Marvellous Microreader

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Weather - One Line at a Time

In the Editor's Shack this Weekend 

I have been having such fun with some vintage equipment lately, so I thought I’d share it with you. I remember buying my first ERA Microreader way back when I were a lad and decoding CW with it, often mobile. I am not sure but I think ERA was a company based in Warrington. Does anyone know? Recently, I spotted some of these nifty decoders on eBay. I had not realised that there were, apparently, two variants of them, and I was also unaware of the existence of an extension screen and of the possibility to connect those to your PC. Does anyone know what the essential differences are between the two models of Microreader pictured here?

The main shack HF radio has been parked on 7645kHz USB, one of the main frequencies of the German weather service (Deutscher Wetterdienst, DWD). After a bit of what we refer to in the business as ‘fiddling’ with the device, I got perfect RTTY decodes here, just with an indoor crossed-dipole aerial, the Reuter RLA-3 (pictured). On my main Wellbrook 1530 loop, there were even fewer errors, of course.

Yes, I know there are much more ‘modern’ ways of receiving and decoding CW and RTTY with the aid of software. I will go into some detail about them in my forthcoming article in the October 2021 issue of RadioUser. But this is just sheer fun and games. I shall try and make a NASA Target 147 decoder work in my shack as my next project. This receives the long wave weather forecasts available across Europe on 147kHz. Back to the future!

Take care everyone and enjoy the long bank holiday weekend.