Monthly Archives: September 2011

DXing with Cumbre Episodes 704 and 705

DXing with Cumbre programs 704 and 705 are now available as mp3 downloads.

Here are the links:

DXing with Cumbre, for those of you who are not familiar, is an excellent program for anyone interested in the shortwave radio listening hobby. Best of all, it’s free to everyone!

UNESCO Proclaims World Radio Day – February 13

UNESCO’s Executive Board approved item 13 of its provisional agenda “Proclamation of a World Radio Day” to be celebrated each February 13th.

The Executive’s decision is as follows:

  • Recommends to the [UNESCO] General Conference that it proclaim a World Radio Day and that this Day be celebrated on 13 February, the day the United Nations established the concept of United Nations Radio;
  • Invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, professional associations and broadcasting unions, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to duly celebrate the World Radio Day, in the way that each considers most adequate;
  • Requests the Director-General, subject to the final resolution of the General Conference, to bring this resolution to the attention of the Secretary-General of the United Nations so that World Radio Day may be endorsed by the General Assembly.

Read UNESCO’s full World Radio Day proclamation here (PDF).

Estonian engineer drags UVB-76 numbers station into the Internet era

It seems there’s no shortage of interest in numbers stations these days. This article, from Wired magazineInside The Russian Short Wave Radio Enigma:

From a lonely rusted tower in a forest north of Moscow, a mysterious shortwave radio station transmitted day and night. For at least the decade leading up to 1992, it broadcast almost nothing but beeps; after that, it switched to buzzes, generally between 21 and 34 per minute, each lasting roughly a second—a nasally foghorn blaring through a crackly ether. The signal was said to emanate from the grounds of a voyenni gorodok (mini military city) near the village of Povarovo, and very rarely, perhaps once every few weeks, the monotony was broken by a male voice reciting brief sequences of numbers and words, often strings of Russian names: “Anna, Nikolai, Ivan, Tatyana, Roman.” But the balance of the airtime was filled by a steady, almost maddening, series of inexplicable tones.

[…][A]feed of UVB-76 had been made available online (http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/09/ff_uvb76/), cobbled together by an Estonian tech entrepreneur named Andrus Aaslaid, who has been enthralled by shortwave radio since the first grade. “Shortwave was an early form of the Internet,” says Aaslaid, who goes by the nickname Laid. “You dial in, and you never know what you’re going to listen to.” During one 24-hour period at the height of the Buzzer’s freak-out in August 2010, more than 41,000 people listened to Aaslaid’s feed; within months, tens of thousands, and then hundreds of thousands, were visiting from the US, Russia, Britain, the Czech Republic, Brazil, Japan, Croatia, and elsewhere. By opening up UVB-76 to an online audience, Aaslaid had managed to take shortwave radio—one of the most niche hobbies imaginable—and rejuvenate it for the 21st century.

Today, the Buzzer’s fan base includes Kremlinologists, anarchists, hackers, installation artists, people who believe in extraterrestrials, a former Lithuanian minister of communications, and someone in Virginia who goes by the moniker Room641A, a reference to the alleged nerve center of a National Security Agency intercept facility at an AT&T office in San Francisco. (“I am interested in ‘listening,’” Room641A tells me by email. “All forms of it.”) All of them are mesmerized by this bewildering signal—now mostly buzzing, once again. They can’t help but ponder the significance of it, wondering about the purpose behind the pattern. No one knows for sure, which is both the worst and the best part of it.

Read the full 3 page article at Wired.com.

New to numbers stations? Check out our previous posts on the subject.

Also, check out UVB-76.net and listen to its live feed.

Besnard Lakes: A Canadian band inspired by shortwave radio

(Source: Madison.com)

“Deciphered your lines from the shortwave,” Jace Lasek sings on “Like the Ocean, Like the Innocent,” the opening track off the Canadian crew’s latest album, “The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night” (Jagjaguwar).

[…]Even as a child, Lasek enjoyed escaping into the shadowy underbelly of Cold War-era spy stories, huddling on the front porch of his parent’s home with a shortwave radio to listen to the mysterious, coded words being beamed in from all around the globe.

“I’d be sitting on the front stoop in broad daylight on a hot summer day and I’d still be scared as hell,” said Lasek, who brings the Besnard Lakes to High Noon Saloon for a show on Sunday, Oct. 2. “It really resonated with me. The transmissions coming in were really eerie, and it sort of mirrors the music we’re making as well. We want it to be eerie and (David) Lynch-ian, where there’s this sort of grotesque beauty.”

Read the full article and interview at Madison.com.

The Besnard Lakes video for “Albatross” from their Jagjaguwar release The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night. The opening scene says it all:

Listening to Citizens’ Band (CB) radio on your shortwave receiver

React International coordinates emergency response via CB radio.

Did you know that you may be able to listen to CB radio on your shortwave receiver?

If you have a digital receiver that covers from 26.9-27.5 MHz, you can listen to CB frequencies in a matter of minutes. Below, I’ve posted a chart of all 40 CB “channels” and their associated frequencies.

Why listen to CB radio?

  • Find out what road conditions are like from local drivers by monitoring talk between truck drivers
  • Monitor Channel 9 (the emergency channel) and contact local authorities if you hear a distress call
  • During an emergency you could glean valuable information from the CB frequencies
  • Entertainment value: hey, it’s CB–you never know what you may hear.
In fact, note that CB listening isn’t for those who are easily offended by adult language. In the past, CB radioers were licensed by the FCC and tended to be (in my humble opinion) more courteous. Today, it’s a free-for-all, but  you will still hear many regulars that are respectful and follow the “gentleman’s rules” of amateur radio.  Simply tune to the frequency below and listen. Like broadcasters and some ham radio operators, CB is primarily an AM mode activity. Make sure your radio is set for AM (not SSB) listening.
Here is a list of all 40 CB channels and their associated frequencies:
CHANNEL FREQUENCY   CHANNEL FREQUENCY
1 26.965   21 27.215
2 26.975   22 27.225
3 26.985   23 27.255
4 27.005   24 27.235
5 27.015   25 27.245
6 27.025   26 27.265
7 27.035   27 27.275
8 27.055   28 27.285
9 27.065   29 27.295
10 27.075   30 27.305
11 27.085   31 27.315
12 27.105   32 27.325
13 27.115   33 27.335
14 27.125   34 27.345
15 27.135   35 27.355
16 27.155   36 27.365
17 27.165   37 27.375
18 27.175   38 27.385
19 27.185   39 27.395
20 27.205   40 27.405