Tag Archives: SWLing Post

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!

-Thomas

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Inside the Post: A new perk for Patreon Patrons

Quite often, I’m privy to information that has yet to be refined into a public post here on the SWLing Post. In the past, I’ve simply kept the new information and/or evolving posts to myself.

But as a small perk for supporting the SWLing Post via Patreon, I’ve decided to share this informal information privately through Patreon’s website.

If you’d like to be privy to the background processes and that go into the making of the SWLing Post, you can enjoy them (or ignore them!) here, simply by supporting us through Patreon. What I’ll share is raw, random, and unedited information in the form of progress reports, tips, and even partial reviews. These logs and notes happen when they happen, depending on my time availability, and are off-the-cuff and ever-evolving.

This private “behind-the-scenes” access to the SWLing Post is available to Patreon Patrons at any pledge level.

As I’ve mentioned before, if you don’t have the means to give through Patreon, no worries, friend: we’re always here for you free of charge at the SWLing Post. If you would, however, like to support the SWLing Post through Patreon with a monthly contribution, we welcome you as a Patron.  Your support helps keep the site going, and means I can do more of what I enjoy most––sharing my love of all things radio with you.

Thank you !
Become a Patron!

For more information about supporting the Post, click here.

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Patreon: A new way you can support the SWLing Post

 

Dear SWLing Post readers:

As the SWLing Post has grown to a community of over 7,000 daily readers, so to have costs and time. I’m reaching out today in a campaign to ask for your support to insure this site’s future.

In short: If you have the means and would like to support the SWLing Post each month, I would love to welcome you as a Patron or Producer on Patreon!
Become a Patron!

Why support the SWLing Post?

The SWLing Post is a labor of love, powered out of my energetic passion for radio and the radio community that we’ve established.

When I first launched the SWLing Post almost ten years ago, I would never have guessed that it would draw the huge readership it now has. At the time, I was simply putting a blog out there with links and articles I personally found to be of interest.

I’m incredibly proud of what the SWLing Post has become, and how the site has grown over the years––thanks to you, readers!  We routinely have anywhere from 5,000-7,000 daily readers on our site, and 1,200 subscribers to our email digest. I’ve made so many terrific friends through this site that I can scarcely count them all. Moreover, it has turned what is often a solitary hobby into a global community for many of us.

But with a growing site, expenses grow, too. Sponsorships and coffee fund contributions certainly help; we’re really grateful for those. Still, these don’t cover all the costs.

That’s where Patreon comes in. Establishing a reliable monthly income––however modest––through Patreon will help assure that the SWLing Post stays active and current well into the future. 

Your contribution will help:

  • Keep the SWLing Post online and secure: hosting, daily backup, malware protection, and professional support
  • Cover the cost of review radios and review equipment
  • Offset travel costs to events, conferences, and meetups
  • Support new site features
  • Pay for professional editing and content
  • Insure the overall longevity of the SWLing Post

Patreon Support levels

If you would like to support the SWLing Post, the most direct way is to become a producer through a monthly contribution program like Patreon’s.

Patrons

You can become an SWLing Post Patron for as little as $2 per month–less than a cup of coffee! We’ll add your name (in the order received) to our Patron’s page.
Become a Patron!

Producers

Of course, you can contribute any amount per month….But at $10+ per month, you’ll receive in thanks, three times each year, a Radio Postcard that’s worthy of framing. Each large color Postcard will feature a stunning classic radio dial. 

Our first Radio Postcard will be issued December 1, 2017, so you should receive it by the first or second week of December depending on where you live.

Looking for a radio-inspired gift for a friend or family member? Producer status can also be gifted.
Become a Patron!

Executive Producers

If you contribute $20 or more per month, you’ll get all of the benefits of being a Patron, including the Radio Postcard and Producer plus we’ll link to your personal or business website on our patron’s page. Executive producers can be individuals or businesses, and will be listed at the top of the page.

Looking for a radio-inspired gift for a friend or family member? Executive Producer status can also be gifted.
Become a Patron!

Other ways to support the SWLing Post

Coffee Fund

Of course, you can always simply drop the occasional contribution in our Coffee Fund through PayPal. Thanks!

Note: Even though these funds go to supporting the site, we really do purchase coffee with these contributions, too!  “Coffee fuels the Post!”

Recurring PayPal contributions

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



Help us find sponsors

Want to help market the SWLing Post? Ask your favorite retailer to contact us to set up a sponsorship ad! We prefer radio-relevant companies, but it never hurts to ask.

Amazon purchases

At no cost to you, if you make Amazon.com purchases through our affiliate link––even if not items to which we link directly––the Post will receive a tiny percentage of your total purchase as a commission.

