Category Archives: Recordings

The Airspy Youloop is a freaking brilliant passive loop antenna

Before I start talking Youloop, I have a little confession to make up front:

At the Winter SWL Fest when I gave a presentation about Portable SDR DXing, not only did I give attendees the wrong name of the Airspy Youloop antenna, but I also configured it incorrectly, hence the poor performance via my Miscrosoft Surface Go tablet PC.

I had assumed the the crossover component of the antenna was the transformer component. I realized the mistake I made when I saw some of the first promotional photos of the Youloop antenna a few weeks ago.

The crossover connects both sides of the loop while the tee junction contains the transformer.

Doh! I’m trying to forgive myself for making such an obvious mistake, but in my defence–and in the spirit of full disclosure–my antenna was a very early sample prototype without instructions, diagrams, etc. so I set it up imagining it being similar to the homebrew loop Vlado and I built. (FYI: When I say “Vlado and I built” it, I really mean, “Vlado built it.”) 

So obviously I made a poor assumption.

Once I assembled the antenna correctly? Wow. Just. Wow!

Youloop: The ideal travel antenna for high dynamic range SDRs

The Youloop, Airspy HF+ Discovery, SDRplay RSPdx, and all cables easily fit in my Red Oxx Lil Roy pack.

The Youloop is truly the travel antenna I’ve always wanted for portable SDR DXing. Here’s why:

  • It’s incredibly portable and can be rolled up to fit in a small travel pouch
  • It has all of the low-noise characteristics of other magnetic loop antennas
  • It’s wideband unlike many passive loop designs
  • It requires no variable capacitor or tuner
  • It’s made of quality components
  • It requires no external amplifier nor power source
  • It takes one minute to assemble
  • It’s affordable (~$35 USD shipped)

The only caveat? To take advantage of the Youloop, you must use a high dynamic range receiver.

Airspy HF+ Discovery SDR

I can verify that this antenna works brilliantly with the Airspy HF+ Discovery.

The AirSpy HF+ SDR

It will also pair well with the Airspy HF+  if you shortcut R3 via the R3 modification.

SDRplay RSPdx SDR

I’ve also used it numerous times with the new SDRplay RSPdx while using SDRuno in High Dynamic Range (HDR) mode. With the RSPdx, I can make spectrum recordings of the entire AM broadcast band. Note that HDR mode is only available on the RSPdx at 2 MHz and below, using the SDRuno app.

I have not tested the Youloop with other SDRs yet. I will soon test it with my WinRadio Excalibur.

So how well does the Youloop perform?

Listen for yourself!

I’m doing a little cargiving family members today. Their home is swimming in RFI (radio interference/noise). In the past, I’ve struggled to make good mediumwave recordings at their home–certainly an ideal situation for a mag loop antenna.

This morning, I wanted to record one of my favorite local AM stations (WAIZ at 630 kHz), so I set up the Youloop in the middle of a bedroom, hanging off a large bookshelf set against an interior wall. In other words: not an ideal situation.

When I plugged in the Airspy HF+ Discovery and loaded the Airspy SDR application, I fully expected to see a spectrum display full of broadband noise.

Instead, I saw signals. Lots of signals:

Sure, there’s some noise in there, but it’s low enough I could even do proper mediumwave DXing on most of the band if I wished.

In fact, if you’d like to experience the HF+ Discovery/Youloop pairing in this compromised, less-than-ideal DXing setup, why not tune through one of the spectrum recordings I made?

Click here to download the spectrum file [885.7MB .wav].

The recording was made on March 30, 2020 starting around 10:50 UTC. You’ll need to open this file in AirSpy’s free application SDR# or a third party SDR app that can read AirSpy .wav files.

I can’t wait to try the Youloop in other locations. Since we’re in lock-down due to Covid-19, I won’t be able to try the Youloop in a hotel any time soon. Almost all of my 2020 travel plans have been canceled.

Highly recommend

If you have one of the SDRs mentioned above, go grab a Youloop. At $35 USD, it’s a fantastic deal.

Click here to check out the YouLoop at the RTL-SDR.com store ($34.95 USD shipped).

Click here to check out the YouLoop at Airspy.US ($29.95 + shipping).

Click here to search for AirSpy distributors in your region/country.

If you don’t have a high dynamic range receiver, note that Airspy is exploring the idea of making a pre-amp for the Youloop. If interested, you might drop them a note of encouragement!

Do you have a Youloop? Please share your comments!


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Radio Nostalgia Trip: RCI Shortwave Listener’s Digest from July 26, 1982

Over at the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive, we receive some truly amazing recordings from our devoted contributors.

How many of you remember Ian McFarland’s Shortwave Listener’s Digest on Radio Canada International? It was certainly one of my favorite DX and SWL shows!

Our good friend Tom Laskowski recently sent in the following recordings of the Shortwave Listener’s Digest recorded (in part) on July 26, 1982 starting around 21:30 UTC on 15,325 kHz.

Tom notes:

Here are two more back to back episodes from my collection of recordings of Shortwave Listener’s Digest from Radio Canada International, this time from July 26 and August 02, 1982.

