Category Archives: Propaganda

North Korea: Information Gathering in the World’s Most Restrictive Nation

If you’ve been an SWLing Post reader for long, you’ll have “met” him virtually; if you’ve been in attendance the Winter SWL Fest recently, you’ll recognize him, may have heard him speak, and perhaps even have met him in person.  I’m speaking, of course, of my good friend, Post contributor, and fellow radio listener, Mark Fahey.

What you might not know about Mark, an intrepid Aussie and mediahound of remarkable facility and clarity, is that he has spent many years (and significant personal resources) compiling a fascinating and invaluable multi-media project in the form of an iBook he’s titled Behind The Curtain, which allows outsiders a frank view directly into North Korean propaganda.

What’s astounding is that this view is from within North Korea: Mark, having traveled to North Korea numerous times (until he made his research public, that is, thus limiting his re-entry), successfully rips back North Korea’s curtain of self-image to reveal, in all its stultified glory, the inner workings––and failings––of the”Hermit Kingdom.”

He’s now very near to publishing  Behind The Curtain, and he’s making available the iBook––as well as all of the media and research he’s curated––for free.

HOPE X

During the summer of 2014 Mark ventured to New York City to present his research at HOPE X (Hackers On Planet Earth). Yesterday, I rediscovered the video of Mark’s presentation at HOPE X on YouTube. If you’re interested in North Korea, propaganda, number stations, SDRs, and/or anthropology of any stripe, you’ll certainly enjoy this presentation, which is truly like no other:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Intrigued?  So am I!

Behind The Curtain doesn’t yet have a formal release date, but stay tuned to the Post for details about its availability, as well as any other presentations or projects on this (or any other subject!) by Mark.

Download Behind The Curtain from the Apple store by clicking here.

Chris’ Seoul AM Radio Listening Guide now live

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Chris Kadlec, who shares the following announcement about his Seoul AM Radio Listening Guide:

After a long 14 months of work, I’m happy to present the completed Seoul AM Radio Listening Guide, a three-hour documentary broadcast exploring the Seoul AM band one frequency at a time, plus a look at the radio war on the Korean peninsula accompanied by a 115-page guide.

http://www.beaglebass.com/dx/seoul/

In addition to radio broadcasts from across East Asia, the broadcast includes Korean noise jammers and AM, FM, shortwave, and television propaganda broadcasts from both the north and the south, additionally outlined in a 25-page broadcast transcript and 115-page informational guide. It also includes:

* A comprehensive list of 260 East Asian AM stations, including station names, tower locations, distance and direction from Seoul, parallel FM frequencies, broadcast hours, and station website links.

* A full bandscan of 235 regular nightly skywave signals as heard after the sun sets over Seoul.

* Daytime groundwave bandscans taken from eleven different locations in the Seoul metro area, along the North Korean border, beside the sea, and in Korea’s mountainous interior with background information about each location.

* A guide showing stations organized by their network affiliations in addition to privately-owned stations and networks. Alternatively, stations are also shown organized by country, region, and city.

* A chart showing signal strength for each bandscan – day and night – in bar graph format.

* A full colour-coded regional station map covering both skywave and groundwave signals.

* A view of some of Korea’s signal jammers as seen on an SDR (software-defined radio).

* Plus, a complete transcript of the three-hour audio broadcast with additional information on the featured audio clips as well as the songs featured in those clips.

– Chris Kadlec

Brilliant, Chris! I can only imagine the amount of time and effort you’ve put into this guide. Thank you!

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Voice of Korea

north_korean_propagandaMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who shares the following:

This is the English service broadcast for The Voice Of Korea to “Latin America” from Kujang, North Korea. Recorded 0430-0530UTC October 17, 2016 using a Tecsun PL-880, Wellbrook ALA1530LNP, EmTech ZM2 antenna tuner and DXEngineering HF Preamp.

Listening location is Galena, Alaska. A village of 500 people in the rural central interior, 300 miles east of Nome and 300 miles west of Fairbanks.

I would give this a SINPO Rating of 66666!

