Category Archives: Digital Modes

Nicholas uses Android phone and $18 receiver to decode VOA Radiogram

voa-radiogram-decode-app

Many thanks to Nicholas Pospishil, who shares this photo and notes:

“VOA Radiogram on 5745 kHz. No fancy equipment needed.”

No kidding! Mobile phones and tablets now have more than enough horsepower to decode most VOA Radiograms.

Nicholas uses the free AndFlmsg app for Android to decode. Note that AndFlmsg is not available in the Google Play store, you must manually install it using these directions.

The Kaito WRX911 is an $18 US receiver and AndFlmsg is free. That’s a pretty inexpensive and accessible combo!

Nicholas originally posted this image on Gary J. Cohen’s Shortwave Listeners Global.

Thanks for sharing, Nicholas!

KNL Networks is developing shortwave-powered global Internet access

Earth

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Steve T, for sharing the following news from Business Insider:

KNL Networks, based in Oulu, Finland, has been in stealth mode during the past four years while developing a revolutionizing system that enables internet connection anywhere in the world – even in the middle of the Pacific Ocean – without using expensive satellite systems.
Today, KNL announced the completion of its series A funding round. The funding amounted to more than $10 million making it one of the biggest Nordic series A rounds. Creandum is the biggest investor.

[…]Facebook and Google have been exploring the possibility of bringing internet to remote locations by relaying data through a network of balloons. KNL’s technology, on the other hand, proposes the opposite: incredibly long range signals, by sending internet protocol over the radio.

KNL’s technology is already being used to provide robust internet connections to ships on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, but can be used anywhere on the globe for many different applications.

[…]KNL’s technology relies on shortwave radio transmissions, which can transmit data for thousands of kilometers, for a fraction of the cost of a satellite system. Accomplishing this has required the innovation of long-distance high frequency radio systems. In comparison with satellite internet, the radio technology offers the additional advantages of being easier to use, always on.

Read the full article at Business Insider.

This is very exciting news, Steve!

I’ve always had confidence that inherent HF bandwidth and data integrity issues could be addressed with time as our receivers, codecs and digital signal processing improve with each iteration.

As I wrote in, Does Shortwave Radio Have a Future?, I’ve always believed that the shortwave medium could be leveraged for international digital/data communications, and should be. In my article, I focused on Radio Canada International (RCI), which was then dismantling their shortwave transmitter site:

[B]roadcasters should not dismantle their transmission sites as Canada is currently doing. Not only is the current service originating from these sites a more reliable form of emergency communications than the Internet, should a national disaster befall us; not only do they continue to provide a broad-spectrum mode of diplomacy; but should future digital communication modes find a way to take advantage of the HF spectrum as is now under discussion, this would be most unfortunate.

Imagine a wi-fi signal with a footprint as large as several countries, digital devices with tiny fractal antennas that receive this signal containing rich media (e.g., audio and video)––these are not science fiction, but highly plausible uses of these transmission sites, even within the next decade…

We’ll be watching developments at KNL Networks and reporting updates here on the Post. Follow the tag: Shortwave Internet

Can you help Rick ID this mystery digital signal?

Ricks-Location

Photo from Rick’s location in Vernon, BC.

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Rick Slobodian, who writes to request help with the following:

Tecsun-PL-606I was on the beach at our lake, [where I was listening to my] Tecsun PL-606 receiver.

[On Friday, August 19, 2016 at 1800 UTC, I noted a] “beeper”: beeps at Hz repetition rate , does not appear to be data, it beeps for about a minute then there is a short data burst then beeping again for a minute or two.

This went on for over an hour.

Location of Vernon, British Columbia, Canada.

Location of Vernon, British Columbia, Canada (click to enlarge).

[The beeping covered] all frequencies between 13400-13800 kHz. [Then on August 20, it started at] start 1745 UTC and was no longer on 3400-13800 but now on
all frequencies between 12120 -12250.

What is it? [Take a listen:]

Click here to download a recording of the beeping.

My ham radio friend says there are a network of stations that send out pings that everyone in the group transmits and everyone receives. The signal strength and phase of the rx signal is correlated at each receiver station, to direction find some unknown station.

Was there such a thing during the cold war, and is it still around? What is this system and where can I find out more about it?

Thanks for your inquiry, Rick. This is outside the scope of what I understand on the HF bands, so I hope SWLing Post readers can chime in and offer suggestions.

Please comment if you can help Rick ID this transmission!

