TX Factor Episode 8

TX-Factor-Episode-8

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, David (G4EDR), who writes:

“I thought you and the many readers of your SWLingPost would be interested in the latest edition (8) of TX Factor a UK produced online TV programme.

It features two employees of the BBC who are also radio amateurs and shows them in their working environment as studio managers and continuity announcers on BBC radio.

Just navigate to http://www.txfilm.co.uk/txfactor/txfactor.shtml and select watch now for episode 8.

There are also items about Icom UK and Practical Wireless magazine.

Thanks for hosting your SWLingPost, I really enjoy it.”

 

Many thanks again, David! Another brilliant episode! At time of posting, the TX Factor site was down, but their YouTube channel, of course, is working fine. I’ve embedded the video below:

My buddy Eric (WD8RIF) also alerted me that this episode had been published. I love watching TX Factor–I’m so impressed with both their programming and production quality.

TX Factor Team: Keep up the good work!

Posted in Broadcasters, Ham Radio, Videos | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Listener Post: Greg Blair

SP600Dial3Greg Blair’s radio story is the latest in our series called Listener Posts, where I place all of your personal radio histories.

If you would like to add your story to the mix, simply send your story by email!

In the meantime, many thanks to Greg Blair who originally posted the following on the Shortwave Listeners Worldwide Facebook group.  Greg writes:


How I Discovered Shortwave Radio

BoysBookOfRadioI discovered shortwave radio almost by accident.

I had built a simple crystal radio from plans in a library book…(I think it was “The Boy’s Book of Radio” or similar. ) I added a one transistor amplifier later. I had a really great long wire antenna from the garage to the house, up about 30 feet, about 75 feet long, and a good earth ground.

I was playing around with it, and I had an old phonograph amplifier I connected to the output of it. I de-tuned the coil and apparently managed to get it tuned into the 49 meter band. All of a sudden I was hearing broadcasters from Europe. Some were in English, others in foreign languages.CrystalRadio

Up to that point I had thought that all radio was like AM broadcast, only good for a few hundred miles even at night. I was flabbergasted. That marked the beginning of my addiction to radio. I have never gotten over the miracle of HF radio ever since.


Many thanks, Greg, for sharing your memories with us!

I can only imagine the thrill is must have been to tune in stations from across the planet on your simple, home-brew radio set.

I encourage other SWLing Post readers and contributors to submit their own listener post!  Tell us how you became interested in radio! 

Posted in How To, Listener Posts, News, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

NHK Radio Japan’s 80th Anniversary

NHK-RadioJapan-80thANniversary

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, David Iurescia (LW4DAF), who reminds us that 2015 is the 80th anniversary year of NHK Radio Japan.

David shares the following link to NHK’s anniversary website:

http://www.nhk.or.jp/intl80th/

Posted in Broadcasters, International Broadcasting, News, Nostalgia | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

When WLW was the one and only “Super Station”

WLW's diamond-shaped Blaw-Knox radio tower at night (Original photo by RP Piper via Creative Commons)

WLW’s diamond-shaped Blaw-Knox radio tower at night (Original photo by RP Piper via Creative Commons 2.0)

(Source: National Endowment for the Humanities)

For a Brief Time in the 1930s, Radio Station WLW in Ohio Became America’s One and Only “Super Station”

by Katy June-Friesen

When President Franklin Roosevelt, sitting in the White House, pushed a ceremonial button on his desk in May 1934, a five hundred thousand-watt (500 kW) behemoth stirred in a field outside Cincinnati. Rows of five-foot glass tubes warmed. Water flowed around them at more than six hundred gallons per minute. Dozens of engineers lit filaments and flipped switches, and, within the hour, enough power to supply a town of one hundred thousand coursed through an 831-foot tower.

Thus began WLW’s five-year, twenty-four-hour-a-day experiment: a radio station that used more power and transmitted more miles than any station in the United States had or would. The so-called super station—licensed by the new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on a temporary basis—amped up the debate among broadcasters, government regulators, and listeners about how radio should be delivered to serve the “public interest,” a mandate laid out in the Radio Act of 1927, and influenced legal, programming, and technical decisions that shape the broadcast system we know today.

