Monthly Archives: February 2014

CTV: Sackville towers will fall soon

1-IMG_2216(Source: CTV News Atlantic)

The international radio transmission towers that have been a fixture on the Tantramar Marsh for decades are being demolished – a lost landmark to people who live in the area.

[…]Radio Canada International erected the towers in Sackville during the Second World War due to the location, which is far enough from the earth’s magnetic pole and a former salt marsh, which means nothing interferes with the signal.

[…]“The little transmitter huts are gone. The antennas that stretch from tower top to tower top have all been removed,” says Sackville resident Allan Smith. “Now, they’ll systematically take down the towers.”

[…]“It’s an old, old technology in radio, and it’s not really used very much anymore,” says Smith. “But still, in places like the Canadian north and Africa, there are still people that use shortwave systems.”

The teardown is expected to take a few months.

Having visited Sackville and spent time with their staff (who have all been relocated or made redundant), I’m very sad to see such an amazing, modern transmitter site be demolished. Such a waste.

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio Progreso

Radio-Progreso-CubaFor your listening pleasure: one hour, twenty eight minutes of Radio Progreso (Cuba), recorded on February 28, 2014 starting around 2:15 UTC on 4,765 kHz. Though I’m not certain, I’m pretty sure this includes a radio soap opera.

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Special: PCJ Radio International, March 12, 2014

pcj(Source: PCJ Media)

March 12, 2014 is a very important day for PCJ Radio International. It was on this date that after an absence of 14 years The Happy Station Show returned to the airwaves. A few months after that happened PCJ added other programs to it’s schedule.

For our 5 year anniversary we will present a special program looking back at the past 5 years and revisit some of the fun moments over he last 1825 days.

It should be mentioned that this is not a Happy Station Show. But rather a special anniversary program.

Times & Frequencies:

  • North America – 0130 to 0230 UTC on 7730 khz
  • Asia – 1330 to 1430 UTC on 9335 khz
  • Europe – 1330 to 1430 UTC on 15455 khz

If you would like to send us a recorded message to use in the show please contact us no later than March 7, 2014 with yoru phone number and we can call you back or you can also send us an MP3 file up to 2 minutes. The email address is pcj@pcjmedia.com.

Richard voices his opinion about BBC World Service commercialization

BBC-OverToYouRichard Cuff–noted SWL and festmeister for the Winter SWL Fest–sent a message to the BBC World Service listener feedback program Over To You deploring the BBC’s decision to incorporate limited advertising on the World Service as of April 2014.

Over To You contacted Richard and invited him to an interview where he discussed these changes with Mark Bunting, head of BBC WS Strategy.

The program aired earlier this week. Richard noted that the discussion was “chopped quite a bit” to fit a nine minute time slot.

Click here to listen to Richard’s interview on Over To You: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01sbmkt

Miami Herald: Cuban spies and shortwave numbers

towersI should note that we have several recordings and frequencies for the numbers station HM01, which is mentioned in this article. Very happy to see that they interviewed Chris Smolinski:

(Source: Miami Herald)

Even if you’re not a Cuban spy, you too can receive secret messages sent by Havana to its spooks in Miami, Washington and around the world.

Every week, one short wave radio station in Cuba broadcasts 97 messages coded in fax-like tones. A computer program easily available to the public changes the tones into numbers, and the Cuban spies then decode the numbers into words.

A second Cuban spy station transmits 16 messages per week in the dots and dashes of the 175-year-old Morse code – secret messages to Havana spies who may be older or less technologically savvy.

[…]The busiest Cuban station these days, and the only spy station in the world that uses the fax-like tones, has been baptized as HM01 by amateur eavesdroppers who run Web pages like Spooks List, Spynumbers, ShortwaveSchedule and Enigma2000.

It transmits 11 to 14 messages per day, a total of 96 per week, on the same schedule each week but using a dozen different short wave frequencies, said Chris Smolinski, 41, a Maryland software engineer who monitors the spy stations as a hobby.

Each message almost always has 150 five-digit groups, so that eavesdroppers cannot measure the true length of the text. And some of the 10-minute transmissions are phonies, designed to mask the real number of spies receiving them.

Anyone can hook up a radio receiver to a computer, where the DIGTRX program – widely used by ham radio aficionados to send and receive lengthy texts, turns the tones into numbers. Spies then use secret computer programs to turn numbers into text.

“HM01 is an ideal system because you don’t have to teach any to anybody. The computer does all the work,” said Smolinski.

For the less computer-savvy spooks there’s the M08a station, which broadcasts 16 messages in Morse code, developed for the telegraph in 1836, on a set weekly schedule and on many of the same frequencies as Hm01.

Read the full article on The Miami Herald website…