Even the lowest price ($599.99 via Universal) is no trivial amount for most of us.
That said, the pricing doesn’t surprise me.
Back in 2005 when this radio’s predecessor, the Eton E1/XM, finally hit the market, it was sold for $499.95. Here’s a screenshot from Universal’s site in 2005 courtesy of the Wayback Machine:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statists, $499.95 in June 2005 has the same buying power as $751.33 in May 2022. If we add to that the recent elevated prices for many radio/electronic goods due to increased component cost and availability of chips, frankly I’m a little surprised Eton’s even able to release a new product this of all years. These aren’t easy days for electronics manufacturers. Then again, Eton has been producing radios for decades and obviously knows the manufacturing landscape quite well.
When I first learned about the new Elite Satellit, you could have painted me seven shades of surprised. With the advent of inexpensive high-performance SDRs, affordable DSP portables, and knowing full well the shortwave portable radio market is on the decline (in terms of customer numbers), I would have never guessed a new enthusiast-grade portable would be introduced.
My hope is that the Elite Satellit will deliver the performance we all want. I firmly believe that high-performance, quality gear enriches the hobby as a whole.
Universal will be an authorized distributor of the Eton Satellit Elite and I wouldn’t hesitate purchasing from them. I suspect Fred and Barbara made an exception for Eton because they’ve been such a long-term distributor (dating back to the 1980s). I also think Universal will continue being a limited online retailer at least into 2023 or even beyond. Eton will fully back a warranty from products purchased at Universal regardless.
Every so often, our star fires off a plasma bomb in a random direction. Our best hope the next time Earth is in the crosshairs? Capacitors.
TO A PHOTON, the sun is like a crowded nightclub. It’s 27 million degrees inside and packed with excited bodies—helium atoms fusing, nuclei colliding, positrons sneaking off with neutrinos. When the photon heads for the exit, the journey there will take, on average, 100,000 years. (There’s no quick way to jostle past 10 septillion dancers, even if you do move at the speed of light.) Once at the surface, the photon might set off solo into the night. Or, if it emerges in the wrong place at the wrong time, it might find itself stuck inside a coronal mass ejection, a mob of charged particles with the power to upend civilizations.
The cause of the ruckus is the sun’s magnetic field. Generated by the churning of particles in the core, it originates as a series of orderly north-to-south lines. But different latitudes on the molten star rotate at different rates—36 days at the poles, and only 25 days at the equator. Very quickly, those lines stretch and tangle, forming magnetic knots that can puncture the surface and trap matter beneath them. From afar, the resulting patches appear dark. They’re known as sunspots. Typically, the trapped matter cools, condenses into plasma clouds, and falls back to the surface in a fiery coronal rain. Sometimes, though, the knots untangle spontaneously, violently. The sunspot turns into the muzzle of a gun: Photons flare in every direction, and a slug of magnetized plasma fires outward like a bullet.
The sun has played this game of Russian roulette with the solar system for billions of years, sometimes shooting off several coronal mass ejections in a day. Most come nowhere near Earth. It would take centuries of human observation before someone could stare down the barrel while it happened. At 11:18 am on September 1, 1859, Richard Carrington, a 33-year-old brewery owner and amateur astronomer, was in his private observatory, sketching sunspots—an important but mundane act of record-keeping. That moment, the spots erupted into a blinding beam of light. Carrington sprinted off in search of a witness. When he returned, a minute later, the image had already gone back to normal. Carrington spent that afternoon trying to make sense of the aberration. Had his lens caught a stray reflection? Had an undiscovered comet or planet passed between his telescope and the star? While he stewed, a plasma bomb silently barreled toward Earth at several million miles per hour. [Continue reading at Wired…]
The following article is an original work published by the Information Professionals Association. Opinions expressed by authors are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.
By Tom Kent
As Vladimir Putin tightens his stranglehold on what his citizens see and hear, will radio once again become an effective way to get outside voices into Russia?
For the time being, U.S. broadcasting officials believe the best way to get their content to Russia’s population is still through the internet, despite all of Putin’s attempts to control it. Activists in the United States and Europe, however, are convinced that in a wartime situation, those wanting to reach Russians should be trying everything – including shortwave radio, the mainstay of Cold War broadcasting by the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
The U.S. government’s reluctance to return to shortwave has led to the odd spectacle of American volunteers taking broadcasting into their own hands. Activists have crowdfunded projects to transmit on shortwave channels programs produced by VOA and RFE/RL that the government declines to broadcast with its own transmitters.
