Tag Archives: SWLing Post

Talking shortwave and spectrum on the Radio Survivor podcast

Last week, I had the honor of speaking with Eric Klein and Jennifer Waits on the excellent Radio Survivor podcast. It’s rare that in one show I get to spread so much shortwave radio love–thanks for making that happen Radio Survivor:

Perhaps you are like me and you have wished that you could go back in time and spin a radio dial and just listen to and browse the full radio spectrum from another time and place. Our guest on the show, Radio Anthropologist Thomas Witherspoon, is building a website for just such a thing. It’s called the Radio Spectrum Archive and it is not magic, it uses a piece of technology called a software defined radio that makes recording a full spectrum of Shortwave, AM and even FM radio (if you have the computing power to handle the load) a very real possibility. Thomas Witherspoon is also the primary contributor to The Shortwave Listening Post (www.swling.com) so we are going to learn a few things about the wonder that is shortwave radio on planet earth.

Click here to download the podcast audio.

Click here to listen via Radio Survivor.

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SWLing Post Contest Question #2: A chance to win a piece of broadcasting history!

RCA Window from MI-7330

Last week, we announced a new contest to celebrate the SWLing Post‘s 10th Anniversary.

The prize is an amazing piece of broadcast history: a 75 year old round plate glass window that was fitted in the central main door of the RCA senders at the Woofferton, UK, transmitting site in 1943. This prize was generously donated by SWLing contributor and friend, Dave Porter (G4OYX).

Please read our original contest post (click here) which describes how you can enter to win.

The original post also contains the first of five contest questions which count as individual entries in the contest.

And now for our second question and second possible contest entry…

Please note: If you read the SWLing Post email digest, you will need to view our prize questions on the web to see the embedded form.

If the form below does not display, click here to open it in a new window.

Our second question:

We will post question #3 next week!

Click here to answer question #1.

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Celebrating ten years of the SWLing Post––and a chance to win a piece of broadcasting history!

Ten years ago, I created a blog.

I designed the SWLing Post as a simple site where I could share a few links and articles about my favorite topic: radio.  And maybe educate a few new listeners about the hobby.

Never would I have imagined that within a few years, the site would grow to over 7,000 daily readers.

It’s still hard for me to comprehend. It’s also hard to believe that ten years have passed since I started the Post. Incredible.

Of course, what makes this site so special is the community of dedicated SWLing Post readers, contributors and supporters. People who show up to share in the radio discussion everyday.

For this reason, I want to make the following twelve months special for the SWLing Post community.

And so…let’s have some fun!

Starting this month, until November 2019, we’re going to put together a series of contests and activities to help celebrate ten years of the SWLing Post.

Let’s get started today!

Our first prize is phenomenal…

RCA Window from MI-7330 (note that wooden base is not included)

This exceptional prize, an RCA transmitter window has been generously donated by our long-time friend and contributor, Dave Porter (G4OYX). Thank you so much, Dave!

Dave describes this unique prize as “a piece of broadcast history” from the Wooferton Transmitting station in the UK;

Click to enlarge

At 75 years old it is a round plate glass window that was fitted in the central main door of the RCA senders, installed in 1943.

The window is 12.25,” 315 mm in diameter, and is 5 mm thick. The glass is tinted in a shade of light blue and the RCA trademark letters are etched out in sunken relief.

It was one from the last pair of senders, either Sender 85 or Sender 86, both retired and removed in 1980. (S81 – S84, the previous four were removed in 1963.)

The pair of windows were retrieved by Jeff Cant and one was presented to long-time BBC/VOA staffer Mr Dick Lett on his retirement in 1988. Jeff kept the other. Mr Lett has recently died and his daughters returned the plate to Jeff. It is this plate that is the [prize] gift in this competition.

Jeff gave it to Dave Porter who thought [that] rather than keep it himself, it would be a good donation to this celebration of ten years of the SWLing Post.

Wow…when Dave volunteered this as a prize for the SWLing Post, I almost fell out of my seat. Frankly, I’m already envious of the lucky winner!

Here’s how you can enter to win this piece of shortwave history!

Each week, starting today–at the bottom of this page–we’ll post a question about the Woofferton Transmitting Site. There will be a total of five questions with the final question posted on December 10th. The contest will close on December 14 and a winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

We’ll embed a Google quiz form with each question, and provide a space for you to answer the question. This is the only way to enter the contest as the Google form exports the results to a spreadsheet that we’ll use to pick a winner. Note: Please don’t email or comment with your answer, as the system won’t count it as a valid entry.

Each correctly answered question will count as an entry in the contest. Since we’ll have a total of five questions, this means you could have a total of five contest entries.  Good luck, Post readers!

Details & Fine Print

This contest is open to all SWLing Post readers and contributors, with the obvious exception of myself and Dave Porter, who donated this piece.

Each entry will require your name, email address, and shipping address. These details will be used to contact you and ship your prize to you, should you win. These details will also be one means of making sure multiple entries aren’t being made by one individual for each question (if we suspect someone of doing this, we would simply delete all of their associated entries.).  But I’m sure we’re all good sports here.

All email addresses, names, and shipping addresses will be deleted once a winner is selected, to protect your privacy.

