Category Archives: Scanners

Listen to a live ARISS contact on Friday, February 2021

The number of ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) has been lower during the Covid-19 pandemic due to so many schools being closed and relying on remote instruction. Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bruce Atchison, who notes that there will be an ARISS contact tomorrow (February 5, 2021) in Canada.

Listening to an ARISS contact is actually quite easy as long as you’re within the footprint of the ISS during the pass. Almost any radio–a scanner, handheld radio, etc.–that can receive 145.8 MHz can tune in. Click here to read a previous post describing how to listen.

Check out the RAC news item below with full details:

ARISS contact with Ottawa Carleton Virtual Online School: Friday, February 5

Ottawa, Ontario

ARISS Event: February 5, 2021 – As part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program, NASA Astronaut Mike Hopkins, KF5LJG, will connect with students from the Ottawa Carleton Virtual Online School in Ottawa, Ontario  and answer their questions (see below), live from the International Space Station (ISS).

The ISS call sign is scheduled to be NA1SS event and the will take place on Friday, February 5, 2021 at 17:41:04 UTC 40 deg via AB1OC. It is recommended that you start listening approximately 10 minutes before this time.

The duration of the contact is approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds. The contact will be a telebridge between NA1SS and AB10C which is located in New Hampshire:

Ground Station Coordinates:
AB1OC New Hampshire Latitude 42.712N; Longitude 71.590W; Elevation 110m

The contact should be audible over the USA and Canada (Eastern regions) and adjacent areas. Interested parties are invited to listen in on the 145.80 MHz downlink. The contact is expected to be conducted in English.

Steve McFarlane, VE3TBD, ARISS Central and Northern Canada representative, is the Mentor for the event and Brian Jackson, VE6JBJ, ARISS Western Canada Mentor, is the Moderator.

ARISS is an international program aimed at inspiring students worldwide to pursue interests and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through Amateur Radio communications opportunities with the ISS crew.

For more information on ARISS please visit:

RAC ARISS webpage: https://www.rac.ca/ariss/

Main ARISS website: http://www.ariss.org

Multipoint Telebridge Contact via Amateur Radio

As mentioned above, members will ask their questions to Astronaut Mike Hopkins, KF5LJG, via an adapted telebridge link which will use a multi-point system in which they are connected to the conference call centre from their own homes.

The concept requires three things:

  • the ARISS telebridge radio ground station – a satellite Amateur Radio station with special equipment that an ARISS team member uses for teleconferencing
  • the astronaut on the International Space Station using the ARISS Amateur Radio station
  • students at their homes here on Earth

The telebridge radio operator links to the astronaut at the ARISS radio mic, and each youth then connects from home via their telephones. Their families can listen along with school faculty and the public from home.

ARISS invites the public to view the livestream of the upcoming ARISS contact at: https://youtu.be/Ery1JYmk72o

Click here to read the full article at the RAC website.

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Icom IC-R30 new firmware (v 1.11) now available

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Markku Koskinen, who shares the following:

Just letting you know that Icom has released new firmware for the IC-R30 receiver.

Please read carefully and follow all instructions:

https://www.icomjapan.com/support/firmware_driver/

Changes from version 1.10: Fixed the problem of when the ANL of the band that is not used is ON, while the Dualwatch function is OFF, the received DCR audio may not be output from the speaker.

This firmware is for the USA version that has a serial number beginning with “16”.

This firmware is for non-USA versions that have a serial number beginning with other than “16”.

Thank you for the tip, Markku!

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Phillip loves the Icom IC-R30, but frustrated with mono audio out

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Phillip Novak, who writes:

A question or perhaps comment on the Icom IC-R30 that I’m hoping SWLing Post readers might shed some light on.

I’m a very new and extremely pleased owner of one of these units for the past 2 weeks. Aside from receive capability, usability is a big deal for me and this thing has proven to be a joy! The menus, buttons and build quality just feel great and frankly, I’m pretty happy about having made the “investment”.

So, it was with great excitement that my wife and I have the week off at the cottage – more so for me, as I was looking to really break the R30 in while sitting on the lake shore.

And then …. I was extremely disappointed to find out that the r30 headphone jack is mono (just like the IC-R6 that I already owned). On top of that, the jack is slightly recessed into the body of the unit, which renders the mono-to-stereo split adapter useless! (I really thought they would have changed it!)

Someone, please enlighten me as to why Icom would choose a mono plug!

