29 December 2011

video of chu reception

On 12 September 2011, at around 0440 UTC, I used my Eton E5 receiver and my Degen DE31 active loop antenna to receive CHU, Canada's shortwave time signal broadcast from Ottawa. I was tuned to the 7850 kHz broadcast. It was a uniquely poor day for shortwave in my location.

Here's a 2m 30s video of the reception, taken with a mobile phone:

18 December 2011

checking in on redsun

When the Redsun RP2100 radio arrived on the analog radio receiver market, it quickly became a widely-regarded product among radio fans. It was readily available on eBay, got an overall positive review on RadioIntel, and was an impressive entry into the market for a new Chinese radio manufacturer. At the time, I hoped that the product's success meant that the anticipated RP3000/RP3100 would soon follow.

But the rumored RP3000/RP3100 hasn't materialized. At one point, I emailed the company to ask about the RP3000/RP3100. They stated that they were focused on the RP2100 at that time, which was eventually sold under the C.Crane and Kaito brands. Visitors to Redsun's website see a graphic displaying four radios, the fourth of which resembles the RP3000. Why do they tease us like this?!

The current crop of Redsun radios seems to closely follow the offerings of fellow Chinese radio manufacturer Tecsun. Among the many products created by the two companies, there's a pocket-sized multi-band radio (Tecsun R-911 and Redsun RF-1201), a larger multi-band radio (Tecsun R-9700DX and Redsun RF-1210), and a jumbo radio covering the full shortwave spectrum (Tecsun BCL-2000/BCL-3000 and Redsun RP2100).

I purchased two Redsun radios listed above: the RF-1201 and the RF-1210. While my RF-1210 has a loose tuning knob issue, these two radios are otherwise impressive for their price range and feature set. I still haven't purchased an RP2100, mostly because I already own a Tecsun BCL-2000. Sometimes, close competition can spur companies to improve quality and produce new, innovative products. Tecsun's route lately seems to be the use of DSP chips in inexpensive portable products like the PL-300wt, PL-310, and PL-380. Redsun's route? We're still waiting to find out.

While browsing Redsun's product lineup on their website, I found that the camouflaged RP007 was their most expensive product. The RP007 covers the full frequency range for FM, MW, and SW. It received mediocre rating in this review from dxer.ca [pdf]. And if Redsun were trying to evoke James Bond with the product name, watching a movie or two in the film series (with 22 films to date) would reveal that James is a classy dresser who does not do camouflage. But I digress.

I sent Redsun several questions about their products and analog radio broadcasting in general, but did not get a response by the time this article was published.

03 December 2011

the absence of radio netherlands

As I review the latest shortwave broadcasting schedules, the most notable absence for me is Radio Netherlands. Their broadcasts seemed to do everything right: lots of interesting content, up-to-date news, strong and reliable broadcasts, and perfectly understandable English. I noted in a May 2006 reception report that Radio Netherlands was my best source of news about Europe. And in April 2007, they broadcasted a detailed story about the Lincoln assassination.

For a few years at least, I was spoiled by that station and their transmission site in Bonaire. I've recently learned that the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved in October 2010, although I've also received a Dutch language broadcast from that transmitter site since then.