Paul Litwinovich sheds light on the “Royalty of Radios”

Zenith Model 7G605, the first in the line of Trans-Oceanic radios. Credit P. Litwinovich collection via WSHU

Zenith Model 7G605, the first in the line of Trans-Oceanic radios.
Credit P. Litwinovich collection via WSHU

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Paul, who points out this excellent article about the Zenith Transoceanic by Paul Litwinovich of WSHU.  Litwinovich’s article covers a brief history of the Zenith Transoceanic series including photos from his amazing collection (check out his model 7G605 above).

Here’s a short clip from his full article:

“The first version of Zenith Trans-Oceanic line of portable shortwave radios, the 7G605, [above] was released less than two months before the Pearl Harbor attack. It bore the sailboat image, and continued to be known as the “Clipper.” It sold for $75, and was an instant success. It was just the beginning, though, of the series’ long and colorful history. Zenith planned to heavily promote the radio for the coming holiday season. Then, the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor came. Most manufacturers halted production of consumer goods for the war effort. Zenith had other plans for their new radio, though. They changed the image on the grill from that of a sailboat to the likeness of the B-17 bomber. The change was implemented in such a hurry, that collectors have reported finding the bomber grill inserted over the top of the sailboat grill.”

Click here to read the full article at WSHU…

By the way, we’ve mentioned Paul before here on the SWLing Post–I would encourage you to bookmark his excellent article thread on WSHU’s website.

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Recording Deutsche Welle Kigali’s final broadcast and remembering its early days

DW's relay station in Kigali (Source: Deutsche Welle)

DW’s relay station in Kigali (Source: Deutsche Welle)

Yesterday, Deutsche Welle transmitted its final broadcast from the Kigali, Rwanda relay station. Since I’ve only had moderate luck hearing the Kigali site the past few days–especially on 31 meters–I fired up the TitanSDR Pro (which is still currently under review) and set it to record all three final afternoon broadcasts from Kigali on 12,005, 15,275 and 17,800 kHz.

TitanSDR-DeutscheWelle-FinalBroadcasts

As you can see from the screenshot above, Kigali produced a very strong signal on 17,800 kHz. The TitanSDR recorded the full broadcast, starting with one minute of the transmitter tuning, then one hour of DW’s French language service, followed by one hour of DW’s Hausa language service…then the transmitter went silent.

The recording begins around 1659 UTC on March 28, 2015 on 17,800 kHz:

Kigali’s early days

Last week, SWLing Post reader Bob LaRose (W6ACU) sent me the following message and scans:

“Here’s some nostalgia from [when the Kigali relay] opened, 50 years ago!”

Kigali Front

Kigali 2

Bob then followed this with another email:

“I dug into the “vault” and I found [the] 1964 Third Quarter issue of “Hallo, Friends” from Deutsche Welle that talks about the “new” Kigali station as it was being built. The 1965 issues did not cover the actual inauguration.”

DW-HalloFriends-BobLaRose

Click here to download this page as a PDF.

Many thanks for digging through your archives and sharing this wonderful DW nostalgia, Bob! It’s simply brilliant!

Readers: If you have shortwave nostalgia you would like to share on the SWLing Post, please contact me.

Posted in Broadcasters, International Broadcasting, News, Nostalgia, Radio History, Recordings, Shortwave Radio, What's On Shortwave | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radio Taiwan International to end transmissions to Europe & Africa

RadioTaiwanInternationalLogoMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Mike, who notes this brief announcement from Radio Taiwan International:

“Starting from March 29th, RTI will terminate its transmission to Europe on 3965 KHz and to Africa on 11975 KHZ following the end of cooperation between RTI and RFI. Listeners in the two continents are encouraged to listen to our [programs] online.”

Posted in Broadcasters, International Broadcasting, News, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , | 6 Comments

CRI, RFA, Sputnik, and the BBC: an “information battle?”

Radio-Dial-Blurred-Dark

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Cuff, for sharing this article from The National:

Radio wars: information battle heats up as Russia and China muscle in

For about 70 years it was the base of the BBC World Service. Bush House, with its grand marble entrance in central London, stood as a powerful symbol of the BBC, home to the short-wave radio services that delivered news to dozens of countries in more than 40 languages. But the lights went out in 2012 when the World Service moved to the more prosaic Broadcasting House; two years later it lost its annual £245 million (Dh1.341 billion) grant from the UK’s government.