Check out this image taken of the front of the Tecsun PL-880 while listening to this broadcast, showing just how strong the signal is.

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I was a bit surprised, never seen something this high before, especially on shortwave!

Click here to view on YouTube.

Radio South Atlantic: recording of a short-lived clandestine radio station

Crosley-Dial-BlackAndWhite

In reply to our recent post about Radio Atlantico del Sur, SWLing Post contributor, Jonathan Marks, adds:

Radio South Atlantic was a short-lived clandestine radio station started by the UK Ministry of Defence with programmes aimed at Argentine troops on the Falkland islands. This programme was broadcast from a transmitter on Ascension Island which was temporarily taken away from BBC World Service.

The Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas), also known as the Falklands Conflict, Falklands Crisis and the Guerra del Atlántico Sur (Spanish for “South Atlantic War”), was a ten-week war between Argentina and the United Kingdom over two British overseas territories in the South Atlantic: the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. It began on Friday 2 April 1982 when Argentina invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands (and, the following day, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands) in an attempt to establish the sovereignty it had long claimed over them.

On 5 April, the British government dispatched a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force before making an amphibious assault on the islands. The conflict lasted 74 days and ended with the Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982, returning the islands to British control. In total, 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel and three Falkland Islanders died during the hostilities.

This is a studio copy of Radio South Atlantic. In May 1982, the British government decided to set up a Spanish language radio station targeting Argentine troops. This was probably in response to an Argentine radio station (nicknamed Argentine Annie by the UK press) which appeared on shortwave some weeks earlier using the Beatles theme “Yesterday” as a signature tune.

I was editing the Media Network programme at the time. We could hear Radio South Atlantic in Hilversum – but the signal was very weak. So I rang the British embassy in the Hague and asked if it would be possible to get a studio copy of the programme to use in a documentary feature we were making. A few days later, a courier riding a large motorbike arrived at RN’s reception and asked for me. I went down to the front-desk to sign for the tape. “But you can’t keep this tape. You can only listen to it” was the message from guy in the helmet. “I have to take it back to the Hague in about half an hour”. I said I’d look for an empty studio, gave the guy a large coffee and wandered casually round the corner. Then I made a mad dash to the fast copy-room used to make tape copies of RNW transcription programmes for other radio stations. It had a machine that could copy tapes at around 8 times faster than normal. Luckily, Jos, the guy in charge, saw my challenge, set up the machine immediately and 15 minutes later I was back in reception to return the tape to the messanger. And I had a copy.

It seems the British dropped leaflets over the Falklands to try and spread the word that this shortwave radio station existed. And we later analysed the programme. It was classic Sefton Delmer (Black Propaganda), although rather poorly presented. Bit like calling up Vera Lynne if the British had a dispute with France.

But this is one of the few surviving recordings of Radio South Atlantic. You be the judge of how effective it all was. http://jonathanmarks.libsyn.com/radio-south-atlantic-may-1992

Click here to read Jonathan’s full post about Radio South Atlantic and listen to the recording on his website.

This is an amazing recording, Jonathan.  I’ll admit that I had never heard of Radio South Atlantic before and never knew a UK-supported clandestine station was on the air during The Falklands War/Guerra de las Malvinas.

Thanks for the excellent history lesson and your own (clandestine) recording!

Update: Cold War Clandestine Radio from Greece

HalliDial

Saturday, I published a post referencing Cold War Clandestine Radio from Greece with links to Richard Cummings’ excellent website Cold War Radio Vignettes.

My post was written some time earlier and scheduled to publish Saturday while I was traveling. Unfortunately, the Cold War Radio Vignettes articles I had linked to were removed prior to Saturday.

I contacted Richard Cummings who has kindly assembled a small PDF booklet with the text from all of the posts I had referenced and is allowing me to share it here on the SWLing Post.

Richard asks that if any Post readers have information about these clandestine broadcasts and is willing to share it with him, he would me most thankful. His contact information is on the front page of the PDF.

Click here to download the PDF booklet.

Again, many thanks to Richard Cummings for making this free PDF booklet available to us!