26 November 2007

no surface mail from usa to china

As I learned earlier this evening, the U.S. Postal Service eliminated surface shipment services to China earlier this year. So the small 12-ounce box containing my broken Tecsun DR-920 is wearing US$10.10 worth of first-class postage.

• $28.80 : Tecsun DR-920 plus shipping from China to the USA
• $10.10 : Postage to send the DR-920 from the USA back to China
• $38.90 : My total cost

The seller isn't asking me to pay for shipment of the replacement radio, which I appreciate. But inexpensive surface shipping option from the USA to China aren't available, and shortwave radio buyers in the USA need to consider the potential costs of obtaining a replacement.

I previously covered this topic in more detail: shortwave radios on eBay.

21 November 2007

eton e1 without xm is for sale

The Eton E1 is now available in a model without XM capabilities for the price of US$399. I saw this mentioned recently in a thread posted by "Junius" in the rec.radio.shortwave usenet newsgroup.

By the way, if you have one of these radios and you use it to receive XM service, I'd be interested to hear how that is working for you!

20 November 2007

dr-920 returning to china

Thanks to the reader that replied about my faulty Tecsun DR-920. I exchanged email with the seller, and he sent me suggestions (which I already tried, but I tried again for confirmation). He said he was in contact with Tecsun, and they have no further suggestions but they want to examine the radio. So I'm going to send it back and receive a replacement. I dug out the original box from my closet and removed the superfluous items, and I'll ship it once I receive the return address.

10 November 2007

my tecsun dr-920 seems fried

My Tecsun DR-920 radio is misbehaving. I got this radio in July 2006 from an eBay seller based in China. Recently I determined that the alkaline batteries needed to be replaced. This particular radio has lived in my dining room most of the time, and was only turned on occasionally. When I put a fresh pair of alkaline AA batteries in and turned it on, the frequency was stuck at 5081 khz, despite turning the tuning knob and moving the band switch. My first thought was that the batteries were inserted backwards but that wasn't the case. I immediately took the batteries out and left the radio alone for a few minutes, and tried again, but the result was the same. This morning, after several days of leaving the radio alone without batteries, the result was still the same after reinserting batteries. I'm under the assumption that leaving batteries in the radio while it is in this condition will do more harm than good.

I've heard of a polarity reversing problem with batteries, but I thought that applied only to rechargeable batteries that had extremely low voltage.

So I need to find out if there is a way to reset this radio. Eton's product manual for the Grundig G1100 (which is the same radio) didn't mention any reset methods, and I can't find any such controls. I just sent an email to the eBay seller that sold me this particular radio.

I may need to disassemble this radio and look for anything abnormal. If battery corrosion were an issue, I'd expect to see it on the contacts within the battery compartment, but it looks normal inside there.

This seems like revenge for my previous refrigeration of this radio.

03 November 2007

southern alberta balloon launch experiment

Earlier this year, some ham radio operators in Canada succeeded at launching a balloon that carried a digital camera (snapping a picture every minute) and an automatic position reporting system tracker. The results are here. I enjoyed the picture taken at the highest elevation, as well as the map that shows the surface path that the airborne package took.

24 October 2007

where are the new redsun radios?

Hey everyone! Where the heck are those new top-of-the-line Redsun radios?! I was sure that I'd have an RP3000 in my hands by now. I know things have been quiet on this site lately, but I have been keeping a close watch on eBay for new Redsun products. I have noticed some sellers offering accessories that are supposedly compatible with the RP3000 and RP3100, but those radios don't seem to be available to those of us in North America.

31 August 2007

any labor day radio deals?

I'm on the lookout this weekend for radio discounts, which I'll post about in the comments section if I find. You're invited to join in the hunt!

29 August 2007

shortwave summary, aug 2007 (part 1)

Since I moved almost 2 years ago, a majority of my shortwave reception has been from the comfort of my living room. I can sit at a table, with a loop antenna hanging in the window, and write in a notebook with ease. When I'm out on a walk, however, I'm carefully holding both my radio and notebook with one hand, and a pen with the other. I'm writing while I'm walking, which produces results that challenge the eye. Here's what I can relay to you from my recent radio walks in northern California with my Kaito KA1102.

Received stations:
* China Radio International
* Radio Havana Cuba
* Voice of America
* Voice of Russia

* 15 Aug 2007, 0340 UTC, 13635 khz (Voice of Russia): Discussing the life of a music composer. Strong signal.

* 0400 UTC, 6080 khz (China Radio International): There's an upcoming summit between North and South Korea. China is enhancing its relations with Kyrgyzstan. A bridge collapse in China killed 29 people. Terrorism is suspected in the Russian train derailment. China praised Kyrgyzstan for its stance on "the Taiwan question." Investigators were working to determine the cause of the bridge collapse. During that segment, the announcer pronounced the word debris as "DEB-ree". The Korean summit will be Aug 28-30. The Russian train bomb attack injured 60 people, and the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device. Heavy fighting continued in Tripoli. (Really? That's the first I've heard of it.)

Young people in Shanghai with incomplete education and lack of funds can now seek vocational training. Increased wealth in China has created demand for financial planners. Transportation and logistics problems for the Beijing olympics opening ceremonies were discussed. Olympic equestrian events will be held in Hong Kong. Beijing weather: 23-32C (73-90F), cloudy but clearing later.

* 0430 UTC: I took the opportunity to check several time station frequencies: 5 mhz: WWVH faint; WWV medium. 10 mhz: WWVH faint; WWV faint. 15 mhz: WWVH faint. 3330 khz: CHU faint. 7335 khz: CHU medium.

* 23 Aug 2007, 0315 UTC, 8400 khz ssb: I heard some conversation in a foreign language (my memory suggests it could have been Spanish). I couldn't zero-beat the signal, and wasn't sure of the correct frequency.

* 0400 UTC, 6020 / 6080 khz (China Radio International): Chinese music. "From Beijing, this is CRI." Water safety for urban areas. (How about plane safety?) Mine flooding was a natural disaster. Illegal gambling rackets have reappeared in rural areas. A suicide truck bomber struck north of Baghdad. Four crew and 10 soldiers died in a Black Hawk crash. Security has been tightened in Manila due to terrorist attack fears. Special CRI events are coming in September.

I couldn't stick with this signal on either of the two frequencies due to signal weakness and fading. It seemed to be a tough evening for shortwave reception in general.

* 0409 UTC, 9575 khz (Voice of America): "Daybreak Africa" show. Talks to end the 4-year conflict in Darfur could begin in October. The talks would have to cover wealth (from oil production), power sharing, and humanitarian concerns. "Voice of America" identification heard. Sexual minorities in Uganda have suffered abuse and want to be left alone. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and can result in life imprisonment. Kenya rejected a law that would have required journalists to reveal their sources. Kenya's president was lauded for the decision to not sign the law. The law was referred to as a threat to Kenya's democracy.

Cabinet changes were made in Liberia. The moves were intended to improve the government's performance. Daybreak Africa sports (no details were logged). Toys from China containing lead-based paint are resulting in massive recalls. A USA-based toy train maker is enjoying a boost in orders. "The number of inspectors is so few... you can't physically do it." Someone gave the advice to not boycott everything from China, but to address the holes in the system. Factory inspections have increased in China.

One of India's car makers will roll out the world's cheapest car next year at a price around 100,000 rupees (approximately US$2400). The car will feature 4-5 seats and a mostly plastic body. It does not yet have a name. (Feel free to reply here with suggestions!) The manufacturer is counting on huge sales volume. Increased car ownership would worsen air quality.

Hurricane Dean reached central Mexico; it is now classified as a tropical depression. One hundred Mexican oil rigs were evacuated. "VOA Washington D.C. signing off."

* 0500 UTC, 6000 / 9550 khz (Radio Havana Cuba): Mailbag show tonight. 14 people killed in downed helicopter, Bush warns of "another Vietnam", Hurricane Dean. President Bush said that withdrawal from Iraq could trigger a bloodbath.

I couldn't continue listening to Radio Havana Cuba due to weak signals.

21 August 2007

mailbag: eton s350dl replacement

Here's a question that was posted a few weeks ago to my general comments and questions page. I hope the original poster is still seeking advice; sorry for the lag time.

I've had an Eton S350DL for about a year right now and it's frustrating having to replace it every seven months due to a whole list of problems (drastic jumps when tuning frequencies, an antenna that won't stay upright, etc.) It's probably no help either that I use it almost every day. What would you recommend as a suitable but not too expensive replacement?


Many radio fans like the Redsun RP2100 / Kaito KA2100 for its strong reception, drift-free digital tuning, and audio quality. It may still be too early to comment on its durability. This site collected user reviews for the RP2100 / KA2100. Also worth noting is that C.Crane is selling an RP2100 look-alike that has been modded with their twin coil ferrite antenna, although I'm curious to learn if that is worth the extra cost.

Sangean and Tivoli make tabletop receivers that may provide more durability, but probably don't rank in the same category as either the S350DL or the RP2100/KA2100 for signal strength. I couldn't determine whether AM, FM, or shortwave was the top priority for the replacement.

Would anyone like to add detail or recommend another radio?

20 August 2007

volume problem with my sony portable

In a previous post, I mentioned that I've been using a Sony ICF S10MK2 around the house. A single pair of alkaline AA batteries lasted for over a year, with the radio being used for an hour or more on most days. I continue to use it mostly for AM, and rarely extend the telescopic antenna.

Now, even with relatively fresh batteries, the radio still occasionally exhibits a problem that I previously attributed to weak batteries. Adjusting the radio's volume sometimes produces scratchy noise, and the output volume is sometimes unstable. Does this problem sound familiar? I imagine that the volume control, which also turns the radio on and off, is susceptible to wear.

As proof that this is an imperfect world, the problem fails to reproduce while I sit here writing about it.

19 August 2007

voa closing its delano, california facility

The Voice of America will close its Delano, California facility in October. Many broadcasts have been served to me from the transmitters in Delano, from the Voice of America itself and Radio Thailand. This poses additional difficulties for shortwave listeners on the North American west coast.

The linked article mentions several challenges faced by the Delano operation: budgets, attracting and retaining talent, and dealing with endangered species on the facility's property.

