Category Archives: Radios

Radio Deal: C.Crane Orphans sale

I just received a newsletter from C.Crane noting that they’re having an “Orphan” sale today (17 January 2020).

“Orphans” are C.Crane returns and open box items that have been tested and evaluated by C.Crane. Orphans are sold at a discount and carry a full 60 day warranty. I’ve purchased a number of Orphan items in the past and have never received a dud.

One of the best deals I see in their list of Orphans is the CC Skywave SSB for $119.99–the lowest price I’ve seen for this particular unit.

Click here to check out other C.Crane items.

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Dave updates and adds “light” reviews

The CC Skywave

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

Just FYI, for those who may have missed this :

My light reviews on the CCrane Skywave and Retekess TR604 (AM/FM only set), are now posted on my web page. These are the first 2 reviews on this page :

http://n9ewo.angelfire.com/misc.html

Also have updated my V-115 / V115 review. New test sample with the latest 1.4 firmware.

http://n9ewo.angelfire.com/v115.html

Thanks for the update, Dave. In your review you note the virtues of the Tivdio/Retekess V-115 (a.k.a. Audiomax SRW-710S) as an mp3 player. That’s how I’ve been using my unit as of late. It makes for a nice portable player with reasonable audio. The last time I traveled to Quebec for a couple months, I used this rig to make a few off-air recordings of my favorite FM radio program: C’est si bon” with Claude Saucier. I only recently re-discovered these recordings on the MicroSD card in my radio and have been enjoying listening to them since.

Listening to the BBC Midwinter Broadcast, with some limited success, on June 21, 2017 in Québec.

I also recommend the V-115 as a very affordable radio that can record off-air broadcasts. As we’ve also mentioned in past reviews–and as Dave notes–it has some issues with internally-generated noises, etc. but for the price it’s hard to complain. It’s currently $24.99 shipped on Amazon (affiliate link).

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Mindaugas Macijauskas’ stunning radio poster

Radio enthusiast, Mindaugas Macijauskas, has recently shared a graphics project he’s been working on for quite a few months. Mindaugas writes (on Facebook):

Few months ago I’ve started my little spare time project – “Longwave, mediumwave & shortwave bands” poster. So, I’m happy to announce that poster & wallpaper are ready to download!

Available for free in multiple sizes & formats at: https://macijauskas.org/shortwave/

This is initial, 1st edition so some errors might occur. In that case – please PM me.

Currently it’s a bit simpler version, than I’ve initially intended to create. But for this one decided to use “less is more” philosophy.

Had some issues with PDF making, so not all sizes currently are available. I’ll try to fix this within a week or so. On the other hand – tried to print 30×40 cm (12X16 inch) jpeg file at photo lab – and this went exceptionally well.

If you like my my work – you can support it via PayPal. Link is in website.

Very well done, Mindaugas! This is a gorgeous poster and is now the wallpaper on one of my PC monitors.

Click here to download the poster and support Mindaugas’ project. 

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Just ordered the new $149/$199 uBITX v 6.0 QRP transceiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Pete (WB9FLW), who notes that Ashhar Farhan (VU2ESE) has recently announced the availability of the uBITX v 6.0–as Pete notes, “just in time for the Holidays!

Pete shared the following message from Farhan:

Here is what [the uBITx v 6.0] looks like :

And of course, you can buy it on hfsignals.com. The shipping will happen from Tuesday onwards. We have a limited supply of the first 200 boards. The rest is for after Christmas.

The most important thing about this revision is that the Radio circuitry is almost unchanged. We have incorporated the connectors on the PCBs. So, this kit needs none of the confusing soldering. You snap in the TFT Raduino onto the main board, plug the power and antenna from the back, snap on headphones, plug in the mic (supplied with the kit) and off you go!

It is offered in two kits now : The basic kit (150 USD) is without the box (like old times) but with a microphone and two acrylic templates for the front and back panels.

The Full kit (199 USD) has the box with speaker, mounting hardware etc. Both are described on the website.

Now, about the TFT display:

For those who are using the 16×2 display and you would like to upgrade, you will have to do three things:

Add a heatsink to the 7805 of the raduino

Buy [here] and hook it up as per [this article].

