Important note: like the Eton Elite Executive deal we posted recently, this promotion is noted as a “limited time” deal. It seems that when they run out of their current stock, you may be able to still find the promotional price via Eton, but the shipping date may be pushed out several weeks.
Chris’ Google Nest Hub tuned to AWR Wavescan’s Internet stream
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Chris Freitas, who writes:
I wanted to let you know that Google has been doing a sale on some of their devices.
The Google Home Mini is on sale for $25 right now. Also the Google Nest Hub, basically a tablet slab on a speaker, is also on sale too for $79. It has much of the same functionality as the Mini but you can also cast video to it.
As I am writing this, I am pleased with the overall quality of this radio. The dark walnut wood is a nice solid build and the light-up dial is a nice touch.
The sound quality is fantastic and beats the pants of my larger iHome “Orb” Bluetooth speaker and sounds a bit better than the Jambox Mini.
I have not done a lot of FM listening yet, but this little radio is pretty sensitive without the wire antenna. It picks up all of the Memphis FM stations with little or no static. With the included wire antenna, I can receive WMAV 90.3 FM in Oxford, MS…about 80 miles away with ease.
The WR-7 is definitely a keeper and will be using it on trips and between rooms in my apartment or outside while sipping on some coffee.
Anywho, I wanted to tell you about my experience with the radio and I have included some pictures of it too.
Thank you for sharing your report, Chris! You’re right: the Sangean WR-7 is a fine little FM radio and Bluetooth speaker. I’m happy to hear how well it’s serving you and even snagging distant FM stations. Later this year, I’m going on an extended trip and will take the WR-7 with me to provide a nice source of local FM music and WiFi radio while paired with my iPad running TuneIn.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Chris Freitas, who writes:
“I am thinking of the new RSP1A SDR. Would you know of a good indoor antenna that would work well with it?”
Your antenna question is simple, but the answer is complex!
First off, I think the RSP1A is a great choice as it’ll give you proper exposure to the world of SDR (1 kHz to 2 GHz!) at a modest price.
Unlike a portable radio of course, your SDR must be connected to a PC, laptop, tablet or some sort of mini computer like Raspberry Pi. This limits your ability to easily try different antenna locations within your home compared to, say, a battery-powered portable radio. It might take some dedicated experimentation and patience.
Indoor antennas are so vulnerable to the radio noise within your home.
If you live in an off-grid cabin with no radio interference nearby, even a simple $1 random wire antenna hooked up to RSP1A’s SMA connector would yield results. I occasionally spend my summers in an off-grid cabin and it’s simply amazing what you can do with a modest setup when there are no man-made radio noises around.
Listening to the final broadcast of Radio Netherlands in an off-grid cabin on Prince Edward Island in 2012.
But how many radio enthusiasts live in an off-grid cabin? Answer: very, very few! Most of us only get to experience off-grid life during natural disasters when the electrical grid has been damaged in our neighborhoods.
The reality of indoor antennas
You’ve told me previously that you live in an apartment in an urban setting, hence you probably cope with a lot of RFI.
When an antenna is indoors, it is forced to function within this RFI-dense environment. Your telescoping whip or wire antenna doesn’t discern between radio noise and your target broadcast signal. Thus, noise can overwhelm your receiver, essentially deafening it to all but the strongest shortwave broadcasters.
This is why if you had a means to put a small random wire antenna outside–even if it was simply draped outside a window–it would likely perform better than an indoor antenna. I’m guessing this isn’t an option for you, Chris.
A broadband loop antenna (image courtesy of wellbrook.uk.com)
While you can build an amplified mag loop antenna (like our buddy, TomL) it’s not a simple project. Passive single turn loop antennas, on the other hand, are quite easy to build but are narrow in bandwidth (here’s a very cheap, simple passive loop project). You would likely design a single passive loop to serve you on a specific brodcast band and would have to retune it as you make frequency changes. You could build a passive loop antenna for less than ten dollars if you can find a good variable capacitor. Here’s another tutorial.
Commercially produced amplified wideband magnetic loop antennas are not cheap, but they are effective. If you’re a serious SWL, a good mag loop antenna is worth the investment.
Here are a few of my favorites starting with the most portable:
W6LVP sells two versions of the antenna–since you’re not operating a transmitter, this $250 model would be all you need. indeed, if I were in your shoes, this would likely be the loop I purchase–very cost effective.
Wellbrook antennas are the staple magnetic loop antenna for many DXers.
Wellbrook makes a number of loops, but since you have no plans to mount this outside, I believe their indoor model would suffice.
Other loop options
There’s no shortage of magnetic loop antennas on the market, but most are pricer than the models I mention above and I know you have a tight budget. Here’s are some models we’ve mentioned on the SWLing Post in the past:
I hope this helps, Chris! This post is by no means comprehensive, so I hope others will chime in and comment with their experiences. Good luck fighting urban noise and I hope you enjoy your journey into the world of the SDR!
Thanks for the tip, Chris! Happy to see RadioWorld still have this sale available! At time of posting, eBay claims they’re 74% sold.
Original CC Skywave
Additionally, I just received an e-flyer from C. Crane. They’re having an inventory reduction sale which includes some “Orphaned” CC Skywave units.
C. Crane orphaned radios are typically open box units that have been checked over carefully by C. Crane technicians and carry a full warranty. I’ve purchased their orphaned products in the past and would hesitate to jump on this deal if I didn’t already have the original CC Skywave.
The S350DL may look like a digital radio, but it’s actually analog inside and tuning is prone to drift.
Important clarification: The Field BT–just like the S-8800 and S450DLX–does not have the flaky analog tuning of the discontinued Grundig S350DL series.
Since I started publishing videos of the Tecsun S-8800 in action, I’ve received feedback indicating that many assume the S-8800 will drift off frequency like the 2008 era GS350DL.
It’s true that both radios share a common form factor, but that’s where the similarities end.
The S350DL is actually an analog single conversion receiver with a digital frequency display. The S350DL tuning knob has an inner ring for fine tuning and an outer ring for speedy tuning. The big disadvantage of the S350DL is that it drifts off frequency every time the wind blows. At least, that’s how it seems. It’s a little frustrating, and that’s why mine pretty much stays tuned to one station on my kitchen shelf. Even then, it manages to drift off frequency every few days.
The Eton Field BT, Eton Field, Grundig S450DLX, C. Crane CCRadio-SW and Tecsun S-8800, on the other hand, all have a pure digital tuning experience with no drift at all. Most of these are at least double conversion and the S-8800 is even triple conversion.
Chris, thanks again for sharing your review of the Field BT! It sounds like a major improvement over its predecessor, the S450DLX. I understand you’re also evaluating the excellent Grundig Traveller III–we look forward to that review when published!