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Member Introductions and News A place where members can introduce themselves and post occasional news about themselves.

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Old 15th Apr 2019, 11:11 am   #1
Radio Surfer
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Tiree, Argyll & Bute, Scotland, UK.
Posts: 59
Default New Member from Tiree

Hello to everyone,

Before I add my first “real” post I thought I'd just introduce myself and explain what brings me to this forum group.

I’ve always had an interest in radios and as a teenager built several radios from the simple crystal set, which I still remember with fondness and stunned disbelief when the first station crackled to life, through to some fairly sophisticated superheterodynes. My father also found an old Premier valve radio in a loft which he brought home and I managed to get working and still use from time to time. Then, the usual story of University, first house, marriage and family led to this interest being put on temporary (40 years !) hold.

So what rekindled this interest after so long? Quite simple I got fed up with the unreliable nature of receiving radio stations through the alternatives to FM. Firstly, we lost the local FM transmitter which meant my current supply of Radios, Grundig and Roberts became useless as the weaker signals drifted in and out rather like Radio Luxembourg. BBC stations began promoting DAB, streaming via the internet and more recently Sounds.

I, therefore, started on the journey of upgrading my stock of radios with a DAB, only to find we lived in one of the 20% black spots in the UK and couldn’t receive a signal. I’m rather intrigued in this 20% as it seems to cover an awfully large area of the country. My job entails a lot of travelling, and I’m mostly out of range to the point my car radio is tuned back into FM. My next upgrade was to a wi-fi enabled radio with my new friend Alexa (other smart speakers available as we have to say these days). Once the novelty had worn off of asking “what time the next bus is?” only to be told the flight times to New York, I settled on just using it for radio. However, constant buffering of stations following the move by the BBC to the new Sounds App, upgrading software and 10 minutes logging back on whenever the internet failed, meant this was not going to be a happy relationship with Alexa.

The only way I had of receiving radio stations reliably was via satellite through the TV which wasn't convenient.

So, what I wanted was:

1) a reliable method of receiving radio stations with a clear sound
2) something that didn’t need upgrades, rebooting , caches clearing etc.
3) something not too expensive to buy and maintain
4) a device that looked good and easily portable

Then about 3 weeks ago an engineer came out to refit a loose connection on the satellite dish and we got talking about radios in general and he mentioned that in the 70s and 80s most of his work had been putting up FM aerials for people with stereo radios and how this work dropped away but in recent years has started to grow again. I wonder why?

I, therefore, decided to have an FM aerial fitted and try once more some tried and tested technology.

I started to look around at FM radios, but most stores only had DAB and they were expensive, so I thought I’d try looking at used radios but only older ones had external aerial sockets. Then came the “lightbulb” moment, why not resurrect an old hobby and buy an older radio. If it needed some work I could do that. So I started looking around, stumbled on this website and after reading several articles and watching a few RadioCruncher Youtube videos, settled on an FM Hacker.

I’m now the owner of a Hacker RP37A FM radio in burgundy red with brass finish. I’ll hopefully be posting a note on the “Success” section in the next few days/weeks and seeing whether my 4 objectives above have been achieved. Undoubtedly I'll be asking for advice together with a few minor “Wants” (all in the correct forum sections of course) once the radio is back together.

As for my job, I’ve worked in IT for many years, so not a technophobe, I just expect stuff to work.

And why did I choose Radio Surfer as my user name? Well the Radio bit is obvious and living in Tiree never more than 1 minute from the North Atlantic, surfing is my other hobby.

Hopefully, this ramble wasn't too long and given you an idea of my journey to this forum and maybe I’m not the only one whose been down this path?

Regards Richard
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Old 15th Apr 2019, 11:40 am   #2
paulsherwin's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 18,066
Default Re: New Member from Tiree

Welcome Richard. We have quite a few active Scottish members, but not many as remote as you!

One solution to your problems might be to use an FM microtransmitter or 'pantry transmitter' fed by whatever radio source works in your location - Freeview, Freesat or the internet. You could even use your FM aerial to feed a good FM tuner and rebroadcast the audio for reception on portables. There are lots of threads on both FM and MW microtransmitters if you search the forum.

You should bear in mind that any transmitter without genuine CE markings is technically illegal to operate, but you're unlikely to attract official attention unless you make a nuisance of yourself, particularly given your location.
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