SRAA Recording: The Happy Station Show circa 1979

Crosley-Dial-BlackAndWhiteMany thanks to Shortwave Radio Audio Archive contributor, Richard Collings, who recently submitted this amazing off-air recording of the Happy Station Show. Richard notes:

The Happy Station Show of Sunday 23rd December 1979. A pre-recorded special Christmas show with Tom Meijer. Broadcast from 0930 to 1020GMT [on 9895 kHz and received in Plymouth, Devon, UK].

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Note that this is one of many archived off-air recordings found on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

Jonathan shares archived Media Network Christmas and New Year shows

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Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jonathan Marks, who shares the following from his Media Network Vintage Vault.

Jonathan writes:

“Picking up on the idea of revisiting archive Christmas and New Year shows, here are some from Radio Netherlands for the SWL Blog.

Seasons Greetings, Jonathan”

Media Network 26.12.1996 Boxing Day Show

A radio Christmas spent in the Media Network studio way back in 1996. Sounds like we were having fun! I look back on this period as perhaps one of the golden years for Dutch external broadcasting, producing a range of documentary productions in English and Spanish and recording great concerts, both classical and jazz.

This programme focussed on answering listeners’ letters on subjects like satellite television in Australia (DW was organising a bouquet of signals) and the major changes to the commercial radio scene in New Zealand. The auction of FM frequencies in the Netherlands and shortwave stations that sold radios were also topics for discussions. RBI archives have, for the most part, been destroyed. Swiss shortwave listeners were quizzed on their listening habits. The 410 ft tower formerly used by AFN has been dynamited out of existence. Capital Radio in South Africa is in trouble.

MN.28.12.1995 Rhodesia – Answering Back From Francistown

I met the late Harold Robin a couple of times at his home in Tunbridge Wells, UK. He was a brilliant Foreign Office engineer who built the wartime Aspidistra transmitter famous for its clandestine work out of Crowborough. Have a listen to the programmes Wartime Deception and you’ll see what I mean.

Although his work during the war is well documented in books like “The Black Game”by Ellic Howe, I think we managed to capture the other stories from later in his life. For instance, how he invented the “Picolo” modulation system as used by the diplomatic service to communicate text over shortwave between embassies. He also built the BBC Overseas relay station in Oman, and the external service of UAE Radio from Dubai. This edition, recorded after Christmas in 1995, looked at the story of the British response to the declaration of independence by Ian Smith in, what was then, Rhodesia. Harold talks about setting up a mediumwave transmitter in a matter of weeks in the town of Francistown, in the Bechuanaland Protectorate, now called Botswana. Thanks also to Colin Miller for some of the recordings of the RBC. It seems that one of the two transmitters was sent to Cyprus after the World and Rhodesia operation ended, the other ended up in Ordfordness for some experiments on 648 kHz. You might also want to check out the video of Margaret Howard, who refers to a special programme transmitted over this MW sender. It was called the World and Rhodesia and was more of a UK government editorial than any programme the BBC would make. The programme concept didn’t work although it seemed to have taken the British government a couple of years to find out. Harold refers to staying in the Tati Hotel River Lodge, about 8 kms outside of Francistown. Sure enough, it’s still there.

MN.23.12.1982: Christmas Review 33 years ago

I picked this recording out of the archives because it has a nice capsule summary of the major media stories from 1982. The highlight was, of course, the Falklands-Malvinas “conflict”. This programme contains clips from the FIBS, RAE Argentina and the BBC’s Calling the Falklands Programme. We also looked in some detail at the short-lived Radio South Atlantic which broadcast in May and June 1982 from a requisitioned BBC transmitter on Ascension Island. We asked the British Ministry of Defence to explain how the station was operated. We also analyzed a transmission broadcast on May 20th 1982 (the second night of transmission).

But it was also the last programme in which Wim van Amstel appeared as RNW Frequency Manager. It was certainly not the last time he was heard on the programme, though. Again it is striking to hear some of the predictions – and how they were spot on. The call with Arthur Cushen in New Zealand is rather like making contact with the moon. Cannot believe how fast time has flown.

At the time of publishing this podcast, I was also sad to hear of the passing of BBC correspondent and broadcaster Brian Hanrahan, who famous line when broadcasting under censorship from the Falklands Fleet was brilliant. Unable to reveal how many British aircraft had been involved in the conflict, he reported that after one sortie he “counted them all out and I counted them all back.

MN.26.12.1991.Year End Review

This was a news show 1.6 million tune in to Radio Netherlands in Dutch during their summer holiday. WWV and WWVH have had problems with their automated time announcements. Drum recorders are back on line. Victor Goonetilleke has news about Cambodia. VOA is having challenges building its transmitters at a new site 50km North of Colombo.

Why did we broadcast all these numbers? People forget none of the listeners had access on-line and only a fraction of the audience had access to printed DX bulletins. Andy Sennitt reports on what is in the 1992 World Radio TV Handbook. James Robinson reports that several UK local radio stations are leaving mediumwave. WLS 890kHz is scrapping its FM format. A new Catholic SW station WEWN was being built in Birmingham, Alabama. (The late) Dave Rosenthal reports on an experiment in McMurdo. Remember this show is 24 years old!

Vasily Strelnikov signs off at Radio Moscow World Service and recommends people to tune into Radio Netherlands. Radio Moscow staff watch the red flags of the USSR being lowered.

Thanks so much for sharing these, Jonathan–and Season’s Greetings to you!

I’m looking forward to several hours of listening over the coming days.

An iPhone app and Paul’s secret for successful reception reports

VoiceRecorderIconMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who writes:

Wether you do AM, shortwave, longwave, FM or something else, I think this will prove useful.

