Category Archives: Ham Radio

Ham Radio

How To Add an OLED To A Zumspot DMR Hotspot

I got the distinct honor of speaking at the local Amateur Radio Club last night and it caused me to dust the, errrrrrr, dust off of my DMR Hotspots.    After the club meeting I came back and updated the OS’s (PiStar) on my Zumspot and JumboSpot and updated the firmware as well.

The JumboSpot has one distinct advantage over the Zumpsot I have.  It has a cool OLED display.

That got me to thinking.  I could probably add an OLED to my Zumspot.   I could. Here’s how you do that:

Zumspot OLED (click to enlarge)

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Why Is Radio So Important To Me?

Thought I’d do some philosophical stuff today instead of technical stuff today.  Beware.

One of the things that first fascinated me as a little kid (besides baseball and before women) was radio.  Specifically short wave radio.  We had a world band radio in the house and it had the TV audio band.  I used to think that was so cool.  Then along came Citizens Band (CB) radio.  Oh God how I loved that.   I really find that odd because now at my advanced age of 57, and the fact I’m a licensed Ham, I really don’t care to talk.

But oh how I love to listen.  I almost don’t care what I’m listening to as long as I’m LISTENING.

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Chuwi HI10 Air Windows Tablet Review For RTL-SDR

Batten down the hatches and store food.   The end is near.  I bought a Windows Device and I am going to review it.

Let’s be clear.  I F’n-ing hate Windows.  I have been using Linux and Mac way before it was cool to do so.  Windows is an abomination.  That being said I have long since owned a Vinyl Sign Cutting machine.  The very best software for it runs on Windows.  Also recently I bought an SDRPlay RSPDuo and the only real software to exploit it properly is called SDRUno and it is Windows only.

This is a review for a Chuwi HI10 Air Tablet .  I bought it EXCLUSIVELY for using RTL-SDR radios on.  If you are looking for a review of how well this tablet does ANYTHING besides RTL-SDR, then by golly you are in the wrong place.

I travel a lot and I love listening to radio signals and like it or not I just need to carry around a Windows device.

Sure I can run Windows in a Virtual environment but I’m kind of king of the low power devices (read:  CHEAP) and the things I try to do require more power and speed than what I typically carry around.

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How Do You Like To Listen To Shortwave?

Probably not a lot of us shortwave junkies out there.  That being said there are several ways to listen.

  • Portable shortwave
  • Tabletop shortwave with external antenna
  • RTL-SDR
  • Internet based SDR

Probably missing something but those are the ways I can do it at Castle Hagensieker.  And while I own many, many portable shortwave radios……………

I have pretty much two preferred ways to listen.

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Using the SDRPlay RSPDuo – A few weeks in

I’ve had my SDRPlay RSPDuo for a few weeks now and I’m prepared to talk about it a little bit.

First let me preface this by saying I also own an RSP1 and an RSP2 and while I think they are both fine radios I’ve always had a tiny beef with the SDRPlay devices.

Beef #1 is that to really pack a punch with an RSP device you need SDRUno which is a Windows program.   With every fiber of my being I despise Windows.  Don’t like it don’t trust it.

And while you most certainly can use an SDRPlay on Linux weird shit happens.  Let me also preface this by saying that if you install the Non-Windows Workflow as they say in that Lego movie………..”Everything is Awesome”.  Yeah, well, I’m not that guy.  I have every SDR known to God and Man and I build the gr-osmosdr stuff by hand to try to use other devices such as PlutoSDR and LimeMiniSDR.

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Yaesu FRG-7 Short Wave Receiver

Here on my Tech Blog I really long to be on the cutting edge…..I like to discuss new technology, and how to exploit that technology.

But let’s make no doubt about it, I’m old school.

And I’m about to prove that once again.  Let’s face it, there were some things that were just done RIGHT that are old school.   Let’s list a couple of those things.

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What’s Left To Do On ShortWave

Ahhhh Shortwave radio.  If you’re my age you probably remember it fondly in the 70’s and 80’s. Every home probably had at least one World Band radio.  If you are my kids age you may not even know it exists or if you do ………… what exactly it is.

Everyone knows what AM radio is.  What most don’t know is AM Radio is actually called Medium Wave (MW).  The frequencies BELOW AM are called LONGWAVE.  So it stands to reason the frequencies on the other side of AM are called “SHORTWAVE”.

Shortwave kind of fell out of popularity mostly due to the big old orange ball in the sky firing solar storms at us.  The sun works in cycles and sometimes shortwave listening is really really good and sometimes it is really really pointless to try.

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Alinco DX-R8T Review

First of all let me say that I own just about 25 portable shortwave radios and probably almost as many SDR radios.  I absolutely love shortwave listening.  I also love the various modes on shortwave such as DRM, WeFAX, Numbers Stations, etc.  Also you never know what you are going to hear.

Somewhere along the line I decided I wanted to get a dedicated tabletop receiver.  Some of the old military grade stuff really intrigues me.  Some of that stuff costs big bucks.  The government seems to have pretty high standards for HF radios and that type of radio is highly desirable.

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CCrane CC Pocket Radio Review

I like CCrane Radios.  I probably shouldn’t because they are among some of the more expensive radios out there but I find them kind of hit or miss for the money.

For example I LOVE my CCrane 2E AM/FM/Weather/VHF radio.  I also love and could never part with my CCrane EP Pro (version 2).  Great little radio.

However I DESPISE my CCrane Skywave SSB radio.  It has AWFUL reception and it costs $170.  On paper it looks great.  In reality it sucks.

So it has been with some trepidation that I purchased the CC Pocket Radio.  I have wanted one though since they released it because, hey, I’m a radio nut and I want to hold them all and try them all.

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HF Listening. My Favorite Way.

I’m an old dude that grew up in the height of the CB radio craze.  CB radio is a gateway drug to ham radio or short wave radio.  I love listening to short wave radio, aka HF.

I have TONS of short wave radios.  There are tons of web pages on which radio is best and I personally think we get wrapped up too much in technical details. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that people are giving things a proper shakedown but I’m a simple guy who just likes to spin the dial and listen to unusual things on HF.

I’ll show you what I’m up to this morning.  I have my Sangean ATS-909x which is probably my favorite short wave radio.

I’ll GUARANTEE you there are people out there who would scoff at that but I’m telling you…..I have at least 20 or 25 short wave radios and pound for pound, for where I live, under my conditions the Sangean almost lays everything else to waste.

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