Category Archives: AM

Chris’ Seoul AM Radio Listening Guide now live

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Chris Kadlec, who shares the following announcement about his Seoul AM Radio Listening Guide:

After a long 14 months of work, I’m happy to present the completed Seoul AM Radio Listening Guide, a three-hour documentary broadcast exploring the Seoul AM band one frequency at a time, plus a look at the radio war on the Korean peninsula accompanied by a 115-page guide.

http://www.beaglebass.com/dx/seoul/

In addition to radio broadcasts from across East Asia, the broadcast includes Korean noise jammers and AM, FM, shortwave, and television propaganda broadcasts from both the north and the south, additionally outlined in a 25-page broadcast transcript and 115-page informational guide. It also includes:

* A comprehensive list of 260 East Asian AM stations, including station names, tower locations, distance and direction from Seoul, parallel FM frequencies, broadcast hours, and station website links.

* A full bandscan of 235 regular nightly skywave signals as heard after the sun sets over Seoul.

* Daytime groundwave bandscans taken from eleven different locations in the Seoul metro area, along the North Korean border, beside the sea, and in Korea’s mountainous interior with background information about each location.

* A guide showing stations organized by their network affiliations in addition to privately-owned stations and networks. Alternatively, stations are also shown organized by country, region, and city.

* A chart showing signal strength for each bandscan – day and night – in bar graph format.

* A full colour-coded regional station map covering both skywave and groundwave signals.

* A view of some of Korea’s signal jammers as seen on an SDR (software-defined radio).

* Plus, a complete transcript of the three-hour audio broadcast with additional information on the featured audio clips as well as the songs featured in those clips.

– Chris Kadlec

Brilliant, Chris! I can only imagine the amount of time and effort you’ve put into this guide. Thank you!

With switch from AM to FM, some Polynesians now in the dark

(Source: Southgate ARC)

Some inhabitants of French controlled Polynesia are unhappy at the switch over from Medium Wave AM to VHF FM broadcasting

Radio New Zealand reports Radio Polynesie Premiere switched to an all FM service at the beginning of December, leaving pockets of inhabitants in valleys and on remote atolls without any local radio service.

The broadcaster added five FM transmitters to its network of 48 to improve its reach but in an area the size of Europe, the signal fails to reach all communities.

Concern has been expressed that vital weather warnings are no longer heard.

The mayor of Makatea in the Tuamotus Julien Mai said there is a risk to public safety because people have always been advised to have an emergency kit that includes a radio when severe weather strikes.

Source:
http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/321809/loss-of-am-radio-irks-french-polynesia

Fred Lundgren: “What happened to AM radio”

We all read articles about the utility and the demise of AM (mediumwave) broadcasting. In this short article via the Huffington Post, Fred Lundgren (Founder and CEO of KCAA) discusses “What Happened To AM Radio (that’s NOT a question)”:

On Christmas Eve morning, the electricity went off at our house and panic quickly spread among our younger guests.

First, the TV sets went dark. Then, the desktop computers began to die as UPS back up batteries failed. For a while, we were reassured by the sound of familiar alarms, but then suddenly, total silence. Could this be the end times? Is this the onslaught of the apocalypse?

Smart phones were quickly deployed and guests began calling each other from room to room. The panic began to subside when several millennials volunteered communal usage of their wireless data plans. The kingdom would be saved…crisis abated.

[…]As the younger generation huddled around the smart phones with data plans, I began to think of the outage as an opportunity to listen to AM Radio, so I went to my office and dusted off my old RCA SuperRadio III.

I couldn’t remember the last time I replaced the batteries but to my surprise, it came to life with its signature popcorn sound when I pushed its big silver button. “IT’S ALIVE” WOW…the AM band was extraordinarily quiet and responsive.

[…]I scanned across the dial from 610 AM to 1590 AM. All the stations were as clear as a bell. Then, I decided to press my luck. I tuned to KTSA 550 AM in San Antonio and then I moved the dial slightly to the right and heard KLVI 560 AM in Beaumont, Texas. Every station was booming in loud and clear.

I felt like a child with a new toy. I dialed up and down the band, experiencing the clear booming sound of AM Radio without any noise or interference. It was a feast for the senses. It was beautiful.

After a few minutes, one of my daughters walked in and asked about the source of my entertainment. I pointed to my SuperRadio and said joyfully, “listen”. She looked at the big black box and asked “How can you listen with the internet and electricity off?” I responded, “It’s my portable SuperRadio III.” Before I could explain further, she shrugged her shoulders, closed the door and went back upstairs, convinced that her Dad was conducting some sort of high tech experiment.