17 August 2007

what happened to the grundig g1?

My memory tells me that the Universal Radio online catalog used to list a future product called the Grundig G1. It was visually identical to the Eton E1 except its enclosure was black instead of gray. I'd like to know if this product is still on the way.

12 August 2007

roadside transmitter logs, july 2007

During a couple roadtrips last month, I discovered some low-power roadside AM transmitters. Using a handheld device and repeated listens of the looping messages, I logged them and will reprint them here.

* (1680 khz) This is WPPD 481 broadcasting at 1680 khz from Pescadero, California. This information radio station is brought to you by the Pescadero municipal advisory council and the Pescadero emergency preparedness committee. Funding for this station was provided by a grant from the peninsula community foundation. When possible, this broadcast will be in English and in Spanish. If you have any comments or questions about this station, or would like to have something put on the air, call Larry Lawson at 879-#### or Kay Nelson at 879-####. You can also send us email at am1680@southcoast.net.

* (1610 khz) Welcome to spectacular Point Reyes National Seashore, one of over 380 areas administered by the National Park Service. The historic lighthouse located on the Point Reyes headlands offers dramatic views of the northern California coastline during clear weather, and an opportunity to visit the over 120-year-old lighthouse. The lighthouse visitor center and bookstore are open from 10 am to 4:30 pm Thursday through Monday. The 310 steps leading down to the lighthouse are also open from 10 am to 4:30 pm Thursday through Monday, but are closed for your safety when wind speeds exceed 40 miles per hour. Weather is unpredictable and changes quickly, so bring layers of warm clothing with you if you plan to walk to the lighthouse. Traveling to the lighthouse brings you through the pastoral zone of the park and the historic alphabet ranches established in the 1850s. These ranches offer a glimpse into the past. Originally, the entire peninsula was owned by the Shasta brothers law firm in San Francisco, and they used the letters of the alphabet to keep track of the parcels they rented out to tenant ranchers. Dairy and beef ranchers included Portuguese from the Azores, Irish, Italian, and Swiss; and they put Point Reyes on the map in the 19th century as a buttermaking region. In spring and summer, the lighthouse and chimney rock are excellent wildflower viewing areas. Please remember to leave behind beautiful displays for others to enjoy. The natural resources of the seashore are world-renowned. Over 490 species of birds have been seen on the peninsula, which accounts for over 45% of the species of birds in North America. The ocean waters off the headlands are one of the six most productive and biologically diverse areas on earth. While traveling through the seashore, please take note of the 16 am signs. There are different messages throughout the park, so please tune in for additional information and education. While enjoying all of these natural wonders, please be careful while visiting the seashore. We want your visit to be a safe one. Transmitter KPB 749.

08 August 2007

radio on video

This is an experimental page for hosting a Youtube video player targeted to interesting radio topics. I will initially leave comments enabled here in case you would like to voice your opinion on this feature of my site. Hope you enjoy it!



In case the automatically-selected videos above are of little interest, here are some hand-selected shortwave radio clips:

Shortwave Radio Station Pridnestrovie (PMR)



Shortwave Radio Station Belarus



Number station E03



Number station V02



Bandscan Shortwave 4mhz to 10mhz



Possible numbers station?



Number Station in Spanish - V2a ... poor audio but it shows a Kaito 1102 :)

25 July 2007

kchibo kk-s500 available on ebay

Some readers posted recent comments about the Kchibo KK-S500, which recently appeared on eBay with a surprisingly high price. This is the first Kchibo radio (to my knowledge) with sync detect, which may explain the high price. It has a very similar appearance to the Sangean PT-80, although the screens on these two radios have different appearances.

I have a hard time imagining that the KK-S500 could be a lot more valuable than the Degen 1103. Take a look at the KK-S500 auctions on eBay and note the absence of phrases like "from one of the best radio factories in China" and "from the makers of the famous ###### model".

30 June 2007

shortwave summary, jun 2007 (part 2)

These receptions are smaller bites than I'm accustomed to providing here. I picked up Kol Israel for the first time and logged a couple Firedrake frequencies. My Eton E5 receiver and Degen DE31 active loop antenna did all the work here.

Received stations:

* Kol Israel
* Firedrake
* Radio Thailand

* 20 Jun 2007, 0330 UTC, 11590 khz (Kol Israel): English news about Israel. The local time and date in Israel was announced. Inaudible, then "the Egyptians are aware of this." Gaza, Iran, George W. Bush. Someone is returning to the Middle East after visiting the White House. Financial news from Tokyo and New York. The Dow and NASDAQ both had slight gains. Weather forecasts. Headlines were reviewed, and concluded with "shalom." It was a female announcer. Then a male announcer came on and speoke a language I didn't understand.

This signal was only moderately strong, and was plagued by noise. I wrote to the station engineer and requested better signal coverage for the west coast of the United States. What I got in return looked like an Excel document, but I couldn't open it with Google Docs.

* 24 Jun 2007, 1703-1715 UTC: Firedrake broadcasts were audible on 11540 khz and 11795 khz.

* 25 Jun 2007, 0200 UTC, 5890 khz (Radio Thailand): "From the public relations department of the royal Thai government..." During the news segment, background music was too loud and the words were a bit hard to understand. Demonstrations against the government are expected to disperse soon since the demonstrators have changed their objectives. More Thai government news was here, but I didn't log the details. Problems in the past can be used as lessons for the ongoing development of government. The public was encouraged to help make the upcoming general elections a success. Security checkpoints were set up in response to insurgent attacks. 130 suspects were detained and interrogated. Buddhist Organization of Thailand cancelled its planned demonstration. Some parties in Thailand are not cooperating, causing political scientists to doubt the chances for stability. Completing the elections could lessen the tensions.

The national housing authority is dealing with unstable buildings. USA will start importing irradiated fruits from Thailand in July 2007. National news concluded at 0214 UTC. A statement on behalf of "his majesty" about plans to improve rural life. There was a statement encouraging the backing of the constitution, and again, the backing music was too loud. This year is the king's 80th birthday. "The public is invited to put up the national flag... until the end of the year." Only 10 minutes left in this broadcast, and there has been no mention of the oil industry yet. A French cartoon artist will have an exhibit at an art gallery in Thailand. A video artist and painter from New York will have a separate gallery exhibit. Weather forecast. Fancy music and gentle phrases: nice packaging for emergency procedures for responding to protesters. Bangkok: cloudy, thundershowers, 26-35C (78-95F). Grandfather clock bells came on at 0229 UTC.

As is often the case, Thailand's broadcast was very high quality, as it comes to me from Delano, California. This broadcast didn't resemble previous broadcasts I have heard from Thailand, however; nobody mentioned the oil industry this time!

23 June 2007

shortwave summary, jun 2007 (part 1)

I have a set of Asia/Oceania receptions to share with you. These receptions were received by my Eton E5, coupled to a Degen DE31 active loop antenna.

Received stations:
* Radio Taiwan International
* Radio Australia
* Radio New Zealand International

* 11 Jun 2007, 0300 UTC, 5950 khz (Radio Taiwan International): "Radio Taiwan International... Taipei, Taiwan." Steve Chen, a YouTube cofounder and native Taiwanese, was recently at a Taipei conference. He was discussing YouTube's user-first philosophy. Hakka language and culture learning is on the rise in Taiwan. Heavy rain and storms were expected in Taiwan on Monday due to a low-pressure system. Taipei: 23-27C (73-80F).

Taiwan is a nation of animal lovers. "The pets you like die first, while the ugly ones go on and on." That show was "The Occidental Tourist." Now, week in review. Costa Rica switched diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China. Costa Rica's relations with Taiwan dated back to 1944. Taiwan will experience a 9% increase in the minimum wage, which now amounts to around US$520 per month. Taiwan is Vietnam's largest foreign investor. Reporter Eli Alberts gave the news roundup. Students are involved in a public speaking competition. They train to be able to discuss or debate a wide variety of topics.

* 17 Jun 2007, 0200 UTC, 9560 khz: I expected KBS (South Korea) in English on this frequency, but the broadcast I picked up was in a foreign language. I should have tried to pick up some context for identification.

* 19 Jun 2007, 0400 UTC, 15240 khz (Radio Australia): "This is Radio Australia news." There's concern in Washington D.C. over the political crisis in Pakistan (which wikipedia calls a "semi-presidential republic"). Pervez Musharraf is facing the biggest challenge to his power since becoming president. Australia's winter crop harvest this year should have twice the output of a year ago when droughts damaged crops. New South Wales residents were informed to prepare for a severe storm, with winds expected up to 125 km/hr (77 mi/hr). People were urged to stay indoors when the storm hit. Sydney will be hit tomorrow.

A Papua New Guinea candidate was accused of attempting to murder the deputy prime minister. There was a brief mention of an art and film festival, and a website address was given out (hross.org.au) but I have been unable to find the website. A hop-hop track called "Umbrella" was played, and the lyrics mentioned Little Miss Sunshine. A second music track was played, and although I didn't mention this in my notes, I think it was a rock song. At this point, the signal was very noisy, and the signal was cut off at 0414 UTC.

* 19 Jun 2007, 0427 UTC, 13730 khz (Radio New Zealand International): Drinking before going out - it's cheaper to drink at home. In New Zealand, a lot of intoxicated women are around. Police are reporting more violence caused by drunk women. Are these women students, or employed? Police are out picking up drunk girls while other crimes are happening.

Traffic reports -- this might be a first in my shortwave experiences. There was a bike-versus-car accident in Wellington. Traffic in Auckland is starting to get backed up. Weather: cloudy, inland frosts, some snow, coastal showers.

A restaurant won a ruling against a food critic that gave the restaurant a bad review. He labeled the food as unpalatable and the service as bad. Writers in the fashion industry receive a lot of freebies. Does that influence reviews? Air New Zealand will offer an option to purchase carbon credits with flight tickets. How much would it cost? How are the funds used? One person involved in this report advised against donating through a corporate structure, and recommended donating directly. Tourism is the single biggest industry in New Zealand.

"This is the Pacific service of Radio New Zealand International. We are now closing on this frequency." Radio New Zealand had a stronger, clearer signal than Radio Australia, and I'm glad I found it! That was a fun and informative broadcast, and it's unfortunate that I only caught about half an hour of it.