This program’s highlights are: ANARC 1982 Convention promo, Larry Magne’s test of the Sony ICF-6500W, a look at underseas intercontinental cables with Walter Foster of Teleglobe Canada, Glenn Hauser’s DX tips.

The second program highlights are: coverage of the 1982 ANARC convention with guest co-host Bab Zanotti of Swiss Radio Intl., interview with David Meisel about the solar cycle, a rundown of the awards given out at ANARC 82.

This recording is chock-full of shortwave nostalgia. How many of you remember some of the folks featured and mentioned in this show?

Use the embedded player below to listen to the full recording or click here to listen at the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

Note that there have been some other amazing recordings posted on the archive recently.  Here’s a small sampling:


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Shortwave Radio Audio Archive: A treasure trove of radio history and nostalgia

One of the most amazing things about hosting and curating a massive collection of shortwave radio recordings is listening to each recording as they’re published on the site.

I created the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive (SRAA) in 2012 as a dedicated space to post and share off-air recordings with the world. Listening to SRAA recordings and subscribing to the podcast is 100% free, and entirely void of any advertising. The fact is, I pay for this site out of my own pocket, although some of your generous coffee fund and Patreon gifts are used to reinforce the archive’s longevity and future.

Not only does the SRAA serve as a historical record of radio–and even as audio samples for musicians–it’s also for radio listeners like us to enjoy.  We have over 3000 podcast and RSS subscribers. We invite you to subscribe as well as to contribute content in the form of your own radio recordings!

Great content, great contributors

Speaking of recordings, check out a sampling of our latest offerings from our amazing contributors:

Note that you can subscribe to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive as a podcast via iTunes or by using the following RSS feed: http://shortwavearchive.com/archive?format=rss You can also listen via TuneIn.

Of course, one of the best ways to listen to recordings and read all of the recording notes is by visiting the SRAA website.


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Video: “Tribute to a Century of Broadcasting”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill (WD9EQD), who writes:

You probably have already seen this, but from The ARRL Letter, November 21, 2019:

Art Donahue, W1AWX, of Franklin, Massachusetts, has posted his “Tribute to a Century of Broadcasting” video in recognition of the centennial of formal radio broadcasts. The video features a complete scan of the AM broadcast band (530 – 1700 kHz), with station IDs for all 118 AM radio channels.

Following is ARRL Link:

Radio Amateur’s “Tribute to a Century of Broadcasting” Video Debuts on YouTube

Following is YouTube link to the video:

It was a lot of fun to watch the video, hear the on-air id checks, and compare what he heard to the list of stations that I have heard.

Thanks for sharing this, Bill–I missed reading about this in the newsletter.  This goes to show you that the AM dial is chock-full of stations here in North America. Those who complain that it’s “dead” simply aren’t listening.

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CBC’s Nightfall: “A Short Wave Goodbye”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Zack Schindler, who writes:

In the early 1980’s CBC Radio 1 had a radio play show called Nightfall. Most episodes dealt with the supernatural. I used to listen to this from CBE (1550 khz) in Windsor Ontario. One episode that aired in 1981 was called Shortwave Goodbye and the story was about a “ham radio enthusiast who receives messages from the future. When he gets rich gambling, will he be able to rid himself of his shrewish wife before she and her lover can kill him first? “

Here’s the audio recording from the Internet Archive:

You can also listen to this recording on YouTube.

Many thanks, Zack, for sharing a link to this program! Although I’ve listened to loads of OTR programs, I somehow missed Nightfall.

For more information about Nightfall, check out this page from Awake At Midnight  and this page on WikiPedia.

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Glenn Hauser’s World of Radio extra program from September 08, 1984

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

Rosebud Reservation location in South Dakota

One of Glenn Hauser’s more interesting “extra” programs to me over the years was his radio 1981 summer vacation recordings to South Dakota (near the Nebraska border).

Attached is the entire WRNO recording of that program (which aired on Sep 8, 1984). This was before he “air numbered” the programs.

Station KINI web site (station active today) : https://www.rosebudmedianetwork.com/
Stream : http://listen.streamon.fm/kini

Click here to download the audio.

Amazing, Dave! Thank you for sharing this recording.

Post Readers: Keep in mind that you can still comment on this WOR post for a chance to win an Eton Mini receiver! This giveaway will close on Friday, September 27, 2019.

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Giuseppe captures LRA36 special on the coast of Italy with a portable receiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW), who writes:

Giuseppe Morlè

I’m Giuseppe Morlè from Formia, Italy, on the Tyrrhenian Sea … I had the pleasure of listening to the transmission of LRA36 Base Esperanza Antartida Argentina on 15,476 MHz on 21 September 2019 at 14.01 UTC.

I used a 25 meter wire, on the ground, with salt water resistance in a SSW direction that I have been using for years … similar to a “beverage on salt ground”.

I made the following video of the broadcast on my YouTube channel:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Wow! Giuseppe I am most impressed with your reception of the elusive LRA36. No doubt, this is testament to the power of combining a low noise environment, a capable shortwave receiver, and a longwire on a salt ground.


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