Both changes are symptomatic of the BBC’s less certain place in the broadcasting world as other countries significantly ramp up recruitment and funding for their own equivalent services.

Last December, Peter Horrocks, the BBC World Service’s former director, warned that the West was losing the “information war” with Moscow as the old Cold War foe pumped out wave after wave of pro-Kremlin propaganda on its rapidly expanding radio, TV and online platforms.

Horrocks had called for a rethink on financial assistance from the UK government as, even before the grant was ended, cutbacks in 2011 forced the closure of five language services and some short-wave broadcasts.

“We are being financially outgunned by Russia and the Chinese. Medium to long term there has to be an anxiety about the spending of others compared to what the BBC are putting into it,” he said.

It is now all too clear that established broadcasters that are based in the West, such as Radio Free Asia, Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe (RFE) – funded mainly through an agency of the US government – and the BBC are facing increased competition. Last November, Moscow rebranded its international English-language radio service: Radio Sputnik replaced the Voice of Russia and funding was increased for a new state-owned global news agency, Rossiya Segodnya.

Meanwhile, Beijing’s China Radio International (CRI) is an important part of the Communist Party’s foreign policy. CRI uses internet, short wave and satellite to broadcast around the world in dozens of languages, while Radio Sputnik has ambitions to broadcast in 30 languages across more than 130 countries by the end of the year.[…]

Continue reading on The National website…

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An inexpensive Windows tablet for portable SDRs?

A tablet with two USB ports would be ideal.

I’ve never been a fan of tablet PCs. I have an old Android tablet that I occasionally use to watch Netflix and read eBooks, but when I want to interact with a computer, I typically want the convenience of a proper keyboard and the precision of a mouse or large track pad.

With that said, this year at the Winter SWL Fest, I was co-host of a forum called: “Time Travel, Teleportation & Spectrum Hoarding for the Contemporary DXer.” My good friend and co-host, Mark Fahey brought his Windows tablet PC and we used it to demonstrate how easily and effectively SDRs can be taken to the field and spectrum recordings can be reviewed practically anywhere. Indeed, Mark tunes through his spectrum recordings while taking the train to work! (How cool is that!?!)

This week, I reviewed a guest post about portable SDRs by London Shortwave; afterward, I decided that I must begin the search for a Windows tablet. Since I would only use this tablet for portable SDR work, I really want to keep it as affordable as possible ($200 US or less).

It appears to me that there are a few things that you must overcome in a portable SDR package including: mitigating internal noise produced by the tablet and accessories, and the ability to power the tablet and the SDR at the same time.

Windows Tablet Wishlist:

  • Inexpensive (less than $200)
  • Enough speed and memory to run SDR applications and record spectrum to an internal SD card or external portable drive
  • Separate USB and power ports or the ability to power both the tablet and SDR at the same time

My choices so far:

Readers: Your recommendations and advice are most welcome! Please comment especially if you have experience using tablet/SDR combos.

Posted in News, Portable Radio, Shortwave Radio, Software Defined Radio | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

The Mighty KBC: Summer frequency changes/additions

SX-99-Dial

If you enjoy listening to The Mighty KBC, you’ll want to note these frequency changes and additions:

Frequency changes for The Mighty KBC

We are delighted to announce that from the 1st June 2015, KBC will be heard daily on medium wave. We will broadcast on 1602 kHz between 07.00 – 19.00 CET from transmitters aboard the LV Jenni Baynton.

Our Sunday shortwave transmissions will continue on 6095 and we will add an extra hour onto 7375 transmission.

To facilitate these latest changes, our Saturday 6095 transmissions will end on Saturday March 28th but all regular shows will be maintained on a new KBC Internet stream which will be available online 24/7.

Also, look out later this year for KBC on DAB+
We hope you enjoy our new outlets and will join KBC on MW, SW, DAB+ and Online.

Check out our website kbcradio.eu and our FB page facebook.com/TheMightyKBc for all the latest news.

Posted in Broadcasters, International Broadcasting, Mediumwave, News, Shortwave Radio, What's On Shortwave | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Roundup of software defined radios

 

RTL-SDR

Many thanks to several readers (including Mike and Greg) who have shared a link to RTL-SDR.com’s Roundup of Software Defined Receivers. The list gives an excellent, comprehensive overview of SDRs currently on the market. I encourage you to check it out.

Indeed, while you’re at RTL-SDR.com, take a look at their active blog and forum to get the most out of your RTL-SDR dongle!

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