Tag Archives: belka

Egil is pleased with his new Belka-DX and Tecsun ICR-100 cases

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Egil (LA2PJ), who writes:

Hi Thomas,

In the middle of march, Steve Allen (KZ4TN) posted this article showing a case for the BELKA-DX.

I found his idea so good that I ordered two of the small boxes, using the Amazon link given in his article.

The boxes arrived here in Norway just twelve days after ordering, and was delivered to my door by a local transporter.

Never before have I experienced that kind of service on any purchase via Amazon!

 

Tecsun ICR-100

While packing the BELKA-DX in one of the boxes, I discovered that my Tecsun ICR-100 speaker/audio recorder fit snugly in the other box. The two boxes also contains a six meters long wire antenna, charging cables for both units, earphones, and even an USB charger, just in case I get the opportunity to recharge the batteries.

Belka-DX and accessories

The attached pictures show my new setup. Two items are not shown in that picture: a wire antenna plus a 20Ah powerbank from Anderson. We are going to an off grid cabin for the Easter holidays, and hope that when leaving home with everything fully charged, the powerbank will keep this setup plus my smartphone happy for a whole week.

73s Egil – LA2PJ

Thank you so much for sharing this, Egil!  It’s absolutely amazing that the shipping service to Norway was so efficient. 

I think you’ll have no problem at all enjoying hours upon hours of DXing with the Belka-DX in your off-grid cabin.  No doubt you’ll be escaping the RFI and enjoying much lower noise floors while on vacation–this will give you an opportunity to truly take advantage of the Belka-DX receiver. You’ll have to report back with your experience and photos (hint, hint!).

Spread the radio love

A case for the Belka-DX and cautionary tale!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Steve Allen (KZ4TN), who shares the following guest post:


My Belka-DX: A Cautionary Tale

One of the most amazing SW radios I have ever owned and listened to is the Belka-DX. Its size to performance ratio is without equal, IMHO.

Late last year I dropped it on the floor and was emotionally traumatized when I picked it up and found the LCD to be broken (see photo above). It still received but most of the display was damaged and not readable. I tried to open it up with the intent of replacing the LCD myself (if I could source one) but I could not figure out how to remove the circuit board.

I contacted Boris at MobiMax in Bulgaria from whom I purchased the little squirrel. It took a few weeks of back and forth as he worked to get pricing for the replacement LCD. Eventually he had a very reasonable quote put together and I mailed the Belka-DX off to Bulgaria. Now the wait began. It took almost four weeks for it to finally arrive at MobiMax. Boris had the repair turned around in about a week and I made payment via PayPal. Just like before it took about four weeks transit time and I worried that it would disappear somewhere on the way.

It arrived safe and sound and I am very glad to have it back. I’ve been missing my bedtime SWLing.

So…moving forward I will now always store the radio in a hard case. After digging around in my box of assorted cases I found nothing that was the right size.

After twenty minutes on Amazon I found a hard case that was originally for a small point and shoot digital camera. It was a bit larger than the Belka-DX and it also had room for earbuds, the charging cable and power adaptor, and a small wire antenna.

I glued some foam in the case to hold the radio in place and it’s now nice and snug.

Click here to check out the case on Amazonm.com (affiliate link).

Now I can safely carry it in my daypack or other travel luggage without fear of damage.

Spread the radio love

Greg’s Uniden stand works perfectly with the Belka-DX

Belka-DX StandMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Greg Hathaway, who writes:

Hi there –

I bought a Belka-DX recently and am really enjoying it! The stand from my Uniden Home Patrol 1 scanner works great with it. The stand is sold separately by Uniden for those who may be interested.

Best,
Greg Hathaway

Thank you for sharing this, Greg. You’re right: that little Uniden stand fits the Belka perfectly!

Spread the radio love

Belka-DX: Installing the new speaker and battery pack from Mobimax

Last month, Mobimax announced a new speaker option for the Belka-DX DSP receiver. This speaker is slightly different from the original Belka-DX speaker in that it has a full-size battery pack and fold-out legs to prop up this pocket-sized receiver.

Mobimax sent one of these speakers to me to install and evaluate at no cost to me–I received it last week and installed it yesterday.

Installation

The installation couldn’t have been more simple: the only tool needed is a small Phillips-Head screwdriver. Note that my Belka-DX already had the original speaker option installed.

All I needed to do was remove the lower two screws on both sides of the Belka chassis.

After doing this, the bottom section of the chassis simply pulls out (do this slowly since there are both battery and speaker jumpers).

Next, I unplugged the speaker and battery jumpers from the original speaker option.

Installing the new speaker section was simply a matter of plugging in the speaker and battery jumpers (each plug is a different size so they can’t be confused), then attaching the new pack to the back of the Belka-DX using the same four screws that had been removed.

The whole process might have taken four or five minutes (mainly because I took photos!).

How does it play?

Since I can’t really do a side-by-side comparison with the original speaker and this one, I simply listened to the original speaker tuned to WWV, WRMI, and the Voice of Greece for a while before installing the new speaker.

Both speakers are obviously very small as the Belka-DX is the most compact shortwave portable I’ve ever laid hands on.

