Category Archives: Retailers

Radio Waves: The Barbed Wire Comms Line, FCC Denies AM Appeal, Raspberry Pi Radio Astronomy, and Interview with Dick Smith

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Paul, Dennis Dura, Dan Van Hoy, Alokesh Gupta,  and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


Atrocious but efficient: How ranchers used barbed wire to make phone calls (Texas Standard)

A barbed wire telephone call didn’t sound great but could quickly warn others about something such as a wildfire.

Historian J. Evetts Haley wrote that, in its time, the old XIT Ranch up in the Texas Panhandle was “probably the largest fenced range in the world.” He recalled that its barbed wire enclosed over 3 million acres of land. At the north end alone, the fence ran for 162 miles. The unique enclosure helped keep in enormous cattle herds, keep out rustlers, and also gave rise to the creative use of a new technology: the telephone.

I’ll come back to the XIT in a moment, but first, consider these smattering of reports from that era. In 1897, The Electrical Review, reported that “on a ranch in California, telephone communication had been established between the various camps . . . by means of barbed wire fences.” The article says the novel use of the phone was a great success and was being used in Texas as well. That same year, the New England Journal of Agriculture was impressed that two Kansas farmers, living a mile apart, had attached fine telephone instruments to the barbed wire fence that connects their places and established easy communication. From the Butte Intermountain in 1902 we see this notice: “Fort Benton’s latest development is a barbed wire telephone communication.” The article points out that people of the range were not all that happy with barbed wire, which they thought was an “evil” that had arrived with the railroad, but they had decided to look at the practical side of its existence and use it to create a telephone exchange that would connect all the ranches to Fort Benton. [Continue reading…]

FCC Says No to Appeal for a New AM in L.A. (Radio World)

Schwab Multimedia has lost an appeal to the Federal Communications Commission in a case involving a planned AM station near Los Angeles for which it had a construction permit.

This is a “tolling” case, one that involves the FCC construction clock. The history is complex — the FCC’s summary is 2,500 words long, not counting many extended footnotes — but the upshot is that KWIF in Culver City was never built and, barring further developments, apparently will not be. Its call sign has now been deleted.

Levine/Schwab Partnership, which does business as Schwab Multimedia, had applied in 2004 to build a new AM station in the Los Angeles area. It eventually secured a CP in 2016 for the station at 1500 kHz. [Continue reading at Radio World…]

Radio Astronomy with Raspberry Operating System (Glen Langston)

Check out this fascinating radio astronomy project by Glen Langston that is not only affordable, but quite accessible. Thank you for the tip, Paul!

This article is in PDF form and can be downloaded from with this link.

Dick Smith Live: Adventuring, Electronics & Amateur Radio (Ham Radio DX on YouTube)

Dick Smith, VK2DIK has lived an adventurous and extraordinary life. He is a proud Australian, businessman, adventurer, entrepreneur and he single handedly changed electronics and CB/Amateur Radio in Australia.

Dick has recently released his autobiography titled, Dick Smith: My Adventurous Life and tonight we’re privileged to sit down live with Dick, speaking to him about his adventures, including the first solo helicopter flight around the world, his business ventures and being a pioneer for Amateur and CB radio.


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Dean recommends KM4MPF Sales

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dean Bianco, who writes:

I have purchased another C Crane SSB Skywave brand-new from an on-line retailer called KM4MPF Sales On-Line Store out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. [I paid a] discounted price of $149.99 vs the $169.99 price charged by C Crane direct. […] I feel not enough listeners would be aware of the significant discount of this fine, but normally pricey receiver. C Crane still earns money in the process, so it is a guilt-free decision to buy from the Tennessee company I would think.

Click here to check out KM4MPF’s selection of radios.

Thank you for sharing this, Dean! I know I have seen KM4MPF at local hamfests in the past. He has a great inventory of radios. Thanks for the tip!

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“MFJ will begin selling Eton Shortwave Receiver Products effective immediately”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors, Eric McFadden and Mike Agner, who share the following announcement from MFJ:


MFJ to sell Eton Shortwave Receivers!

Elite 750

A 360-degree rotating AM antenna enhances the radio’s ability to pull in weak AM signals. You can listen to AM, FM , SW, LW, SSB and aircraft band frequencies, and you can program in up to 100 of your favorites for each band.

Elite Executive

It receives every radio wavelength—AM(MW), FM with RDS, LW, and Shortwave (SW)—at home or abroad. Plus, it also receives VHF aircraft band, Single Sideband (SSB) and includes a PLL tuner.

Elite Field

The Etón Elite Field receives most every radio wavelength—AM (MW), FM, and Shortwave (SW)—at home or abroad. It’s easy to set the station spacing and frequency so your stations come in loud and clear wherever you are. And with Bluetooth®, you can stream your own music or favorite podcast.

Eton Traveler AM/FM/Shortwave Radio with World Time and Auto tuning storage, 500 memory stations, automatic or manual tuning. FM with Radio Data System.

Eton Mini AM/FM/Shortwave radio with digital tuner and display which shows frequency, time, and alarm activation, automatic frequency up/down scanning.

