Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rawad Hamwi, who shares the following guest post:
My Story With Radios
by Rawad Hamwi
My passion for the world of radios started 15 years ago when I “accidentally” got my hand on a vintage Sanyo U4SS radio/cassette player.
At that time, FM didn’t mean that much to me, and to make the long story short, it was anything but interesting! So let’s move on and discover that SW band.
I was totally shocked with the findings! Music of different genres, languages I heard for the first time ever, bizarre sounds, Morse broadcasts, etc.. However, the most chilling and exotic thing which caught my attention was that weird “presumably” number station, broadcasting an endless and never-ending loop of “Alpha, Bravo, Charlie”! I could never ever forget that! That SW “thing” was quite interesting, isn’t it?
Back in 2004, the shortwave band was HEAVILY crowded with so many stations from all over the globe, and the idea of being able to listen to all of that stuff without moving away from your couch was something interesting!
Over that period, I owned some portable shortwave receivers/antennas, starting with the Grundig G3, Tecsun PL-660, and last but not least, the trust-worthy Sony ICF-SW7600GR with Sony AN-LP1 active antenna and the Terk Advantage AM antenna, that’s just to name but a few.
And now, drum roll, please!! May I proudly present the legendary Zenith Solid State Trans-Oceanic Radio Receiver. That armored tank is far from anything portable in today’s terms! But still, its reputation can’t be questioned.
Last Christmas (Dec – 2018), my uncle gave me his Sony ICF-7600D which was in a perfect cosmetic/working condition. It was sitting in his drawer for almost 20 years without being used! Operating that “piece of history” is satisfying!
A year before, my grandparents gave me their “Made in Japan” Sony ICF-SW11. You may notice that screen protector over its display, it did a good job in disguising some fine scratches. This radio had been used occasionally, though it’s a solid performer.
Whoa, lots of radios to choose from! A decision was made by giving the Grundig G3, Tecsun PL-660, and the Sony ICF-7600GR/AN-LP1+Terk Advantage a short break and keeping them in my hometown (Lebanon). Both the 7600D and SW11 will join me in Saudi Arabia for at least 6 months until I return back.
Here comes the turning point! Last month, there was a great deal on eBay. A decent Sony ICF-2010 with an above-average condition. I didn’t think twice before buying it, I wanted that radio a long time back and at last, at last, it’s here..sitting on my desk!
To add some nostalgia to the scene, a brand-new vintage “Made in Japan” Seiko World Time Rate Exchanger was listed on eBay, and you can predict what happened next! It was a beautiful add-on.
It joined my vintage Casio DQ-580 alarm clock that was set to display UTC time
Unfortunately, Sony ICF-2010s had some issues with their front-end FET if they were hit by a strong static charge. The solution was by building a DIY protection circuit, based on a schematic available online.
The random wire antenna I use is connected to a 9:1 impedance transformer for the purpose of impedance matching, and to add more protection, a lightning arrester joined the setup. Furthermore, some folks said that winding the 50-ohm coaxial feed cable to a toroid could improve the reception, so..why don’t I give it a try?!
Finally, the BNC male plug coming out of my protection black box is coupled with a female BNC to male 3.5 mm mono adapter which goes towards radio’s external AM antenna socket.
Now, why don’t I utilize the FM band too? I have two in-car FM transmitters. The first one is connected to a satellite receiver to transmits its audio feed via a RCA to 3.5 mm stereo cable, and the second one is attached to a Chromecast Audio device.
-1-Turn on the transmitter
-2- Go to TuneIn
-3- Look after “Conyers Old Time Radio”
-4- Pipe that audio stream throughout Chromecast
-5- Set your radio’s sleep timer to 30 minutes and…I wish you a very good night!!
iCluster ($2.99 for iPhone and iPad) is a useful tool I regularly use when listening to amateur bands over shortwave DXWatch.com and DXMaps.com can be helpful too.
Google’s Play Store contains much more radio-related apps than Apple’s App Store. Below are my main drivers for decoding digital transmissions.
When it comes to rechargeables, my choice for AA size is Eneloop and Energizer for D size
The Internet contains enormous easy-accessible resources but having a hard copy isn’t a bad idea I guess!
That’s all folks, thanks for reading and if you think there are some rooms for improvements, sharing your ideas will be much appreciated.
Thank you for sharing this, Rawad! You’ve amassed a fantastic collection of portable radio gear and all of it seems to be in excellent shape! I think it’s brilliant that you took the time to build antenna protection for your Sony portables–so many people don’t think of this and end up using an antenna that’s too long and static zaps their FET.
Again, many thanks for sharing your story with us.
Post Readers: Rawad also made an attractive PDF of this story–you can download it here. Please contact me if you’d like to share your radio story!
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