Chameleon RXL-Pro code for the SWLing Post

I just received a message from Chameleon Antenna who is a proud sponsor of the SWLing Post.

They’ve added an SWLing Post affiliate code to all of their CHA-RXL Pro orders. If you’ve decided to purchase a CHA-RXL Pro, by adding the code QRP5 at the checkout page, Chameleon will give the SWLing Post a 5% commission at no extra cost to you.

Of course, this isn’t required–I mention this only for those who are planning to purchase the loop. If you’re not familiar with the CHA-RXL, check out Dan Robinson’s recent review and Dave Casler’s video.

Thank you!

Click here to check out the CHA-RXL Pro at Chameleon Antennas. 

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The passing of a compassionate shortwave listener, Agnes Joan Negra

By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

I just received this:

Dear Jock:
It is with a heavy heart that I must report that 102 year old, Agnes Joan Negra passed away last Friday, peacefully, and at home. She went into Hospice care about three weeks ago.

We had a private funeral for mom…immediate family only. But I wanted to pass on her obituary which can be found on website:
calhounmaniafuneralhome.com

Thanks for your support of Agnes and her incredible life story, “Waves of Hope”… It is truly appreciated.

We hope this finds you well.
Regards,
Val Negra

Agnes Joan Negra was a shortwave monitor during WWII who sent out more than 300 letters and postcards to families to inform them that their loved ones were captured and still alive.

Click here to check out Waves of Hope on Amazon.

If you would like to know more about how shortwave monitors impacted lives during WWII, check https://swling.com/blog/2022/04/wwii-radio-letters-a-real-life-shortwave-story/ and https://swling.com/blog/2022/04/world-war-ii-radio-letters-a-real-life-shortwave-story-part-ii/ .

As I have said before: And so, dear reader, never belittle your hobby of listening to the airwaves, because you never know when something you heard may be able to offer comfort in times of trouble.

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How Jake configures SDR# to listen to Encore classical music

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jake Brodsky (AB3A), who shares the following guest post:


How I Listen to Encore on Radio Tumbril

Listening to Classical music on shortwave is a challenge. It has loud and soft parts to the music. There may be selective fading. It isn’t a simple thing.

Also, configuring a software defined radio such as the highly configurable SDR# is not trivial. Note to readers: SDR# has been updated a lot recently and the noise reduction features are vastly improved. Kudos to Youssef Touil for all the hard work on this software. He continues to impress me with every update.

So I have some suggestions for those who are interested in listening:

First, get a decent set of over-the-ear headphones. Don’t rely on laptop speakers. They’re usually not designed for audio fidelity.

Set the radio for DSB reception with Lock Carrier and Anti-Fading checked. I also set the bandwidth to cover about 11 kHz or thereabouts.

On the Audio tab I uncheck the Filter Audio option. I’m going to rely on IF filtering to do my work for me.

Next, find an empty channel on the band where you will be listening to the program. Enable the IF Noise Reduction feature, set it to HiFi, and then set the threshold so that the noise floor is reasonably low. If you set the threshold too high, you’ll lose the higher frequency audio and there will be artifacts from the noise floor that I find unpleasant. A little bit of noise reduction is good, but more is not better.

I also enable the IF Filter/notch processing window to handle any stray birdies from switching mode power supplies. However, if not needed, I turn that feature off.

I turn off the AGC. And then I set the volume level to something reasonable, not too loud, not too soft, but just barely able to hear the noise floor.

Then I tune in the program. I was listening to the Sunday Evening (Monday 0200 UTC) broadcast from WRMI on 5950 kHz. There was some fading going back and forth. However, I took the atmospherics in stride, as if it were part of the experience. The broadcast from this evening
ended with the Pastoral Symphony from Beethoven. There were a few fades and there were a few swells, all due to atmospherics as the signal faded to the noise floor and emerged from it. But there was very little distortion. (thanks to the excellent engineers at WRMI).

The experience was actually sublime.

This is why I listen to shortwave broadcasts.

73,

Jake Brodsky, Amateur Radio Station AB3A

Click here for Radio Tumbril schedule and updates.