Click here to search Amazon.com with our affiliate ID and support the SWLing Post.

You can use this link to help support the SWLing Post through Amazon for any purchase(s) you make.

Spread the word!

We’re always looking for new radio enthusiasts to join the community. The more, the merrier! Please use our social media links at the bottom of our page. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Consider writing a Guest Post or Guest Review!

If you enjoy sharing your knowledge of the radio world, consider submitting a Guest Post or Guest Review which, if suitable for publication, will add to the knowledge base here on the SWLing Post!

Check out some of the 100+ Guest Posts in our archive.

…Or Just enjoy the content

If you’re not in a financial position to directly support the SWLing Post, we understand, friend. Seriously. We’re just glad you’re here and enjoy the site.

This is indeed a labor of love and we’ll always keep our content free to you and all our readers, and avoid obtrusive flashy ads as well.

Thank you!

If you’ve made it this far down the page, thanks for reading and understanding why I must sometimes make these calls for support.

I really love what I do here at the SWLing Post, and although I recognize the work I do here takes a great deal of my time––often competing with the income-producing work I do to keep afloat––the truth is that I still feel a bit uncomfortable asking for financial support to do it.

But I recognize it must be done; the future of the Post depends upon it.

So…thank you, friend, for your understanding and your support, in any form.

Because it’s you that powers the SWLing Post!

Become a Patron!

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Radio Day at Mount Mitchell State Park

Troy Riedel preparing the Tecsun S-8800 and Grundig Field BT for a comparison review.

Shortly after publishing my review of the Tecsun S-8800, SWLing Post contributor Troy Riedel contacted me and asked if I would consider comparing the S-8800 to the Grundig Field BT. Of course I was very curious how the $130 Grundig Field BT might compare with the $268 Tecsun S-8800, but I’ve got a lot on my plate at the moment and didn’t really want to purchase another large portable.

Long story short: Troy found a honey of a deal on a perfect Grundig Edition Field BT via eBay. He ordered it and we decided to bring the two radios together yesterday at beautiful Mount Mitchell State Park the highest point east of the Mississippi river.

Yesterday was an ideal day, too. The weather was picture-perfect, the park was (surprisingly) not too busy and propagation was the best I’ve experienced in weeks.

Troy left early in the morning and embarked on the 6+ hour pilgrimage to Mount Mitchell–I only live an hour away, so it was a casual drive for me. We met at noon.

Parks On The Air

After a quick lunch, we deployed my Elecraft KX2 with EFT Trail-Friendly antenna and made my first Parks On The Air (POTA) activation.

You might recall I was very active during the ARRL National Parks On The Air (NPOTA) program last year, but since then I’ve done few field deployments. It was great fun to get on the air again and do a park activation for the World Wide Flora & Fauna POTA program.

While we didn’t log a lot of stations, I was still impressed we worked stations from Texas to Quebec to the Azores. Not bad for 10 watts SSB!

Sure, I only worked a handful of stations, but this activation was essentially unannounced so chasers had no advance notice. No doubt, many more POTA activations are in my future! The bug has bitten!

Radio Fun

Except for a break to eat dinner at the park restaurant and a short hike to the peak of Mount Mitchell,  we played radio until about 8:00 PM. It was amazing, uninterrupted fun.

Troy spent a lot of time comparing the Tecsun S-8800 with the Grundig Field BT and made several videos. No doubt, he’ll post his thoughts and review in the near future!

Being a bit of radio geek, I couldn’t help but bring a few “extra” radios and accessories. Here’s what I packed:

We were a little disappointed to discover that both my Tecsun PL-680 and Grundig Satellit exhibited flaky behavior.

During my S-8800 comparison tests, a few weeks ago, I did notice that sometimes when I turned on the PL-680, it was absolutely deaf. Next time I turned it on, it worked fine. Yesterday, the PL-680 simply didn’t want to perform. I’m not sure what happened.

The Grundig Satellit, on the other hand, worked great, but sometimes if you touched either the antenna or even brought your hands near the radio body while tuned to a station, it would go deaf. You could correct this by tuning off frequency, then back on–still…very strange! It’s as if the AGC or RF gain were hanging up.

Have any Post readers experienced this before? I’ll look into the issue this week and reset both radios. Perhaps that will help.

A great “Mini DXpedition”

Thank you, Troy, for suggesting the meet up and for making the pilgrimage. It was great meeting you in person! I also thoroughly enjoyed watching someone else do comparison tests and exploring a new radio–Troy certainly has a knack for doing radio evaluations!

