BBC World Service Documentary: “Hang On, I’ll Just Speak to the World”

BBC-WorldServiceMany thanks to Mike Barraclough who shares this documentary about the BBC World Service from 1982: “Hang On, I’ll Just Speak to the World.”

I’ve embedded video players and linked to each of the four parts on YouTube:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Posted in Broadcasters, News, Nostalgia, Radio History, Shortwave Radio, Videos | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radio deals: Tecsun PL-380, Grundig Mini 400, G5 and Satellite 750

Grundig-Mini400-RadioGrundig Mini 400

Discount retailer, Blinq.com is selling the Grundig Mini 400 for $15.09 US shipped.

I have a Mini 400; it’s a handy radio, though not especially sensitive. The built-in speaker is rather shallow as the radio is very thin–you can’t expect great audio fidelity.

Still, $15.09 is an excellent deal for a small radio that can be tucked away in your car’s glove compartment for impromptu SWLing.

Grundig G5

GrundigG5Blinq.com  is also selling a number of used Grundig G5′s via Amazon.com and via their website for $45.59 US shipped.

According to Blinq.com, these units are slightly used and may show some signs of wear. The Grundig G5 is a great, full featured radio that is no longer in production. The G5 is a sensitive and selective radio–certainly a great deal at $45.59. Note, however, that some G5′s have a rubberized coating that, over time, can feel sticky. We have a couple of posts that describe how to remove the sticky residue.

Grundig Satellite 750

Grundig-Satellite-750Blinq.com is also selling a number of used Satellite 750′s for $170.19 via Amazon.com and their own site. The ’750 is a larger footprint portable shortwave radio that has above average performance. I like the large controls and analog signal meter. Audio fidelity from the 750′s built-in speaker is also top-notch. The 750 is surprisingly light weight for its size.

Keep in mind that all of the radios above are used units; most likely open box items Blinq.com acquired. If you purchase one, test it thoroughly and contact Blinq if you notice any problems. SWLing Post reader, Eric (WD8RIF), purchased a used DX-402 from Blinq.com two weeks ago–turns out his unit was defective. Blinq gave Eric a hassell-free refund within a couple of days.

Tecsun PL-380

My Tecsun PL-380 and the small Eagle Creek pack that also holds my Zoom H1 recorder, earphones, audio cables, external antenna, spare batteries and Kindle.

My Tecsun PL-380 and the small Eagle Creek pack that also holds my Zoom H1 recorder, earphones, audio cables, external antenna, spare batteries and Kindle.

The price of the Tecsun PL-380 was recently lowered to $41.99 US (shipped) on Amazon.com. Price includes a new unit with headphones, clip on antenna, and soft case.

As I’ve mentioned before, the PL-380 is one of my favorite compact travel radios. I’m very tempted to buy a spare one.

Posted in News, Radios, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

CC Skywave release delayed

CC-SkywaveSWLing Post reader, Ed, writes:

“It looks like the new SW/AM/FM/Air  Skywave radio from C.Crane will be delayed according to their website. The new date for release will be October 31st. But, you can reserve yours now to avoid the rush that is sure to come.”

I hope to review this radio shortly after its release. Click here to view the CC Skywave on C.Crane’s website.

Posted in New Products, News, Radios, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

BBC News to cut 415 jobs, but add £5M to World Service budget

(Image source: BBC)Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Richard Cuff, for sharing:

(Source: BBC News)

The BBC’s News department is to axe 415 jobs as cost-cutting measures continue, the BBC’s director of news James Harding has announced.

The move is part of £800m efficiency savings required after the licence fee was frozen in 2010.

The latest cuts are expected to save £48m by 2017.

BBC News currently employs around 8,400 people, including around 5,000 journalists, based in London, around the UK and overseas.

He also set out plans to substantially restructure the news division and put the BBC at the forefront of producing news for the digital age using new technologies.

A total of 195 new posts will be created to fulfill this plan, meaning a net reduction of 220 full-time jobs overall.

