Tag Archives: Paul Evans (W4/VP9KF)

Cold War Sports: High-Speed Telegraphy

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans, who shares the following short radio documentary from the BBC World Service:

The end of the Cold War in 1989 spelt the demise of a little-known, but surprisingly popular sport behind the Iron Curtain – high-speed telegraphy competitions. With the help of two of Czechoslovakia’s best former Morse-coders, we revisit the inaugural World Championship in Moscow in 1983 when the Soviet Union rolled out the red carpet for teams from across the Communist bloc. Ashley Byrne reports. The programme is a Made-In-Manchester Production.

Click here to listen to this program via the BBC.

As Paul points out, “HST is still going strong as a sport!” Indeed it is because CW is simply timeless! Thanks for the tip, Paul!

Spread the radio love

Video: Tube radio transmitter designs from the 1920s

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans (W4/VP9KF), who shares the following article from Hackaday:

The origin of the term “breadboard” comes from an amusing past when wooden bread boards were swiped from kitchens and used as a canvas for radio hobbyists to roll homemade capacitors, inductors, and switches. At a period when commercial electronic components were limited, anything within reach was fair game.

[Andy Flowers], call sign K0SM, recently recreated some early transmitters using the same resources and techniques from the 1920s for the Bruce Kelley 1929 QSO Party. The style of the transmitters are based on [Ralph Hartley]’s oscillator circuit built for Bell Telephone in 1915. Most of the components he uses are from the time period, and one of the tubes he uses is even one of four tubes from the first Transatlantic contact in 1923.[…]

Click here to continue reading at Hackaday.

Spread the radio love

Radio Deal: HRO Black Friday sale Icom IC-7300 $899.95 after rebates

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans (W4/VP9KF), who notes that HRO’s Black Friday sale features the Icom IC-7300 for $899.95 after rebates. That’s the lowest price I’ve seen on the IC-7300!  Thanks for the tip, Paul!

Click here to view this deal at Ham Radio Outlet.

Check out all of our holiday sales tips by bookmarking the tag  Black Friday Radios 2019

Do you have a deal tip?  Please share them via email, or simply leave a comment!

Spread the radio love

AM radio from a hand-wound coil and an oxidized British penny

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans, who shares the following video and article via Hackaday:

There’s been a spate of apocalypse related articles over the last few weeks, but when I saw an AM radio made from a hand-wound coil and an oxidized British penny, I couldn’t help but be impressed. We’ve covered foxhole radios, stereotypical radios that are cobbled together from found parts during wartime.

This example uses a variable capacitor for tuning, but that’s technically optional. All that’s really needed is a coil and something to work as a diode. Surprisingly, copper oxide is a semiconductor, and the surface oxidation on a penny is enough to form a rudimentary diode.[…]

Click here to read the full article at Hackaday.

Thanks for sharing this, Paul. I absolutely love simple receivers like this one. In the past, I’ve built several crystal radios and had great success hearing local AM broadcasters. Indeed, the very first kit I ever built was a crystal radio, then later a foxhole style receiver.

Post readers: Have you ever built a radio similar to this one that uses an oxidized penny?  Please comment!

Click here to read posts from our archives that focus on crystal radios.

Spread the radio love

Contayner Over-The-Horizon Radar site polluting the HF spectrum

OTH radar Contayner on 7062 and 7103 kHz on 21 Oct. at 1847 UTC (Source: IARU Region 1 Newsletter)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans, who writes:

The news from IARU Region 1 observer reports is all over the radio internet (including news sites and other blogs), but the extent of this [Russian] OTHR is grim. [Click here to read a recent ARRL News post.]

It is also entering service on a full-time basis, along with, potentially, a similar Chinese system.

Yes, it has been in testing for many years but is approaching multiple site use, soon. As the sunspot cycle comes back they may prove to be very limiting.

The antenna picture (for the transmit site) is impressive:
https://qrznow.com/russian-oth-radar-now-reported-to-be-everywhere/

(although I think that is of the old Woodpecker site, the Google Maps street view image looks somewhat different, see below).

