South Sudan: Eye Radio reaches new audience via shortwave

EyeRadio

You might recall a post from Robert Gulley earlier this week about Eye Radio. Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrea Borgnino who shares a link to the following article from the BBC about Eye Radio’s broadcasts over shortwave:

(Source: BBC)

A radio station in South Sudan is using older, but tried and tested technology to reach new audiences.

Radio is a crucial medium in South Sudan, where illiteracy is high and many areas lack an electricity supply.

But many people living in remote villages are out of range of existing FM and mediumwave (AM) broadcasts.

Huge distances

To reach these potential listeners, Eye Radio, which is based in the capital Juba and can be heard in regional capitals, has just started broadcasting on shortwave.

The new service covers “the whole of South Sudan, including remote areas in which communities are not able to access FM radio”, says Eye Media head Stephen Omiri.

[…]The station is thought to be renting airtime on a transmitter based outside South Sudan.

Funding for the shortwave service comes from USAID, the international development arm of the US government.

[…]Eye Radio broadcasts in English, standard Arabic, and local languages Dinka, Nuer, Juba Arabic, Bari, Shilluk, Zande and Moro.

The shortwave broadcasts are on the air from 7-8 a.m. local time on 11730 kHz, and 7-8 p.m. on 17730 kHz.

Another station using shortwave to reach South Sudan is Radio Tamazuj, which is based in the Netherlands.

Click here to read the full article at the BBC Monitoring website.

Edward R. Murrow Shortwave Transmitting Station: wallpaper images

VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-MainBuilding2

On April 1st, I spent the bulk of the day at the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station outside of Greenville, North Carolina. Prior to my visit, I asked if SWLing Post readers had any requests or questions I could address while there.

I printed all of your inquiries and made sure they were addressed during my visit. I also took a lot of photos!

I had hoped to have a post published the following week with all of the photos and responses properly curated, but frankly, I haven’t had the spare time to do it yet. I’ve simply had too much travel and too many projects on my plate since that site visit (not to mention cramming for the Extra exam!).

I’m working on a draft of the post now and Macon Dail (WB4PMQ), the transmitting station’s Chief Engineer, is helping me with captions and responding to your questions.

Wallpaper

One reader asked if I could snap some photos that could be used as wallpaper on his computer. This morning, I selected eleven images and cropped them to fit a widescreen monitor.

I tried to pick images that would work well as a background/wallpaper–meaning, they’re not too busy (visually). Some are abstract close-ups.

Click on any of the images on this page to enlarge–then simply save the image to your computer to use it as you see fit.

I hope you enjoy!

VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-MainBuilding VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-HighVoltage VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-Curtain-Closeup VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-Curtain-Antenna VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-Continental-Transmitter VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-BluePrints VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-AntennaFarm VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-Antenna VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-1 VOA-site-B-Wallpaper-TX-Mimic-Panel

LimeSDR is now in the crowdfunding stage

Lime-SDR-Aluminium-Case

There’s a new SDR under development–one that is promoted as a “Flexible, Next-generation, Open Source Software Defined Radio.”

The LimeSDR‘s goal, essentially, is to democratize what I call the “RF of things.”

My friend, Bernie S, told me about the LimeSDR a couple months ago and I’ve been following progress since then.  It’s a fascinating concept and one that is being supported by the likes of Canonical Ltd.

Earlier today, LimeSDR launched a crowdfunding campaign on CrowdSupply. If early activity is any indication, I expect the team will easily exceed their goal of $500,000 (already 10% funded at time of posting).

limesdr-8_jpg_project-body

Here’s information from LimeSDR’s CrowdSupply page:

A Software Defined Radio for Everyone

LimeSDR is a low cost, open source, apps-enabled (more on that later) software defined radio (SDR) platform that can be used to support just about any type of wireless communication standard, including UMTS, LTE, GSM, LoRa, Bluetooth, Zigbee, RFID, and Digital Broadcasting, to name but a few.

