Tag Archives: HRO

Radio Waves: 20K Hz & The Buzzer, Cuba Jamming, Rugby Radio Station soon a school, HRO Opens a store in FL, Police Use Morse, Tool Box Spy Radio, and “Einstein Listened”

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 Paul, David Goren, Pete Polanyk, Ulis Fleming, Troy Riedel, Tracy Wood, Dan Robinson, and Kris Partridge for the following tips:


The Buzzer (Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast)

This episode was written and produced by Olivia Rosenman.

Since World War I, countries around the world have been broadcasting mysterious numerical messages via shortwave radio. Though concrete evidence is hard to come by, the general consensus is that these coded messages are meant for undercover agents operating abroad. And one particular Russian station may have an even more sinister purpose. Featuring computer engineer Andrus Aaslaid, historian Maris Goldmanis, and documentary photographer Lewis Bush.

Cuba Jamming Ham Radio? Listen For Yourself (IEEE Spectrum)

A public SDR network triangulates the island as the source of mystery signals

By Stephen Cass

As anti-government protests spilled onto the streets in Cuba on July 11, something strange was happening on the airwaves. Amateur radio operators in the United States found that suddenly parts of the popular 40-meter band were being swamped with grating signals. Florida operators reported the signals were loudest there, enough to make communication with hams in Cuba impossible. Other operators in South America, Africa, and Europe also reported hearing the signal, and triangulation software that anyone with a web browser can try placed the source of the signals as emanating from Cuba.

Cuba has a long history of interfering with broadcast signals, with several commercial radio stations in Florida allowed to operate at higher than normal power levels to combat jamming. But these new mystery signals appeared to be intentionally targeting amateur radio transmissions. A few hours after the protest broke out on the 11th, ham Alex Valladares (W7HU) says he was speaking with a Cuban operator on 7.130 megahertz in the 40-meter band, when their conversation was suddenly overwhelmed with interference. “We moved to 7170, and they jam the frequency there,” he says. Valladares gave up for the night, but the following morning, he says, “I realize that they didn’t turn off those jammers. [Then] we went to [7]140 the next day and they put jamming in there.”[]

New school at home of former radio station on track for autumn launch (Coventry Telegraph)

Houlton School, where Rugby Radio Station once stood, is set take its first influx of pupils in September

Plans for a new school at the historic former home of Rugby Radio Station are being fine-tuned and remain on track for a September start.

Houlton School, which will be named after the town in America that received the first transatlantic voice broadcast from Rugby Radio Station in 1927, will take its first influx of 180 Year 7 pupils this autumn.

The school, which forms part of the 6,200-home urban extension in Houlton, east of Rugby town centre, will take a new year group of 180 pupils every 12 months.

Michael McCulley, the school’s Principal Designate, said: “Whilst building a fantastic £39m new school during three lockdowns has had its challenges, we are also acutely aware that we have had a completely blank page from which to develop our exciting curriculum and pastoral programme.

“This freedom has been important as we have needed to evolve to the changing needs of our first group of students.[]

Ham Radio Outlet to open store in Florida (Amateur Radio Newsline)

Ham Radio Outlet, the nationwide amateur radio retailer in the US, has announced that its ongoing expansion plans will include a store in the state of Florida. The new store will join 12 already open in such states as California in the West, where the company is based, to Delaware in the East, Arizona and Texas in the South, New Hampshire in the North. The company’s announcement on social media set off a wave of speculation about the new location, especially on Instagram where the company wrote, “We’re not telling yet! We’re open to suggestions.” The closest Ham Radio Outlet to Florida is in Atlanta, Georgia. The company, which calls itself the world’s largest supplier of amateur radio equipment, is also known for shipping internationally.

Old is gold: In times of satellite & internet, Pune cops keep Morse Code in use as a robust stand-by communication mode (The Indian Express)

Every Sunday, an operator with Pune Police’s wireless wing sends a Morse Code message to the office of the Director General of Police, Maharashtra.

