Tag Archives: Rawad Hamwi

Guest Post: Rawad shares his radio story

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rawad Hamwi, who shares the following guest post:


My Story With Radios

by Rawad Hamwi

My passion for the world of radios started 15 years ago when I “accidentally” got my hand on a vintage Sanyo U4SS radio/cassette player.

At that time, FM didn’t mean that much to me, and to make the long story short, it was anything but interesting! So let’s move on and discover that SW band.

I was totally shocked with the findings! Music of different genres, languages I heard for the first time ever, bizarre sounds, Morse broadcasts, etc.. However, the most chilling and exotic thing which caught my attention was that weird “presumably” number station, broadcasting an endless and never-ending loop of “Alpha, Bravo, Charlie”! I could never ever forget that! That SW “thing” was quite interesting, isn’t it?

Back in 2004, the shortwave band was HEAVILY crowded with so many stations from all over the globe, and the idea of being able to listen to all of that stuff without moving away from your couch was something interesting!

Over that period, I owned some portable shortwave receivers/antennas, starting with the Grundig G3, Tecsun PL-660, and last but not least, the trust-worthy Sony ICF-SW7600GR with Sony AN-LP1 active antenna and the Terk Advantage AM antenna, that’s just to name but a few.

And now, drum roll, please!! May I proudly present the legendary Zenith Solid State Trans-Oceanic Radio Receiver. That armored tank is far from anything portable in today’s terms! But still, its reputation can’t be questioned.

Zenith Transoceanic

 

Last Christmas (Dec – 2018), my uncle gave me his Sony ICF-7600D which was in a perfect cosmetic/working condition. It was sitting in his drawer for almost 20 years without being used! Operating that “piece of history” is satisfying!

Sony ICF-7600D

A year before, my grandparents gave me their “Made in Japan” Sony ICF-SW11. You may notice that screen protector over its display, it did a good job in disguising some fine scratches. This radio had been used occasionally, though it’s a solid performer.

Sony ICF-SW11

Whoa, lots of radios to choose from! A decision was made by giving the Grundig G3, Tecsun PL-660, and the Sony ICF-7600GR/AN-LP1+Terk Advantage a short break and keeping them in my hometown (Lebanon). Both the 7600D and SW11 will join me in Saudi Arabia for at least 6 months until I return back.

Here comes the turning point! Last month, there was a great deal on eBay. A decent Sony ICF-2010 with an above-average condition. I didn’t think twice before buying it, I wanted that radio a long time back and at last, at last, it’s here..sitting on my desk!

Sony ICF-SW2010 ICF-2010

To add some nostalgia to the scene, a brand-new vintage “Made in Japan” Seiko World Time Rate Exchanger was listed on eBay, and you can predict what happened next! It was a beautiful add-on.

It joined my vintage Casio DQ-580 alarm clock that was set to display UTC time

Unfortunately, Sony ICF-2010s had some issues with their front-end FET if they were hit by a strong static charge. The solution was by building a DIY protection circuit, based on a schematic available online.

The random wire antenna I use is connected to a 9:1 impedance transformer for the purpose of impedance matching, and to add more protection, a lightning arrester joined the setup. Furthermore, some folks said that winding the 50-ohm coaxial feed cable to a toroid could improve the reception, so..why don’t I give it a try?!

Finally, the BNC male plug coming out of my protection black box is coupled with a female BNC to male 3.5 mm mono adapter which goes towards radio’s external AM antenna socket.

Now, why don’t I utilize the FM band too? I have two in-car FM transmitters. The first one is connected to a satellite receiver to transmits its audio feed via a RCA to 3.5 mm stereo cable, and the second one is attached to a Chromecast Audio device.

-1-Turn on the transmitter
-2- Go to TuneIn
-3- Look after “Conyers Old Time Radio”
-4- Pipe that audio stream throughout Chromecast
-5- Set your radio’s sleep timer to 30 minutes and…I wish you a very good night!!


iCluster ($2.99 for iPhone and iPad) is a useful tool I regularly use when listening to amateur bands over shortwave DXWatch.com and DXMaps.com can be helpful too.

Google’s Play Store contains much more radio-related apps than Apple’s App Store. Below are my main drivers for decoding digital transmissions.

When it comes to rechargeables, my choice for AA size is Eneloop and Energizer for D size

Batteries and Recharger

The Internet contains enormous easy-accessible resources but having a hard copy isn’t a bad idea I guess!

That’s all folks, thanks for reading and if you think there are some rooms for improvements, sharing your ideas will be much appreciated.