I have a pretty high return rate when submitting reception reports and asking for QSL cards/letters. I’d say my return rate is probably better than 60 percent, sometimes even 70 or 80 percent. It just depends.

But what helps me so much? EVERY reception report I email or snail mail includes an audio recording. Sometimes it’s only 30 seconds if the signal is really rough, weak or hard to pick out anything useable. Sometimes I include anywhere between 5 minutes and 30 minutes with a detailed report.

Well, how do I record? I use my smartphone! I have an iPhone 6 Plus with 128 GB of storage. iPhones record some of the best audio I’ve ever heard from a smartphone. Androids do a pretty decent job–not as good, but not bad.

The best app I’ve found for this is Voice Recorder Pro 7.

Click here to view Voice Recorder Pro 7 on iTunes.

Voice Recorder Pro 7 Screenshots

Voice Recorder Pro 7 Screenshots

You can select the recording format (mp4, mp3 or wav), you can select the sample rate, bit rate (32kbps all the way up to 320kbps), you can select mono or stereo as well.

But where this really comes in handy? You can email the audio file to yourself or someone with the click of a button, you can upload it to a google drive, dropbox, one drive or a box cloud account. You can even have it upload to an FTP server or to your Facebook page if you want!!

The one feature I like is being able to turn audio into a YouTube video and uploading it directly! I was recording videos by holding it up to the radio’s display and while the audio was good, it wasn’t great because it was a bit further away from the speaker so I could show the S meter and frequency on the display.

So what I ended up doing is to put the phone right near the radio’s speaker and start recording… this produces better audio then a straight up video. Then you click a button after the recording is over and it generates the video frames for you, putting a picture there; you fill in the particulars of your video and it uploads it to your YouTube account.

See what I’m talking about here, by viewing my YouTube account:
https://www.youtube.com/user/OnAirDJPaulWalker

You can easily tell which videos were made by me holding up the phone to the radio’s display and which are audio only with the video generated by Voice Recorder Pro 7.

Here’s an audio only track I recorded to give you an idea how it sounds.

I don’t recall if they have this app for Android phones, but if they don’t, there’s something similar. It’s worth investigating.

A detailed written report is one thing when requesting a QSL, but audio is indisputable and absolute confirmation of what was heard.

Many thanks for the recommendation, Paul. I use an Android phone (the Moto X 2nd generation). I’m hoping a Post reader can suggest a recording app that is equally robust.

Like you, I typically send an audio recording when submitting a reception report. It’s certainly a valuable piece of information for broadcast engineers. Thanks again!

Shortwave Radio Recording: “The Buzzer” on 6,998 kHz

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Screen capture of the Web SDR waterfall tuned to 6,998 kHz.

On Friday, Andrea Borgnino, tweeted that he could once again hear “The Buzzer” on 6,998 kHz. Of course, during the day, I couldn’t hear  the signal from my home in North America.

I could, however, easily hear the signal via the University Twente Web SDR in the Netherlands.

Here’s my recording:

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m pretty sure this is simply a pirate having a little fun relaying UVB-76 audio on 6,998 kHz.

Hearing Ghadir: Iran’s Sepehr Phased Radar System

Mehdi-Waterfall

In response to Andrea’s UVB-76 recording, SWLing Post contributor, Mehdi, comments:

Thomas, another signal which may sound mysterious:

Iran’s OTH Radar, named “Ghadir”; part of Iran’s Sepehr Phased Radar System.

They’d polluted the 10-meter band [in the past]; now they transmit on 26MHZ. (See spectrum in screen capture above.)

Sound: https://clyp.it/ldpxab2a

By the way, here’s my recording of UVB-76:
https://clyp.it/knvubeur

Many thanks for sharing those audio clips, Mehdi! Now I’ll know what Ghadir sounds like, should I hear it on the bands.

Tom’s 1981 off-air recording of RCI’s Shortwave Listener’s Digest hosted by Ian McFarland

I snapped a photo of this propagation poster in RCI's Sackville, NB transmitter site only months befor ethe site was closed.

A propagation poster in the foyer of RCI’s Sackville, NB, transmitter site only months before the site was closed. (Photo: Thomas Witherspoon) 

Tom Laskowski, has been generously contributing a number of off-air shortwave radio recordings to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive (SRAA).

Recently, he shared a series I’m sure many of you remember. Tom writes:

My first contribution of many recordings I have of Radio Canada International’s Shortwave Listener’s Digest hosted by Ian McFarland.”

“The first 12 1/2 minutes is Bonsoir Africa. The recording was made using a cheap GE portable. The audio quality isn’t great but it’s still very nostalgic listening to a program I recorded 34 years ago.”

This brings back many memories of one of my favorite shortwave programs–thank you, Tom!

The audio quality actually reminds me of one of my first analog portables, Tom! Nostalgia at its best.

Check out all Tom’s SRAA contributions by clicking here. While you’re at it, bookmark the SRAA!

Shortwave Radio Recordings: RCI, BBC, VOA circa 1979 & 1981

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Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Tom Laskowski, who shares the following recording and notes:

A few snippets from my old shortwave tapes that were too short to upload individually. These were made using a GE portable multi band that had poor selectivity, hence the annoying ute during the BBC clip.

Times of individual clips are:

  • 00:00 – 01:59: 1979, July 19 – RCI, frequency announcements in English and french.
  • 01:59 – 09:51: 1979, July 20 – BBC, newscast, bothered by an annoying utility station.
  • 09:51 – 11:38: 1981, August 28 – VOA, science news item about Voyager 2
  • 11:38 – 14:52: 1981, August 29 – VOA, science news item about Voyager 2

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below: