 gallery on Instagram:

Here are a few videos:

View this post on Instagram

Discovery TX-500, Lab599

A post shared by Laboratory599 (@discovery_tx_500) on

Click here to view on Instagram.

Click here to view on Instagram.

Click here to view on Instagram.

For someone, like me, who loves playing radio in the field (Parks On The Air and Summits On The Air) this looks like an ideal rig. It’s one of the only ham radio transceivers I’ve seen that is weatherized to some degree (how much, we don’t know yet).

I don’t see a speaker on the TX-500, so I’m guessing it might require a mic/speaker combo or an external speaker of some sort? I also don’t see a built-in ATU, but at $700, I certainly wouldn’t expect one.

With a power consumption of 110 milliamps at 13.8 VDC, this little transceiver should run for ages on a modest battery pack.

This is certainly a fascinating prototype QRP transceiver. If the Discovery TX-500 transceiver can be produced and marketed at $700 with all of the features mentioned so far, it should certainly fly off the shelves. They can certainly take my money!

Of course, I will plan to grab one of these for review. I’m also eager to see how this little SDR transceiver might perform on the broadcast bands.

We will post post TX-500 updates and details as they become available. Bookmark the tag Discovery TX-500 and stay tuned!


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ELAD introduces the new DUO-X SDR Transceiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Jones, who shares an image of the new ELAD DUO-X transceiver:

A prototype of the DUO-X will be on display this weekend at Ham Radio Friedrichshafen this weekend.

I don’t have a lot of details about the DUO-X yet, but here is what I can confirm:

  • There will be two 2 versions 120 watt and a 220 watt
  • 4 independent receivers
  • 10.2 inch touchscreen
  • 4x 1″ OLED screens above four programmable multifunction knobs
  • Built-in ATU
  • Stand-alone or connect to your PC

More details to follow! Bookmark the tag ELAD DUO-X for updates.

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Update: Eton Elite Satellit expected Q4 with pre-order price of $349 US

Universal Radio has posted a product page for the new Eton Elite Satellit.

Pre-Order

As they have done in the past, Universal is offering a “pre-order” discounted price of $349.95 that will not be charged to the buyer until the unit actually ships.

Availability

Universal expects the Elite Satellit to ship sometime in the 4th Quarter of 2019.

I gather the Elite Satellit is still very much in the design and development stage, so I would even take the expected availability date with a grain of salt. Much may depend on how well the initial prototypes perform in evaluations. With that said, I’m sure Eton will do all they can to have the Elite Satellit ready for the 2019 holiday season.

Not a hoax–!

I’ve gotten a number of emails and comments from readers asking if the Elite Satellit is a hoax. I can assure you it is not. 🙂

I get why so many are skeptical, though. It’s not often that a legacy receiver–one that’s been off the market for nearly a decade–is re-introduced with an identical chassis, and with the promise of some internal upgrades. In fact, I can’t think of a time this has happened in the past.

Features and Specifications

All we know about the Elite Satellit is what is mentioned in Universal’s product description:

The Eton Elite Satellit is simply the finest full-sized portable in the world. The Elite Satellit is an elegant confluence of performance, features and capabilities. The look, feel and finish of this radio is superb. The solid, quality feel is second to none. The digitally synthesized, dual conversion shortwave tuner covers all long wave, mediums wave (AM) and shortwave frequencies. HD Radio improves audio fidelity and adds additional programming without a subscription fee. Adjacent frequency interference can be minimized or eliminated with a choice of three bandwidths [7.0, 4.0, 2.5 kHz]. The sideband selectable Synchronous AM Detector further minimizes adjacent frequency interference and reduces fading distortion of AM signals. IF Passband Tuning is yet another advanced feature that functions in AM and SSB modes to reject interference. AGC is selectable at fast or slow. High dynamic range permits the detection of weak signals in the presence of strong signals. All this coupled with great sensitivity will bring in stations from every part of the globe. Organizing your stations is facilitated by 500 user programmable presets with alpha labeling, plus 1200 user definable country memories, for a total of 1700 presets. You can tune this radio many ways such as: direct shortwave band entry, direct frequency entry, up-down tuning and scanning. Plus you can tune the bands with the good old fashioned tuning knob (that has new fashioned variable-rate tuning). There is also a dual-event programmable timer. Whether you are listening to AM, shortwave, FM or FM-HD, you will experience superior audio quality via a bridged type audio amplifier, large built in speaker and continuous bass and treble tone controls. RDS is included. Stereo line-level output is provided for recording or routing the audio into another device such as a home stereo. The absolutely stunning LCD has 4 levels of backlighting and instantly shows you the complete status of your radio.

