BBC World Service receives funding increase

BBC-AT-WAR(Source: BBC Media Centre via Jonathan Marks)

Statement on newly announced Government funding of the World Service

Tony Hall, the Director-General of the BBC, said:
“I warmly welcome today’s announcement. It’s fantastic news.

“This new funding is the single biggest increase in the World Service budget ever committed by any government.

“The millions announced today will help the BBC deliver on our commitment to uphold global democracy through accurate, impartial and independent news reporting.

“The World Service is one of the UK’s most important cultural exports and one of our best sources of global influence. We can now further build on that. The funding will also help speed us on to our target of reaching half a billion people globally.”

  • Enhanced TV services for Africa
  • New radio services for audiences in North Korea; radio and digital services for Ethiopia and Eritrea
  • Additional language offers via digital and TV in India and Nigeria
  • More regionalised content to better serve audiences to the BBC Arabic Service
  • Dedicated TV output for Somalia and a fully digital service for Thailand
  • Enhanced digital and TV services for Russian speakers, both in Russia and surrounding communities
  • A video-led digital transformation of Languages services
  • To expand the impact and future-proof World Service English
Posted in Broadcasters, International Broadcasting, News | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Guest post: Trip Down Shortwave Memory Lane via Vintage RadioShack Catalogs

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

Trip Down Shortwave Memory Lane via Vintage RS Catalogs

-Mario Filippi (N2HUN)

Attached is a wonderful website containing archived Radio Shack catalogs and sales flyers going back to 1939, surely of interest to SWLs, hams, and other electronics hobbyists. Most of us have fond memories growing up and visiting our local Radio Shack when it was the place to go for ham, shortwave, and scanner radios. My hometown Radio Shack was located on North Avenue in New Rochelle, NY and I purchased an electric guitar (could not afford a Fender) from them in the late 60’s which had three pickups and included a case for $29.95!

Radio Shack Catalogs

You see, back then Radio Shack had a much more diversified line of products, including musical instruments, power tools and even scientific stuff like microscopes and slide rules. These archived catalogs are a treasure trove of information not only from a historical perspective, but for anyone who is interested or who is contemplating purchasing vintage equipment such as shortwave radios, because you can look up the original sales info in the RS catalog which contains the original price, photo, description, and accessories available at that time.

For example, last year I purchased a “tech special” Realistic TRC-450 AM/SSB CB radio on Ebay that needed LED repair, so I looked up the original sales ad and got the price, photo (this helps to see original condition), and product description. Below is a picture of my restored Realistic which originally sold in 1980 for $269.95!


The classic Realistic TRC-450 AM/SSB CB radio. (Photo: Mario Filippi)

Nowadays most people don’t realize how expensive electronics were a few decades ago. A comparable new AM/SSB CB radio sells for about half that price nowadays!

Lastly, as one progresses chronologically through the catalogs, you can see technology (and even fashion) trends – the large 8 track tape decks of the 60’s and 70’s progressed to smaller cassette players of the 80’s and 90’s, then DVD/CD players made their entrance, ultimately giving way to higher tech forms of entertainment such as satellite radio and Internet-based entertainment. Well I hope you enjoy this totally entertaining and informative website and I thank the individual who took the time and effort to preserve for perpetuity these priceless annual time capsules for everyone to enjoy.

Mario, many thanks for this trip down memory lane!

As you state, these catalogs are actually an excellent reference source when trying to determine pricing and features of RS radios found on the used market.

I think they’re also so much fun to flip through as they’re chock-full of nostalgic value. When I was a kid, I could care less about toy store catalogs–the RadioShack catalog was my toy store!

Indeed, when I open the online catalog copies at Radio Shack Catalogs, I can almost smell the ink on the pages! Am I the only one?

Posted in Articles, Guest Posts, News, Nostalgia, Radio History, Radios, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Vance explores credit card and earpiece radios


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

You got me hooked on those little credit card sized radio kits from an eBay seller so much that I have bought a few more of his kits. I’ve found them to be so much fun, that I have started looking elsewhere for other tiny radios.

I came across this the other day and while it is not a kit, I was wondering if you or your readers had ever tried them and if so, what your opinions are:


I know it is likely more novelty than performance, but the prices seem ridiculously low for individual buyers.

Also seen here:

I’m not familiar with the earpiece radios in your links. I have read through those sites, though–unfortunately, as I’m sure Vance noted, they lack any in-depth information.

I did a quick Google search and can see that these radios (both the FM and AM versions) have been around for many years–some references go back to 1999.

I imagine the earpiece radio uses the same auto-tuner that became quite popular in the late 90s. Simply press a button and the receiver auto-tunes to the next strong station: no memories and not manual tuning. Indeed, I used to attend trade shows in Europe in the late 90s and several vendors actually gave away branded novelty radios (in a variety of shapes) with a similar tuner.

Readers: Ever use one of these earpiece radios? Please comment!

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

William Westenhaver, RIP


Sheldon Harvey kindly posted the following notice regarding William (Bill) Westenhaver on the NASWA Winter SWL Fest Facebook group:

I’m sad to report the passing this week of a person well known within the radio hobby community, William (Bill) Westenhaver.