08 June 2007

local radio station founder died

This news article is primarily of interest to radio enthusiasts living in Northern California, a group that includes me. I'd like to offer rest in peace to Laura Ellen Hopper:

Laura Ellen Hopper -- founded KFAT, KPIG (sfgate.com article)

Laura Ellen Hopper, a Santa Cruz radio personality who pioneered the "Americana" format of American roots music, has died from complications of lung cancer.

Ms. Hopper was 57 when she died May 28.

She founded alternative country station KFAT in Gilroy in 1975 and eclectic KPIG in Santa Cruz in 1988, and throughout her career retained a commitment to FM radio as a meeting ground for alternative ideas, music and community.

KPIG is an FM station but is also available in this area on 1510 khz. Here's a wikipedia article about KPIG, and a wikipedia article about the defunct KFAT.

06 June 2007

mediumwave logs, southwest, may-june 2007

Arizona was a fun location from which to try mediumwave DX. I spent a little more than four hours trying to log stations, mostly at night. There were plenty of clear, strong spanish signals, but I didn't try to identify them because I don't know the language. Surely several of them came from Mexico!

These receptions were done with my Eton E5 with no additional antenna. My E5's alkaline batteries finally needed to be changed. They were installed back in December, so that was definitely a good run. But I had to reset the radio after putting in the new alkalines because the display froze up and the radio wouldn't power on. When the radio came on again, I got a blast of level-20 volume in my earphones despite using level-5 before the reset. Ow ow ow ow ow! Don't forget: resetting the radio resets the volume.

540: Jumbled spanish.

550: Jumbled english. "Newstalk 550 KFYI." (KFYI; Phoenix, Arizona; 5 kW day, 1 kW night)

570: Spanish.

580: "I love you more than I can say" - soft rock song. Faint signal. Local interference in the house - the fans? Damn it! Sinatra - "New York, New York." Did the Yankees just win? This signal disappears if local/dx is switched to local. The DJ referred to New York as his favorite vacation destination. Breakfast spot in Tucson - ad. "KSAZ 580 AM - Arizona's best radio." (KSAZ; Marana, Arizona; 5 kW day; 0.39 kW night)

600: "Hi, this is Corky of Corky's pest control." Music: Abracadabra by Steve Miller band. Coast to Coast with George Noory.

620: "Sports 620 KTAR." "Kobe Bryant wants out of Los Angeles." (KTAR; Phoenix, Arizona; 5 kW)

630: "Let me hear you say penis..." "Penis." "Let me hear you say vagina..." "Vagina." That was on Dr. Laura. ... Art Bell's daughter, Asia, was born. Coast to Coast with a clear signal.

640: Coast to Coast: George with Ian Punnett on the phone.

650: Spanish.

660: "KTNN." Very clear signal. "66 degrees..." Most of the talk is in a native american language but there are some english phrases. "Keep up the good work." (KTNN; Window Rock, Arizona; 50 kW)

670: Spanish music.

680: Spanish.

680: Sports. "Kobe Bryant is our new favorite player." "KNBR 680." (KNBR: San Francisco, CA; 50 kW)

690: English. Sean Hannity is on this station.

700: English. "It may be used, but it's still a Honda." Fox Sports radio.

720: "Bring our troops home now? I don't want that!" Moderate strength signal with static. "We'd rather have Bill Clinton... for the rest of the term." Conservative talk show. "Newstalk 720 KDWN." (KDWN; Las Vegas, Nevada; 50 kW)

740: "KCBS newstime, 10:38." 280 southbound was closed in Cupertino, and traffic had to exit at De Anza. Ahhh, San Francisco calling. (KCBS; San Francisco, California; 50 kW)

740: Spanish music.

750: Faint english. Call-in talk show.

760: Jumbled.

770: "Tap in to michigan.org... Michigan can give you the upper hand." Sean Hannity is doing a mattress ad. "New Mexico's talk monster, 770 KKOB." (KKOB; Albuquerque, New Mexico; 50 kW)

780: Medium-strength signal with english. Talk show. Coast to Coast. Mentioned fark.com. Drew is on the show. "I haven't had as much beer as I'd like but I'm working on it," he said.

780: English, country music. "780 KAZM." (KAZM; Sedona, Arizona; 5 kW day; 0.25 kW night)

790: "Newstalk 790 KNST." (KNST; Tucson, Arizona; 5 kW day, 0.5 kW night)

800: Spanish music. Chihuahua.

820: 866-445-GREG. Street view for Google maps. "I'm looking at a California license plate on a car parked in the street in San Francisco..." He said that Google "tapped into" some surveillance camera. Obviously not! ... Trucking show. Tips on how to get a cheap laptop. Test-drive of a new Freightliner. Rack-and-pinion steering is optional. Cruise control is included? I have a hard time understanding cruise control on a manual transmission vehicle. Fading.

820: Trucking show. 800-288-9227. "In Juckland, Missouri" - ad. "Las Vegas truck show" - ad. "Midnight radio network." Interference from music on the same frequency. I missed the station id because of fading!

840: Spanish music.

850: English, sports. Low fastball, Tony La Russa. Rockies radio network. "Newsradio 850 KOA." (KOA; Denver, Colorado; 50 kW)

860: This was a really unusual signal. "Set your radio now to sports 620 KTAR! All sports, all the time. Sports 620 KTAR. Set your radio now to sports 620 KTAR. That's sports 620 KTAR. KMVP Phoenix." That phrase just kept looping forever. (KMVP; Phoenix, Arizona; 1 kW)

870: "Newstalk 870 KRLA." Some interference. (KRLA; Glendale, California; 50 kW day, 3 kW night)

880: English. King of spam arrested. ... Same trucking show as heard on 820.

880: Nebraska? "KRVW." (KRVN; Lexington, Nebraska; 50 kW)

910: Giveaway for a $50 gift certificate to Radio Shack. What are they talking about? Talking about the Stanley cup. Snoop Dogg's kids - do they call him dad, or do they just call him Snoop? Phone number: 877-996-? Speak slower and clearer, idiots! Stupid interview with the gift certificate winner. He doesn't know what he'll get at Radio Shack. "Fox gametime Sunday." "Fox sports radio." "Action sports 910." Actually, after doing a quick web search, this is most likely "XTRA sports 910" in Phoenix. (KGME; Phoenix, Arizona; 5 kW)

930: English. Sports hilights. "ESPN radio." Weather. Highs in the 80s. "Sports talk 930 KIUP." (KIUP; Durango, Colorado; 5 kW day; 0.1 kW night)

960: Financial talk. "Wealth survival." 888-819-1023. Strong signal. Manage home equity - invest in something safe. They're not advising that people take equity out of their homes just to get extra spending money. They're offering a DVD - is it free? It's from a third party (so I doubt it is free). Sounds like it's only useful for homeowners. Properly manage your assets. Look up "arbitrage." Only Ron Paul stood up for what he believes - in the opinion of the hosts after they watched debates. What's the name of the DVD? They talked about it like it was the only DVD ever made. Tax evasion is illegal, tax avoidance is a strategy. End of show. That was a paid program. "Newstalk 960 KKNT Phoenix." (KKNT; Phoenix, Arizona; 5 kW)

980: California news. "KFWB newstime, 10:30." "KFWB news 980." (KFWB; Los Angeles, California; 5 kW)

990: Spanish.

1000: Spanish music.

1020: "That's the only girl that I ever thought about marrying." Religious. The host advises consulting God to get permission to marry.

1060: "Sporting news radio." Strange weather in Colorado.

1070: "KNX 1070 news radio." Four Escondido teens killed in an alcohol-related crash; racing involved. (KNX; Los Angeles, California; 50 kW)

1080: English. Interviewing the father of an incarcerated border agent. Shooting of drug smugglers near Mexico border. ... Baseball play-by-play. Rangers vs. Mariners. Game is over 3.5 hours long so far. A strikeout with a 68mph curveball ended the game. "This is newsradio 1080 KRLD." (KRLD; Dallas, Texas; 50 kW)

1090: English. Sports hilights.

1100: Baseball play-by-play. College level. Call to the bullpen. "Juco radio network." I think that's what they said.

1110: English. Savage nation.

1140: Spanish.

1160: "Tomorrow, high of 80... KSL news radio." (KSL; Salt Lake City, Utah; 50 kW)

1170: "If I were to give you three names, would you tell me if they were involved in the JFK assassination?" Two women guests (the psychic twins) on Coast to Coast. None of the named people were involved, according to the twins.

1200: Utah Jazz play-by-play. Game 5 of western conference finals. The Spurs are winning.

1200: Very clear signal of Coast to Coast. Something about a tidal wave hitting San Francisco? "Texas state farm agent." "Alamo community college." So many ads! "1200 WOAI news." Heavy rain in Georgia/Florida. "Newsradio 1200 WOAI." (WOAI; San Antonio, Texas; 50 kW)

1260: English.

1290: Fox sports radio.

1300: "Get out of debt" - ad.

1320: Sports. "ESPN arena football." "1320 KFAN." "ESPN radio sports center." Oh, they said K-fan, which is just a phrase, and not the callsign. Annoying! (KFNZ; Salt Lake City, Utah; 5 kW)

1350: "Welcome back to 'This is America' with John Elliott."

1380: Basketball play-by-play. ... BBC news brief. ABC news. Strong english signal. "ESPN radio." "This is the V-show..." "Here's Bob Valvano."

1420: Spanish.

1430: CBS news. Very faint. "Anaheim Ducks..." "AM 1430 KLO." (KLO; Ogden, Utah; 10 kW day, 5 kW night)

1440: Spanish music.

1500: English. "68 in the twin cities. Fading. "The talk station, AM 1500 KSTP." (KSTP; Saint Paul, Minnesota; 50 kW)

1510: Country music. Too bad I have no patience for it! I picked this signal up twice. With more time, I could have identified it.

1520: "Internet moonbats." Political talk. ... Sports talk? Zero-lot homes. People want a big home without having to take care of a yard. Two hosts are talking about water and a/c expenses. "Midnight radio network." Strong signal. Commercials that targeted truck drivers. Jobs and tips. "Give those big rigs a lot of room." "Talk radio 1520 KOKC." (KOKC; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; 50 kW)

1540: Spanish music.