Many receiver parameters such as AM step, FM coverage, beep, kHz/MHz entry etc., can be set to your personal taste via the preference menu. The Elite Satellit has a built in telescopic antenna for AM, shortwave and FM reception. Additionally there is a switchable antenna jack (PAL male) for an external antenna. Universal will offer antenna jack adapters.

This radio comes with a protective carry bag and AC adapter or may be operated from four D cells (not included). The Eton Elite Satellit is for world explorers who want to travel first class.

I agree with Post contributor Guy Atkins: the Elite Satellit appears to be based on the Eton E1 analog circuitry. Guy points to three clues in this recent comment:

  • Exact same three I.F. bandwidths as on the E1 (7.0, 4.0, 2.5 kHz). If this is a DSP radio, why only these three bandwidths?
  • Selectable sideband synchronous AM detector, as found in the E1. I’m not aware of any SiLabs chips that can provide *selectable* sidebands on sync AM.
  • I.F. passband shift control. Again, this is not a feature in any consumer DSP radio I know of.

Of course, all of the specifications Universal has published are “preliminary and subject to change.”

As I mentioned in a previous post, you can count on us to review the Elite Satellit as soon as it’s available.

Click here to pre-order the Eton Elite Satellit at Universal Radio.

To follow Eton Elite Satellit updates, bookmark this tag.


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New indoor passive loop antenna for shortwave

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who notes:

Here is an interesting looking indoor passive HF loop antenna [photo above] that Randy McIntosh just started selling in the US. Made in Greece. Model TLA500C. Sorry it’s not for MW.

Here’ are the specifications/description from the eBay page:

This sale is for an HF magnetic loop antenna that should be attractive to anyone living in an apartment, residence, or other location where it is not possible to erect an outside dipole antenna. If you can erect an outside antenna, this is always the best solution for reception as no inside antenna can compete with a good outside antenna for the very best signal reception. But erecting an outside antenna is not always possible for many people desiring to listen to amateur radio or shortwave signals. Thus, this antenna offers a solution to such hobbyists handicapped by personal physical limitations to mount an outside antenna, minimal yard space to erect such an antenna, apartment living, or HOA restrictions.

This antenna spans a tuning range spanning 3.5 MHz through 40 MHz and thus covers 80 – 10 meters on the amateur radio bands, all international shortwave bands plus the 11 meter CB bands. The antenna comes with a 3′ coaxial cable to attach the antenna BNC output to a SO-259/PL-259 input of your receiver (most receivers).

Simple assembly directions are also included and you may be view this information in the last picture at the top of this listing. If you have a different input on your receiver other than the PL-259, you will need to acquire the proper interconnect cable from another Ebay seller. Assembly takes 5-10 minutes using only a proper sized Phillips head screwdriver and the antenna can be disassembled to transport to a remote DX location or for convenience in your travel luggage…..or as our picture shows, located permanently at your home listening room or bedside. Depending upon your preference and the dimensions of your receiver, the antenna can be set on top of or next to your receiver (see pictures at the top of this listing) during operation. Please remember that this is a “receive only” antenna and cannot be used to transmit signals.

Features:

  • non amplified….no batteries required
  • works on wide variety of communications receivers both stationary or portable
  • light weight aluminum construction weighs about 1 lb with the interconnect cable
  • portable – can be disassembled and folded into a low stature for compact transport
  • sharp tuning helps filter strong non-desired out-of-band signals
  • low noise loop design helps filter RF noise often found inside a home or apartment from lighting or appliances
  • tuning range of 3.5 MHz – 40 MHz
  • small loop antenna assembles to 18″ diameter at the broadest point
  • great alternative for signal reception when an outside antenna is not possible
  • very easy set up and connection

Thanks for the tip, Dave! This looks like a practical design for portable and low-profile operation.

Since it is passive antenna design, I image you would have to re-tune the antenna for peak performance each time you shift frequencies. It looks like the control panel would make this a pretty simple process.

Click here to view this antenna on eBay (partner link).

Post readers: If anyone has used this antenna, please comment with your impressions or contact me with your review.

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