CQ Serenade – Very Cool!

This link was forwarded to our Amateur Radio Club by a member (who is quite proficient in Morse code, unlike me!) and I just had to share it with Thomas and the SWLing gang!

https://www.on6zq.be/w/index.php/Audio/CqSerenadeFr

There is both a French version and an English version of the song, so enjoy them both!

Robert Gulley, K4PKM (formerly AK3Q), is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.       Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

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BBC World Service documentary about Radio Berlin International Service to Africa


Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Kris and Ed who both note a fascinating BBC World Service documentary. Ed writes:

Hey Thomas,

SWLing Post readers will surely enjoy this brilliant BBC World Service documentary about Radio Berlin International Service to Africa. “Comrade Africa” offers a 53-minute fascinating blast from the cold-war past with many nostalgic RBI airchecks and programming analyses.

-Ed

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3ct036t

Comrade Africa

The Documentary

How Communist East Germany tried to influence Africa via radio, during the Cold War. The West often saw the GDR as a grim and grey place, so it’s something of a surprise to find a radio station based in East Berlin playing swinging African tunes. Yet Radio Berlin International (RBI), the ‘voice of the German Democratic Republic’, made it all happen over the many years it broadcast to Africa. It built on the little known strong bonds between East Germany and several large states in Africa such as Tanzania and Angola during the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

Dr Emily Oliver, a historian of postwar Germany from Warwick University, finds out why multicultural Radio Berlin International was a special place within East Germany and what happened behind the scenes. The government set tight reporting restrictions on output. Staff faced the dilemma of following the rules while competing with the likes of the BBC World Service. They were also conscious of the output of the station’s main direct rival, West Germany’s Deutsche Welle, which portrayed the world quite differently. And how did RBI employees coming from nations like Tanzania cope with working for the oppressive East German regime?

Emily hears how RBI appealed to listeners in Africa, reveals how East Germans and Angolans made friends over coffee and tractors, and discovers how the Cold War played out in Africa at a time when many African states were fighting for independence.

Presenter: Emily Oliver
Producer: Sabine Schereck
Researcher: Balthazar Kitundu
Editor: Hugh Levinson
Readers: Neil McCaul, Leone Ouedraogo (podcast only), Ian Conningham and Adam Courting
The Two Comrades: Will Kirk and Greg Jones

Click here to listen on the BBC World Service website.

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FTIOM & UBMP, November 17-23

From the Isle of Music, November 17-23:
This week we present a Cuban dance party including some recent Timba releases.
The broadcasts take place:
1. For Eastern Europe but audible well beyond the target area in most of the Eastern Hemisphere (including parts of East Asia and Oceania) with 100Kw, Sunday 1500-1600 UTC on SpaceLine, 9400 KHz, from Sofia, Bulgaria (1800-1900 MSK)
If you don’t have a shortwave radio or are out of range, you can listen live to an uplink from a listening radio in the Netherlands during the broadcast at
http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/?tune=9400am
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0100-0200 UTC (New UTC) on WBCQ, 7490 KHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EST in the US).
If you don’t have a shortwave or are out of range, you can listen to a live stream from the WBCQ website here (choose 7490) http://www.wbcq.com/?page_id=7
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany.
If you don’t have a shortwave radio or are out of range, you can listen live to an uplink from a listening radio in Europe.
Visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fromtheisleofmusic

Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, November 17 and 19:
Episode 139 features parody and comedy songs.
The transmissions take place:
1.Sundays 2300-2330 UTC (6:00PM -6:30PM Eastern US) on WBCQ The Planet 7490 KHz from the US to the Americas and parts of Europe
If you don’t have a shortwave or are out of range, you can listen to a live stream from the WBCQ website here (choose 7490) http://www.wbcq.com/?page_id=7
2. Tuesdays 2000-2030 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany for Europe.
If you don’t have a shortwave radio or are out of range, you can listen live to an uplink from different web SDRs in Europe.
Visit our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/UncleBillsMeltingPot

 

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The new Malahit-DSP: A portable all-in-one wideband SDR receiver

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

Hey Thomas,

Some very exciting news on the topic of portable all-band receivers comes from Russia! A group of engineers have just released for ordering the new Malahit-dsp. And it’s truly impressive! Picture an Icom IC-R8600 with the size of a Sony 7600G!

It seems it all started in June this year. Back then, RX9CIM George posted a note in QRZ.com forum about a new project he had been working of a standalone, SDR-based, all-band, all-mode receiver called Malahit-dsp.