Since radio’s beginnings in the early 1920s, industry and government leaders promoted it as the great homogenizer, a cultural uplift project that could, among other things, help modernize and acculturate rural areas. The challenge was how to reach these areas, many of which received few or no radio signals in the mid-1930s. One solution was high-powered, clear-channel stations that could blanket large swaths of the country with a strong signal. These stations operated on “cleared” frequencies that the government assigned to only one station to prevent interference.

WLW had operated on one of forty designated clear channels since 1928. The station’s creator and owner, an entrepreneur, inventor, and manufacturer named Powel Crosley Jr. frequently increased the station’s wattage as technology and regulation allowed. In 1934, when WLW increased its power from 50 kW to 500 kW, all other clear-channel stations were operating at 50 kW or less. Now, WLW had the ability to reach most of the country, especially at night, when AM radio waves interact differently with the earth’s ionosphere and become “skywaves.” People living near the transmitter site often got better reception than they wanted; some lights would not turn off until WLW engineers helped rewire houses. Gutters rattled loose from buildings. A neon hotel sign near the transmitter never went dark. Farmers reported hearing WLW through their barbed-wire fences.

Continue reading…

Posted in AM, Broadcasters, Mediumwave, News, Nostalgia, Radio History | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wojtek Gwiazda retires from RCI

Wojtek’s final appearance on the Link in RCI’s remaining studio, with Lynn and Marc on Friday May 1, 2015 © Leo G- RCI (Source: RCI)

Wojtek’s final appearance on the Link in RCI’s remaining studio, with Lynn and Marc on Friday May 1, 2015 © Leo G- RCI (Source: RCI)

My friend, Wojtek Gwiazda, who has been a host and journalist for Radio Canada International–and an integral part of the RCI Action Committee–has retired.

Click here to listen to an exit interview with Wojtek on RCI’s The Link.

Also, check out this page and audio from the RCI website.

Wojtek: here’s wishing you the best in your retirement!

Posted in Articles, Broadcasters, International Broadcasting, Interviews, News, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sean’s A15 Season International Broadcasting Statistics

VOA-Greenville-Curtain-Antennas

Many thanks to Sean Gilbert, International Editor at the World Radio TV Handbook, who is kindly sharing some international broadcasting statistics with us again. These statistics were originally posted on the WRTH Facebook group:

Seasonal Language Output Comparison

[F]or the top 19 languages used in international (and Domestic SW) broadcasting. There are 10 seasons worth of data to compare. In those 10 seasons, we have seen an overall drop of 33%, the biggest casualties being Farsi, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, English & Indonesian. Tibetan is usually fairly stable with it’s output being pretty constant over the past 9 seasons – this season, however sees a huge increase in output (+69%), mainly due to the USA hiking output of the language this season. In sheer numbers of data lines (which is how this table has always been generated), English is the biggest casualty, dropping 104 transmission periods per week.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

A transmission period is based on the following data structure:
Shown below are 2 “transmission periods” for WWCR and 1 for WWRB. 2 in English and 1 in Spanish. These transmission periods cover a weeks worth of output on that frequency at that time for that broadcaster.

WWCR 1630-2100 English wcr 100 NAm,Eu,NAf daily 15825
WWCR 2100-2200 Spanish wcr 100 NAm,Eu,NAf daily 15825
WWRB 0100-0400 English wrb 100 NAm daily 3195

So a transmission period could, in reality, be from 5 minutes on a single day to 24 hours, daily, depending on the broadcaster. There are nearly 5000 of these entries in our database for this season (When I started at WRTH back in 2000, there were over 10000 entries). Of these 5000 entries, over 3600 are taken up by just 19 languages. The other 1400 entries share somewhere in the region of 200 languages/dialects and combinations! Although this doesn’t show how many hours a particular language has decreased by, it does show the ongoing trend in International broadcasting by radio.

WRTH2015A15 International Broadcasting Season Facts

There are 191 schedules listed in the International Radio and COTB (Clandestine & Other Targeted Broadcasts) section of the WRTH A15 schedules file.

