Category Archives: Shortwave Radio

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio Moscow 1984

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We’ve just posted yet another excellent recording by Jim Jordan to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive. This Cold War recording of Radio Moscow dates back to September 19, 1984.

Jim notes:

A nice Cold War piece from Radio Moscow on the double defection of the Soviet journalist Oleg Bitov. The real story behind it was revealed ten years later [click here to read article].

Also, check out this short mention in the Ukrainian Weekly:

THE UKRAINIAN WEEKLY SUNDAY. NOVEMBER 4,1984

THE UKRAINIAN WEEKLY SUNDAY. NOVEMBER 4,1984

Jim’s recording was made using a National Panasonic RF-2200 tuned to 9.5 MHz around 08:10 UTC. The location was South Shields, UK.

Click here to download as a (mono) MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

You can listen to more archived shortwave recordings at the SRAA website, or by subscribing to the audio feed via iTunes. You can also listen to the archive on TuneIn radio.

BBG, take note: Shortwave radio distributes smartphone apps

smart-phones

Many thanks to Andy Sennitt, who posted a link to this Mission Networks News article on Facebook.

Imagine being able to download an app…without the internet.

Well, it’s finally happened, thanks to shortwave radio.  Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), take note:  Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH), a Christian organization that distributes Bibles in parts of the world where they are difficult to distribute, have a free smartphone app called Bible.is.  The only problem is, the app wasn’t available in countries where there is no access to the Internet nor where authorities block the app…at least, until now. By using Trans World Radio’s Guam shortwave transmitter site, they have successfully “downloaded” this app to multiple smartphones in Thailand:

[D]ue to a major recent breakthrough by Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH), they were able to deliver the Bible to an unconnected smartphone using shortwave radio towers over 3,000 miles for the first time ever.

Troy Carl, Vice President of FCBH, explains, “Yesterday, we were able to transmit file casting data packets from Guam all the way to Thailand using shortwave frequencies, and we were able to do that in partnership with Trans World Radio. So it was really quite exciting! Basically what we did is created one-way internet access turning that tower into a super WiFi router. And that’s quite a story because it’s never been done!”

To put it another way, Carl wrote this description in a recent post:

Just like the one you use everyday in your house, where you connect a data source (internet cable) and a power source (you plug it in) and the little antennas broadcast internet around your house (say 500 ft.) and you connect to it with your phone to read/listen/see the data it’s transmitting.

In Guam, we took a HUGE antenna, (supplied by Trans World Radio), hooked up a data source (a Bible.is app device), turned the power on (250kw) and sent the data into the air bouncing it off the ionosphere over 3,000 MILES!

Our team in Chang Mai Thailand, hooked up to this giant router with a proprietary decompiler. Then sideloaded the Bible.is app with all its content to multiple smart phones using a simple wifi broadcaster!

As I wrote in, Does Shortwave Radio Have a Future?, I’ve always believed that the shortwave medium could be leveraged for international digital/data communications, and should be, especially in countries under repressive regimes such as North Korea. In my article, I focused on Radio Canada International (RCI), which was then dismantling their shortwave transmitter site:

[B]roadcasters should not dismantle their transmission sites as Canada is currently doing. Not only is the current service originating from these sites a more reliable form of emergency communications than the Internet, should a national disaster befall us; not only do they continue to provide a broad-spectrum mode of diplomacy; but should future digital communication modes find a way to take advantage of the HF spectrum as is now under discussion, this would be most unfortunate.

Imagine a wi-fi signal with a footprint as large as several countries, digital devices with tiny fractal antennas that receive this signal containing rich media (e.g., audio and video)––these are not science fiction, but highly plausible uses of these transmission sites, even within the next decade…

FCBH’s innovation is simply a first step in this direction. If it turns out that this method is both accessible and affordable, this could truly pave a new road on the mobile information highway.

Intek PL-660 on sale at Maplin

Intek-PL-660

If you live in the UK, you might take note that the retailer, Maplin, has the Intek PL-660 on sale for 59.99 GBP. Though I’ve never held an Intek PL-660 in my hands, I’m pretty certain it’s simply a rebadged Tecsun PL-660. (Readers, please correct me if I’m wrong.)

Click here to view the Intek PL-660 at Maplin.

Catch the 2016 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast?

Sony-ICF-SW55-Midwinter-Antarctica

Listening to the 2016 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast in the parking lot of the Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica in Québec, Canada.

