Category Archives: WiFi Radio

Reciva pushes out closing date to April 30, 2021

If you own a WiFi radio that relies on the Reciva aggregator, the company has given you an additional eleven weeks to enjoy your device before it effectively loses its ability to search an index of thousands of radio stations or possibly even recall your station memories. Indeed, if your radio relies on Reciva to gather stream info each time it’s turned on and tuned to a station, your radio may not function at all after Reciva has shut down.

We first posted a notice that Reciva would be closing down on November 2, 2020. That post received over 90 comments, mostly from readers who are incredibly frustrated.

Reciva has now changed the announcement at the top of their website stating that they will close on April 30, 2021.

In the meantime–and I suppose it goes without saying–do not buy a new or used WiFi radio that relies on Reciva as it will not function properly without the Reciva aggregator service. I’m sure there are a number for sale. Research the aggregator a WiFi radio uses before making a purchase.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Karl, for the tip!

Post readers: If you’ve found a Reciva work-around for your WiFi radio, please share details with us in the comments section.

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Grace Digital Internet Radios made between 2007 and 2017 “will stop working”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Zack S, who writes in response to our note yesterday about the demise of the Reciva Internet radio station aggregator:

I wrote to Grace Digital https://gracedigital.com/ today, 11/2/2020 asking about the Reciva shutdown and here is their reply;

“Your presets will work until the URLS for the streams become outdated. Not all radios will be turned off at the same time. The Mondo will be in the last group to be terminated. The software is Reciva dependent, you can get all the details we have here:

Grace Digital Internet Radios manufactured between 2007 and 2017 will stop working

The internet radio station finding service used by our legacy internet radios is being discontinued by the 3rd party service provider. This will affect Grace Digital internet radios manufactured between the years of 2007 and 2017 including the original Mondo.

(Please note; the Mondo Plus, Mondo Classic, and Mondo Elite are not affected).

The managed shut down will begin on November 4th, 2020 and will be completed by May 21st, 2021. Anticipating the eventual shut down, Grace Digital has already developed a faster and more feature rich internet radio platform. Radios developed after 2017 are on the new platform and will not be affected. The models that are not affected start with model number ‘GDI-WH’ otherwise known as:

    • Mondo plus / Mondo plus classic /Mondo elite / Mondo elite Classic
    • Encore plus
    • Grace Link / Grace Link Amp

The new Grace Digital platform features quad core microprocessors, over double the available radio stations, NPR, FOX news, BBC, CBS radio, Chromecast audio built in, and music services such as Amazon Music, SiriusXM and Bluetooth streaming. These new internet radios do not use a 3rd party server network to operate).

If you have a legacy internet radio, to help with the transition, Grace Digital will offer special one time discounts to effected customers. If you are interested in taking advantage of this offer, please press the following button and provide key information to our customer service team.

Click here to request discount.

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The Reciva Internet radio station aggregator is closing down

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John Drake, who notes that Reciva has announced that they are closing down effective January 31, 2021.

Check out the banner on their website:This, of course, is not good news for anyone using a Reciva-based WiFi radio.

Indeed, the WiFi radio landscape has become quite unstable in the past couple of years. Only recently Frontier Silicon/vTuner experienced issues with their database (that was eventually sorted out). WiFi radio manufacturers Pure and Tivoli have been sold to investment firms and users have been displeased with both customer service and issues with their aggregators. TuneIn has also been forced to limit choices for UK users–a decision likely to affect other aggregators. And now Reciva, which was once one of the most popular aggregators on the market, is going to be “withdrawn.”

These are dark days for those who appreciate a dedicated WiFi radio.

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TuneIn ruling may lead to a more restrictive future for UK smart speaker and Internet radio users

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

I live in the UK and, like many of your readers and contributors, one of the aspects of the radio hobby I enjoy is ‘content DXing’. As of yesterday [September 9, 2020], all of the US-based classical music stations and even some European news outlets are no longer available through TuneIn.

This appears to be because of a court ruling which identifies TuneIn as a ‘broadcaster & communicator’ rather than – as TuneIn itself claims – an indexer of available stations.

I’m assuming Direct Streams from each station are still available but I can’t help but worry that station aggregators might also be in the firing line at some stage.

Thank you for sharing this, David.

Implications Beyond TuneIn?

At first blush, one might think this ruling only applies to TuneIn users, but it certainly sets the stage for further law suits since TuneIn isn’t the only “audio guide service” accessible in the UK.

Check out this article David shared from November 2019 when the ruling originally took place:

In 2017, Sony and Warner sued US-based radio service TuneIn, claiming the company infringed its copyrights in the UK. A judgment handed down today by the High Court states that while TuneIn does not offer content itself, the provision of hyperlinks to content not officially licensed in the UK constitutes a communication to the public and is therefore infringement.

TuneIn is one of the most prominent and recognizable providers of radio content in the world.

