Author Archives: John Hagensieker

Adding LED Lights to Vintage Receiver – Pioneer SX-780

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.

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Raspberry Pi and LogitechMediaServer and Squeezelite

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.

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XHData D-808 Mini Review

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

 

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Tecsun S-8800 Mini Review

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.

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My Favorite Short Wave Radio

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.

 

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Your Short Wave Antenna And Rig Accessed From Anywhere

Do you want to listen to your Shortwave receiver at work?  Do you camp?  Do you travel and can’t carry a lot of gear with you?  If you did travel you can’t carry the gear with you to get the performance you get at home.   Here’s a way to access your short wave antenna via an RTL-SDR device.  You can’t really access your shortwave RADIO but you can get at your antenna.

You need an RTL-SDR device.

$30 gets you basically every radio frequency that you can imagine and there is no shortage of geeks out there to write software to listen to or decode or make use of all those radio signals. One really cool thing you can do is to set up a server which you can connect to from anywhere.

 

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Short Wave Radio And Politics And Shit

Last night I stumbled across some Short Wave Hardware Porn on eBay last night.  A big old Harris HF receiver that was used in a whole lot of listening posts and embassies and it got me to thinking about short wave and governments and politics (and shit).  The “and shit” is a nod to one of my favorite shows “The Trailer Park Boys” and the part of Mr. Leahy who uses the word “shit” to hilarious effect.

Short wave is such a fascinating medium to me and I’m surprised that I didn’t listen for so many years.  As with a lot of hobbies you can get wrapped up in the hardware and it’s capabilities.  “I received a transmission from Atlantis with my Sync Detector and BFO and my radio limits D and E adsorption 10% more than other brands”.

Okay that is a totally wild and made up statement but I hope someone got a chuckle out of it.  People will totally split hairs about what radio is better than the other one in fact it seems to be the norm.  But I ask you this……..“Are you listening, really listening, to the content out there…..?”

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Making a 9 MHz Dipole Antenna On The Cheap

With the exception of just a long hunk of wire (which can be darned effective for SW and MW listening) a dipole antenna can be made on the cheap for some great SW listening.   Probably the hardest part of making the antenna is deciding how long to cut the wires.  Just google up “Dipole Calculator” and type in the approximate frequency you want to receive.   In my case I decided I wanted one tuned to about 9 MHz.

I used this site, typed 9 in the frequency block and it told me the overall length was 52 feet and each hunk of wire is 26 feet long.  In this installation I used 12 ga. copper wire that I had laying around.

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Tecsun S2000 First Impressions

Got my new Tecsun S2000 in the mail today and we’re going to lay out our first impressions.  Probably won’t find one of these guys on Amazon and I picked mine up from eBay but it really came from anon-co.

It’s just a little bit scary to order stuff from eBay that you know comes from Hong Kong however after doing the requisite research the consensus in the Ham community was this:

“You should not hesitate for one second to order from anon-co”.

So I ordered one.  Almost immediately I began getting emails from them telling me exactly what to expect, how they were shipping (Fed Ex) and then cordially reminded me to ensure my phone number was up to date so Fed Ex could communicate delivery instructions to me and all other manner of useful information.  These are clearly people who gave a darn I bought something from them and helped me to make it as smooth as possible.  The emails i got clearly were NOT form mails either.  It was a pleasure to do business with people like that.

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C Crane Skywave SSB Mini Review

This is a quick and dirty mini review of the new C Crane Skywave SSB radio.  Right to it then.

What’s the first thing I noticed?  It’s small.  Very compact.  Also after a few minutes of use I have to say that THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST INTUITIVE RADIOS THAT IS CURRENTLY ON THE MARKET.  It’s not too terrible to figure out how to navigate around and yeah, okay, there are a few crazy things that make no sense like figuring out how to apply squelch to the Air Band.

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