This has encouraged me to do more meet-ups, perhaps during my travels. Great fun!

Post Readers: be on the lookout for Troy’s comparison of the Grundig Field BT and Tecsun S-8800 in the coming days/weeks (no pressure, Troy!).

UPDATE: Click here to read Troy’s comparison.

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Former news reporter stresses the utility and efficiency of RSS feeds

In reply to our previous post regarding email delivery of the SWLing Post, contributor Dan Robinson draws our attention to this excellent article about using RSS feeds to keep track of news:

As this recent article [at Gizmodo] points out, since the demise of Google Reader, things have become a bit more complicated when it comes to RSS readers. Some are free, others not. Some have many features, others are bare bones.

Dan Robinson is a seasoned reporter and former White House correspondent for the Voice of America.

During my career in the news business for Voice of America, Google Reader became a key tool I used to track breaking news. In fact, I was frequently able to be ahead of Twitter by using the numerous RSS links I maintained.

When Reader went away, Feedly sprang up to take its place and I was lucky to obtain a lifetime subscription of the Pro level of Feedly, which I highly recommend.

But there are other options obviously. RSS capability is built in to a number of major browsers.

When it comes to keeping track of Shortwave news, RSS feeds are extremely useful. I have dozens of RSS links in my Feedly account, including SWLing Post and the feeds of major stations such as BBC and others.

And of course, Feedly and others are usable with mobile phones which enables us to keep track of things on the go.

The most challenging aspect of using RSS is keeping track of which feeds go dark, at any point. This is the case for several shortwave-related RSS feeds and it does take some time to make sure your feed list is up-to-date.

The article Dan refers to makes the case very clear for RSS feeds: you are the news curator and the one in control of the news stream. They note:

“[W]hen you follow the news via social media, you’re relying on other people bringing you the news, unless you’re following individual news stories. RSS is like getting your newspaper of choice delivered to the front door rather than relying on heading down to the local bar to listen in on what everyone’s shouting about.

With only one page to visit rather than dozens to catch up on, you can spend less time aimlessly drifting around and more time catching up on the posts that matter.

[…]News is the primary driver behind RSS and most of your feeds are going to be populated with dozens of new articles a day, but the technology also proves its worth for keeping track of other stuff you’d typically miss on social media. Maybe that might be new wallpapers on your favorite art site, or an obscure blog you don’t want to miss a post from.”

Click here to read the full article at Gizmodo.

An “obscure blog you don’t want to miss a post from”–? Hey, that’s us!

If you have an RSS reader and would like to subscribe to the SWLing Post, simply point your reader to our RSS feed url: https://swling.com/blog/feed

As always, thanks for sharing your expertise, Dan!

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Problems with email delivery of the SWLing Post?

A number of SWLing Post readers (about 1,200 of you) are signed up for and receive our posts via email. In the past two weeks, I’ve received a number of messages from readers noting that they haven’t been receiving any email digests.

If this is the case for you, I encourage you to try signing up once more through our current RSS-to-Email provider. Click here to sign up.

Please keep in mind: I’m planning to move our email delivery from Feedburner to a different service. I’ve been exploring options this month. If you have experience with RSS-to-email systems, feel free to comment!

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Leaving a comment? reCaptcha is back…for now…

Seriously…we know you’re not a Robot!

If you’ve been an SWLing Post contributor for a few years, you’ll recall that we used to use Google’s Captcha system to prevent SPAMbot comments on our site.

A few readers complained about how difficult the Captcha system was at the time (and I agreed with them), so we removed Captcha. At the same time, I implemented a stronger backend system for flagging SPAM comments. You’ve likely noticed many of your normal comments are moderated automatically–we try to approve them within a couple of hours.

Spambots are a real pain: they attempt to leave phony comments on our site in an effort to link back to their target site (some of which are loaded with malware).

How many SPAM comments do we get from Spambots and other Spammers?  Here are the statistics from our anti-SPAM system:

After we removed Captcha, the more clever SPAM comments would still make it through the various filters and fall in a moderation pile. At first, this amounted to, perhaps, a dozen or so comments to moderate each day. Lately, the number has become overwhelming–closer to 12+ per hour falling in the moderation queue among legitimate comments.

“Separating the wheat from the chaff” has become a full time job. 🙂

Until I can find a user-friendly solution to this, I’ve implemented Google’s latest system called reCaptcha. It has its quirks and presents interesting challenges, but I believe if you’ve used it on other sites and proven you’re not a robot, Google remembers and all you have to do to prove yourself is check/tick the box next to “I am not a robot.”

Anyway, I just ask for understandnig as I sort out a more simple solution to SPAM-proof our site!

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