1550: Faint english.

1570: Spanish.

1630: Music.

1700: "Cash 1700" Minor league baseball play-by-play. (XEPE; Tecate, Baja California North, Mexico; 10 kW)

Stations identified: 27

States/districts logged: 11
* Arizona
* Baja California North
* California
* Colorado
* Minnesota
* Nebraska
* Nevada
* New Mexico
* Oklahoma
* Texas
* Utah

Locations of furthest stations, with distance estimates:
* Dallas, Texas: 850 miles
* Denver, Colorado: 650 miles
* Lexington, Nebraska: 1000 miles
* Ogden, Utah: 625 miles
* Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: 850 miles
* Salt Lake City, Utah: 575 miles
* San Antonio, Texas: 900 miles
* San Francisco, California: 800 miles
* St. Paul, Minnesota: 1500 miles

20 May 2007

traveling to arizona

At the end of this month, I'll be traveling to Arizona for a week. My Eton E5 will make the trip for nighttime mediumwave DX. This should be an opportunity to log some stations in Texas and Mexico. With extra luck, I could log the midwest as well!

29 April 2007

c. crane is selling rebranded redsun products

The C. Crane website now offers two Redsun shortwave radios, rebranded as C. Crane products. The Redsun radios being rebranded by C. Crane appear to be the well-known RP2100 (CCRadio-SW), and the currently obscure RP300 (CCRadio-SWP). C. Crane's version of the RP2100 is described as having a built-in twin coil ferrite antenna, as previously mentioned at RadioIntel.com.

These radios have an availability date of June 30, 2007.

26 April 2007

shortwave summary, apr 2007 (part 1)

I've had a hard time tracking down shortwave signals this month. When I find something that I want to hear on a schedule, I tune in at the designated time, but hear nothing. So I've been relying on my more reliable broadcasters recently. I've been using my Eton E5 along with a Degen DE31 active loop antenna.

Received stations:

* Radio Taiwan International
* Radio Havana Cuba
* Radio Netherlands

* 05 Apr 2007, 0300 UTC, 5950 khz (Radio Taiwan International): "Coming to you from Taipei, Taiwan, the Republic of China." All eight army officers aboard a helicopter were killed in a crash. The helicopter crashed into a radio tower in southern Taiwan. Taiwan wants a free trade agreement with the USA. President Bian is renewing a push for the agreement. Taiwan is the USA's eighth-larget trading partner. Taiwan has a new envoy to the USA. China is Taiwan's largest obstacle to foreign relations.

Chiang Kai-Shek fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing to the communists. He hoped to be buried in the China mainland after China/Taiwan unification, which seems increasingly unlikely. "Chiang Kai-Shek has done so many inhuman things." Financial market update (no details logged). Taipei: 15-22C (59-72F).

Chinese girls and women like to make themselves beautiful. Fake eyelashes can look "so real". They attract attention to the eyes. Most fake eyelashes are made in Japan and Korea. When applied carefully, they can last 1-2 months without being removed. "People" biography show (no details logged).

* 08 Apr 2007, 0302 UTC, 6180 khz (Radio Havana Cuba): USA VP Dick Cheney refuses to admit that there was no connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. Zarqawi was not part of Al-Qaeda. A chlorine gas bomb killed 27 people in Iraq. A top aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned; she refuses to testify or answer questions about her involvement in the federal prosecutor firings. A global warming report was "watered down" due to the demands of politicians. Cuba news: immigration fraud, unjust prison sentences for the Cuban Five, Posada Carriles, World Health Day, Holy Week. Spain's foreign affairs minister visited Cuba, and met with VP Raul Castro.

* 15 Apr 2007, 1900 UTC, 15315 khz (Radio Netherlands): "Time now is 1900 hours UTC... Radio Netherlands worldwide." Vox Humana show about the Abraham Lincoln assassination. April 14, 1865 was Good Friday, and right after the Civil War ended. The play in the theater was "Our American Cousin." During this segment, audio from the play was combined with narration of the shooting. After committing the crime, John Wilkes Booth jumped over the rail onto the stage. He exited through the back of the theater. President Lincoln died the next morning. Was the assassination modeled after the killing of Julius Caesar? There are dozens of books about Lincoln assassination conspiracies, and they sell well. Where did Booth cross the Potomac River after the shooting? Booth was caught by the Union around April 26th. The barn in which he hid was set on fire, and he was shot as he exited. Some believe they got the wrong guy.

Kudos to Radio Netherlands for covering this part of American history.

Booth was a successful and popular actor before the assassination. Vox Humana ended at 1930 UTC. The news will be followed by weekend connection. The Israeli PM and the Palestinian leader met in Jerusalem to discuss middle east peace. Iran wants to build two new nuclear power plants. At least 35 people were killed in a string of attacks in Baghdad. Two British helicopters collided and crashed. 100 people were detained in Russia during a demonstration against Putin. 21 were killed in Nigeria in voting booths. Ecuador is voting on whether to draw up a new constitution.

Weekend connection. Belarus--Europe's last dictatorship. Is Mugabe being mistreated by the media? Radio Netherlands is celebrating 60 years of broadcasting.

* 19 Apr 2007, 0300 UTC, 5950 khz (Radio Taiwan International): Today's headlines: campus safety in Taiwan, USA/Taiwan free trade could benefit China, medical-grade cosmetics. A review of campus security standards for Taiwan schools was prompted by the killings at Virginia Tech. South Korea expressed grief and shame at the killings, as the perpetrator was a South Korean. A free trade agreement between the USA and Taiwan would also benefit China. China currently opposes such an agreement. Taiwan's representative to the EU said, "treat Taiwan according to its traditional values."

Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, a Taiwanese firm, is no longer being pursued by the Carlyle Group because the final offer was declined. Taiwan is working on a new health center in the Marshall Islands to study and combat diabetes. Taiwan and India have a memorandum of understanding to exchange technologies; including nanotech, biotech, and satellite technology. Taiwan will help fund an IT park in the Dominican Republic with a US$50 million investment. There's a prediction of a slowdown in Taiwan's economic growth. Rain and cold air is expected over Mongolia. Hong Kong will reach the high 20s C (29C is approximately 84F).

"Trends" segment, discussing medical-grade cosmetics. Last year, Taiwan spent US$1.3 billion on skin products. Why are some people switching to medical-grade cosmetics? Skin is like soil and needs to be nourished. Medical-grade cosmetics are usually developed by doctors. No artificial fragrance additives. Packaging is not at all flashy.

Today in history: Republic of Ireland declared, Albert Einstein died, royals from Monaco visited Taiwan. Topic: effects of Taiwan's high-tech industry on the environment. The high-tech industry is the most popular industry in the world. Lots of dangerous chemicals are used during manufacturing. Computer manufacturing needs to be made safer. Greenpeace publishes corporate rankings as a way of enforcing social responsibility. Consumers can choose a company that acts responsibly. Taiwan's companies are manufacturers and suppliers, not brand names, with the exception of Acer. These manufacturers and suppliers have worked to reduce toxic emissions. Acer has a large market share in Europe, and they must work within EU regulations. The industry should try to be more environmentally sustainable. Employers need to provide proper training. Hon Hai was recently exposed for having sweatshop conditions. A higher than anticipated cancer rate was discovered among IBM workers.

I was glad to hear Radio Taiwan International discuss the issue of environmental impact by the high-tech industry. It's interesting to think about Acer in the context of being a Taiwanese company that has to cooperate with EU regulations in order to continue doing business there. Companies in the USA also try to ensure reasonable labor practices for their contract manufacturers and suppliers in Asia.

21 April 2007

dxtuners is shutting down

The Cumbre DX mailing list alerted me to the news that the DX Tuners website is ceasing operation:
Regretfully, recently due to other business and personal commitments, I am unable to dedicate as much time or find as much inspiration as before in running the network and it is with much sadness and sincere regret that I have decided to wind up my business over here.
The entire text is available now at dxtuners.com.

15 April 2007

radio netherlands shortwave plans

Radio Netherlands recently posted new content on their feedback page. It includes this encouraging quote:
Many of our shortwave listeners wrote in to add to the voices that say: "please stay, keep shortwave alive". In response, here's an additional reassurance: there are no plans to stop shortwave broadcasts to those areas that now receive it.

I have heard great content from Radio Netherlands and I plan to continue listening.

meet the tecsun dr-920 / grundig g1100

I emailed tquchina, an eBay seller, to ask if he could get me a Tecsun DR-920. I provided $28.80, and I received my new radio after a shipping time from China of 9 days. This radio was tested with alkaline batteries and iPod earphones; no external antenna was used.

Appearance

This radio is the same size and shape as the Tecsun R-9012, which has an analog tuning display. The DR-920 is slightly heavier between the two.

The front of this radio has a curved surface to the right of the speaker grille, which I believe originated on Yacht Boy radios. This is a simple radio, with only a few controls on the uncluttered front panel. I like the dark gray casing; silver buttons, knobs, and switches; and black border around the screen. The Grundig version has black controls instead of silver.

The predecessor of this radio, the uglier DR-910, is sold under the name Grundig G1000. This radio, the DR-920, is now also being sold under the name Grundig G1100.

This radio comes with standard Tecsun pocket radio amenities such as a wrist strap, a flip-stand on the back to allow angled positioning on a flat surface, a detachable battery door on the back of the radio, and a rotating telescopic "whip" antenna.





Power button

Each time I pick up this radio, I look at both the left and right sides, trying to find the power switch. Instead, there's a power button on the front panel near the bottom right. That switch on the right lets the user select "radio" or "buzzer" for the alarm mode.

Display

The LCD is small and very easy to understand. The leftmost column of the display shows the band (FM, MW, or SW); three to five digits show the current frequency, and a frequency unit (kHz or MHz) is on the right of the frequency. A sleep icon appears at the top right of the screen if the radio is in sleep mode, and a battery icon at the bottom right of the radio indicates battery life. If the alarm is set, the right side of the display shows a speaker inside a rectangle.

The amber backlight for the LCD display is on the left side. It can adequately illuminate the frequency digits, but the icons on the right side of the screen are harder to see in the dark.

