Bob’s 1961 Radio Havana Cuba QSL Card and full text from DXers Unlimited on 55th anniversary

RHC QSL

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Bob La Rose, who shares a QSL he received (see above and below) from Radio Havana Cuba after they had only been on the air a few days back in 1961.

RHC Letter 16May61

Amazing, Bob!  Thanks for taking the time to scan and share this report!

Also, many thanks to Arnie Coro, Host of Dxers Unlimited at Radio Havana Cuba, for sharing the full text/script from his May 1st 2016 anniversary edition of DXers Unlimited:

Radio Havana Cuba
Dxers Unlimited
Dxers Unlimited’s weekend edition for 1 May 2016
By Arnie Coro
Radio amateur CO2KK

Hi amigos radioaficionados, welcome to the weekend edition of Dxers  Unlimited,  today l am happy to celebrate with you all the 55th Anniversary of Radio Havana Cuba… Yes amigos, it was on the first day of May of 1961, during the May Day celebrations when Cuba had just won the battle against the mercenary invasion that we went on the air using our present name Radio Havana Cuba… Two announcers, Orlando Castellanos and Fernando Alcorta announced to the world that Radio Havana Cuba, was on the air… Previously we had used the name Cuban Experimental Short Wave, but from May one of 1961, we are known worldwide as Radio Havana Cuba…

So today is a very special day… remembering those who have passed away after many years of valuable services to our station, like Pedro Costa the General Administration Manager, Carlos Estrada our Chief Engineer, and former Director Generals Marcos Behamaras. Orlando Fundora, Jose Antonio Caiñas and Alfredo Viñas. I also keep very nice memories of Angel Hernandez our bilingual announcer with the most effective voice for short wave radio that I can recall, and also I remember Manolo Ortega, reading our Spanish language editorials so that they could be heard clearly through his powerful voice…

Si amigos, I was there at the station 55 years ago as a young radio technician in charge of supervising the operations of our studios and transmitters that at that time included four Brown Boveri Swiss made short wave transmitters connected to a still under construction antennas farm, and the two studios borrowed from Radio Progreso until we could finish building our first studios .

The history of Radio Havana Cuba is full of very relevant moments, like the day that our Experimental Station announced to the world that the mercenary invasion that entered the Bay of Pigs had been defeated after sixty six hours of fierce combats .

With a lot of enthusiast and the impacting presence of a new generation of announcers, journalists , technicians, engineers and support personnel we are moving ahead to provide the best possible programming keeping our short wave transmitting facilities because we do believe on the use of international short wave broadcasting, while not disregarding the feeding of streaming audio to the Internet-

I am Arnie Coro, your host here at this special 55th Anniversary edition of Dxers Unlimited, that will continue in just a few seconds after a station ID..

Musical short cut

Yes amigos this is Radio Havana Cuba, using short wave frequencies at different times of the day on the 16, 19, 22, 25 ,31, 49 and 60 meters bands… and now our next radio hobby related item, a very popular section of this show under the name   Antenna Topics , that is dedicated today , at the request of several listeners to a very effective Dxing antenna, low take off angle radiator, known as the HENTENNA, A great number of listeners  from all around the world  have written to me recently, asking to learn more about  this Japanese  antenna design , known as the HENTENNA, that seems to continue to be making headlines in radio publications around the  world once again… But before telling you more about the mysterious HENTENNA…. A solar activity update… believe it or not, we are seen the solar flux moving up to very near 100 units for the first time in many weeks… following the typical ups and downs of the tail end of solar cycle 24… so  propagation conditions have improved on the short wave bands …. Now back to the HENTENNA…

By the way, the first original report about the HENTENNA that went on the air  here at Dxers Unlimited, dates back to  1999,more precisely, it went on the air the 12th of October of 1999, and  according to my records, it  then generated a lot of interest from our listeners, who were at that time, 1999, getting ready to enjoy the peak  years of solar dream solar cycle 23 !!! >Never as powerful as super cycle 19, but nevertheless much better than the present very poor cycle 24.

So amigos here is  at the request of Dxers Unlimited’s fans , a special Dxers Unlimited’s report on the HENTENNA, the Japanese elongated  rectangular loop antenna with an easy  match to coaxial cable feedlines of any impedance, be it 50, 60 ,75 or  93 ohms…or even 150 ohms !!! Of course that you can feed it with parallel transmission line of 300 to 450 ohms too, it is just a matter of minutes to find the perfect match for the feedline in use.

