Category Archives: News

Video: Air traffic on the HF bands

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Hawkins, who writes:

Air traffic bands on VHF is well-known.

Not so well-known are the shortwave (HF) communications networks that must be operated by transoceanic flights.

This is an ARINC station for San Francisco, California. I am located about 70 miles inland from this station. I assume ARINC is using a directional antenna system beamed westward toward the Pacific Ocean.

I recorded this video of an ARINC station late last night for my YouTube channel.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Many thanks, Dan!

I enjoy monitoring air traffic on VHF and often forget that when I’m outside the range of an airport’s tower, I can still hop on HF and often hear international traffic. Thanks again!

Alan Roe’s A17 season guide to music on shortwave

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Alan Roe, who writes:

Hi Thomas

As always, thank you for your regular SWLing Post – it’s always an interesting read!

I have just completed my Music on Shortwave listing for A-17 season, and attach it here for you to consider including in a future SWLing Post.

My regards

Alan Roe, Teddington, UK

Click here to download the A17 Shortwave Music Guide (PDF).

Alan, I always look forward to your music guide and keep a printed copy in my shack. Thanks so much for sharing it here with the community!

Radios spotted in the Netflix movie “Spectral”

Last week, I watched the Netflix movie, Spectral, and couldn’t help but notice a couple of radios on set.

I spotted the first rig at the beginning of the film while the camera was panning a military communications center. It’s a dark screen shot, but I believe this may be a Kenwood TS-940S:

Click to enlarge.

The second radio appeared to be a 1950s-60s era Grundig tabletop. Perhaps someone can identify the model?

Click to enlarge

I’ve noticed that many of the radios we’ve spotted in film and TV lately have been in Netflix original productions. I assume the art/set designers appreciate the radio aesthetic. I certainly do!

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!

It’s Field Day weekend 2017: find a local event, have fun!

If you live in North America and have an interest in becoming a ham radio operator, this is the weekend to check out what amateur radio is all about, and meet local radio enthusiasts.  

It’s Field Day!

What is Field Day?  I’ll quote from the ARRL, who sponsors the event:

“ARRL Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada. On the fourth weekend of June of each year, more than 35,000 radio amateurs gather with their clubs, groups or simply with friends to operate from remote locations.

Field Day is a picnic, a camp out, practice for emergencies, an informal contest and, most of all, FUN!

It is a time where many aspects of Amateur Radio come together to highlight our many roles. While some will treat it as a contest, other groups use the opportunity to practice their emergency response capabilities. It is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate Amateur Radio to the organizations that Amateur Radio might serve in an emergency, as well as the general public. For many clubs, ARRL Field Day is one of the highlights of their annual calendar.

The contest part is simply to contact as many other stations as possible and to learn to operate our radio gear in abnormal situations and less than optimal conditions.”

GOTAMany Field Day sites have a GOTA (Get On The Air) station where non-licensed individuals are welcome to play radio. It’s a fantastic way to try your hand at transmitting with a little guidance and encouragement from the more experienced. Indeed, even if there is no GOTA station, you will often be invited to try out the mic.

You’ll find that ham radio operators are very welcoming on Field Day–after all, spreading the word about the fun of amateur radio is what it’s all about. Indeed, I’ve shown up unannounced to a number of Field Days over the years; once I even got some serious radio time with the Charlotteville Amateur Radio Club while on vacation in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

This year, I’m joining the Québec Amateur Radio Club (Club Radio Amateur de Québec), for the second year in a row, and I’m looking forward to it very much!

Keep in mind that there are many shortwave listeners among the amateur radio community; indeed, many hams became interested in the hobby through SWLing.

The ARRL has made it quite easy to find registered Field Day locations in your region. Click here to find a local Field Day event near you–and have a great Field Day!