BBC World Service features DRM

In this BBC World Service report, Mark Whittaker explores Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) and, especially, its potential in India. Use the embedded player or link below to listen:

(Source: Audioboo via Tarmo Tanilsoo on Facebook)

drmlogoYou’ll note the BBC World Service fails to mention that DRM has been in use now for over a decade.

The report ends by suggesting that portable DRM receivers will be on the market in a few months. Even if DRM radios start appearing, whether or not they’ll be effective and inexpensive remains to be seen. So far, portable DRM radios have been mediocre performers (at best) and relatively expensive.

Don’t get me wrong: I would love to see DRM take hold, I just have my doubts. DRM might stand a chance if a manufacturer like Tecsun were to build an inexpensive portable radio, with a form factor much like that of their other portables. If they made a DRM version of the PL-380, for example, it could be a winner for both the company and the medium/mode.

By the way, if you’ve never heard what DRM sounds like over the shortwaves, I just posted a fifty eight minute recording of All India Radio on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive. Contributor, Mark Fahey, recorded the broadcast from his home in Australia.

I’ve embedded a link to the audio below, but you can listen to the broadcast and read Mark’s notes on the shortwave archive (click here).

Posted in Broadcasters, Digital Modes, DRM, News, Recordings, What's On Shortwave | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Radio Andorra Postage Stamp

Boc_RADIO_ANDORRA_B2M0.aiMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Marty, who writes from Madrid:

“Just wanted to let you know about an interesting postage stamp that was issued this month in the Principality of Andorra. Actually, the Spanish Post Office “Correos” issues the stamps for Andorra, and this one in particular observes the 30th anniversary of the cease in transmissions of Radio Andorra! Interesting stuff. Most other countries, the US Postal Service included, use to issue stamps in celebration of the anniversaries of the ongoing broadcasts of their international stations. I think this is the first time I have seen one that marks the closure. Here is the stamp 92 cents of a euro, mainly for international destinations. It was taken from a photograph by Gerard Massot.”

Click here to see this stamp on the Spanish Post Office (Correos) web site.

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Air Force plans to decommission HAARP

800px-HAARP20l

HAARP (the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) in Alaska is now slated to be decommissioned as the US Air Force plans to “initiate divestiture in June 2014,” according to a USAF representative in this KTOO article.

HAARP was officially shut down in early May 2013–during a contractor “regime change“–but one of HAARP’s clients, DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), continued to use the facility for their research into 2014.

Unless someone steps up to pay HAARP’s expenses, the facility will be shut down.

Incidentally, HAARP has been the source of much speculation and conspiracy. A simple Google search for “HAARP” will reveal a number of theories.

Click here to read the full news article about the HAARP closure on KTOO.

Posted in News | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Weak signals: Which radio do you prefer?

SideBySide-FourRadios

I’m in the process of reviewing a number of shortwave portables and pitting them against each other. Sometimes, it can be very difficult to decide which radio is better–especially if you have more than two radios to compare at a time.

What I’ll often do to help level the playing field is to make an in-line recording of each radio (via my Zoom H2N handy recorder) with the mic and volume levels equal. I then tune to the same frequency with similar filter settings (wide, maximum RX gain, antennas fully extended, etc.).

I also like comparing radios while listening to weak signals and/or when conditions are less favorable. Those were exactly the circumstances yesterday when I pitted four radios against each other: the Sangean ATS-909X, Tecsun PL-660, Tecsun PL-880 and the Sony ICF SW7600GR.

I found a weak signal from Radio Romania International on 11,975 kHz. Normally, the signal would have been stronger, but propagation was rough and QSB (fading) was pronounced at times. Under these conditions you get the opportunity to hear how the AGC circuit handles fading and troughs, how the noise floor sounds as conditions change and note the overall sensitivity.

While I give priority to a receiver’s sensitivity and selectivity, there’s more to evaluate–for example, sometimes the more sensitive radio may be less pleasing to listen to.

Below are three recordings of Radio Romania International made from three of the four radios tested (I did not include one of the four radios that was notably less sensitive). These are audio snapshots, but represent what a listener would hear via headphones during similar conditions. All recordings were made within a four minute period of time.

Which of the three recordings do you prefer? Which radio do you find handles these unfavorable conditions best? Why do you prefer one over the others?

Sample 1:

Sample 2:

Sample 3:

Please add your comment below, or contact me via email with your favorite and any comments. I’m also very interested in which one you believe is second best. I’ll tally up the results in one week and will reveal which radio came out on top!

Posted in News, Reviews, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , , , , | 64 Comments

Shortwave Shindig rebroadcast, April 18 and 19

ShindigLogoWhiteThis just in from David Goren at Shortwaveology:

Shortwave Shindig rebroadcast!

The show originally broadcast on 3/14 will be heard again on WRMI: Friday, April 18, at 6-7 pm ET (2200-2300 UTC) and Saturday, April 19 at 11 pm-12 midnight ET (0300-0400 UTC April 20) — both on 9955 kHz from Okeechobee.

Posted in Art, News, Schedules and Frequencies, Shortwave Radio, What's On Shortwave | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Can you help George identify a Radio Moscow tune?

Radio_Moscow_logoGeorge Stein, a subscriber to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive writes:

“When I used to listen to Radio Moscow back in the mid- to late 1960s, they used to play a little ditty just after they came on the air (at least in English). This tune was NOT the “Moscow Nights” tune so often heard. As I recall it was a lively tune.

On one of my many trips to St. Petersburg in the 90s and the 00s, I would often visit the memorial to the WW2 Leningrad siege, specifically the museum underneath. One time, I heard the melody I am looking for. I was told by someone there, that this melody was played during the siege as a signal that “all is clear” (I presume from German bombing).

I would be grateful if anyone has any information or a copy of this melody.”

Can you help George identify this tune?  If so, please comment!

Posted in Music, Nostalgia, Radio History | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Another solution for whole-house shortwave

London Shortwave posts the following on Twitter:

Inspired by @SWLingDotCom‘s RaspberryPi post I put this together to listen to the radio in my shack around the house http://youtu.be/vOX41wIS1Qk 

On YouTube, London Shortwave explains that much of his modern system was inspired by a drawing from a 1930s shortwave listening magazine.

Below is a scan of the original illustration that inspired him:

WholeHouseShortwaveRadio

Posted in How To, News, Shortwave Radio, Videos | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment