Thanks for the Packages: element14 & Tecsun Radios Australia

It’s been a few days since I’ve received a few “surprise” packages at my doorstep, but unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to post about them here when they arrived. As any academic might know – it’s grant application season and that means a lot of work!

Anyhow, I thought it would be nice just to make a quick post to thank element14 and Tecsun Radios Australia for the gifts.

element14

After recently winning RoadTest of the Year for my efforts with the Rohde & Schwarz RTM3004 oscilloscope, I was lucky enough to be offered a small “shopping cart” of goods from element14. How could I resist? After all, element14 is one of my favourite places to shop … and quickly the budget was all spent!

After a few days … this arrived on the doorstep.

A parcel is almost always good news … so … any guesses what’s inside?

The mystery is underneath the protective crumpled paper …

The answer is a lot of random parts. Many of them are capacitors, intended for repair of various electronics old and new, along with a few battery holders, test leads, RF adapters and a BeagleBone Black.

Then again, if you’ve seen my post on element14, maybe this one wasn’t so surprising.

Tecsun Radios Australia

The next one comes from Tecsun Radios Australia thanks to their #DecodeToWin contest held in conjunction with Shortwave Radiogram. I thought this was a bit different from your regular contest, so I put my all into it.

The aim was to decode the contest image at the end of the broadcast with six competition images over six weeks (and two prior to the official start of the competition). Not having great reception at home, I honed my skills in using WebSDR/KiwiSDRs resulting in this article amongst others. It involved a lot of staying up late nights and waking up early mornings over the weekends.

The gallery of received images are below:

Looking at the numbers of images, you might be wondering just why the number varied so much. Well, initially, I was aiming to decode each of the broadcasts just once from one location. Occasionally, reception might fail due to poor signals, SDR timeouts, internet connectivity issues, etc. But later on, I developed and perfected a method whereby multiple-parallel reception from different places using recordings can be achieved relatively easily …

… then a lightbulb went off in my head – I could assemble the images into a wonderfully analog-looking GIF. The odd sample rate tuning by the WebSDR contributed a nice “jello” effect, whereas the natural noise provided the speckling. Occasional breaks in the image and slant changes are due to LTE packet delays/congestion and clock rate differences. I’m quite fond of the result.

Unfortunately, my efforts didn’t land me the grand prize of a Tecsun PL-880, but hey – I think I’ve gotten enough out of the contest anyway in learning all about using WebSDRs to my advantage. That’s how my whole radiofax series got started.

Nonetheless, I was informed that I had won a runner-up prize which arrived this week in a satchel. Being a fellow Australian, it’s good to see something “local” :).

Included in the package was a letter, a couple of labels, a shortwave listeners guide, a logbook and a notebook.

Thanks Garry Cratt! Just in case anyone was wondering – this is what their logbook looks like:

I remember in my early SWL days when I made a fairly similar table on paper to write my observations and try to claim QSL cards. Unfortunately, not as many stations issue QSLs anymore, so I don’t really chase broadcast services for the most part. Interestingly, I used to also have columns for SINPO which is usually requested within reports.

As for the Listeners’ Guide – this is a booklet which is very much Australian with a lot of tips which relate to some of our local services, such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service and VKS737 4WD club (as above). It’s nice to see some local information, although there are a few grammatical errors and typos that might do with a bit of polishing.

The latter part of the guide is a short catalogue of their products and accessories.

Conclusion

Well, maybe the word “surprise” isn’t the right one, since I was expecting them both to arrive – I just didn’t know when! But regardless, receiving a parcel is almost always a joyous occasion – so thanks to element14 and Tecsun Radios Australia for brightening my day.

About lui_gough

I'm a bit of a nut for electronics, computing, photography, radio, satellite and other technical hobbies. Click for more about me!
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