Category Archives: Shortwave Radio

What’s in the shack here at SWLing Post HQ

The Mission RGO One transceiver is one model being evaluated for a review in The Spectrum Monitor.

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

Thomas, I’m curious what radios you have in the shack now. I see lots of posts about various radios, but I wonder what’s in your personal collection and what’s being evaluated. You know what they say…”inquiring minds” and all that! If you don’t mind I for one would love to see even a basic list of your rigs.

Thanks for your question, Pete. Your’re right–I don’t really have an inventory listed here on the SWLing Post. In truth, my radio collection is pretty dynamic–radios come in and go out a lot due to testing, evaluations and reviews.

Here’s what’s in the shack at present. I’ll start with ones currently in my personal collection:

Transceivers

Icom IC-756 Pro Transceiver Dial

Receivers

Currently under evaluation

Vintage Valve/Tube Gear

Portable Radios

There are too many to list! (Ha ha!) In general, I keep any portable radio I believe represents the best in its price class. I rotate using and travelling with each radio as best I can, but honestly keep them in the shack for any new reviews as I’m always in need of comparison radios.   Here are some of the portables I believe I reach for most often (in no particular order):

  • Tecsun S-8800
  • Tecsun PL-880
  • Tecsun PL-660/PL-680
  • Tecsun PL-310ET
  • C.Crane CC Skywave
  • C.Crane CC Skywave SSB
  • Eton E1
  • Panasonic RF-2200
  • GE 7-2990

I also have a number of Handie Talkies, vintage solid-state portables, mobile radios and kit/homebrew radios and accessories like many radio enthusiasts.

This may seem like a lot of radios, but I have friends with collections that outnumber mine by orders of magnitude. In truth, if I didn’t evaluate and review radios, I’d have a much, much smaller collection because there’d be no need to keep reference radios on hand. I rely on comp models, however, to accurately gauge a radios performance when matched against a similar or “benchmark” model.

Thanks for your question, Pete.

So back to you!  Readers, please comment with what you have in your shack. “Inquiring minds” want to know! 🙂


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Photos of the Tecsun PL-990

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, George Joachim, who shares the following photo of his recently acquired Tecsun PL-990. George also shared the following comment:

I have just received my PL 990 from Ali Express. Suitably impressed everything works as advertised and yes it is the newer (TIME TIMER A TIMER B) version. The serial number shows a production of July 2020. Comes in the usual box with all accessories as the PL -880. They even include a Micro SD card with prerecorded songs. Well done again Tecsun!!!

Photos


Thank you, George. You’re obviously not only a fan of shortwave and rails, but also the Queen of the Skies!

A quick update about my Tecsun PL-990 review

Hopefully in the next week or two, I will be receiving a pre-production export version of the PL-990 that will eventually be sold by Anon-Co. I should have received a model a couple weeks ago, but they discovered a last-minute issue they had to address in the firmware. Once this is sorted, I will receive a pre-production model to carefully test. I’m guessing the model I’m testing will have some slight differences with that of George’s above only because it’s my understanding Tecsun hasn’t made a production run of the variant Anon-Co plans to sell yet.  Cosmetically, I’m sure they’re near-identical. I’ll certainly post an update when I receive the test model. Thanks for your patience!

 

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LRA36 Radio Nacional Arcangel San Gabriel 24 hour marathon non-stop broadcast

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Adrian Korol, of RAE who informs me that LRA36 Radio Nacional Arcangel San Gabriel in Antarctica will broadcast 24 hours non-stop starting at 17:00 UTC on Saturday, The frequency will be 15476 kHz in upper sideband mode.

Reception reports can be sent to: tranalra36@radionacional.gov.ar

A special eQSL will be issued for this broadcast.

Thanks for the tip, Adrian!

