Category Archives: Shortwave Radio

Cold War Broadcasting: Two articles feature RFE & Radio Liberty

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrea Borgnino, who shares the following article from the website Journalism Is Not A Crime:

From Propaganda to Journalism: How Radio Free Europe Pierced the Iron Curtain

The end of the Second World War signaled the beginning of an information war in Europe. As the military alliance between the Soviet Union and its main western allies — the United States and Britain — came to an end, the USSR backed small communist parties that asserted ever-tighter control over much of Eastern Europe.

Speaking in Fulton, Missouri in March 1946, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill warned of an “Iron Curtain” of totalitarian control sealing off half the continent. His speech heralded the beginning of an ideological “cold war” that would last for more than 40 years, a struggle in which citizens of the eastern camp were only meant to hear one side of the argument.

“We talk about the Iron Curtain as a physical barrier, but it was also an information curtain,” says A. Ross Johnson, a former director of Radio Free Europe and author of a history of RFE and its companion station, Radio Liberty, which broadcast into the Soviet Union. “All the communist regimes saw control of information as a key to their rule.”

Continue reading…

An SWLing Post contributor also recently shared the following PDF article by A. Ross Johnson for the Wilson Center. Here’s the summary:

To Monitor and be Monitored– Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty during the Cold War

Monitoring of Soviet bloc radios was an important input to Radio Free and Radio Liberty broadcasts during the Cold War. RFE and RL also monitored the official print media and interviewed refugees and travelers. Soviet bloc officials in turn monitored RFE, RL, and other Western broadcasts (while jamming their transmissions) to inform themselves and to counter what they viewed as “ideological subversion.” On both sides, monitoring informed media policy.

RFE and RL monitored their radio audiences through listener letters and extensive travel
surveys, while the Communist authorities monitored those audiences through secret police
informants and secret internal polling. Both approaches were second-best efforts at survey
research but in retrospect provided reasonably accurate indicators of the audience for RFE, RL, and other Western broadcasters.

Click here to download the full Wilson Center article as a PDF.

If you’re interested in Cold War broadcasting, I would also encourage you to check out Richard Cummings’ blog, Cold War Radio Vignettes.

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!

Senate Hearing: ABC & HF broadcasting

First thing I tuned to with my Elecraft KX2 in August 2016 was Radio Australia on 9,580 kHz. Radio Australia is no longer on shortwave.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nigel Holmes, who shares the following link to the ABC & HF broadcasting Senate Hearing and notes:

http://parlview.aph.gov.au/mediaPlayer.php?videoID=355749

3 hours in total.

Three quality options for streaming/download – Hi 1400 MB, Med 675 MB & Lo 250MB

Witnesses in order
1. DFAT (Foreign Affairs & Trade)
2. 52′ Gary Baker (ex-Broadcast Australia) and NH (ex-ABC/RA)
3. ABC
4. 2h22′ Graeme Dobell (ex-ABC/RA journalist & ABC Pacific correspondent) (By far the most interesting testimony, a tutorial in South Pacific geopolitics. Who knew the Australian Constitution refers to the S Pac in the External Affairs Powers area??!!)

I was tickled by Sen. Xenophon’s retort, “What, they don’t have ears?!” to ABCs assertion that letters of support (for HF b’casting) from the hobbyist fraternity were irrelevant. Sen. Xenophon could have added, “What, they don’t vote, pay taxes or are entitled to have a view of ABC?!”

A couple of you had trouble locating the submissions to the enquiry, they’re found here:

http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Shortwaveradio/Submissions

Many thanks, Nigel, for sharing this and for your regular updates from the Senate.