Grab the new Arduino sketch from https://github.com/afarhan/ubitxv6

Background:

I have been hacking away at adding a TFT display for the Arduino for sometime. Finally, I managed to do this with a really inexpensive 2.8 inch TFT display that uses a controller called the ILI9341. The display update is slow but, clever guy that I am, the display very usable. it uses the same pins that earlier connected to the 16×2 LCD display. This display is available everywhere for a few dollars.

Many thanks, Pete, for sharing this announcement. The price was simply too attractive to me, so I just purchased the full kit for $199 US. (Thanks for being the good enabler you are, Pete!)

I’ll post an update when I receive the transceiver and assemble it. I do hope this is a workable little radio–it would be pretty amazing for newcomers to the hobby to be able to get on the HF bands for a mere $200 US. I also love the fact that this is all based on open-source, hackable technologies.

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The Sony ICF-7600A continues to impress

I mentioned in a previous post that SWLing Post contributor, Ed Earps, recently gifted me his Sony ICF-7600A.

I’ve been having a field day with this radio!

Well, many field days, in fact. Early on, I packed the ‘7600A in my Red Oxx Hound EDC pack–it fits in the Hound’s interior pocket perfectly and is well-protected on all sides. The radio has pretty much lived in my car and truck since then, thus has gotten a lot of air time when I take short breaks throughout the day.

In November, I took the ‘7600A to Mount Mitchell (6,684 feet/2,037 meters above sea level) and to coastal South Carolina (sea level). It’s been a great radio companion and has given me an excuse to go “old school” and do a little analog band-scanning.

The ICF-7600A certainly has some strengths.

For one thing, although I’ve let this radio on for extended listening sessions, I’ve yet to deplete the eneloop rechargeable batteries (Amazon affiliate link) I originally installed in October. Obviously, this radio will run for days on batteries–a serious plus if DXing off-grid.

The ‘7600A is a fantastic portable for mediumwave DXing. Although it’s also a very sensitive and selective shortwave receiver–especially in this class and era of analog portable–I think mediumwave may be its strong suit.

On the negative side, some of the shortwave band selections are truncated and for some reason, it doesn’t have a back stand (quite an odd omission). Still, these are pretty minor cons.

Obviously, the pros outweigh the cons on this brilliant vintage portable that seems to have held up very well over the years.

To ensure its longevity–and as a precaution–I do think I’ll take it to Dr. Vlado to have all of the caps replaced soon.

My thoughts? If you ever stumble across an ICF-7600A at a hamfest or on eBay, I say grab it!

Post readers: Anyone else love the ICF-7600A? Did I miss any major pros or cons? Please comment!


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“Pour Reception”: An Arduino-based radio that uses glasses of water as an interface

Image source: Yanko Design

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Korchin, who shares a link to this article on Yanko Design:

We’re all used to turning a couple of knobs and pressing a few buttons to operate a radio, but have you ever played with glasses of water to change a radio channel? Probably not. Designers Tore Knudsen, Simone Okholm Hansen, and Victor Permild recently launched their art project ‘Pour Reception’. And it’s beyond anything you can imagine. Pour Reception consists of two internal speakers, an AUX input, a handy guide and two glasses that must be placed on the body of the radio. And no the glasses aren’t just to sip water from, though you could do that. The radio uses the two glasses filled with water as it’s interface!

[…]Pour water into the glasses, and the stereo starts! Transfer some water from one glass to another and you can change channels. Touch the glasses, and you can fine-tune the radio’s signal, eliminating distortion. Finally, pop a finger into the water to control the volume or to bring the radio to a halt!

This might seem like a scenario from an alternate universe, but the tech behind it is pretty common. Objects emit micro amounts of electricity, and touch tends to disrupt this and convert it into a signal. By using Tact library by NANDstudio (an open-source Arduino shield that turns any object into a touch and proximity sensor), the designers converted the radio platform, glasses, and water into different layers of a capacitive interface, allowing them to conduct minute amounts of electricity and transforming them into sensors. Utilizing a Wekinator (an interactive machine learning tool), various gestures such as touching the glass or dipping a finger into the water were mapped into commands for controlling the radio. The end result; a radio with glasses of water functioning as a “digital material interface”.[…]

Click here to see a photo gallery and read the full article at Yanko Design.

Oh now that’s a fun way to combine radio and art! Obviously, this isn’t an RF radio–it either grabs streaming content or (more likely) uses pre-recorded content on an internal storage device. Still, I think it’s a creative little project and an ideal way to play with Arduino Tact library.

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