Who uses the most frequencies? CRI, with a whopping 279 frequencies in use. The next largest station, by frequency use is (probably quite surprising to many of you) Voice of the Iranian Republic of Iran (VOIRI) with 140 (that is half the amount of CRI!). Next is VOA with 126; then RFA at 112; BBC at 110 then Sound of Hope Radio International with 84 and All India Radio at 67.

Below is a list of the ‘Top 20′ broadcasters in terms of frequency usage. If you were to do a study of actual transmitted time, the list would look rather different. I will shortly post a table showing the top languages, by use, and what has changed over the past 10 broadcasting seasons.

  • CHINA RADIO INTERNATIONAL (CRI): 279 frequencies
  • VOICE OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN (VOIRI): 140 frequencies
  • BBG – VOICE OF AMERICA (VOA): 126 frequencies
  • BBG – RADIO FREE ASIA (RFA): 112 frequencies
  • BBC WORLD SERVICE: 110 frequencies
  • SOUND OF HOPE RADIO INTERNATIONAL: 84 frequencies
  • ALL INDIA RADIO (AIR): 67 frequencies
  • RADIO ROMANIA INTERNATIONAL (RRI): 56 frequencies
  • AWR ASIA/PACIFIC: 52 frequencies
  • RADIO JAPAN (NHK WORLD): 49 frequencies
  • VOICE OF TURKEY (VOT): 43 frequencies
  • RADIO TAIWAN INTERNATIONAL (RTI): 41 frequencies
  • BBG – RADIO FREE EUROPE/RADIO LIBERTY (RFE/RL): 33 frequencies
  • KBS WORLD RADIO: 32 frequencies
  • SAUDI INTERNATIONAL RADIO: 32 frequencies
  • AWR AFRICA/EUROPE: 30 frequencies
  • VATICAN RADIO: 29 frequencies
  • RADIO CAIRO 29: frequencies
  • VOICE OF KOREA (VOK): 27 frequencies
  • FEBC PHILIPPINES: 26 frequencies

63 broadcasters, or so, use just a single frequency.

Posted in Articles, Broadcasters, Clandestine, International Broadcasting, News, Schedules and Frequencies, Shortwave Radio, What's On Shortwave | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Improving audio fidelity with JBL C2PS monitor speakers

JBL-Monitor-Speakers

Last year at the W4DXCC conference in Sevierville, Tennessee, I spent some quality time with Bob Heil (K9EID). Bob is the mastermind behind Heil Sound as well as the host of HamNation, a show devoted to all aspects of amateur radio––yet this job description only scratches the surface of Bob’s fascinating career.

Bob Heil (left) me (right)

Bob Heil (K9EID, left) and yours truly (right) at the 2014 W4DXX conference in Sevierville, TN

One thing is for sure, however: there are few people in the radio industry who truly understand audio as profoundly as Bob Heil, so when he announced that he would host a forum at the W4DXCC to assist amateur radio operators in improving their received (and transmitted) audio, we were all ears, and signed right up.

Early in the forum, Bob described a set of self-powered and relatively affordable JBL monitor speakers that he highly recommended for amateur radio use. Everyone in the room noted the model number of the speakers, myself included.  So imagine my dismay after the convention when I simply couldn’t find my notes…

Thankfully, my buddy Gary Wise (W8EEY) recently jogged my memory. Gary purchased a set of JBL monitors and matching wall-mount brackets from Amazon, and has them hooked up to his Flex Radio FLEX-6700 SDR.  Gary tells me he’s very pleased with the set-up.  Here are the links:

Bob also suggests adding a small mixer to system, something like this Behringer Xenyx 802 or the XENYX502 (both of which are on my current wishlist).

Bob invited me to speak on HamNation about shortwave radio. I may take him up on the offer…well, as soon as I overcome my videophobia, that is.  At any rate, if you’ve not seen it, HamNation is certainly worth checking out.  And in all things radio, Bob Heil’s is a name to know; click here to visit Heil Sound.

Posted in AM, Articles, How To, News, Reviews, Shortwave Radio | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments