Tag Archives: Radios

Radio Day at Mount Mitchell State Park

Troy Riedel preparing the Tecsun S-8800 and Grundig Field BT for a comparison review.

Shortly after publishing my review of the Tecsun S-8800, SWLing Post contributor Troy Riedel contacted me and asked if I would consider comparing the S-8800 to the Grundig Field BT. Of course I was very curious how the $130 Grundig Field BT might compare with the $268 Tecsun S-8800, but I’ve got a lot on my plate at the moment and didn’t really want to purchase another large portable.

Long story short: Troy found a honey of a deal on a perfect Grundig Edition Field BT via eBay. He ordered it and we decided to bring the two radios together yesterday at beautiful Mount Mitchell State Park the highest point east of the Mississippi river.

Yesterday was an ideal day, too. The weather was picture-perfect, the park was (surprisingly) not too busy and propagation was the best I’ve experienced in weeks.

Troy left early in the morning and embarked on the 6+ hour pilgrimage to Mount Mitchell–I only live an hour away, so it was a casual drive for me. We met at noon.

Parks On The Air

After a quick lunch, we deployed my Elecraft KX2 with EFT Trail-Friendly antenna and made my first Parks On The Air (POTA) activation.

You might recall I was very active during the ARRL National Parks On The Air (NPOTA) program last year, but since then I’ve done few field deployments. It was great fun to get on the air again and do a park activation for the World Wide Flora & Fauna POTA program.

While we didn’t log a lot of stations, I was still impressed we worked stations from Texas to Quebec to the Azores. Not bad for 10 watts SSB!

Sure, I only worked a handful of stations, but this activation was essentially unannounced so chasers had no advance notice. No doubt, many more POTA activations are in my future! The bug has bitten!

Radio Fun

Except for a break to eat dinner at the park restaurant and a short hike to the peak of Mount Mitchell,  we played radio until about 8:00 PM. It was amazing, uninterrupted fun.

Troy spent a lot of time comparing the Tecsun S-8800 with the Grundig Field BT and made several videos. No doubt, he’ll post his thoughts and review in the near future!

Being a bit of radio geek, I couldn’t help but bring a few “extra” radios and accessories. Here’s what I packed:

We were a little disappointed to discover that both my Tecsun PL-680 and Grundig Satellit exhibited flaky behavior.

During my S-8800 comparison tests, a few weeks ago, I did notice that sometimes when I turned on the PL-680, it was absolutely deaf. Next time I turned it on, it worked fine. Yesterday, the PL-680 simply didn’t want to perform. I’m not sure what happened.

The Grundig Satellit, on the other hand, worked great, but sometimes if you touched either the antenna or even brought your hands near the radio body while tuned to a station, it would go deaf. You could correct this by tuning off frequency, then back on–still…very strange! It’s as if the AGC or RF gain were hanging up.

Have any Post readers experienced this before? I’ll look into the issue this week and reset both radios. Perhaps that will help.

A great “Mini DXpedition”

Thank you, Troy, for suggesting the meet up and for making the pilgrimage. It was great meeting you in person! I also thoroughly enjoyed watching someone else do comparison tests and exploring a new radio–Troy certainly has a knack for doing radio evaluations!

This has encouraged me to do more meet-ups, perhaps during my travels. Great fun!

Post Readers: be on the lookout for Troy’s comparison of the Grundig Field BT and Tecsun S-8800 in the coming days/weeks (no pressure, Troy!).

UPDATE: Click here to read Troy’s comparison.

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Ed’s Homebrew Fruitcake Tin Radio

Fruit Cake Tin Radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ed Ganshirt, who writes:

I had an old car radio from the 1940’s I salvaged the parts from, and a rudimentary schematic to build by. I decided to re-assemble in the container I stowed away the parts in. Nothing special just another AM broadcast radio in an unusual cabinet (fruitcake tin.)

I love it, Ed! It’s like a broadcast band version of Rex’s Tuna Tin QRP radios!

It must have been a challenge to mount all of the components on that tin.  So how does she play?

Post readers: please comment and consider sharing your homebrew project!

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Wired: Inside Bang & Olufsen

Beolit 39 from 1938, B&O's first Radio in Bakelite (Source: Wikipedia, image by Theredmonkey)

Beolit 39 from 1938, B&O’s first Radio in Bakelite (Source: Wikipedia, image by Theredmonkey)

On the topic of beautiful radio design, I just read this Wired Magazine article which features photographer, Alastair Philip Wiper.

Wiper has been researching the Danish consumer electronics company Bang & Olufsen for his upcoming book, The Art of Impossible: The Bang & Olufsen Story. He was granted unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to B&O, where he learned about the company’s design philosophy, process and history. Here’s a short excerpt from the article:

“In the mid-1950s, design greats like Arne Jacobsen began experimenting with new materials and colors, galvanizing a wave of mid-century modern Danish furniture makers. Everything was sleek, teak, and handsome—it still is—but exhibits showing off the new pieces had a curatorial problem: no one was making modern radio cabinets, forcing curators to display decidedly outdated designs alongside the stylish new furniture. The technology definitely needed a major overhaul.

Bang & Olufsen joined a handful of radio manufacturers in rising to the challenge. The two men spent a few years doing research and working with architects and designers to design devices as beautiful as they were functional—an approach widely taken for granted today but novel at the time[..]”

I encourage you to read the full article at Wired.com and view some of the photographs in their online gallery.  If you’re not familiar with B&O design, do a simple image search online.

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The new Sangean WR-15 AM/FM radio

Sangean-AMFM-Radio

Jeff over at the excellent Herculodg blog, is about to pull the trigger on this Sangean WR-15. I must admit, I’m mighty tempted, too–about as tempted as I get for radios lacking shortwave coverage.

I love the simple design, the analog dial, and the three choices of finish: walnut, black leatherette, and silver piano finish.

At $145.95, the WR-15 is no bargain basement find, but I’m willing to bet it’ll perform quite well. Perhaps as well as my Tivoli Model One? We’ll see.

I’m sure Jeff will post a review on the Herculodge after he receives his unit in the coming weeks/months!  Thanks for the tip, Jeff!

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The Sony CF-560s: a shortwave favorite in Spain

Sony-CF-560s-2Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Jesus Leal, for contacting me and sharing photos of his Sony CF-560s shortwave receiver. I have never seen the CF-560s before. I believe the its a relatively rare receiver; indeed, I couldn’t even find one in the completed listings on eBay.

Sony-CF-560s-3
The CF-560s covers AM/FM/SW and has a built-in cassette player/recorder. Being a “boombox” style radio, I imagine the SW filter is wide and, when locked into a strong station, provides rich audio.
Sony-CF-560s

Mr. Leal, who lives in the La Mancha region of Spain, uses the Sony CF-560s for regular shortwave listening but also has a Grundig/Eton Satellit 750 in his radio arsenal.

GrundigSatellit750Any other SWLing Post readers have the Sony CF-560s? Looks like a gem of a radio.  The design certainly has strong 1980s nostalgic value.

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