Let me start by saying that  I recently built yet another HENTENNA for the FM broadcast band, and it  is working nicely, having already picked up some Sporadic E skip DX stations from Mexico, the US and Puerto Rico during first few days of this year’s spring and summer  E skip season.

Now you will have to learn something very unusual about the HENTENNA…  the HENTENNA produces or receives VERTICALLY  polarized waves when the antenna is placed horizontally; that is, with  the long sides of the rectangular loop parallel to the ground. AND, if you want horizontal polarization, just flip the HENTENNA so that the long sides  of the loop are vertical, and the short sides are parallel to the  ground, something that is puzzling, but that’s the way it is amigos…

By the way, one of the world’s foremost antenna experts, Dr. L. B.  Cebik, amateur radio operator W4RNL, did during his fruitful life an extensive analysis of  elongated loops, and his findings are really fascinating. Dr. Cebik , now sorrily a silent key specialized in computer modeling of complex antenna systems, and his work with the HENTENNA and other similar elongated loops shows that the  HENTENNA is a very good performer indeed.

In a few seconds, be ready to write down, the formulas for calculating HENTENNAS  in the frequency range from 14 megaHertz all the way up to 220 megaHertz.

And now, as promised  more about the japanese wonder antenna… the  HENTENNA. Dr. Cebik’s computer modeling shows that the elongated loop HENTENNA has an edge over a regular square one  wavelength loop and the regular elongated loop.

HENTENNAS for receiving FM broadcast signals are very easy to build,  using a wooden or PVC pipe frame and copper wire. I built the one just
mentioned cut for 100 megaHertz, using PVC insulated no. 12 wire, the  one that is typically used for home wiring.

The loop was closed by soldering with a butane torch, and using regular  solder with rosin core… The reason for using the butane torch is that no soldering iron at hand here could handle the heavy wire PLUS the high  speed heat transfer of the copper wire.

The loop for the 100 megaHertz antenna is 1.5 meters on the long sides of the rectangle and 50 centimeters on the short sides. The feed point  for the 50 ohm cable is was found to be  located about 55 centimeters from one of the  short sides of the loop.

The antenna is installed with the long sides in a vertical position; for receiving horizontally polarized FM broadcasts. I tried both 50 ohms and  75 ohms coaxial cables, and could not detect any difference on the  weakest station that I am picking up here regularly with the FM band HENTENNA.

Again, now please pay extra attention …if you want to make of these elongated loops for receiving, here  are the measurements to use: for the long sides of the rectangle 1/2 of  a wavelength at the operating frequency, for the short side, the length  is 1/6 of a wavelength… and the connection point for the coaxial cable  of 50 ohms impedance is a little more than 1/6 of wavelength from one of the short sides of the rectangle, and it must be found experimentally by locating the point that provides the minimum standing wave ratio.

HENTENNAS can be built for any frequency between 10 megaHertz and 300
megaHertz by using heavy WIRE, and for the frequency range from about 50  megaHertz to 500 megaHertz you may try building HENTENNAS with copper or  aluminum tubing.

Hope to have you all listening to my middle of the week edition of Dxers Unlimited amigos and do enjoy the improved short wave propagation conditions now in progress, especially after your local sunset. 

South Sudan: Eye Radio reaches new audience via shortwave

EyeRadio

You might recall a post from Robert Gulley earlier this week about Eye Radio. Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrea Borgnino who shares a link to the following article from the BBC about Eye Radio’s broadcasts over shortwave:

(Source: BBC)

A radio station in South Sudan is using older, but tried and tested technology to reach new audiences.

Radio is a crucial medium in South Sudan, where illiteracy is high and many areas lack an electricity supply.

But many people living in remote villages are out of range of existing FM and mediumwave (AM) broadcasts.

Huge distances

To reach these potential listeners, Eye Radio, which is based in the capital Juba and can be heard in regional capitals, has just started broadcasting on shortwave.

The new service covers “the whole of South Sudan, including remote areas in which communities are not able to access FM radio”, says Eye Media head Stephen Omiri.

[…]The station is thought to be renting airtime on a transmitter based outside South Sudan.

Funding for the shortwave service comes from USAID, the international development arm of the US government.

[…]Eye Radio broadcasts in English, standard Arabic, and local languages Dinka, Nuer, Juba Arabic, Bari, Shilluk, Zande and Moro.

The shortwave broadcasts are on the air from 7-8 a.m. local time on 11730 kHz, and 7-8 p.m. on 17730 kHz.

Another station using shortwave to reach South Sudan is Radio Tamazuj, which is based in the Netherlands.

Click here to read the full article at the BBC Monitoring website.