It’s funny you mention the recessed plug as I had the same issue with a portable recently–the audio out port was recessed to the point that only the provided cheap earphones would fit!

Perhaps SWLing Post readers and IC-R30 owners can provide you with a simple solution? Of course, you can always purchase or build a mono-to-stereo adapter or patch cord–one with a slim profile to fit in the IC-R30 audio port recess (that’s the tough part, of course). But perhaps there are even earphones that have this functionality built-in? I honestly don’t know. Any ideas, readers? Please comment.

And, Phillip, we’d welcome your review of the IC-R30!

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The Sporty’s Air Scan II has a unique “Aviation Interrupt” feature

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and supporter, Mario Filippi (N2HUN), who writes:

Hope you are doing well, am really enjoying the SWLing Post, it’s my daily version of the New York Times for the radio hobbyist. I realize that this is not SW related but did you know there is an unusual aircraft scanner sold by Sporty’s Pilot Shop?

The AirScan II is an AM/FM/VHF air band scanner.

Beauty of it is you can listen to your favorite AM or FM broadcast while it scans your favorite air band channels, then it’ll interrupt the broadcast when it finds an active channel.

https://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/air-scan-ii-radio-with-aviation-interrupttm.html

I think it’s an excellent idea. I’ve purchased from Sporty’s in the past, they are excellent. Keep up the good work Thomas and 73’s.

Thank you for the tip, Mario! That is a brilliant feature–especially for aviation monitoring. This little scanner also has some bluetooth functionality, so you could connect your smartphone, tablet, or PC to it, play your favorite recordings, and it would also interrupt the Bluetooth audio for aviation traffic. Very cool.

Reviews say that air band sensitivity is mediocre, but I bet with an external antenna, it would be improved.  As you say, Mario, Sporty’s has an excellent reputation as an aviation retailer.

And thanks for the kind compliments about the SWLing Post!

Please comment if you own or have used the Sporty’s Air Scan II!

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Review of the C.Crane CC Buds Solo In-Ear Single Earbud (and a chance to win one!)

A few weeks ago, C. Crane sent me one of their newest radio accessories: the CC Buds Solo Single Earbud.

Here’s the description from the C.Crane product page:

Single Earbud Optimized For Voice

The CC Buds™ Solo single earpiece provides a unique advantage over traditional earbuds because it allows you to interact better with others while listening to radio, podcasts or audiobooks (your boss will love you). The integrated stereo to mono plug works with smartphones, radios, tablets, and most other audio devices.

The Solo can give you a safety advantage when running, biking, or walking because you are more likely to hear if danger approaches. The cable is Kevlar™ reinforced for maximum durability. It is perfect for scanner radio listening. Can work well for law enforcement when greater awareness is needed.

Audio is tuned for superior voice clarity. Included are three silicone and three compressible foam covers––sized small, medium, and large. The small covers usually fits a small ear comfortably. Standard 3.5 mm headphone jack. Cord Length 48″.

At first blush, the idea of a single earpiece smacks of vintage solid-state radios. I’ve a number of classic portables that were designed around a hard-plastic single earpiece–anyone else remember those?

In fact, my Sony ICF-5500W (above) even has a little compartment to house its custom earpiece.

The Sony ICF-550W’s unforgiving 1970s era earpiece.

In my youth, I carried a hard plastic single earpiece with me everywhere, especially at school, because it made listening to the radio and still having some situational awareness possible. [Unfortunately, I was known to listen to the radio during classes…what a renegade I was back then!]

If you, too, used those hard plastic earpieces, I doubt you’d have ever described them as “comfortable.” I never found them even remotely so. Those earpieces were functional, but the audio they produced was tinny and it was always difficult to keep them in my ear.

Think of the CC Buds Solo as the earpiece we all wish we could have had back then!

The Solo includes numerous earpiece options, a carry bag and owner’s manual.

Here are some of the CC Buds Solo pros:

  • The audio quality is superb for spoken word
  • The earpiece is very comfortable (see notes below)
  • The audio plug allows for mono listening on stereo devices (obviously a must in 2019)
  • Features a super-strong Kevlar-reinforced cord
  • Includes a clothing clip that acts as strain relief
  • Ships with a small, soft carry bag

So does the Solo deliver what it promises? Yes, it does.

What I really love is the number of soft silicon and foam earpieces that ship with the Solo: a total of seven options, when including the default earpiece.

If you’ve ever used in-ear earbuds, you’ll understand the importance of swapping out the soft earpieces to a size that best suits your ears––that is, to a size that makes for a comfortable seal.