The Gospell GR-216: DRM Consortium announces new DRM portable

GOSPELL-DRM-Portable-Radio

(Source: DRM Consortium via Alokesh Gupta)

Gospell announces the imminent release of GR-216 DRM/AM/FM digital radio

Chengdu, China, September 05, 2016

Gospell, a leading supplier of pay TV system and equipment, satellite TV receiving products and microwave products, is delighted to announce the imminent release of GR-216 DRM/AM/FM digital radio, the first model in its Global Radio series range of tabletop radio. The product is designed to meet the demands of easy access to high quality information for cost-sensitive market at an affordable price.
GR-216 is equipped to receive DRM broadcast, as well as traditional FM with RDS and AM in medium wave band and shortwave band. Featuring a high performance DRM/AM/FM tuner, GR-216 provides noise-free reception of even the weakest stations. It supports the latest audio compression standard xHE-AAC and traditional HE-AAC as well as SBR and parametric stereo.
Besides the built-in whip antenna and ferrite bar antenna, dedicated AM/FM external antenna terminals with switch are located on the rear side of the radio, this will help those who live or work in a metal or concrete building and enjoy listening to a radio.
This unique radio will automatically turn itself on and initiate its emergency-tuning process when the Emergency Warning Broadcasting is engaged. The radio will enlarge its volume, flash the backlight, play siren sound and tune itself to the emergency program.
In addition to DRM program recording, AM/FM are also supported. Recorded program will be stored on the attached USB pen drive and can be played back on other devices such as a phone or a tablet. The GR216 also includes a scheduler which allows the user to schedule regular and unattended recordings for their favorite radio programme.
The built-in high-quality 3 inch full-range speaker with enlarged magnet provides outstanding audio performance and room filling sound. With the help of state-of-the-art audio processing technology, GR-216 includes separate bass, mid and treble tone controls and a graphics equalizer, users can tailor the sound to their taste. We’ve provided an output for headphones along with an audio output on the rear side of the radio for line recording or to connect GR-216 as a radio tuner to a home audio system.
As a tabletop radio, GR-216 features dual independent alarm clocks with sleep timer. The alarm clock allows for once, daily, weekday and weekend settings. The alarm can be adjusted to the volume you prefer with buzzer or radio stations.
All aspects of set-up, time and program information are clearly shown through an easy to read large LCD display with white backlight, which is paired with an intuitive rotary control, enabling quick and easy navigation. The display brightness and contrast can be adjusted for a comfortable night’s sleep.
“GR-216 is designed with the purpose and vision of providing easy access to high quality information, while utilizing a simple and intuitive user interface”. Said Haochun Liu, director of DRM development department, Gospell. “With the help of a carefully design and concrete quality, GR-216 will be a durable device that supports long-term use.”
For additional information, please visit www.gospell.com or contact Gospell sales at
haojq@gospell.com
About Gospell
Founded in 1993, Gospell Digital Technology Co Ltd (GOSPELL). is a private hi-tech enterprise with R&D, manufacturing, business consultancy and planning, trade, delivery, project implementation and after sales service, acting as a complete DTV and triple-play solution provider for Digital TV/OTT related projects. Headquartered in GOSPELL INDUSTRIAL PARK at Chenzhou, Hunan Province for CPE related production manufacturing, GOSPELL also has its office in Shenzhen for business/marketing management and administration, in Chengdu for R&D and headend/transmitter system production/debugging and Customer Service Center, and in 12 cities
in China as well as international offices in India, Africa and Mexico.
Gospell announces the imminent release of GR-216 DRM/AM/FM digital radio
Chengdu, China, September 05, 2016
Gospell, a leading supplier of pay TV system and equipment, satellite TV receiving products and microwave products, is delighted to announce the imminent release of GR-216 DRM/AM/FM digital radio, the first model in its Global Radio series
range of tabletop radio. The product is designed to meet the demands of easy access to high quality information for cost-sensitive market at an affordable price.
GR-216 is equipped to receive DRM broadcast, as well as traditional FM with RDS and AM in medium wave band and shortwave band. Featuring a high performance DRM/AM/FM tuner, GR-216 provides noise-free reception of even the weakest stations. It supports the latest audio compression standard xHE-AAC and traditional HE-AAC as well as SBR and parametric stereo.
Besides the built-in whip antenna and ferrite bar antenna, dedicated AM/FM external antenna terminals with switch are located on the rear side of the radio, this will help those who live or work in a metal or concrete building and enjoy listening to a radio.
This unique radio will automatically turn itself on and initiate its emergency-tuning process when the Emergency Warning Broadcasting is engaged. The radio will enlarge its volume, flash the backlight, play siren sound and tune itself to the emergency program.
In addition to DRM program recording, AM/FM are also supported. Recorded program will be stored on the attached USB pen drive and can be played back on other devices such as a phone or a tablet. The GR216 also includes a scheduler which allows the user to schedule regular and unattended recordings for their favorite radio program.
The built-in high-quality 3 inch full-range speaker with enlarged magnet provides outstanding audio performance and room filling sound. With the help of state-of-the-art audio processing technology, GR-216 includes separate bass, mid and treble tone controls and a graphics equalizer, users can tailor the sound to their taste. We’ve provided an output for headphones along with an audio output on the rear side of the radio for line recording or to connect GR-216 as a radio tuner to a home audio system.
As a tabletop radio, GR-216 features dual independent alarm clocks with sleep timer. The alarm clock allows for once, daily, weekday and weekend settings. The alarm can be adjusted to the volume you prefer with buzzer or radio stations.
All aspects of set-up, time and program information are clearly shown through an easy to read large LCD display with white backlight, which is paired with an intuitive rotary control, enabling quick and easy navigation. The display brightness and contrast can be adjusted for a comfortable night’s sleep.
“GR-216 is designed with the purpose and vision of providing easy access to high quality information, while utilizing a simple and intuitive user interface”. Said Haochun Liu, director of DRM development department, Gospell. “With the help of a carefully design and concrete quality, GR-216 will be a durable device that supports long-term use.”
For additional information, please visit www.gospell.com or contact Gospell sales at haojq@gospell.com
About Gospell
Founded in 1993, Gospell Digital Technology Co Ltd (GOSPELL). is a private hi-tech enterprise with R&D, manufacturing, business consultancy and planning, trade, delivery, project implementation and after sales service, acting as a complete DTV and triple-play solution provider for Digital TV/OTT related projects. Headquartered in GOSPELL INDUSTRIAL PARK at Chenzhou, Hunan Province for CPE related production manufacturing, GOSPELL also has its office in Shenzhen for business/marketing management and administration, in Chengdu for R&D and headend/transmitter system production/debugging and Customer Service Center, and in 12 cities
in China as well as international offices in India, Africa and Mexico.

