Category Archives: Radio Modifications

Radio Waves: ABC Wage Freeze, A Titanic Radio, FCC “Tweaks” LPFM Rules, and Digitizing a DX-160 Display

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 Michael Bird, Dave Zantow, David Korchin, and Alokesh Gupta for the following tips:


ABC must freeze wages, government warns (The Guardian)

The Morrison government has put the national broadcaster on notice that it expects the ABC to embark on a six-month wage freeze to bring it in line with other taxpayer-funded agencies during the Covid-19 crisis.

The warning follows the government’s decision in early April to defer general wage increases for commonwealth public servants for six months. The public service commissioner followed up that directive by writing to all non-public service agencies – including the ABC – informing them the government expected them to adopt the same practice.

With no clear response from the ABC to the 9 April missive, Guardian Australia understands the communications minister Paul Fletcher wrote to the national broadcaster this week flagging his expectation that the organisation would defer a 2% increase for all employees scheduled to take effect in October under the ABC’s enterprise agreement.[…]

Radio used by the Titanic to call for help can be salvaged, judge rules (CNN)

A federal judge has ruled that RMS Titanic Inc. can salvage the radio used to call for help by the fated ocean liner after it struck an iceberg in 1912.

To get to the radio, divers would need to remove a part of the ship’s deckhand to reach the room known as the Marconi Suite, which houses the device.

The ruling modified an order issued on July 28, 2000, that said that RMS Titanic Inc. could not cut into the wreckage or detach any part of it.

Virginia’s eastern district court amended that order “for a unique opportunity to recover an artifact that will contribute to the legacy left by the indelible loss of the Titanic, those who survived and those who gave their lives in the sinking,” Judge Rebecca Beach Smith wrote.

Experts in the case testified to the “significant deterioration” in areas above and around the Marconi room, according to the document, and photos showed the “increasing breakdown” in the deck above the suite.

The suite, made of steel, consisted of three areas: sleeping accommodations, an operator’s room and the silent room that housed the radio. Each area was separated by wood walls that officials believe have dissolved, according to court documents.

The Marconi device and the artifacts associated with it face “significant threat of permanent loss,” the judge said in her approval of the expedition.[]

FCC Tweaks LPFM Technical Rules (Radio World)

The FCC in April modified the technical rules covering low-power FM stations. It expanded the permissible use of directional antennas; permitted waivers of protections of television Channel 6 by a specific group of reserved channel stations; expanded the definition of minor change applications for LPFM stations; and allowed LPFM stations to own boosters. Read more about the changes here.

Michelle Bradley, founder of REC Networks, is an engineer and longtime LPFM advocate.

Radio World: What’s your overall assessment of the outcome and the scope of its impact in the LPFM community?

Michelle Bradley: While the FCC did not address three major issues that are impacting LPFM stations right now —the ability to address building penetration issues, the ability to reach “local” listeners in rural areas and the disparity in how LPFM stations protect FM translators vs. how translators protect LPFMs — the changes will benefit current LPFM stations by giving them more flexibility in moving locations, reduce the need for waivers and improve LPFM service in the southern border region. It will also open some additional opportunities for new LPFM stations in the next filing window.[]

RadioShack Shortwave Goes Digital (Hackaday)

If you spent the 1970s obsessively browsing through the Radio Shack catalog, you probably remember the DX-160 shortwave receiver. You might have even had one. The radio looked suspiciously like the less expensive Eico of the same era, but it had that amazing-looking bandspread dial, instead of the Eico’s uncalibrated single turn knob number 1 to 10. Finding an exact frequency was an artful process of using both knobs, but [Frank] decided to refit his with a digital frequency display.

Even if you don’t have a DX-160, the techniques [Frank]  uses are pretty applicable to old receivers like this. In this case, the radio is a single conversion superhet with a variable frequency oscillator (VFO), so you need only read that frequency and then add or subtract the IF before display. If you can find a place to tap the VFO without perturbing it too much, you should be able to pull the same stunt.

In this receiver’s heyday, this would have been a formidable project. Today, a cheap digital display will do fine.[]


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You’ve Been Warned: Emilio just brought a Grundig Frankenradio to life–!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor (and certified mad scientist), Emilio Ruiz, who writes:

Recently I was given a broken Grundig G8 Traveler II.  This radio had an accident–the case, speaker, tuning knob, and volume controls were all broken or damaged.

I discovered that the tuning and volume controls are not potentiometers, they are a rotary encoders, so I substituted the tiny and broken original controls with rotary encoders (typically used for Arduino projects), but I needed to remove the 10 kiloohms resistor to work properly (only used the CLK, DT, and GND pins).

All materials were reused from other things, the result is like a “Frankenstein radio”.

The “telescopic” antenna is a tape measure/flexometer which was broken too. I replaced the original speaker (which I think was another impedance) with a proper 8 ohms speaker which produced low volume, so i decide add a Pam8403 amplifier module for best performance. The total current drain is 0.10 amp for a regular “loud” audio level.