Available for free or on a premium basis, the service offers access to well over 100,000 radio stations and millions of podcasts. It doesn’t provide this content itself but acts as an indexer (“audio guide service”, according to TuneIn) for those looking to access third-party streams.

In 2017 it emerged that Sony Music UK and Warner Music UK had sued the US-based company in the UK, claiming that since many of the TuneIn-indexed stations are unlicensed to play music in the region, linking to them amounts to infringement of the labels’ copyrights.

Today, the High Court of England Wales handed down its decision and it doesn’t look good for TuneIn. The judgment begins by stating the opposing positions of the labels and TuneIn, which are particularly familiar in these types of disputes concerning hyperlinking.

“The claimants say that a finding for the defendant will fatally undermine copyright. The defendant says that a finding for the claimants will break the internet,” Justice Birss writes.

The labels argued that TuneIn needs a license, an assertion “strongly disputed” by TuneIn. The company argued that it does not “store any music, and merely provides users of TuneIn Radio with hyperlinks to works which have already been made freely available on the internet without any geographic or other restriction.”

In other words, TuneIn presents itself as not unlike Google search but instead of indexing websites, it indexes and links to radio streams. However, Justice Birss declared the service to be “much more than that”, in part due to its curation and search features.

“I find therefore that the activity of TuneIn does amount to an act of communication of the relevant works; and also that that act of communication is to a ‘public’, in the sense of being to an indeterminate and fairly large number of persons,” he writes.[]

Indeed, this is essentially what all station aggregators do: they index, curate, and make streaming audio content readily available via Internet media devices like WiFi Radios.

While most WiFi radio station aggregators don’t have the app and web browser-based following and popularity of TuneIn, they do offer the “curation and search features” which lead Justice Birss to side with Sony and Warner.

UK Sonos Users Affected

David also points out complaints from Sonos users in the UK who have been directly affected by the TuneIn ruling. One Sonos owner commented:

Dear Sonos: can you see the enormity of the damage that’s been inflicted to your product? A major feature of the product has been devalued – at least for UK customers. Internet radio is 90% of what I use Sonos for; 80% of my listening is non-UK. Stopped working overnight. And you seem to be just as surprised as I am. How come you didn’t see this coming? You send me an email whenever you have something new to sell. Why didn’t you send me an email to warn me that this predictable event was going to hit me? You don’t seem to have a mitigation plan. You don’t have a how-to-workaround or this-is-what-we-are-doing-to-fix-it article in an prominent place on your web site.

Note that it’s not only TuneIn that’s now broken but also Sonos Radio. “Sonos Radio is an Internet radio service, exclusively available on Sonos. It features 60,000 radio stations from around the world”, it says on the tin. No it doesn’t anymore. They are still all there but they don’t work when you click on them.

From Sonos’s vantage point, TuneIn may be a separate entity. But that’s irrelevant from my point of view. I want the functionality that the product promises.

OK there may be some workarounds. I’m sure I’ll find them. But the fact remains that a major feature of the product no longer “just works”. It can still be “made to work”, but that takes a certain level of cyber-literacy.

I’m willing to bet UK users of other streaming media devices and smart speakers–especially devices from companies who aren’t in the business of directly streaming copyrighted music–will eventually have a smaller selection of international content.

Is there a work around?

Surely. But it could require heavy use of a VPN or similar service to trick TuneIn, Sonos, or other Internet devices into believing they’re physically located outside the UK. This may only be a temporary fix, however. Both Netflix and Amazon Video streaming services, for example, began effectively blocking most of the major VPNs a few years ago.

Have you been affected?

To be clear: I’m no expert in streaming media law, so what I’ve presented here are the basics and user reports. These are my own opinions and assumptions about where this ruling could lead.

If you live in the UK and have been directly affected by this ruling, we’d appreciate your comments.

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Radio Waves: FCC Fines Drone Retailer, High School WSPR Buoy, Flashing Radio Firmware, and “Radio Recliner” Powered by Senior Resident DJs

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 Ron, Pete Eaton, Paul Evans, and Jennifer Gulley for the following tips:


FCC Fines HobbyKing Nearly $3 Million for Marketing Unauthorized Drone Transmitters (ARRL News)

The FCC has issued a Forfeiture Order (FO) calling for HobbyKing to pay a fine of $2,861,128 for marketing drone transmitters that do not comply with FCC rules. An FCC Enforcement Bureau investigation stemmed in part from a 2017 ARRL complaint that HobbyKing was selling drone transmitters that operated on amateur and non-amateur frequencies, in some instances marketing them as amateur radio equipment. The fine affirms the monetary penalty sought in a June 2018 FCC Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL). The FCC said its investigation found that dozens of devices marketed by the company transmitted in unauthorized radio frequency bands and, in some cases, operated at excessive power levels. “Such unlawful transmissions could interfere with key government and public safety services, like aviation systems,” the FCC said.“We have fully considered HobbyKing’s response to the NAL, which does not contest any facts and includes only a variety of legal arguments, none of which we find persuasive,” the FCC said in the FO. “We therefore adopt the $2,861,128 forfeiture penalty proposed in the NAL.”[]

High School Marine Buoy Transmitter Now Active on 20-Meter WSPR (ARRL News)

Phil Karn, KA9Q; Randy Standke, KQ6RS, and members of the Mount Carmel High School Amateur Radio Club (MCHSARC) in San Diego have constructed and deployed an amateur radio marine buoy in the Pacific. The buoy, which transmits WSPR on 14.0956 MHz USB, has already been heard around the continental US, Brazil, Hawaii, Japan, Costa Rica, Australia, and South Africa.

