Tag Archives: Dave Zantow (N9EWO)

Radio Waves: The Future of On-Air DJs, SDR Comparison, Radios That Never Were, and an Internet Radio Player for Linux

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Jack Kratoville, Dave Zantow, and Dennis Dura for the following tips:


Live From Everywhere? The American Radio DJ In An On-Demand World (1A)

iHeartMedia owns and operates 858 broadcast radio stations, serving more than 150 markets throughout the U.S. The company reaches over a quarter billion monthly listeners ?in America.

In January, news hit that iHeartMedia was reassessing its ability to adapt to the modern music industry. The company said that it plans to make “significant investments … in technology and artificial intelligence.”

However, its on-air DJs were caught off guard when they found out that the company’s restructuring plan didn’t include them.

Streaming platforms has ushered in the digital age of music where each person make their own playlists. What does that mean for the future of the on-air DJ in the United States?

Click here to listen to the audio.

A comprehensive lab comparison between multiple software defined radios (RTL-SDR.com)

Librespace, who are the people behind the open hardware/source SatNOGS satellite ground station project have recently released a comprehensive paper (pdf) that compares multiple software defined radios available on the market in a realistic laboratory based signal environment. The testing was performed by Alexandru Csete (@csete) who is the programmer behind GQRX and Gpredict and Sheila Christiansen (@astro_sheila) who is a Space Systems Engineer at Alexandru’s company AC Satcom. Their goal was to evaluate multiple SDRs for use in SatNOGS ground stations and other satellite receiving applications.

The SDRs tested include the RTL-SDR Blog V3, Airspy Mini, SDRplay RSPduo, LimeSDR Mini, BladeRF 2.0 Micro, Ettus USRP B210 and the PlutoSDR. In their tests they measure the noise figure, dynamic range, RX/TX spectral purity, TX power output and transmitter modulation error ratio of each SDR in various satellite bands from VHF to C-band.

The paper is an excellent read, however the results are summarized below. In terms of noise figure, the SDRplay RSPduo with it’s built in LNA performed the best, with all other SDRs apart from the LimeSDR being similar. The LimeSDR had the worst noise figure by a large margin.[]

Radios that Never Were (N9EWO)

Dave Zantow (N9EWO) shares a new page on his website devoted to receivers and amateur transceivers that never quite made it to the marketplace. []

Shortwave: A Modern Internet Radio Player for Linux (It’s Floss)

Brief: Shortwave is a modern looking open source Internet Radio player for Linux desktop. We take a quick look at it after its recent stable release.

Shortwave is an interesting open-source radio player that offers a good-looking user interface along with a great experience listening to the Internet stations. It utilizes a community-powered database for the Internet stations it lists.

Shortwave is actually a successor of the popular radio app for Linux, Gradio. Its developer Felix joined GNOME and discontinued Gradio to create Shortwave from scratch in Rust programming language. If you were using Gradio as your preferred Internet radio station player, you can import the library as well.

Recently, Shortwave released its first stable version and seems to push new updates after that as well.[]


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Radio Waves: Digitizing Pakistan, BBC MW Closures, Lowe HF-250 Review, and BBC News suspends 450 job cuts

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Alan, Mike, and Dave Zantow for the following tips:


Government to fully digitize Radio Pakistan (Radio Pakistan)

The incumbent government, under its vision of introducing modern trends and technology in different sectors, has planned to fully digitize the state-owned Radio Pakistan.

This information has been revealed in official documents during the ongoing week-long national workshop on Digital Radio Migration policy of Radio Pakistan at Pakistan Broadcasting Academy, Islamabad.

The digitization will bring about a revolution in the field of broadcasting in the country, and will capture the audience at home and abroad including South Asia and Central Asia and the Middle East through quality news, current affairs and programs.

Under the plan, the biggest 1000-Kilowatt DRM Medium-wave transmitting station of Radio Pakistan will be set up at Fort Monroe hill station in Dera Ghazi Khan district in South Punjab at an estimated cost of three billion rupees.

It will be the first ever most powerful but digital transmitter of Radio Pakistan that is to be established in center of the country as part of Phase-II of Digital Radio Migration policy and it will help cover the entire population of Pakistan with crystal clear and noise-free waves.

The project has already been approved by the federal cabinet while the Punjab government has been asked to acquire land for the said purpose.