So the Grundig Frankie is alive!!… It’s alive!!

Click here to view video in new window.

This is brilliant, Emilio! Although this radio is quite scary–and, let’s face it, “post-apocalyptic”–I think it’s absolutely amazing! I love the handle and the tape measure antenna. You, sir, are a mad scientist and I look forward to your next creation! (I’ll just take shelter first!) 🙂

Anyone else ever created a Frankenradio? Please comment!

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Video: Antonio’s Kenwood R-2000 Modifications

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who shares the following:

Antonio Fernandez, who is in Spain, posted this on the Extreme page. Very interesting R-2000 mods:

Major modifications are adjustable RF GAIN (using the former TONE control), BFO Pitch control (former AM Squelch, FM Squelch is retained) and DSP Audio filtering for SSB and CW. Internal DSP module is SOTABEAMS Laserbeam Filter Module. The former DIMMER and NB push switches are used for switching on (bypassing) the DSP module and bandwidth (CW, SSB) selection.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Those are brilliant modifications on a classic receiver!  Thank you for sharing, Dan!

Check out more videos from Antonio Fernandez on his YouTube channel.

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Jesse’s DX-390/ATS-818 modifications

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jesse (W9JES) who writes:

I’ve been busy enhancing my Radio Shack DX-390. I added an IF-Out jack for my SDR, changed out the light for a LED, added a latch circuit for the light switch, added static protection, and disabled auto-mute. My blog with full instructions is at www.w9jes.com

Thank you, Jesse!  Here are links to the various modifications Jesse has documented:

Click here to check out Jesse’s website.

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Imre’s HanRongDa HRD-737 modification increases sensitivity

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Imre Olajos, who writes:

Hi, HRD 737 lovers! I have a good news!

I  (became brave enough to) modify my HRD-737.

I tried reverse-engineering- but I gave up. No numbers on IC-s. I found specifications for the analog switches (one for each band ) and found information about the transistors around those analog switch IC-s. Nice, 1 GHz fT transistors, all surface mount, so I gave up that line.

I found an NPN SM transistor in a damaged TV remote. It is only a 300 MHz transistor but
I had no better than that, so I started to build a little antenna amplifier circuit, wide band and simple.

I lost a few SM capacitors during the soldering but I have plenty of those. So the 1/4 square inch circuit board was finished last week. I tested it with an external 3 volt battery and I found it good working. Today ( 07-27-2019 ) I opened up the HRD-737 and wired it into the radio.
The results are much better than I expected. The HDR-737 became a good shortwave radio!

When I touch the built in antenna by my finger, radio is sensing the touch and station comes in. This effect was not there before. Radio became more sensitive on CB band than my Realistic DX392.

I have a YouTube channel [in the following video/slideshow] and I will show you the little ugly but great working circuit in the radio:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Later on next week I will try to record some video of the shortwave reception and post up it on the same YouTube channel.

I am a shortwave lover since 50+ years and I will be very happy to share the good news with others. Now I can listen my Greek music on this little radio, on 9420 kHz. Yes, the radio became [more sensitive than I had hoped].

You can see my other shortwave radios on my YouTube channel too, Have fun and never give up the hope!

Many thanks, Imre, for sharing and documenting this modification. One of the lessons here, too, is that if you have an inexpensive radio like the HanRongDa HRD-737 and you feel tempted to try a modification, there’s little to lose. It’s not like modifying a $1000 transceiver–just dig into the little radio and give it a go. If you harm the radio, you’ve only invested $37 or so in the project. That’s a much better solution than letting it sit on a shelf collecting dust because it’s not sensitive enough! Well played, Imre!

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Video: N1SPY brings a GE seven band radio back to life!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ivan Cholakov, who writes:

Thomas Cholakov (N1SPY) picked up an old General Electric radio from the 2019 Orlando Hamcation and brought it back to life. Unfortunately with all of the radio’s 7 bands, it did not have shortwave.

Click here to watch on YouTube.

Brilliant job resurrecting that GE portable, Tommy!!! Thank you for sharing.

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Tivdio V-115: Simple modification to abate internally-generated noise

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Marc Thomas, who shares a link to this site which describes modifications to eliminate the Tivdio V-115’s internal noise.

In a nutshell, the author made two small mods:

  • Decouple the power/battery with an electrolytic capacitor of around 10uF soldered to the battery connector inside the radio (see photo above)
  • The author also grounded the speaker, but didn’t test to see if this alone had any positive impact

I could not find contact details for the author of this mod, so I hope they don’t mind the fact I shared it here on the SWLing Post.

Note that the Tivdio V-115 is also known as the Audiomax SRW-710S and Kaimeda SRW-710S (and likely rebadged as a number of other models).

Click here to read reviews of this radio.

Retailers:

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