I created a survey form and left it open for about five days. In that time, we received 639 responses! If you’d like to read the results, continue scrolling or click on continue reading below. Continue reading →
I enjoyed all of the presentations and the casual conversations many of us had in the hospitality lounge and various break-out rooms. Again, kudos to the Fest organizers and all of the volunteers who moderated the various rooms and forums–you all did an amazing job!
The one thing I always pick up when hanging with other radio enthusiasts is the type or class of radio they tend to operate the most.
Case in point: I noticed one friend is currently enamored with tube/valve radios–in past years he loved compact DSP portables. Another friend switched from using primarily a portable radio to a Drake R8 series tabletop radio. I noticed that many others have been bitten the SDR bullet since last year.
For many of us, the type of radio we use daily changes over time.
For example, when I first started listening to shortwave in my youth my daily driver was a portable radio. When I got my ham license I found that I enjoyed using my general coverage transceiver connected to a multi-band doublet. Later, with the advent of Software Defined Radios, I became an avid SDR enthusiast.
At present, I’m back to using general coverage transceivers (specifically, the Icom IC-705).
Of course, I always have portables and vintage radios on the air, but they’re not my primary, or “daily driver,” these days.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John C., who writes:
“Hi Thomas, I love [the SWLing Post] and have been meaning to thank you for all of the amazing reviews. Truly a treasure trove. But as I contemplate my next radio purchase I would like to know what radio you use more than any other. In other words…what’s your daily driver??? Enquiring minds want to know! Thank you. – JC”
Thanks for your question and the kind compliment, John.
Your inquiry is one I get quite a bit, so I hope you don’t mind if I share my response here publicly.
First of all, I should state that I don’t have a single “daily driver.”
Since I evaluate, test, and review radios I spend a lot of time with a variety of new receivers and transceivers.
I’m currently evaluating the Radiwow R-108, so it goes with me pretty much everywhere since I like to test receivers in a variety of settings. I’m also packing the Tecsun PL-310ET and the CC Skywave so I have units to compare with the R-108.
My Daily Drivers
Still, there are a number of radios in my life that get heavy use. Here’s my current list based on activity:
When I travel, I try to pack as lightly as I can–perhaps some would even call me a borderline travel minimalist. For example, when I fly to Philadelphia later this month for the Winter SWL Fest, I will take only one piece of luggage, a “personal carry-on” item: the Tom Bihn Stowaway, a pack the size of a small laptop bag. The Stowaway will contain my iPad, cords/accessories, and all of my clothes and toiletries for about 5 days of travel. As you can imagine, there’s not a lot of spare room in there for radio gear (quite the understatement).
I’ll still have room in my bag for the CC Skywave SSB, though, because the receiver is so compact. In addition, it’s a little “Swiss Army Knife” of a radio which covers the AM/MW, Shortwave, WX, and AIR bands. It also has SSB mode and uses common AA batteries. The Skywave SSB is a welcome travel companion.
After acquiring the amazing Panasonic RF-B65 last year, it has become my choice full-featured portable. Of course, the RF-65B hasn’t been in production for ages, but thanks to a number of friends/enablers (including Dan Robinson and Troy Riedel) I finally found one for an acceptable price on eBay.
I’ve been incredibly pleased with the RF-B65’s performance and feel like I got a decent deal snagging one in great shape for less than $200. Only a few months prior to my purchase, it was hard to find good units under $300. Click here to check current prices, if interested.
For Morning News and Music
Since my staple morning news source, Radio Australia, went off the air, I spend a lot more time in the mornings listening to Internet radio mainly because I like listening to news sources that no longer, or never have, broadcast on the shortwaves.