March 06, 2005
Griffin Radioshark

My Griffin Radioshark arrived on Friday and I quickly hooked it up to our Media Server in the front room.

The Radioshark is a FM/AM radio that plugs in via USB to a computer, Mac or PC. I love listening to the radio on the computer and this device is supposed to give me the ability to record shows automatically.

The quality of the unit seems high with a good feel to it. The software came up quickly and in a couple minutes the radio was playing through the speakers nicely.

The software is, well, eh, not my cup of tea. If I'm using a PC give me the standard PC look and if I'm using the Mac give me the standard Mac look. This look leaves me flat.

The app covers the basics of tuning and setting up a recording. There are a few issues like not being able to enter a duration for the recording and having to choose one of the predetermined one. When I record something I like to record a little extra at the beginning and end. With a locked 60 minute record, you can't do this.

You can easily schedule a recording based on time and station. The Windows version only record in wma (Windows Media) and wav files. Not the end of the world, but I would have paid $5 more to record directly in MP3, saving the hassle of conversion.

The radio reception itself was good but not great. I really want to record Indie 103.1, a Los Angeles station with a weak signal at my house. My car can pick it up, but the Radioshark couldn't.

There is an input for an external antenna so I decided to give that a try. I took a standard FM dipole antenna and soldered it into a 1/8th inch audio connector.

For those that don't know, a FM dipole antenna is specifically made to pick up radio signals and not much else. It's what we electrical engineers call a tuned quarter-wave antenna.

BTW, I highly recommend those new-fangled butane soldering irons. They are perfect for these quick little jobs around the house.

The antenna worked but I had to get it up pretty high to pick up the signal. After standing in the room holding the Radioshark and the antenna in endless positions, I found that placing it above the curtain rod was optimal and was least offensive to Michele's sense of how it should look.

The Radioshark was wedged up there and seemed a bit precarious. I couldn't have it fall down on the girls as they walked by.

I removed the metal based, drilled a hole in it, and was able to attach it to the ceiling, securing it against a tumble.


Overall, the device works as advertised and most people aren't going to be listening to weak stations. If you like radio, then the Radioshark is for you. It works, it looks good, and it's reasonably priced.

Posted by michael at March 06, 2005 10:26 PM