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The two-pocket listening post . . . for when “they” are after you

By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

Man on the run thrillers, like The 39 Steps by John Buchan* and Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household hold a special fascination for me. Give me a yarn about someone being pursued by the bad guys, and I am enthralled. (Incidentally, there are a couple of good lists of these thrillers. Here and here).

Sometimes I like to play the mental game of: if I were that guy trying to stay ahead those who wished me evil intent, what radio(s) might I want with me?

The other day I realized I had the perfect combo, a pair of radios that cover a huge swath of spectrum, will fit in a couple of pockets (or one big pocket) and weigh just 14 ounces combined. Further, both will run off ordinary AA batteries, which are widely available.

Candidate number one is the C Crane Skywave SSB, which measures 3 inches by 4.75 inches by 1.1 inches. It receives AM, FM, shortwave (1711-29999 kHz), VHF aviation and NOAA weather radio with alerts. Because it receives single sideband (SSB) on HF frequencies, it can tune in aeronautical, marine and amateur radio stations that transmit in the SSB.

The Skywave SSB comes with a pair of ear buds that fit my ears well and offer pleasing audio. In addition, the SSB comes standard with an auxiliary wire antenna that can be deployed and clipped to the SSB’s whip antenna to boost signal-to-noise. Perhaps most useful for the man on the run, the SSB has excellent “signal seek” functions that can be used on any band. In fact, if you put the radio in SSB mode and activate the signal scan, it will search the ham bands and automatically switch from upper sideband to lower sideband as appropriate.

For the man on the run who can “hole up” for a while, I’ve tried clipping a 50-foot long wire to the SSB’s whip and antenna, and I was amazed at how well it can pull in faint ham signals. It’s the “little radio that could.” About the only thing that I wish I could change on the Skywave SSB is that it mutes between tuning steps when using the tuning knob.

But suppose our man on the run needs to monitor signals above the coverage of the Skywave SSB?  Candidate number two is the Icom R6. Measuring just 2.3 inches by 3.4 inches by 1.2 inches, the diminutive R6 covers from 100 kHz to 1309.995 MHz (less cellular and gaps) in AM, FM Narrow and FM wide modes (no SSB). It has 1300 alphanumeric memories, search-and-store capabilities, and rapid scanning of memory channels.

For high stealth, there is a setting that allows the R6 to use the wire that connects headphones or ear buds to the R6 as the antenna instead of the usual antenna. For a non-stealth application, using an aftermarket antenna like the Comet W100RX 25MHz-1300MHz Handheld Scanner Antenna, the R6T does a surprisingly good job of receiving shortwave stations. This antenna has markings on the side so that it can be set to the right length for various frequencies.

As you can see from the photo, the R6 has only a few buttons on its face and two on the side. Every button has multiple functions, and I found trying to program memory channels using the buttons to be a trial. As a result, I can highly recommend the RT Systems cable and programming software for setting up memory channels. In addition, some very useful notes for setting up and using the R6 can be found here: https://forums.radioreference.com/threads/icom-ic-r6-notes.442112/

Finally, I know that there are several tiny ham transceivers that might fill the bill, including the Yaesu VX-6R, although I am not aware of any that can receive single sideband. Besides, if you had the ability to transmit, “they” might be able to direction-find you . . . and we wouldn’t want that, would we?

*For sharp-eyed readers: yes, I know that The 39 Steps is set in a time before radio was widespread, but it is still one of my favorites.

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Attention all shoppers! Attention all shoppers!

Hi SWLing post community, do you enjoy shopping? Do you like getting bargains? Well if so please join us for a grand opening of another KMRT, your one stop shortwave shopping experience!

Experience the thrill of a bustling supermarket live on shortwave this Sunday 18th September 2022 via WRMI on 9395 kHz at 2200 hrs UTC. There will be lots of blue light specials, bargains galore and an appearance of a store cleaner to aisle 3. Fastradioburst23.

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New Broadcast Schedule for VORW Radio International Transmissions!

Hello shortwave listeners! I wanted to make this post in order to provide an updated broadcast schedule for my transmissions to Europe and North America for the Fall of 2022.