Shortwave broadcasting uses high frequencies that can reach across continents. During Soviet rule, VOA, RFE/RL, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and other stations used shortwave to punch news, religious programs and forbidden Western music through the Iron Curtain. Soviet jamming stations tried to drown out the broadcasts, but much of the content got through.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the internet in Russia, foreign shortwave broadcasting tapered off. Boris Yeltsin let RFE/RL open local stations in some 30 Russian cities, but under Putin they were forced to close because of Russian laws. The United States then switched its radio and video services for Russians almost entirely to the web and social networks.
Since the war began, however, Russian authorities have increasingly blocked from the internet any content that criticizes the war or Putin’s rule. Many Russians use VPNs and other software to get around the blocks, and have come to the US broadcasters’ websites and social network feeds in droves. But Russian officials are working feverishly to block these circumvention tools, and may be able to determine which citizens are using them. [Continue reading on the IPA website…]
With music consumption having long ago moved to a streaming model in many parts of the world, it sometimes feels as though, just like the rotary telephone dial, kids might not even know what a radio was, let alone own one. But there was a time when broadcasting pop music over the airwaves was a deeply subversive activity for Europeans at least, as the lumbering state monopoly broadcasters were challenged by illegal pirate stations carrying the cutting edge music they had failed to provide. [Ringway Manchester] has the story of one such pirate station which broadcast across the city for a few years in the 1970s, and it’s a fascinating tale indeed.
It takes the form of a series of six videos, the first of which we’ve embedded below the break. The next installment is placed as an embedded link at the end of each video, and it’s worth sitting down for the full set.
The action starts in early 1973 when a group of young radio enthusiast friends, left without access to a station of their taste by Government crackdowns on ship-based pirate stations, decided to try their hand with a land-based alternative. Called Radio Aquarius, it would broadcast on and off both the medium wave (or AM) and the FM broadcast bands over the next couple of years. Its story is one of improvised transmitters powered by car batteries broadcasting from hilltops, woodland, derelict houses, and even a Cold War nuclear bunker, and develops into a cat-and-mouse game between the youths and the local post office agency tasked with policing the spectrum. Finally having been caught once too many times, they disband Radio Aquarius and go on to careers in the radio business.
The tale has some tech, some social history, and plenty of excitement, but the surprise is in how innocent it all seems compared to the much more aggressively commercial pirate stations that would be a feature of later decades. We’d have listened, had we been there!
Universal Radio’s showroom at their previous Reynoldsburg location
While I’m very happy for my friends Fred and Barbara Osterman as they head into a well-deserved retirement, I’m very sad that Universal Radio will be closing.
I’ve been a Universal Radio customer since before I was a licensed ham radio operator. They have been–and are to this day–the one ham radio radio retailer that still specialized in shortwave radio receivers.
Fred and Barbara have generously supported numerous radio clubs, organizations, and non-profit organizations throughout the years and are simply some of the nicest people you could ever meet.
Time waits for no one, and that includes Barbara and myself. We have decided to retire and our current location in Worthington
will close on November 30, 2020. Even though the store is closing we will fulfill all existing customer orders and have a large amount of inventory to close-out. The Universal Radio website will be maintained for the foreseeable future to sell this remaining stock, publications and some select products. Unfortunately the lack of a store front showroom will preclude us from carrying some manufacturers’ products.
I am very fortunate to have been in the radio business for over 50 years, 13 at Radio Shack and 37 at Universal Radio. We have met many wonderful people along the journey who have supported me personally as well as Universal Radio. It has been a privilege to have a continuous career in the fascinating field of radio since 1969.
Please accept our sincere “Thank You” for your support of Universal Radio
for these many years, and for the months to come.
Our new address for correspondence and mail order is below.
This is not a store front.
Universal Radio Inc.
752 N. State St. Unit 222
Westerville, OH 43082
Phone: 614 866-4267
Fred Osterman N8EKU
Barbara Osterman KC8VWI
Thank you, Fred and Barbara, and here’s wishing you a very happy retirement!
Eton expects this new model to be available in 2021. Beacause of the date uncertainty we are not accepting web pre-orders at this time. Please check back in 2021.
i can’t say I’m very surprised by this since we really haven’t had an update on this model in such a long time. That and, of course, the Covid-19 pandemic has really botched up design, production, and the supply chain for so many products.
I’ll admit it: I’m a bit bummed. I was really looking forward to comparing the new Elite Satellite with my recently acquired E1 XM.
