Category Archives: Funny

Video postcards: wishing you a “Happy” weekend from Antarctica

(Image: FT5ZM)

Wednesday, as I listened to (and attempted to record) this year’s annual Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast, I couldn’t help but recall the W4DXCC conference three years ago, during which representatives from the Amsterdam Island DXpedition (FT5ZM) gave a one-hour multimedia presentation about their journey, including their on-air accomplishments.

It was, to say the least, all fascinating.  Even the expedition’s financing interested me.

But I particularly found the logistics of the whole enterprise intriguing, such as the crew’s equipment choices in the form of emergency provisions, food, medical and camping supplies…Also fascinating, of course, was the description of the lengthy voyage to the island and back aboard the Braveheart.

The Braveheart and FT5ZM crew

I’ll never forget what the presenter, Bob (K4UEE) noted regarding the anticipated landing on the island.  Here they were, he explained, heading to one of the most remote islands in the world, and its only inhabitants were twenty-seven French scientists with the TAAF (Terres australes et antarctiques françaises). The DXers had to spend several weeks there, and––especially considering the close quarters––worried they could find common ground with these dedicated and apparently very serious scientists, and were uncertain about whether the two diverse groups could get along during their stay.

Then, en route to the island, Bob and the DXers discovered this video produced by the Amsterdam Island scientists. It immediately settled their concerns:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Aw, whoever said serious scientists have to be serious all the time?

Bob said that after watching this video, the whole FT5ZM team knew they were in for a treat. And as it turns out, they were.  Not only were the scientists a fun group who shared their sense of humor, but they also shared their enjoyment of rather superlative cuisine on that far-flung isle.  It seems that French scientists don’t venture to a remote island without proper provisions…and a proper French chef!

I rediscovered this video several months later, and also unearthed a number of other “Happy” videos from the 2014 TAAF teams.

And so, for your Friday enjoyment, here are the rest of the videos, too:

Terre Adelie

Click here to view on YouTube.

Crozet Islands

Click here to view on YouTube.

Kerguelen

Click here to view on YouTube.

Here’s to a happy weekend!  Cheers!

Radio Outbackistan: “the next shortwave broadcaster for rural Australia”–?

Cartoonist George Aldridge’s take on Radio Outbackistan. (Photo Source: ABC Rural)

(Source: ABC Rural via London Shortwave)

Could Radio Outbackistan be the next shortwave broadcaster for rural Australia?

In response to the ABC abolishing its HF shortwave radio service, the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) president has turned to humour to propose his own broadcast alternative.

On Friday, in front of hundreds of cattle producers, Tom Stockwell addressed the association’s annual conference on the status of the beef industry, listing challenges, opportunities and grievances.

While the Bureau of Meteorology’s decision to remove the Tennant Creek weather radar and the National Broadband Network’s restrictions on download quotas for remote users were both highlighted, it was the loss of shortwave radio that Mr Stockwell took most issue with.

The NTCA has been heavily critical of the ABC for making the decision, which was made to allow for the reinvestment of funds into digital services.

Inspired by the band Roadtrippers, Mr Stockwell joked about his desire for a new broadcaster called Radio Outbackistan to fill a regional communications void.][…]

Continue reading at ABC Rural online.

Thanks for sharing London Shortwave.  That gave me a much needed chuckle!

30 Year Flashback: From the April 1st Edition of the Cascade Mtn. DX Club Bulletin

Among SWLing Post readers, I’m sure there are others like myself who, decades ago, listened to the Zzzt…Zzzt…Zzzt! sound of a dot-matrix printer as it spit out copy for “pasting up” a DX club bulletin. In the 1980s I was one of those enterprising DXers, taking over publication of the Cascade Mountain DX Club (CMDXC) when a local hobbyist lost interest in producing it.

For a few years I found that creating a regular bulletin was almost as satisfying as DXing itself, and I went on to publish another local bulletin, DX/Northwest. It was a forum for DXers in the Pacific Northwest USA to share loggings and information. I also hosted occasional gatherings of Seattle area DXers who were members of the club.

I recently came across my collection of all the past bulletins and appropriately found the April 1, 1987 edition of the CMDXC. I had completely forgotten I’d made an effort every April 1st to “spice up” the bulletin content with some April Foolery.

The first item was slipped into the midst of the monthly loggings, just to make sure readers were paying attention:

The fictitious DXer named “Grobe” in the spoof logging was a thinly veiled reference to radio hobby publisher Bob Grove of Grove Enterprises and Monitoring Times magazine. He actually wrote to me after the initial April 1st edition, beginning a running joke of humorous responses to my April Fool’s bulletin content, and always signing his letters “Bob Grobe”. I received similar letters from him after each year’s April edition. I don’t recall Bob ever being a member of the CMDXC, so I’m not sure how he knew of the content. I still have one or more of those letters stashed away somewhere.

Perusing the April 1st, 1987 bulletin again, I note that I was feeling charitable towards a certain down-on-his-luck DXer “M.T. Pockitz” from nearby Vancouver, BC Canada, and wanted other club members to help him in his time of need. I was also in close touch with new developments in radio technology, as I am today:

Who else remembers the old DX club bulletins–from the dot-matrix printer era–with fondness? You may even be senior enough to feel nostalgic over the “ditto machine” or Mimeograph produced publications!

To read more humor that only a DXer could love, I highly recommend Don Moore’s excellent web site BLANDX – Historical DX Humor. This site is the web archive of the classic BLANDX parody bulletins. I was an occasional contributor, and on the receiving end of Don’s wonderfully warped funny bone at times. If you can’t laugh at the BLANDX content, watch out–your WPE Callsign might have expired!

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

Video: J R R Tolkien on Wireless

RCA-Portable-DialMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor Eric (WD8RIF), who shares this (quirky!) animated video set to a British Library Sound Archive of “Wireless” by J R R Tolkien.

This animation was produced by students at the University of the Arts London:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Playing music with computer-emitted interference

RFI-Sony-7600GSWLing Post reader, Chris Smolinski, writes:

Here’s my Mac Book Pro (2010 model) playing Mary Had A Little Lamb over the radio, by modulating the RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) produced by it and other computers. As picked up on a Sony 7600G receiver. I found the best reception was on the long wave band, although I could continue to hear it well above the AM (medium wave) band, past 1700 kHz. The signal was pretty much everywhere, no matter where I tuned, in 1 kHz steps.

Picking up radio emissions from computers is one method that can be used to spy on them.

I used the source code available here: https://github.com/fulldecent/system-bus-radio

If you want to see some radio related software I’ve written, please visit http://www.blackcatsystems.com

Click here to view on YouTube.

That is fascinating, Chris. While I was well aware that computers and mobile devices (of all stripes) produce RFI, I had no idea that it could be used for spying. I love how you’ve manipulated this interference to play a tune! What a creative hack!