Category Archives: News

Radio Lavalamp: Sunday, August 9th and 16th, 2020

(Source: Pete Madtone)

Tune in to DJ Frederick’s Radio Lavalamp on Sunday 9th August 2020 (and repeated the week after) at 2200 UTC (11pm UK time) on 3955 kHz via Channel 292.The transmission from will feature One Deck Pete with a mix called The Purple Nucleus of Creation 002 featuring this great tune from Drowsii (below), Nayl, Tabitha Project, Seventh Soul & Homayoun Shajarian and Camille Murray. Tune in to “Your ethereal shortwave music station” on 3955 kHz or this link here when the time is right! #radiolavalamp #shortwavesnotdead

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What’s in the shack here at SWLing Post HQ

The Mission RGO One transceiver is one model being evaluated for a review in The Spectrum Monitor.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Pete, who writes:

Thomas, I’m curious what radios you have in the shack now. I see lots of posts about various radios, but I wonder what’s in your personal collection and what’s being evaluated. You know what they say…”inquiring minds” and all that! If you don’t mind I for one would love to see even a basic list of your rigs.

Thanks for your question, Pete. Your’re right–I don’t really have an inventory listed here on the SWLing Post. In truth, my radio collection is pretty dynamic–radios come in and go out a lot due to testing, evaluations and reviews.

Here’s what’s in the shack at present. I’ll start with ones currently in my personal collection:

Transceivers

Icom IC-756 Pro Transceiver Dial

Receivers

Currently under evaluation

Vintage Valve/Tube Gear

Portable Radios

There are too many to list! (Ha ha!) In general, I keep any portable radio I believe represents the best in its price class. I rotate using and travelling with each radio as best I can, but honestly keep them in the shack for any new reviews as I’m always in need of comparison radios.   Here are some of the portables I believe I reach for most often (in no particular order):

  • Tecsun S-8800
  • Tecsun PL-880
  • Tecsun PL-660/PL-680
  • Tecsun PL-310ET
  • C.Crane CC Skywave
  • C.Crane CC Skywave SSB
  • Eton E1
  • Panasonic RF-2200
  • GE 7-2990

I also have a number of Handie Talkies, vintage solid-state portables, mobile radios and kit/homebrew radios and accessories like many radio enthusiasts.

This may seem like a lot of radios, but I have friends with collections that outnumber mine by orders of magnitude. In truth, if I didn’t evaluate and review radios, I’d have a much, much smaller collection because there’d be no need to keep reference radios on hand. I rely on comp models, however, to accurately gauge a radios performance when matched against a similar or “benchmark” model.

Thanks for your question, Pete.

So back to you!  Readers, please comment with what you have in your shack. “Inquiring minds” want to know! 🙂


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Gary Debock’s report from the 2020 Rockwork Ocean Cliff Ultralight DXpedition

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Gary Debock, who shares a short report he originally posted on Facebook from the Rockwork 2020 Ultralight DXpedition:


Rockwork 2020 started off with a monster session, with S9 signals from the likes of 320-AI (Aitutaki, Cook Islands), 352-RG (Rarotonga, Cook Islands), 558-Radio Fiji One, 603-Radio Waatea, 1017-Tonga, 1107-Magic Talk and the new 1503-Gold.

The session was kind of wild, with three different sets of visitors asking about my gear setup at Rockwork 4 (typically during critical moments of live DXing, of course :-). Despite this both Longwave and Medium Wave featured great propagation to New Zealand, with the long range beacon 238-KT (Kaitaia) opening up the fun around 1225. Switching back and forth between Longwave and MW in a live DXing format wasn’t exactly ideal, and no doubt my long time DXpedition partner Tom R. could have really cleaned up on the South Pacific beacons this morning with his SDR and broadband loop setup. As it was I came away with 238-KT, 320-AI (a monster signal), 352-RG and 366-PNI from across the equator, with 558-Radio Fiji One probably having its best session ever at the awesome ocean side cliff (extended S9+ periods between 1300-1330).

I promised long term “Cliffhanger DX” partner Craig Barnes that I would go all-out to receive some exotic DX in his honor, and the Cliff more than cooperated.

The Longwave and Medium Wave DX this morning [Auguest 5, 2020] was phenomenal, and there are still two more days before Tom gets here. Hopefully these conditions will stick around!

Audio samples

320 AI Aitutaki, Cook Islands Great signal but shaky sounding CW tone at 1239– best signal ever at the Cliff:

352 RG Rarotonga, Cook Islands In an S9 snarl with 353-LLD (Hawaiian mega-beacon) at 1256:

558 Radio Fiji One Suva, Fiji Overwhelming S9 signal and ID’s both before and after an island music song at 1312:

1017 A3Z Nuku’alofa, Tonga Female Tongan in an S9 snarl with DU sports co-channel (2KY?) at 1253:

More New Zealand monster signals from yesterday morning, courtesy of the “Kiwi Cliff.” This place’s preference for New Zealand signals is wacky to the extreme!

