The latest Mediumwave / Shortwave / VHF-FM receiver GR-216 from Gospell can receive both digital and analogue mediumwave and shortwave signals as well as VHF FM broadcasts. The software-defined receiver is based on a NXP chipset. The firmware may easily be updated over the USB connector on the front. The size of the radio is 240 mm (w) x 120 mm (h) x 150 mm (d) (without the knobs). It is supplied with a 230 VAC power cord, a 230 VAC / 9 VDC power supply and a user's manual.
|Listening to the radio |
The operation of the GR-216 is straight-forward using easy-to-operate knobs and switches. The tuning knob rotates smoothly and can be operated by the tip of your finger. This makes tuning easy like one is used to from regular shortwave receivers. There are also up/down switches for scanning or just to change channels step by step. The volume knob increases or decreases the loudspeaker volume in steps from 0 to18. By pressing the volume knob you can also adjust bass, midtones and treble in steps from -12 to +12. This lets you set the sound to your personal liking. The mode selector knob has three settings: AM (medium- and shortwave), DRM and FM.
Using the radio on Short Wave in AM mode (2.3 - 26.1 MHz)
Set the band switch to "AM". Select the desired shortwave band by pressing the BAND button until the desired band appears in the display. Tuning on short wave is similar to the tuning on medium wave. In Fast Tuning mode or using the "|<<" or ">>|" buttons the frequency step is always 5 kHz. When the Tuning knob is used it is possible to use either 1 kHz or 5 kHz channel steps. Generally the scanning can be used when tuning the shortwave band. But depending on the noise level in the band the scanning method can be somewhat problematic as the receiver will lock on both noise and broadcasing stations. Sometimes it will be better to use the "|<<" or ">>|" buttons or to use the Tuning knob to search the bands. The active whip antenna in GR-216 works very well and sometimes there is very little difference in reception when changing to an external antenna. If there is lots of noise in the room (LED lamps, switched power supplies etc.) where the radio is used one will definitely want to use an external antenna. As the shortwave propagation is different during day and night as well as the shortwave bands also depend on the time of the day it should be kept in mind that not every band is possible to use as could be expected. Generally the lower frequency bands tend to be more active during the dark hours of the day while the higher bands are most active during daylight.
Using the radio on DRM (Medium- and Shortwave Wave)
The frequency range for DRM is the same as for the medium wave and shortwave bands. When setting the Band Switch has been set to DRM, the speaker will remain silent until a DRM frequency has been selected and detected by using the Tuning knob or the "|<<" or ">>|" buttons. It takes a few seconds until the station label shows up in the display and the audio is decoded. An alternative method looking for DRM is to search for the characteristic DRM noise in AM mode and then switch over to DRM. The reception and decoding of the audio in digital mode is sometimes depending on the mode and bitrate used the broadcaster. Practical tests with the GR-216 placed on a table in a room showed varied results. For instance Voice of Nigeria 5600 km away could be well received without audio drop-outs even with the telescopic antenna fully collapsed. Voice of Nigeria uses a low bitrate of 9.1 kbps. Listening to Radio Romania 1500 km away is sometimes troublesome because they use a higher bitrate of 20.96 kbps. BBC from Singapore at a distance of 9600 km uses 16.92 kbps is difficult to receive in Scandinavia with the telescopic antenna because we are not in the target area. Even though DRM reception can be possible over great distances, it should be kept in mind that DRM reception needs a strong and stable signal. The sound quality in DRM mode is generally very clear and almost as good as FM stations. Generally speaking, DRM reception sometimes profits quite a lot from the use of an external antenna as DRM is vulnerable to Fading, noise, thunderstorms and crackle noises.