Category Archives: Books

New book: History of the Birdlip Aeronautical HF Communications Complex

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader and author, Colin McKeeman, who shares the following announcement:

As a mature aviation historian and keen HF monitor since the mid-1960’s, as you will note from my blog this has prompted me to produce this detailed record of the [Birdlip Aeronautical HF Communications Complex, U.K.] stations activities.

[…]The activities of this station are currently handled by ‘Shanwick’ (Shannon and Prestwick) for air traffic on the North Atlantic.

I attach a summary of its content which may help to clarify the scope and nature of this publication.

Click here to download the full press release (PDF).

Fascinating, Colin! I think you’ll find a number of our community members love reading about the history of HF stations.  Thank you for sharing your press release!

WRTH: B16 International broadcasting schedules update

(Source: Sean Gilbert via WRTH on Facebook)

The B16 International broadcasting schedules update file is now available for free download from www.wrth.com – click on the ‘latest PDF updates’ link and follow the instructions. The file details the latest frequency and station changes from both international and clandestine/target broadcasters. We hope you find this file a useful accompaniment to the printed WRTH.

Click here to download.

WRTH 2017: A look inside

I received my copy of the 2017 World Radio and TV Handbook (WRTH) directly from the publisher last week, just prior to Christmas holiday ravels. As I mention every year, I look forward to receiving this excellent staple radio reference guide–and this is their 71st edition!

WRTH’s team of noted DXers from around the world curate frequencies and broadcaster information by region; while I’m not sure how they orchestrate all of this, the end result is truly a symphony of radio information. In addition to broadcaster listings, WRTH’s radio reviews, feature articles, and annual HF report make for excellent reading.

But the WRTH isn’t just a frequency guide: the publication always devotes the first sixty or so pages to articles relating to various aspects of the radio hobby. Following, I offer a quick overview of these.

The first article always features a WRTH contributor:  this year, WRTH’s International Editor, Sean Gilbert, tells us what sparked his interested in the hobby and what lead to his career with WRTH which started in 2000.

The second set of articles is always my favorite: WRTH receiver reviews.

This year, WRTH begins with a review of the Icom IC-7300 general coverage transceiver.  They also review the Reuter Elektronik RDR55D, and re-visit the SDRplay RSP1. Following radio reviews, they evaluate the excellent Wellbrook ALA1530LNP magnetic loop antenna and the Bonito AAS300 3 way active RF splitter.

The following article focuses on one of my favorite shortwave broadcasters, The Mighty KBC. WRTH contributor, Max van Arnhem traces the broadcaster’s history and gives us a little insight about the people behind this music powerhouse. If you’re a KBC fan, you’re in for a treat!

I was very happy to find that the following feature article explores the world of Remote Reception. No doubt, remote listening is becoming one the most accessible ways many of us discover and enjoy our hobby today–especially as it can be difficult for some of us to fight urban radio interference.

Following this, WRTH writer, Hans Johnson, features an article on CKZN St. John’s Newfoundland.  In this short article, Johnson covers the history and mission of this shortwave relay, dating back to the days when Newfoundland was a British dominion. Looking forward, Johnson notes that the CBC intend to not only continue this service directed at Labrador’s most remote areas, but it intends to replace their 1 kW Elcom Bauer transmitter in the coming years. This pleases me to no end as I’ve always loved snagging this particular relay of CFGB from my home here in North Carolina.

Next, DXer Rob Shepard writes about his travels in South America and the Pacific. Being an avid traveller myself, I love reading about others’ adventures across the globe with radio. Shepard even notes some catches from the Queen Mary II. I’ve never had the chance to do DXing while maritime mobile, but I hope to someday.

The following article features Danish radio enthusiast, Vagn Fentz, who has collaborated with WRTH since one of its very first editions. His radio history starts back when he was a schoolboy in Denmark during WWII, listening to the radio in secret. His story gives us insight into both his own world and that of the WRTH over the years.

Next, Michael Pütz outlines the progress, so far, of setting up an HF disaster relief radio network: the IRDR Project. If you haven’t heard of the IRDR project, this article makes for a great primer and also speaks to the potential future of a radio network that could have major positive impact over vast regions in the wake of disaster.

The final article–a tradition–is the WRTH  HF propagation report/forecast by Ulf-Peter Hoppe. Always an informative read (despite the fact we’re heading into a solar minimum).