Under Phase-II of DRM plan, five DRM+FM transmitters of 10-kilowatt each will be installed in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad and Multan in the existing Radio Stations.

Besides, eight DRM+FM transmitters of five kilowatt each will be installed in Quetta, Peshawar, Gilgit, Skardu, Gwadar, Mirpur (Azad Kashmir), Khairpur and Narowal in the existing radio stations.

The phase-II of the plan would be accomplished in three years with an overall estimated cost of 3,153 million rupees.

And under Phase-III of the plan, four DRM medium wave transmitters of 100-kilowatt each will be installed in Lahore, Skardu, Quetta and Peshawar for strategic purposes.[]

BBC Radio to close more medium wave transmitters (Radio Today)

The BBC says it is closing a further 18 medium wave transmitters across England, Scotland and Wales in the next stage of its plan to cut costs.

Services being closed range from BBC Radio Solent’s two AM frequencies on the South Coast to BBC Radio Scotland’s service in Aberdeen.

Six more BBC Local Radio services will no longer be transmitted on AM – they are Three Counties Radio (630 and 1161 kHz), BBC Radio Merseyside (1485 KHz), BBC Radio Newcastle (1458 KHz), BBC Radio Solent and BBC Radio Solent (for Dorset) 999 and 1359 KHz, BBC Radio Cornwall (630 and 657 kHz) and BBC Radio York (666 and 1260 KHz).

Kieran Clifton, Director, BBC Distribution & Business Development explains: “The majority of radio listening in the UK – including to the BBC – is now digital, and digital listening is continuing to grow.

“This change was planned as long ago as 2011, but we have taken a measured approach to implement it to ensure that as many of you as possible have already moved on to other ways of receiving the services before we make this change. We know that the changes will impact some of you, and that’s why we’re speaking about the plans again now. We want to make sure that people listening to these transmissions will be able to use other methods to hear the same programmes.”[]

Dave’s review of the Lowe HF-250 (N9EWO)

[…]As far as audio quality goes, it’s extremely difficult to beat the Lowe HF-250. Mind you it has it’s share of “bug-a-boos” as well.

In our view it has held up much better in it’s old age vs. the AOR AR7030. Properly operating and in decent condition samples are fairly rare on the used market now (even more so in North America). Most owners know what the receiver is and hang on to them. But once a great while one does show up on the used market. Click here to read the full review.

BBC News suspends 450 job cuts to ensure Covid-19 coverage (BBC News)

BBC News has suspended plans to cut 450 jobs as it faces the demands of covering the coronavirus pandemic.

The job losses were announced in January and were part of a plan to complete a £80m savings target by 2022.

Outlets due to be hit include BBC Two’s Newsnight, BBC Radio 5 Live and the World Service’s World Update programme.

Director general Tony Hall gave staff the news on Wednesday, a week after the broadcaster delayed the end of the free TV licence scheme for all over-75s.

Lord Hall said “we’re suspending the consultation on those saving plans”.

He told staff: “We’ve got to get on with doing the job that you’re doing really brilliantly.

“It would be inappropriate. We haven’t got the resource to plough ahead with those plans at the moment, so we’ll come back to that at some point.

“But for the moment we just want to make sure you are supported and you’ve got the resources to do the job that you and your colleagues are doing amazingly.”[]


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Dave updates and adds “light” reviews

The CC Skywave

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who writes:

Just FYI, for those who may have missed this :

My light reviews on the CCrane Skywave and Retekess TR604 (AM/FM only set), are now posted on my web page. These are the first 2 reviews on this page :

http://n9ewo.angelfire.com/misc.html

Also have updated my V-115 / V115 review. New test sample with the latest 1.4 firmware.

http://n9ewo.angelfire.com/v115.html

Thanks for the update, Dave. In your review you note the virtues of the Tivdio/Retekess V-115 (a.k.a. Audiomax SRW-710S) as an mp3 player. That’s how I’ve been using my unit as of late. It makes for a nice portable player with reasonable audio. The last time I traveled to Quebec for a couple months, I used this rig to make a few off-air recordings of my favorite FM radio program: C’est si bon” with Claude Saucier. I only recently re-discovered these recordings on the MicroSD card in my radio and have been enjoying listening to them since.

Listening to the BBC Midwinter Broadcast, with some limited success, on June 21, 2017 in Québec.