While most SDRs have remained the domain of RF and protocol experts, LimeSDR is usable by anyone familiar with the idea of an app store – LimeSDR is the first SDR to integrate with Snappy Ubuntu Core. This means you can easily download new LimeSDR apps from developers around the world. If you’re a developer yourself, then you can share and/or sell your LimeSDR apps through Snappy Ubuntu Core as well.

The LimeSDR platform gives students, inventors, and developers an intelligent and flexible device for manipulating wireless signals, so they can learn, experiment, and develop with freedom from limited functionality and proprietary devices.

From Radio Astronomy to Personal Telcos

Here are just some of the applications that are possible with the LimeSDR:

  • Radio astronomy
  • RADAR
  • 2G to 4G cellular basestation
  • Media streaming
  • IoT gateway
  • HAM radio
  • Wireless keyboard and mice emulation and detection
  • Tire pressure monitoring systems
  • Aviation transponders
  • Utility meters
  • Drone command and control
  • Test and measurement
  • Many more…

With state-of-the-art technical specs, a fully open hardware and toolchain, and integration with Snappy Ubuntu Core’s app distribution platform, LimeSDR is limited only by our collective imagination.

Features & Specifications

  • RF Transceiver: Lime Microsystems LMS7002M MIMO FPRF (Datasheet)
  • FPGA: Altera Cyclone IV EP4CE40F23 – also compatible with EP4CE30F23
  • Memory: 256 MBytes DDR2 SDRAM
  • USB 3.0 controller: Cypress USB 3.0 CYUSB3014-BZXC
  • Oscillator: Rakon RPT7050A @30.72MHz (Datasheet)
  • Continuous frequency range: 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz
  • Bandwidth: 61.44 MHz
  • RF connection: 10 U.FL connectors (6 RX, 4 TX)
  • Power Output (CW): up to 10 dBm
  • Multiplexing: 2×2 MIMO
  • Power: micro USB connector or optional external power supply
  • Status indicators: programmable LEDs
  • Dimensions: 100 mm x 60 mm

Bernie has encouraged me to evaluate the LimeSDR. I may very well attempt to do so, but frankly, I don’t have the experience to truly unlock this device. I am curious if it would make for an amazingly useful little all-in-one HF/VHF/UHF digital decoding device. In fact, I’m pretty sure it would be an easy task for the LimeSDR.

Any Post readers out there plan to back the LimeSDR project? If so, please comment and tell us how you plan to use the LimeSDR.

Have you ever installed a covert shortwave radio antenna?

The Hammarlund RBG CHC-46140 (Photo by Rich Post, KB8TAD)

The Hammarlund RBG CHC-46140 (Photo by Rich Post, KB8TAD)

Yesterday, in a comment thread, SWLing Post reader Dan described a covert antenna he once installed in a student apartment:

I’m waxing nostalgic now, but I had a great set-up for a couple of years back in the ’70s. The receiver was a black WW2 Navy surplus Hammarlund RBG CHC-46140. (I still have it).

I was a student living in an apartment on top of a two story, wood-framed apartment building. The attic access for that building was from the ceiling of the wardrobe closet.

During a Christmas break I was probably the only occupant of the building. I snuck into the attic and installed a set of five switchable dipoles. I had a good 60′ of space to work with and the antennas were broadside to the southwest. This was quite a memorable listening post.

When I moved out, I cut the coax to the dipoles and used toothpaste and borrowed pieces of “cottage cheese” to fill the five holes in the ceiling. Those antennas are probably still there.

Indeed, I bet they are still there, Dan!

In reply to Dan’s comment, Walt Salmaniw, noted:

Dan, reminds me when I was stationed in Germany in the early 80’s.

We lived in old French officer’s quarters. Basically, 4 story buildings with the upper floor/attic uninhabited.