One way the display could be improved is if the last 0 wasn't shown when using FM. For example, a station in the FM band is displayed as "96.50 MHz". The 0 never changes, and it is unnecessary.

Displaying the time while the radio is on can be done by pressing the time set button. The time will display and the backlight will illuminate for about 4 seconds.

Pressing the light button briefly will illuminate the backlight for about 5 seconds. Holding the light button down for about 2 seconds will keep the backlight on, but the backlight first turns off and comes back on when doing this.

Tuner

The tuning knob has a nice, tight tuning action. My radio came with the tuning knob all the way at the end, so I didn't realize at first that I was trying to tune past the top of the scale.

This radio is good for band-scanning, as long as the band ranges suit your needs. The tuning knob is more sensitive than I tend to remember, so each time I start using the radio, I tune too far until I adjust to the sensitivity.

While using the radio for FM and MW, slight frequency drift was observed along with the unfortunate side-effect of activating the backlight. The drift doesn't behave like my updated BCL-2000: rather than slipping down by one or two hertz, sometimes the display rapidly switches between two adjacent frequencies such as 739 and 740 khz. That's what keeps the backlight lit. Some additional logic should be added by Tecsun to make backlight activation less sensitive, if frequency drift can't be eliminated.

Sound

Sound quality is what I would expect for a radio (and speaker) of this size. It lacks good bass response, but I won't use this radio for music listening very often. Remember that this radio does not have a tone or bandwidth control, so what you hear is what you get.

Clarity of mediumwave signals is much better with the speaker than with earphones. Earphones seem to increase the presence of static. Low-end frequency response is better with earphones, so this is a good way to use this radio for music.

Alarm

I tried out the alarm buzzer. Once per second, the radio emits a fast beeping sound with a low scratchy component. Personally I'd rather awaken to the sound of a running stream with birds chirping! With this radio, I'll stick with the "Radio" alarm option.

Other operations

I can't seem to activate the keypad lock with the radio on. I suppose this is a more important feature for a digital-entry radio, since bumping the tuning knob on an analog-tuned radio such as this one is going to change the frequency no matter what. But why would this radio need a keypad lock only when the radio is off? The only thing I can think of is that it helps prevent accidental power-on when traveling.

Frequencies

Here are the frequency ranges for all of the bands on the radio that I received. These are the frequencies I was able to reach on my radio; this likely varies from unit to unit. If you have a DR-920 or G1100, I'd like to know how ours compare.

FM: 74.2 - 108.6 mhz
MW: 515 - 1619 khz
SW1: 3.81 - 4.325 mhz
SW2: 4.675 - 5.235 mhz
SW3: 5.810 - 6.37 mhz
SW4: 6.935 - 7.82 mhz
SW5: 8.99 - 9.98 mhz
SW6: 11.485 - 12.43 mhz
SW7: 13.345 - 14.155 mhz
SW8: 15.03 - 15.725 mhz
SW9: 17.295 - 18.52 mhz
SW10: 21.24 - 22.32 mhz

FM and AM (mediumwave)

I'm finding that mediumwave stations are the clearest if I tune 2 khz below the station's frequency. So when the display says 1258 khz, I have good reception of the station on 1260 khz. This seems to reduce some of the harshness that comes through if I tune to the exact station frequency.

Local stations were received just fine, but there was a station that I could receive on my Eton E5 and my Eton E100 that the DR-920 would not receive. This was KOMO 1000 khz in Seattle, which is about 750 miles from my apartment in San Francisco. When tuned to 1000 khz, the DR-920 seemed to have an image from another frequency whereas the other two radios had a signal of medium strength and full clarity on a night in early September 2006.

Tuning off the main frequency to improve clarity didn't hold true for FM, where stations sounded clearer overall. But this radio does not do a good job with FM reception. It picks up strong stations, but those stations appear at several locations through the FM band. One FM station that lives on 104.5 MHz was audible from 104.3 to 105.7 MHz. A local station on 96.5 MHz was also heard on 94.7 MHz and 91.1 MHz. Another station on 98.1 MHz was picked up on 95.5 MHz. However, this condition was improved by simply lowering the antenna.

I had similar problems with FM overrepresentation on the Tecsun R-9012, so this seems to be a common trait of portable Tecsun analog radios. It remains to be seen if the Kaito WRX911 behaves similarly.

Shortwave

I like to use WWV on 5, 10, and 15 mhz as a reference or test signal. On this radio, I can only get 5 and 15 mhz. The 31-meter band stops on my radio at 9.92 mhz.

Shortwave reception met my expectations. I did some nighttime listening tests between 0430-0530 UTC. Some of the major broadcasters that I picked up include WWV in 60 meters; VOA, China Radio International, Radio Marti, and Radio Netherlands in 49 meters; Radio Havana Cuba in 25 meters; WWVH and Radio Australia in 19 meters.




Wrap-up

This radio has a simple and appealing interface, with only modest reception performance and audio quality. I found that when I'm using a radio with frequency limitations, I prefer to have an analog display such as the one on the Kaito WRX911. Within this price category, I suspect that the WRX911 radio may be a better choice.

14 April 2007

more about nimh battery consumption

As you may have heard here previously, I own Redsun's "other radio", the RF-1210. This is an analog-tuned, multi-band portable radio with a speaker approximately 3 inches in diameter. It looks a lot like the Tecsun R-9700DX. I've been using it primiarly for mediumwave in my kitchen and dining room during the morning. This means that it is used for 30 minutes at most per day.

It is powered by four AA batteries, and I have been feeding it with Energizer 2500 mAh NiMH batteries. They're charged in an Energizer battery charger, which states on the back that it can charge AA batteries up to 2500 mAh.

It seems to me that the past two times the batteries ran out in this radio, it was only after about a month of use. The way I'm informed of the battery drain is that the audio quickly reduces in volume. I turn the knob to increase the volume, then it fades rapidly again, becoming inaudible.

I haven't beeen measuring the voltage level of the batteries before insertion, which I should try next time. Using my multimeter, here are the battery voltages after removal:

0.87
0.14
1.10
1.20

I wish rechargeable batteries had serial numbers so I had an easier way to track individual battery behavior. The 0.14-volt battery is a concern; it should be charged right away. For now, I decorated the slacker battery with masking tape that has "0.14" written on it.

31 March 2007

shortwave summary, mar 2007 (part 1)

It has unfortunately been a long time since I have published a shortwave summary here. I listened to a few stations in the past couple days and wrote some reports to share with you. I used my Kaito 1102 and my Eton E5 for these receptions.

Received stations:
* All India domestic
* BBC
* NHK Radio Japan
* Radio Havana Cuba
* Radio Netherlands
* WBCQ
* ...and the Firedrake jammer

* 30 Mar 2007, 0350 UTC, 7415 khz (WBCQ, Monticello, Maine, USA): Weight loss. "Cleanse the bowels"? A new product for incontinence. Interference from 7405 khz - Spanish - Radio Marti (which was a strong signal but had an audible running-water jammer). A phone number for this weight loss group is 866-229-3663. A mention of "First amendment radio". Some stats were given out about the effects of unnecessary medications and procedures. "These are only the documented cases." "The cure is worse than the disease." "Until next time, I wish you all to be well." Then, from the station itself: "Free speech radio, WBCQ, ..." This was an advertisement to announce the availability of airtime. "Get your message out on free speech radio."

* 0400 UTC, 6165 khz (Radio Netherlands): "It's 0500 hours UTC." Except: it's not! The United Nations proposes male circumcision as a method for preventing the spread of HIV. Discussion of the elusive Israeli peace plan. All other peace plans have failed. Saudis hosted the summit at which a new plan was discussed. Iran's capturing of British sailors is still a problem. Sailors appeared on an Iranian television broadcast; Britain is furious. "www.radionetherlands.nl". Dutch news summary (which I didn't log). Fighting in Mogadishu. African nations are hesitant to help out, because of the unknown duration of actions, the difficulty of paying for it, and the negative impact on other ambitions.

Dutch drug traffickers in Latin America are facing difficulties. They are seeking new routes to get drugs into Europe. The Dominican Republic, Peru, Argentina, and Brazil were previously used by the Dutch for smuggling. Harsh prison conditions await for those who are caught. Some get involved due to financial problems, seeking the easy money. The lead story for many Dutch newspapers is the situation of the captured British sailors. Abortion is still not available in Poland, even for special circumstances such as rape. Baboons are acting oddly at an exhibit in the Netherlands. An animal expert labeled the behavior as mass hysteria. The animals are not even tempted by bananas.

* 0431 UTC, 7120 khz (BBC): Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, is desperate to hold on to power, but is increasingly isolated. Tehran rejected UN Security Council call to release the British sailors. "Network Africa on BBC." "Live from London." Breast-feeding reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to the baby. A compilation of African music was created by the guy who taught Bob Marley how to play the guitar. I liked the music and I hope to obtain a copy of this compilation. This was presented in the context of discussing the abolition of slave trade in Britain. A person interviewed about this subject said that the "west" should say "sorry" many times and in many ways. She said that reparation money should be spent in ways that help everyone, such as developing roads and houses. The money shouldn't be given to individuals.

Sports news. A cricket player banned for 5 years back in 2004 denied involvement in match-fixing, and plans to play again when the ban is over in 2009. A famous lion, castrated due to deformed offspring, has died. BBC is hosting a "Who am I?" essay contest; entries should be 300 words or less. The prize is a free holiday in London.

Curiously, I can't find a listing for the BBC on 7120 khz with either the current primetimeshortwave or eibi schedules. Anyone know more about this particular broadcast? For some reason, I thought it was a relay by the VOA. [Edit: I found this transmission on the BBC schedule. The transmitter is in South Africa.]

* 0500 UTC, 6180 khz (Radio Havana Cuba): This broadcast will include information about the Cuban Five, and the Caribbean Outlook segment. International news with Ed Newman. Karl Rove subpoena paperwork is ready. United States Attorney General Alberto Gonzales probably won't continue in office much longer according to Charles Schumer. Attorneys were apparently fired for political reasons. President Bush says that timetables for Iraq withdrawl are "disastrous." Harry Reid responded with "Why doesn't he get real?" Houses were flooded in Haiti and the Dominican Republic due to persistent rain. (This frequency had interference from both sides: an unknown signal on 6175 khz, and China Radio International on 6190 khz. Cuba on 6000 khz was a clearer signal but also not as strong as the signal on 6180 khz. Also, the signal on 6000 khz dropped out for a couple seconds at times.)