Eton Leather Custom Satchel for the Eton Field AM/FM/Shortwave Radio.

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RadioShack has a new owner who wants to make it “cool again”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Don (W7SSB), who shares the following story from Forbes.com:

Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV), the retail acquisition company that bought Pier 1 and Modell’s Sporting Goods out of bankruptcy and snapped up the Dressbarn brand after it liquidated, has a new rescue mission: Radio Shack.

REV announced the deal today [November 19, 2020], making Radio Shack the seventh brand it has bought in less than two years.

REV’s strategy is to buy struggling, but well-known retail names it believes can benefit from their e-commerce expertise. In the world of online shopping, according to REV founders Tai Lopez and Alex Mehr, the brand you’ve heard of beats the one you’ve never heard of every time.

“It’s a trusted brand and we buy brands because of the trust,” Lopez said.

Why makes Radio Shack trusted?

“First of all what creates trust is to be known,” Lopez said. So even though Radio Shack has been mocked as the place where old cassette tape players, transistor radios, and personal CD players went to die, everyone has heard of it.

“”Every brand goes through phases of love and hate, but what we care about is it’s known. We can revive it on top of the high awareness that already exists,” he said.

Radio Shack, Lopez said, may actually be the best known of all the REV acquisitions. “This is our first truly global brand,” he said. Radio Shack at its heyday had stores throughout Europe, in Japan, in South America, the Middle East, and still has some international stores.

[…]“I’m hoping that they’re going to make it a broad consumer electronics portal and platform, where not only do they sell the myriad Radio Shack brands but they also are a go-to place for many other electronic brands as well,” he said. He sees the potential for Radio Shack, with an updated e-commerce presence, to aspire to become the Wayfair W +1.6% of electronics.

Lopez agrees that Radio Shack has a lot of room to grow into many new product areas.

“We’re interested in potentially having Radio Shack laptops, having our own flat screen TVs,” he said. “We want to expand it to anything consumer electronics, home, the phone business, home security. We want to go really broad.”

Garriques and his company’s background in electronics – he is a former president of Motorola Personal Communications, and former Global Consumer Group president at Dell who began his career at Bell Labs – should help with that expansion.

[,..]“Whatever was cool again once is becoming cool again, again,” Garriques said. “I think Radio Shack can ride that.” And that is what REV is betting on.

Click here to read the complete story at Forbes.com.

While I doubt RadioShack will dive back into the world of electronics parts, shortwave portables, and ham radio transceivers, it is interesting that someone is trying to resurrect the brand. Thanks for the tip, Don!

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End of an Era: Universal Radio is closing shop

Universal Radio’s showroom at their previous Reynoldsburg location

While I’m very happy for my friends Fred and Barbara Osterman as they head into a well-deserved retirement, I’m very sad that Universal Radio will be closing.

I’ve been a Universal Radio customer since before I was a licensed ham radio operator. They have been–and are to this day–the one ham radio radio retailer that still specialized in shortwave radio receivers.

Fred and Barbara have generously supported numerous radio clubs, organizations, and non-profit organizations throughout the years and are simply some of the nicest people you could ever meet.

Fred and Barbara shared the following message with their customers:


Dear Friends Of Universal Radio,

Time waits for no one, and that includes Barbara and myself. We have decided to retire and our current location in Worthington
will close on November 30, 2020. Even though the store is closing we will fulfill all existing customer orders and have a large amount of inventory to close-out. The Universal Radio website will be maintained for the foreseeable future to sell this remaining stock, publications and some select products. Unfortunately the lack of a store front showroom will preclude us from carrying some manufacturers’ products.

I am very fortunate to have been in the radio business for over 50 years, 13 at Radio Shack and 37 at Universal Radio. We have met many wonderful people along the journey who have supported me personally as well as Universal Radio. It has been a privilege to have a continuous career in the fascinating field of radio since 1969.

Please accept our sincere “Thank You” for your support of Universal Radio
for these many years, and for the months to come.

Our new address for correspondence and mail order is below.
This is not a store front.

Universal Radio Inc.
752 N. State St. Unit 222
Westerville, OH 43082

Phone: 614 866-4267

Thank you.

73,

Fred Osterman N8EKU
Barbara Osterman KC8VWI


Thank you, Fred and Barbara, and here’s wishing you a very happy retirement!

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EladUSA now selling the Perseus with factory support from Microtelecom

Many thanks to Paul Jones with EladUSA who notes that they now sell the venerable Microtelecom Perseus via their online store. Paul also notes that each purchase comes with full factory support from Microtelecom. Price is $760 US.

Click here to view at EladUSA.

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Microtelecom Perseus SDRs at Ham Radio Outlet

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian Penney, who writes:

I saw your post about the availability of the Perseus SDR. They are still available brand new through HRO. I ordered one in the fall of 2019.

HRO said they were getting them new from SSB-Electronic GmbH in Germany.

Click here to view at HRO.

Thanks for the tip, Brian! The price is quite competitive at $749.95 US as well–certainly the best option for those of us living in the US.

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