Fast forward to November and it seems the project is finally complete as new posts started to bubble up in Youtube and in Russian forums. George is now taking orders of the Malahit DSP.

I can’t read Russian, but with the help of Google Translator, we can find some interesting details:

The project authors are RX9CIM George, R6DAN Vladimir and R6DCY Vadim. It seems their goal was to design a low-cost portable SDR radio, using only easily obtainable components and to become the natural successor of the popular Degen and Tecsun radios.

Technical Specifications

  • 1 MHz to 1000 MHz.
  • Bandwidth 160 kHz.
  • Modulation types AM, WFM, NFM, LSB, USB.
  • Powered by one Li-ion cell.
  • Consumption up to 300 mA
  • Main chip ARM STM32H743VIT6 MCU High-performance and DSP with DP-FPU, ARM Cortex-M7 MCU with 2MBytes Flash, 1MB RAM, 400 MHz CPU
  • Printed circuit board is used four-layer, factory-made; for purchase, refer to RX9CIM. malahit_sdr@rambler.ru

PCB only: ~ USD 17.22
Finished receiver delivered inside Russia: USD 195.65

From the forum, there is also this important note: “Attention! Fraud/Scammers detected! You can purchase components or finished devices from George only ”

It seems the project is open source, the schematic, PCB and software are available to download.

I really hope this receivers becomes popular and available world wide. I also hope this new project “shakes” a bit the industry of shortwave receivers. Since the Degen 1102/03, Tecsun 450/600, Tecsun PL310/880, we have been seeing only iterations of the same designs.

Pages

Group dedicated to Malahitdsp
https://vk.com/malahitdsp

Recent discussion on Malahit, annoucement of ordering is now available, pictures and videos
http://hamforum.ru/viewtopic.php?t=193

Videos

Video 1: Shows the soldering of large components (encoders, speaker, SMA jack) on the radio board and installing it into the metal enclosure. Next a demo of receiver working. Prepared by Sergeyenkov Alexander:

Video 2: It shows a bit of the manufacturing process and demonstrates how one can build the receiver at home using kit pre-made board and components acquired in AliExpress. Also includes a test of the receiver barebones. Prepared by R2AJI Vladimir on his YT channel “HAM Radio Channel”

Wow!  Thank you so much for sharing this!  The Malahit-DSP looks like a fantastic little receiver–I especially love the fact that it has a backlit color touch screen with both a responsive spectrum and waterfall display. It also looks and sounds like the built-in speaker is of decent quality and the audio amplification is more than adequate.

I’ll see if I can get one to evaluate. Thanks again for the tip!

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The Sony ICF-7600A at my “happy place”

Yesterday afternoon, the family and I spent some time at my happy place: Mount Mitchell State Park. This might be our last visit there until spring of 2020 since the Blue Ridge Parkway is often closed during the winter.

Yesterday was unseasonably warm at 48F (9C)–a shot of warm weather before an Arctic front moves in tonight dropping temps to about 10F (-12C) and, likely, dropping 1-3″ of snow as well.

The afternoon at Mount Mitchell gave me a little time to play radio, of course, and put my recently acquired Sony ICF-7600A on the air.

How did I acquire the Sony ICF-7600A? Via the generosity of SWLing Post reader, Ed Earps.

Ed reached out to me after I made the following comment in a recent post:

“The ICF-7600A is a cool analog portable and one I’ve thought about acquiring at some point.”

Ed contacted me immediately:

“Thomas, if you would still like to acquire a ICF-7600A, I have one I would give you. This would be in appreciation of all the work you do in writing the SWLing Post blog.”

A few days later, the ICF-7600A with original box and accessories arrived. Wow!

Thank you so much, Ed! Over the years, members of the SWLing Post community have been so kind and so generous, it makes a guy feel humbled and appreciated. Thank you!

The ICF-7600A fits perfectly in my Red Oxx Hound pack.

I’m loving the ICF-7600A.

There’s something so authentic about tuning a good analog portable. It’s hard for me to describe, but I can certainly say it always takes me back to my radio roots.

The ICF-7600A has a low noise floor and seems to be incredibly sensitive. I easily snagged several stations on 31 meters, but ended up enjoying music via All India Radio while brewing a little coffee with my alcohol stove (handmade by my buddy, Greg–thanks, Greg!).

Hey, when you’re a coffee snob, you brew where you are!

But I digress…

I’m especially impressed with the ICF-7600A’s mediumwave performance. I logged a number of benchmark daytime and greyline stations yesterday. I haven’t opened the ‘7600A, but I imagine it has a decent ferrite bar inside based on its overall performance on the AM broadcast band and its nulling capabilities.