IN THE era of satellite communication, which involves transmitting signals into space and back, and internet based systems transferring gigabytes of data in a flash, police have kept alive the age-old system of Morse Code – a primitive method of sending messages in the form of dots and dashes.

Every Sunday, an operator with Pune Police’s wireless wing sends a Morse Code message to the office of the Director General of Police, Maharashtra. While this is their way of paying tributes to one of the earliest modes of telecommunication, it is primarily a way of maintaining a robust stand-by mode of message delivery in case all other means of communication fail.

Pune City police have recently started a series of tweets featuring the communication systems used by the police and their evolution till date. On Sunday, Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta tweeted, “As an ode to the beginning of wireless communications, the Commissioner’s Office still uses Morse Code to transmit Messages every Sunday.”[]

Antiques Roadshow: Spy radio disguised as toolbox found in garden shed worth huge sum (The Express)

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW saw a World War II spy radio which was disguised as a toolbox fetch a huge valuation when it travelled to Kenilworth Castle.

Antiques Roadshow’s expert Mark Smith marvelled at the ingenuity of a spy radio which was used in World War Two in a recent episode. The item, from the outside, was made to look like a toolbox but when opened, displayed a detailed radio which could be “powered by any source”. So how much was it worth? Mark put a £10,000 to £15,000 price tag on it.[]

Einstein Listened (WNYC)

Former WNYC director Seymour N. Siegel suggested that WNYC once received fan mail from Einstein. As I continue to look far and wide for evidence of this alleged bit of praise, I can’t help but wonder, what broadcast prompted the great man to write? Alas, so far, the document has eluded me. But, we do know that the father of the theory of relativity was a subscriber to both the WNYC and WQXR program guides. And we have no less than Erwin Panofsky, the noted German-American art historian and friend of Einstein’s, to thank for that.

It all began when the distinguished gang at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey decided to chip in and build the Nobel laureate a “high-fidelity” radio for his 70th birthday. The 1949 gift included subscriptions to the WNYC, WQXR, and WABF program guides.[]


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The lab599 Discovery TX-500 QRP transceiver price and anticipated delivery via HRO

This evening, I discovered that HRO now has the long-awaited lab599 TX-500 transceiver available for purchase on their website.

I had actually placed an order for the radio, but I’ve asked to cancel it because I should have a loaner available for review.

Without a doubt, the TX-500 is one of the most anticipated QRP transceivers this year. Field operators have always wished for a rugged, weather-resistant portable radio and the TX-500 looks like it will fit the bill! Based on some of the videos we’ve seen, it should perform as well.

Click here to check out the TX-500 on the HRO website ($789.95 US at time of posting).

Update: HRO informs me that the lead time, or anticipated delivery is still weeks away.

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Ham Radio Outlet open for online and call-in orders during pandemic

(Source: Ham Radio Outlet via Dan Robinson)

Coronavirus Update
March 24, 2020

As you are aware, stores across the country have closed their doors to the public or restricted access to curb-side pickup only. During these times Ham Radio Outlet has stayed open and conducted normal business in areas that do not have federal, state, or city mandates.

States such as Ohio, Louisiana, Delaware, California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, Michigan, and others have ‘Shelter-In-Place’ orders. Other states are very soon to follow.

This morning the Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, spoke to the nation and indicated the following:

“I want America to understand, this week it’s going to get bad! The disease is spreading because many people — especially young people — are not abiding by guidance to stay at home and practice social distancing. Right now, there are not enough people out there who are taking this seriously.”

In order to protect the staff and customers of Ham Radio Outlet and to continue to operate in a safe manner HRO will be closed to walk in traffic at all locations effective 3/25/2020. Stores will continue to take phone calls, online orders, and ship product so long as we are legally allowed to operate. We encourage curb-side pickup where you may call in an order and then call into the store when you arrive at the facility. One of our staff will bring out the product to your vehicle.

Ham Radio Outlet will continue to monitor local, state, and national guideliness and adjust our store policies accordingly. HRO may change to something more restrictive in the near future. Our sincere hope is that we can return to business as usual as soon as possible, but until then we want to ensure the safety of both our staff and you, our customer.

