Category Archives: Shortwave Radio

Upgrade the encoder on your Xiegu G90 for about $8.00 US

Shortly after posting some of my initial impressions of the Xiegu G90, SWLing Post contributor, Guy Atkins, encouraged me to upgrade the stock G90 tuning knob/encoder with one that is highly recommended by the G90 community.

While I didn’t really have an issue with the stock plastic knob, I couldn’t resist a larger, slightly heavier aluminium encoder with a dimple.

The stock G90 encoder knob (before pic)

I’m so happy I splurged for this $8 upgrade. Not only is the encoder much easier to use now, but it also gives the G90 a proper face-lift:

The upgraded aluminium G90 encoder knob (after pic)

Thanks so much for the tip, Guy! I, too, highly recommend this affordable upgrade!

Get your upgraded encoder knob from:

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Tecsun PL-330: A quick update and an important note before you buy

We posted an update about the new Tecsun PL-330 in late April 2020. While we didn’t have a lot of details, it’s worth reading.

We still don’t have a lot of details (as of today, July 3, 2020) but readers have been contacting me and commenting recently with links to online retailers who are already selling the PL-330.

SWLing Post contributor, Babis, shared a link to retailer (Taoboa.com, see above), this website with more information, and a review on this page.

Before you buy

To be clear: I am not placing an order for the Tecun PL-330 yet.

Indeed, as I mentioned in a previous post, my trusted Tecsun contact informed me that all of the new portables–the PL-990, H-501, and PL-330–are first being released as a “domestic” or pilot version in China. The pilot version is not the final and fully-updated/upgraded international/export version.

I will make an announcement here on the SWLing Post when the international/export versions are available for purchase.

To be clear, I can’t comment on the performance of the domestic models, but I do understand that the export models will likely have better specifications and even updated front panels/functions.

I also understand that the PL-990 will likely be the first export model in terms of availability.

Stay tuned! I’ll post any/all updates here on the Post.


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Radio Algérie Internationale now broadcasting one hour via Issoudun transmitter

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who writes:

Just a quick note to let you know that Radio Algérie Internationale is now broadcasting for an hour on SW using an Issoudun transmitter. The multilingual (French, Arabic, English, and Spanish) broadcast is at 18:00 UTC, presumed daily, is on 13820 kHz. I heard it very well yesterday using the U.Twente SDR receiver but it might also be heard well in eastern North America.

Richard did include a small disclaimer that Issoudun seems to be using their faulty transmitter with a “squeaky” sound in the background. I’m sure many of you are familiar with this–fortunately, it’s not too distracting.

Thank you for the tip, Richard!

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13 Colonies Special Event this week for hams and SWLs

Although I’ve been rather busy the past few days, I have managed to fit in a little radio time.

On Wednesday, I spent part of the day doing the RAC (Radio Amateurs of Canada) Contest to celebrate Canada Day. My simple goal in mind was to work as many provinces as I could. Although I only made a total of 25 contacts, I managed to work the ten provinces along the Canada/US border (including Newfoundland and PEI).

During the RAC event I heard pileups for the 13 Colonies Event which is held each year in conjunction with the 4th of July weekend. I like this event because it’s accessible yet challenging.

Yesterday morning, I decided to start collecting colonies. By the end of the day, I made a “Clean Sweep” of all of the colonies and even worked one of the “bonus” stations (WM3PEN). Over the next couple of days, I’l try to snag the other bonus station, GB13COL.

As you can see by my log sheet, I had to employ three different modes to snag all of these in short order:

I’m not a contester by any stretch of the imagination, but I was able to snag these stations within 12 hours without sitting in front of the radio the whole day.  I simply checked the DX Cluster from time-to-time and pounced when the path was favorable. (All of my CW contacts were QRP, too.)

An SWL-friendly event!

What’s so great about the 13 Colonies Event is that they strongly encourage SWLs to participate! From the 13 Colonies website:

ATTENTION SWLs: All Short Wave listeners (SWL). You will also qualify for the certificate. Follow the instructions on the Certificates page when you submit your log. A special SWL logo will be affixed to the certificate for you. One or all 13 stations logged qualifies you. Just log ALL of the 13 Colony states and you can get a complete set of custom special event QSL cards also! All 13 are different. QSL requests to be made to each individual Colony State Station with an SASE. Consider becoming a HAM too! 🙂

Look at all the fun we are having! (NASWA members-watch for us in your monthly journal publication).

All you need to participate is a radio with a BFO or SSB mode. Even a portable radio can easily handle this as most event stations are easy to hear throughout North America.

