Category Archives: Shortwave Radio

Short Waves / Short Poems first episode

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, T. D. Walker, who shares the following announcement:

Short Waves / Short Poems is a 15 minute program that features poets reading their work. Attention to a poem parallels in many ways attention to a shortwave radio broadcast–both require a deliberate searching for and listening to the medium. I also wanted to explore what it means to put an art that is undergoing a resurgence on a medium that seems to be diminishing in its reach. And above all that, I wanted to bring good poetry to shortwave listeners.

Our first episode will air Saturday 14 December at 2am UTC on 5130kHz, and it will feature work by poets Deborah L. Davitt, Amy Lowell, and A.J. Odasso, all of which use storms as a way to examine the workings of love, loss, and contemplation. We’re planning on running weekly for four weeks, with different poets each episode.

More information about the show is at our website: www.shortwavesshortpoems.com. I’ve included an introductory clip on our About page.

We’re happy to receive reception reports, and QSL cards are available. You can reach us via email at qsl@shortwavesshortpoems.com or via postal mail at Short Waves / Short Poems, PO Box 515622, Dallas, TX 75251, USA.

And a bit about me: I’m the author of Small Waiting Objects (CW Books, 2019), and my poems and science fiction stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, The Future Fire, Web Conjunctions, The Cascadia Subduction ZoneAbyss & ApexKaleidotropeand elsewhere. As a longtime radio enthusiast, I’m delighted to be able to combine my aim to bring poetry to a wider audience with my interest in shortwave radio.

Readers, please note that 2:00 AM UTC on Saturday is 9:00 PM EST/ 6:00 PM PST today (Friday).

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Cambridge Consultants design a prototype $10 DRM receiver

DRM broadcast (left) as seen via a KiwiSDR spectrum display.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Michael Bird, who shares the following news via Cambridge Consultants:

Digital launched, ever so long ago, with TV and radio. So what’s the big story? It’s that the last piece of the digital jigsaw is finally in place: a system called Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), designed to deliver FM-radio-like quality using the medium wave and short wave bands.

We’re familiar with AM on medium wave and accustomed to the horrible buzz, splat, fade away and back again. But it does have a great advantage in that it will reach for hundreds of miles from a single transmitter. That’s a lot easier than FM or DAB, which both need transmitters every 30 or 40 miles. No fewer than 443 DAB transmitter sites are needed to cover the UK alone.

So take a modern digital scheme, apply some clever (and low cost) computing power, and you can get good sound for hundreds of miles. You get to choose radio stations by name instead of kilohertz, and you can even receive text and pictures. Emergency warning and information features are also built into DRM.

Great technology. But will it fly? Is it available for everyone?

The new news is that India, through its national broadcaster All India Radio, has invested in and rolled out a national DRM service, live today. Just 35 transmitters cover that large country. New cars in India have DRM radios in them now. Other countries like South Africa, Malaysia and Brazil are likely to follow India’s lead.

But something’s missing. The radios that can receive DRM are still prohibitively expensive, especially for those markets that would benefit most. So vast swathes of the world remain unconnected to the services that DRM can provide. Where’s the cheap portable that you can pick up from a supermarket to listen to the news or sport?

Cambridge Consultants has just held its annual Innovation Day, where we throw open our doors to industry leaders and reveal future technology. One of our highlights was the prototype of a DRM design that will cost ten dollars or less to produce, addressing that vital need for information by the 60-ish per cent of our global population that doesn’t have internet or TV. It’s low power, so can run from solar or wind-up.

This design will be ready in 2020, available for any radio manufacturer to licence and incorporate into its own products. We’re doing our bit to make affordable radios for every corner of the globe!

Click here to read this post at the Cambridge Consultants website.

Michael also shares this piece from Radio World regarding this project.

I must admit: there have been so many proposed low-cost DRM receiver designs that never came to fruition, it’s easy to be skeptical. I assume the $10/9 Euro design will be for the receiver chip only–not the full portable radio, of course. They plan to bring this to fruition in 2020, so we’ll soon know if they succeed.

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RRI: Tiganesti shortwave transmitter back on the air

Photo: Radio Romania International

(Source: Radio Romania International)

Broadcasting of RRI short wave programs is back on track – Dear friends, the short wave transmitter in ?ig?ne?ti, BD 300-1 near Bucharest is up and running. It has been out of order for several months and it’s now broadcasting RRI’s programs again. The transmitter has been repaired by RADIOCOM. We are looking forward to receiving your feedback related to the quality of reception. Thank you!

