Re: Guy Atkin's Independent Testing of PL-380 7.5" Loopstick

Tony Germanotta

I thought about using varactors to remote tune a loop, but always wound up preferring to be right alongside it, so I could nudge it for that little bit of extra signal. I think it's all psychological. But one of the problems of the new radios is we wind up with so little to tweak and turn. How many times have I missed an ID because I tried to "improve" the signal that little bit more right at the top or bottom of the hour? My old set up used to include a bunch of audio processors as well: the JPS NIR10, a magic notch, and an Autek QF-1A all feeding high quality communications headphones. It was fun switching in filters, narrowing passbands and trying to eke out intelligence from the noise.  But that would seem awfully silly attached to these tiny radios as well. Sort of defeats the spirit of UL.

You're right on the Sony's, they seem to have abandoned a lot of their electronics market over the years, not just shortwave. I have the 2010 and it is a great radio and probably couldn't be made today because of the cost of all those individual tuning buttons. I also have the SW100 and that is a marvel as well, with synchronous detection in a pocket size unit that is much better than that on my Drake R8A. I think Drake finally got it right with the R8B, then stopped making radios again.  Sony dithered around trying to protect its record label from piracy and lost its portable audio lead to Apple and others. Portable audio used to be synonymous with the Walkman. Even when Sony brought out a digital player, they limited it at first to their own MiniDisc codec. Now they have come out with an MP3 player that is supposedly a great item, but it is more expensive than the iPod and not likely to knock it off its perch. Sony makes a decent HD table radio, but again the portable model that could have been the HD FM walkman was made by another company. It's sold under the Insignia brand at Best Buy for under $50. Then again, with the cost advantage the Chinese companies have, I can hardly blame them for throwing up their hands. I still can't believe how little my Tecsun PL310 cost, including shipping, for what it does. Sony or Philips or any other electronics giant can't operate at that profit margin. 

On Feb 11, 2010, at 6:05 PM, jim_kr1s wrote:



Thanks for that other link. Yes, MW propagation is more interesting than HF IMO, and varies from one end of the band to the other. Probably not the best choice for broadcasting, but what did they know? Makes for an interesting hobby, anyway!

I think the ham rigs are using proprietary DSP, so they can thwart the competition. They use DSP to process transmitted audio and do other neat tricks for digital-mode reception and transmission, too. In a communications receiver, one of the slickest parts of the SiLabs chip would be less useful: The ability to resonate the LW/MW antenna. I've been experimenting with external air loops tuned by the radio, but there are problems when you try to make them big. What I wouldn't give to be able to tap into the varactor tuning voltage and disconnect the internal varactor. A remote box controlled through a fiber-optic cable would be a fine thing. Sony is way overdue to replace the 7600GR, but they may have abandoned the SWL market as far as new development. They seem to have lost interest, and it's been downhill since the ICF-2010.


Jim, KR1S 

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