Only a couple of hours ago, I packed up the Sony ICF-SW55 and CC Skywave portables in search of a quite spot to listen to the BBC World Service Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast. I’m currently traveling in Canada and staying in a condo–the RFI in this building couldn’t be much worse. There was no way I’d hear the broadcast through the noise.

In search of an outdoor listening spot, I stopped at a couple open/green areas but in both cases, there was radio interference nearby. Finally, I found a quiet spot in the rather large parking area next to the gorgeous Saint-Anne-de-Beapré Basilica.

At this point, I only had three minutes to put a fresh set of batteries in the Zoom H2N recorder, connect it to the ICF-SW55 and hope that somehow I’d hear the 7,360 kHz broadcast from Ascension Island which, in fact, was directed toward Antarctica–not Canada!

I had my fingers crossed as the time hit 17:30 local (21:30 UTC).

Fortunately, I was rewarded with a signal!  Not exactly armchair listening, but let me tell you I’m as pleased as punch!

After tinkering with the position of the receiver, antenna and recorder, I discovered that I achieved the best reception by placing the Sony on top of my car.

Sony-ICF-SW55-van2-Midwinter-Antarctica-001

I ran the line-out audio (orange cord) to my Zoom H2N recorder inside the van and monitored the broadcast with my earphones hooked to the recorder.

Sony-ICF-SW55-van-Midwinter-Antarctica

About halfway through the broadcast, I remembered I had the CC Skywave in my bag as well, so I turned it on and walked around the van. It, too, could receive the BBC Ascension Island signal with some strength, but the SW55 had an edge on it in terms of AGC stability.

CC-Skywave-Midwinter-Antarctica

Still, very impressive reception for such a small portable with such a modest antenna.

It’s always a treat to enjoy the BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast live, knowing that the BAS crew, wintering over in Antarctica, are enjoying it at the same time!

That, in a nutshell, is the magic of shortwave radio.

Please share your recordings!

I’ve already received almost a dozen recordings from SWLing Post readers!  Thank you so much!

If you have a recording of the 2016 Midwinter Broadcast that you’d like to submit, please do so by Friday. Sometime this weekend, I plan to publish a post with all of the recordings and your photos.

Please send your recordings with any notes and photos to my email address which can be found on the Contact page.

Help record the 2016 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast today!

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Every year, the BBC broadcasts a special program to the scientists and support staff in the British Antarctic Survey Team. The BBC plays music requests and sends special messages to the small team of 40+ located at various Antarctic research stations. Each year, the thirty minute show is guaranteed to be quirky, nostalgic, and certainly a DX-worthy catch!

After the successful listener event last year, I’m calling on all SWLing Post readers and shortwave radio listeners to make a short recording (say, 30-60 seconds) of the BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast today and share it here at the Post (frequencies and time below).

The recording can be audio-only, or even a video taken from any recording device or smart phone. It would be helpful to have a description and/or photo of your listening environment and location, if possible.

If you submit your recording to me, I will post it here on the SWLing Post–and insure that the British Antarctic Survey receives the post, too.  The recordings will be arranged by geographic location.

The broadcast will take place from 2130-2200 UTC today on the following frequencies (thanks to Alokesh Gupta for the tip):

  • 5,985 kHz WOF 300 kW / 184 deg to Antarctica English
  • 6,035 kHz DHA 250 kW / 203 deg to Antarctica English
  • 7,360 kHz ASC 250 kW / 207 deg to Antarctica English
  • UPDATE: 9,720 kHz WOF 300 kW (Thanks to Richard Langley who notes that, per Glenn Hauser’s DXLG group, this frequency is not confirmed.)
Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey's new base (Source: British Antarctic Survey)

Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey’s new base (Source: British Antarctic Survey)

I’m sure there will be live reports in the SWLing Post chat room during the broadcast.  Please sign in and share your report as well!

I’m uncertain if I’ll be able to receive the broadcast this year–I’m traveling at the moment in Québec, but will have my trusty Sony ICF-SW55 and C.Crane CC Skywave in tow.

I’ll plan to seek out a quiet park away from man-made noise and give listening a go!

The Midwinter broadcast is one of my favorite programs of the year. I suppose, in part, this is because it happens on June 21–the Summer/Winter solstice–which also happens to be my birthday!