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.
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.
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…..?”
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.
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.
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.
I just took a little inventory of my short wave radios. It shakes out like this:
- Tecsun PL-660
- Tecsun PL-880
- Sangean ATS-909X
- Kaito KA1103
- Majestic El Cheapo Italian Radio
- Tivdio V-115
- C Crane SSB
- Tecsun PL-365
- Tecsun PL-380
- Tecsun S2000
- Tecsun PL-310ET
- XHDATA D-808
- Grundig Eton Satellit
Okay, you’re probably not reading this unless you are a Ham or an ShortWave Listener (SWL). I probably seem like a rank amateur compared to many guys you’ve seen who have possibly dozens of more radios than I have.