The PR-D17 has a unique design to make operation easier for those who are visually impaired. Per Universal Radio:
It has high-contrast, large yellow rotary tuning and volume control knobs, preset buttons with raised symbols to aid in identification and thoughtful voice prompts of all controls that announce all functions in English or Spanish.
It has a large and easy-to-read backlit LCD display that highlights RDS information, frequency, signal strength, battery status and alarm symbols. It has a 200 mm ferrite AM antenna for the best possible AM reception. The controls are very easy to use and you get 5 presets for AM and 5 for FM. And you can auto scan stations. The RDS technology can display station name, call sign, song title or other transmitted information, plus it can set the clock automatically. There is a stereo mono switch. There is a built in clock timer with sleep function and humane wake up system to buzzer or radio. The left side of the radio has an auxiliary input and a stereo earphone jack. The perfect solution for the radio enthusiast who is visually impaired.
As they have done in the past, Universal is offering a “pre-order” discounted price of $349.95 that will not be charged to the buyer until the unit actually ships.
Universal expects the Elite Satellit to ship sometime in the 4th Quarter of 2019.
I gather the Elite Satellit is still very much in the design and development stage, so I would even take the expected availability date with a grain of salt. Much may depend on how well the initial prototypes perform in evaluations. With that said, I’m sure Eton will do all they can to have the Elite Satellit ready for the 2019 holiday season.
Not a hoax–!
I’ve gotten a number of emails and comments from readers asking if the Elite Satellit is a hoax. I can assure you it is not. 🙂
I get why so many are skeptical, though. It’s not often that a legacy receiver–one that’s been off the market for nearly a decade–is re-introduced with an identical chassis, and with the promise of some internal upgrades. In fact, I can’t think of a time this has happened in the past.
Features and Specifications
All we know about the Elite Satellit is what is mentioned in Universal’s product description:
The Eton Elite Satellit is simply the finest full-sized portable in the world. The Elite Satellit is an elegant confluence of performance, features and capabilities. The look, feel and finish of this radio is superb. The solid, quality feel is second to none. The digitally synthesized, dual conversion shortwave tuner covers all long wave, mediums wave (AM) and shortwave frequencies. HD Radio improves audio fidelity and adds additional programming without a subscription fee. Adjacent frequency interference can be minimized or eliminated with a choice of three bandwidths [7.0, 4.0, 2.5 kHz]. The sideband selectable Synchronous AM Detector further minimizes adjacent frequency interference and reduces fading distortion of AM signals. IF Passband Tuning is yet another advanced feature that functions in AM and SSB modes to reject interference. AGC is selectable at fast or slow. High dynamic range permits the detection of weak signals in the presence of strong signals. All this coupled with great sensitivity will bring in stations from every part of the globe. Organizing your stations is facilitated by 500 user programmable presets with alpha labeling, plus 1200 user definable country memories, for a total of 1700 presets. You can tune this radio many ways such as: direct shortwave band entry, direct frequency entry, up-down tuning and scanning. Plus you can tune the bands with the good old fashioned tuning knob (that has new fashioned variable-rate tuning). There is also a dual-event programmable timer. Whether you are listening to AM, shortwave, FM or FM-HD, you will experience superior audio quality via a bridged type audio amplifier, large built in speaker and continuous bass and treble tone controls. RDS is included. Stereo line-level output is provided for recording or routing the audio into another device such as a home stereo. The absolutely stunning LCD has 4 levels of backlighting and instantly shows you the complete status of your radio.
Many receiver parameters such as AM step, FM coverage, beep, kHz/MHz entry etc., can be set to your personal taste via the preference menu. The Elite Satellit has a built in telescopic antenna for AM, shortwave and FM reception. Additionally there is a switchable antenna jack (PAL male) for an external antenna. Universal will offer antenna jack adapters.
This radio comes with a protective carry bag and AC adapter or may be operated from four D cells (not included). The Eton Elite Satellit is for world explorers who want to travel first class.
I agree with Post contributor Guy Atkins: the Elite Satellit appears to be based on the Eton E1 analog circuitry. Guy points to three clues in this recent comment:
Exact same three I.F. bandwidths as on the E1 (7.0, 4.0, 2.5 kHz). If this is a DSP radio, why only these three bandwidths?
Selectable sideband synchronous AM detector, as found in the E1. I’m not aware of any SiLabs chips that can provide *selectable* sidebands on sync AM.
I.F. passband shift control. Again, this is not a feature in any consumer DSP radio I know of.
Of course, all of the specifications Universal has published are “preliminary and subject to change.”
As I mentioned in a previous post, you can count on us to review the Elite Satellit as soon as it’s available.