All correct entries will be entered on a spreadsheet, which will assign each entry a sequential number. We will then pick a random number with the random number generator and thus choose the winner.

Please note: If you read the SWLing Post email digest, you will need to view our prize questions on the web to see the embedded form.

Ready?  Let’s get started! (FYI: Question #2 will be posted next week.)

If the form below does not display, click here to open it in a new window.

Our first question:

Many thanks again to Dave Porter for his generosity in offering us this wonderfully unique piece of broadcasting history and for kindly agreeing to ship it to the winner! 

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I’ve hit the road running…

A highlight from last week was attending a WWII encampment at the Museum of the US Air Force.

SWLing Post readers: If you’ve tried to contact me in the past week, I’m sorry if I haven’t replied yet.

I spent a week on the road attending the 2018 Hamvention and as soon as I arrived back home on Tuesday, I started more family travel. I’m trying to catch up on on email and posts this weekend. I have a number of small announcements, so stay tuned and thanks for understanding!

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Email restored!

Dear Post readers: If you tried to contact me yesterday, you likely received a “Message not delivered” reply.

After turning off our old web server yesterday morning, I discovered late in the day that our “MX” records (which route email) did not convey with the DNS settings. Our host updated the records and it seems email has been back as of 03:00 UTC today.

This was the only major snag after our server migration, so I count us quite lucky!

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Big changes at the SWLing Post

The past three weeks have been exceptionally busy. Not only did I log about 1,500 miles on a trip to DC and Philadelphia for a most excellent Winter SWL Fest, but the Winter Fest this year truly lived up to its name, and managed to carry on during a snowstorm and ensuing widespread power outage that left us in the dark several days running. Radio-relevant events, presentations and even our banquet continued in dark rooms, yet with no less enthusiasm.

But because I had to conserve my laptop’s power, knowing I could only log a few minutes each day, I turned my attention away from the digital world to my living and breathing companions, worthy colleagues and friends of the ‘Fest.

Growing pains

Over the years, as reader traffic has grown, here at the Post we’ve upgraded our hosting package to meet traffic demands, and our host has kindly selected the most effective and affordable option––providing us with plenty of space and freedom, not to mention, most of the server resources.

But over the past two weeks, the SWLing Post finally began pegging the limits of the shared server we have used since we published our first post, nearly 10 years ago now. When I was without power at the WinterFest, our site activity (CPU usage and entry processes) was triggering a failsafe that blocked access to the site when it was receiving too many hits at once. Thus many of you received the infamous “Resource Limits Reached” error, or noticed significantly slower load times on the site.

Obviously it wasn’t possible to fully address this while I was away from home and on limited power and Internet; I just committed to resolve the issue as soon as I could.

I pulled into my driveway late last Monday night, hit the sack for a good night’s sleep, and started sorting out server issues early Tuesday morning.

Dedicated cloud

Much discussion over the best place and care for our site ensued. In the end, our host  suggested we move to our own cloud server––a dedicated, robust space to serve up the SWLing Post.

While the cloud server costs more than double what we’ve been paying for hosting in the past, it offers multiple advantages over our shared service. Speed should improve dramatically and we’ll now have a much deeper resource pool from which to pull during times of peak access.

Then, too, the new server employs data redundancy (i.e., there are at least two copies of our site on two separate servers at all times), “automatic failover” (should there be a hardware problem, the Cloud Server will automatically roll over to another physical server), and brilliant scalability––all excellent provisions for us.

Innoscale, our host, has been a great partner over the years, giving the SWLing Post 24/7 support and spending time sorting out any issues that have popped up. While they are not the cheapest service out there, their customer service and reliability are, in my humble opinion, worth the extra costs.

Many years ago, long before we even approached 1,000 posts, I had purchased third-party off-site backup service that updates a full backup of the site each time a new post is published; this service continues. Moreover, our new server also has its own backup service and multiple copies of the site available even in the event of a failure.

And knowing all this helps me sleep more soundly at night.

Would you believe:  4,146 posts and 18,147 comments––!

…the total count as of time of publishing this post. That’s a massive volume of informative guest posts, articles, photos, videos, recordings, and comments on all things radio––many of which I reference regularly myself.  Readers, without you, this wouldn’t have been possible; many thanks!

And a special thank you to our Patrons!

Honestly, the choice to upgrade both our server and our backup solutions was easy because of the extra support we receive via Patreon and PayPal. If you would like to support the SWLing Post via Patreon, and are in a financial position to do so, click this link or the button below. The SWLing Post will always be free, so if you’re not in a position to support us, no worries; we still welcome your readership.

Become a Patron!

If you’d rather not give through Patreon, you can set up a monthly recurring payment through PayPal…and receive the exact same recognition and benefits as above.

Coffee Fund Options

PS––I should add that I’m doing my best to catch up with a mountain of email correspondence I accumulated over the past three weeks or so. If you’ve sent me a message or tip, I appreciate your patience as I catch up. Thanks, and I look forward to reading your email soon.

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Server issues…

Some of you might have noticed error messages while trying to load the SWLing Post recently. After some server upgrades, the site started having a few issues.  Our host is helping us sort through it now and we’ll hopefully have any problems resolved within a day or so. Sorry for the inconvenience–thanks for understanding!


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