“Over the past year, Randy and I have mentored the MCHSARC in designing and constructing a simple marine buoy that was deployed from the RV Sally Ride [on July 16], about 700 kilometers off the coast of southern California,” Karn said in a post on the AMSAT Bulletin Board. “It is up and transmitting WSPR on 20 meters using the call sign KQ6RS, and is being received all over the US and into Canada and Brazil.” Karn is blogging about the project with updates.

The electronics are the 20-meter WSPR version of the WB8ELK “pico tracker” that has been flown on long-duration balloons. “We removed the solar panels and substituted 21 ordinary alkaline D cells, wired to supply 4.5 V,” Karn explained. “We estimate battery lifetime will be 6 months.”

[…]The first reception report was on July 16 at 12:52:30 UTC from grid square CL89eu, although the current carried the buoy east into CL89fu at 20:32:30 UTC. The buoy (KQ6RS-1) can be tracked on the APRS and WSPRnet sites.[]

Stop Bad Laws Before They Start (Hackaday)

With everything else going on this summer, you might be forgiven for not keeping abreast of new proposed regulatory frameworks, but if you’re interested in software-defined radio (SDR) or even reflashing your WiFi router, you should. Right now, there’s a proposal to essentially prevent you from flashing your own firmware/software to any product with a radio in it before the European Commission. This obviously matters to Europeans, but because manufacturers often build hardware to the strictest global requirements, it may impact everyone. What counts as radio equipment? Everything from WiFi routers to wearables, SDR dongles to shortwave radios.

The idea is to prevent rogue reconfigurable radios from talking over each other, and prevent consumers from bricking their routers and radios. Before SDR was the norm, and firmware was king, it was easy for regulators to test some hardware and make sure that it’s compliant, but now that anyone can re-flash firmware, how can they be sure that a radio is conformant? Prevent the user from running their own firmware, naturally. It’s pretty hard for Hackaday to get behind that approach.[]

New Internet Radio Station Helps Seniors Share Their Favorite Music (NPR)

A new internet radio station called Radio Recliner has started during the coronavirus pandemic. It gives residents in senior living facilities a chance to share some of their favorite music.

Click here to check out the Radio Recliner website.


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Radio Globe: A handy way to explore the world of Internet radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dennis Dura, who shares a link to this fascinating project on the excellent Hackday site:

[…]RadioGlobe lets the user tune in over 2000 stations from around the world by spinning a real globe. It works by using two absolute rotary encoders that each have a whopping 1024 positions available. One encoder is stuck into the South Pole, and it reads the lines of longitude as the user spins the globe.

The other encoder is on the left side of the globe, and reads whatever latitude is focused in the reticle. Both encoder are connected to a Raspberry Pi 4, though if you want to replicate this open-source project using the incredibly detailed instructions, he says a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ will work, too.[…]

Just check out this video of Radio Globe in action!

I love it. It’s like a physical version of the amazing Radio Garden website and app.

Hackaday notes that if you want detailed information about this project, the designer made a series of vlog posts about the build. Click here to check it out on his website. Click here to read through build details on Instructables.

Thank you for the tip, Dennis!

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Pizzoloruss’s CityRadio: An Internet radio with a nostalgic & simple interface

Source: Wallpaper.com

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dennis Dura, who shares a link to this radio project by Emanuele Pizzolorusso who wishes to combine a modern Internet radio with old-school city-labeled memory buttons. From Wallpaper.com:

CityRadio, designed by Emanuele Pizzolorusso for Italian design brand Palomar, allows you to access local radio around the world, with a simple – and satisfying – click of a physical button. It’s a contemporary re-imagination of radio’s early history, where city names where displayed to identify frequencies. As travel looks to remain restricted for the time being, get your multicultural fix through the airwaves.

Of course, you can go online and access local radio anywhere fairly easily, but for Pizzolorusso, there’s a certain romanticism to, and interconnection with, the act of listening physical object. ‘In my childhood home there was an old portable radio, one of those appliances that had the names of several European cities on the tuning dials – a feature from the time when one could still listen to stations from foreign countries,’ explains the Italian designer, who is based in Helskinki. ‘The list of those places, which to me as a child appeared so mysterious and exotic, stimulated my imagination and gave that ordinary forgotten object a deep sense of magic.’

Press magnetic keys to access 18 different cities around the world – from Barcelona to Beijing, Nairobi to New York.[…]

Click here to continue reading the full article.

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