Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Register: Global internet surveillance skyrocketing

(Photo courtesy: USAID)

As I’ve mentioned in many previous articles, the internet is surely an excellent first-world technology. However, as this article from The Register points out,  the internet also hides a much shadowier, more alarming nature, exemplified in the growing amount of internet surveillance.

A top US government official believes that the internet is under fierce attack by authoritarian governments worldwide, and that the situation is rapidly deteriorating.

“Today we face a series of challenges at the intersection of human rights, connected technologies, business, and government. It’s a busy intersection – and a lot of people want to put up traffic lights,” said US Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner, speaking at the Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday.

[…]And as information communications technology moves ever deeper into less-developed countries, Posner sees the problems increasing. “These are the places where repressive regimes are getting hold of the latest, greatest Western technologies and using them to spy on their own citizens for purposes of silencing dissent,” he said. “Journalists, bloggers and activists are of course the primary targets.”

From his point of view, governments in some of these emerging markets “appear fiercely determined to control what people do online.”

Again, this underlines the straightforward, egalitarian nature of an alternative media source:  shortwave radio.  People living under the control of such a regime can turn to radio to hear voices from across the globe, to dispel inaccuracies and fallacies, and learn the truth.  Unlike the internet, there’s no virtual gateway that can be locked down by a government’s heavy hand. Shortwave radio has no regard for border crossings.

Best of all, no one can prevent these listeners from listening; no one can track them or their listening habits.

Herein lies my fear that, as many large international broadcasters such as the BBC, VOA, DW and others abandon shortwave service to invest in the internet, we put all our eggs in one tenuous basket. Certainly, we can invest in technologies which attempt to stall government efforts to temper our internet presence in, for example, China; but what about the people accessing these protective internet sites?  Who is watching them and their surfing habits?

Crack.  There goes democracy…


WBCQ 7,415 kHz will move to 7,490 kHz on October 24, 2011

(Source: WBCQ)

The FCC has notified WBCQ that they must vacate 7.415 MHz no later than Monday, October 24, 2011. Effective this date the new frequency will be 7.490 MHz.

The above message appears on WBCQ’s website. Short, but to the point.

WBCQ plays a very wide variety of programs. Make sure you note the new frequency!

The Degen DE321 – a new DSP analog shortwave radio

While waiting for the Tecsun R-2010 to hit the market, Degen just introduced their DE321–a very affordable DSP-based portable analog shortwave radio.

We have one on order and will review it soon. (UPDATE: Click here for our review.) At $21 US shipped, this could be a real bargain (see eBay search link below). The Tecsun R-2010 is also rumored to be available in December. We will compare the Degen DE321 to the Tecsun R-2010. I suspect that they both implement the SiLabs Si4831 DSP chipset. Thanks to the Herculodge for the tip!

The Mighty KBC to test in DRM

(Source: KBC)

The Mighty KBC will start testing in DRM mode.
More news coming soon!

That’s all they say on their website, but the news is most welcome. KBC only recently started broadcasting on shortwave, to make the jump into DRM so soon shows no lack of enthusiasm for the medium.

KBC currently broadcasts on shortwave (analog) on 6095 kHz from 9:00-16:00 UTC Saturdays and Sundays.

Radio World looks into the future of digital shortwave radio

(Source: Radio World Online)

“DRM is not seen as a profitable line for the major manufacturers,” said Sennitt. “A few smaller manufacturers have produced DRM receivers, but the unit cost is still too high, and there simply aren’t enough DRM transmissions audible at any one location to stimulate consumer demand. It’s a classic chicken and egg situation — which comes first, the transmissions or the receivers? The broadcasters and the receiver manufacturers are each waiting for the other to move first.”

Read the full article at Radio World Online.