The Solo might also be useful if your hearing is a bit better in one ear than the other.

Unlike single earpieces of old, it’s actually a pleasure to use the CC Buds Solo earpiece.

Before using the Solo, I would often wear only the right earpiece of my stereo earbuds when I needed to be able to hear the environment around me. This obviously isn’t ideal because the left earpiece would dangle, catch on my shirt or otherwise get in the way, and often lead to jerking out the right earpiece. Not to mention, it led to an awkward muffling (or altogether missing) of some of the sound in that other dangling earbud when stereo sound is split or processed differently for each ear. Clearly, not the best way to listen.

Note the adjustable clothing clip.

Now, when I’m driving, working, or walking, I can use the Solo clipped it to my shirt; it’s a more simple and annoyance-proof solution that allows for greater mobility and permits me to hear all of the intended sound.

I’ve only used the Solo for spoken word; primarily AM/SW broadcast band listening and for listening to podcasts.

These days, while I’ve been at work on a home renovation, podcasts have become an essential part of my day by helping me pass the time while painting, sanding, cleaning, mowing, doing yard work, or carrying out other tedious tasks. A good podcast definitely keeps it fun. The Solo makes podcast listening easy.

And of course, the Solo is also a great solution for listening to audio books, too.

I’ll admit, when I first saw the product announcement for the CC Buds Solo, I was curious if there’d still be a market for a mono earpiece. I suppose I proved it, myself, as I have found it quite useful when I don’t need the total isolation or stereo sound from two in-ear earbuds.

Well played, C.Crane!

Click here to check out the CC Buds Solo Single Earbud at C.Crane.

Win a CC Buds Solo!

C.Crane kindly sent me two samples of the CC Buds Solo at no cost to me. I’ve used one for evaluation purposes and C.Crane is kindly allowing me to give the other away to a lucky SWLing Post reader.

Here’s how you can enter our Solo giveaway!

As I mentioned, I consume a lot of podcasts these days. Here are just a few you might want to check out:

What are your favorite podcasts or radio shows?

Please leave a comment with some of your favorite podcasts or radio shows for a chance to win! Next Tuesday (July 30, 2019) I’ll pick a winner at random from the comments section and ship them a brand new CC Buds Solo single earpiece courtesy of C.Crane!

Click here to leave your comment!

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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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SDRuno Version 1.3 now has Frequency Scanning feature

Many thanks to Jon Hudson with SDRplay who shares the following announcement:

SDRplay is pleased to announce the release of SDRuno v1.3. This is a major upgrade to SDRuno, which adds a number of important new features and is intended for all RSP models including the now discontinued RSP1.

Major new features include:

Frequency Scanning (for both frequency ranges and stored memory panel lists)
I/Q ? Audio Output (for CW Skimmer for example)
A new configurable IF AGC scheme

For a full list of additions/changes and bug fixes, please see the release notes at: https://www.sdrplay.com/docs/SDRplay_SDRuno_Release_Notes.pdf

This release of SDRuno uses a new version of the Windows Service based API (3.02) and so users that also used other applications such as dump1090 and HDSDR with the previous version of the Windows Service based API (3.01) will need to download and install the latest versions of API, dump1090 and the ExtIO plugin from our website at https://www.sdrplay.com/downloads

We have produced two new video guides which describe the use of the Frequency Scanner and I/Q Output functions. Links to these videos along with many others can be found by going to the SDRplay Applications and support catalogue on https://www.sdrplay.com/apps-catalogue/  , and on our Youtube Channel on https://www.youtube.com/c/SDRplayRSP

However, the two new videos can be viewed directly by going to:

https://youtu.be/ndMWIK1JLbQ (New Features in SDRuno 1.3 – Scanning and AGC)

https://youtu.be/w_pH56aOdE0   (SDRuno IQ output and CW Skimmer guide)

The ExtIO version of SDRuno can still be downloaded from our downloads page and is included in the SDRuno 1.22 release. Make sure to install it in a different directory to 1.3 otherwise it will stop 1.3 from working.

For any questions  or help regarding this new release, please contact SDRplay support via our dedicated support system at: https://www.sdrplay.com/support
For any other suggestions, please email feedback@sdrplay.com

Finally, we recommend that all users join our community forum where there is a wealth of knowledge and help available for using our products and software in a wide range of applications and circumstances. This forum can be found at: https://www.sdrplay.com/community

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