Tag Archives: Solder Smoke

WU2D and “Dream” SW Receivers of the 1960s and 70s

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Meara, who shares this most recent post from his excellent SolderSmoke Podcast blog:

Mike WU2D Looks at the “Dream” SW Receivers of the 1960s and 70s (Video)

Wow, I really liked Mike’s walk down memory lane. I saw several of my own dream receivers:

S-38E. Indeed, this little monster did add some danger to your life. AKA “The Widow Maker,” I gave one to my cousin’s husband so he could listen to what the commies on Radio Moscow were saying. He later told me that the receiver had given him a shock. I now have TWO S-38Es in my shack (two more than I really need). I have installed isolation transformers in both of them, so they have lost the one element (danger!) that made them attractive.

HA-600A. I got this one for Christmas in 1972. The A model is MUCH better than the plain vanilla HA-600. I recently got another HA-600A and found serious deficiencies in the Product Detector. Has anyone else noticed these problems? BACKGROUND INFO AND A PLEA FOR MORE INFO HERE: https://soldersmoke.blogspot.com/search?q=HA-600A+Product+Detector

HQ-100. Got one in the Dominican Republic. Fixed it up, repairing damages caused by radio life in the tropics. Disabled the goofy audio amplifier circuitry. I now wonder if this receiver might benefit from the insertion of a 455 kc ceramic filter.

NC190. Wow “Cosmic Blue” Perhaps this was an early influence that led to “Juliano Blue?”

HQ-180. “18 tubes and almost as many knobs!” FB!

HRO-500. Love the dial.

Transoceanic. Never had one, but built a BFO for the Transoceanic that W8NSA took with him to SE Asia during the war.

R-390A. I don’t have a crane for the workbench.

Thanks Mike — that was a lot of fun.

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With your help, Bill would like to take a deep dive into Mailbags!

Original image by Sigmund via UnsplashMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Meara, from the excellent Soldersmoke Podcast, who writes:


A recent comment on the SS blog about the roots of our podcast got me thinking about one of our favorite segments: the Mailbag.

I know that in coming up with this segment — and its name — I was influenced by the shortwave broadcast stations I listened to as a kid.

Today I did a bit of Googling to find out which ones had Mailbags.

Turns out that the practice and the term almost certainly originated at Radio Moscow. You will find this interesting:


HCJB had DX-Party Line, but I don’t know if they had a segment called Mailbag. It may have been just one big mailbag!

Radio Romania still has one (I think). As does Radio Havana Cuba.

I saw one reference to a Canadian “Maple Leaf Mailbag” but I don’t recall ever hearing this.

Any other Mailbags out there?

73 Bill

I, too, have a lot of nostalgia for Mailbag shows. As you note, there are still quite a few on the air. Radio Romania International always comes to mind and also the many reader notes Jeff White addresses in Wavescan on WRMI. I was called out on the Maple Leaf Mailbag a number of times, but that was more than a decade ago now (wow–next year, RCI will have been off the air for a decade! Let that sink in!).

I’m sure there are many more.

SWLing Post readers: Can you please comment with any active Mailbag shows you know of currently on the shortwaves? Perhaps mention the broadcaster and program name and any of your favorites. Thank you in advance!

While you’re at it, check out the Solder Smoke podcast!

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ETOW’s HumanaLight featured on HamNation

hn600I would like to give a hearty shout-out to the good folks at HamNation, via Leo Laporte’s TWiT network, for so prominently featuring Ears To Our World–and ETOW’s new HumanaLight kit!–in the latest episode.

This year at the Dayton Hamvention, I was pleased to meet George Thomas (W5JDX), who produces the excellent “Solder Smoke” series of instructional videos which teach novices how to build kits and other electronic projects. I’ve always found these videos clear, highly comprehensible, and easy to follow. George kindly agreed to make an instructional video for us, clearly illustrating how to build the HumanaLight.

George is also a co-host of HamNation, but I never thought he would include the HumanaLight in an episode. I was surprised to find that he made the HumanaLight kit a “Solder Smoke” segment, then went on to prominently promote ETOW...truly an honor. His video, moreover, does an excellent job showing viewers how to build the HumanaLight (and mentions that you can purchase one at Universal Radio).

For the interesting history behind the HumanaLight, read this post or check out HumanaLight.org.HumanaLight

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