If you live outside North America or you don’t have a radio with SSB capabilities, consider participating via a KiwiSDR site. There’s certainly nothing wrong with this as I heard a number of remote ham radio operators working stations yesterday.  If you choose to use the WebSDR/KiwiSDR route, I would personally stick with one geographic location for the entire event and declare the receiver location/url on your log sheet.

The event takes place July 1, 2020-1300 UTC to July 8, 2020-0400 UTC, so you still have plenty of time!.

Click here to read more at the 13 Colonies Event website and request a certificate.

Please comment if you plan to take part in the event or have in the past!

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Tracy discovers a modern replacement for RDP English

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tracy Wood (K7OU), who writes:

I found a modern replacement for RDP- English. Perhaps even better!

My Portuguese knowledge remains limited to two quarters of university courses; similar Spanish cognates help bridge the Luso-English comprehension gap. Could I find an English-language radio show that would help revive my interest in Portugal, Brazil, and other Portuguese-speaking countries? Yes!

First as a backgrounder, Rádio Difusão Portuguesa International Service in English suspended programs several decades ago. RDP next completely left the shortwaves. Today, RDP Internacional continues to provide its global Portuguese-speaking audience non-stop content from Lisbon. The station broadcasts via satellite and streams via the Internet. Listeners in North America can tune in using a three-foot dish on Galaxy 19 Ku (12152 MHz, s/r 20000).

Now the good news. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a wonderful English-language broadcast that more than fills the RDP-English void. The show even resides on my daily **must-listen** list.

The “Portuguese-American Hour”, sponsored by Fresno State University’s Portuguese Beyond Borders Institute (PBBI), is the one-hour broadcast targeting anyone who is interested in the Portuguese-speaking world. The top-level focus is on the daily life of the Portuguese who settled in California (mostly from the Azores) and the following generations’ struggles to retain their rich traditions. The show has segments on music, history, food, literature, culture, etc. The topics covered the clearly go beyond California and US borders.

The brains behind the show is PBBI’s Dr. Diniz Borges who made a career as a Portuguese language high-school and college professor. He brings a wealth of knowledge and a seemingly unlimited list of radio guests. (Dr. Borges also spent some earlier years on California Portuguese-language radio; he retains a superb on-air presence.)

The show is heard Monday-Friday at 1600-1700 Pacific US Time (2300Z-2359Z currently) on KGST AM 1600 in Fresno, California. The station streams at https://www.multicultural1600am.com/ .

For the radio-hobbyist, PBBI now is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Portuguese-language radio broadcasting in the US, apparently started in the summer of 1920 by the unlicensed “Radio Vasco da Gama” in central California. There have been several segments on this unique ethnic broadcasting story and more related interviews are coming. (Check the last few show archives.)

Portuguese American Hour Archives:
https://www.multicultural1600am.com/show/the-portuguese-american-hour/

PPBI’s website:
https://fresnostatecah.com/category/portuguese-beyond-borders-institute/

RDP Internacional’s website:
https://www.rtp.pt/play/direto/rdpinternacional

Thank you so much for sharing this Tracy! To give readers a taste of the Portuguese-American Hour, I’ve embedded their latest episode (the one I’m listening to as I publish this post) below:

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Radio Emma Toc World Service Schedule for July 2020

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jim Salmon, with Radio Emma Toc World Service, who shares their July 2020 schedule:


Happy listening! If you are outside the transmitter coverage areas, why not listen via the broadcasters’ online services. Website details for the above stations are listed on our own website here – www.emmatoc.org/worldserviceschedule

If you don’t have access to receivers & aerials you can try using an online SDR receiver – ve3sun.com/KiwiSDR – experience the enjoyment of tuning around shortwave from worldwide locations online.

We are also available to listen to online – visit www.emmatoc.com & click on the World Service link. You can also hear us as a podcast – available on Spotify & Podbean.

We are happy to issue eQSLs for reception reports sent to – emmatoc1922@gmail.com – & will gladly include for online reports. If using an online SDR, please give us the SDR location.

Finally if any stations wish to relay our programme a download link is available on our website. Please advise us of times & dates so we can publicise in our schedule.

Thank you!

Jim Salmon – Radio Emma Toc

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Radio Waves: Pack Thanks Interim Leaders, KE4ZXW Moves to Virginia Tech, WWV and WWVH Still Matter, and A New WebSDR in Iceland

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 Tony, Dan Robinson, Michael Bird for the following tips:


USAGM CEO Michael Pack thanks interim heads of agency’s five broadcasting networks (USAGM)

Today, U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) Chief Executive Officer Michael Pack thanked officials who will serve in an interim capacity as the heads of the agency’s two federal organizations and its three public service grantee broadcasting networks.

