Category Archives: Recordings

Carlos’ Shortwave Art and recording of the Voice of Korea (May 23, 2022)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, who shares his radio log art of a recent Voice of Korea broadcast.


Carlos notes:

Part of news bulletin from Radio Voice of Korea shortwave broadcast in English about efforts of North Korea’s government to fight Covid-19 pandemic.

Listened in Porto Alegre, Brazil, May 23, 2022, 21h18 (UTC), frequency of 15245 kHz.

Click here to view on YouTube.

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Matt’s 2022 Rooftop Receiver Shootout!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Matt Blaze, for the following guest post:


2022 rooftop receiver shootout

by Matt Blaze

I realized it’s been long past time for me to do another head-to-head receiver comparison “shootout”, where you can compare the audio from multiple radios receiving the same signal at the same time. Long time readers of Thomas’ blog may remember I’ve posted a few of these before.

So I took advantage of the nice weather and brought a bunch of radios, recording gear, and an antenna up to the roof to listen and record signals under an open sky. My neighbors, no doubt, wondered what I must have been up to. (Don’t tell them I’m just a harmless radio nerd.)

This year, our focus is on eight “dream receivers” from the 1980’s to the present. Each radio is at or near the top of the line in its class at the time of its release. Our radios include, in roughly reverse chronological order:

  • Icom R-8600, a current production “DC to Daylight” (or up to 3 GHz, at least) general coverage communications receiver, with highly regarded shortwave performance.
  • AOR AR-ONE, another DC to Daylight general coverage radio, less well known due to the high price and limited US availability. Excellent performer, but a terrible (menu-driven) user interface for shortwave, in my opinion.
  • Reuter RDR Pocket, a very cute, if virtually impossible to get in the US, small production, high performance SDR-based shortwave portable receiver. It’s got an excellent spectrum display and packs a lot of performance into a surprisingly small package.
  • AOR 7030Plus, an extremely well regarded shortwave receiver from the late 90’s; designed in the UK. It’s got a quirky menu-driven user interface but is a lot of fun to use.
  • Drake R8B, the last of the much-beloved Drake receivers. Probably the chief competitor to the 7030.
  • Drake R7A, an excellent analog communications receiver (but with a digital VFO) from the early 80’s. It still outperforms even many current radios.
  • Sony ICF-6800W, a top of the line “boom box” style consumer receiver from the early 80’s. Great radio, but hard to use on SSB.
  • Panasonic RF-4900, the main competition for the Sony. Boat-anchor form factor, but runs on batteries. Excellent performer, but also hard to use on SSB.

The radios were fed from my portable Wellbrook FLX-1530 antenna, using a Stridsberg Engineering HF distribution amplifier. So every radio was getting pretty close to exactly the same signal at its RF input.

Recordings were taken from the line output, if one was available, or the external speaker/headphone output otherwise. In either case, the audio was then isolated and converted to a balanced signal for recording.

For each signal, I recorded monaural “solo” tracks for each radio, as well as a narrated stereo track in which I compared the audio from each radio (one after the other) against the Icom R8600, with the audio from the R8600 on the left channel and the audio from the other radios on the right channel. This gives you a quick overview of what all the radios sound like.

The stereo recording requires some explanation. For it to make any sense, you MUST listen in stereo, using decent headphones if at all possible. You can switch earpieces back and forth (with your finger on pause and rewind) to get a quick idea of what each radio sounds like compared with a modern receiver, and how they handle things like fades and static.

The solo tracks, on the other hand, consist entirely of the continuous audio from a single radio, with no narration or interruption.

I recorded three different signals, for a three part comparison. (Parts four and up will come, hopefully, soon). I think both the differences and similarities will surprise you.

Part One

Our first signal was the BBC on 9915 KHz, broadcasting from Madagascar to western Africa. This signal was extremely marginal here, intended to show how each receiver can or can’t handle signals down in the noise. It’s definitely not “armchair copy”.

The stereo overview is at:

The individual receiver solo tracks can be found here:

Icom R-8600:

AOR AR-ONE:

Reuter RDR Pocket:

AOR 7030Plus:

Drake R8B:

Drake R7A:

Sony ICF-6800W:

Panasonic RF-4900:

Part Two

Our next signal was the Shannon (Ireland) aviation VOLMET broadcast on 5505 KHz USB. This synthesized voice gives the latest meteorological conditions at airports around Europe. The signal was not strong, but entirely readable. It shows how the radios handle a weak SSB signal. Note that the Sony and Panasonic consumer radios, though equipped with a BFO, were VERY hard to tune properly.

The stereo overview is at:

Receiver solo tracks can be found here:

Icom R-8600:

AOR AR-ONE:

Reuter RDR Pocket:

AOR 7030Plus:

Drake R8B:

Drake R7A:

Sony ICF-6800W:

Panasonic RF-4900:

 

Part Three

Our final signal was a stronger, though occasionally fading, shortwave broadcaster, Radio Romania International on 13650 KHz AM. This gives you a sense of how the receivers performed on a typical “average” signal that you might actually want to enjoy listening to. Because the radios have different filters and other capabilities, I tuned each radio to whatever sounded best; I did not attempt to use comparable settings (since no common settings existed).