Tribunals in Guantanamo (details not logged). The Cuban Five have been imprisoned since 1998 despite performing "anti-terrorist actions". The pressure of public opinion, especially in the USA, may help win their release. There was an editorial viewpoint discussing environmental concerns. Resource exploitation. Guatemala indigenous summit. "The planet is at the edge of destruction." The half-hour concluded with an interview with USA solidarity activist Alicia Jrapko.

* 31 Mar 2007, 1540 UTC, 9425 khz (All India domestic): This frequency is listed as "All India domestic." Although it is only listed as a 5-minute English broadcast, I heard English outside of the broadcast schedule for a few minutes. It was a difficult signal to understand so I didn't log anything. Eventually I heard the male English speaker finish, and a female speaker came on in a different language.

* 1550 UTC, 9505 khz (NHK Radio Japan): The end of "Pop joins the world", which was featuring a "year in review" program. "Pop joins the world" will be renamed to "Pop pop Japan." Strong signal without interference!

* 1607-1610 UTC:
9680 khz: Medium-strength Firedrake
9905 khz: Strong Firedrake
11765 khz: Strong Firedrake
12085 khz: Medium-strength Firedrake

28 March 2007

assorted shortwave reception notes

WBCQ

I've only had weak, noisy receptions of WBCQ this month. Sigh.

Cuba

Radio Havana Cuba is currently broadcasting in English to North America on 6180 khz, and it sounds great here. I believe this is the strongest reception I've had of RHC inside my current apartment. I'm using my battery-powered Eton E5 without an additional antenna.

There's a good signal on 6000 khz as well. The signal is weaker on 6060 khz. None of the other listed frequencies (9550, 9600, 11760 khz) are working for me at the moment - they each have a weak signal with a lot of noise.

Slovakia

I tried to pick up Radio Slovakia this past weekend on 7230 and 9440 khz - no luck there.

Asia

I haven't heard from NHK Radio Japan lately; China Radio International signals are weak; and Radio Taiwan International comes in well but they sure have toned down their accusations against China recently.

24 March 2007

drm report from winter swl fest

Kim Andrew Elliott posted an article about the DRM exhibit at the recent Winter SWL Fest in Pennsylvania. Here's a quote from the introduction:

A[n] exhibit of Digital Radio Mondiale, the new technology for digital transmission below 30 MHz, has been held at the Fest since 2003. This exhibit features DRM-capable receivers picking up actual DRM transmissions.

At this year’s SWL Fest, March 8 to 10 near Philadelphia, the DRM exhibit expanded to include other forms of digital radio: 1) wi-fi internet radio appliances and 2) HD Radio (IBOC), the U.S. domestic digital radio system.

22 March 2007

redsun rp3000/rp3100 availability

I contacted Redsun through b2s.com to ask about purchasing RP3000/RP3100 radios. Redsun told me that C.Crane will be their distributor for the USA, and that the new radio models will be available in July 2007. This raises questions about future relations between Redsun and Kaito. More people know about C.Crane than Kaito because C.Crane regularly runs advertisements on the radio here in the USA. Because of that, C.Crane may be able to provide wider distribution.

As of today, there are no Redsun RP3000/RP3100 radios for sale on eBay.

21 March 2007

ssb on the redsun rp2100/kaito ka2100

A recent comment asked about SSB capability for the Redsun RP2100/Kaito KA2100. The '2100 does not have SSB built in, but includes an IF output jack. It's possible to make or purchase a device that receives the IF output from the radio and decodes it as an SSB signal. An SSB decoding device for the '2100 is available for purchase on eBay.

If any readers have questions or comments about using SSB signals via the '2100, you're welcome to comment here.

17 March 2007

bpl impact for shortwave radio: reader comments

A recent post here on Cobalt Pet collected user comments and reviews on the Redsun RP2100/Kaito KA2100. I started that post because I didn't plan to buy one, although people visiting this site demonstrated a lot of interest in it. I was very happy with the results, and I hope it provided benefits to readers as well.

I'd like to start another reader discussion on an important topic. Power Line Communication (PLC) or Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) is a subject of concern for both shortwave radio listeners and amateur radio operators. Both groups of users operate in the High Frequency (HF) range of 3 mhz to 30 mhz. BPL technologies also use this frequency range. Initial testing of BPL technology has generated interference reports from ham radio operators to the FCC, with varying degrees of success. BPL is an issue that is also starting to appear in national legislation.

I welcome you to comment here to discuss the potential impact of BPL for shortwave or amateur radio. Do you live near a BPL network? Are there plans to set up BPL in your area? How can shortwave radio listeners respond if BPL interference results in an effective denial-of-service for international shortwave broadcasts, and what will the broadcasters do about it?

10 March 2007

deutsche welle qsl

Late last year, Deutsche Welle acted quickly to confirm my reception reports with a QSL card, a station banner, and a sticker (not photographed). My reception reports were emailed on 29 September 2006, and I received the items in the mail on 10 November 2006. Check out these fabulous prizes:








24 February 2007

2007 calendar from china radio international

China Radio International sent me this cool, circular 2007 calendar. Since I've been hearing a lot about the year of the pig recently, I felt motivated to briefly remove this from my refrigerator for a photo-op.



In other news, VOA did not send me a 2007 calendar despite my request.

anonymous tip about redsun rp3000 / rp3100

In case you missed it, I thought I'd forward this comment from an anonymous reader a few weeks ago:
Redsun may introduce two new radios, the RP3000 and the RP3100. Differences: RP3100 FM will go from 76 - 108 MHz, in the RP3000 FM will go from 87 - 108 MHz. RP3100 will not have the air band, RP3000 will have it. There will be other differences too ...

I've been checking eBay every few days for new Redsun radios, but nothing has appeared yet...

23 February 2007

caribbean beacon qsl

When I opened my mailbox a few days ago, I had to do a double take. I received a QSL card that I was no longer anticipating! The Caribbean Beacon is a station in Anguilla that transmits the late Dr. Gene Scott's pre-recorded religious-oriented broadcasts.







This was a difficult QSL to get. First, the station does not broadcast any identifying information, it only identifies its content provider. (At least, that was my experience.) So I had to search on the web to try to find a mailing address. Then I posted that to the rec.radio.shortwave newsgroup asking for confirmation, and someone gave me a different mailing address. Then I went to several post offices to try to obtain an international reply coupon, which turned out to be impossible at the time. Then I mailed my letter off along with a U.S. dollar inside for return postage, and after almost 6 months, I assumed that my efforts had failed.

The postage stamp on my QSL card lists the postage value at $1.50. This is probably in East Caribbean Dollars (XCD). XCD$1.50 equals about USD$0.56 so my postage reimbursement was fine. IRCs currently cost USD$1.85 which would have been way too much.

The back of the QSL card includes an email address below the signature. If you'd like to get a QSL from this station, perhaps you can request it via email.

19 February 2007

xm and sirius plan to merge

Two struggling satellite radio companies based in the United States will try to combine to produce one successful satellite radio company:

* Satellite radio's XM, Sirius to merge

I previously posted about this rumor in January 2007.

17 February 2007

firedrake jammer logs, 17 feb 2007

I did a quick scan on my Eton E5 this morning (starting at 1800 UTC) and found the Firedrake jammer on a few frequencies:

* 7535 khz, moderately strong
* 9355 khz, moderately strong
* 11790 khz, weak
* 11945 khz, very strong

7535 khz and 9355 khz are frequencies for Radio Free Asia in Mandarin. I'm not sure what's being jammed on 11790 khz. 11945 khz is used by the BBC World Service. [Edit: MarkV-NL on #swl pointed out that 11790 khz is also a Radio Free Asia frequency.]

If you're unfamiliar with the Firedrake jammer, one of my older posts includes links to short recordings and more explanation.

11 February 2007

air traffic control feeds

I found this nifty site over at Metafilter:

* LiveATC.net - Live air traffic control audio feeds

Some of you have probably have been there before, but it's new to me!

[Edit: I just heard "foxray... foxtrot X-RAY..." on the KSEA Tower feed.]

09 February 2007

the allure of shortwave

This article, by a shortwave radio enthusiast, was previously posted to Radiointel.com and the rec.radio.shortwave newsgroup. It provides a simple and effective summary of what lures people to the shortwave hobby. Here's the first paragraph:

"The first time I heard a shortwave radio broadcast was on a winter night in the mid-1960s. I was a Boy Scout, visiting my scoutmaster to work on a merit badge. But before I left, he showed me a radio on a shelf above his basement workbench. He turned it on and played with the dial. Suddenly, I heard a voice declare that I was listening to Radio South Africa. ..."


Full article: A signal heard round the world

04 February 2007

grundig g1 is a darker, rebranded eton e1

I visited the Eton website today, and saw a product I haven't seen before: Grundig G1. It appears to be the same radio as the Eton E1 but with a darker enclosure. This is similar to the gray Eton E5 being followed many months later by a Grundig G5 in a darker enclosure. The Grundig G1 is listed as coming soon.

I like the darker enclosures of these Grundig-branded radios, and the Grundig logo looks cooler too.

02 February 2007

chinese people learn to smile

Here's some amusing news from China: citizens are learning how to smile!

Smiling shouldn't be a chore

26 January 2007

recent qsl failures

I have seen recent comments about QSLs, which reminded me to check the progress of reception reports that I recently sent to shortwave broadcasters. I have some new mailings that I hope to photograph and share with you soon. However, there are also some overdue QSLs:

* All India Radio: reception report submitted via a webform on 21 October 2006 (not very long ago; I'm still hopeful)

* Caribbean Beacon: reception report sent to Anguilla via postal mail on 04 September 2006 (I guess the dollar I sent for postage was taken as a donation by the estate of Dr. Gene Scott)

* Radio Thailand: three reception reports emailed to HSK9 on 30 September 2006 (who knows what's going on in Thailand?)