Thank you for sharing this, Rawad!  You’ve amassed a fantastic collection of portable radio gear and all of it seems to be in excellent shape! I think it’s brilliant that you took the time to build antenna protection for your Sony portables–so many people don’t think of this and end up using an antenna that’s too long and static zaps their FET. 

Again, many thanks for sharing your story with us.

Post Readers: Rawad also made an attractive PDF of this story–you can download it here. Please contact me if you’d like to share your radio story!

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Rawad takes a peek inside the Sony ICF-SW11

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rawad Hamwi, who writes:

Recently, I’d acquired a vintage Sony ICF-SW11 from my grandparents and it was in a good shape. After removing its back cover, I did some housekeeping inside and took couple of photos:

I know that this radio is somehow a basic shortwave receiver, lacking some features such as a dedicated external antenna jack.

While waiting this radio to be delivered, I was searching the internet for a hack or trick in which I can utilize my existing long wire antenna and use it on this radio for MW specially. Usually, I depend heavily on my 30 m long wire antenna since the noise level inside my room is somehow high. But I found nothing.

I was amazed when I plugged my 3.5 mm external antenna jack only half way through the Sony’s audio jack. At this moment, the reception was enhanced dramatically on all the bands (FM/LW/MW/SW). I’m not sure how and why but this trick seems to be working! No more noise, the device was pulling signals out of the long wire directly

I found that quite cool. This simple hack had solved my noise problems and I would recommend it to all Sony ICF-SW11 owners. I hope that this wouldn’t affect my device badly on the long run!

One final [note], as far as I know, the telescopic antenna is designed for the FM and SW on this radio. However, whenever I touch that antenna while tuning in to MW, I notice some changes in the signal strengths. Maybe the telescopic antenna works alongside with the ferrite antenna? Or there may be some sort of a short circuit inside?

Thanks for sharing your notes and photos, Rawad. The ICF-SW11 is a great little analog radio–I have one here at SWLing Post HQ and plan to give it to an elderly friend when I next see him. It’s such a simple radio to operate.

In terms of improved performance on MW when you touch the telescoping antenna, I suspect you’re grounding the radio and that’s giving reception a boost. Maybe that’s what’s also happening when you add the longwire to the audio jack?  Comments, anyone?

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A Case Logic case for the Sony ICF-SW7600GR

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rawad Hamwi, who writes:

When I bought my Sony ICF-SW7600GR back in 2014, I was happy with the included case that came with it. However, signs of wear and tear started to be visible. This inner fabric lining was peeling off, since it was rubbing against the antenna both plastic bumps located at the back of the radio

So I decided to look for another way of protection, and I found what I was looking for on Amazon. The Case Logic PDVS-4 5-7-Inch In-CarDVD Player Case.

That case was large enough to fit my radio and it had a second pocket which I used to store the original case.

I am totally satisfied with that purchase and I highly recommend this item for every Sony ICF-SW7600GR owner. Unzip the case, connect your external antenna (if you want), turn on the radio, and you are ready to! And when you’re done, just vice versa the above steps!

Check out the Case Logic PDVS-4 on Amazon (affiliate link).

Thank you, Rawad.  In my experience, Case Logic products are very durable.  Thanks for sharing your tip!

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Looking under the hood: Sony ICF-SW7600GR internal shots

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rawad Hamwi, who writes:

Hi Thomas

Recently I was looking over the internet for some high resolution images for an opened Sony ICF-SW7600GR, but could not find much.

So…I took the “risk” and I opened mine! The main purpose was to clean it from dust, since I am living in a quite dusty environment

I was amazed how easy the process was. It was like eating a piece of cake! Remove the 5 screws and viola! that’s it! You can definitely see the Japanese quality inside.

So, I would like to share with you some high resolution images and somebody may use them for reference too!

Click here to download a compressed file with all of the photos in high resolution (24 MB).

Thank you so much for sharing these, Rawad!  Excellent photos that will, no doubt, prove useful to those wishing to repair or modify the Sony ICF-SW7600GR.

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Shortwave radio recordings: Voice of Korea announces hydrogen bomb detonation

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rawad Hamwi, who shares the following recording and notes:

I recorded today part of Voice of Korea news bulletin (english language) when they started talking about what they did regarding the detonation on a H bomb today. You know, such things don’t occur everyday and maybe the last time we heard something similar on shortwave was during the cold war era.

Here is my video:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Many thanks for sharing Rawad! These are unpredictable times indeed.

Post Readers: If you have an audio recording of this broadcast, please feel free to contact me as I would like to add it to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

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