Around 70% of the annual running costs of BBC News are staff-related, meaning there would inevitably be an impact in this area, Mr Harding said.

(Continue reading…)

The article continues by outlining all of the cuts and gains to the BBC.

I took note that BBC Radio 4′s The World Tonight and the World Service program Newshour will be consolidated under a single editor. The BBC World Service’s budget, however, will increase from £245m this year to £250m in 2016-17. (Perhaps the most positive news in international broadcasting circles this week.)

Also check out Jonathan Mark’s comments on Critical Distance.

Posted in Broadcasters, International Broadcasting, News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

SWRA to end shortwave broadcasts

Zimbabwe ranks 135 out of a possible 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index.

Zimbabwe ranks 135 out of a possible 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index.

The clandestine station, Shortwave Radio Africa, announced today that it will end shortwave radio broadcasts to Zimbabwe. As we’ve posted before, Zimbabwe is a country that does not exactly embrace free press. Indeed, Mugabe has even been known to order the confiscation of self-powered shortwave radios from citizens.

I have a hunch this closure is due to financial constraints. I’ve pasted SWRA’s announcement below:

SWRA shortwave broadcasts to end

Gerry Jackson
SW Radio Africa
17th July 2014

It is with regret that SW Radio Africa announces that after 13 years, our shortwave broadcasts are to end on Friday 18th July.

You have welcomed us into your homes since our first shortwave broadcast on 19th December 2001.

Our broadcasts will continue on our website, via Channel Zim through TV decoders, and by various other forms of new media.

We know how much these shortwave broadcasts have meant to our listeners in more remote areas who have so little access to news and information, and we sincerely regret that we will no longer be able to provide this service.

We would like to thank our listeners who have been such loyal supporters for so many years and also for their willingness to share the stories of their lives with us on our Callback program. This has allowed people all over the world to have a better understanding of the many crises that Zimbabweans continue to face.

We can only hope that one day, sooner rather than later, there is real media freedom that allows Zimbabweans, wherever they are in the country, easy access to what is a basic human right – freedom of information and expression.

Posted in Broadcasters, Clandestine, International Broadcasting, News, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Designing a truly portable SDR

SWLing Post reader, London Shortwave, is working on a portable SDR (software defined radio) system based on his Toshiba Encore 8″ Windows tablet, FunCube Dongle Pro+, and supported by the excellent SDR# application. Today, he shared this photo of his entire kit, including his comments. If you’re interested in a similar portable SDR, take note of the USB isolator and extra (AA battery) power supply.

LondonShortwave-PortableLondon Shortwave plans to make an enclosure for the SDR, AA power supply, and USB isolator.

And although it may be easier said than done, it would be super if this enclosure has the same footprint as the Toshiba tablet, and the whip antenna can be mounted on the enclosure…He would then essentially have a case that he could attach to the tablet for instant portable shortwave radio fun.  (Oops–did I just raise the bar for you? Ha!)

Thanks for sharing, London Shortwave!

Posted in How To, Kits, News, Podcast, Software Defined Radio | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Voice of Russia closes DC bureau, fires staff

Voice-of-Russia-Logo(Source: VOA News)

Facing legal problems, the Russian government-funded radio network — the Voice of Russia — has fired its Washington bureau staff and closed the office.

The shutdown happened Monday, amid allegations of tax fraud and claims of racial discrimination at the network.

Alexei Iazlovsky, the head of the VOR’s U.S. operations, pleaded guilty last year to tax fraud and will be sentenced later this year.

VOR’s employment practices also have attracted attention from the IRS and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The IRS is investigating whether VOR used contractors alongside full-time, salaried employees to skirt payroll taxes. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took an interest in VOR after several former staffers claimed they were fired because of their race.

The employees have filed a lawsuit against International TV Services, VOR’s contract manager in the United States.

Some suspect Voice of Russia will quickly return to the U.S. through a different management company without the legal troubles.

Earlier this year, the Russians stopped Voice of America broadcasting in Moscow on AM radio.

Posted in AM, News | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments