Category Archives: Photos

The RX888 SDR – Up Close Photos

I received my new RX888 SDR receiver today, via DHL shipping in only seven days from ordering on Ebay from seller “shenglongsi”. I’ve noticed that some Chinese Ebay sellers use a placeholder shipping number when choosing the DHL carrier, and then some days later they forward the actual shipping number when the product is out the door.  That was the case with the RX888– four days in limbo, and then BINGO!–a real tracking number was sent and the package arrived three days later.

It should be noted right up front, as others have pointed out, the RX666 and RX888 SDRs are commercial implementations of the excellent, open source BBRF103 receiver. The BBRF103 is the creation of talented Italian designer Oscar Steila IK1XPV.

Hopefully tonight I’ll be sorting out files to get the radio operating, and if there are hiccups along the way I have help from some other early adopters around the globe.

The radio arrived with zero documentation or links to support files, but I already have files known to work with the RX666. The receiver should work with HDSDR after the correct additional files are added to the HDSDR folder, as does the similar RX666 model. Cypress USB drivers also need installation on the host computer. One concern is operating the LNA (low noise amplifier) on the RX888, which the RX666 lacks. This may take a different EXTIO .dll file than the one intended for the earlier RX666.

I’m aware of the developer of another popular SDR program who will almost certainly add support for the RX888/RX666 to his software.

I’ve read that the powerful ADC chip inside these two models is a USD ~$60-70 component (or from the same chip series) which is also found in a few commercial grade SDRs plus the newer WinRadio G33DDC & G35DDCi models. Translation? The RX666 & RX888  could turn out to be amazing performers for the price.

Below are up-close pictures of the receiver’s printed circuit board. Construction and soldering look quite good considering the USD $188 price. In my opinion the build quality appears to somewhat exceed that of the RX666, which was the first of these two units on the market.

Note that in the last photo the whitish square on the bottom of the PCB is a thick foam pad, perhaps some thermal transfer material. It is sticky-backed and placed so that it’s wedged between the bottom of the chip (ADC?) with the blue heat sink and the bottom of the case.

In the below photo, note the small LEDs with indications “PWR”, “MODE”, “OVLF”, and “MODE” (again). At the upper-right corner are two pads marked “RST” (reset?).

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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I should be working, but instead I’m playing radio…

Ever had one of those days where you should be catching up on work, correspondence, and projects, but instead you find yourself outside, in front of a radio and just enjoying a long listening session?

Yeah, that’s me and that’s today.

How did it all happen?

Well, this morning I dropped an RF adapter behind a shelf and, in the process, picked up my Sony ICF-5500W that was standing in the way. It felt a little light because it had no batteries inside.

Next thing I know, I’m loading the ‘5500W with C cells and heading outside.

It’s a gorgeous day, so I thought it might not be a bad idea to energize the caps in this benchmark solid-state radio and check reception outdoors. Besides, it’s a perfect way to do my bit for Social DXing, right?

The ‘5500W was performing flawlessly, so the next thing I know I’ve passed a good hour band-scanning and doing a little daytime DXing.

The ‘500W is truly a remarkable mediumwave receiver and I love the fluid “tuning experience” of the analog dial.  The audio, of course, is brilliant and perhaps that’s why I can’t let go of it (nor the Panny RF-2200).

So am I the only one playing radio today instead of doing work–? Tell me it ain’t so!  Please comment!

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Radio Malaysia QSL and memories

In response to our post regarding Radio Sarawak, SWLing Post contributor, M Breyel, shares the following:

These were the shortwave frequencies RTM used in 1975. This is my QSL card for an RTM transmission originating from Penang, as received on Denver, Colorado. [Click images to enlarge.]

Most MW stations in Malaysia ceased operation after 2000. That said, a 750 kW MW station in Sabah remained operational as late as 2008, if I remember correctly. My guess is FM became more prominent thereafter.

Certainly here in peninsular Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), particularly in 1987, we had six government FM stations. Sign-off was usually at midnight or 1 am, depending on the station. An annual license (tax) was issued for each radio owned.

Note, the QSL card [above] appears to have first been printed in 1973, judging by the smaller date printed at the bottom of the card. It was one of the few folded cards I received in my DXing years from 1967 to 1980. It features three sections, folded twice and printed on both sides. The Angkasapuri studio in Kuala Lumpur, map and flag of Malaysia, caption about the country, transmitter sites and frequencies and verification data is depicted on it.

This particular card was issued for a reception report I posted on 22 November 1975, nearly 40 years ago. Unbeknownst to me then I had picked up Radio Malaysia via Penang, according to the frequency legend (4.985 kHz) stated on the card. I assumed it was Kuala Lumpur and, more importantly, I was excited to have logged a new country to my growing list of international broadcasters.