  • Elez Biberaj, who has led Voice of America (VOA)’s Eurasia Division since 2006, will serve as VOA’s Acting Director.
  • Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, previously Senior Advisor at Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), will serve as OCB’s Acting Director and Principal Deputy Director.
  • Parameswaran Ponnudurai, who has been Vice President of Programming at Radio Free Asia (RFA) since 2014, will serve as RFA’s Acting President.
  • Kelley Sullivan, who has been a Vice President at Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) since 2006, will serve as MBN’s Acting President.
  • Daisy Sindelar, who has been with RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty (RFE/RL) for nearly two decades, will serve as RFE/RL’s Acting President.

CEO Pack sent, in part, the following message to staff:

“The experience of these talented men and women, their knowledge of the networks, and their commitment to the standards of journalism will allow us to launch into the next exciting chapter of our agency. Dr. Biberaj, Mr. Shapiro, Mr. Ponnudurai, Ms. Sullivan, and Ms. Sindelar will serve critical roles in allowing our networks to become higher performing and to more effectively serve our audiences. For their willingness to step up and help lead this effort, I am deeply appreciative. I am excited to serve alongside them as well as with all of you.”

Virginia Air & Space Center Ends Relationship with Ham Radio (ARRL News)

Virginia Air & Space Center (VASC) Executive Director and CEO Robert Griesmer has advised that the Center’s amateur radio station exhibit will be discontinued, effective July 1, when the Center, in Hampton, Virginia, reopens. VASC is the official visitor center for NASA’s Langley, Virginia, facility. The KE4ZXW display station was shut down on March 13. It was to be out of the VASC by June 30. A main feature of the exhibit was the ability to communicate with amateur radio satellites and with the International Space Station.

Randy Grigg, WB4KZI, of the VASC Amateur Radio Group said the station’s equipment would be relocated. “Thanks to all who have supported KE4ZXW during the last 25 years, especially the volunteer operators who manned the station during that time,” Grigg said. “To the many visitors we have met and school groups that have stopped by and talked with us about ham radio, communications, satellites, and STEM Program related subjects, thank you!”

On June 30, it was announced that the Virginia Tech Amateur Radio Association (K4KDJ) in Blacksburg will be the new host for the KE4ZXW Amateur Radio Demonstration. — Thanks to Randy Grigg, WB4KZI, and Ed Gibbs, KW4GF[]

Why WWV and WWVH Still Matter (Radio World)

Last year was one of both celebration and uncertainty for WWV, the station adjacent to Fort Collins, Colo., that transmits automated time broadcasts on the shortwave bands.

On the plus side, it marked the 100th year of WWV’s call letters, making the site, operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the world’s oldest continually operating radio stations.

On the negative side, WWV and its sister time station WWVH in Hawaii nearly missed this centennial. That’s because NIST’s original 2019 budget called for shutting down the pair, along with WWVB, the longwave code station co-located next to WWV, as a cost-saving move.

Fortunately, these cuts never happened, and WWV, WWVH and WWVB seem likely to keep broadcasting the most accurate time from NIST’s atomic clocks, at least for the immediate future. (No further cuts have been threatened.)[]

Another Shortwave WebSDR operational in Iceland (Southgate ARC)

On June 27, a new KiwiSDR web software defined radio became operational in Iceland

A translation of the IRA post reads:

The new receiver is located in Bláfjöll at an altitude of 690 meters. It has for the first time used, a horizontal dipole for 80 and 40 meters.

The KiwiSDR receiver operates from 10 kHz up to 30 MHz. You can listen to AM, FM, SSB and CW transmissions and select a bandwidth suitable for each formulation. Up to eight users can be logged into the recipient at the same time.

Ari Þórólfur Jóhannesson TF1A was responsible for the installation of the device today, which is owned by Georg Kulp, TF3GZ.
Bláfjöll: http://blafjoll.utvarp.com/

The other two receivers that are active are located at Bjargtångar in Vesturbyggð, Iceland’s westernmost plains and the outermost point of Látrabjarg and at Raufarhöfn. Listen at:
Bjargtångar: http://bjarg.utvarp.com/
Raufarhöfn: http://raufarhofn.utvarp.com/

The IRA Board thanks Ara and Georg for their valuable contributions. This is an important addition for radio amateurs who are experimenting in these frequency bands, as well as listeners and anyone interested in the spread of radio waves.

Source IRA https://tinyurl.com/IcelandIRA

KiwiSDR Network
http://kiwisdr.com/public/


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