New Shortwave Station in South Sudan

Radio-TamazujThere’s a new shortwave station in South Sudan!
Kudos to Eye Media for their Shortwave Radio efforts in South Sudan to complement and extend their reach beyond local FM radio. And I must add, kudos to the United States for their part in helping to fund the venture. While I am quick to criticize my country for their cutbacks in SW funding, I have to be fair and say “well done” when something like this comes along. Here is the news report as posted April 26 (yesterday) on Radio Tamazuj and which was reported by Alokesh Gupta New Delhi on the Cumbre-DX  Yahoo Group:

Eye Media, the parent organization of Eye Radio, has announced that it has launched a new shortwave broadcast service to complement its existing FM broadcasts in South Sudan.

The broadcasts starting today will bring listeners news and information in Arabic, as well as Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, Bari, Zande and Lutoho.

According to a press release today from Eye Media, “the Eye Radio Shortwave will cover the whole of South Sudan including remote areas in which communities are not able to access FM radio stations.”

Eye Radio is one of the fastest expanding media houses in South Sudan after launching FM repeaters in several state capitals last year, expanding the station’s reach beyond Juba where it is based.

In its press release, the station noted that the funding for this initiative came from USAID, the international development agency of the US government.

Shortwave radio is used for long distance communication by means of reflecting or refracting radio waves back to Earth from the ionosphere, allowing communication around the curve of the Earth. It was a popular means of long-distance news sharing before the advent of the Worldwide Web, and it is still used for reaching remote areas.

Only two other media houses broadcast on shortwave with content specifically for South Sudan: Radio Tamazuj, which operates two hours daily on the shortwave, and Voice of America, which produces the 30 minute program South Sudan in Focus.

Radio Tamazuj broadcasts from 6:30 to 7:30 each morning on 11650 kHz on the 25 meter band and 9600 kHz on the 31 meter band, and 15150 kHz and 15550 kHz on the 19 meter band each evening from 17:30 to 18:30.

Eye Radio’s new broadcasts will run from 7:00 to 8:00 each morning on 11730 kHz on the 25 meter band and 17730 kHz on the 17 meter band from 19:00 to 20:00.


Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

Recordings: Paul records Vanuatu and Solomon Islands from central Alaska

IMG_0866

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who shares the following recordings of Radio Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands Broadcasting. Paul lives in Galena, Alaska, and records most of these broadcasts outside of his broadcasting studio:

7260 kHz:

5020 kHz:

5020 kHz:

3945 is much weaker then 7260 for some reason and Nikkei is on that channel till 0900 UTC, so about the only chance I have of hearing Vanuatu on 3945 CLEARLY is when Nikkei signs off.

9545 kHz Monday Night 1130 AKDT/(0730 utc Tuesday)

7260 from April 19th at 1135 AKDT /0735 UTC)

5020 from April 20th at 1248 am AKDT/0848 UTC

Thanks for sharing your recordings, Paul! You’ve certainly done a fine job DXing in the northern latitudes all while standing next to a broadcast station.

Keep up the great work!

Curating a list of endangered shortwave stations

RCI-Sackville-2012

That’s my minivan parked in front of the RCI Sackville transmitting station in June, 2012. The site was closed by the end of 2012 and towers demolished shortly thereafter.

Recently, my friend and fellow archivist, London Shortwave, and I engaged in a discussion about creating a curated list of “endangered” shortwave radio stations.

The idea being we could use such a list to focus our efforts and those of the archiving community on recording broadcasters that were most likely to disappear in the near future.

London Shortwave published an excellent post about this on his blog.

Please click here to read his post.

We quickly put this page on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive as a starting point.

We need your help to curate this list!

Please comment either on London Shortwave’s blog, or on this post, and suggest any additional broadcasters we may have missed. Please include a link to news item(s) which may indicate the broadcaster faces closure.

Of course, this list and the categories are subjective–we’re simply using our best judgement in this process. Often, broadcasters can shut down with little or no notice.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Guest Post: Tracking High Seas Pirates on Shortwave Radio

Suspected pirates surrender to crew members of the CGC Boutwell. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Suspected pirates surrender to crew members of the CGC Boutwell. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mario Filippi (N2HUN) for the following guest post:


Tracking High Seas Pirates on Shortwave Radio

by Mario Filippi (N2HUN)

(All photos taken by author–click to enlarge)

Ahoy! After spinning a radio dial for over a half-century, shortwave listening still provides a source of adventure and interesting intercepts. While major broadcasters continue to move to the Internet and dwindle in number, there nonetheless remains plenty of utility intrigue to be had; you just need to know where to look, and be comfortable with other modes of communication such as RTTY (Radioteletype).