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The New RX-888 16 bit ADC Direct Sampling SDR with 32 MHz bandwidth

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, H. Garcia (PU3HAG), who writes:

While doing the daily eBay and AliExpress strolling for new and cool radio stuff, this showed up:

RX888 ADC SDR Receiver radio1.8GHz 16bit direct sampling HF UHF VHF HDSDR

Like the DragonFly RX-666 you posted about recently, it’s based on IK1XPV Oscar’s BBRF103 works. Both share a hefty metal case.

I really like this seller of RX888 on eBay. The person provided quite a bit of technical details. The seller is also up-front about the current challenges regarding thermal issues, software stability and bandwidth available above 32MHz.

(How many manufacturers let you know in advance the negatives? I like this guy!).

The bandwidth limit above 32MHz is a curious one. Apparently, coverage above VHF and UHF coverage relies on Rafael Micro’s R820T2 tuner chip (also used on RTL dongles and AirSpy R2 and AirSpy Mini). However, R820T2 can only push a slice of 8 to 10MHz of the spectrum into RX888’s ADC. So, FM broadcast DXers, be warned. You may need to use a downconverter that brings the 88-108MHz to 8-28MHz. Perseus SDR uses this approach.

Another interesting tidbit. As we know, TaoBao is a huge marketplace, but their sellers focus exclusively on the China market (very few also deliver to South East Asia). There are LOTS of cool, never-seen-before products on TaoBao that don’t have visibility to us here in the Western hemisphere. The RX888 was one of them, I recalled seeing it about a month ago and thinking “Hey, this is so cool, why are they not selling it on AliExpress yet?”

Thank you so much for the tip! I agree with you: it’s refreshing to read not only a thorough eBay description but also frank comments from the seller.

I must admit, the receiver world is going through a dynamic change and its champion is the SDR. It’s hard to keep up with the innovations and technology is pushing limits I could not have imagined even a decade ago.

I’m looking forward to checking out these super wideband SDRs like the RX-666, RX-888, and the ELAD FDM-S3.

Click here to check out the RX-888 on eBay (partner link supports the SWLing Post)


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Radio Northern Europe International August 2020 broadcasts

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Roseanna, with Radio Northern Europe International who shares the following announcement:


Hello all,

Just writing to announce RNEI #7 & TIAEMS August 2020 starts on Sunday the second of August 2020!

Our show is packed with some great pop and dance music from Northern Europe including quite a few Icelandic and Norwegian songs this month and a very interesting song from the UK too!
There is a little less traditional music than is average this show which I’ll make up for next month, but hopefully you’ll enjoy what is in this month’s show!

Our digital this time is PSK500R at the end of the show and TIAEMS is MFSK 64.

The Stereo Decoder has been updated so we recommend you download the latest one, it sounds much less artefact-y!

Demo here:

http://homepages.ihug.com.au/~daz2002/tech/CombStereo/

Our broadcast times are on the table below:

We hope you tune in and enjoy this months show, wishing you all the best,
Until next month,
Ha det!


Thank you, Roseanna, and apologies for not getting this posted before your Aug 2 broadcast! Ha det!

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Kostas’ Yaesu FRG-7 adjustment that improves opposite sideband rejection

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kostas (SV3ORA), who shares the following video and writes:

In this 7.8Mb video (attached) is my solution for “converting” the Yaesu FRG-7 for single signal reception on SSB:

Not a mod actually, no additional filters, no soldering of any kind. Just tune the BFO on USB and on LSB a bit far away from the 455KHz ceramic filter (using the transformer for LSB and the capacitor for USB, as the manual states). As the video shows, this provides the near to
carrier selectivity to cut off the unwanted sideband.

The price you pay is more high frequencies (but in the wanted sideband) and a bit attenuated low frequencies as the filter is effectively shifted to higher frequencies. Very high frequencies cut-off is helped by the tone control of the receiver to some point.

This is a cost-free mod and requiring even no soldering skills, neither any mod to the receiver. Now as you tune the bands in SSB and CW, you do not hear the same signal twice. On AM mode nothing changes, since the BFO is switched off in this mode.

Many thanks for sharing this, Kostas! This seems like a simple adjustment for one of my all-time favorite receivers!

