After posting Ron’s note about the MFK-8100K receiver kit, I touched base with MFJ and they have kindly donated a new 8100K kit to us for an SWLing Post giveaway. Thanks, MFJ!
This giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere. MFJ will ship it directly to you if there are no Covid-19 shipping restrictions to your country.
Here’s how to enter the giveaway…
Simply comment on this post and tell us about your favorite kit that you’ve built. This can be your first kit, your last kit, or anything in between. Don’t just give us a model name, tell us what made it a fun or special project.
If you’ve never built a kit, but are eager to do so, tell us why you would like to build the MFJ-8100K! Do you have a soldering iron?
We simply want to make sure a kit builder or want-to-be kit builder gets this prize! We’d even invite you to share a short post about building the MFJ-8100 (no obligation–only if you wish).
This means you must enter a valid email address in the appropriate comments field (not within the comment text itself) so that we can contact you.
Of course, the SWLing Post doesn’t sell or share emails–never have, never will–this is only so we can contact you to obtain your shipping address if you win. Feel free to use a throw-away email address if you wish.
This is all about taking us on a great kit-building nostalgia trip, so have fun!
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Hemphill (WD9EQD), who shares the following guest post:
My First DX Contest
by Bill Hemphill, WD9EQD
Being a recent new member of NJARC, this is my first time competing in this contest. I have always been a big fan of BCB DXing and have recently got back into it – especially with the amateur radio bands being in such poor conditions. The acquisition of a couple of Loop antennas plus two Panasonic RF-2200 radios have just enhanced my enjoyment.
For the contest, I used two completely different radios. First was the RF-2200 and second was a spur of the moment creation.
The RF-2200 was its usual good performer. While the RF-2200 has a beautiful built-in rotating bar antenna, I enhanced it with the 27” Torus-Tuner Loop Antenna as made by K3FDY, Edmund Wawzinski. I think I had picked this antenna up at one of NJARC’s swap meets. So I wish to thank whoever it was that was nice enough to bring it and sell it at the meet. I have really enjoyed using it. With this setup, I was hoping that I might be able to pull in Denver, Salt Lake City and maybe even a Mexican station, but it was a complete bust on them. But I did have a nice surprise in receiving the Cuban station Radio Enciclopedia on 530 in addition to the usual Radio Reloj time signal station. Following is photo of it in operation:
Originally, I had thought that my second contest entry would be done with a 1962 Sony TR-910T three-band transistor radio. This radio has a fairly wide dial along with a second fine-tuning knob which would be a big help. I would have again used the 27” hula-hoop antenna.
But I made the nice mistake of running across Dave Schmarder’s Makearadio website:
Dave’s site is a wonderful resource for creating your own Crystal, Tube, and Solid State radios as well as Audio Amplifiers and Loop Antennas. While going down the rabbit hole of his site, I ran across his Loop Crystal Set, #19 Crystal Radio:
It was a really nicely constructed, nice swivel base.
I replaced the tuning capacitor with one that has a 6:1 ratio.
At this point I started thinking that I could create something similar with my loop.
I randomly grabbed a diode from my parts box. Not sure what the exact model is. (I later found out that it was an IN-34 which is what I was hoping it was.) Then quickly soldered the diode, a resistor and capacitor to a RCA plug:
I then proceeded to use some jumper cables and just clip it to the tuning capacitor on the antenna base:
The RCA plug was then the audio out (I hope) from the radio.
I quickly realized that I did not have a crystal headset or any headset that would reproduce any audio. So I used an old Marantz cassette recorder to act as an amplifier. Fed it into the mic jack and then tried to listen to the monitor out. Bingo – I could pick up or local station on 1340 really weak.
So I then fed the audio from the Marantz into a Edirol digital recorder. Now I was getting enough audio for the headphones plus could make a recording of the audio.
At last I was receiving some signals. To boost the audio some more I removed the resistor from the circuit.
