Category Archives: Shortwave Radio

More field time with the new Icom IC-705 general coverage QRP transceiver

I’ve been using the Icom IC-705 pretty heavily since I took delivery of it a couple weeks ago.

The more time I spend with this radio, the more I like it.

Serious functionality and features

I originally stated that I’d probably sell the IC-705 after my review/evaluation period because it simply doesn’t have the design characteristics I like in a field QRP radio.

I tend to prefer simple field radios with a basic high-contrast LCD or analog display, and a protective cover over the display. I’m not personally the biggest fan of pressure sensitive touch screens in field applications.

Earlier this week, I stopped by Lake Norman State Park for a quick Parks On The Air (POTA) activation.

I wrote a field report on QRPer.com noting the fact that the IC-705 is a superb SSB transceiver. It truly is. I included a video showing the IC-705 as I worked a few stations on the 40 meter band, and another video demonstrating SSB memory keying (politely overlook the fact I had the rig set to LSB on 20 meters in that video–!).

Listening in

When I finish a park activation, I often spend a little time on the broadcast bands tuning around and enjoying the low-RFI setting.

At Lake Norman, I decided to make a short video highlighting the wide receiving range of the IC-705. The video only highlights a few bands–the IC-705 can actually receive from 0.030–199.999 MHz and 400.000–470.000 MHz.

The EFT-MTR end-fed antenna I had connected to the IC-705 that day was not ideal for reception above 15 MHz, but as you’ll see, it was adequate for a little radio fun. I was using the Emtech ZM-2 external antenna tuner that day because my mAT-705’s battery died.  I highly recommend the ZM-2 for shortwave listeners and QRPers alike because it makes it so easy to tweak wire antennas for optimal matching and reception. In the video, however, I left the tuner in the last matched configuration. This isn’t exactly a pro video, but I hope you’ll enjoy it anyway:

The Icom IC-705: A keeper

This transceiver is so versatile, I don’t think I can let go of it. I really appreciate the IC-705’s frequency versatility and excellent performance. With this compact rig, I can do some proper SWL DXing and possibly even FM and MW DXing.

As simple as it is, the built-in digital recorder clinches the deal.

The IC-705 is a pricey piece of kit at $1300 US, but I suspect Icom will lower the price or start offering rebates once the supply/demand curves normalize. At present, retailers are struggling to keep up with customer demand and most purchases are on back-order.

Blind Audio Test results

I’ve just closed the surveys for our IC-705 blind audio tests. The response was overwhelming and the results?  Well, you’ll soon find out. I hope to present all of the findings in a post within the next few days.

Boomark this link to follow all of our IC-705 posts.


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Radio Waves: Free Download of Equinox E-book, Pop Shop Radio, Hamcation Postponed, and “Radio Ga Ga” Salutes Radio Pioneers

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 DM Barrett, Tracy Wood, Mike Terry, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


EQUINOX – Free Download (D.M. Barrett)

EQUINOX, DM Barrett’s best seller that blends science fiction with amateur radio and shortwave, can be downloaded FREE in eBook format from Amazon on the following dates:

Thursday, October 22, 2020;
Thursday, November 5, 2020;
Thursday, November 12, 2020;
Thursday, November 26, 2020; and,
Thursday, December 10, 2020.

N4ECW’s EQUINOX, as well as his other novels, can be obtained at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The audiobook versions are available at audible.com and iTunes.

Broadcasting from Hope, on shortwave radio (Hope Standard)

Tony Pavick combines love for music and radio in weekly show, Pop Shop Radio

While he may not be jumping up and down in a radio booth throwing records on turntables, Tony Pavick is once again pumping out radio in the form of a weekly hour-long show from his home in Hope.

It’s been 20 years since radio was broadcast from Hope – former radio personality and now fire chief Tom DeSorcy confirmed that CKGO, Hope’s AM radio station, closed its doors in 2000. And while Pavick isn’t starting a new radio station, he’s broadcasting for an hour each week from Hope to the world via shortwave radio.

Shortwave, a band in between the AM and FM band, Pavick explained, was utilized right up until the 1990s by countries wanting to spread their news, propaganda and cultural content. Living in the U.S., Pavick got his first taste of Canada while listening to Radio Canada International on a shortwave radio his parents bought him in the late 1960s.

Since the end of the Cold War, Pavick explains, countries have turned their radio equipment over to different groups. One of those is Channel 292 at the University of Twente, where he broadcasts at a rate of 15 Euro for an hour of radio time. Those without the ability to pick up shortwave can listen to Pavick’s show online at websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/?tune=6070am.