* Voice of America: I emailed them a reception report on 07 October 2006 along with a request for a 2007 calendar. I got a QSL before the end of the year, but they noted that calendars were not yet available. How about now? Doesn't anyone care about January anymore?!

21 January 2007

fcc responds to sirius / xm merger rumor

Here's a follow-up on a previously discussed rumor about Sirius and XM merging into one satellite radio company:

* Sirius, XM can't merge: FCC chief

20 January 2007

usenet summary: qsls and ircs

This article summarizes a recent useful thread on the rec.radio.shortwave usenet newsgroup. The thread was about sending IRCs (international reply coupons) to shortwave broadcasters so that they would reply with a QSL card. The thread was titled "Why can't I buy any IRCs at the P.O.?"

Terry first posted:
I've tried to buy IRC's (International Reply Coupons) at the local P.O., even though they have them, they won't sell them! Their screen says: "Not For Sale" when they are scanned.

This has happened at the main Helena, MT P.O. and Tuesday at the Missoula, MT P.O. Anyone else experiencing this problem?BTW, these are the new ones good until 2009.


Someone identified as Tester replied with:
Try the attached link to email a complaint to the USPS. ...

It seems to work. Once, when I tried it to complain that the self-service area of my local PO was closed at 8:15 A.M. when it was supposed to open at 7 A.M. I got a phone call from the head of that PO in a day or two.

If you need more than a very small ammount (sic) of return postage from any one country you might consider one of those ham services that sells mint non-philatelic stamps. They're quite a bit cheaper than IRC's and the recipient doesn't have to chase down the only post office branch in the province which redeems IRC's, thus speeding your QSL.


A poster named David gave this interesting tidbit:
The IRCs are often useless to the recipient. I recall in 1963 when I answered over 100 reception reports of HJED in Cali, Colombia, that the engineers had hundreds of IRCs, unused. They said that it was hard or impossible to exchange them, so they just stuffed them in an envelope.

In Ecuador, where stamps were sold at private Kiosks outside th epost office (sic), it was essentially impossible to do an exchange for postage.

It's probably better to send nothing than an IRC except to established international broadcasters who know how to deal with them.

17 January 2007

possible redsun rp3000 release date

A kind, anonymous weblog visitor left this link on my comment page:

http://scott.no-blog.jp/weblog/2007/01/redsun_rp3000_f1fe.html

An image on that page lists RP3000 features, and there's an email response from Redsun with their expected release date.

15 January 2007

update on fidel castro's condition

Many of you probably learned this from the mass media. I'm posting it anyway because this story could affect the future of Radio Havana Cuba.
Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro is in "very grave" condition after three failed operations and complications from an intestinal infection, a Spanish newspaper said Tuesday.

Full story: Castro's condition "very grave"

14 January 2007

mediumwave logs, east coast, december 2006

Do you North American east-coasters have any idea how much easier mediumwave DX is for you? While there, I would often tune into a station and get a clear identification within 10 minutes. States along the east coast are smaller, so stations seemed to be from all over the place. In California, I can identify a mediumwave station 500 miles away, but it's still in California. Where's the fun in that?

I went to the east coast for the holidays last month, and my Eton E5 came along. Unfortunately, I grabbed the wrong set of rechargeable batteries, because they quit working after about an hour. "Batteries, don't fail me now!" I wrote, when I saw the battery meter drop down to two bars.

I was in northern New York, with my E5 running on fresh alkalines. I think the biggest weakness of the Eton E5 for mediumwave DX is that tuning off the main frequency dramatically increases the noise level. I am not sure what causes this; it could be IBOC sideband signals or just plain adjacent channel interference. Anyone have ideas about this?

Here are the highlights of my mediumwave DX attempts:

570: Strong english. "Isn't it about time you tried Viagra?" "We are news radio WSYR 570, Syracuse." (WSYR; Syracuse, NY; 5 kW)

580: "This is CFR news." Ottawa, strong english. (CFRA; Ottawa, ON, Canada; 50 kW day, 10 kW night)

600: Laura Bush's skin cancer. Joe Barbera (cartoonist) left us. Faint english. "Looking for something special for Christmas? How about a grand piano?" "You're listening to the big one - 600 WICZ." Uh, okay, I can't find a listing for this station at either fcc.gov or radio-locator.com . Connecticut has WICC, but it's a 1/0.5 kW station, so why would it identify as the big one? WICZ is the callsign of a television station.

610: "Eastern New Jersey." "Tailgate City USA." Address in NJ, "minutes from both bridges." "Sports radio 610, WIP." (WIP; Philadelphia, PA; 5 kW)

620: Strong english. Football. Cincinnati Bengals / ________ Colts. (Indianapolis Colts, in fact.) "Sports radio 620, WHEN Syracuse." (WHEN; Syracuse, NY; 5 kW day, 1 kW night)

640: "AM 640 (sir monta?) radio." Heard it four times but I didn't understand. Maybe "toronto radio?" (CFMJ; Toronto, ON, Canada; 50 kW)

660: Medium strength english. Football: Bengals / Colts. Fading. "Second and long." Seems to be east/west. "Monday night football on westwood one." "WFAN New York." (WFAN; New York, NY; 50 kW)

680: Sports. A commercial with a .ca website. "All news radio." Jumbled. Traffic on the 401. Toronto weather. "680 news." Top 5 albums of the week in Canada. (CFTR; Toronto, ON, Canada; 50 kW)

700: "700 WLW." (WLW; Cincinnati, OH; 50 kW). Well, that was easy.

720: Speaking to a Holocaust survivor who lost his parents but escaped with his sister to Holland. Station address: 435 North Michigan Avenue. 591-7200 (phone number). Signal is medium to faint. Evacuation at northern Illinois hospital. "Outbound Eisenhower is slow." "WGN forecast." "Weather voice of Chicago, WGN." (WGN; Chicago, IL; 50 kW)

740: Strong english. "AM 740." Don Franks, 'round midnight. Clock factory ad. 416 area code (Toronto). Christmas music from the 1930s. Nice jazz! "From Toronto, AM 740" ... "Welcome to the all-night jukebox." (CHWO; Toronto, ON, Canada; 50 kW)

750: Strong english. Muslims in Atlanta. Dressing up in full burqa and walking around in a mall to gauge reactions. "wsbradio.com." (WSB; Atlanta, GA; 50 kW)

760: Detroit. "News talk 760 WJI" (or WJR?) (WJR; Detroit, MI; 50 kW)

780: Strong english - religious. Advertising homes in Lake Geneva. Ad for Skokie/Highland Park. WBBM. "wbbm780.com." "Bears radio, news radio." Chicago? (WBBM; Chicago, IL; 50 kW)

790: Strong english. Christmas music. "790 WTNY mitten tree." (WTNY; Watertown, NY; 1 kW)

800: Medium-strength country music. "Q country." (CJBQ; Belleville, ON, Canada; 10 kW)

810: Medium-strength english. OJ book deal canceled. Boder patrol agents facing prison time, should get pardoned by President Bush. Rollie James show (sp?) with so many in-show commercials! She talked about a radio turntable, for "when you're DXing AM." Pajamagram.com, C.Crane, Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Pepsi Arena. "810 WGY, Schenectady/Albany". (WGY; Schenectady, NY; 50 kW)

840: "84 WHAS." Fox news radio - Laura Bush had skin cancer tumor removed from shin. (WHAS; Louisville, KY; 50 kW)

870: Strong english. CBS news. Successful spacewalk to repair solar panels on the space station. Death of Barbera in Los Angeles. Fading. "Newstalk 870 WHCU." (WHCU; Ithaca, NY; 5 kW day, 1 kW night)

890: Medium-strength english. The jewelry exchange. Chicago weather at O'Hare. WLS. "WLS news." "Chicago's talk station." (WLS; Chicago, IL; 50 kW)

920: "AM 920 CKNX." Toronto hockey. Other stations are here too but CKNX is dominating the frequency. (CKNX; Wingham, ON, Canada; 10 kW day, 1 kW night)

930: "WBEN"-BCN,BZN? Weak-n-jumbled. (WBEN; Buffalo, NY; 5 kW)

940: "Every day on Montreal today." "The new 940 Montreal." Coast to Coast AM. Cool bumper music. Art Bell (is it a recording?) (CINW; Montreal, QC, Canada; 50 kW)

950: Strong english. "purplepages.com". "Winter in Central New York." Utica address in advertisement. Lars Larson. "Talk radio 950 WIES". I guess I got the callsign wrong. (WIBX; Utica, NY; 5 kW)

960: Strong clear english. Kingston mentioned in an ad. Hockey game at the Air Canada center. "They were good, we were horseshit." -- Paul Maurice, head coach of the Toronto Maple Leafs. "oldies960.com". The Maple Leafs lost to the Florida Panthers. Saturn of Belleville advertisement. "If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair." "Oldies 960... AM 960 CFFX". (CFFX; Kingston, ON, Canada; 10 kW day, 5 kW night)

970: Faint. Loveline. "You know what a glory hole is?" (Possibly WZAN; not enough data to confirm.)

990: Sports. Medium strength; jumbled, fading. Allen Iverson is happy with the deal. "Sportscenter every 20 minutes. ESPN radio." (Possibly WTIG; CKGM. Thanks to Jon for suggesting CKGM.)

1000: English. Chicago team - ad. 708 areacode in ad. absolutepoker.net. "absolutepoker.net is not a gambling website." Oh, I see. They just let you download the poker app. Sports talk? Jim Rome? Yes. "Live from Southern California... Premier Radio Networks." T.O. fined $35k for spitting in someone's face. He admitted it after the game but later changed his story. Carmelo Anthony in trouble.