The Kenwood R-2000 (Photo: Universal Radio)

The Kenwood R-2000 (Photo: Universal Radio)

I put up some nice 60 m dipoles in that space, with a goal of hearing a lot of tropical band DX, which I did using my Kenwood R2000 receiver.

Those were the glory days of dxing!

Thanks, Dan and Walter, for sharing those stories. The thread reminds me of a post we published sometime back where one young listener installed a wire antenna in his home while his parents were away. (I can’t seem to locate that post at the moment for a link!).

Though not nearly as elaborate as Dan and Walter’s antennas, I did install a small covert antenna once myself.

In the early 90s, I lived in Grenoble, France, in a four bedroom house in which three bedrooms were occupied by university students. The landlord was a rather fussy elderly woman who lived on the ground floor. I never dared ask her if I could string a random wire outside my top floor bedroom window. Though she was mostly fair and even sweet at times, I knew what the response would be if I asked for permission: a firm “Non.”

One night, I opened the bedroom window and carefully connected a short wire antenna to a nail on the side of the house, above and slightly to the side of the window. I had to stand on the window and hang out of the house to do it.

The Realistic DX-440

The Realistic DX-440

The antenna dangled there the whole year I lived in that room and served me quite well. I’d simply open the window and clip it to my Realistic DX-440. I did remove the antenna before before I moved back to the States, but it was virtually undetectable against the  exterior wall of the house.

Other covert antenna installations?

Please comment if you’ve ever installed a hidden antenna as well. (I love this stuff!) Besides…who knows…your antenna might benefit someone in need of a hidden antenna today!

SDRplay announces acquisition of Studio 1 SDR software

SDRplay-Logo

28/April/2016, Wakefield UK:

SDRplay announces the acquisition of Studio 1 SDR software

SDRplay Limited has today announced that it has reached an agreement with Sandro Sfregola, (formerly CEO of SDR Applications S.a.s.) to acquire all Rights, Title and Interest in Studio 1 a leading software package for Software Defined Radio applications.

Jon Hudson, SDRplay Marketing Director said: “We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Sandro to acquire Studio 1. Studio 1 is the perfect complement to our SDR hardware products and gives us the ideal platform to deliver a complete class leading SDR solution for our customers. We look forward to working with Sandro and further developing Studio 1 to unlock the full capability of our current and future products”.

Hudson added: “Studio1 has established a strong customer base with users of many other SDR hardware products. Studio 1 will continue to be available as a stand-alone product from WoodBoxRadio http://www.woodboxradio.com/studio1.html for the foreseeable future , but we also look forward to further developing Studio 1 to specifically benefit present and future owners of our products”

Sandro Sfregola added: “I am very pleased to have reached this agreement with SDRplay. The long term future for SDR lies in complete end to end solutions and I feel the SDRplay RSP combined with Studio 1 software gives users an outstanding combination of performance and affordability”.

About Studio 1:

Studio1 was developed in Italy by SDR Applications S.a.s. and has hundreds of happy customers around the world.

Studio 1 is known for its user friendly stylish GUI, CPU efficiency and advanced DSP capabilities, including features not

available on other SDR software packages.

www.sdrapplications.it

About SDRplay:

SDRplay limited is a UK company and consists of a small group of engineers with strong connections to the UK Wireless

semiconductor industry. SDRplay announced its first product, the RSP1 in August 2014

www.sdrplay.com

Email: admin@sdrplay.com


Studio1Screen

My Comments:

Of course, I believe this is a very good move for SDRplay. Studio 1 is a very well-respected application and, though I’ve never tested it myself, I’m very impressed with it’s interface. I’ve also received many positive comments about Studio 1 from Perseus owners.

This will give SDRplay a great platform to have native SDR applications for their current and future products. I’m sure they’ll continue to support and develop Studio 1 for all of its supported receivers:

  • The Elad FDM-S1, FDM-S2
  • Microtelecom Perseus
  • PMSDR
  • RFspace SDR-IQ, SDR-14
  • SRL QS1R
  • Funcube Dongle

Click here to download the Studio 1 brochure (PDF) for more details.

