Tag Archives: Receiver Modifications

a.bsolument: Converting radios from vintage valve into boutique Bluetooth

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kim Elliott, who shares this link to a French company called a.bsolument who specializes in converting vintage valve radios into hi-fidelity Bluetooth-connected audio devices.

According to a.solument’s introduction video, they take vintage radios in disrepair, gut the insides and replace the components with modern hardware which includes Bluetooth 4.0 and aux-in capabilities:

While I LOVE vintage radios, I have conflicting feelings about this process.

I take pride in keeping my vintage gear in proper working order (through the help of a mentor). Something that simply cannot be replicated with digital hardware is the sound and warm fidelity of AM audio emanating from a valve classic. At home, I have the option of feeding all of my vintage gear Bluetooth and wireless connectivity via an AM transmitter. This allows me to play any digital content while preserving the original audio fidelity (and warming my radio room with those glowing tubes!).

With that said, I’m very much aware that it’s becoming increasingly difficult for the average consumer to find a technician who can repair tube gear affordably. Indeed, some feel it’s impossible thus toss their family radio in the trash.

If a.bsolument is giving vintage beauties–that would otherwise be in a landfill–a new lease on life, then I’m all for it!

What do you think?  Please comment!

Tecsun PL-300 series modification: disabling soft mute

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, who shares the following tip. Troy writes:

While surfing the Net I found the following procedure that is said to “disable soft muting in Tecsun 300-series radios”.

I have a PL-390 and this has indeed seemed to work on it but I didn’t notice a difference with my PL-365.

Since I just found & tried this, I don’t know if this procedure must be repeated each time you use the radio? Maybe [Post readers] have heard of this before and/or have experience with it?

Here is the “reported” [supposed?] procedure that worked for the PL-390:

To disabling “Soft Mute” on Tecsun 300-series radios:

1. Select a shortwave frequency, preferably where there is no stations transmitting.
2. Tune down the frequency range with the dial, don’t tune up or it won’t work
3. Press the VF Scan button to let it automatically tune down
4. Tune down with the dial to stop the automatic scan. If the background noise is higher, then the “soft mute” / “dynamic squelch” has been disabled.

Thank you, Troy! I was unaware of this modification, but it seems easy enough to implement.

Post readers: Anyone have experience using this mod across the Tecsun 300-series receivers? Please comment!

Simple modification to disable soft mute on the Tecsun PL-210

pl210_mod4

Many thanks to SWLing reader, Mini, who wites:

I am Japanese short wave listener.

I found the method that disable soft-mute of TECSUN PL-210.
And, I posted the article in my blog.

pl210_mod1

Please forgive me that may be difficult for you to understand the content.
It is automatic translation from Japanese my blog.

Thanks mini

Click here to read Mini’s blog post via Google translate.

Click here for the original in Japanese.

Thank you, Mini! I don’t have the PL-210, but if I did I would certainly disable the soft mute as I find it very distracting during routine band scans.

Two strategies to improve Sangean ATS-909X sensitivity

ATS-909XSWLing Post contributor, Moshe, writes:

“I would like to share something I noticed about Sangean sensitivity issue:
As I own the ATS909, I noticed that with fresh set of regular batteries (1.5V) or it’s power transformer, it is very sensitive.
When the voltage of the batteries drops, so does sensitivity! Which means that if one uses rechargeable batteries (1.2V), the radio will be much less sensitive to begin with.”

Many thanks, Moshe! That is a very good reason to keep fresh alkaline batteries for the 909X, or to run it on a quiet power supply. Moshe is correct–fresh rechargeable batteries can’t deliver full voltage.

Several weeks ago, a reader informed me about a modification that increases SW sensitivity by adding a 4:1 impedance transformer.

Click here to download a PDF that documents the 4:1 transformer procedure.

Note that I can’t remember who shared the PDF and am not sure who was so kind to document the procedure with photos. Any additional information would be appreciated.

Have any readers performed the transformer mod on the ‘909X with success?