WBCQ moving from 5,110 to 5,130 kHz

wbcq-logoSWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who hosts a radio show on WBCQ, received the following message from the station yesterday:

The FCC has just informed Allan Weiner that the military needs our 5110 frequency.

So your show on Friday 3/11 (10pm Eastern – midnight) will be broadcast on 9330 and 5130.

WBCQ has been announcing this change on the air. Many thanks to Mike, who shared this video of Allan Weiner making the announcement last night:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Bill recommends WBCQ

wbcq-logo

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Bill (W8LV), who writes:

I hope the SWLing Audience out there is familiar with WBCQ, and owner Allan’s Show: Allan Weiner Worldwide. It is broadcast on WBCQ 7.490 every Friday at 8 PM EST. It’s a Free Form Show with an email and call in number.

Allan talks about anything that crosses his mind, and of course that includes radio with every show. All of the shows are also archived at www.wbcq.com, as are many of the other offerings of WBCQ.

I also want to mention that Former Pirate JP Ferraro has a show there called Shortwave Saturday Night.

There are also many other shows, both live and archived on the WBCQ website! Ham radio, Marion’s Attic with the old cylinder records, etc…

And, the merriment of Former NYC Pirate Johnny P. Lightning is heard on WBCQ every other Sunday from 8PM EST till 11PM, frequently with a pre-show that starts at 7:30PM. John also takes emails and calls. You can also catch John’s Show: Radio New York International, a.k.a. A Little Bit of Radio Everything Radio Extravaganzo live encores, with archived ALBORE
shows at the 11L Network site:
www.johnlightning.com

These are real radio people, folks. And WBCQ is such a wonderful station, currently broadcasting on three frequencies from Monticello, Maine.

I hope you tune in!

Bill, you’re right: WBCQ is an amazing independent shortwave broadcaster! WBCQ staff are all true die-hard shortwave listeners as well. A great bunch. I also tune to the shows you mentioned above–another one I love is beHAVior Night on WBCQ every Friday at 5:00 PM EST.

Thanks again, Bill!

How to decode WBCQ’s digital message

Last night, WBCQ’s sent a digital message about ten minutes before the end of the Allan Weiner Worldwide show. If you missed the broadcast, no worries; we recorded the show, and you can download the audio (below) to try decoding the message for yourself.

The digital message can be decoded using a variety of free software packages. The package we used–and which we use for many other digital modes–is FLDIGI, which can be found at http://www.w1hkj.com/Fldigi.html.

Downloading and installing FLDIGI is straightforward. But although this is a simple program, there is a slight learning curve involved.  Below, we explain how to use FLDIGI to decode the message.

1. Download the mp3 recording by clicking here (right-click, then save file).

2. Download and install FLDIGI.

Screenshot of digital mode being selected in FLDIGI. Click image to enlarge.

3. Launch FLDIGI and tell it that you wish to decode the digital format MFSK-64. Do this by selecting the menu items “Op Mode” –> “MFSK” –> “MFSK-64.”

4. Play the audio so FLDIGI can decode the message.

There are a few simple ways to play the audio:

  • If your computer has a built-in microphone, simply play the pre-recorded audio file from an mp3 player with a built-in (or amplified) speaker. Hold the speaker near the computer’s microphone. FLDIGI can decode the digital signal from the computer’s buit-in microphone if the mp3 player volume and microphone gain are adequate. FLDIGI is reasonably forgiving, but you should try this in a low-noise environment.
  • Better yet, if you have a way to feed the audio directly from your mp3 player into the line-in (or microphone input) on your computer–say, with a shielded audio patch-cord–this will insure a clean signal into FLDIGI. Note that you should lower the volume of your mp3 player to do this. In some cases, you can actually damage your sound card if you feed it audio at a high volume.
  • Another method would be to play the mp3 file on your computer and use a program such as Virtual Audio Cable to link the audio to FLDIGI.

FLDIGI capturing the digital message and decoding. Note the solid block of color in the waterfall display. Use your pointer to click in the middle of this block in order to tell FLDIGI where to decode. Click image to enlarge screen capture.

Note that in our recording we include several seconds of normal audio before and after the digital message. When you watch the “waterfall” display on FLDIGI, you will see a solid block of coloring indicating the digital message when it begins (see screenshot on right). When the hosts are talking, this block will not be visible.

5. When the digital message begins, use your pointer to click in the middle of the block of color that represents the digital message in the waterfall display of FLDIGI. This tells FLDIGI where to find the digital message in the audio.

6. Your decoded message will appear in the text area of FLDIGI (as in the screenshot).

Image of decoded message as an HTML page. Note that copy was excellent, save one small error in the text. These minor errors are fairly normal in a digital broadcast. Click to enlarge.

7. Copy the decoded text to your PC’s clipboard, and paste into Notepad (or Word, OpenOffice, etc) and save the file as HTML by giving it a “.htm” or “.html” file extension.

Now the message should appear.

See, that wasn’t so difficult! This digital message could be decoded without purchasing any special software or other accessories. Most of us have everything we need to decode the bulk of the digital messages on the shortwave bands–and there are many, many more out there.

Please leave a comment if you successfully decoded this message, or if you have any other tips for decoding it.

WBCQ to send digital message over shortwave tonight

Update: Missed this broadcast? No worries–not only did we record the digital message, but we’ll teach you how to decode it.

(Source: WBCQ on Facebook)

On Friday, May 4, 2012, during Allan Weiner Worldwide (8pm US eastern time, 0000 UTC), we will be presenting an experiment in the transmission of text messages in digital formats. During the show, we will transmit a brief message in MFSK64 format. This message consist of text that listeners can save to a file with an .htm suffix, then open and view it in a web browser.

The message can be decoded using a variety of free software packages. One such package is FLDIGI, which can be found at http://www.w1hkj.com/Fldigi.html.

Thanks to Kim Andrew Elliott, audience researcher at the International Broadcasting Bureau, for coordinating this test.

You can find Allan Weiner Worldwide on 5,110, 7,490 and 9,330 kHz tonight (Friday, May 4th) at 00:00 UTC (20:00 in Eastern US)