Tag Archives: Richard Langley

U Twente antenna damaged

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who shares the following item from BCL News and Richard Langley:

Antenna of Twente SDR receiver damaged // Bclnews
http://www.bclnews.it/2017/10/06/antenna-of-twente-sdr-receiver-damaged/

The antenna was damaged yesterday during a storm. As posted on the WebSDR website:

“The antenna currently is not working properly. After a preliminary repair of rain/storm damage on October 5, it seems reception has faded away again during the night. We’ll try to fix this soon, weather and spare-time manpower permitting.”

(Richard Langley via dxld yg)

Today: Sixty year anniversary of Sputnik 1

Radio Moscow QSL Card (Credit: Richard Langley)

(Source: NASA History Archives)

Sputnik and The Dawn of the Space Age

History changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world’s first artificial satellite was about the size of a beach ball (58 cm.or 22.8 inches in diameter), weighed only 83.6 kg. or 183.9 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. That launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments. While the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of the space age and the U.S.-U.S.S.R space race.

The story begins in 1952, when the International Council of Scientific Unions decided to establish July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958, as the International Geophysical Year (IGY)because the scientists knew that the cycles of solar activity would be at a high point then. In October 1954, the council adopted a resolution calling for artificial satellites to be launched during the IGY to map the Earth’s surface.

In July 1955, the White House announced plans to launch an Earth-orbiting satellite for the IGY and solicited proposals from various Government research agencies to undertake development. In September 1955, the Naval Research Laboratory’s Vanguard proposal was chosen to represent the U.S. during the IGY.

The Sputnik launch changed everything. As a technical achievement, Sputnik caught the world’s attention and the American public off-guard. Its size was more impressive than Vanguard’s intended 3.5-pound payload. In addition, the public feared that the Soviets’ ability to launch satellites also translated into the capability to launch ballistic missiles that could carry nuclear weapons from Europe to the U.S. Then the Soviets struck again; on November 3, Sputnik II was launched, carrying a much heavier payload, including a dog named Laika.

Immediately after the Sputnik I launch in October, the U.S. Defense Department responded to the political furor by approving funding for another U.S. satellite project. As a simultaneous alternative to Vanguard, Wernher von Braun and his Army Redstone Arsenal team began work on the Explorer project.

On January 31, 1958, the tide changed, when the United States successfully launched Explorer I. This satellite carried a small scientific payload that eventually discovered the magnetic radiation belts around the Earth, named after principal investigator James Van Allen. The Explorer program continued as a successful ongoing series of lightweight, scientifically useful spacecraft.

The Sputnik launch also led directly to the creation of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In July 1958, Congress passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act (commonly called the “Space Act”), which created NASA as of October 1, 1958 from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and other government agencies.

Click here to read at NASA’s history website.

Source: NASA

More on Sputnik

Check out this post by SWLing Post contributor Richard Langley in our archives.

Also contributor, Colin Anderton, has posted a vintage Radio Moscow recording on his website, Apollo Audio Highlights.

The GR-227: Gospell introduces a new SDR digital radio car adaptor

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Ed and Richard Langley for sharing information about the latest receiver from Gospell: the GR-227 digital radio car adaptor.

According to Radio World:

[…]The compact GR-227 can be added to car stereos, via a USB cable, in order to receive digital radio programs and corresponding data. Based on software-defined radio technology and using the xHE-AAC audio codec, the GR-227 is compatible with both modes of the Digital Radio Mondiale standard as well as the DAB/DAB+ digital radio standards.

According to Gospell, the GR-227 works with car stereos that are fitted with a USB port. Using the firm’s patent-pending technology, the adaptor behaves like a thumb drive when plugged into a USB port, making it compatible with most in-car receivers.

In addition, the GR-227 also features the Gospell Smart Tune App for Android. When partnered with an Android-powered car stereo, this lets users play back the broadcast audio program or benefit from data services.[…]

Read the full article at Radio World.

