Author Archives: Rob Wagner

New Mediumwave Facility for Fiji

There’s an interesting YouTube documentary released by the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation on the refurbishment of both transmitters and antennas for the mediumwave outlets of 558 and 990 kHz. This was completed with the financial and technical assistance of the Japanese government. It will be very interesting for MW DXers to see how well the new facility will be heard beyond the Fijian borders.

 

There is also a somewhat less interesting YouTube video of the Fijian dictator Prime Minister Bainimarama at the official launch of the revitalized service, which can be found at https://youtu.be/kOza_Ov7f48

It was fascinating to hear Prime Minister Bainimarama talking about democratic freedoms in the broadcasting media….This from a man who for many years has done his level best to suppress and control the Fijian media on countless occasions!
(My thanks to Mauno Ritola and Bruce Portzer for alerting me to the above links)

73, Rob Wagner VK3BVW

Rob Wagner, VK3BVW, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. He also blogs at the Mount Evelyn DX Report.

The Last Evening of the Northern Territory Shortwave Service

I have been holding off posting three recordings I made on January 30, documenting a few minutes of the final evening of the ABC Darwin broadcasts from the transmitters at Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine.

I’m glad I took the time to prepare this video that is now available on my YouTube channel. There are lots of station identification announcements, and even information on how to listen to ABC after shortwave was switched off. Unfortunately, much of the advice is of no use to farmers and cattlemen camping out in remote parts of the NT bush, long-haul truck drivers, indigenous communities, tourists visiting the region, and fishermen off the territory’s northern coast.

Still, I hope you enjoy this brief video of the ABC’s last night of domestic broadcasting on shortwave. Click the video below.

73 and good DX to you all.

Rob Wagner VK3BVW

Rob Wagner, VK3BVW, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. He also blogs at the Mount Evelyn DX Report.

Standing Inside a Broadcast Transmitter While it’s ON!

I stumbled across a video from the fabulous Mr Carlson’s Lab YouTube channel. If you haven’t check out this channel before, and you are really eager to learn more about electronics, this is a wonderful YouTube site.

So, in the latest episode, Mr Carlson takes us on a tour of a very large Gates BC-250-GY broadcast transmitter from the 40’s era. Lots of big tubes, transformers and capacitors! This is an old mediumwave transmitter that he has restored. Although the technology has changed markedly since the 1940s, the basic principals of transmission are still present. And, interestingly, he points out that this particular unit was in regular service right up until as recently as 2003!

It’s an interesting show and even if you can’t grab onto all the technical information presented, I think you will enjoy looking at technology from a past era.

73 and good DX to you all,

Rob Wagner VK3BVW

Rob Wagner, VK3BVW, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. He also blogs at the Mount Evelyn DX Report.

Tecsun S-8800 – The Birdie Problem

Recently, Tecsun announced and released onto the market the new S-8800 receiver. Thomas Witherspoon has indicated that sensitivity, selectivity and audio fidelity are very good for this new unit.

BUT…..in his post on February 12, 2017, entitled Tecsun S-8800 Update, Thomas discovered that his new S-8800 has a serious fault, one that could potentially drive radio enthusiasts mad! In tuning around the dial, he found the radio has many “birdies”. In the same post, he notes that Bertrand Stehle F6GYY also found birdies on 4 spots in the mediumwave band and 63 frequencies across the entire shortwave spectrum. Not good!

In reading the comments that followed Thomas’ post, I noted that a few writers seemed a little confused about what a birdie is and how it differs from radio frequency interference. Hopefully, the following explanation will shed some light.

The term “birdie” is, I guess, derived from the type of sounds that are emitted from a receiver having this problem. It can take on a variety of forms, like a squealing or whistling sound, or perhaps a warbling sound, or a hash noise, or indeed, even a silent carrier. In a particular radio, a birdie could appear on one or many frequencies across longwave, shortwave, mediumwave or into the VHF spectrum. And it will usually be permanently there on the same frequencies every time.

Occasionally, you will find birdies smack bang on the very frequencies where you might want to do some listening. But, unfortunately you can’t really do anything to get rid of these nuisances because the design faults are in the the receiver itself. You can test to see if what you are listening to is a birdie by simply disconnecting the antenna. If the squealing/whistling/warbling/hash/silent carrier is still there without any antenna, then it’s a birdie – an internally generated carrier by the receiver’s own circuitry.

Click here to continue reading the full story.

Rob Wagner, VK3BVW, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. He also blogs at the Mount Evelyn DX Report.

Radio Australia – The Last Two Minutes – January 31, 2017

Hi Folks,

Today I listened to Radio Australia for the very last time. 15240 kHz and 15415 kHz were plagued with local noise and not especially strong signals. So 17840 kHz was the best option for my final moments with this grand old shortwave broadcaster. Mount Evelyn is about 200 km south of the Shepparton transmitter site – not far enough for proper F layer reflection and off the side of the beam, so the signal was a bit scratchy. But I was there for the end and that’s the important thing!

Thank you to all the SWLing readers who have been so kind in their comments about our national broadcaster. I know RA meant much to so many people around the globe. But I’ll have more to say on this in the near future. Thanks to Thomas for helping to promote the Save Radio Australia cause. The fight is not over yet!

Here are the last two minutes of the broadcast today, including the audible switch-off click and a few parting comments from me.

73 and good DX to you all.

Rob Wagner VK3BVW