The show starts with radio static, followed by the sound of a pop being opened and poured. Then Pavick comes in with “from the town of Hope in super natural British Columbia, in Canada, I’m Tony and this is Pop Shop Radio.”

Pavick plays a wide range of pop music, for example his first show included a Czech language version of Heart of Glass recorded when Czechoslovakia was still a nation, and a 2006 Groovefinder remix of Nina Simone’s Ain’t Got No.

He draws inspiration from a time when you could hear, on a top 40 station, a line-up featuring Jefferson Airplane, followed by Johnny Cash and then the The Beatles. “There was a great variety of music played on the same station,” he said. “Popular music wasn’t just rock n’ roll, it was rock and pop and country and just a whole variety of things. So that’s where the idea for it being called the Pop Shop came about.”

Pavick doesn’t keep it a secret where he finds some of the more obscure plays. He uses music website 45cat.com, an extensive online music archive.[]

Orlando HamCation postponed (Southgate ARC)

As the world’s second largest hamfest, we pride ourselves on delivering a high-quality event to our attendees and would not want to put on a show that is anything less than what the ham radio community deserves.

After much deliberation, the difficult decision to postpone the 75th Orlando HamCation was made. It is with heavy hearts that we must make this decision. We had wished to see all of you next year in person, but the situation we face globally has made this challenging. Instead, HamCation will be moved to February 11-13th, 2022. We are looking to host some unique Webinars, a QSO Party and possibly Prize Drawings for 2021.

More information to come on our website soon.
For those who have already purchased tickets and spaces, we will be in contact with you shortly and will reach out to you directly. You will have the option to use your ticket for HamCation 2022, receive a refund or donate the funds to the Orlando Amateur Radio Club.

We thank all of you for your patience and understanding during these times and are excited to see you all again in 2022…

73, Michael Cauley, W4MCA
General Chairman
Orlando HamCation

For more details see: https://www.hamcation.com
http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-national-convention-and-orlando-hamcation-postponed-to-february-2022
Also, check the ARRL Letter for October 8th, 2020:
http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter?issue=2020-10-08

Radio Ga Ga: Aberdeen author creates new work to salute the pioneers of the airwaves (The Press and Journal)

Gordon Bathgate can barely recall a time when he wasn’t in thrall to the radio and marvelling at all the different sounds which came out of a magic box in his living room when he was growing up in the north-east of Scotland.

A lot of snap, crackle and pop music has come and gone since these early days, but he is still Radio Ga Ga about an invention which has shaped all our lives and is celebrating its centenary in 2020.

This follows the innovation and imagination of so many pioneering figures, including his compatriot James Clerk Maxwell, Heinrich Hertz and Guglielmo Marconi, whose name has become inextricably linked with the device.

In so many different ways, Mr Bathgate, who has written a new book, Radio Broadcasting: A History of the Airwaves, has devoted decades to boosting its profile in many guises.

He was a founding member of Grampian Hospital Radio at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary – a service which does invaluable work and particularly in the current Covid-induced social isolation.

He also presented shows for North East Community Radio at Kintore and presents music programmes as far afield as Peterhead, The Netherlands and the fabled Radio Caroline.

He has created a series of witty little films, imparting his love for the Doric language, including pastiches of Star Trek and Dallas.

But it’s his passion for radio which shines through the pages of his new production.[]


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Listener’s Day 2020 on Radio Romania International

Photo: Radio Romania International

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Iurescia (LW4DAF), who shares the following news from Radio Romania International:

Dear friends, on Sunday, November 1, 2020, on the Romanian Radio Day, we will also be celebrating Listener’s Day here on Radio Romania International.

2020 has been a special year for the entire world. Our lives have been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. The restrictive measures taken by the authorities and the existence of an invisible enemy have fundamentally affected our habits. Physical distancing, wearing protective masks, strict hygiene rules, online courses, work from home are now our daily routine.

Isolated in our homes during the periods of lockdown, unable to see our friends and relatives, to go to a restaurant or show or to travel abroad, we needed and still need real, verified information. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, fake news, disinformation, sensational news, unverified information, released deliberately or not, mainly through social media networks, have simply skyrocketed.

In this year’s edition of Listener’s Day on RRI we invite you to share with us what sources of information about the pandemic you use and how you manage to discriminate between real and fake news. Please, also tell us your opinion about the role of the public radio during a pandemic and about the role of international broadcasters in this period of extended social uncertainty.

We are looking forward to receiving your answers, which we will include in our special program ‘Listener’s Day’ to be aired on November 1, 2020. You can send your written or pre-recorded opinions by e-mail at engl.rri@gmail.com. You can also send your pre-recorded opinions via WhatsApp, using the number +40744312650. Thank you very much!

