08 February 2006

a place for comments and questions: 2006

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 sidebar so it's always easy to find. I welcome general comments, questions, and help queries, as well as feedback on the website layout.

If you find something on this site confusing, or located a technical term you're not familiar with, please mention it here so I can explain it or fix the article.

[Edit: No new comments on this page; please visit the main page and follow the link named "comments welcome here" to visit the current comments page.]


Dan/Glen Ellyn, IL said...

Thanks for your site - very informative. I also have the Sony 7600GR and think its just about the best sw radio for the money. Just curious - what is it about the Eton E5 that you find interesting?

Also - I have a GE Superradio and am generally unimpressed with it. I find the Grunding/Eton S350 to be a far superior radio.

weatherall said...

Thanks for writing! I am looking forward to the E5 for a few reasons, such as an alphanumeric memory system. I own a Kaito 1102 (a predecessor to the 1106, aka the E5), and its ssb suffers from noise and clarity problems. The Kaito 1103 is supposed to have better ssb, and I believe this radio will too. Additionally, this will be my only dual-conversion radio with a tuning knob.

To beat the performance of the SW7600GR, I think a radio would need automatic gain control and DSP filtering. A tuning knob would be a nice improvement too, as step-scanning with ssb is tedious.

I've never owned an S350 but I like its two-in-one tuning knob. The superadio, from what I've heard, is good for AM (mediumwave) DXing. Do you use your S350 for mediumwave listening?

Chuck said...

A quick comment on the GE SRIII...from several sources I've read that you often have to try out several samples to get a good one.

Michael J. Vandever said...

Very meticulous and carefully done!!I have been DX'ing from 1972
onto now. I used to live in the great Bay Area! Now, due to corporate downsizing, I now live in Las Vegas. I Was and will be a
member of the I.R.C.A. and remember the "Beverage Antenna" meetings. I would love to arrange
a Real Beverage Antenna party in the Desert, here, with some old-
IRCA buddies. We have land so far
and wide, and long distances from
AC and other interference. Contact
Me at KE6HCG@MSN.COM My "handle" is
Michael J. Vandever

Jackie from MN said...

Hi weatherall,

This is an excellent SWL site, I just bookmarked it. I have been an on-and-off SWL since I was a teenager, and a ham since 2003. Due to my current living situation (apartment building) I am just listening for now, but I enjoyed chasing DX on the ham bands a lot before I moved here. My favorite contacts were Australia on CW, and the Marianas Islands on SSB.

Hopefully, by this time next year, I'll be in a house in a non-antenna-restricted area... and back on the air. At least that's the plan!

I currently own several portable shortwave receivers (KA1102, KA1103, Tecsun PL-350) and a couple of handheld amateur radio transceivers. I have really enjoyed my Kaito receivers a lot, they are great performers for the money.

I look forward to visiting here often. Thanks for all your hard work on this site; it's much appreciated!

weatherall said...

Thanks a bunch Jackie! When I was picking out my current apartment, I actually brought a PL-200 inside to test the reception but it was during the middle of the day. Usually I do most of my listening in the evening. I was actually disappointed at first but the apartment was good for me for many other reasons so I took it. Fortunately I'm on the top floor and have a couple good windows.

Anyway, the indoor reception this winter has been really good and I'm getting better at using random length wire antennas. When it warms up again I'll be back outside with my portables.

I'll have to look up the Marianas Islands to figure out where they are. Thanks for your comments & good luck with your ham pursuits.

corq said...

Yay - at last a frequently posted-to SWL blog! Glad you're here, and now in my rss feed list!

I'm mostly a spynumbers junkie here in FL by no means a "pro" swl'er -- I've only been tweaking portables for better signal all these years, but I do enjoy it. Llts of good SWL resources out there, but a 'blog on what gets heard is even more fun!

weatherall said...

From Florida? You're near my older brother. I'd love to know how the reception is around there for Radio Havana Cuba, Radio Marti, and any Central American broadcasters.

My first shortwave radio purchase was with number stations in mind, although I haven't had success with that yet. I'm glad you're reading my weblog!

Anonymous said...

Can you update us with thoughts on the E5?

Great site!!


weatherall said...

Hello Scott:
I haven't used the Eton E5 much in the past few months. Eton just wrote back and said that they will ship me a replacement power adapter for it, so perhaps I will work on my E5 writeup after that arrives.

Blaine said...

I like your blog. I'm also in the Bay Area (Oakland) and wonder if you've noticed particularly good reception from transmitters in Central Africa? Just tonight I was scanning 31m with my YB400 at Lake Merritt (0030 UTC) and heard DW in English on 9695! I checked PTSW.com when i got home and the transmitter is in Kigali, Rwanda.