1010: "Newstalk 1010 CFRB." (CFRB; Toronto, ON, Canada; 50 kW)

1020: Strong english. "Matt Damon is a horrible guy." "1020 KDKA, the voice of Pittsburgh." Bill O'Reilly show. Yuck. CNN headlines. (KDKA; Pittsburgh, PA; 50 kW)

1030: Soft, clean english. 617 areacode. Should the first lady have any expectation of privacy? "He's next on WBG." (Actually, it's WBZ.) (WBZ; Boston, MA; 50 kW)

1060: English. "Join other Pennsylvania homeowners."- ad. "Delaware valley." "KYW news radio." (KYW; Philadelphia, PA; 50 kW)

1070: "Information radio, 1070 CHOK." (CHOK; Sarnia, ON, Canada; 10 kW)

1080: English, politics talk. "WTIC news talk 1080." Sean Hannity show. (WTIC; Hartford, CT; 50 kW)

1090: JT. Sports talk. CBS news. No sign of the 2 climbers on Mount Hood in Oregon. "AM 1090 WBAL Baltimore." (WBAL; Baltimore, MD; 50 kW)

1100: Strong english. George Noory? Yes it is. Doors, "Come on baby, light my fire." Italian dining in Macedonia. Ohio? WTAM.com. "WTAM 1100 Cleveland." (WTAM; Cleveland, OH; 50 kW)

1110: Strong english. Predicting Hilary will win. Neil Bort show of government outrage. "Newstalk 1110 WBT." WBT.com. (WBT; Charlotte, NC; 50 kW)

1130: Financial talk. Executive pay, Wall Street. Bloomberg rewind. Holland/Lincoln tunnel. GW bridge; traffic for NYC. "Five boroughs." "Bloomberg 1130." (WBBR; New York, NY; 50 kW)

1140: English, jumbled. "1140 WRVA forecast." WRVA.com. (WRVA; Richmond, VA; 50 kW)

1150: "1150 ?KOC." ... "CKOC." (CKOC; Hamilton, ON, Canada; 50 kW)

1170: Religious. "This is why people are not getting saved." "Radio bible hour...Jesus never fails." Midnight shift miners news. I've never heard this before! "Midnight shift...(place)...will work as scheduled." Mining bulletin board. "This is the big one - news radio 1170 WWVA." Does every AM station have to identify as "the big one"? (WWVA; Wheeling, WV; 50 kW)

1190: Religious. "WLIB." "1190 WLIB." (WLIB; New York, NY; 10 kW day, 30 kW night)

1210: English. Survey about pre-marital sex using government data. 45% of Americans had pre-marital sex. "Your tax dollars paid for the collection of data." "Here in Philadelphia on Big Talker 1210." Strong, clear signal. "The big talker 1210, WPHT." (WPHT; Philadelphia, PA; 50 kW)

1290: "News talk 1290 CJBK." (CJBK; London, ON, Canada; 10 kW)

1300: 702 areacode. Ronnie Duncan. "Cleveland's news talk 1300 WERE." (WERE; Cleveland, OH; 5 kW)

1320: Christmas jazz music. Also a french broadcast on the same frequency. "1320 WJAS Pittsburgh." CNN radio. (WJAS; Pittsburgh, PA; 5 kW)

1380: Taylor auto mall ad. Kingston. Memorial cup. "The limestone city." "1380 CKLC." (CKLC; Kingston, ON, Canada; 10 kW)

1500: Strong english. Massachusetts politician. Possible republican presidential candidates. "Right here on Washington Post radio." Jim Bohannon show. Light fading. "Washington Post radio ... 1500 AM." (WTWP; Washington, D.C.; 50 kW) <- there's your representation

1520: Southwest airlines. Green Bay Packers game. Strong signal. Same game (but with slight delay) on 1530 khz. This should be interesting. Packers vs. Vikings. 6-0 in the third. 8 penalties for Minnesota. Vikings go ahead 7-6 with a TD return on interception. Thursday night football on Westwood one. Still no station id... no id in over an hour is so lame! Got id finally. Packers win 9-7. "AM 1520 WWKB Buffalo ... Buffalo's left channel ... 50,000 watts." (WWKB; Buffalo, NY; 50 kW)

1530: Toyota dealer: Cincinnati/northern Kentucky. "1530 Homer, the sports animal." (WCKY; Cincinnati, OH; 50 kW)

1560: Strong music station. Odd christmas song - hiphop style. Radio Disney. (WQEW; New York, NY; 50 kW)

1650: Old Navy commercial. Radio Disney? (WHKT; Portsmouth, VA; 10 kW day, 1 kW night)

Summary:

Stations identified: 48

States/districts/provinces logged: 16
* Connecticut
* District of Columbia
* Georgia
* Illinois
* Kentucky
* Massachusetts
* Maryland
* Michigan
* North Carolina
* New York
* Ohio
* Pennsylvania
* Virginia
* West Virginia
* Ontario
* Quebec

Locations of furthest stations, with distance estimates:
* Atlanta, Georgia (900 miles)
* Charlotte, North Carolina (700 miles)
* Cincinnati, Ohio (600 miles)
* Chicago, Illinois (700 miles)
* Louisville, Kentucky (700 miles)
* Richmond, Virginia (500 miles)

11 January 2007

new eton website and findings

Have you seen the new Eton website? I like the updated design, and the interface is fairly sensible. Here's a few of the things I found while browsing the new pages:

* There's a new logo, which drops the unnecessary italics of the previous logo
* Products are grouped more sensibly now, including pages for Eton, Grundig, American Red Cross-branded, Sirius, and XM
* The S350DL product page includes a color widget that redraws the radio whenever the user mouses over a color
* Product photos look appealing but are not useful for showing detail
* The shortwave tutorial is now online; this is often included in their product manuals
* They offer Airwaves, a PDF in newsletter format that showcases Eton products
* Previously-announced Porsche products, P'7131 and P'7132, are nowhere to be found. Porsche is presently excluded from the "Brand Partners" page. Although, on the company's "Story" page, they claim that new Eton/Porsche products will launch in 2007
* Website search results, powered by Google, do not really indicate the type of information or the type of page. For example, I searched for "E1". Four links were in the results, and each were listed with different titles, but the same url: www.etoncorp.com . That's not very helpful!

I found this odd error on the "Story" page:
"1993: Etón launches the Grundig Yacht Boy 400, a small AM/FM/shortwave radio at an entry-level price point. Etón also launches the Grundig Yacht Boy 400, a small AM/FM/shortwave radio at an entry-level price point."

08 January 2007

rp2100 / ka2100 user reviews

The Redsun RP2100 / Kaito KA2100 radio is generating a very high level of interest among radio enthusiasts. There seems to be more interest in the '2100 than there was in the Eton E5, which I find a bit surprising.

This posting is here to solicit your opinions on the '2100. I have decided to wait for the Redsun RP3000, which I hope will come to market during this year. Since I will be unable to give you an original review of the '2100, I'm hoping that some of you current and future owners of this new radio will share some comments here.

Your reviews don't have to be lengthy; sometimes a well-written sentence that describes the overall experience can be effective. Or if there are reviews submitted before your own, you might try to address an area that hasn't already been discussed. I hope you'll participate!

07 January 2007

jr.com and amazon connection

I noticed today that JR.com might not list products on Amazon anymore. In the past, sometimes J&R was the retailer with the lowest price on Amazon for some shortwave radios. But J&R is not currently listed as a retailer for either the Eton E1 or the Sony ICF SW7600GR, even though their own website lists both of those radios in stock. I emailed J&R to get the details. If you use Amazon to check shortwave radio prices, you may now have to visit J&R separately to check their prices.

04 January 2007

art simon's degen de1121 review

Here is Art Simon's Review of the Degen DE1121. Early in the review, he states that it performs worse than the Degen 1103. That indication, combined with the minimal storage space on the detachable mp3 player, means that I don't plan to get one.

Within the review, Art compares the 1121 with a radio+recording product from another company, Pogo's Radio Yourway. Owners of the 1121 may find Art's review helpful for the clear radio recording instructions he provides.

By the way, Art, hello neighbor!

will sirius acquire xm?

A story at Engadget references the New York Times and suggests that Sirius and XM may be on the path to a merger:

Sirius wooing XM into merging

Is this just the retelling of an old story? Maybe, but I haven't yet speculated on this subject, so here's my chance.

For those of you still reading, I found it interesting that Sirius has a larger market capitalization than XM. My perception until now was that XM was the major one and Sirius was more like a scrappy upstart.

What are the possible results of such a merger? Neither company is currently profitable, so the merged company would not be profitable right away. Without the need to compete for subscribers, though, advertising costs could decline. The combined company would not need to lie about subscribers by including the number of cars sold that included their receiver even when the purchaser did not activate the service. There could be less of a rush to link up with popular electronics manufacturers to exclusively handle one service or the other, allowing for more focus on providing an excellent experience for the users. Now I wonder when we'll see the new Eton Sound product line materialize.

How about the content? Each service has some unique channels that would likely survive a merger, such as the MLB and NFL channels. Howard Stern's channel would stick around, but things could get crowded for lesser personalities and formats. With less competition for content, the combined company might not have to pay their talent as much as they might have in a competitive market. That will only help when hiring new talent or when it comes time for contract renewals, though. Existing contracts still stand unless the individual companies were able to do sneaky things with their lawyers.

On behalf of all satellite radio enthusiasts, I'll hope that the combined company does not try to keep too many existing channels by squeezing even more channels into the limited bandwidth of just one of the two services, further degrading quality.

What about the satellites? Would one of the two services be effectively shut down to save costs, or would both services remain operational in a hybrid setting? This seems like a potential for financial losses: providing incentives to existing customers in the way of discounted or free electronics so that the combined company can achieve its goals faster. Or, shut down one service and realize a loss on the satellite investment for the other service.

XM and Sirius both hold satellite radio licenses issued by the FCC. Assuming the combined company only operates one of the two services going forward, would the merger allow for the sale of one of the two licenses, or would the FCC revoke one license and find a new buyer on its own?

03 January 2007

a place for comments and questions: 2007

Readers of the Cobalt Pet shortwave radio weblog are encouraged to post comments and questions. In case you have a comment that's not related to a specific article, you are welcome to reply here. I'll link to this post from the website's sidebar so it's always easy to find. I welcome general comments, questions, and any feedback about the website.

For reference, here's the 2006 comments and questions page.

01 January 2007

qsl tip: a u.s. dollar for return postage?

Here's an informative post from Bjarne Mjelde to answer a question regarding QSL requests:

Should I send a 1 USD bill to Canadian stations for return postage?


I included a dollar for return postage with my reception report to the Caribbean Beacon. It was sent on September 4, 2006, and I have not received a reply.