Category Archives: Radios

a.bsolument: Converting radios from vintage valve into boutique Bluetooth

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kim Elliott, who shares this link to a French company called a.bsolument who specializes in converting vintage valve radios into hi-fidelity Bluetooth-connected audio devices.

According to a.solument’s introduction video, they take vintage radios in disrepair, gut the insides and replace the components with modern hardware which includes Bluetooth 4.0 and aux-in capabilities:

While I LOVE vintage radios, I have conflicting feelings about this process.

I take pride in keeping my vintage gear in proper working order (through the help of a mentor). Something that simply cannot be replicated with digital hardware is the sound and warm fidelity of AM audio emanating from a valve classic. At home, I have the option of feeding all of my vintage gear Bluetooth and wireless connectivity via an AM transmitter. This allows me to play any digital content while preserving the original audio fidelity (and warming my radio room with those glowing tubes!).

With that said, I’m very much aware that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the average consumer to find a technician who can repair tube gear affordably. Indeed, some feel it’s impossible thus toss their family radio in the trash.

If a.bsolument is giving vintage beauties–that would otherwise be in a landfill–a new lease on life, then I’m all for it!

What do you think?  Please comment!

C. Crane’s latest deal: Free Shipping on the CC Pocket Radio

Though not a shortwave radio (the SWLing Post loves ALL radios!), C. Crane’s latest special involves free Priority Mail shipping to U.S. customers for their CC Pocket Radio.  Just use the Promo Code: CCPKTSHIP.  This special ends at midnight PST on 17 December.  The CC Pocket Radio comes standard with the CC Buds earphones – a quality set of earbuds.

Crane’s Amazon Canada store offers free shipping with a number of C. Crane products through Amazon Canada Prime.

Post author: Troy Riedel

 

How to find North American stations broadcasting in C-QUAM AM Stereo

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

Just how many MW stations in North America are broadcasting in “C-QUAM AM Stereo” these days?? I found this reference which appears to be the most accurate list around the internet.

http://www.meduci.com/stations.html

I have taken this list and have edited it and converted to a PDF file [click here to download].

Best way to catch a AM Stereo signal these days is with a SDR device. We have been using Bernd Reiser’s “SoDiRa” program (version 0.100 Preview 24) with a SDRPlay RSP1 and does an excellent job with C-QUAM AM Stereo decoding.

http://www.dsp4swls.de/sodira/sodiraeng.html

During sky wave nighttime conditions we received CFCO in Chatham Ontario well of late on 630 kHz in AM STEREO (country music format). Program also appears to have built in DRM and DRM+ decoding (we have not tested this part of the program). IMPORTANT NOTE : We found we needed to use the older EXTIO version 3.7 otherwise we encountered errors with OUR connected Windows 7 PC’s (your situation may vary).

Dan Robinson’s JRC NRD-545

Not to forget that the JRC NRD-545 receiver has “built in” AM Stereo decoding (AMS mode). One MUST use the phono jack “line outputs” on the rear panel connected to an external amplifier etc. It does NOT output via it’s headphone connector. Speaking of the JRC NRD-545, please see my web page for late important service information on my “Radio News” webpage.

http://webpages.charter.net/n9ewo2/news.html

Thanks for the tip, Dave!

The last time I listened to a C-QUAM AM stereo station it was with WNNC station owner/manager, Dave Lingafelt. We sat in his beautiful red Buick Reatta, parked at the station and transmitter site and listened to 1970s rock on 1230 kHz.  Needless to say, it sounded absolutely amazing! Indeed, all of Dave Lingafelt’s stations (WNNC, WAIZ and WXRC) sound amazing.

To listen to an AM station in stereo is a real treat. Thanks for reminding us, Dave!

The uBITX Transceiver: Pricing and more details

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Pete Eaton (WB9FLW), who shares pricing and additional information about the uBITX general coverage QRP transceiver:

Here are the details, if purchased before Christmas $109 delivered!

http://www.hfsignals.com/

From uBITX creator, Ashhar Farhan:

1. The ubitx is now available for sale, for $109 dollars (includes the shipping), but only until Christmas. *After Christmas, the price will increase to $129 dollars. for this initial batch, a few ham volunteers and I pitched in to sort the crystals, test the coils, tune-up and box these initial kits, we won’t be able to do that any more. we will have to hire more people (which is not a bad thing) and get them to do it.

2. The ubitx is on sale at hfsignals.com, not hfsigs.com. it is easier to remember. we will soon point hfsigs.com to the new website as well. The new site is in wordpress, that means that we can have volunteers writing and updating it rather than waiting for me to hand code the content in html and vi editor.

3. We need help with proof reading the web content.* If you find any typos, please mail me on farhanbox@gmail.com address (not the bitx20 list),

These apart, the early buyers must be aware that they are beta users of sorts, the firmware will sure get updated. i hope there won’t be any revisions of the PCB.

Pete adds:

Just as an aside the original price of the Heathkit HW-8 was $139.95 (in 1970 dollars) and it became a QRP Classic. The uBITX may become  one as well and like the HW-8 there will be (and already are) all sorts of mods/additions one will be able to do. The uBITX is 10 dollars cheaper (after 12/25) works 80-10 M, does SSB in addition to CW, and is a Superhet to boot!

Farhan your hit this one out of the Ballpark!

Very cool, Pete!  I am very tempted to purchase the uBITX transceiver before Christmas and have it delivered via DHL service.  The only thing holding me back is simply the amount of projects I have on my table at the moment! $109 is an incredibly low price for a full-fledged QRP transceiver!

I’m absolutely amazed that it is also has a general coverage receiver.  Perhaps the uBITX could serve the SWL as well as the ham radio operator?  I suppose we shall soon find out!

Click here to read our other posts regarding the uBITX transceiver.

Click here to order the uBITX transceiver kit.

Please comment if you plan to or have purchased the uBITX. We’d love your feedback!

Tecsun PL-660: A simple hack to scan the air band

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bruce F, who writes:

HI Thomas, I thought I would put this idea out to your site – in case it isn’t already there. It’s a brilliant solution to the apparent lack of a working Air Band scan function on the Tecsun PL-660.  Note – I did not come up with this idea, but came across it in a Yahoo group.

It IS possible to scan the Air Band on the PL660, as long as you have picked out WHICH Air Band frequencies are in use in your area. There are websites which list these frequencies for each airport:

Here’s how to set up the PL-660:

  1. Pick an empty page in the Memory.
  2. Put in a shortwave frequency in the first empty space; the “00” slot.
  3. Then fill in the succeeding spaces on that page with the Air Band frequencies you’ve chosen.
  4. Now go back to the “00” slot and hold down the scan button.

Works on my set!

What a cool trick!  I’ve lent my PL-660 to a friend, but as soon as I get it back, I’ll also try this trick by setting up a page dedicated to my local aviation frequencies!

Thanks, Bruce!