Audio quality

I believe the original speaker has better audio fidelity, likely due to the fact it uses the body of the Belka-DX as an enclosure or resonance chamber. The new speaker has a dedicated enclosure, but it’s maybe 40% the size of the Belka-DX body.

In the end, though? Neither speaker will give you the audio fidelity of a traditional portable. The original speaker is just slightly better than the new one. With the Belka-DX, I see the speaker as a wonderful convenience, but frankly, I reach for earphones or headphones if I want to do DXing or proper broadcast listening.

Battery

The new speaker option allows for a full size battery pack in the Belka-DX. This is probably the biggest selling point of the new speaker. The original speaker option fits both the speaker and a smaller LiIon battery pack on the bottom plate of the radio.

The original speaker and smaller battery pack (top section of this photo)

Since the new speaker option adds a dedicated speaker section, it opens up the full real estate of the bottom plate for a full size battery again.

 

I should also add that the new speaker section matches the original Belka-DX enclosure and speaker in that it’s incredibly durable. Frankly, it feels military-grade and over-engineered. I love it.

Fold-out legs

I really like the fold-out legs on the new speaker. They actually have two indented sections that click into place as you fold them out. This allows for two different stable viewing angles. I prefer having them folded out all the way.

Size

The new speaker option adds a bit of weight and bulk to the Belka-DX.

Again: we’re talking about a wee little radio here, so I can’t imagine someone complaining about the size or weight. The new speaker makes the radio slightly deeper or thicker if you look at it from the side or profile. Frankly, it’s a negligible amount, but worth noting.

Should you buy it?

In my opinion, the main reasons to buy the new speaker option are to take advantage of the longer play time from the full size internal battery and to gain the two fold-out feet.  The Belka-DX is so efficient that even the smaller battery pack in the original speaker option will power this radio for many hours without recharge.

Still, if these two factors are important to you, this is a no-brainer.

I would simply pick the speaker option that best suits your needs.

I must say again that it’s a real pleasure evaluating products that are engineered to the degree of the Belka-DX (and Belka-DSP) and both speaker options. These feel like they’re built to last a lifetime and could really take a beating in my various radio packs and kits.

Many thanks again to Mobimax for dispatching one of these for my evaluation.

Click here to check out the new speaker option from Mobimax.

Click here to read about the original speaker option and its installation.

Spread the radio love

Fenu’s assessment of the Belka-DX

I recently noticed that Fenu (at Fenu-Radio.ch) has added a review of the Belka-DX on his excellent website.

He agrees that the Belka-DX is a brilliant little portable that delivers a lot of performance and features for the modest price.

As with my Belka-DX, Fenu’s unit includes the built-in speaker option.

In a video he posted on YouTube, Fenu demonstrates reception, speaker quality (including a small issue with button vibration at high volume), and how you can connect IQ out to an SDR application like SDR#:

Click here to check out Fenu’s full review.

More on the Belka-DX and Belka-DSP:

Spread the radio love

A new Belka-DX DSP Speaker from Mobimax

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Markku (VA3MK), who shares a link to this new Belka-DX speaker option from Mobimax:

This speaker option is similar to the one we featured a few months ago, but keeps the larger 2200 mAh battery pack and has fold-out legs. The compromise is the case will be a bit thicker/deeper than the speaker option without the larger battery and fold-out feet.

We’re talking about a pretty small radio, though, so I think this will be another great option for the excellent little Belka-DX.

I will plan to check out one of these in the near future.

Thank you for the tip, Markku!

Click here to check out this product at Mobimax.

Spread the radio love

Installing the Belka-DX DSP speaker option

This month, I received my Belka DX speaker option in the post and recently did this very simple install. All it really requires is a small Phillips-Head screwdriver and maybe 10 minutes of time.

You start by removing the four screws holding on the left side panel. The side panel easily slides off over the BNC connector.

You then remove the bottom two screws of the right side panel. There’s no need to remove the top two screws as you will not remove this panel or the encoder knob. After removing the bottom two screws, carefully pull the bottom panel off.

The battery is connected to the Belka-DX DSP board with an end that’s easy to unplug.

Simply unplug the battery, and plug in the new (smaller) battery of the speaker panel in the same position.

The speaker on the new panel needs to be connected, of course. In the photo above, you can see where it attaches to the Belka DX board (next to the headphone port).

Once you’ve plugged in the new battery and speaker, attach the new bottom panel to the radio, making sure the speaker and battery wires fold in properly. After you’ve put the two right panel screws in, reattached the left panel with four screws and the installation is complete!

The speaker is quite small, of course, but very functional. I love the fact that I no longer need a set of earphones or external amplified speaker to listen to the Belka DX.

I was concerned that the speaker would be too small to be functional and that the smaller battery in combination would dramatically decrease listening time per charge.

Not the case.

Although I haven’t done a continuos battery longevity test with the volume at a constant moderate level, it will power the radio for extended listening sessions. Of course this teeny internal speaker isn’t going to deliver room-filling audio, but has exceeded my expectations and certainly does the trick!

If you own a  Belka-DX DSP receiver, this is a worthy, affordable upgrade. The great thing is, you can always swap out the covers easily if you need the larger battery capacity during travels or DXpeditions.

Click here to purchase the Belka DX speaker option on Alex’s site. 

Spread the radio love