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.