Some comments on radio hardware. I do not endorse products or stores. Red marks the newer stuff. 12/28/01
12/28/01 - Radio recording. Mike on my new message board posted "aiwa xrm-150 - Recently I purchased an AIWA XR-M150 table top radio. This radio has two important features, an auto-reverse record cassette and a timer. It will come on and record a radio show on both sides of a cassette. Another radio that does this is the Panasonic SC-PM11. It is a bit more expensive but also works very well." Thanks for the tips. I searched www.google.com for both models and found several links and reviews, but my quick look didn't spot a timed-recording feature.
Review - I've used it for a week, have dropped it about three times, and it still works. The AM and FM work ok but AM has only five memories; not enough for me. It has a crude scan feature and will step through the presets. FM has a distant/local switch but AM doesn't; not that they do much. An FM mono switch could help. TV, only with channels 2-13 [I'd rather receive PBS], and weather work but are weak. You'll need to pick prime reception areas. I don't often run cassettes on batteries and haven't tried it. A DC-power input socket would be a smart addition. Overall, it's a good AM/FM receiver for stronger signals and has a radio-control lock for pocket use. It's lighter and a tad smaller than my last unit. It was harder to find on the Sony site today so it may be go toward discontinued - but still available in local stores. It may be worth $30, but look for discounts.
11/16/00 - Looking for a radio? Check www.ccradio.com. I know nothing about it, except I heard an ad for it. Used equipment also?
Flash - Did you see Fry's ad in the 6/25/99 LAT? It's a new Sylvania four-head VCR with auto head cleaner for $79.
Answer: Record them. See below about recording while you're away. But, while I'm home I use a cheap AM/FM Cassette Boombox which is ok for recording voice on the strong, local AM and FM stations. You'll still need at least one good AM/FM digital tuner to find the station; more on that below. My main AM/FM recorder is reserved for weaker stations or to record a third station.
I bought a cheap boombox last year, and it works ok, and will *record, play, and rewind tapes rather than use the good machine. (P.S. The first thing to fail on my AM/FM cassette recorder boomboxes has been the tape transport.) It's available at Rite Aid till 3/2/99 for $16.99, and it's the Newteck model #PS202. They do give rain checks when they're out, or may be able to find a store that has it in stock. I only use 120-minutes tapes and this works ok, but on this model the drive is above the tape and, in the past, I've had trouble trying to remove a jammed tape without breaking it. Last year this was $14.99, and I should have bought several.
3/12/99 - Fries Electronics has a 4-page ad in the L.A. Times almost every Friday. From 3/12/99 to 3/16/99, they will have these: Sony portable digital AM/FM, 10+10 memory, CD player, cassette recorder, with remote for $89.99. Also, 2-head, 7-program VCR for $79 and 4-head, hi-fi stero, and auto head cleaner VCR for $97. I keep thinking about picking up a used or cheap VCR to record from the radio. The tape is much cheaper and the machine doesn't usually eat it.
3/23/99 - Other good Deals. At Best Buy: Philips AM/FM digital, CD, cassette, boombox for $69.99 Best Price. Also, another for $89.99 and Sony walkman digital for $29.99. At Circuit City: digital boombox $89.99, analog boombox $14.99, & 4-head VCR for $89.99. All till 3/27/99. Both of these stores and more place ads in the Sunday L.A. Times newspaper.
3/25/99 - For some hints on what to look for in a radio, try www.dxing.com. Check the "Selecting a Shortwave Radio" part. Just remember they discuss a more expensive radio, with more features then the average listener wants.
5/27/99 - check the prices in the local papers this holiday. For example Best Buy has a new VCR for $69.99 and a new AM/FM cassette for $9.99 from today thru Monday.
Some web sites are:
www.radioshack.com . . Radio Shack
www.circuitcity.com . . Circuit City
www.bestbuy.com . . Best Buy
www.dxing.com . . good radio info.
Ever wonder how radio signals get from the transmitter to your
radio? What are radio waves? How does the atmosphere, the sun and sun spots, and antennas effect radio waves? Four web sites and the 5/1998 (May) Popular Electronics give some answers.
www.gernsback.com . . Popular Electronics.
solar.uleth.ca/solar/ . . Solar Terrestial Dispatch in Canada.
www.dxlc.com/sola . . DX Listeners Club of Norway.
www.ngdc.noaa.gov . . National Geophysical Data Center.
www.sel.noaa.gov/ . . Space Environmental Center.
Thanks to Karl T. Thurber, W8FX, and the May 1998 Popular Electronics magazine for the details and links.