At the time I lived in Northglenn, Colorado — a suburb north of Denver. As I recall Radio Malaysia was usually received in the early morning hours between 5 and 8 am. Reception was always weak, yet music and speech was audible despite atmospheric noise.

The receiver I used was a Zenith Trans-Oceanic H-500, a 5 valve/tube radio originally manufactured in the early 1950s. The antenna was an inverted L, elevated at over 30 feet, spanning approximately 75 feet in length.

This is a photo of Angkasapuri, the RTM Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, as it appeared in 1987. The HQ as changed very little since then:

Interestingly, the Australian Armed Forces had a radio station based in Penang in the late 70s-early 80s.

For more on vintage QSLs from Malaysia, please refer to my blogsite.

Or see this video.

Wow–thank you for sharing your DXing experience with us! It sounds like the Zenith Trans-Oceanic H-500 served you quite well back then! What a classic set.

Post readers: Please check out M Breyer’s blog for more interesting DX and radio history.


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Time for a little Radio Therapy…

Yesterday, my calendar was pretty full. Not an uncommon thing these days. I needed a break from all of the running around town, so I set aside the better part of an hour to play radio.

I packed up my Panasonic RF-B65 and the latest copy of the WRTH. (I didn’t plan to actually reference the WRTH’s schedules for this outing, but I do enjoy reading through the station listings while I tune around.)

I found a local park en route to my next appointment and set up my kit on a picnic table only moments after light rain had moved through the area.

I didn’t know what propagation would be like, and frankly I didn’t care. Sometimes, it’s just nice to tune through the bands and see what’s there.

I call this a “radio therapy” session because, for a small portion of the day, the ritual takes my mind off of everything else around me.  I get some of the same benefit from mountain biking and reading a good book (although, not at the same time).

Everything was going according to plan: the weather was pleasant, I had the whole park to myself, and Hazel (my canine companion) noted each and every squirrel within a 50 meter radius of our picnic table.

My bliss was cut short by two things.

First of all, the batteries in my Panasonic were running low. I had forgotten to charge them. (Doh!) Oh well. That didn’t really matter because secondly, a landscaping company brought their crew by to mow the grass…starting at my side of the park!

That’s okay–I still managed to get a good twenty minutes of radio therapy and Hazel counted at least 47 squirrels to harass on a future visit.

Hazel thinking, “Seriously? Another pack?”

I’ve also been evaluating a soon-to-be-released pack manufactured in Montana by Red Oxx. Turns out, it’s the perfect size to protect my RF-B65 and still have room for a copy of the WRTH, a wire antenna and–had I thought about it in advance–four spare AA batteries. Since I’m also a certified pack geek, expect to see a review of this mystery bag soon!

Anyone else planning a little radio therapy soon?  Please comment!

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2019 Huntsville Hamfest photos: Vendors, Clubs and Organizations

As promised by Huntsville Hamfest veterans, Sunday was a more relaxed day at the Huntsville Hamfest than Saturday (which was insanely busy–in a good way).

Since we had a table in the vendor section of the hamfest, I started taking many of the photos below before the doors officially opened. As you’ll see, all of the major radio manufacturers and retailers were present in Huntsville. It’s no surprise, as it turns out Huntsville is the third largest hamfest in North America (Orlando Hamcation is #2 and Hamvention #1).

[Note that Huntsville flea market photos were posted yesterday.]

Click on the photos below to enlarge the image:


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2019 Huntsville Hamfest photos: Flea Market

Yesterday (Saturday, August 17), was the first day of the Huntsville Hamfest in Alabama.

Over the years, I’ve heard from a number of friends that Huntsville is a must-see hamfest. And, boy, were they right! Turns out the Huntsville Hamfest is one of the largest hamfests in North America.

The entire event is held in the amazing Von Braun Center and is fully air conditioned–a good thing as temperatures were pushing 100F/37.8C yesterday!

I took a number of. photos in the flea market area of the hamfest. In truth, though, this is only a small sampling of what was there. I told a friend that–in terms of selection and radio density–this was one of the best hamfest flea markets I’ve ever seen. If you were looking for ways to rid yourself of your hard-earned cash, this was the place to do it!

Click on the photos in the gallery below to enlarge each image. Note that I plan to take photos of the vendor/club areas today and hopefully post them tomorrow:


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Photos from the 2019 Berryville Hamfest

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who shares this excellent photo gallery from the Berryville Hamfest. Dan notes:

You will notice one photo in particular — of a rare Skanti R-8001 and a Telfunken E1500.

The Skanti, which went for only $600, is now comfortably sitting in my radio shack!

Wow! What an impressive collection of radios at this flea market. Looks like Berryville is worth the trip for anyone with an interest in vintage radio.

Thank you so much for sharing these pics, Dan!


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