Post readers: Check out Kostas’ website for more modifications, ideas and radio projects.

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Radio Waves: Research on Gen Z Listenership, Early Women in Radio, Carlos Latuff Interview, and “Your Next Tech Purchase Should Be a Radio”

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 Jeb, Dennis Dura, and Dan Van Hoy for the following tips:


Edison Research: 55% Of Gen Z Listen to AM/FM Radio Every Day But… (Radio Insight)

n their latest Share Of Ear study, Edison Research notes that over 55% of 13-24 year-olds listen to AM/FM radio daily.

However the study notes that these Gen Z listeners spend 50% less of their total share of time listening to AM/FM radio than the average 13+ population meaning they spend less time with radio than older generations. They also mostly listen to AM/FM in the car with 50% of their listening coming in vehicles. The study also notes that these 13-24 year-olds use a radio receiver 50% less than the average 13+ population, and they use their phones for listening 75% more than the average 13+ population with 58% more of their total share of time listening to streaming audio than the average 13+ population. Their share of YouTube listening, which is surveyed only for music and music videos, is 98% higher than the average 13+ population.

The study also notes that 89% of their listening to AM/FM is done through a traditional radio and only eleven percent coming from streaming of broadcast brands.[]

The Women Who Overcame Radio’s Earliest Glass Ceilings (Radio World)

Before the dawn of broadcasting, women were frequently hired as wireless operators, and so it was not a surprise that women’s voices were heard as announcers and program hosts in the early days of broadcast radio.

Sybil Herrold was perhaps the world’s first disc jockey; she played Victrola records on her husband Charles Herrold’s experimental station, which broadcast in San Jose from 1912 to 1917.

In Boston, Eunice Randall’s voice was heard on a variety of programs over AMRAD station 1XE (which became WGI in 1922). In New York City, WOR audiences regularly heard Jesse Koewing, who was identified on the air only as “J.E.K.” while Betty Lutz was the popular “hostess” heard on WEAF.

At WAHG (now WCBS), 16-year-old Nancy Clancy was billed as the country’s youngest announcer.[]

Coffee and Radio Listen – Episode 2 Carlos Latuff (Coffee and Listen)

Carlos Henrique Latuff de Sousa or simply “Carlos Latuff”, for friends, (born in Rio de Janeiro, November 30, 1968) is a famous Brazilian cartoonist and political activist. Latuff began his career as an illustrator in 1989 at a small advertising agency in downtown Rio de Janeiro. He became a cartoonist after publishing his first cartoon in a newsletter of the Stevadores Union in 1990 and continues to work for the trade union press to this day.

With the advent of the Internet, Latuff began his artistic activism, producing copyleft designs for the Zapatista movement. After a trip to the occupied territories of the West Bank in 1999, he became a sympathizer for the Palestinian cause in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and devoted much of his work to it. He became an anti-Zionist during this trip and today helps spread anti-Zionist ideals.

His page of Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/carloslatuff/) currently has more than 50 thousand followers, where of course, you can see his work as a cartoonist and also shows his passion on the radio.[]

Your Next Tech Purchase Should Be a Radio (PC Mag)

As the pandemic drags on, it’s time to return to a slower, older technology, one that frees you from the unending sameness served up by algorithms.

Quarantine has slowed everything down so much that it almost feels like we’re going back in time. The first few weeks were measured in sourdough starter, then in seeds sprouting from patches planted in backyards or squeezed into space on windowsills. Things are quieter now, but maybe too quiet.

Commutes used to be accompanied by music and podcasts piped in through earphones or car speakers. This casual sensory stimulation seems disposable, but it’s one of many small pleasures that have slipped away nearly—but not quite—unnoticed.

That’s why it’s time to return to a slower, older technology that can provide auditory companionship and match the new pace of your days: the radio.

Radios, more affordable and portable than TVs, used to be household staples and a more intimate part of people’s days—a companion in the bath or during a solitary drive or walk. Now they’re mostly found in go bags and as vehicle infotainment center afterthoughts.[]


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