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The Sony ICF-7600A continues to impress

I mentioned in a previous post that SWLing Post contributor, Ed Earps, recently gifted me his Sony ICF-7600A.

I’ve been having a field day with this radio!

Well, many field days, in fact. Early on, I packed the ‘7600A in my Red Oxx Hound EDC pack–it fits in the Hound’s interior pocket perfectly and is well-protected on all sides. The radio has pretty much lived in my car and truck since then, thus has gotten a lot of air time when I take short breaks throughout the day.

In November, I took the ‘7600A to Mount Mitchell (6,684 feet/2,037 meters above sea level) and to coastal South Carolina (sea level). It’s been a great radio companion and has given me an excuse to go “old school” and do a little analog band-scanning.

The ICF-7600A certainly has some strengths.

For one thing, although I’ve let this radio on for extended listening sessions, I’ve yet to deplete the eneloop rechargeable batteries (Amazon affiliate link) I originally installed in October. Obviously, this radio will run for days on batteries–a serious plus if DXing off-grid.

The ‘7600A is a fantastic portable for mediumwave DXing. Although it’s also a very sensitive and selective shortwave receiver–especially in this class and era of analog portable–I think mediumwave may be its strong suit.

On the negative side, some of the shortwave band selections are truncated and for some reason, it doesn’t have a back stand (quite an odd omission). Still, these are pretty minor cons.

Obviously, the pros outweigh the cons on this brilliant vintage portable that seems to have held up very well over the years.

To ensure its longevity–and as a precaution–I do think I’ll take it to Dr. Vlado to have all of the caps replaced soon.

My thoughts? If you ever stumble across an ICF-7600A at a hamfest or on eBay, I say grab it!

Post readers: Anyone else love the ICF-7600A? Did I miss any major pros or cons? Please comment!


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Ongoing DRM tests in Hungary: Could DRM be decoded via a KiwiSDR–?

Budapest, Hungary (Photo by @DNovac)

Several readers have written recently asking about the DRM tests we mentioned in a previous post. These tests are being sponsored by the Budapest University of Technology from June 1, 2019 to May 31, 2020–thus, they’ve been on the air for several months already. 

The programming, which was produced by Radio Maria, is being played in a loop–repeated over and over again. The signal is a modest 100 watts and is being transmitted via a 5/8 wavelength vertical on 26,060 kHz.

This is a low-power DRM broadcast using a very modest antenna, so I suppose it goes without saying that expectations should be in check. It’s a very long-shot for those of us living outside of Europe, of course. With that said, there are a number of KiwiSDR sites nearby Budapest:

You could certainly see the distinctive DRM signal on a KiwiSDR waterfall display, but I’m not sure how you’d decode it.

KiwiSDRs do have an IQ mode, however. I am very curious if anyone has ever used a KiwiSDR to decode DRM, perhaps, using Dream? Could the KiwiSDR IQ be fed into DREAM with a virtual audio cable?

Please comment–have you ever decoded DRM via a KiwiSDR site?


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WRTH 2020 now available for order

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Thomas Ally, who writes:

The new World Radio TV Handbook is on Amazon.

Click here to view on Amazon (affiliate link).

Or the WRTH shop: http://www.wrth.com/_shop/

Thanks for the heads-up, Thomas. Also, I see that both Universal Radio and the Book Depository has posted the new addition on their websites.

I can’t wait to check out WRTH 2020!

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Video: Tube radio transmitter designs from the 1920s

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans (W4/VP9KF), who shares the following article from Hackaday:

The origin of the term “breadboard” comes from an amusing past when wooden bread boards were swiped from kitchens and used as a canvas for radio hobbyists to roll homemade capacitors, inductors, and switches. At a period when commercial electronic components were limited, anything within reach was fair game.

[Andy Flowers], call sign K0SM, recently recreated some early transmitters using the same resources and techniques from the 1920s for the Bruce Kelley 1929 QSO Party. The style of the transmitters are based on [Ralph Hartley]’s oscillator circuit built for Bell Telephone in 1915. Most of the components he uses are from the time period, and one of the tubes he uses is even one of four tubes from the first Transatlantic contact in 1923.[…]

Click here to continue reading at Hackaday.

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