Tag Archives: Shortwave Radio

Reminder: 2017 Eclipse Experiment

A map of the United States showing the path of totality for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. (Source: NASA)

The 2017 eclipse is quickly approaching (August 21)–!!

If you would like to participate in a fascinating radio experiment coinciding with the event, check out this undertaking outlined on the website HamSCI. Note that you do not need to be in the path of totality in order to participate.

Here’s the summary:

On 21 August 2017, a total solar eclipse will traverse the continental United States from Oregon to South Carolina in a period of just over 90 minutes.

Previous research shows that the shadow of the eclipse will impact the ionospheric state, but has not adequately characterized or explained the temporal and spatial extent of the resulting ionospheric effects.

HamSCI is inviting the amateur radio community to contribute to a large scale experiment by participating in an Eclipse QSO party and further developing automatic observation networks such as the Reverse Beacon Network.

Data resulting from these activities will be combined with observations from existing ionospheric monitoring networks in an effort to characterize and understand the ionospheric temporal and spatial effects caused by a total solar eclipse.

Click here to read the full detailed experiment at HamSCI online.

Radio Fax: Christopher seeks more information about “Britain’s Number Two Short Wave Station”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Christopher Brennen, who writes:

I hope you’re keeping well. I stumbled across this site and thought you might be interested:

http://radiofax.org

I am a little too young to know anything about this; not only was I five / six when they first started but I also had no idea about shortwave radio at the time! 🙂

Do any of your readers know anything more about it (it is fairly detailed on this site, but perhaps someone reading was involved in some way?)

It seems to be a shortwave combination of the IBA Engineering Broadcasts for the trade that were shown on TV and something akin to the current InRadio (inrad.io).

Click here to view on YouTube.

Incidentally, the little IBA jingle at the start of that clip was also used – in a higher key – by Granada Television in the North West of England for some of their idents:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Granada was my ‘home’ ITV region so I’m very familiar with that jingle.

Thanks again for the SWLing Post!

Many thanks, Christopher!

I’m willing to bet SWLing Post readers can comment with more details about the Radio Fax service.

The CC Skywave SSB: Is C.Crane developing a Holy Grail travel radio?

Earlier today, intrepid SWLing Post contributor, Cap Tux, spotted an interesting link on Google when he searched for “C.Crane Skywave SSB”:

Turns out, it’s a product sheet for a new C.Crane radio: the CC Skywave SSB. Ther is no mention of this radio on C.Crane’s website yet. Here’s a screenshot:

Yes, C.Crane has obviously listened to our feedback and has developed a version of the Skywave with SSB mode–! Based on the product sheet, the CC Skywave SSB has all of the features of the original Skywave as well. That’s a plus because I love the NOAA weather radio functionality and the aviation band, especially when traveling.

If the Skywave SSB performs well, and the price point is decent, I think it might become one of the most popular shortwave portables currently on the market.

Why?

Well, for one, I’m a huge fan of the original CC Skywave (check out my review from 2014). It’s compact, feature-rich and has brilliant performance for a very compact travel radio. It’s a brilliant piece of kit for us one-bag travellers. The only glaring omission with the original Skywave was SSB mode, but at the time I believe DSP chips simply couldn’t implement this functionality.

Similarity to the Digitech AR-1780?

The Digitech AR-1780

In terms of size, the side-mounted encoder and some key placement, the CC Skywave SSB resembles the Digitech AR-1780 I ordered yesterday. The overall chassis design and display, however, are quite different.

I wouldn’t be surprised if both the AR-1780 and the Skywave SSB are built on the same DSP chip.

Will they have similar performance? I doubt it.

If you recall, when the original CC Skywave was first announced, we radio geeks noticed a striking resemblance to the Digitech AR-1733. Fortunately, the Skywave was far superior in terms of performance. I made the following note in my Skywave review:

“But I was concerned a few months ago when I noted the similarity between the CC Skywave and the poorly-reviewed Digitech AR1733, sold in Australia/New Zealand by Jaycar.

