Hello and I wish you a good Solar-Maximum listening this 2013 year! I am currently producing and shipping WR-3 Receivers for March and April orders. The turnaround time is down to about 4-5 weeks maximum pending acquision of necessary parts to produce and test each WR-3.
(By the way, I recorded nice whistlers on 17 to 19 March 2013 and heard weak dawn chorus during a geomagnetic storm March 29th, with some whistlers the morning of April 21st noted. A recent expedition to northern Finland by a film-crew captured great VLF sounds via a WR-3 shipped to them in March! This is great news to hear!)
WR-3 units are field-tested (as always!) in an electrically-quiet location in the nearby Mojave Desert on my radio-expeditions, or in the back-field behind my shop/lab, for maximum quality checking upon completion of construction and to ensure they are functioning to my high-specifications.
Thank you very much for your orders! The WR-3 has been quite popular globally this past year (shipped to 23 nations in 2012) and so far, 9 nations in 2013 so far, and I am very thankful to all of my customers and enthusiasts! I meet the coolest people in this field of interest (of all kinds, globally!). What also totally pleases me is the number of WR-3 users venturing to remote regions of the globe (especially within the auroral-zone regions) to check-out the local VLF-conditions and phenomena! THANKS! (S.P. McGreevy, 23 April 2013)
Made since since September 1991!: The Original WR-3 is still in production, but in a much nicer-looking black enclosure and BNC-antenna jack (the former, original WR-3s were in unpainted aluminum enclosures and had a screw-type antenna mount).
I try to turn-around orders as soon as is possible despite some travel and radio expeditions frequently done -- WR-3 receivers are tested on my radio expeditions as well.
All receivers are field-tested as said just above - sometimes I bring them along on radio-DX trips and test them in a very-quiet (no powerline noise) location to see how they function (such as testing for reception of the Russian ALPHA transmissions between 11-14 kHz) before sending them out--this is the way I can be certain you will receive your WR-3 knowing it has been field-tested to my satisfaction.
Based upon the great popularity of the WR-3, we believe just about everyone is happy with theirs--I have not received a return-request in YEARS. The recordings on my websites and in the Internet Archives albums attest to the decency of this little hand-held whistler receiver.
(Six natural-VLF-radio MP3 albums, Electric-Enigma, and Auroral Choruses 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5; and Alberta August 2000 Solar-Max. VLF EXpedition (stereo) are now available online at www.archive.org (Internet Archives - based in San Francisco, California).
And so, a big *thank you* all for your interest in this pocket-portable VLF receiver. It continues to be a popular hand-held/pocket VLF receiver as of today, quite surprisingly to myself, and I wish to thank all of you whom have already been enjoying the fascinating realm of VLF radio via the WR-3 Whistler Receiver for these many years since September 1991. I have tried to hold the WR-3 price (USD135 plus postage - as shown further below) down for a while (since 2007), but prices of components, the enclosure, and especially shipping-costs keep mounting due to economic-monetary inflation/devaluation. I will keep the WR-3 Receiver and circuit-board-option prices the SAME throughout 2013.
Each WR-3 Receiver comes with an excellent Smiley-Antenna Inc. "Superstick II" telescoping-whip antenna with BNC-base (10-section, 54-inches/138 cm in length - actually designed for 2-meter ham-band use as a 5/8-wave antenna with small series-loading coil, but it works great with the WR-3), and an alkaline 9v battery that powers the approximately 7 to 10 mA power-draw WR-3 circuit for about 20 hours, and a WR-3 Listening Guide CD with the WR-3 Listening Guide on it plus four MP3-albums of natural-radio field recordings totalling over 10 hours.
To learn more about this WR-3 "whistler receiver" please read The WR-3 Listening Guide link right below or click this link. It should answer most questions you may have.
By the way, the frequency-response of the WR-3 is from about 50 Hz to 14 kHz (audio-passband roll-off below 100 Hz and above 8 kHz). It does not cover less-than 50 Hz, i.e. ULF frequencies - it is made strictly for natural-VLF-radio-emissions from lightning storms and the Magnetosphere between 50 Hz to about 14 kHz - you can hear ALPHA-Radionavigation (beeping-sounds) transmissions with it too, and the noises of the electrical-grid and appliances.
NEW back in 2010!: WR-3D circuit-board and potentiometer (only) stuffed with all necessary components and tested on the workbench before I ship. You supply the enclosure, etc. - $59.00 Shipments of just the completed circuit board (inspected and bench-tested thoroughly and carefully) can generally be made faster than fully-constructed and remote-field-tested WR-3s.
Stephen P. McGreevy
WR-3 Specifications and info. page 2 of 2
WR-3 Listening Guide - HTML version
About the Smiley Antenna "Superstick II" Antenna that I supply with each WR-3 Receiver
Price: WR-3 = US$135.00 plus $15 postage = $150.00 to U.S./ Canadian locations via USPS Priority-Mail/Letter (package) Air Post.
Price: WR-3 = $135.00, plus $30.00 postage/SH via USPS Global Priority-Mail (=US$165.00).
I received the WR-3 radio you built for me today and just wanted to share my experience with you. Today I drove out to a place called Little Mountain on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississppi, turned off my car, plugged in some iPhone earbuds and then the WR-3. Initially the earbuds literally buzzed in my hand after I turned on the receiver; I'm glad I did not have them in my ears, but I had read your website and knew to be careful about this.
After adequately grounding the radio (or was it just hand capacitance?) the earbuds stopped buzzing and I carefully put them in my ears. I heard a slight bit of power-line hum and numerous noisy sferic-like chattering, which I attributed to some large machinery a few miles away - I think there's a top coal mine over that way and figured that is what it was.
I moved the radio to the other side of parking lot and things settled down nicely. I then could hear some actual sferics, but they were quite distant I'm sure - the weather in the southeast is now very calm so I figured it was from some thunderstorms in the midwest. I never heard any whistlers or anything quite so dramatic, except for insects flying near the antenna. Later I moved to another location further north on the Trace, and tried again. This time there was quite a bit of powerline hum; I was sitting in my car with the antenna propped on the plastic side-view mirror enclosure and the radio resting on my left bare leg. After I placed my hand on the side of the car outside the hum disappeared entirely. Ahh...properly grounded, I think. Then faintly I hear what sounds like an alarm clock beep beep beeping just above the noise floor. I'm not sure what it was, but I timed and counted and came up with between 220 and 240 beats/beeps per minute. After about 10 minutes it abruptly stopped.
My next venture will be in the backwoods of Georgia later this week. Hopefully I'll be able to get in some early morning listening and maybe catch a dawn chorus. I'm sure all of this is old hat for you, but as you can tell I'm excited by this new radio and proud to have something made by a fellow ham, no less! Excellent job, Stephen - thank you!
Garen Evans, KK5QZ
I recall hearing my first-whistler(s) in eastern Oregon (the Alvord Desert) in June 1989, and the total thrill of it too! THANKS JOSH! SpM - 19 September 2010.