However, it’s not so huge that it really stands out. It can be seen here:

in satellite view and can even be seen in street view here:

Note that the magic number in the phased arrays seems to be 9.

Rather worrying is that the UK continues to run, over many years now, OTHR from sovereign bases (ZC4) in Cyprus rather obviously aimed at use in Syria and Libya for use with the RAF and for Russian air space. It too can be seen on the salt marshes in the south of the island. As an active system it seems to be rather more cloaked than the Russian system, although there are some 360 degree images in Google Maps that show the towers. This was extremely annoying on the bands when the last solar cycle was near maximum from Bermuda because it was right in the main lobe when a Yagi was pointed towards Europe and was very loud. It was considerably narrower than the Russian system but occupied a solid chunk of band.

Paul, thank you for bringing this to our attention. I have seen chatter about the QRM this particular Russian OTH Radar site has created, but it seems other countries will soon be joining the OTHR QRM scene as well.


Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

Spread the radio love

A radio museum…in a subway

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans, who shares a link from Atlas Obscura featuring the Museo de la Radio in the Parque de los Venados station in Mexico City:

Upon entering the Parque de los Venados station of the Mexico City subway system, you may be surprised to find that you’ve also entered a museum. Here, the subterranean corridors double as the Museo de la Radio (Radio Museum), a small institution dedicated to the communication system’s history.

The museum’s exhibits display different radio-related devices such as lightbulbs, consoles, and microphones. The most prominent is the famous four-key xylophone with which the XEW—dubbed “the voice of Latin America”—announced its broadcasts during the golden age of the ’30s.

Other showcases contain collections of old radios, and still more highlight radio stars’ records. The display cards narrate some important events such as the first transmission, the birth of the digital radio, tidbits of curious data, and explain how the sound waves work.

The most interesting part of the museum is the radio booth, which actually broadcasts live shows. It was installed and opened in 2018, complete with the most advanced technology. One space is the speech booth, and another is the editing booth.[…]

Continue reading and view all photos at Atlas Obscura.

Spread the radio love

Paul attends “The Secret War” special exhibit at the Science Museum

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans, who writes:

From the SWLing roving foreign correspondent.

A couple of weeks before going to London on our recent trip, I was idly looking through the Science Museum web site when I spotted a special exhibit ‘The Secret War’ put on by ‘members of GCHQ’. It had to be booked in advance (but was FREE), so I duly registered and printed out our tickets.

Come the first full day of our visit, a short walk in Kensington took us to the museum and an 11am time slot. The exhibit was a little hard to find, way at the back of Floor 0 and down some stairs, however it wasn’t just shoved in a ‘lesser area’. Entry was through a computer check-in and helper. However, there was enough slack that anybody showing up could enter more or less ‘on demand’. The exhibit is limited to 100 visitors per hour (that’s the trick).

Well, it was very well done and went all the way through the earliest coding in Greece and Egypt, through WWII and Bletchley to GCHQ and modern exhibits such as Edward Snowden’s laptop.

We had the pleasure to hear G7VAK calling CQ on a straight key, so I went over and answered him and gave him a suitable signal report and we swapped cards. Paul is manning the show, it seems, through most of its run into next year [23 February, 2020]. We exchanged suitable quips about having to kill each other if we said what we couldn’t say. He had a letter about some questions asked at the exhibit printed recently in RSGB RadCom in the ‘The Last Word’.

Overall the Science Museum has improved very much, having moved from a place stuffed full of (fairly) boring exhibits, to a more open and curated layout. They have also added snack bars (very good quality but pricey) on each floor.

Well worth a visit to what is now one of the world’s best museums of any topic. One of the finest exhibits on the staircase entry to Mathematics is the recently finished Babbage machine. And it works!

P.S. Personal bias. My Uncle Fred was at Bletchley Park, Hut 6 for a couple of years before being placed overseas, including a couple of trips to the USA (shhhhhhh!)

Mum’s the word, Paul! Thank you for the quick review of this special exhibit.

If you’d like to book a free ticket for this exhibit, go to the Science Museum website and click on the “Book Now” link!

Spread the radio love