Category Archives: Videos

Updates: Return of the lab599 Discovery TX-500, QRPer.com, and YouTube

Last year, I was lucky enough to obtain a lab599 Discovery TX-500 QRP transceiver to review for The Spectrum Monitor and the SWLing Post.

I could only keep the TX-500 for a one week evaluation period because it was one of only two or three pre-production units in the US–one was being evaluated for FCC approval.

Often, when a reviewer is sent a loaner unit, if we really like it we can purchase it from the manufacturer for roughly market price. The TX-500 was so rare, though, this simply wasn’t an option. Had it been, I would have purchased it. I liked the radio that much.

 

This week, I took delivery of a new TX-500 sent directly to me by the manufacturer in Russia. (You’d better believe I’m not sending this one back! I’ve already given it a name!)

If you’re interested in why I like the TX-500, check out my in-depth review here on the Post.

I will say this: if you’re a ham radio operator that likes SWLing, the TX-500 is a very capable broadcast receiver. Since I took delivery, I’ve had some pretty long listening sessions with the TX-500 on mediumwave and shortwave. The AM filter width is adjustable and can be quite wide if you want full fidelity. You must use an external speaker or headphones with the TX-500: this portable transceiver is sealed so that it’s weatherproof. The supplied speaker/mic works in a pinch, but I much prefer headphones or one of my amplified speakers.

QRPer.com: the other blog

I realize that many readers here on the SWLing Post aren’t aware that I actually have another blog dedicated to ham radio in the field: QRPer.com.

QRPer and the SWLing Post were actually born around the same time in 2008, but over the years I put much more effort and energy in the SWLing Post as I felt there needed to be better resources, articles, and information out there about radio listening. The SWLing Post has grown to a community of 8,000-9,000 daily readers and I couldn’t be more proud. There are days it really feels like a big, international family of kindred spirits. I’ve learned so much from this community.

QRPer is devoted to low-power amateur radio operation in the field. It has a completely different feel than the SWLing Post as most articles are field reports from my Summits On The Air (SOTA) and Parks On The Air (POTA) activations. I post at least one field report each week and typically test a different pairing of a transceiver and antenna. Many of my activations these days are using CW (Morse Code). After completing my first CW activation last year, I truly fell in love with this earliest of radio modes.

Click here to read my latest SOTA/POTA field report on QRPer.com.

I get that there are many here at the Post that don’t really care for ham radio or QRP operation and that’s perfectly fine. I mention QRPer because I’ve been getting notes from readers who are just realizing that there’s a common connection between the SWLing Post and QRPer: me!

I’m horrible at cross-promoting my work, so there you go.

Not a YouTuber, but I have a YouTube channel

While I’m at it: last year, I also started making real-time, real-life, unedited YouTube videos of many of my QRP field activations.  I made some of the first ones at the request of readers who wanted to know what it was like to actually perform field activations.

I’m a fellow who has very little free time and the thought of editing videos, frankly, makes me break out in a cold sweat. I simply don’t have the time. Plus, I don’t really have the personality of a successful YouTuber. I am what I am.

I posted my first unedited videos expecting negative comments. The total opposite happened.

While I never expect my YouTube channel to appeal to anyone beyond a very niche audience, I have gotten some very encouraging comments from subscribers who appreciate (virtually) sitting with me on the park bench or on a 3,000 meter summit and copying the CW and SSB contacts that roll in. I see these videos as supplements to my field reports on QRPer.com. In fact, if you want to see the Discovery TX-500 (mentioned above) in action, you’ll want to read my field reports on QRPer.com and watch the activation videos.

If you’re looking for a proper cure for insomnia, here’s a link to my YouTube channel. Consider subscribing if I haven’t scared you away already. 🙂 Indeed, as I publish this post, I see that I’m almost at the 3,000 subscriber mark. What?

Oh, speaking of YouTube and the TX-500, I made a video shortly after receiving it via DHL. I call it an “unboxing” video but really it’s an excuse to talk about why I’ve missed the TX-500.

By the way: I don’t monetize my YouTube channel, so there are a total of ZERO ads. I’m able to support my radio and blogging life via the backing of my amazing readers and sponsors. Thank you so very much!

Click here to check out the YouTube channel.


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Giuseppe is impressed with the performance of his homebrew passive loop antenna

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW), who shares the following:

Dear Thomas, I’m Giuseppe Morlè from central Italy, the Tyrrhenian Sea, Formia.

Today I tested my noise canceling loop inside the radio station by comparing it to the crossed loops. Again, like my medium wave T Ferrite, this loop proved to be very quiet, practically immune to house noise.

You can see my two videos about listening to the Voice of Turkey and a QSO on 40m. between radio amateurs–a test with two different powers, one high in AM and another much lower among radio amateurs.

Here are the videos from my YouTube channel:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Click here to view on YouTube.

A nice result knowing that we are receiving inside my radio station. The homebrew NCPL antenna you encouraged me to build is truly amazing.

Best wishes to you and the SWLing Post community.

73 by Giuseppe Morlè IZ0GZW.

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and these videos with us, Giuseppe. It is very encouraging that we have some antenna options that help us cope with all of the RFI generated within our homes! Thank you again!

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Typhoon Surigae: Carlos listens to Okinawa Prefectural Fisheries Radio Alerts

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Carlos Latuff, who writes:

Even with the latest communications technology available in the world today, radio remains indispensable.

Japan, a country known for its state-of-the-art technology, has a network of coastal radios to communicate with fishing vessels, transmitting in medium and shortwaves. In this audio I made, the Okinawa coastal station broadcasts weather reports and an alert for typhoon category 5 Surigae, which is currently heading south in Japan.

The signal was listened yesterday in Porto Alegre, Brazil, at 9 am (UTC).

You’ve a very good point, Carlos. Even though there are advanced satellite systems that help maritime traffic with weather, they still rely on real-time reports over the air when systems fail, and when cloud cover or stormy seas might interfere with sat comms.

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Video: This radio enthusiast has quite the collection of vintage radios

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tom Daly, who shares the following:

Thomas,

If you want to drool over some old SW radios take a look at this guys
incredible collection:

He’s going to be selling a bunch of them but unfortunately he’s in
Australia. Or maybe it’s fortunate that he’s in Australia because it’ll
prevent me from spending way too much money loading up on some of these
oldies.

Tom Daly

Ha ha! Yes, I’m happy he’s on the other side of the planet from me, but this is a great opportunity for our readers in Australia! That’s an amazing collection.

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Video: Nick compares the new Tecsun PL-368 with other portables

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nick Booras, who writes:

Hi Thomas

I posted a video of this radio compared to a couple other popular radios. Thought your viewers might be interested. This 368 is a significant improvement over the 360 and 365.

Thank you so much for sharing this, Nick! People who love the form factor of the PL-360 and PL-365, should appreciate the new Tecsun PL-368. Thank you again!

Click here to check out the Tecsun PL-368 on eBay (partner link supports the SWLing Post).

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“The Last Elephant Cage” is a fascinating NSA documentary about the monolithic FLR-9 antenna system

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrea Borgnino (IW0HK), who shares the following video–a 15 minute NSA documentary–about the FLR-9 “Elephant Cage” antenna in Anchorage, Alaska.

Click here to view on YouTube.

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