Category Archives: Shortwave Radio

The RAAF No. 4 Wireless Unit: Never to march, never to be mentioned

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Neil Bolitho, who shares the following story in reply to our post yesterday Australian Codebreakers in WWII. Neil writes:

Never to march, never to be mentioned.

Since the end of the Second World War, many thousands of returned service personnel have marched at Anzac Day services throughout Australia.

My father never marched.

My father served in RAAF No 4 Wireless Unit, Central Bureau.

Central Bureau was under the direct command of General Douglas MacArthur, and was set up to detect, record, and translate all messages transmitted by Japanese forces in the Pacific.

Central Bureau was headquartered in Brisbane, but its Wireless Units worked in the field, moving forward with MacArthur, constantly intercepting and deciphering enemy messages.

As the war progressed, the units became so efficient in their work that they were monitoring all enemy radio traffic, and in fact frequently knew the Japanese intentions before the messages reached their intended destination.

The Wireless Units served throughout the Pacific islands providing vital information about enemy strengths and positions.

RAAF No 4 Wireless Unit was formed as a highly mobile unit, and served at Hollandia, Morotai, Labuan Island, and at Luzon, Philippines.

The U.S. High Command highly praised the Wireless Units of Central Bureau, stating that their work effectively shortened the War in the Pacific by at least two years.

At the end of the war, Central Bureau was dismantled. All personnel signed a lifetime secrecy order to not speak of their wartime activities.

No promotions applied. No evidence of their Central Bureau service was recorded, including overseas service. No medals were struck.

Family members, including children, were not told in any detail, of their father’s war experience.

It was only in the late 1990’s that the Australian government allowed information to be released.

In the early 1960’s, my father mysteriously went on an unexplained visit to Brisbane.
It was not until over thirty years later that I found out that he attended a twenty-year anniversary of his unit’s graduation.

I write this on behalf of the children and grandchildren of those Central Bureau personnel that served diligently and efficiently when called upon, and who, when the job was done, quietly went home. They are our heroes.

Indeed. Thank you so much, Neil, for taking the time to share your father’s story. We’re honored to post it here.

If you’re interested in WWII signal intelligence, here are a few fascinating posts from our archive:

Requiem For Radio: Amanda Dawn Christie’s performance piece honoring RCI Sackville

(Source: Amanda Dawn Christie via Twitter)

(Source: CBC News)

Moncton artist bringing back sounds of former Sackville Radio-Canada towers

A Moncton artist has brought back to life the sounds of the 13 CBC Radio-Canada International shortwave towers that once stood in Sackville, N.B. on the Tantramar Marsh.

“It’s kind of like you’re conjuring ghosts of radio towers,” explained the artist Amanda Dawn Christie on Shift N.B.

Requiem For Radio: Full Quiet Flutter

The experimental sound art project Requiem For Radio: Full Quiet Flutter involves a scale model of the original towers, but a large model — about 16-metres wide, six-metres deep and five-metres tall.

Christie said the towers have red lights resembling the originals. They are made from pipes with four copper pads on each tower.

She added that when someone touches one of the copper pads, a wireless signal is sent to a computer, which then sends a sound file back to that tower of the actual, recorded sound the original tower made when it was operational. The sound is transmitted through a speaker on the model tower.

[…]But the model towers are more than something to be gazed upon and admired. They are musical instruments that Christie and two other musicians will be playing at one-hour performances on May 26 and 27 at the Aberdeen Cultural Centre in Moncton. The performances will also be broadcast on radio stations in Moncton, Montreal and New York.[…]

Continue reading at CBC News…

2017 DSWCI Domestic Broadcast Survey available for download

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Trevor, who writes:

I was very pleased this morning to discover that the latest (2017, 19th edition) of the Domestic Broadcasting Survey has been posted on the DSWCI website:

Click here to download (PDF).

Wow–thanks for the tip, Trevor!

Video: Icom IC-R8600 sync detector in action

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who shares the following:

For your listening pleasure. Here is the best video yet showing the Icom IC-R8600’s Sync Detector in use.

Sounds like Icom “finally” got the Sync Detector performance right with the R8600. Appears to greatly reduce fading distortion, where as with the expensive IC-R9500 it does not help much with fading distortion (if at all).

Click here to view on YouTube.

Good news indeed !!

I agree, Dave. This is most promising indeed!

I look forward to checking out the IC-R8600 at the Dayton Hamvention this year.

2017 Winter SWL Fest: Selected forum recordings

The DoubleTree hotel where the Winter SWL Fest is held. (Note the mag loop antenna on the top floor!)

This year, at the Winter SWL Fest, representatives from the Wave Farm recorded a number of Fest forums and events. Many thanks to David Goren who recently shared a link to these recordings on the Wave Farm’s website. For convenience, I’ve pasted a list of the recordings below which link directly to the Wavefarm archive:

“Turn Your Radio On” performed live at the 2017 Shortwave Shindig: Mar 4, 2017
Performed by Saul Brody

Pirate Radio in Continental Europe – A Personal View: Mar 4, 2017
Presented by Andy Walker ?+ Chris Ise

Shortwave Shindig Part I: Mar 4, 2017
Hosted by David Goren

Pirate Radio Year in Review?: Mar 3, 2017
Presented by ?George Zeller

Farewell to the BBG: What’s Ahead for U.S. International Media and the VOA?? : Mar 3, 2017
Presented by Dan Robinson?

Radio 101 Part II: Mar 2, 2017
Presented by Charles Hargove.

Radio 101 — The Past, Present and Future of Radio for Newbies and Significant Others of Radio Geeks: Mar 2, 2017
Presented by Charles Hargrove

Radio on the Road: Mar 2, 2017
Presented by Janice Laws + Steve Karlock

SDR on the Cheap: Mar 2, 2017
Presented by Dan Srebnick

SWL Winter Fest memories: Mar 2, 2017