Category Archives: Radios

The ALT-512: A new general coverage QRP transceiver

There’s a new QRP transceiver on the market: the twelve band ALT-512 by Aerial-51.

At first glance, you’ll see a similarity between the ALT-512 and the LnR Precision LD-11/Aerial-51 SKY-SDR. The LD-11 and SKY-SDR, are very similar, save the LD-11 is marketed to North America (via LnR) and the SKY-SDR to Europe. The SKY-SDR had several iterative upgrades, most importantly the dual-threaded software used in the firmware, which cut CPU latency in half. Both the LD-11, SKY-SDR and now the ALT-512 are made in Europe.

Click here to read my review of the LnR Precision LD-11.

ALT-512 Waterfall display (Photo: DJ0IP)

According to Aerial-51, the new ALT-512 is built on the LD-11/SKY-SDR platform, has the same chassis design but has many improvements over the SKY-SDR:

  • 4m Band
  • 2.4 in. Color Display
  • Improved receiver pre-amplifier
  • 2 transistors in the transmitter PA (was 1)
  • Waterfall in addition to the Pan-Adapter Bandscope
  • 4 additional front-panel buttons
  • User friendly front-panel adjustment of often used parameters (formerly embedded within the software menu)
  • FULL TS-2000 command set implementation
  • Built-in Sound Card; Digi Modes run using only one USB-2 cable connected to the PC. No additional hardware required.

If the ALT-512 performs as well as or better than its predecessor, it’ll certainly be a great little QRP radio and an excellent general coverage receiver for HF broadcast listening.

Pricing has not yet been posted, but Aerial-51 plans to make this transceiver available in the next few weeks.

Click here to check out the ALT-512 on the Aerial-51 website.

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A Panasonic RF-2200 in “The Walking Dead”

Panasonic RF-2200

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Balázs, who adds the following note to his recent radio sighting (of a Hallicrafters HT-32 Transmitter) in the series “The Walking Dead.

Balázs notes that in the season nine finale, he spotted the previously mentioned HT-32 (see image below), in addition to the iconic Panasonic RF-2200 (see image above).

Hallicrafters HT-32 Transmitter

Honestly, I think both of these radios would serve you well in a post-apocalyptic world!

Turns out, The Walking Dead is filmed in Senoia, and Fayetteville, Georgia, USA and SWLing Post contributor, Steve Yothment, lives nearby. As the then president of his radio club, he was consulted last year about radio gear to use on The Walking Dead set. He tells us to look out for an HF amplifier and field strength meter in future episodes! How cool is that?!

I’ll add this post to our ever growing archive of radios in film!

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Sangean HDR-15/DPR-64 and notes from 2019 catalogs

The Sangean HDR-15

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike Schuster who writes:

Hi Thomas,

Sangean has quietly buried yet another AM/FM HD radio in the PDF of their US 2019 catalog [download as a PDF].

It’s the HDR-15 which appears to be a small clock radio/phone dock [photo above].

Also, in their European catalog [click here to download as PDF] they are transitioning all of the model names to a more descriptive grouping. So the SR-35 is now the “Pocket 100”, the DT-160 is now the “Pocket 160”, and the DT-800 is the “Pocket 800”.

There is also a new DAB+ portable, the DPR-64 (em … er …”Pocket 640“) whose cabinet is rounder and smaller than the DPR-65 (em … er … “Traveller 650“) whose cabinet they adapted for the American HDR-14. Wonder if there will be a forthcoming US HD-radio portable based on this cabinet design. This looks very interesting to me as a potential DAB+ travel radio, priced at about $100 and already available from several European and Australian electronics houses.

Thanks for the tip, Mike! I enjoyed checking out both the US and European catalogs. Sangean is certainly embracing DAB+ and HD Radio.

I see Sangean also includes two shortwave radios: the ATS-909X and ATS-405.

In the EU catalog, they’re referred to as the “Discover 909X” and the “Discover 405.”

Click here to view the Sangean EU website and here for the Sangean US website.

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Dave updates and expands AOR AR-DV1 review

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

A greatly updated and expanded review on the AOR AR-DV1 has now been posted by me. Made a few typo corrections and some minor text changes from the first draft a few days ago, so I hope I have all of those fixed now ?

http://n9ewo.angelfire.com/ardv1.html

Also just updated (again) the Sangean DAR-101 MP3 recorder review. Some minor text changes plus added 4 internal photos (bottom of it’s page). I have never seen any internal photos anywhere on the internet of the DAR-101. Now there is.

http://n9ewo.angelfire.com/dar101.html

Again for reading any of my web pages, be sure and have your Pop Up stopper on FULL (do not allow ANY pop ups) and your security settings on your browser set at least to default. Otherwise Angelfire can be rather nasty with junk. If all else fails turn off your Java Script.

Many thanks for sharing, Dave!

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Thrift Store Find: A $2.50 GE Super Radio II

A few weeks ago, I stopped by our local Habitat For Humanity ReStore searching for reclaimed building supplies.

This particular ReStore is one of the largest in the area–it has an amazing selection of building supplies, furniture, housewares, books and even music, but has a very small section dedicated to electronics which is primarily stocked with DVD players, VCRs and occasionally the odd component system. The person who sets the prices for electronics always over-inflates them so it seems items sit on the shelf for ages.

In all of the years I’ve visited this store, I’ve never found a portable radio of interest…until a few weeks ago.

As I passed by the shelf, a GE Super Radio II caught my eye. Cosmetically, it was in rough shape (in other words, “well-loved”).

I expected a $50 price tag but instead was surprised when I saw $2.50! I put on my reading glasses just to make sure I was reading it correctly.

I plugged the radio in and tested it on FM. It easily snagged a number of FM stations and the audio sounded amazing although the loudness, treble and bass pots were very scratchy.

The AM broadcast band worked as well, but the RFI/noise inside the retail warehouse was overwhelming.

I opened the back of the radio and found an immaculate battery compartment. Obviously, the previous owner was either diligent with removing cells when not in use, or never used batteries.

The antenna was in great shape and had no bends or breaks.

The speakers were in tact as well.

I took the radio to the counter and the guy who rang up the order said, “Well…she ain’t pretty, but for $2.50 how can you go wrong?

My thoughts exactly!

I brought the Super Radio II home with the idea of immediately cleaning her up (like David Korchin did with his “barn find” II), but I’ve had a couple intense travel and work weeks, so it had to wait.

Fast-forward to yesterday when my father-in-law was in town and stopped by for a visit.

He mentioned in passing that after his favorite public radio station decreased power from one of its translators, he could no longer receive it easily with his small AM/FM portable at home. Of course, I have at least four dozen radios here that could easily receive this station, but few of those include a power cord, are incredibly simple to operate and have room-filling audio.

I took a look at the GE Super Radio II, then a look at my father-in-law, and decided he needed it. I knew the ‘Super II would make him a happy man.

I quickly dusted off the chassis and cleaned the pots with DeOxit–it played like a new one.

I tuned to an FM station playing classical music, turned up the volume and my father-in-law beamed when he heard the rich, clear audio.

No doubt, this time-honored portable will get a lot of use and love in its second life.

If I’m being honest with myself, this might not have been a truly altruistic move. You see, when we do an overnight at my father-in-law’s house, I can now do a little AM DXing without having to lug one of my own receivers!

A win-win in my book.

Post Readers: Have you snagged a good radio deal lately? Please comment/brag with models and prices!


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