Fortunately, it’s clear that C. Crane noticed the shortcomings of the AR1733 and has modified the Skywave’s design and firmware accordingly, which may account for the delayed roll-out of the CC Skywave. Obviously, the Skywave’s ACG circuit has been tweaked to cope with medium wave and shortwave listening, since a poor ACG circuit is one of the shortcomings of the AR1733. But, if so, wow…what a tweak.”

I know the crew at C.Crane and I can confirm that they do their own product development. Their team consists of proper radio enthusiasts and ham radio operators who work directly the engineers. This is why C.Crane never releases products with serious receiver flaws like other manufacturers have in the past.

A CC Skywave SSB review?

 

You bet!

As soon as I can get my hands on the CC Skywave SSB, I’ll share updates here on the SWLing Post. Just follow the tag: CC Skywave SSB.

You might have noticed that my expectations are pretty high for the CC Skywave SSB, so I hope I’m not disappointed when I do the review.

In the past decade, there have been very few full-featured, ultra-compact travel radios with SSB introduced to the market. There is, of course, the CountyComm GP5-SSB, but it lacks a direct entry keypad, aviation coverage and NOAA weather radio. There is also the discontinued Grundig G6, but it too lacks NOAA weather radio and SSB operation was pretty basic (let’s not forget the G6 was also a “sticky radio”).

The CC Skywave SSB could be a Holy Grail travel radio, if it lives up to expectations.

At this point, of course, I have no idea when this little radio will hit the market. We can assume, though, that C.Crane will do their best to ship it prior to the 2017 Christmas shopping season.

Stay tuned! And thanks for the tip, Cap!

DW: South Sudan blocks access to independent websites

(Source: Deutsche Welle)

Internet and mobile phone users in South Sudan are not able to access the websites of at least four independent media outlets. The government has grown increasingly hostile to the media since civil war began in 2013.

The South Sudanese government has blocked access to the websites of Dutch-backed Radio Tamazuj, as well as the popular news blogs Nyamilepedia and Paanluel Wel. Internet users said that the website of the Paris-based Sudan Tribune was also affected on some mobile phone and Wi-Fi networks.

Radio Tamazuj and the Sudan Tribune are reputable sites which have been critical in their coverage of South Sudan’s government, which has grown increasingly hostile towards the media since civil war broke out in 2013.

The government is justified in blocking the websites to protect citizens from outlets that “disseminate subversive material,” South Sudan’s Minister of Authorities Michael Makuei Lueth told the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).[…]

Continue reading at Deutsche Welle online.

Fortunately, the South Sudan communities I’ve worked with through Ears To Our World have access to shortwave radio which is not affected by an Internet block.

No doubt, shortwave radio is the ultimate free speech medium, as it has no regard for national borders, nor for whom is in power (or not in power) at any moment.

Shortwave radio may be a sunsetting technology, but it’s also the most accessible and effective vehicle of the free press. What other technology can thoroughly blanket the globe with news and information yet can also be be received with a simple $20 battery-powered portable device?

This photo was taken in South Sudan, after Ears To Our World distributed radios in this rural community for the fourth year running. We’ve been distributing radios in South Sudan through our partners there since 2009.

Check out these recent comments from the head of DW regarding the importance of international broadcasting. Thanks for the tip, Rich!

Ham Radio: 2017 Eclipse Experiment

A map of the United States showing the path of totality for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse. (Source: NASA)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Colin Newell, who shares a fascinating 2017 eclipse experiment outlined on the website HamSCI.

Here’s the summary of the experiment:

On 21 August 2017, a total solar eclipse will traverse the continental United States from Oregon to South Carolina in a period of just over 90 minutes.

Previous research shows that the shadow of the eclipse will impact the ionospheric state, but has not adequately characterized or explained the temporal and spatial extent of the resulting ionospheric effects.

HamSCI is inviting the amateur radio community to contribute to a large scale experiment by participating in an Eclipse QSO party and further developing automatic observation networks such as the Reverse Beacon Network.

Data resulting from these activities will be combined with observations from existing ionospheric monitoring networks in an effort to characterize and understand the ionospheric temporal and spatial effects caused by a total solar eclipse.

Click here to read the full detailed experiment at HamSCI online.