Category Archives: Retailers

Jack had a technical question…Eton gave him a detailed reply

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jack Kratoville, who writes:

I was once big into Grundig; I owned the YB-400PE, 550, Traveller II, Mini, finally settling on the G5 as one of my favorite radios. I looked at the G3 and probably got a bad one – sold it on eBay. When the G2 “Reporter” went on sale, $35 closeout at RS, I grabbed it. The worst radio I ever owned, so bad I returned it. A radio that had sold for $150, down to $35, and I still wanted my money back. I moved on to Tecsun and C Crane.

Recently, a friend in eastern NC had the Executive Satellit (silver) and had no use for it. I took it to the backyard, then to Atlantic Beach and was very impressed. This receiver was hitting all the right user buttons for me. I was reminded of what the G3 should have been, a decent upgrade to the G5. Aside from solid performance on all bands, the Executive Satellit provides better dial info (no big fan of orange display that goes poof when off), analog volume, decent speaker (second only to the Digitech AR1780) Sync & SSB, plus very quick scanning. And… a Line In/Out! I’m thinking here’s most likely the last of the Grundig (and Satellit) lineage and they finally hit a home run!

Well here’s where I’m reminded of how weird radios from Eton can be. I like bringing along my mp3 player for when I’m bored of band scanning. I have a JBL Flip 4, but now here was a single unit that could cover all the bases for me on a quick trip. I activated the Line In, plugged in my Sansa Sport and knew right away one of the stereo channels was missing. I looked up the manual and it said the Line In was 3.5mm stereo. I called Eton. Unfortunately, the service department (I remember Walter, who knew more about those radios than most) no longer exists. The woman I spoke to tried to explain there was only the mono speaker and after as simple an explanation I could manage, she said she would get back to me.

In a few days, she did and said, after consulting a colleague, I was right. The jack is stereo, but only produces the right channel. I wrote back saying “I felt this was a serious design flaw and why in the world would anyone design a radio like this?” I figured that was the end of our email exchange, but then I received the following:

———-

Jack,

My colleague tells me that the reason the implementation was done this way is that the internal speaker amplifier, which is also shared as the output driver for the headphones is set up as a stereo-in / stereo out configuration. This works well for the line input to headphone output scenario as both L & R channels are separated within their respective connectors. Since this internal speaker amplifier’s outputs are shared between the mono internal speaker and the stereo line output jack the summation of the signal for that mono speaker would result in the summation for the line output jack as well. While this would be OK, a L + R mix for the internal speaker it would cause the user to also have a L + R mix for the line output for both line input and radio applications. In order to maintain the stereo line output for the radio signals we cannot sum the two channels together at the output of the amplifier. The only way to fix this would be to add a summing op-amp on the line input side or summing speaker amplifier on the output side, neither of which were chosen by the designer due to board space, power consumption and cost consequences. A more simple “dirty” way to sum the input would be to buy a short 1/8″ female to 1/8″ male cable, cut that cable open in the center and then short the L & R signals together and place it in-line between the source device and the analog line input on the Satellit. This is not ideal but would work to crudely mix both L & R input signals together.

We apologize that we do not have a more elegant solution for this product.

Regards,

Eton

————–

Wow! I thanked her graciously for a full and detailed answer.

So now I attempt quick fixes like stereo to mono to stereo adapters and it overloads the input. I can turn down the source, but I lose a lot of volume. (And trying to compensate with the radio’s volume is not a viable solution.) I’m also not one to open up this unit with soldering gun at the ready.

Therefore, to those with far greater knowledge, understanding and electronically more inclined – is there a way to create a cord that would give me L+R at proper line-in volume/level? (Rerecording over 5,000 songs to mono would be a real pain.)

Thanks in- advance for any suggestions – and kudos to Eton for providing above and beyond standard customer service.

Thank you for sharing your Eton customer support experience, Jack. That was indeed a thorough and sincere reply!  I’m hoping someone in the community here can help you with ideas for a patch cable/adapter.

If you can help Jack, please comment!

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Mendelsons preparing to close?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Eric McFadden (WD8RIF), who notes that George Thomas (W5JDX) visited the iconic surplus/parts store Mendelsons in Dayton, Ohio.

George spoke about his visit on HamNation and plans to air his tour and interview with the owner on a future episode. The owner did mention that they plan to close the store possibly within a year. Here’s the video clip from HamNation:

Click here to view on YouTube.

This would be a true loss for anyone in the Dayton area who enjoys building and making things. Mendelsons is so much more than a radio parts store–their selection is vast. In fact, that’s an understatement. It’s mind-boggling…gobsmacking! 

I took a few photos inside Mendelsons in 2017 when I visited the store with friends (that’s WD8RIF in many of the shots!):

As George mentioned in the video, if you haven’t visited Mendelsons before, you do so soon. And plan to be there for multiple hours–it’s quite the pilgrimage!

Click here to visit Mendelsons online.

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Guest Post: A visit to Tokyo’s Akihabara district

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and word traveler, Chris Johnson, who shares the following:

This past year while traveling for business in Japan I decided to explore a district within the city limits of Tokyo known as Akihabara or better known to locals as the “Electronics District”.

After jumping off the train I found my senses bombarded by a cacophony of sounds and enough neon from the street to the sky to put your senses into overload. The streets were crowded and the stores were filled with every modern electronic device known to man.

Click here to watch video.

My imagination ran wild, I started wondering what this place would have been like in the 1970’s when some of the most cutting edge electronics were CB radios or shortwave receivers, the different brands, models etc… Perhaps some of that still existed here so I started wandering the streets and found more of the same you would find in a big box store but multiplied by 10, overwhelming.

