Tag Archives: Michael Taniwha

Scientists studying wireless electric transmission in Central Texas

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Michael Taniwha, who shares the following story from  KWTX (my comments follow the article excerpt):

CARL’S CORNER, Texas (KWTX) An oddly shaped, but prominent, roadside construction project along Interstate 35-East just north of Carl’s Corner is actually a high-tech study into the feasibility of transmitting electricity from place to place without wires.

Driving toward Dallas on Interstate 35 East, just past Carl’s Corner on the right, there’s a unique tower. It has a large circular base, a smaller round structure jutting from the top, and on top of the pole sits a large, round, metal-looking ball.

One of the broadcast engineers at KWTX noticed the thing while coming back from Dallas, took a picture and brought it to the newsroom so a reporter could figure out what it is.

Guesses ranged from some kind of electric-powered car charging port, or a radar for Dallas Fort Worth International Airport or Love Field, maybe something to do with the Internet and even a suggestion that it might be a prop on a new Star Trek movie set.

Turns out the first guess was closest.

It’s part of an experiment to study the feasibility of transmission of electric energy from source to user without using wires.

It’s being undertaken by a Waxahachie company named Viziv and it uses a technology they call a surface wave system.[…]

Click here to view the full article at KWTX.

Thanks for the tip, Mike!  I have read about wireless electrical transmission before, but was curious how Viziv might describe how it works.  The following was taken from their website:

Our Viziv surface wave system allows the Earth itself to be used for clean, safe and efficient transfer of power between any two points on the globe, wirelessly. The system represents a paradigm shift in the science of electromagnetics.

Today’s power distribution system of wired grids is fragile and aging. The transition to a global wireless system utilizing the Zenneck surface wave is a breakthrough that will effectively “cut the cord” between power generation facilities and the local distribution grids. This breakthrough will significantly enhance energy surety, reliability, and resiliency of the world’s electrical distribution systems.

Viziv Technologies has developed a system of patent-pending processes and equipment to efficiently launch the Zenneck surface wave. Currently, our research and commercialization efforts are focused on energy transfer and communications, but we recognize that this technology has the potential to impact numerous sectors of the economy.

A Zenneck Surface Wave is an electromagnetic wave that uses the surface of the earth as a waveguide enabling it to carry communications signals or electrical power efficiently over long distances.

This wireless power system will employ a “transmitter probe,” located near a power generation plant, to launch a Zenneck carrier wave. Receiver antennae will be positioned appropriately around the world to receive the signal and download the power into a local microgrid or conventional grid architecture.

The wave is impervious to weather effects such as lightning or geomagnetic disturbance or electromagnetic pulses (EMP), including those associated with a nuclear detonation. Unlike a wired grid, the Zenneck wave cannot be physically attacked and cyber attacks would be challenged to target or cause cascading failures to a wireless system.

When launched, the Zenneck Surface Wave literally envelops the planet like a balloon, enabling transmitter probes to be placed anywhere power can be generated and receivers to be placed anywhere power is needed.

I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t quite wrap my head around this sort of transmission technology.  I suppose I understand some of the underlying theory, but it’s hard for me to believe this would actually be an efficient means of transmitting electricity.  It also seems there would need to be extensive environmental impact studies in terms of this sort of loaded RF exposure, although Viziv adresses this:

“When the power industry looks at safety, they focus on two key factors: the potential for shock, and the local RF field strengths. Viziv surface wave systems meet the most stringent standards for both.”

Post Readers: Anyone familiar with this technology? Have any readers in Texas noticed this tower near Carl’s Corner? Please comment!

Spread the radio love

Michelle Guthrie sacked as board seeks “fresh leadership” and focus on “long-term interests” of ABC engagement

(Source: The Interpreter via Michael Taniwha)

Restoring Australia’s Pacific media presence

by Kevin McQuillan

The departure of ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie just two-and-a-half years into her five-year term reflects the board’s decision to seek “fresh leadership”, according to Chairman Justin Milne. Announcing Guthrie’s sacking today, Milne said “the board’s foremost consideration was the long-term interests of our own people and the millions of Australians who engage with ABC content every week”.

What Milne didn’t talk about was the millions of listeners, viewers and online visitors to the ABC who have been lost since the federal government and the ABC itself made cuts to its international output. The appointment of a new Managing Director opens up the opportunity for Guthrie’s replacement to re-engage the ABC with its international audience, particularly in the Pacific.

As respected former international broadcasting executives Ian MacIntosh and Bruce Dover pointed out last month on The Interpreter: “Australia’s international voice, once strong, influential and broadcast across much of the Asia Pacific, has become little more than a croak into the ether.”

The demise of a strong Australian media voice throughout the Pacific has seen Radio NZ Pacific (formerly Radio NZ International) become the dominant international media outlet in the south-west Pacific, Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia. Lurking in the background is Radio China International, which has taken many of the ABC’s shortwave frequencies, and is reportedly spending billions in foreign language programming to boost its presence.[…]

Click here to read the full article at The Interpreter.

Spread the radio love

Repairing the Tecsun PL-600 after electrostatic discharge (ESD)

SWLing Post reader, Michael Taniwha (NZ1MT), has kindly documented how he repaired his Tecsun PL-600 after it went silent on the shortwave bands. If this has happens to you, don’t toss your PL-600, use Mike’s excellent guide below for an inexpensive repair.
(Click on images to enlarge)

TECSUN PL-600 – Electrostatic Discharge Repair

My TECSUN PL-600 had been a trusty bedside radio companion for the last two years. The radio is also my alarm clock and I use the timers to wake me up each morning to my local AM station WHYN or Radio Australia on SW.