Next time, I’ll bring the AN200 mag loop and couple it with the ‘7600A. I’m pretty sure that’ll make for a winning combo.

All-in-all, I couldn’t have asked for a better day: the weather was wonderful, the coffee freshly-brewed, and the gifted ICF-7600A was the perfect radio companion as our family soaked in the scenery after a hike to the summit.

I couldn’t ask for a better happy place!


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“The BBC and the Cold War”

A vintage radio from Kim Andre Elliott’s collection.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kris Partridge, who writes:

With Saturday being the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, BBC OnLine has posted this to commemorate the anniversary:

https://www.bbc.com/historyofthebbc/100-voices/coldwar

The Cold War was the defining global conflict of the second half of the Twentieth Century. Fought across multiple terrains, the “soft power” of international broadcasting placed the BBC on the frontline of the information war.To commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we explore the role the BBC played in communicating our understanding and experience of the Cold War, with the help of newly-released oral history interviews with those involved.

Click here to view this collection of stories and memories at the BBC.

Thanks so much for sharing this, Kris!

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Inbound: A Drake SW8 HF/VHF receiver

I’m often accused of being a radio “enabler.” Truth be told, I wear that badge quite proudly. I’m passionate about communications equipment and I suppose it shows especially here on the Post.

But radio “enabling” is a two-way street. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve made impulse purchases based on feedback and tips from SWLing Post readers. Yesterday was one of those days.

The tip

Last week, SWLing Post contributor, Rand (KS4L), sent me a link to an ad for a Drake SW8 on QTH.com’s classifieds site.  Here’s the description and original photo:

Nice Drake SW8 Communications Receiver

Nice physical and working condition Drake SW8 portable communication receiver covering 100 to 30,000 kHz in AM, USB and LSB modes with backlit LCD panels. The VHF aeronautical band is also featured (118 – 137 MHz). For portable or field use, can be powered from 6 D cells and use the internal pivot point 41 inch telescopic whip. Comes with original manual, CD and 120VAC power pack with cable. Has an eHam review rating of 4.7 out of 5. From a non smoking environment.

Asking 250 shipped.

Randy sent this tip mid-week and I tried to ignore it. I knew it might not be a stellar deal, but it certainly wasn’t over-priced either.

The SW8

I don’t think Randy knew this, but I’ve always wanted an SW8. My buddy, David Goren, recommended this receiver ages ago, Each time I’ve stayed at his home he magically made an SW8 available as my bedside radio in the guest room. (That’s some serious radio hospitality!)

Once, many years ago, I actually agreed to purchase an SW8 from a seller in British Columbia, but the deal fell through for some reason. If memory serves, he damaged the radio in the process of packing it. I believe I agreed to pay $450 for it, but that was probably 10 years ago.

I kept Randy’s tip and link in my action items list and decided that, if still available, I’d post it as a radio deal here on the SWLing Post.

Yesterday morning, the SW8 was still showing as available so I started a post. Being the radio enabler I am, I started writing about how much I’ve always wanted to own an SW8…how I love the simple front face plate, the display, the fact it can be powered by batteries, and how I think it’s quite a capable little receiver.

Then I stopped writing, mid-sentence and asked myself… “Will I regret not grabbing this SW8?”

My “radio bux” fund is incredibly low at the moment, mainly due to recent travels and budgeting for no less than three radio conventions next year. Also, this is the time of year when several annual fees/subscriptions are auto-deducted from my account–including hefty hosting fees for the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

Still, I had *just* enough money to at least make an offer and knew if I “thinned the radio herd” here at SWLing Post HQ, I could probably replenish the amount in a month or so.

Since this was a classifieds ad, my next step was to go through an extensive checklist to make sure the seller was who they claimed to be and that there were no signs of this being a scam. Everything checked out. (I’ll make a note to publish a post about my process in the near future).

I contacted the seller and we agreed on a price of $220 shipped. I put his check in the mail, and he even shipped the radio same day and provided a verified FedEx tracking number.

I’ll admit it: I’m stoked!

I look forward to putting this Drake SW8 through the paces and especially loading it with batteries and taking it to the field. I know–in terms of performance–it won’t be my best receiver, but I know it’ll provide hours upon hours of radio fun, and that’s what it’s all about!

Post readers: What do you think?  Have I made a mistake, or did I get a good deal? I’d love to hear from those of you who’ve been owners of the venerable Drake SW8!

Please comment!


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Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

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