This radio program is 1 Hour in length and features miscellaneous discussion (sometimes about current events, other times about random subjects on my mind) at the start of the program and is then balanced out with listener requested music. I hope for it to be an enjoyable light entertainment program with good music and discussion!

Updated Schedule:

Friday 1600 UTC (7 PM EEST/MSK) – 9670 kHz – Moosbrunn 100 kW – Europe, Russia, The Middle East, Central & East Asia

Saturday 0600 UTC (2 AM Eastern / 1 AM Central) – 4840 kHz – WWCR 100 kW – North America

Saturday 2200 UTC (6 PM Eastern / 5 PM Central) – 6115 kHz – WWCR 100 kW – Eastern North America

Monday 0400 UTC (12 AM Eastern / 11 PM Central Sunday Evening) – 4840 kHz – WWCR 100 kW – North America

Listener reception feedback is much appreciated at [email protected] and e-QSL’s will be sent out for reception reports, a special e-QSL is also sent out for reception reports for the transmission on 9670 kHz.

Happy listening!

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Radio Waves: BBC Transmitter Audio Feed, New DRM Receivers Showcased, QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo, and New German Class “N” Ham License

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


How the BBC (still) sends audio to transmitter sites (Hackaday)

Running a radio station is, on the face of it, a straightforward technical challenge. Build a studio, hook it up to a transmitter, and you’re good to go. But what happens when your station is not a single Rebel Radio-style hilltop installation, but a national chain of transmitter sites fed from a variety of city-based studios? This is the problem facing the BBC with their national UK FM transmitter chain, and since the 1980s it has been fed by a series of NICAM digital data streams. We mentioned back in 2016 how the ageing equipment had been replaced with a modern FPGA-based implementation without any listeners noticing, and now thanks to [Matt Millman], we have a chance to see a teardown of the original 1980s units. The tech is relatively easy to understand from a 2020s perspective, but it still contains a few surprises. [Continue reading at Hackaday…]

Receivers Introduced At Pre-IBC Event To Be Seen At RAI On Sep 10th (DRM Consortium)

This year’s IBC DRM virtual event, held on 6th September, was very well received by many participants world-wide. The much-awaited session on DRM receivers gave the listeners and viewers the opportunity to learn about new, hot off the press, receiver products and solutions in this sector.

A new cost-effective DRM solution developed by CML Microsystems in conjunction with Cambridge Consultants in the UK, is just one example. Their product is a multi-band broadcast DRM receiver module that makes it quick and easy for manufacturers to build DRM radio sets. The module supports DRM and analogue reception in the AM and VHF bands. Applicable IP royalties are included in the module price. The module also supports a remote controlled mode and thus can serve as the basis for full-featured DRM radio sets. The module is scheduled to be available to industry partners from Q1 2023.

Gospell from China presented their entire range of well-established and full-featured DRM receivers consisting of desktop and pocket radios, with support for EWF Emergency Warning Functionality and Journaline text service. In addition, Gospell unveiled their new car radio for easy integration, the Stereo Digital Radio Receiver GR-520. All models provide DRM reception across all DRM broadcast bands.

The Swiss company Starwaves announced three upcoming DRM receiver solutions: A complete and full-featured DRM and analogue AM/FM receiver module available to receiver manufacturers, with automotive-grade tuning and fast scanning across all DRM frequency bands and support for EWF Emergency Warning Functionality and Journaline text service. A first consumer receiver model built on this DRM module will be the W2401 desktop radio priced at €79. An even more advanced receiver at 99€ will in addition feature a built-in WiFi hotspot for web browser access to the DRM content. All Starwaves receivers can be enhanced with DAB+ functionality if required by a local market.

Starwaves also offers the DRM SoftRadio App for Android phones and tablets, which upgrades any device by connecting an analogue RF SDR dongle to a full-featured DRM receiver. The app is available in major app stores including Google, Huawei and Amazon.

Exciting DRM receiver solutions for professional applications and device manufacturers were presented by Fraunhofer IIS (Germany), such as the automotive receiver kit software SDR, and the DRM MultimediaPlayer Radio App as the basis of professional and consumer-grade radio implementations.