In a manner of speaking, her assumption was correct. I was listening to AM Radio in a big city without the interference of computers, wireless modems and an overloaded electrical grid. For the first time in my recent memory, the “Senior Radio Band” sounded beautiful. Sadly, my experiment ended with preordained results when the electric power was restored.[…]

Click here to read Lundgren’s full article on The Huffington Post.

Greek mediumwave station on-track to resume operation

Many thanks to our friends at The Greek Radio who share this news:

The medium wave broadcasting center of the Greek Radio in Pachi Megara is likely to go live again after three and a half years, since the procedures for the necessary maintenance and repairs have recently been initiated, with a high possibility that one of the two transmitters will operate again soon. It is worth noting that the broadcasting center, which used to host two powerful mediumwave transmitters (the ones of multilingual “Filia” and of EPA Sport) had been subject to looting by burglars, few days after the ERT closure by the Samaras government, which left the premises unattended. Since then, it has not operated again.

Repairs and maintenance

As revealed by official announcements, ERT is launching a tender for the maintenance of the building and electricity poles with a budget of EUR 18,703, while in December they proceeded with a maintenance of the broadcast center and a cleaning of the 100 KW mediumwave transmitter. In November, a dummy load was installed by a team of the ERT subdivision of structural and electromechanical projects and they checked the generator Nautel, which ensures the continuation of the broadcast in case of power outage. They also installed a new grounding network in the main building of the transmitters.

Alongside, there were other smaller operations required for the safe operation of the facilities, such as the placement of fire extinguishers by a private firm, the restoration of the water supply, the maintenance of fence lighting. In October there was also a visit by a private security company, in response to a tender, whereas data were collected for the water insulation and the lighting of the buildings where the transmitters are placed.

Continue reading at The Greek Radio website…

Sony ICF-SW77: recent DX & comparing performance with the ICF-SW55 & Tecsun PL-310ET

Some of you might remember the extensive tests I conducted last August, comparing this great portable receiver against the model it was introduced to replace – and arguably one of the best-ever portables – the Sony ICF-2001D/ICF-2010. I conducted a back-to-back series of comparison tests at the very quiet wood in Oxfordshire I use for my DX’peditions, using the same antenna for both recievers – the excellent Wellbrook ALA1530 active loop. In total, I made fourteen reception videos comparing the ICF-2001D and ICF-SW77 and posted them to my Oxford Shortwave Log YouTube channel. Both receivers performed very well, delivering excellent reception on the Tropical Band and elsewhere on the shortwave spectrum, however, the ICF-2001D proved to be the clear winner, with what proved to be far superior synchronous detection.

But that wasn’t the end of the road for my ICF-SW77. It remains a very capable receiver (one of my all-time favourite portables) and one which I continue to use regularly. However, every now and then, it surprises me with something exceptional. Since conducting the tests against the ICF-2001D, the SW77 has brought in my best-ever indoor reception of Radio Verdad, Guatemala on 4054.8 kHz….and when I say best-ever, I really do mean it; the audio was significantly clearer than anything I had copied previously at home with the Elad. More recently, I copied Zambia NBC Radio 1 on 5915 kHz on a DX’pedition with a far superior signal to anything I’d previously heard, with any other reciever, including the ICF-2001D and the Elad FDM DUO. Some of this of course is down to short-term conditions of propagation, however, the SW77 continues to prove why it has such a loyal following and continues to command premium prices on eBay. Text links and embedded videos to both reception videos on Oxford Shortwave Log follow below:


Further to these recent catches, I promised some of my YouTube subscribers that I would conduct another, similar test with the ICF-SW77, but against it’s cheaper ‘sibling’ the ICF-SW55. A review at the time of the ICF-SW55’s introduction concluded that the price premium of the ICF-SW77 may not be justified since the performance of the two receivers was very similar, despite the SW55 lacking synchronous detection. As someone who has extensive experience with the SW55 out in the field – it was my mainstay DXpedition receiver for more than a year – I was just as interested as my subscribers in how these two vintage Sonys would measure up against each other. The lineage is all very obvious from their respective industrial designs, but the lack of Synchronous detection on the SW55 might have been the one element of functionality resulting in poorer performance, particularly in challenging band conditions and in the presence of adjacent channel QRM etc. To mix things up a little, I have also thrown the brilliant Tecsun PL-310ET into this test. Such a sensitive and selective receiver for less than £40, it has provided more surprises with regard to it’s performance than just about any other radio I’ve owned. How would the Tecsun compare to these two vintage, but high-end Sony portables? Stay tuned to find out! Two reception videos follow, using signals from ABC Northern Territories (4835 kHz) and Radio Mali (9350 kHz), with more to follow on Oxford Shortwave Log and a further posting on swling.com/blog. Thanks for watching/reading/listening.

Clint Gouveia is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Clint actively publishes videos of his shortwave radio excursions on his YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log. Clint is based in Oxfordshire, England.