The 71st is another fantastic edition of the World Radio TV Handbook. I’ve never been disappointed with WRTH, in truth. Their publishing standards are such that the quality of their reviews, their writing, and (most importantly) their broadcast listings are simply unparalleled.

For DXers who collect QSL cards, you’ll find that broadcaster contact information in WRTH is often more up-to-date than a broadcaster’s own website. When readers contact me asking for QSL information from an obscure broadcaster, the first place I search is the current WRTH. Remember: their information is based on volunteer contributors who specialize in specific regions of the world–the most knowledgeable regional DXers keep this publication accurate.

Purchase your copy of WRTH 2017 directly from WRTH’s publishers, or from a distributor like Universal Radio (US) and Amazon.com (US), Radio HF (Canada), or BookDepository.com (International).

WRTH 2017: Available to pre-order

2017-wrth-coverMany thanks to SWLing Post contributors Andrea Borgnino and Tom Ally who’ve notified me that WRTH 2017 is available for pre-order!

Here’s a description from the WRTH website:

The Features section for this 71st edition includes articles on Remote Receivers, a Pacific Radio Adventure, The Mighty KBC radio station, CKZN St John’s, the International Radio Disaster Relief Project, and a reminiscence by Vagn Fentz. There are equipment reviews of the Icom IC-7300, Reuter Elektronik RDR55D, SDRPlay RSP, Wellbrook ALA1530LNP, and Bonito AAS300, as well as other articles, information and maps.

The remaining pages are, as usual, full of information on:

  • National and International broadcasts and broadcasters
  • Clandestine and other target broadcasters
  • MW and SW frequency listings
  • National TV by country
  • Extensive Reference section

Click here to pre-order your copy!

Global HF Pirate Weekend and the 2015-2016 Pirate Radio Annual

Hammarlund-HQ-120X-DialLightMany thanks to Andy Yoder, author of the Pirate Radio Annual, who writes:

I thought maybe you’d be interested in info about the upcoming Global HF weekend. This event was run a few years ago, with the concept of friendship and cooperation among stations and listeners from around the world. Successful tests would give the stations new listeners in different parts of the world and listeners the chance to hear new stations.

November 5-6, 2016

General frequency ranges:
15010-15100 kHz
21455-21550 kHz

Basic schedule:
European morning, 0800-1200 UTC from Europe to Asia/Japan/Oceania.
European afternoon, 1200-1600 UTC from Europe to North American and vice versa.
European night, 2200-2400 UTC from North America to Asia/Oceania.

Of course, these are general frequency ranges where pirates have broadcast during prior Global HF Pirate weekends. Some stations will surely operate on frequencies and times outside of these ranges. These will be updated on HF Underground and on the Hobby Broadcasting blog (http://hobbybroadcasting.blogspot.com/) as schedules are received from stations.

Thank you, Andy! I’ll certainly set aside radio time on the weekend of November 5-6 for pirate radio listening! If conditions are favorable, this could be an excellent time to log some Euro as well as domestic pirates!

Speaking of pirate radio and Andrew Yoder…

2015-16 Pirate Radio Annual

pirate-radio-annual

Pirate radio is perhaps one of the most dynamic aspects of the diverse landscape of SWLing. In direct contrast with major broadcasters, many of whom are now thinning out their offerings, pirate radio just seems to adapt and grow.

I’ve had Andy’s latest Pirate Radio Annual (PRA) since my return from Canada in August. I read through much of the volume the first night I received it. I especially love exploring the extensive pirate station profiles.

In short: If you’re a fan of pirate radio, the Pirate Radio Annual is a must.

Not only is this book, which explores the pirate radio scene, well written and insightful, it is chock-full of information. It’s a bit like the programming section of the former Passport to Worldband Radio, only focused on pirates. The book also comes with an accompanying audio samples CD.  Andy Yoder, the author, has been covering the pirate scene for decades; he’s also the former publisher of hobbyist magazine Hobby Broadcasting and actively blogs about pirate radio on the Hobby Broadcasting Blog.

The 2015-16 Pirate Radio Annual is divided into several sections:

  • An intro to the guide which introduces the WGM feature
  • WGM: World’s Greatest Mistake
  • Pirate station classification
  • Global HF Pirate weekends
  • Profiles of pirate radio stations heard in 2014 and 2015, with an additional section on international pirates heard in North America
  • An index for the included audio CD

At $16.95, it’s also very affordable. You can order the 2015-16 Pirate Radio Annual from Universal Radio.

Thanks, Andy, for putting together such a quality publication!