NXP, the leading, global semiconductor manufacturer, showcased their complete portfolio of automotive qualified suite of DRM chipsets for car receivers for all DRM broadcast bands.

Other companies from India, such as OptM and Inntot, as well as the South Korean manufacturer RF2Digital contributed to the pre-IBC DRM virtual event with videos presenting their solutions for DRM use in desktop radios, mobile phones and in cars.

CML Microsystems/Cambridge Consultants, Gospell, Starwaves and Fraunhofer IIS will also be present in Amsterdam during the IBC expo on the 10th September together with other key DRM members, such as BBC, Encompass, Nautel and RFmondial. IBC visitors participating in the two DRM sessions at the Fraunhofer IIS booth and at the Nautel booth will experience live demonstrations of the new DRM receivers and modules.

Selected news from the presentation on September 6th including from the DRM receiver section are available as a free download: https://s.drm.org/KJr9.

[Click here to read the full article.]

QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo is this weekend!

[The] QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo kicks off this Friday evening, September 16th at 1800 Pacific.

The Expo officially opens on September 17 2022 at, 01:00 UTC or September 16th at 6:00 PM Pacific.

To attend, all you need to do is go to the following website: https://qsotoday.vfairs.com. Simply login using the same email address that you used to purchase your ticket. No password is needed. You can test in advance to see that it works.

Click here to purchase your ticket and attend!

Germany: New Entry-Level license class ‘N’ on its way (DARC via Southgate ARC)

DARC reports on the planned introduction of an entry-level amateur radio license, it will be limited to just 10w EIRP in the 144 and 430 MHz bands but they can build their own equipment

A translation of the DARC post reads:

Today [June 7], the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport presented the draft of a new amateur radio regulation that will bring some innovations for all radio amateurs.

The chairman of the DARC e. V. and the Round Table Amateur Radio (RTA), Christian Entsfellner, DL3MBG was pleased: “The new regulation implements long-standing requirements of the DARC and the Round Table Amateur Radio. Remote operation will finally be allowed in the future. The Ministry has also implemented our demand for a beginner class, which has existed since 2008.

This makes it much easier to get started with amateur radio.” While the existing classes E and A are raised in level due to the introduction of new topics from digital technology, class N focuses on operational knowledge, regulations and basic knowledge of the technology.

Holders of the new Class N will be allowed to transmit on 2m and 70cm with a maximum power of 10W EIRP. “The new entry-level class should offer access to amateur radio in particular to young people and older people in accordance with international requirements,” explains board member Ronny Jerke, DG2RON. The legally stipulated self-build right is not restricted, so even beginners can develop, set up and put into operation radio devices or hotspots themselves.

The exam will follow a cumulative system, e.g. B. is known from the US amateur radio test. First of all, the exam for class N is taken, which already contains all questions from the areas of operational knowledge and regulations. The technical test for class E and then for class A can then be taken.

“The examination catalogs developed by the DARC for the three classes are structured in such a way that the content and questions are not repeated, i. H. Content that has already been examined in a lower class no longer plays a role in the examination for a higher class. So all future radio amateurs go through the exams of class N, through E to class A. It should be possible to take all the exams in one day.

The previously unregulated remote operation has been included in the new amateur radio regulation. Holders of license class A may in future operate amateur radio stations remotely and also allow other radio amateurs to use class A. Another important innovation concerns the training radio operation, which will be possible in the future without a separate training call sign. Instead, adding the prefix “DN/” makes any Class E or Class A callsign a training callsign.

The RTA now has 4 weeks to comment on the draft regulation. The board and the departments of the DARC have already started to examine the text of the ordinance in detail and will report promptly.

The press release from the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport can be found at
https://bmdv.bund.de/SharedDocs/DE/Pressemitteilungen/2022/065-kluckert-amateurfunkverordnung.html

Attached to the press release is a draft of the second ordinance amending the amateur radio ordinance. This can be found as a PDF file at

https://bmdv.bund.de/SharedDocs/DE/Gesetze-20/zzwei-verordnung-aenderung-amateurfunkverordnung.html

Source DARC https://darc.de/

 


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