603 Radio Waatea Auckland, NZ 5 kW S9 Maori island music // 765 followed by a female Maori chant at 1309:

1107 Magic Talk Tauranga, NZ 10 kW Meltdown level Kiwi conversation between host and lady caller at 1255:

1503 Gold Wellington/ Christchurch, NZ 5/ 2.5 kW The old Radio Sports’ Yankee-accented English (from Fox Sports Network) has now been replaced by rocking oldies, such as Phil Collins with powerful strength at 1307:

73 and Good DX,

Gary DeBock (DXing at the Rockwork Ocean Cliff near Manzanita, OR, USA)
7.5″ loopstick CC Skywaves, PL-380 & XHDATA D-808
12″ Longwave FSL + three new 8″ Medium Wave FSL’s


Thank you so much, Gary, for allowing me to share your reports on the SWLing Post. Many of us would love to experience mediumwave DXing from your Rockwood perch, but we’ll have to live it vicariously through your excellent reports! We wish you excellent DX!

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Photos of the Tecsun PL-990

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, George Joachim, who shares the following photo of his recently acquired Tecsun PL-990. George also shared the following comment:

I have just received my PL 990 from Ali Express. Suitably impressed everything works as advertised and yes it is the newer (TIME TIMER A TIMER B) version. The serial number shows a production of July 2020. Comes in the usual box with all accessories as the PL -880. They even include a Micro SD card with prerecorded songs. Well done again Tecsun!!!

Photos


Thank you, George. You’re obviously not only a fan of shortwave and rails, but also the Queen of the Skies!

A quick update about my Tecsun PL-990 review

Hopefully in the next week or two, I will be receiving a pre-production export version of the PL-990 that will eventually be sold by Anon-Co. I should have received a model a couple weeks ago, but they discovered a last-minute issue they had to address in the firmware. Once this is sorted, I will receive a pre-production model to carefully test. I’m guessing the model I’m testing will have some slight differences with that of George’s above only because it’s my understanding Tecsun hasn’t made a production run of the variant Anon-Co plans to sell yet.  Cosmetically, I’m sure they’re near-identical. I’ll certainly post an update when I receive the test model. Thanks for your patience!

 

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LRA36 Radio Nacional Arcangel San Gabriel 24 hour marathon non-stop broadcast

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Adrian Korol, of RAE who informs me that LRA36 Radio Nacional Arcangel San Gabriel in Antarctica will broadcast 24 hours non-stop starting at 17:00 UTC on Saturday, The frequency will be 15476 kHz in upper sideband mode.

Reception reports can be sent to: tranalra36@radionacional.gov.ar

A special eQSL will be issued for this broadcast.

Thanks for the tip, Adrian!

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The New RX-888 16 bit ADC Direct Sampling SDR with 32 MHz bandwidth

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, H. Garcia (PU3HAG), who writes:

While doing the daily eBay and AliExpress strolling for new and cool radio stuff, this showed up:

RX888 ADC SDR Receiver radio1.8GHz 16bit direct sampling HF UHF VHF HDSDR

Like the DragonFly RX-666 you posted about recently, it’s based on IK1XPV Oscar’s BBRF103 works. Both share a hefty metal case.

I really like this seller of RX888 on eBay. The person provided quite a bit of technical details. The seller is also up-front about the current challenges regarding thermal issues, software stability and bandwidth available above 32MHz.

(How many manufacturers let you know in advance the negatives? I like this guy!).

The bandwidth limit above 32MHz is a curious one. Apparently, coverage above VHF and UHF coverage relies on Rafael Micro’s R820T2 tuner chip (also used on RTL dongles and AirSpy R2 and AirSpy Mini). However, R820T2 can only push a slice of 8 to 10MHz of the spectrum into RX888’s ADC. So, FM broadcast DXers, be warned. You may need to use a downconverter that brings the 88-108MHz to 8-28MHz. Perseus SDR uses this approach.

Another interesting tidbit. As we know, TaoBao is a huge marketplace, but their sellers focus exclusively on the China market (very few also deliver to South East Asia). There are LOTS of cool, never-seen-before products on TaoBao that don’t have visibility to us here in the Western hemisphere. The RX888 was one of them, I recalled seeing it about a month ago and thinking “Hey, this is so cool, why are they not selling it on AliExpress yet?”

Thank you so much for the tip! I agree with you: it’s refreshing to read not only a thorough eBay description but also frank comments from the seller.

I must admit, the receiver world is going through a dynamic change and its champion is the SDR. It’s hard to keep up with the innovations and technology is pushing limits I could not have imagined even a decade ago.

I’m looking forward to checking out these super wideband SDRs like the RX-666, RX-888, and the ELAD FDM-S3.

Click here to check out the RX-888 on eBay (partner link supports the SWLing Post)


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Radio Northern Europe International August 2020 broadcasts

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Roseanna, with Radio Northern Europe International who shares the following announcement:


Hello all,

Just writing to announce RNEI #7 & TIAEMS August 2020 starts on Sunday the second of August 2020!

Our show is packed with some great pop and dance music from Northern Europe including quite a few Icelandic and Norwegian songs this month and a very interesting song from the UK too!
There is a little less traditional music than is average this show which I’ll make up for next month, but hopefully you’ll enjoy what is in this month’s show!

Our digital this time is PSK500R at the end of the show and TIAEMS is MFSK 64.

The Stereo Decoder has been updated so we recommend you download the latest one, it sounds much less artefact-y!

Demo here:

http://homepages.ihug.com.au/~daz2002/tech/CombStereo/

Our broadcast times are on the table below:

We hope you tune in and enjoy this months show, wishing you all the best,
Until next month,
Ha det!


Thank you, Roseanna, and apologies for not getting this posted before your Aug 2 broadcast! Ha det!

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