RTTY remains on HF (3 – 30 MHz), albeit mostly encrypted, but there are some stalwarts of this mode that transmit important and interesting information for ships at sea. The information can take the form of weather broadcasts, hazards to navigation, information on ships lost at sea, and pirate activity. Yes, pirate activity but not radio pirates; real honest-to-goodness modern day pirates looking to loot, plunder and prey upon commercial ships making an honest living or other leisure watercraft just out having fun.

SignaLink-AOR

Who knows what dangers lurk behind that dial? Trusty AOR AR-3000 receiver and SignaLink™.

Has your interest been piqued? When avast mateys as I spin ya’ a yarn on how to find out where these sea-faring scoundrels lurk from the Caribbean all the way to the South China sea!

Pirate activity is not something of the past; it exists today and is a threat conducted by ragtag armed ragamuffin groups. To keep abreast of the action you’ll need the following gear: a shortwave radio with single sideband (SSB), a decent antenna, a means of decoding RTTY, and WLO, a station from Mobile, AL that transmits information to ships at sea.

You’ll do well to add WLO’s frequency to your receiver’s memory list as it’s a pretty active station that faithfully serves the sea-faring community and is one of the gems on HF.

First, tune your receiver using USB (Upper Side Band) to around 8.472 MHz and listen for that warbling sound. You will also need a way to pipe the audio from your shortwave receiver to a computer (I use a SignaLink™ USB) and a decoding program for RTTY, such as MMTTY.

To decode you’ll need to set the baud rate (45.45) and shift (170 Hz) on MTTY (or software program of choice) and tune your radio slightly up and down frequency until the software starts decoding.

You may have to press the “Reverse” or “Rev” selector at times. MMTTY is my favorite for RTTY decoding, and a picture of it is below.

WLO, Mobile AL, with RYRY idling loop, MMTTY decoder, 45.45 bauds, 170Hz shift, “Rev.”

WLO, Mobile AL, with RYRY idling loop, MMTTY decoder, 45.45 bauds, 170Hz shift, “Rev.”

MMTTY is available as a free download from Makato Mori, JE3HHT. I’ve used his program for over a decade and it performs well.

You can also use MultiPSK or FLdigi to decode RTTY so it’s the user’s choice as to which is a better fit.

Anyway, what are these pirates up to? Well the next few screenshots (click to enlarge) show some interesting activity as per WLO’s RTTY transmissions:

Pirates use element of surprise with guns and knives as armaments.

Pirates use element of surprise with guns and knives as armaments.

Somali pirates reportedly armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. Yikes!

Somali pirates reportedly armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. Yikes!

pic5

Give ‘em hell boys! An alert bulk carrier crew aborted hijacking with teamwork and water cannon.

Ships are encouraged to report pirate activity via FAX or phone.

Ships are encouraged to report pirate activity via FAX or phone.

Well mateys that’s enough high seas adventure for now, so first shove off to the galley for some grub (or grog) and then head to the radio room, turn on that rig and get ready for action on HF, you’ll find plenty to choose from, it’s out there for you.

I would like to thank the operators of WLO for providing such a valuable service to mariners and for providing us radio aficionados with interesting reception! And thanks readers!

P.S. Note that WLO alternates from RTTY to Sitor B so just make sure you are listening to the RTTY broadcast. If the transmission is in Sitor B then you can use a NAVTEX (e.g. YAND) decoder instead.


Thank you so much, Mario, for sharing yet another fascinating aspect of our radio world! FYI: I’m planning on purchasing a SignaLink USB at the Dayton Hamvention this year.

Readers, you can read all of Mario’s posts by clicking or bookmarking this link.

Update: From the Isle of Music

PromoFTIOMApr252616

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Bill Tilford, who shares this From The Isle of Music update:

Our April 26 (April 25 in the Americas) program will feature special guest Cuban Jazz/Blues/Fusion guitarist Hector Quintana, a nominee in the Jazz category in Cubadisco 2015.

Also, some nice Charanga from Orquesta America, also a Cubadisco 2015 nominee (Traditional Son), some of David Alvarez & Juego de Manos (yet another nominee, in Popular Dance Music) and more of the beautiful concert piano album Danzas Para Piano de Ignacio Cervantes.

Two listening options on shortwave:
WBCQ, 7490 KHz, Tuesdays 0000 UTC (8pm EDT Mondays)
Channel 292, 6070 KHz, Tuesdays 1900 UTC (2100 CEST)

On Facebook: From the Isle of Music