August 28: BBC Atlantic Relay station special DRM broadcasts

RNZI-DRM-2(Source: DRM Consortium)

DRM will be part of a big anniversary on a small island in the Atlantic Ocean. On 28th of August at 1155 GMT Babcock International will ensure a special BBC digital transmission on 21715 kHz from the BBC Atlantic Relay station, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the BBC’s first short-wave radio broadcast from Ascension Island.

Since 1966, the Atlantic Relay station has broadcast BBC World Service programmes to Africa and South America, and to this day, continues to broadcast over 250 programme hours every week to East and West Africa in English, French, Hausa and Somali.

BBCRelayStation-Ascension IslandThe two hour-transmission on 21715 kHz will start with the old, special sound of Bow Church Bell in east London, the sound of which, even if in DRM this time,  will remind older listeners of the BBC broadcasts of many decades ago. The 21-hour transmission will be the regular BBC programmes for West and South Africa and will end at 1400.

DRM – Digital Radio Mondiale, is an international digital radio standard designed by broadcasters, for broadcasters, in co-operation with transmitter and receiver manufacturers. DRM is a high quality digital replacement for analogue radio broadcasting in the AM and FM bands.

This special transmission will be sent with greetings from Ascension Island’s BBC and Babcock International staff and visitors, who will be celebrating half a century of sterling broadcasting on August 28th.

Click here to read more about the fascinating history of the BBC’s broadcasts from Ascension Island.

Transmission Details

FREQ   TIME (UTC)       SERVICE          TX        kW       Bearing Day      LANG               TARGET

21715   1155-1201         BBC DRM         ASC     250       114       1          English             S. Africa           (Special Announcement)

21715   1201-1400         BBC DRM         ASC     250       114       1          English             S. Africa            (English – ENAFW)

21715   1400-1430         BBC DRM         ASC     250       250       1          English             Brazil                (English – ENAFW)

Additional analogue transmission will broadcast from 13.30 GMT for ceremonial purposes.

15105   1330-1430         BAB                  ASC     250       27         1          English             W. Africa                   (Special Announcement)