On November 29, 2013 I turned the TECSUN PL-600 on and attempted to tune into some SW stations and was surprised to find the radio stone deaf on all the SW bands….similar to the Steely Dan song FM (No Static At All) except in this case it was SW (No Static At All). Immediately my first thought was that the radio had probably suffered an Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) when I had touched the external antenna while moving it around earlier in the day. I reset the radio and tested all the bands, AM and FM bands seemed to be working OK, yet SW remained dead.

My next step was to open up the radio and look for the obvious.


Upon opening the radio I was surprised to see two back-to-back IN4148 diodes (D17 & D18) fitted across the external antenna input to ground and that the diode D17 was cracked in half. The back-to-back diodes offer a very high resistance at the micro-volt RF level, but will conduct once the forward voltage (Vf) raises above 1.0V. So for the cost of a few pennies we have a relatively cheap and dirty ESD protection circuit.


My first thought on the cause of the cracked diode was a manufacturing defect when the diode was soldered in at the factory (in fact I later discovered it was likely broken during assembly of the rear cover at the factory – read on). My next thought was just my luck that the broken diode was probably in the polarity direction that I needed the ESD protection.

The next step was to locate a schematic diagram and start circuit tracing to find the likely blown front-end RF pre-amplifier FET/MOSFET that had been damaged. As luck would have it a schematic of sorts is posted in the TECSUN PL-660/PL-600 Yahoo Groups. See the following Link.

The only issue is the text is mostly in Chinese! However, the parts on the radio PC board are clearly labeled as are the parts on the schematic.

IMGP0109 schem

What I quickly notice is that the schematic shows no ESD protection on the front end (upper highlighted circle), but in fact the radio has additional parts D17and D18 (the back-to-back diodes), and C57 on the PC board coming from the external antenna jack. Whenever the external antenna jack is used the jack disconnects the radios telescopic antenna which is connected to C68 to the antenna jack switch circuit. After this antenna switch the schematic from C126 onwards is correct. Following the schematic we see that both the telescopic antenna and the external antenna go through the DX/NORM/LOCAL antenna switch to the IQ3 (AGC?) transistor and then to the RF pre-amp 2Q1 FET (lower highlighted circle). My educated guess was that the 2Q1 FET type 2SK2394 was damaged by the ESD. Yes the 2Q1 it is a very small SMD type FET.


My reasoning for the 2Q1 having failed is that FM reception was not affected as the antenna circuit goes directly to the TA75358AP FM decoder chip IC1.


Similarly, AM reception was not affected as the AM signal is primarily from the ferret bar AM ANT coil that uses the 1Q1 FET for RF pre-amplification.

PL-600 Scem2

At this stage I contacted Kaito Electronics Inc. the official US based distributor of TECSUN radios and inquired if they provide component level repairs or provide replacement SMD components. The answer was no to both questions.

I then started hunting around online to locate a replacement 2SK2394 FET which is a Sanyo manufactured FET and finally found one for sale on eBay from hkutsource (Hong Kong UT Source) for $2 + $4 shipping. See following eBay link.


This FET is listed as a 2SK2394-7 but all the specifications line up against the specifications for a 2SK2394. I ordered it on December 6th and it arrived 10 days later enclosed in an ESD bag and packaged in a sturdy little box.




Now the fun starts. To replace the 2Q1 SMD FET I used my needle nosed 40W soldering iron, vacuum pump solder remover and wore my ESD strap to stay grounded. First step was to remove the existing 2Q1 FET.


Next step was to install the replacement 2Q1, if you haven’t worked with SMD devices before let’s just say it is like working with a live insect, they are small and seem to move around on their own accord.

After much tooth pick (my hi-tech SMD tool) maneuvering I finally had it installed. OK I admit it is a little skewed. Have you noticed I have also installed a replacement D17 diode at the top right of the picture?


The moment of truth! At this stage I did a quick radio check and fired up the PL-600 on the SW band and tuned into CHU, the Canadian Time Station on 3330 kHz, and picked up a time pip signal. In addition I was tuning into other SW stations and had plenty of static as well.

I now decided to install additional ESD protection on the telescopic antenna input as well using two IN4148 back-to-back diodes. After a quick hunt around in my junk box I located an old PC board with a few IN4148 diodes attached. Quickly removed and tested them using my multimeter diode checker.



I then installed the additional ESD diodes as shown below (the ATN label on the PC board is where the antenna wire from the telescopic antenna on the back over is attached).


Finally it was time to reassemble the radio. This is when I started having real problems as the rear cover just would not reattach. When I looked closely I could see that the plastic support screw hole on the rear cover for the telescopic antenna sits partially against the PC board where the D17 diode is located. Now that explains why that diode was cracked when I first opened up the radio at the beginning of this repair. It appears the two ESD diodes were probably a design afterthought and the rear case wasn’t adjusted to accommodate their location on the PC board.


To get around this issue I removed the replacement D17 and relocated it to the lower part of the PC board below C57. Once I had moved D17 I could now reassemble the radio and again tested the radio. My TECSUN PL-600 is now back to its trusty role beside my bed and picking up SW stations.


In summary if you have a TECSUN PL-600 or PL-660 that is deaf on the SW band it is likely to be an ESD damaged 2Q1 RF pre-amplifier 2SK2394 FET. For $6 and some time and effort you can replace the FET and have your radio back up and running like new.

Michael Taniwha – NZ1MT
Email: To send Michael an email, simply insert his callsign @YMAIL.COM
December 17, 2013

Many thanks, Mike, for the excellent documentation and detailed photos! 

Note that you can also download Mike’s guide as a PDF on the Tecsun PL-660/600 Yahoo Group (membership required).

Spread the radio love