Building the Ozark Patrol regenerative receiver kit

Ozark-Patrol-In-ProgressLast week, I received the Ozark Patrol regenerative receiver kit that I had only ordered a few days prior. I was so eager to get started on the build, that I read the instructions, lined a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and began placing the parts on the board within an hour of bringing the package home from the post office!

This was my first time building a “Pittsburg” type kit, where through hole components are surface-mounted on soldering pads. It’s a brilliant technique which is very forgiving if the kit builder accidentally mounts the wrong part or mounts a component with the incorrect orientation.

I had hoped to have the kit finished the following day, but other priorities took precedence: I’ve been preparing for my presentation tomorrow at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute, preparing a shortwave radio buyer’s guide for the November issue of The Spectrum Monitor magazine, and putting together the results of the Virtual Radio Challenge II (which will be published early next week). Fortunately, I love doing this stuff in my spare time!

I’m eager to pick the Ozark back up early next week and finish the build. It’s become somewhat of a dangling carrot–a reward for finishing other projects in advance. I can’t wait to hear this simple regen receiver come to life!

Posted in Kits, News, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , | 4 Comments

VOA Reduced TV to China during Hong Kong protests


The website BBG Watch recently posted a guest commentary from an anonymous VOA reporter regarding the loss of VOA Weishi TV during the Hong Kong protests. Here is an excerpt from BBG Watch:

“On Monday, September 29, the loyal viewers of Voice of America (VOA) “Weishi,” the VOA Mandarin TV program, were surprised to see their TV screen turned into a blue graphic during some hours when the original program previously aired was repeated. In the place of the professionally produced VOA TV broadcast, audiences received radio signals from Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Audience surveys, although underestimating the viewership because many Chinese are reluctant to share sensitive and potentially dangerous information with strangers, show that the popularity of the 2-year-old VOA “Weishi” is growing by leaps and bounds in China. Some of its segments, including “History’s Mysteries,” “Pro&Con” and “Issues and Opinions,” already also attract many millions of viewers on YouTube. The management’s decision to take away some of the repeat hours from the “Weishi” programs will be devastating to VOA’s Mandarin broadcasting. Meanwhile, it will not help RFA, since very few people listen to radio via TV. If they do, there are existing channels leased by the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) to broadcast radio programs via satellite to China and Tibet. IBB reports to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency and the bipartisan Board in charge of all U.S. taxpayer-supported media for audiences abroad.”

Read the full commentary on the BBG Watch website.

I listened to China Radio International a few times during the peak of the protests and–no surprise–there was absolutely no mention or even hint of an uprising. Indeed, China has been actively blocking international TV news outlets like CNN and social media sites like Instagram.


China is ranked as one of the worst countries in the world in terms of press freedoms–175th out of a possible 180 countries on the 2014 World Press Freedoms Index.

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FM Radio: saving lives in Burkina Faso


Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Ulis, for sharing this video via the BBC News:

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Video: IBB Kuwait transmitter site


Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Scott, who discovered the following seven minute slide show/video on Rob Wagner’s excellent blog, the Mount Evelyn DX Report.

This YouTube video documents the IBB’s shortwave, medium wave and FM transmitter site in Kuwait. Enjoy:

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Video: The Battle of the Beams

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Jonathan Marks, who shares this video about Luftwaffe Navigation Beams via YouTube–fascinating WWII history:

Video description:

This episode documented how British Intelligence became aware of various German Luftwaffe Navigation Beams, such as Knickebein, X Gerat and Y Gerat, and the counter measures developed to combat them, in what became known as the Battle of the Beams.

It is largely based on the book Most Secret War written by R.V.Jones who features heavily in the series. This programme contains rare footage of The Blitz including the bombing of Coventry. Interviewees include Albert Speer and AVM Edward Addison.

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Radio Exterior de España to end shortwave broadcasts on October 15, 2014

RadioExteriorDeEspanaSWLing Post reader, David, writes:

“I just wanted to let you know that REE has published a communication in its webpage, regarding the end of their SW broadcasts. The definitive cutoff will happen on October 15, 2014 at 0000 LT here in Spain, which is 2200 UTC.
REE will continue, though, and will be accessible through the Internet and also via satellite. Here in Spain they will also be available locally via the TDT/DVB-T system for regular TV broadcast (multiplexes, into which digital TV signals are combined, are also used to carry digital audio data for “radio” stations that therefore can broadcast using this system as well).

Here’s the link to the original REE article (in Spanish):

And the [machine] English translation by Google:

Many thanks, David, for the update!

David reports that he will attempt to record the last days of REE broadcasts. I will also make recordings and we will post all of them on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.  Indeed, I would ask anyone who can capture the last broadcast to please do so and share your recordings with us.

Posted in Broadcasters, News, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , , , | 9 Comments

Final Day! Virtual Radio Challenge II

View of Laya, Bhutan (Source: Roro Travel)

View of Laya, Bhutan (Source: Roro Travel)

Today is the last day to submit entries for the Virtual Radio Challenge II: your opportunity to piece together the best, innovative $1200 (US) radio kit you might pack for two years in the remote off-grid village of Laya, Bhutan.

To participate in this challenge, simply comment on our original post with your suggested set-up, any links, and a brief explanation for your choices. You’re also welcome to email me directly with your response on or before Friday, October 3rd, 2014 (today). I plan to post a selection of diverse entries next week.

Click here to read about the challenge.

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