Tag Archives: Analog Radio

BBC mothballs idea of forced move to digital broadcasting

(Source: The Telegraph via Mike Hansgen)

BBC to keep broadcasting on FM

For years fans of wireless radios have campaigned to stop the apparently inevitable march of progress as Britain prepares to switch off its crackling analogue signal and become totally digital.

But now, the BBC will announce that it has shelved plans to force listeners to replace their analogue radios with DAB sets.

In a move that will also be welcomed by the two million motorists with analogue car radios, the corporation will admit for the first time that FM broadcasts must continue to keep audiences on side as music streaming and podcasts threaten its traditional strongholds.[…]

Click here to read this article on The Telegraph (content behind paywall).

 

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Rawad takes a peek inside the Sony ICF-SW11

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rawad Hamwi, who writes:

Recently, I’d acquired a vintage Sony ICF-SW11 from my grandparents and it was in a good shape. After removing its back cover, I did some housekeeping inside and took couple of photos:

I know that this radio is somehow a basic shortwave receiver, lacking some features such as a dedicated external antenna jack.

While waiting this radio to be delivered, I was searching the internet for a hack or trick in which I can utilize my existing long wire antenna and use it on this radio for MW specially. Usually, I depend heavily on my 30 m long wire antenna since the noise level inside my room is somehow high. But I found nothing.

I was amazed when I plugged my 3.5 mm external antenna jack only half way through the Sony’s audio jack. At this moment, the reception was enhanced dramatically on all the bands (FM/LW/MW/SW). I’m not sure how and why but this trick seems to be working! No more noise, the device was pulling signals out of the long wire directly

I found that quite cool. This simple hack had solved my noise problems and I would recommend it to all Sony ICF-SW11 owners. I hope that this wouldn’t affect my device badly on the long run!

One final [note], as far as I know, the telescopic antenna is designed for the FM and SW on this radio. However, whenever I touch that antenna while tuning in to MW, I notice some changes in the signal strengths. Maybe the telescopic antenna works alongside with the ferrite antenna? Or there may be some sort of a short circuit inside?

Thanks for sharing your notes and photos, Rawad. The ICF-SW11 is a great little analog radio–I have one here at SWLing Post HQ and plan to give it to an elderly friend when I next see him. It’s such a simple radio to operate.

In terms of improved performance on MW when you touch the telescoping antenna, I suspect you’re grounding the radio and that’s giving reception a boost. Maybe that’s what’s also happening when you add the longwire to the audio jack?  Comments, anyone?

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Edward reviews this unmarked thrift store radio find

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Edward Ganshirt, who writes:

I spotted this “keychain” radio [pictured above] at a Savers thrift shop. Savers is a chain of thrift stores in the Northeast that is an outlet for Goodwill and possibly others. What caught my eye is (in addition to price) an 11 band radio: AM, FM and 4.75 to 21.85 Mhz in 9 short-wave bands. It has no brand markings (or FCC id) and of course made in China. I purchased it for less than a latte at Starbucks and brought it home.

It uses 2 AA penlight batteries and has a 14″ telescoping antenna. Turning it on demonstrates its low performance.

It has ample sensitivity on FM but difficult to tune clearly. AM band is better. Shortwave is a different story.

At night I get several shortwave stations, difficult to tune in. Connecting an external antenna demonstrated its weakness. I picked up the entire AM band and every other station below 30 MHz no matter what setting the tuning knob was set to, with varying signal strength , depending what short-wave band setting selected. I live less than 4 miles from a powerhouse radio station on 680 KHz that bleeds through the IF filter. Deconstructing the radio reveals its design shortcomings

It contains 2 chips: A CSC2822 stereo audio 8 pin dip and a 16 pin CSC2003P “jungle” chip. Comparing app notes to the receiver reveals short cuts in the design. Just absolute minimalist component count–only one 455KHz IF filter.

Fortunately, it has a ferrite loopstick antenna. (That explains why it works on AM. There is less IF bleed-through on AM).

Using a signal generator, on shortwave reveals non existent image rejection, beat notes on harmonics of the local oscillator (yes it is a superheterodyne).

This is a radio to take to the beach. If the tide grabs it and washes it into the ocean or a sea gull snatches it, you would not be disappointed.

In my opinion it was a bit steeply priced. You don’t win them all but I will still go to Savers in the future for other buys as they present themselves.

Thank you for your report, Edward. I think what is highlighted here are the shortcomings of inexpensive–truly “cheap”–radios. They have only the most basic components, regardless if they resemble a quality radio aesthetically. Edward listed the hallmarks of a cheap analog receivers: overloading, stiff inaccurate tuning controls, mediocre sensitivity/selectivity, poor audio, and poor shielding.

Thanks for pulling this one apart and taking a look inside, Edward.

Taking it to the beach, Ed? Let us know if it floats or–better yet–if a seagull decides to grab it–! Who knows, they may tune through the FM and find one of their favorite 1980s songs:

(Sorry, couldn’t help the reference–it is Friday after all.)

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VOA Radiogram 128 on a cheap Tesco shortwave radio

VOA-Radiogram

SWLing Post reader, Christopher, lives on the north coast of Labrador, Canada. He recently contacted me regarding the purchase of a new receiver–he’s currently stuck with a very inexpensive analog portable he purchased at the UK grocery store, Tesco: the Tesco RAD-108.

While the RAD-108 has poor sensitivity and selectivity, it’s still (evidently) more than capable of receiving the VOA Radiogram. Many thanks to Christopher for sharing this video he found on YouTube:

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NY Times: “Recalling the Imperfect Radio and TV Reception of the Past”

TV-Analog-Noise-SnowMany thanks to my dear friend, BJ Leiderman, for sharing this brilliant piece by Dana Jennings in the NY Times.

I’m only including a few quotes from this piece (below), so please visit this link to read the full article about the adventures, charm and nostalgia of analog TV and radio:

by Dana Jennings

I miss the television snows of yesteryear. And I don’t mean easy nostalgia for the inevitable reruns of “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

I’m talking real television snow, a longing for static, ghost images and the picture endlessly rolling and flip-flopping. While we’re at it, I ache for well-used vinyl crackling like bacon sizzling in a skillet … and the eerie whistles and wheezes from terrestrial radio.

This eccentric pining for the primitive electric hiss and sputter of my 1960s childhood is an honest reaction to our modern culture’s unhealthy addiction to (apparent) perfection. We want it all, we want it now, and we want it sublime.

We not only demand our television, radio and music in unblemished HD on whatever device we choose, but also our weddings, children, houses and bodies. And in our heedless embrace of digital cosmetic surgery, we’ve forgotten that it’s the flaw that makes a thing all the sweeter — like the bruise on a peach.[…]

[Like TV, my] radio needed the human touch, too. As I listened to Boston Red Sox night games, I’d grip the radio like a vise, its hot, orange guts stinging my hand; my skin would lobster up, but I didn’t care, because I could hear the game better. (That radio, a yellowing white Sylvania, also hummed constantly, kind of like the ringing in your ears hours after a Metallica concert.)

Then there was the utter delight of reeling in a far-away station late at night: from Montreal, from Wheeling, from Nashville. Even more bewitching were the otherworldly soundscapes to be found between station stops: eeps and boops, trills and squeals, shrill dronings from the ether that maybe signaled an alien invasion, or first contact with another galaxy.[…]

Read the full article on the NY Times…

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