The stereo overview can be found at:

And the individual solo tracks are here:

Icom R-8600:

AOR AR-ONE:

Reuter RDR Pocket:

AOR 7030Plus:

Drake R8B:

Drake R7A:

Sony ICF-6800W:

Panasonic RF-4900:

Subsequent comparisons, hopefully soon, will focus on receiver performance on signals in crowded bands and under various kinds of interference and noise.

A quick note on production: The recordings were made with a 12 channel Sound Devices 833 recorder with a Sound Devices SL-16 mixing console. The audio was isolated and converted to balanced output with Switchcraft 318 direct interface boxes (highly recommended for recording radios with pro audio gear).

The stereo track narration was done by me in real time, as the signals were being recorded. I made some comments about which receivers I thought sounded best that were not always the same as what I would later conclude after carefully listening to the solo tracks once back inside. But judge for yourself. I used a Coles “lip” microphone, an amazing ribbon mic designed decades ago for the BBC for use in highly noisy environments. It was very effective in reducing the sometimes considerable street noise and other ambient outdoor sounds.

Thanks for listening and 73!

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Radio Prague: 1965 20th Anniversary of the Liberation of Czechoslakia 7″ record

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike Barraclough, who shares the following partially in response to Sam’s search for the Radio Prague’s Forward Left interval signal:


In 1965 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the liberation of Czechoslovakia Radio Prague offered their listeners a free copy of a 45rpm record they’d produced. There were 5 versions issued with commentaries in German, English, French, Italian and Spanish. Information and images here, at the time of writing there are two copies of the French edition for sale from record dealers.

https://www.discogs.com/artist/463619-Radio-Prague-2

I’ve digitised my copy of the English one I received.

Side One

Side One Recording

Side One has a recording of their interval signal at the time and the Communist Anthem Forward Left it is taken from.

Side Two

Side Two Recording

Side Two The Road to Freedom has an account of the liberation of Czechoslovakia in early May 1945 and the role of Radio Prague during it with recordings of their broadcasts, including one in English, at the time.

I’ll be submitting a slightly expanded account of this to the British DX Club for next month’s bulletin as picking up Radio Prague and other English language stations from abroad on mediumwave such as Radio Moscow was the reason I bought a shortwave receiver. Living on the East Coast of the UK I could pick up AFN Bremerhaven daytime as well as a Dutch station Radio Veronica playing pop records all day as an alternative to the BBC. Radio Luxembourg, which you’ve most likely heard of, for nightime listening. Will check, think it would be early 64 when I bought my first shortwave receiver.

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Carlos’ Shortwave Art and recording of the Voice of Korea (April 17, 2022)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, who shares his radio log art of a recent Voice of Korea broadcast.


Carlos notes:

Voice of Korea, 15245 kHz, broadcasting in English, listened in Porto Alegre, Brazil, April 17, 2022, 21h08 (UTC).

Part of news bulletin: Kim Jong-un observes new missile test.

Click here to view on YouTube.

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Carlos’ Shortwave Art and recording of China Radio International

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, who shares his radio log art of a recent China Radio International broadcast.


Carlos notes:

China Radio International, 9525 kHz, broadcasting in Russian from Beijing, China.
Listened in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
April 9, 2022, 20h (UTC).

Part of news bulletin, war in Ukraine.

    • Report from Borodiyanka
    • Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dept. Maria Zakharova: Bucha is provocation to end negotiations, impose more sanctions.
    • China, Israel: dialogue is the solution for Ukraine war
    • China and the US bioweapons

Click here to listen via YouTube.

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Radio Atlantico del Sur documentary on YouTube

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

Hello Thomas,

There was a 45 minute documentary on Radio Atlantico del Sur broadcast Monday evening on Forces TV in the UK. It is also on Facebook. The station manager Neill French Blake is interviewed as well as three members of their staff and an Argentinian soldier who listened to it whilst in the Falklands.

It’s now on YouTube:

I posted a link to the June 10, 1982 recording Tom Gavaras posted to Shortwave Radio Audio Archive on several forums/messageboards when publicising the programme.

Chris Greenway, who is interviewed in the programme, has a detailed blog on the station as well as other similar ones: https://radioatlanticodelsur.blogspot.com/2018/10/moonshine-story-of-psychological-warfare.html

Mike

Thank you for the tip, Mike, and for sharing Tom’s recording widely.

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Carlos’ Shortwave Art and recording of Voice of Korea

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, who shares his radio log art of a recent Voice of Korea broadcast.


Carlos notes:

Voice of Korea, 11910 kHz, broadcasting in English from Kujang, North Korea, listened in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

April 5, 2022, 19h10 (UTC).

News bulletin (excerpt):

“…In case South Korea adopts military confrontation against us, our nuclear combat forces are inevitably obliged to carry out its mission…”

Click  here to view on YouTube.

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