Richard comments:

“They call it an adaptor but perhaps it’s just an Android-controlled SDR receiver supplying audio output via a USB port, which could be connected to a computer or any other audio device with a USB audio input capability.”

I think he may be correct in that assumption because it may be the only way to get cross-manufacturer compatibility in a device like this.

The product information sheet noted that the receiver is supplied with a “triple band active antenna.” No doubt, the GR-227 will require adding a small external antenna to your car.

Still: an interesting product for sure! Perhaps the price point will be more reasonable that of previous DRM receivers? We’ll post updates from Gospell with the tag: GR-227

PantronX: Titus II is ready for production

The Titus II portable SDR

(Source: Radio World via Richard Langley)

Titus SDR, a division of PantronX, says the Titus II multi-standard digital radio receiver is ready for production.

The consumer software-defined radio digital receiver platform, which is the result of collaboration between Titus SDR/Patron X, Jasmin-Infotech, TWR, and Fraunhofer IIS, supports multi-standard radio reception, including DRM, DAB and DAB+ and core data applications. The system is based on a custom Android tablet platform, featuring multipoint touch, WiFi/Bluetooth and stereo sound.[…]

Click here to continue reading the full article at Radio World.

Richard’s initial impressions of the Sony XDR-S41D FM/DAB receiver

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who recently attended a conference in Paris and picked up a Sony XDR-S41D. Richard writes:

The workshop closed around noon on Friday so I spent part of the afternoon walking around the nearby Darty consumer electronics and appliance store.

I wanted to buy a DAB/DAB+ portable receiver just to see what Europe was doing with digital radio. I bought a recently introduced Sony XDR-S41D DAB/DAB+/FM(with RDS) receiver for 79€ (about 11€ off list price).

I can use it in North America to listen to FM and take it with me when I visit Europe for DAB/DAB+ as well as FM.

It has reasonable sound from its 8-cm speaker and pretty good stereo sound on headphones. It has an automatic search mode on both DAB/DAB+ and FM and creates a list of available stations.

In my hotel room in the 13th arrondisement, I could receive 46 DAB+ stations. One of the stations is World Radio Paris (WRP) and they provide English language programming 24 hours per day from BBC World Service, Public Radio International, Radio France International, and Radio Canada International, among others as well as their own programming.

Another available station was Medi 1, which just dropped its shortwave transmissions. I recorded some of the WRP programming:

Audio Clip 1 (MP3)

Audio Clip 2 (MP3)

There is no line output from the receiver but I was able to use the earphone output and crank the volume to maximum to get an acceptable recording level without noticeable distortion.

Happy with my purchase and can’t wait to go back to Europe again, say to England, to try out DAB+ there.

I also spotted three receivers with SW capability on the shelves at the Darty store:

  • Panasonic RF-3500 for 45€
  • Brandt BR200D for 45€
  • Brandt BR120A for 15€

You don’t see SW receivers in North American consumer electronics stores anymore and I’ve not spotted any in airport duty free stores lately either.

I’ve been listening to the XDR-S41D at home and it sounds pretty good on FM, too, and does a good job of displaying the RDS information although a character or two is sometimes cut off the end of the data but that could be the fault of the station. Need to investigate that some more.

By the way, the radio doesn’t come with a case but I found (just before I was going to toss it) that it just fits in the magnetic-clasp case of one of those Air Canada amenities kits that they give you in business class (see photo below).

That’s the second Air Canada item I have recycled. They used to use full-ear headphones with disposable foam covers. They were a perfect fit for the deteriorating covers on my old Sony noise-cancelling headphones. I’ve since upgraded to Bose. 😉

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Richard! The Sony XDR-S41D sounds like a keeper for sure and is certainly compact enough to easily accompany you on travels to Europe. I was not aware of World Radio Paris either–I see they’re available via TuneIn, so I’ll add them to my WiFi radio station favorites!