A native of Angola, Indiana, Bill moved to Montreal in the late 1960s, where he spent the rest of his life. An avid shortwave listener, DXer and QSL collector, Bill was an active member of several radio clubs including CIDX and Speedx. He was a participant in numerous ANARC conventions and Winter SWL Festivals.

Bill took a job with Radio Canada International, working in the Audience Relations department. One of his principal duties was issuing RCI QSL cards for reception reports received from around the world. Bill went on to other duties within the CBC/Radio-Canada headquarters in Montreal.

Bill was an active member of the Coalition to Restore RCI Funding and the RCI Action Group, the ad hoc groups that worked tirelessly to restore and/or retain the services of Radio Canada International on shortwave.

Bill was also the original co-host of The International Radio Report, with Sheldon Harvey, on CKUT-FM in Montreal. He also worked on a number of other programs on CKUT over the years.

Bill passed away earlier this week here in Montreal. We extend our condolences to all of his family and friends. He will be fondly remember throughout the radio community.

Sheldon Harvey

RCI’s The Link also posted the following message:

All members of RCI are mourning the sudden loss this week of William Westenhaver Bill was an integral member of the RCI team for years, handling our mail and prize mailouts, as well as participating in a number of shows over several years, especially on the various iterations of the “mailbag” shows. Bill adored shortwave radio, and with the budget [cuts], found work in another department of Radio Canada, but stayed in touch with many of us, always with a smile and friendly word in the hallways of this big building. We shall miss him dearly.

I never met Bill in person, but I communicated with him many times. He received my reception reports, issued QSL cards, and set up a couple of interviews on RCI.

If you’ve ever requested a QSL from RCI, Bill was most likely the fellow who issued your cards. Bill was an incredibly friendly and helpful fellow.

I’m also forever grateful for his help in securing a special guided tour of the RCI Sackville transmitter site–only months before it was closed.

Many thanks, Sheldon, for sharing your memories–condolences to his family and many friends.

Posted in News, SWLers | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

WWV History: Richard’s QSL cards


Sign from the original WWV tranmitter site in Maryland, currently posted outside of the Fort Collins, Colorado transmitter building. (Photo: Thomas Witherspoon)

Commenting on our post about Myke’s new release of At The Tone, SWLing Post contributor Richard Langley writes:

I must have first heard WWV shortly after putting together the Knight-Kit Span Master I received for Christmas 1963. I still have my log books from my high school days, which include an entry for Radio Habana on 29 December 1963 for which I subsequently received a QSL card. But I guess I didn’t log all my receptions. The first entry for WWV is dated 3 June 1966 in the last year of WWV’s operation from Greenbelt, Maryland (on government land that subsequently became the site of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center).


I have a QSL card for the reception of the 5 MHz signal featuring a drawing (in pink) of the Jefferson Memorial [see above].

The next entry is dated 1 December 1966, the first day of WWV’s operation from Fort Collins, Colorado.


I have one of the special QSL cards issued for confirmation of first-day reception for my report on the 20 and 25 MHz signals [see above].

I’m sure I heard WWVH early on too but my first log entry is dated 29 March 1967. I never did QSL them.

Richard: Thanks so much for sharing these special QSL cards. Wow! I had never seen the first day card from WWV Fort Collins before–what a treasure you have there!

Posted in News, Nostalgia, QSL Gallery, Radio History, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Paul’s SWLing videos


Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Paul Walker, who writes:

I think you and your readers might enjoy these videos.

I’ve upgraded from a Tecsun PL880 and Sangean ATS909X to a JRC NRD535D. I live in Camden, Arkansas which is in southern Arkansas, 75 minutes east of Texas and 75 minutes north of Shreveport, Louisiana

When DX’ing on shortwave, I often record a short video with my iPhone 6plus held up close to the radio so you can see the frequency and signal level meter.

I record videos anywhere between 20 seconds and 5 minutes depending on what I feel like at he moment and what I will be using the video for. Sometimes I record a shorter video to post on Facebook then record longer audio via an MP3 recorder in my phone to use in a reception report.

Sometimes I record long 3-5 minute videos and send those to the station instead.

I don’t record everything I hear but what I feel is a worthwhile catch or is interesting. My videos can be seen here:

Thanks for sharing a link to your videos, Paul! You’ve got some good catches in your library. That JRC NRD535D is a great receiver, too–noise floor seems quite low!

Posted in News, Shortwave Radio, SWLers, Uncategorized, Videos | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

FCC: Remarks on the Growth of Pirate Radio

SX-99-Dial-NarMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Bob, who writes:

Remarks on the Growth of Pirate Radio from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Communications and Technology Subcommittee, November 17, 2015:

“I know that this committee is concerned about pirate radio. During my tenure we have taken 280 enforcement actions against pirate radio, that’s in the last two years. Commissioner [Michael] O’Rielly has been a real leader in keeping us focused on this. We’re working with the NAB [National Association of Broadcasters] on a joint task force on pirate radio. But we need more tools.

“We’re playing whack-a-mole with pirate radio. Every time a pirate radio station pops up, we whack it. We need to have consequences for those who facilitate those stations popping up. The landlords who look the other way, because helping pirates is risk-free.

“Congress could make it illegal to aid or abet pirate radio operations. Denying them the opportunity to operate in this way would be a significant means of thwarting the continued growth of pirate radio.”

Posted in News, Pirate Radio | Tagged , , | 6 Comments