Category Archives: Shortwave Radio

XHDATA-608WB

XHDATA Weather Radio D-608WB

Review By Robert Gulley, K4PKM

This is my first experience with an XHDATA radio, and my initial impressions are quite positive. This weather radio has an impressive set of features and appears to be built quite solidly. I say “appears” because I have not done (nor intend to intentionally do) a drop test! But my sense of the radio is that it can withstand some knocking about while still functioning (but please do not test this theory! YMMV!).

Standard torch but with 3 brightness levels

Standard torch but with 3 brightness levels

From the manufacturer’s site, here is a listing of features:

Features & Specifications:

FM: 64-108 MHz / 76-108 MHz (Stereo at Earphone Out)
87-108 MHz / 87.5-108 MHz
MW:522-1620khZ (9K Steps) / 520-1710 KHz (10K Steps)
SW: 1711-29999 KHz (5K Steps)
ATS Scanning with Auto Save
NOAA Weather Band with Scanning Alert Mode
VF/VM Tuning Modes
Bluetooth Playback & Calling
Memories: 100 AM – 100 FM – 300 SW (Add Automatically or Manually)
Clock with Alarm & Sleep Timer
TF Card Playback (Supports Up To 32 Gb Card)/Prev/Next Track/Loop & Fast Scan Modes
Flashlight with 3 Brightness levels
Flip Up Lighting Panel with 3 Brightness Levels
Earphone Jack 16 – 32 ohms (Stereo)
SOS Alarm Button
Enhanced Audio with Ported Enclosure
Lock Mode
Battery: Li-ion 18650 3000 mAh (Charges via USB C Port, Crank, Solar Panel)
Low Battery/Charge Indicators
USB Output for charging Cell Phones
Reset Button
Dimensions: (Approx) 6” W x 3” H x 1 ¾” D

Solar Cells

Solar cells with a twist – the cells along with the LEDs can be rotated up and down

 

LED lights

Three brightness levels for these LED lights – a nice touch!

 

 

 

 

 

Let me start with the items that impressed me.

  1. Weight. This is not a typical light-weight radio. It feels solid, has some bulk to it, and I like the feel. It weighs in at 11.5 ounces, which is comparable to the two other solar powered weather radios I own, which come in at 12 and 12.25 ounces respectively.
  2. This radio has both a torch and an LED panel, each with 3 levels of brightness. While you will not light up a room with either, they are both quite sufficient for their intended purposes. The LED is particularly useful to light up the immediate area around the radio, and on it’s brightest level puts out a good amount of light. Being LEDs, the power drain is very reasonable.
  3. The radio is powered by multiple sources of course, as is typical with today’s weather radios, but a unique feature compared to my other radios is an articulating solar cell (and LED) panel. This allows you to follow the sun for quite a while as it rotates in the sky.
  4. The antenna, while not very long, is very solid and should last a long time if not subject to abuse (and looks to be easily replaceable if something does happen).
  5. The battery is easily accessible and replaceable with the now-common 18650 rechargeable battery. (As an aside, for those who, like me, prefer to charge batteries outside a radio when possible, there are charging units available from the usual sources if you want to minimize heat and charging wear-and-tear on your radios and flashlights.)
  6. The ATS function works quite fast on FM, finding 21 stations in my very rural area just off the built-in whip antenna
  7. Keypad layout is minimal and functional. For those wanting a direct-entry frequency keypad, this radio is not so equipped. However, running through the memory channels is easily done, without multiple menu hoops through which to jump.
  8. Tuning is both a blessing and a curse (see cons below for the negatives) – the tuning can be accomplished at two different speeds, allowing for a slow tune and a bigger jump depending on how fast you turn the tuning dial. This can be particularly useful with SW, but also when manually scanning the MW band or when finding tracks on a memory card.
  9. The crank can be extended as a stand at a few different angles. I am not sure if this was intended, but it works nicely!
  10. When in SW mode, the band is displayed as you tune (i.e. 41mb, 25 mb, etc.)
Crank can act as a stand

I am not sure if this was intended or not, but the crank can act as a stand

Less impressive (but see conclusions):

  1. Tuning can be slightly erratic, making bigger jumps at times than intended. This can happen in slow mode (one click of the tuning wheel at a time), or it can happen when the tuner switches between slow and fast mode and you didn’t think you were turning it fast enough for the switch. On the plus side, there is one arrow displayed when tuning in slow mode, and two arrows when in fast mode, so it is easy to see when it has switched modes.
  2. There are rubber strips glued into slots on the bottom of the radio to give it a little more resistance to sliding, but I feel it makes the radio slight more unstable – you may disagree since the effect is minimal.
  3. Soft muting when tuning – I know this is a biggie for many folks, so I mention it (again, see conclusions)
  4. No SSB (not that I expected it).
  5. Three NOAA stations come in for me which is typical, but I do have weather radios which can receive 4 well enough to copy, so not quite as sensitive. However, two or more is adequate to catch weather forecasts for your area in case your closest station is down for some reason
  6. ATS on SW and MW was not impressive – perhaps moving too quickly? Many stations come in with good audio, but the scan did not find them. Again, YMMV.
USB and Power Connections

On the side are the input and output USB connections, along with the TF card slot.

Conclusions

I find this to be a good radio for its intended purpose – a Weather Alert radio with solar, lights, and multiple charging power options for operating, and an option for charging small devices if needed. This is not, nor should it be compared to, stand-alone shortwave radios. This is a bonus, and it works well for AM shortwave stations. That it does not have SSB is not an issue for me – I have plenty of radio options to enjoy during a power outage which are capable of SSB upper and lower sidebands.

