So I read somewhere that it’s not good to go 547 days between blog posts. Well, it’s a good thing that we’ve only gone 546 days between posts here at HF Radio Review, and will manage to get a new post in just before that magic 547 day deadline.* What can I say, people? If life takes its toll on the best of us., you can only imagine what it does at times to a schmuck like me. fortunately I am coming up for air long enough to let you know what’s been going on around here as far as radios go.
The portable radio kick continues with a couple of new additions to the menagerie. The GE Monitor 10 is pure nostalgia for me. I could only dream about having a radio like this when I was a kid, so it only seemed fitting to give this one a home now. It can’t hold a candle to some of the other portables in the shack, but its still an enjoyable radio. The weather band is a useful feature, and that big speaker pays off with a nice, rich tone. It may not be a DXing beast, but it’s great for listening to a ballgame.
While it would be easy to dismiss the Zenith Royal 94 as little more than nostalgia as well, this one can hold its own, especially on the mediumwave band. All in all, I’d say it’s about on par with its big brother the TransOceanic, which is pretty good in my book. It could use a little TLC to get it in real fighting shape, but it will be worth the effort, as this is already a great radio. Besides, this one is a real looker. Even people who aren’t into radios can appreciate this beauty. Commander mcDonald really outdid himself with this one.
Fast forward a couple of decades to the early 80s, when the Panasonic rf-1401 made its debut. I picked this one up a while ago, but it didn’t do much for me.While it had that nice big audio that I’ve come to know and love from Panasonic, it just fell short in the performance department. Deedless to say, this one didn’t do it for me, and it ended up on the shelf for the better part of two years.
A few weeks ago, I finally decided to do the Jay Allen antenna mod on this radio, and I swear the thing came to life! The AM sensitivity is much better, maybe even better than the GE 7-2990. it still has some ‘quirks’ around strong signals, but that new ferrite rod antenna has turned an OK radio into a great one, and is an upgrade that’s well worth the effort. I’m looking forward to really putting this one through its paces.
A Second Loop Antenna
If you don’t have the room to put a lot of metal up in the air, or live in a noisy urban environment, the magnetic loop is a godsend. These small wonders are famous for their ability to cut through the man made noise and get to the signal you’re looking for. Larry Plummer, W6LVP, took the magnetic loop and made it portable. Thanks to a loop made from coax cable, this antenna gives you all the benefits of a Wellbrook or Pro-1B in a package that can be put up and taken down in minutes. I’ve had the opportunity to play around with this antenna for a while now, and it has proven itself to be a great performer. Expect a comparison between it and the Pro-1B here shortly.
By the way, Larry has a $25 off sale for his loops this month. If you are in the market for a new receive antenna, I would jump on this one. If you already have one of his loops but would like to make it even more portable, you can get a battery box like the ones used on his new portable loop from Adafruit industries.
A New Mediumwave Catch
While I may seem a little fixated on portables these days, that doesn’t mean that the Perseus hasn’t been put to good use. I made this recording last october, but didn’t do much with it as I wasn’t all that pleased with the quality. After giving it a second listen though, it’s much better than I remembered. Still rough mind you, but it’s easily my best mediumwave catch ever. This recording is of a signal I caught around local sunrise on 1098 kHz with the SAL-30 pointed to the Northwest. While I should’ve looked for parallel transmissions on the shortwave bands, the audio and frequency would match up with the 1000 KW (and no, that is not a typo) China National Radio transmitter out of Golmud.
6989 miles away from my SAL.
Here’s a clip of what I heard that morning in October. Take a listen and decide for yourself.
So How Many Days Will You Go between Posts This Time?
Hey, what can I say? Sometimes life gets in the way of things, and your passions need to take a back seat. Hopefully I will have a little more time to devote to my beloved hobby soon though, and if things go well, 2018 could be a great year for my radio addiction. I am hoping to put together a ferrite sleeve loop antenna this summer, which will make my portables even better. I am also in the preliminary stages of possibly doing a DXPedition this fall, but we’ll see have to wait and see. Stay tuned, folks.
*Yes, I had to go back and edit this part when I was unable to finish the post on time. Don’t judge me. That’s Boris’s job.