I also recommend the V-115 as a very affordable radio that can record off-air broadcasts. As we’ve also mentioned in past reviews–and as Dave notes–it has some issues with internally-generated noises, etc. but for the price it’s hard to complain. It’s currently $24.99 shipped on Amazon (affiliate link).

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Glenn Hauser’s World of Radio extra program from September 08, 1984

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who writes:

Rosebud Reservation location in South Dakota

One of Glenn Hauser’s more interesting “extra” programs to me over the years was his radio 1981 summer vacation recordings to South Dakota (near the Nebraska border).

Attached is the entire WRNO recording of that program (which aired on Sep 8, 1984). This was before he “air numbered” the programs.

Station KINI web site (station active today) : https://www.rosebudmedianetwork.com/
Stream : http://listen.streamon.fm/kini

Click here to download the audio.

Amazing, Dave! Thank you for sharing this recording.

Post Readers: Keep in mind that you can still comment on this WOR post for a chance to win an Eton Mini receiver! This giveaway will close on Friday, September 27, 2019.

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“Father Knows Best” episode features shortwave radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who notes the following episode of “Father Knows Best” (link below) features shortwave radio. Dave also points out that the website streaming this episode can be somewhat slow to load, but is very watchable.

Click here to view on Shout Factory TV.

Thanks for the tip, Dave!

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New indoor passive loop antenna for shortwave

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who notes:

Here is an interesting looking indoor passive HF loop antenna [photo above] that Randy McIntosh just started selling in the US. Made in Greece. Model TLA500C. Sorry it’s not for MW.

Here’ are the specifications/description from the eBay page:

This sale is for an HF magnetic loop antenna that should be attractive to anyone living in an apartment, residence, or other location where it is not possible to erect an outside dipole antenna. If you can erect an outside antenna, this is always the best solution for reception as no inside antenna can compete with a good outside antenna for the very best signal reception. But erecting an outside antenna is not always possible for many people desiring to listen to amateur radio or shortwave signals. Thus, this antenna offers a solution to such hobbyists handicapped by personal physical limitations to mount an outside antenna, minimal yard space to erect such an antenna, apartment living, or HOA restrictions.

This antenna spans a tuning range spanning 3.5 MHz through 40 MHz and thus covers 80 – 10 meters on the amateur radio bands, all international shortwave bands plus the 11 meter CB bands. The antenna comes with a 3′ coaxial cable to attach the antenna BNC output to a SO-259/PL-259 input of your receiver (most receivers).

Simple assembly directions are also included and you may be view this information in the last picture at the top of this listing. If you have a different input on your receiver other than the PL-259, you will need to acquire the proper interconnect cable from another Ebay seller. Assembly takes 5-10 minutes using only a proper sized Phillips head screwdriver and the antenna can be disassembled to transport to a remote DX location or for convenience in your travel luggage…..or as our picture shows, located permanently at your home listening room or bedside. Depending upon your preference and the dimensions of your receiver, the antenna can be set on top of or next to your receiver (see pictures at the top of this listing) during operation. Please remember that this is a “receive only” antenna and cannot be used to transmit signals.

Features:

  • non amplified….no batteries required
  • works on wide variety of communications receivers both stationary or portable
  • light weight aluminum construction weighs about 1 lb with the interconnect cable
  • portable – can be disassembled and folded into a low stature for compact transport
  • sharp tuning helps filter strong non-desired out-of-band signals
  • low noise loop design helps filter RF noise often found inside a home or apartment from lighting or appliances
  • tuning range of 3.5 MHz – 40 MHz
  • small loop antenna assembles to 18″ diameter at the broadest point
  • great alternative for signal reception when an outside antenna is not possible
  • very easy set up and connection

Thanks for the tip, Dave! This looks like a practical design for portable and low-profile operation.

Since it is passive antenna design, I image you would have to re-tune the antenna for peak performance each time you shift frequencies. It looks like the control panel would make this a pretty simple process.

Click here to view this antenna on eBay (partner link).

Post readers: If anyone has used this antenna, please comment with your impressions or contact me with your review.

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Dave’s updated SDRplay RSP1A review

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who writes:

Our greatly “Updated” SDRplay RSP1A review is now available (with new number two 2019 manufactured test sample). As usual with our web pages be sure and have pop up blocker on full (allow no pop ups) and browser security settings at default or above.

http://n9ewo.angelfire.com/sdrplay.html

Thanks for sharing this, Dave!

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