The soft muting will no doubt bother some, but again, this is is primarily a weather and emergency radio, not a radio designed for pleasurable shortwave listening. As for the audio itself, the speaker produces a good clean sound, and there is even a type of bass boost which helps the audio even more. AM, FM, and SW stations sound good, and I find the audio to be quite strong out of this compact unit.

A replaceable/removable battery is a real plus for me both in terms of charging and for popping in a fresh battery while charging a drained battery. I like having backups for my backups, so this is right down my alley.

The unit is a good size, compact but solid, and has all the useful controls easily reached/manipulated. The antenna is solid, the LED lights are a nice touch, and it is a radio I believe could be counted on when needed. (Oh, and it is reasonably priced as well!)

As always, these are my personal, honest opinions. While the XHDATA folks approached me for the review and sent a unit to me free of charge, I always call it as I see it, good or bad.  I happen to think this radio is a keeper!

Cheers! Robert Gulley (All photos by the Author)

Click here to check out the XHDATA D-608WB on Amazon.com
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I am the morning DJ on WORD

FastRadioBurst 23 letting you know of our Imaginary Stations transmissions this week. On Sunday 9th June 2024 at 0900/1300 hrs UTC on 6160 kHz and then at 2000 UTC on 6160 kHz and 3975 kHz we bring you a show called WORD to Europe via Shortwave Gold. Expects words and letters, books, (Radio Phonics) Laboratories, libraries, acronyms, verbs and even an interview with the up-and-coming Wordrock band “Abbreviations and Ampersands” if time allows and loads more.

Our second show is another edition of the wonderful Shortwave Music Library on Wednesday 12th June 2024 at 0200 UTC on 9395 kHz via WRMI. Expect all sorts of eclectic music selections of the finest quality from DJ Frederick.

Here’s more on WORD.

For more information on all our shows please email [email protected] and check out our Mixcloud page here.

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Adi spots two rare receivers on eBay. What are they?

FURUNO RH1-1 Radio Receiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Adi, who writes:

Hi Thomas, I was just browsing eBay when I decided to see what was “new” in the receivers section.

These popped up:

https://ebay.us/iRSC87 [eBay partner link]

RH1-1? [See photo above] Google doesn’t know much about it.

Pfitzner – Teletron type TE712B

https://ebay.us/RNQEy3 [eBay partner link]

The seller from Poland writes, “The receiver was produced specifically for reconnaissance purposes.” I wonder what was heard through its circuits…? ?

I guess a few readers can tell us more about them.

Regards,

Adi

Thanks for sharing, Adi. I’m not familiar with either of these receivers, but I’m sure some of the experts in our community can shed some light on them!

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From the Isle of Music – June 2024

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Tilford, who writes:

On June 8, 2024, we will feature music from the winning albums in the Fusión Alternativa (“No me formes crisis by Toques del Río) and Nueva Trova plus Notas Discográficas (“Universos” by Tony Ávila y Su Grupo) categories of Cubadisco 2024
Times & Frequencies are:

    • 1700-1800 UTC 9670 kHz with beam E-F towards South Asia
    • 1900-2000 UTC 3955 & 6070 kHz (omnidirectional for Europe and beyond)
    • 2300-2400 UTC 3955 kHz (omnidirectional for Europe and beyond)

All transmissions from Channel 292, Rohrbach, Germany

We will honor reception reports with an eQSL using websdrs IF
1. The entire hour is reported
2.. Which websdr is clearly specified.

This will be strictly enforced beginning this month; reports for just a few minutes of the show will be acknowledged with a short note of thanks instead.

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WWII Radio History: D-Day broadcasting and communications

Maj. Gen. Ralph Royce (second from right), 9th Air Force deputy commander, with engineers on the Normandy beachhead one day after D-Day. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kris Partridge, who writes:

With the imminent approach, Thursday, June 6, 2024, of the 80th anniversary of D-Day, followed by operation Overlord.

Being both a radio amateur and in the broadcast industry , I have done a little research and find the two items, below, relating to D-Day and post-D-Day communications and broadcasters.

One, from the BBC Archives for a UK ‘view-point’

and Two, from RadioWorld for the US angle

But remember it was nearly a year away to VE-Day, so more research to be done on the effort of broadcasters to “bring the story home”

Also, one amateur radio related note: A SES (Special Event Station) with the callsign GB8ODD: https://g5fz.co.uk/up-coming-special-event-stations-by-the-lswc/

Being a WWII history buff, I really appreciate the links. Thanks, Kris!

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24 heures du Mans: TM24H callsign and special event QSL!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Jamet, who shares the following announcement:

TM24H callsign is active on the occasion of The 24 heures du Mans

On the occasion of The 24 Heures du Mans Automobile, Radioamateurs from the Radio
Club de la Sarthe – F6KFI – will activate the call sign TM24H from June 02 to 16, 2024 inclusive.

Traffic will be on all bands (SSB, CW, RTTY, PSK, FT8, QO100) and VHF.

A special QSL card will confirm each contact.

QSL manager: F6KFI via office, as well as the possibility of a diploma.

See rules: http://aras72.r-e-f.org/

Send your comments to: [email protected]

See also: https://www.qrz.com/db/TM24H

Official website of The 24 Heures du Mans: https://www.24h-lemans.com/en

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