New Shortwave Station in South Sudan

Radio-TamazujThere’s a new shortwave station in South Sudan!
Kudos to Eye Media for their Shortwave Radio efforts in South Sudan to complement and extend their reach beyond local FM radio. And I must add, kudos to the United States for their part in helping to fund the venture. While I am quick to criticize my country for their cutbacks in SW funding, I have to be fair and say “well done” when something like this comes along. Here is the news report as posted April 26 (yesterday) on Radio Tamazuj and which was reported by Alokesh Gupta New Delhi on the Cumbre-DX  Yahoo Group:

Eye Media, the parent organization of Eye Radio, has announced that it has launched a new shortwave broadcast service to complement its existing FM broadcasts in South Sudan.

The broadcasts starting today will bring listeners news and information in Arabic, as well as Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Bari, Zande and Lutoho.

According to a press release today from Eye Media, “the Eye Radio Shortwave will cover the whole of South Sudan including remote areas in which communities are not able to access FM radio stations.”

Eye Radio is one of the fastest expanding media houses in South Sudan after launching FM repeaters in several state capitals last year, expanding the station’s reach beyond Juba where it is based.

In its press release, the station noted that the funding for this initiative came from USAID, the international development agency of the US government.

Shortwave radio is used for long distance communication by means of reflecting or refracting radio waves back to Earth from the ionosphere, allowing communication around the curve of the Earth. It was a popular means of long-distance news sharing before the advent of the Worldwide Web, and it is still used for reaching remote areas.

Only two other media houses broadcast on shortwave with content specifically for South Sudan: Radio Tamazuj, which operates two hours daily on the shortwave, and Voice of America, which produces the 30 minute program South Sudan in Focus.

Radio Tamazuj broadcasts from 6:30 to 7:30 each morning on 11650 kHz on the 25 meter band and 9600 kHz on the 31 meter band, and 15150 kHz and 15550 kHz on the 19 meter band each evening from 17:30 to 18:30.

Eye Radio’s new broadcasts will run from 7:00 to 8:00 each morning on 11730 kHz on the 25 meter band and 17730 kHz on the 17 meter band from 19:00 to 20:00.


Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

Mark’s rekindled interest in shortwave radio

Sony-ICF-2001D

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Mark Lane, who writes:

Hi Thomas,

I just wanted to thank you for a great website, I have been interested in SW since I was a boy and used to listen to my grandfather’s world radio. I cannot remember the make or model now but it was an amazing experience.

After all these years, at the age of 44, my interest perked again and I happened across your site.

Like a lot of people I was wondering “is there anything left to listen to on SW now we are truly in the ‘digital’ age”? After reading the content on your site and the blog I made up my mind, jumped onto eBay and after a number of failed attempts at winning any auctions I managed to bag a near mint Sony ICF 2001D [photo at top of page]!

I did get rather over excited and probably paid a bit too much for it, but too be honest I don’t care. I have already had a good couple of evenings trying to bag some far off stations and I am still trying to figure out all the buttons on the thing.

Then this past weekend, my daughter (15) asked about the radio and I showed her what I had been doing–she was hooked and kept asking me to try for some more stations. We spent the whole evening with the help of a couple of other websites trying to track down more distant stuff.

I have to say the 2001D is now my prize possession and my daughter was messaging her friends telling them all about the wonders of SW.

All I can say is keep up the good work and let’s hope SW does continue for as long as possible I will certainly be listening in until the airwaves go quiet, I trust that won’t happen for some considerable time.

Regards
Mark Lane
Worcester UK

Mark: thank you so much for sharing your message! It’s an honor to know that the SWLing Post played some part in your renewed interest in shortwave radio. The community here is simply amazing and I learn a lot myself from so many reader contributions.

Being a father of two daughters, I can say that there’s no better feeling than to know that a little radio listening time also translated into quality father and daughter time!

You just made my day!