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LRA36 broadcast today: “Corazón Antártico”

LRA36 announcement

Many thanks to Esperanza San Gabriel who share the announcement above for a broadcast taking place today. Translated:

Wednesday, October 14, 2020 from 11:00-13:00 (14:00 UTC) on 15,476 kHz upper sideband.

I believe their time suggests a start time of 14:00 UTC, which would be three hours ahead of Argentina time. Even though that’ll be pretty early for an opening to North America, I will certainly tune in!

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Steve builds a DC30B QRP Transceiver

DC30B QRP Transceiver ProjectMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Steve (KZ4TN), who shared the following guest post originally on QRPer.com, but I’ve posted it here as well because I’m sure it’ll resonate with those of us who love building kits!:


DC30B QRP Transceiver Project

by Steve Allen, KZ4TN

I wanted to build a lightweight backpackable transceiver I could take hiking and camping. I chose the 30 meter band as it is specific to CW and the digital modes. I am also in the process of building Dave Benson’s (K1SWL) Phaser Digital Mode QRP Transceiver kit for the 30 meter band. Also, a 30 meter antenna is a bit smaller than one for 40 meters and the band is open most anytime of the day.

I sourced the DC30B transceiver kit, designed by Steve Weber KD1JV, from Pacific Antennas, http://www.qrpkits.com. It appears that they are now (10-11-20) only offering the kit for the 40 meter band. The following information can be used for the assembly of most any kit that lacks an enclosure.

Lately I have been finding extruded aluminum enclosures on Amazon.com and eBay.com. They come in many sizes and configurations. I like to use the versions with the split case which allows you to access the internal enclosure with the front and rear panels attached to the lower half of the enclosure. Most of these enclosures have a slot cut into the sides that allow a PCB to slide into the slots keeping it above the bottom of the enclosure without having to use standoffs. The one requirement for assembly is that the PCB needs to be attached to either the front or rear panel to hold it in place.

DC30B QRP Transceiver Project

As the enclosure is anodized, I didn’t want to rely on the enclosure for common ground. I used a piece of copper clad board that I cut to fit the slot width of the enclosure and attached it to the back panel. I was then able to mount the transceiver PCB to the copper clad board with standoffs. This basic platform of the enclosure with the copper clad PCB provides a good foundation for any number of projects. All you have to do is mount the wired PCB on the board, install the components on the front and rear panel, then wire it up.

DC30B QRP Transceiver Project

I wanted to have the choice of a few frequencies to operate on so I searched eBay for 30 meter crystals and found a source for 4 different popular frequencies. I installed a rotary switch on the front panel and added a small auxiliary PCB with two, 4 pin machined IC sockets. This allowed me to plug the crystals into the sockets. I wired the bottom of the socket PCB first using wire pairs stripped from computer ribbon cable leaving extra length. I marked the wires with dots to indicate which sockets each wire pair went to so I could solder them onto the rotary switch in the correct order. It was tight but I always work with optical magnification so I can see exactly what I’m doing. I have used this crystal switching method in the past with good success.

DC30B QRP Transceiver Project

DC30B QRP Transceiver ProjectThe rest of the assembly was straight forward. I find that most kits are well designed and documented, and if you take your time and follow the directions carefully all should go well. The two most common speed bumps seem to be soldering in the wrong component or bad soldering technique. I double check all component values and placements prior to soldering, and I always use optical magnification while working. I inspect each solder joint and look for good flow through in the plated through holes, and make sure there are no solder bridges.

DC30B QRP Transceiver Project

DC30B QRP Transceiver ProjectThe finished product. I bought a Dymo label maker and it works very well for projects like this. I love using these enclosures and they are a leap forward from the old folded aluminum clam shells I used in the past. I could stand on this without causing any damage. Power out is 1-3 watts depending on the DC power in. The receiver is sensitive and the ability to choose from four frequencies is a real plus.

73 de KZ4TN

Steve Allen
Elizabethton, TN


Gorgeous work there, Steve! Thank you for sharing!

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A Tecsun PL-330 features reference sheet

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor,  Jaap de Goede, who shares the following as an update to his Tecsun PL-330 review. Jack writes:

I discovered several features that are not displayed on the keyboard both on the Internet and by fiddling with the radio. Maybe these features are in the Chinese manual but I simply can’t read that language. What became clear is that the PL-330 resembles the PL-990x. But I couldn’t find if DNR and Muting Threshold are supported in the firmware I have (3302). Here is a table with the features and how to operate:

Click here to download as a PDF.

