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!
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!
“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.
Are you a ham radio operator and/or SWLer that would like to dabble in DRM (Digital Radio Mondial) but don’t have a purpose-built receiver? A friend recently brought to my attention a clearly-outlined DIY photo instructional for a modification you can make to the classic Icom IC-735 ham transceiver to add a 12 Hz downconverter and I.F. output jack.
If you’re handy with a soldering iron, view the PDF instructional created by Matthias Bopp (DD1US) for making this modification. The downconverter (along with many other DRM items) is sold by German firm, SAT-Schneider–follow this link to purchase it online for just 25 Euros.
Though the IC-735 is primarily a ham radio transceiver, it has general coverage and makes for an exceptional shortwave broadcast receiver as well. In fact, I have an IC-735 in my shack and use it primarily for SWLing. This unit was produced by Icom in the 1980’s; many are available now in the used market for around $325-450US. A great value for the money, especially if you also happen to be a ham.