For up-to-date information of any store’s status please visit our Coronavirus Status Page on our website located at: https://www.hamradio.com/coronavirus

If you have any questions regarding this policy you may direct those questions to Steve Gilmore, National Sales Manger, Ham Radio Outlet, 14803 Build America Dr. Building B, Woodbridge, Virginia 22191, Phone: 800-444-4799 | email: woodbridge@hamradio.com

Sincerely

-Ham Radio Outlet

HRO is still open for online and call-in orders–click here to check out their online catalog.

I did note that the Icom IC-7300 is now only $879.95 after rebates. That a lot of radio for the money!

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Microtelecom Perseus SDRs at Ham Radio Outlet

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian Penney, who writes:

I saw your post about the availability of the Perseus SDR. They are still available brand new through HRO. I ordered one in the fall of 2019.

HRO said they were getting them new from SSB-Electronic GmbH in Germany.

Click here to view at HRO.

Thanks for the tip, Brian! The price is quite competitive at $749.95 US as well–certainly the best option for those of us living in the US.

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The National HRO-5TA1: Parting is such sweet sorrow…

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m in the process of selling and giving away radio gear that I no longer use or that’s been sitting on the workbench way too long.

This is an easier process when it involves modern gear, as I have comparatively little attachment to radios I could go out and purchase once again, should I feel so moved. The only modern portables I keep, regardless, are those I must have on hand for comparison testing and reviews. And, yes, I do have a number of favorites I never intend to sell.

But when it comes to vintage gear?  Letting go is hard to do.

A few years ago, I acquired a bunch of vintage gear and accessories from a friend whose father was a radio operator in WWII. Since then, I’ve been selling this equipment and giving the proceeds to our non-profit (ETOW). I’ve also donated a lot of equipment to the Hickory Aviation Museum in North Carolina––I’m a member, and have been piecing together an AN/ARC-8 system for permanent display (only now lacking a good BC-348).

The only receiver I kept for myself was a National HRO-5TA1. It’s totally original and has likely not been operated since the late 1940s.

In a sense, this is the radio equivalent of a “barn find.”

I love the HRO dial and the overall aesthetics of this vintage set.  It absolutely shouts “1940s” radio––! These sets were initially manufactured during WWII under some large orders. Indeed, the “H.R.O.” acronym is said to be the National internal designation of the series…meaning, “Hellva Rush Order.” There were many variations of the National HRO; mine was the 1946 “5TA1.”

The HRO-5TA1 uses coils to change bands. My HRO has the full set of coils and even the coil box. To change coils, you simply pull out (unplug) the coil from the front of the receiver and plug in a new one.

The power supply is self-contained and connects to the HRP-5TA1 via a four conductor plug.

The back panel of the receiver couldn’t be more simple.

Inside, it’s impressively clean for its age; check this out:

If you can’t tell, letting this one go is going to be one of the toughest I’ve experienced. Parting will, indeed, be sweet sorrow. I must give someone else an opportunity to put this girl on the air, else it will sit here for many more years before I have an opportunity to do the necessary upgrades to make her airworthy again (needs at least recapping).

This weekend, my buddy, Vlado (N3CZ) and I will reserve a couple of tables at the Greenwood, SC hamfest. Unless I sell the HRO-5TA1 beforehand, you’ll find it on my table there!

On that note, readers, please comment if you have a suggestion what I should charge for this set. You can also comment if you think I’m crazy for selling it. It’s not going to be easy!

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Photos: HRO Milwaukee Superfest 2017

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow, who shares the following photos from Ham Radio Outlet’s “Superfest” in Milwaukee this past weekend.  Dave notes:

“Turnout was OK busy but not overcrowded. They had a “in store special” on the Icom IC-7300, few pennies under $ 1100. (after the $ 100. rebate). Saw at least 2 sold when I was around the main counter. I myself did not make any purchases.”

Thanks for the photos, Dave!

The HRO Milwaukee store appears to have an excellent selection of inventory. And an Icom IC-7300 for $1100 US?  That’s a great deal, in my opinion.

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