Many thanks for creating and sharing this excellent reference sheet, Jaap!

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How to install a mechanical SSB filter on the Yaesu FRG-7

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kostas (SV3ORA), for sharing the following guest post which originally appeared on his radio website:


How to install a mechanical SSB filter on the Yaesu FRG-7

by Kostas (SV3ORA)

The Yaesu FRG-7 is a general coverage MW/SW receiver that uses the Wadley Loop system for stabilizing the frequency tuning. The receiver has a good sound on AM mode, that reminds me the tube receivers sound. However, on sideband mode, it is pretty much useless. The IF ceramic filter that is used, does not have enough selectivity to reject the opposite sideband. No matter if the front panel mode selector switch states USB/CW and LSB, these just shift the BFO, nothing more. The receiver is a DSB set not SSB. A cheap way you can accomplish single signal sideband reception with the FRG-7 is described in this link. Whereas it works, it increases the audio bandwidth of the signals to the high pitch.

A better approach is to install an additional mechanical filter to the receiver. This of course requires expensive 455KHz mechanical filters, but if you have one in hand or if you are willing to pay for the improvement in performance, then this is the recommended option. But you can’t just desolder the ceramic filter of the receiver and solder a mechanical filter in place. On AM mode, you need wider bandwidth, but on SSB mode you need narrower. So both filters must be in place and a selection must be done in each mode. Thankfully, this modification is pretty easy on the FRG-7 and it does not require any modification of the external appearance of the radio.

The schematic of the FRG-7 is shown above. Everything with red color, are part of the modification. The modification is pretty straight forward. You have to desolder the original ceramic filter from the FRG-7 PCB and install it on a separate PCB along with the new 455KHz mechanical filter. To select between the two filters, a 9-12v DPDT relay can be used and it must be connected as shown in the schematic. The power for the relay coil is derived from one section of the mode switch (S3d). On USB or LSB modes, the BFO is energized and this power is also used to energize the relay, which in turn switches to the narrow mechanical filter on these modes.

A good place for the new PCB that accommodates the filters, is just below the main tuning dial of the receiver. There is a hole there and three screws, which can be used to also hold this PCB in place. I needed to replace these screws in mine with longer ones, because I used spacers to prevent the PCB from touching the chassis. But this is optional.

Two small pieces of coaxial cables are used to connect the new PCB to the pads of the ceramic filter, that has been now removed from the original PCB of the receiver. Ground these cables on both ends.

The power cables for the relay coil (shown with red and black in the picture above), are passed below the PCB to the chassis opening and through a hole to the bottom of the original PCB of the receiver. The ground wire is soldered to the filter ground point and the red wire is soldered to the mode selector switch S3d. S3d is the outer wafer onto the switch. Use a multimeter to find the contact of the switch that has VCC when the mode is switched to USB or LSB. This is the point where you want to connect the red wire.

After installing everything, you should perform an alignment of the TC404 and the T406 in the BFO section as described in the manual. This requires a frequency counter, but I did my alignment by simply adjusting the two controls by ear, until I got roughly the same pitch on LSB and SSB audio bandpass. These controls interact, so you have to do a bit of back and forth in both of them. It is very easy.

After installing the modification and aligning the receiver, the result is pretty obvious. No more DSB reception, SSB signals are received just once in the dial and their bandwidth is limited as it should on SSB. The mechanical filter I had, was a bit narrow (2.1KHz) so I can also hear a bit os “seashell” sound on SSB, but SSB voice signals are perfectly understood. It is interesting that the audio volume between the ceramic filter and the mechanical filter was just about the same, which indicates that there is no additional loss in the newly installed filter. Another interesting thing is that there was no need for any impedance matching using active devices or transformers on the mechanical filter. It worked just by directly connecting it. Neither it’s loss, not it’s response seems to be affected by any possible impedance mismatches.

Note that Collins produced both symmetrical and asymmetrical mechanical filters (yes they used two filters, one for USB and one for SSB in some of their gear). My filter is a symmetrical one (same roll-off response curve on both sides of the filter passband). If you use an asymmetrical filter, expect a bit different pitch when switching from LSB to USB and vice versa. Not a huge problem, but just a note.

By performing this simple modification, you will end up with an FRG-7 receiver that is trully selective, allowing for real SSB reception. Most importantly you do not ruin the appearance of your precious FRG-7, but just improving it’s performance. This modification would probably be appreciated much when deciding to sell your FRG-7 to someone else.


Thank you for sharing this practical and affordable project with us, Kostas!

Post Readers: Check out this project and numerous others on Kostas’ excellent website.

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