Just when I was ready to give up the search I turned the corner down a side street and discovered a red awning with “Tokyo Radio Department Store” emblazoned on it, I felt like I discovered a lost treasure amongst the modernity.

I walked through the main entrance and was immediately drawn down a maze of narrow corridors that were staffed with small stores and stalls that sold electronic parts both popular and obscure, it was incredible. That was just the first floor with 3 more above to discover, I thought to myself if I ever wanted to build a transmitter this is the one place in the world where you could shop and find all the parts you need.

As I ventured up the narrow stairs to the floors above once again I felt like I found a treasure of gold, before me were shelves and displays crammed full of radios, some I haven’t seen in many years and some from the recent past .

This was like a Hamfest and eBay together under one roof. Truly incredible as you will see in the pictures below. I couldn’t get close to some of the ones wrapped in plastic but maybe a sharp eyed enthusiast can Identify them. I highly recommend anyone traveling to this part of Asia to check out this hidden gem you will not be disappointed.


Thank you so much for sharing this photo tour, Chris! I mean…WOW! There are so many radio gems here. I see some classic solid-state receivers, ham radio transceivers and even valve gear I’ve never seen before. Amazing!

Thank you for taking the time to share your tour of the Akihabara district of Tokyo!

Post readers: Please comment if you’ve ever visited the Akihabara district or any other “Radio Row” districts in the world. please consider sharing your photos!

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Ham Radio Outlet Discounts RSPduo for Labor Day

From now through September 4th, Ham Radio Outlet in the USA is discounting the SDRplay RSPduo SDR receiver by $30–down to $249.95. This is a great deal on SDRplay’s newest and best SDR receiver!

https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-016162

 

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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Tom praises Anon-Co’s “first-rate” customer service

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tom Adams (W9LBB), who left the following comment on our Tecsun PL-880 review:

Just a note re. kudos to Anon-co re. customer support.

I got a PL880 late last year, and LOVED it; so much so that I ordered a second one, the “special edition” version, both radios from Anon-co.

While waiting for the second radio to be delivered, my first one developed a bug; the AM broadcast band was dead at turn-on. Sometimes switching to FM and back to AM made it work… not good.

The second radio arrived, and it worked on short wave for about 5 minutes, and went dead. Turning it off and waiting a while brought it back… but it would die in 5 – 10 minutes again.

I wrote Anon-co about the problems, and Anna addressed the problems. After the usual fixes (reset, pulling the battery for a half hour and reinserting to reboot the processor) failed, she had me send both radios back for factory service. Anon-co covered the cost of the FedEx to get them back to Hong Kong.

A half hour ago I got a note from Anna.

The newest radio is confirmed dead; they’re replacing it.

The older radio (sent for repairs under warranty) seems to have developed a bug that the technicians have never seen before. They say that diagnosis and repair could be very difficult… therefore they are replacing THAT radio too!

I’m a happy camper with that solution… and I can’t praise Anon-co and Anna too highly! FIRST RATE customer service!!!

Thanks for sharing this feedback, Tom. I’ve had the same experience with Anon-Co over the many years I’ve done business with them. Anna is an amazing customer-focused agent and they stand by their products each and every time.

There are so few companies who retail shortwave radios these days it’s nice to know that Tecsun’s primary distributor in Hong Kong is one of the best in the business! We can buy from Anon-Co with confidence.

Click here to check out Anon-Co’s website.

Click here to check out Anon-Co’s listings on eBay.

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What’s Up with the XHDATA D-808 Availability in the USA?

After the initial flurry of reports, interest, and purchases of the XHDATA D-808 portable receiver by radio enthusiasts, the door on USA shipments seems to have slammed shut.

This fine DSP-based portable went live in early December 2017 for USA purchasers when it was offered by AliExpress for $69.98 with shipping. Later, the RadiWow site started selling the radio for nearly the same price including USA shipping.

Now in mid-March 2018, the D-808 is nowhere to be found on AliExpress:

Sure, the RadiWow firm still ships the D-808 to the USA, but for a ridiculous “we don’t really want your business anyway” price. (A company that has a product page with “LOGO” in the corner is certainly not paying attention…perhaps they meant to enter “USD $20” as the cost? :^)

My hope is that XHDATA is working on an exclusive USA distributorship, such as Kaito Electronics Inc. has in this country for Kaito radios, or perhaps the D-808 will eventually be found only on Amazon USA. Maybe the highly regarded EBay seller Anon-Co (Anna) is at work behind the scene to offer this model exclusively.

What’s going on here? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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Tecsun PL-680: Another ludicrous eBay price…

In today’s episode of absurd eBay prices, I present the Tecsun PL-680:

A price of $513.03 US (shipped) from an eBay seller with a 96.3% approval rating, when you could purchase the same radio from the excellent Anon-Co for $111 US shipped?

When I see over-inflated eBay listings, I feel so sorry for the unlucky person who pulls the trigger and buys an item at five times the retail price. I must assume–based on the sheer number of these listings on eBay–people are indeed purchasing grossly overpriced items.

No matter what sort of radio you’re seeking on eBay (or elsewhere) please do your research in advance. Check reliable retailer prices (Anon-Co, Universal Radio, Ham Radio Outlet, DX Engineering, Amazon, ML&S, Nevada Radio, RadioWorld, etc.) prior to purchasing anything that’s currently in production.

If you’re seeking a vintage or rare unit, use eBay’s excellent price research tools that reference past sold listings. In addition, consult Fred Osterman’s excellent book: Shortwave Receivers Past & Present.

This has been an SWLing Post Public Service Announcement! 🙂

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