Mark records “Pyongyang’s 6 am wake up call”

This week, SWLing Post contributor, Mark Fahey, was featured in the NK News for his research in North Korea. While Mark has made a wide array of his work available through a media-rich (free) iBook, this particular article focuses on the “Morning Chorus” heard throughout Pyongyang in the early hours of the morning:

(Source: NK News)

Why does an eerie electronic ballad play across North Korea’s capital every morning?

It was early in the morning, but Mark Fahey had been awake for hours. A biomedical engineer turned North Korean propaganda expert, he had spent most of the night tinkering with a radio in his room at the Yanggakdo International Hotel, secretly recording the opening moments of Pyongyang FM Pangsong.

While he listened to the station’s typical offering of classical music and propaganda, another microphone and recorder were set up next to an open window to capture the sounds of the city as it roused itself awake. It was August 2011, and the sun hung low on the horizon. Fahey expected to pick up the sound of the dredging work taking place along the Taedong River.

Instead, he heard music.

“Pyongyang is deadly silent at night,” Fahey tells NK News. “If a lorry’s just passing through the city, you’re going to hear it. It’s so quiet. And at 6 am, you hear this kind of weird…” he hesitates. “It sounds like mind control music.”

Seeking an explanation, Fahey brought the tune up with his minder.

“They didn’t know what I was talking about,” he recalls, “but I don’t actually think that means they didn’t know what it was. They probably didn’t realize that I could hear it from where I was.”[…]

Click here to continue reading the full article at the NK News.

The NK News article is fascinating and also includes several more video clips from North Korea media.

Also, consider downloading Mark’s interactive iBook Behind The Curtain from the Apple store by clicking here.

The Itty Bitty Radio Telescope Kit

(Source: The SETI League)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, who writes:

You know my amateur astronomy background. And With the building interest in next month’s Solar Eclipse – and your recent posting from Sky&Telescope re: “How to watch the solar eclipse with your AM radio” – I thought this might be of interest if you haven’t see it yet.

Introducing: “The Itty Bitty Radio Telescope”

Background is here:
http://www.setileague.org/articles/lbt.pdf

Here’s a guide written for teachers as a class project:
http://www.aoc.nrao.edu/epo/teachers/ittybitty/procedure.html

Here’s a guide for building one yourself:
http://www.stargazing.net/david/radio/itty_bitty_radio_telescope.html

And here’s a pre-assembled kit off eBay:
https://goo.gl/HnLUu2

Thank you for sharing this, Troy! I’m amazed at how affordable simple radio telescopes have become. In the 1990s, I was absolutely fascinated with the SETI League’s Project Argus and had planned to build a telescope, but the parts (including an Icom IC-7000) easily totaled over $1,000 at the time–too much for a college student! I imagine a proper Project Argus scope can be built for less than $300 today. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider!

Thanks again, Troy!

RadioWorld free eBook: Global Digital Radio

(Source: Radio World via Dennis Dura)

Digital radio continues to progress at a rapid pace worldwide. The latest Radio World International eBook, “Global Digital Radio,” takes a look at how each region is preparing for the transition, planned FM switchoff dates and requirements, ways in which digital radio can pave the way to the connected car, how digital radio’s emergency warning functionality can provide relief in times of disaster, and more.

Learn more in the latest free Radio World International eBook. Read it free
now — click here!

Produced by the editors of RADIO WORLD INTERNATIONAL.

From the Isle of Music & Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, July 30-August 5

From the Isle of Music, July 30-August 5
Concert Hall #1
No interviews this week – This week we feature selections from the nominees and winner of the Concert Soloist (Solista Concertante) category of Cubadisco 2017. If you enjoy Classical music, this is an episode especially for you.
Four opportunities to listen on shortwave:
1. For Eastern Europe but audible well beyond the target area in all directions with 100Kw, Sunday 1500-1600 UTC on SpaceLine, 9400 KHz, from Kostinbrod, Bulgaria (1800-1900 MSK)
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0000-0100 UTC on WBCQ, 7490 KHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EDT in the US)
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany.

Episode 23 of Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, a musical variety program that features a little bit of everything from around the planet, will air on WBCQ the Planet, 7490 KHz, Thursday, August 3 from 2300-2330 UTC (7:00pm-7:30pm EDT in the Americas). This week we go south to Brazil and Puerto Rico.

Video: Paul’s large aperture “Volleyball Net” loop antenna

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who shares the following video and notes:

Here is a 10 minute narrated, detailed video on my 25 foot long by 10 foot tall “Volleyball Net” Loop antenna using a Wellbrook ALA100LN amp control head and antenna interface.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Great job, Paul!

I like how Paul is using the antenna space he has so effectively. Though he has no antenna restrictions, his mag loop can be deployed and taken down quite easily; it’s obviously serving him well on both the HF and mediumwave bands. As he mentions, it’ s also manually steerable.

Those of you with the Wellbrook ALA100LN amplifier might try building this loop as well.

I also like how Paul is using the Tecsun ICR-100 recorder. Not only does it provide an easy way to record line-in audio from his radio, but the built-in speaker serves as an excellent monitor. It’s pretty affordable, too.

I agree with Paul about the Emtech ZM-2 ATU: it’s an exceptional little tuner that can be used for both QRP and SWL applications. I recently purchased the ZM-2 after having borrowed one from my buddy Eric (WD8RIF). Great value, in my opinion.

Thanks again, Paul!

Post readers: If you have an antenna design you’d like to share, please comment or contact me.