Last fall I got a couple of surprising catches which also turned out to be from Kigali. As my reception from Europe has generally been unimpressive I'm especially intrigued by this.


weatherall said...

Greetings, Blaine. I'm intrigued by your Africa receptions as well! It's a fault of mine that I hardly ever scan the bands; mostly I check the PTSW schedule and tune in to specific stations. A great find like that really adds to the element of chance in this hobby.

Are you using an external antenna with your YB400? That Deutsche Welle transmission from Rwanda was headed to Asia - you caught a good one there.

Anonymous said...


I have enjoyed reading your blog for the past couple of months. It's helped me learn so much about shortwave radio.

About the article on the Voice of America QSL (March 21), did you send the reception report via email or postal mail? I am asking this because I sent them a reception report back in July using the email address letters@voa.gov and to this date, I have recieved no response or a QSL.

On the same subject, does one have a better chance of recieving a QSL if they send their report electronically (email or online forms) or by postal mail? Is there any special criteria for sending reports via email?

weatherall said...

Hi anonymous:
Your comment makes me feel good - this has been a learning experience for me, and I am glad I am able to share some of the knowledge!

My Voice of America reception report was submitted via postal mail. I'll list the QSLs I have received and which method I think I used (my memory is not perfect) for submitting my reports:

Submitted via email:
* Radio Havana Cuba
* KBS South Korea
* China Radio International
* Voice of Russia
* Radio Slovakia
* Voice of Croatia

Submitted via the station's website:
* Radio Taiwan International

Submitted via postal mail:
* Voice of America
* Radio Exterior de Espana
* Caribbean Beacon (just sent it out - see my recent Gene Scott post)

Thanks for your comment and feel free to ask more questions!

Blaine said...

I was just using the whip on my YB400 when I picked up Kigali.

In general, I find being outside the best place to get DX or good SW reception, period.

I have a Grundig 800 at home connected to a Wellbrook ALA-1530 antenna in the attic of my building. While this dramatically improved my indoor reception, I still hear more on the Yacht Boy at Lake Merritt or Dolores Park.........

Anonymous said...


Well, just after I mention not recieving a QSL from the Voice of America, it arrives in my mailbox along with QSL's from Radio Canada International, Radio Prague, and CHU.

On a side note, did you send your report for Radio Exterior de Espana to their main address? I hear they stopped sending out QSL's three years ago.



weatherall said...

Ah, so your VOA reception report was routed to the correct person. Good job on Radio Prague!

Your question about QSLing Radio Exterior de Espana reminds me that I need to keep better records of my QSL activities. I looked in my log book and found their postal address. They must have given it out over the air. Here's where I sent my reception report:

Radio Exterior de Espana
P.O. Box 156202
Madrid 28080 Spain

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the QSL tips, they were very informative.

In regards to Deutsche Welle, I too have been listening to them for a while. Have you tried 11865 kHz at 21:00 UTC? That one's also via Kigali. I've even picked them up once in Russian (11790 kHz, 1:00 UTC, via Trinkomalee)

Sadly, as I have heard a few minutes ago on Radio Austria International's postbox feature, Deutsche Welle will cease all transmissions to North America as of October 29, 2006. They did not specify whether it would affect English programming (via Kigali or DRM) or German programming.

And to think I just recieved two QSL's from them. At least I still have a chance to listen to DW on the CBC's FM network (albeit at 4:00 AM).

If I were you, I'd move quickly on those reception reports.


weatherall said...

Thanks Jon! Yesterday, I submitted my Deutsche Welle reception reports (4 of them, between 10 minutes and 60 minutes each) with a QSL request. I will be curious to see their broadcasting changes for B06.

While looking online for information about QSLs from Deutsche Welle, I found a page where someone mentioned that they received a form letter about the discontinuation of North American broadcasting. I may get the same treatment.

CBC FM at 4am? Sounds like you should get a scheduled recorder!

2100 UTC isn't usually a convenient listening time for me (here in UTC-7/UTC-8 land), but perhaps I can try today.

bt in LR said...

FYI - found the Grundig/Eton S350DL for $99.99 at Circuit City tonight, same price as the S350.

bt in LR

Great blog!

weatherall said...

Thanks, bt. The S350 is discontinued according to UR, and a number of online retailers now sell the S350DL for around US$100 (although often without the headphones that the S350DL originally included).

Anonymous said...

Just found this monster today:



weatherall said...

FS5: Thanks for the link! I will add it to my link list.

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Weatherall!

Anonymous said...

FS5: Thank you sir! Merry Christmas to you too. Maybe save that for next year since this one has gone by already.