Without a doubt the old Silver faced Pioneer Receivers from the 70’s and 80’s was some of the most epic stereo gear ever designed. Sadly with the advent of cell phones and tablets everybody listens to their music on cheap earbuds while streaming low res music from some far away server.
Well not everybody does that. But most. And that means all those old boat anchor sized amps are in the back of the closet, the garage, in the attic and turn up at the estate sale from time to time.
Stupid old guys like me who are trying to relive their childhood will pay top dollar for an old amp that realistically time forgot. So these days it becomes the challenge of the old audiophile (audiophool) to find one cheap and bring it back to it’s once epic status.
Bad, bad storm last night. I seldom have a chance to give any emergency gear a good workout but I sure got the chance last night.
About 6:30 or 7 last night a wicked Thunderstorm with low and frequent lightning was hitting us hard. There was some nearby property damage although I was lucky. No trouble at Castle Hagensieker.
Even though we all have cell phones, internet, TV whatever…….the best resource for weather is YOUR LOCAL NOAA WEATHER STATION. They transmit weather data 24/7 however they transmit it on a frequency that you probably can’t get on any radio you own. You either need a real life EMERGENCY RADIO like you can buy at Lowes or maybe Walmart or you need a USB Software Defined Radio hooked to a computer. NOAA stations start I believe at 162.40 MHz. Also NOAA has the Emergency Alert System (EAS).
Well I picked up one of the all time great long distance Medium Wave (MW) aka AM Radios, the Panasonic RF-2200.
Sadly all but the last two of the 7 section telescopic antenna were broken off. No problem right? Quickly, to the internet, GeekMan.
Download the Service Manual. Check. Find antenna part number. Check. Hit eBay. Epic Fail. No such part on eBay. Dr. Google probably knows. He didn’t.
Started messing around with “vintage” audio again. Drug a couple stereos out of the attic and picked up a new stereo or two (or three). I’ve been heavily involved in vintage audio since around 2001 or so on and off and one thing that any old stereo guy will tell you is that DeOxIt spray is a miracle solution for audio. Spray it on and rust falls off, light bulbs glow brighter and the gravitational force of the moon gets stronger if you accidentally spray some on the moon.
So I have this SWEET Pioneer SX-780 that I bought off of eBay a while back and I like everything about it but the lights are kind of yellowish and I keep seeing pics of Pioneers with Bright White or even Blue tints. What gives?
So first of all this is an easy modification. The old Pioneer incandescent lamps are 8V lamps and over time they get a little smokey looking and tinted. All you really have to do is replace them with an LED lamp. The lamp fixture in the amp is the same one in a lot of modern automobiles today. So what you need is a T10 5 watt lamp such as this one.
So this is where it gets dicey. People will tell you on the internet that this is a 12 volt lamp and the Pioneer wants 8 volts therefore it will be dim. NOT TRUE. Almost any modern T10 LED has a voltage regulator inside of it which means it will work GREAT at any voltage between say 5 and 15 volts.
First you need to download the latest Raspberry Pi Raspbian OS from here. Get whichever version you want but I like to get the desktop version so I can VNC into it as it makes it easier.
If you have never done this connect your Raspberry Pi to a monitor, keyboard and mouse. If you are an old salt with Linux then just run headless and SSH into your Pi.
Once you download that file UNZIP IT. UNZIP IT. The file will end with an extension of .img
Do NOT try to burn the zip file to your SD card. UNZIP IT AND GET THE .IMG FILE.
Just got my XHData D-808 the other day and was able to give it a good shootout the last few days. It’s a sweet little radio. It SHOULD cost about $70 from Aliexpress however the radio is available there but won’t ship to the US. I bought mine on eBay for slightly over $100 (which hurts me to do that) but it seemed to be the only available source that I could find.
So with all that being said it shipped from Hong Kong and went to Israel, why I have no idea, and then it was reshipped. It took about a month but I got it and it is in perfect condition. God forbid I want to send it back though I guess. I might not live that long enough to get it back
Well, picked up yet another radio. The Tecsun S-8800. Purchased from anon-co in Hong Kong which is pretty much the only place to get one of these. Anon-co is AWESOME and I received this radio in like 3 or 4 days. They provide super fast Fed-Ex shipping and if everything isn’t to your liking they will fix it quick (or so I’ve been told, I’ve never had a problem).
Okay, first impressions time. The “first” short wave radio I owned after years of being away from the hobby was a Radio Shack purchased Grundig Eton S350. With the exception of the badge and maybe the color this radio looks EXACTLY like the S350. In fact I was a little hesitant to buy the S-8800 because of concerns that it might be the EXACT same radio as the S350. It isn’t. They are just capitalizing on a tried and true form factor. There are other radios that look just like this as well. That is where the similarity ends.
Okay, I have a dozen or more radios now and technically not all of them are short wave radios such as the C Crane 2E. I am prepared to name my favorite radio of the bunch. Note that all of the radios I own are NOT in the picture below.
You need to bear in mind that I said that this is MY FAVORITE RADIO and not that it is the best radio in the world.
This is at best a non-technical review. I’ll leave that to the other guys. One thing I’ve noticed about this hobby is that it is always about the hardware more so than the listening.