I found out the I could only tune from about 530 to 1350. I probably needed to clip the lead on one of the loop turns, but I really wanted to see how it would do at night. I spent several hours and was just totally amazed at how well it performed and how good the audio was. The hardest part was when there were very strong signals on the adjacent frequency. What I found really interesting was that it was not linear in its tuning. At the low end of the band the stations were more spread out than at the higher end. This made tuning fairy easy at the low end and very touchy at the high end. I was able to hear a couple of Chicago stations along with Atlanta and St. Louis.
Here’s photo of it in action:
I have created an audio file of the station ID’s heard with the diode/loop radio. The audio file is on the Internet Archive at:
I had a lot of fun in the contest and especially enjoyed trying something really different with the diode/loop radio. Now I have a whole year to try to think up something really creative for next year’s contest.
Absolutely brilliant, Bill! I’m so happy to see that your ham fest homebrew loop has served you so very well in a contest. I love how you pulled audio from your homebrew, make-shift diode radio as well–using your audio gear in a chain for amplification obviously worked very well.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John Cooper, who shares the following announcement:
NORTH AMERICAN SHORTWAVE CONTEST
“The Final Countdown” 2017
Just a friendly reminder that the North American SW DX Contest, “The Final Countdown,” will be starting in a few weeks. The Holidays are upon us and time is flying.
Remember the Contest starts at:
00:00 UTC, 1/7/17 thru 00:00 UTC, 1/29/17.
Get your contest forms if you haven’t yet by contacting me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or mail at: John P. Cooper, 734 Sally Ann Drive, Lebanon, PA 17046.
Additionally, the entrance fee is not due until you submit your final entry forms. $5.00 is the cost of entry, check, money order or cash accepted. Checks and Money Orders should be made out to John P. Cooper.
Universal Radio Inc. is sponsoring the contest and has donated really Great Prizes for 1-3rd place that will be awarded along with Certificates of Completion for all who participate with contest standing annotated on them. The NASWA, and CIDX are also sponsors of this event.
Since most of us DXers will be ready for some action after the Holidays are over this is your chance to participate in a great Contest. Support your Hobby.
Remember, the contest is open to all North American DXers regardless of membership in any club or organization. Any questions, please contact me at: email@example.com
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John Cooper, who writes:
THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
NASWA, Universal Radio, Inc. and CIDX, is sponsoring the North American Shortwave DX contest “The Final Countdown” which will start on 00:00 UTC hours on 7 January 2017. The contest is open to all North American SWLers and DXers.
Contest forms for those interested can be obtained by e-mailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or mailing me a request to:
John P. Cooper 734 Sally Ann Drive, Lebanon, PA 17046.
Prizes for 1st-3rd place will be provided by Universal Radio Inc., and Contest Certificates suitable for framing will be mailed to each contestant. Beat the January doldrums! This is a great chance to sharpen your DXing & SWLing skills or just a chance to dust off that old SW radio stashed away and see what’s on the SW bands now.
Many thanks, John for organizing and championing this contest. And a special thanks to Universal Radio, CIDX and NASWA for supporting it!
Richard Langley also suggests checking out the following link for more contest details:
“I love these radios (see photo above). The Tecsun PL-390 stereo DSP radio with selectable band width- is able to pull in a slew of shortwave stations in quite clearly (of course a lot depended upon time of day and atmospheric conditions.) I can routinely receive signals from Asia, Australia, South America and Europe which is exciting!
And another one is my small Eton E100 Radio- The highlights of this one is that the stereo through headphones sounds great. Its Informative LCD display includes the frequency and the time while the radio is on (some other radios require a keypress to display the clock). It also features a nice amber backlight for the LCD display. Not to forget the sturdy whip antenna.”
Congratulations, Vimal–and many thanks to everyone who shared their photos.
Vimal’s entry was chosen at random from the 62 SWLs and ham radio operators who shared their shack/listening post photos. What an amazing number of entries!
I plan to take the many photos and notes we received from readers and turn them into an online photo galley. I’ll post this as soon as I’ve curated and formatted entries.
If you didn’t win this contest, fear not! We’re already plotting another simple & fun contest before the end of the year.
In exchange for sharing a photo of your favorite listening post or your radio shack with the SWLing Post community, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a Grundig G2 portable radio/recorder and player! The choice will be made by random selection, so everyone has an equal chance of winning.