Monthly Archives: February 2013

Reader Chris shares travel recordings: Voice of Mongolia, Korea

Map pointing to Truk Lagoon (Source: truk-lagoon.com)

Map pointing to Truk Lagoon (Source: truk-lagoon.com)

SWLing Post reader, Chris Johnson, recently sent me a message confessing his love of travel combined with shortwave radio listening. When he told me about his enviable plans to travel to the tiny islands of Truk Lagoon in the Federated States of Micronesia–and to record some of the broadcasts he heard–I asked if he would allow me to share his recordings on the Post. Fortunately for us, he agreed!

Below are two of his recordings, the first from the Voice of Mongolia, the second from the Voice of Korea. Both happen to be very difficult stations to catch here in eastern North America. His comments follow each recording:

Voice of Mongolia Shortwave Broadcast to Asia and Europe. Using a Sony ICF-SW7600G with a whip antenna. Recorded on 29 January 2013 at 1030z on 12085 khz from the Blue Lagoon Resort, Truk Lagoon, Federated States of Micronesia. The broadcast interval signal begins at 1:35

Voice of Korea; Recorded on a Sony ICF-SW7600G using a whip antenna. 7 February 2013 on 15100 khz at 0500z Location; Puka Beach, Boracay Island, Philippines. The program was scheduled for 60 minutes but due to the frequent power outages in the DPRK, the program ceased at approximately 52 minutes.

Thanks, Chris!

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Saturday Night Country

Emma Swift is filling is hosting Saturday Night Country while Felicity Urquhart is on maternity leave. (Photo: Radio Australia)

Emma Swift is hosting Saturday Night Country while Felicity Urquhart is on maternity leave. (Photo: Radio Australia)

As on many Saturday mornings, this past weekend I sipped my morning coffee while listening to ABC’s Saturday Night Country from Radio Australia’s Shepparton shortwave transmission site on 9.58 MHz…some 9,800 miles from my home.

In this program, Emma Swift continues to fill in for Felicity Urquhart (who is on maternity leave). Swift, who is an amazing host and songwriter in her own right, focuses in this show on country drinking songs (amongst others) and on a few nostalgic country songs in the final set. Fortunately, I captured the whole show in two recordings.

Click here to download the first recording and here to download the second as MP3s. Alternatively, you can simply listen via the embedded player below:

The Archive.org download page for these recordings can be found here.

How to decode that RDFT in numbers station HM01? Roland explains

DIGTRXA few weeks ago, I published a post with a recording of the Cuban numbers station HM01, a “Hybrid Mode” numbers station which interchangeably broadcasts both voice and a digital mode called RDFT with each transmission. I had suggested using an application called “DIGTRX” to decode the data bursts.

I then received  a comment on that post from the author of the DIGTRX program himself, Roland. He has actually created a page in English which describes in detail how to decode the RDFT in HM01.  Note that this page was originally in Roland’s native Portugese, and he kindly translates it into English for us: http://www.qsl.net/py4zbz/eni.htm

[While this means that we can decode the transmissions, it doesn’t mean we can necessarily decipher them, however.  At least, not yet.]

Imagine that a spy numbers station is using an application you, yourself, authored to send coded messages. What are the odds?  This apparently happened to Roland, when he discovered that HM01 was, in fact, using his application DIGTRX. What?!?

Actually, it makes sense to me that numbers stations would use DIGTRX. After all, it’s open source. Operatives in the field can download the application without raising awareness. If it were a proprietary application, either commercially or of their own design, it would add to the complication of downloading and using it (on both ends). As you’ll read in Roland’s tutorial, HM01 has built in robust redundancies by using RDFT and DIGTRX. Very interesting.

Thanks, Roland, for sharing!

VOA protests jamming of English service to China

voa logo(Source: VOA)

The Voice of America is protesting new jamming of its English broadcasts in China.

VOA Director David Ensor condemned the new interference and said the U.S. government broadcaster is working with experts to determine the precise origin of the jamming. He said “the free flow of information is a universal right and VOA will continue to provide accurate and balanced information on platforms that can reach audiences in areas subject to censorship.”

The U.S.-funded VOA is not the only victim of jamming. The British Broadcasting Corporation said this week its shortwave English radio broadcasts also are being jammed in China.

The BBC said that while it is not possible to know who is doing the jamming, “the extensive and co-ordinated efforts are indicative of a well-resourced country such as China.”

VOA broadcast engineers say Radio Australia also is being jammed.

At VOA headquarters in Washington, engineers say that while the agency’s Chinese-language broadcasts are routinely jammed in China, its English broadcasts usually are not. They noticed the jamming of the English programs about a month ago and say it appears to use a new technology.

Many countries have used various methods to jam VOA broadcasts for decades, especially during the Cold War when VOA broadcast heavily into the former Soviet Union and other countries under Communist control. Now, its Persian satellite television broadcasts into Iran are frequently jammed, as are VOA Horn of Africa broadcasts to Ethiopia.

Note our previous article on the topic of harmful interference from China.

Pirate Radio Recordings: Radio GaGa

1-RadioListeningFor your listening pleasure: two recordings of the pirate radio station, Radio GaGa.

Both of these broadcasts were recorded on 6.925 MHz in the upper side band on February 23rd, 2013; the first one at 12:40 UTC, the second one at 04:10 UTC.

Download the broadcasts from this page, or simply listen via the embedded player below: