For seven decades, a mysterious site on the Trans-Canada highway marked Sackville, New Brunswick. Where the hills and trees faded just past the Nova Scotia border, 13 120-metre towers rose up from the town’s Tantramar Marsh. They encompassed CBC’s Radio-Canada International (RCI) shortwave broadcasting site, built during the Second World War to send broadcasts worldwide.
Like others in the area, artist and filmmaker Amanda Dawn Christie was fascinated by the site — which not only transmitted Canadian content around the world in various languages, but also relayed Radio Free Europe broadcasts during the Cold War. This week, she’s premieringSpectres of Shortwave, her experimental documentary film on the site, at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax. It’s a project seven years in the making.
“[The transmission site’s] purpose wasn’t for the locals,” Christie says. “So my interest was in what its relationship was to the local people who lived around it.” That relationship was more than just landscape: the transmission site affected the appliances, homes and even dreams of local residents.[…]
Ole Forr is a 58-year-old radio lover who tunes into radio stations across the world for fun
A dairy farmer in Norway went to great lengths to tune into CBC Saskatchewan.
Sure, The Morning Edition with Sheila Coles is the No. 1 morning radio show in Saskatchewan. But few people could have expected it to reach a group of listeners more than 5,800 kilometres away— and not through the internet.
Ole Forr doesn’t let thousands of kilometres and the Atlantic Ocean get in the way of his hobby.
[…]Every late October, Forr and three friends visit a remote location in northern Norway, where he said they spend up to two weeks listening to radio broadcasts using some very long-range receiving antennas.
On Oct. 27, 2015, Forr tuned into CBK 540 AM from Andøya, Norway.
“It’s very remote, so there is no man-made noise,” Forr said. “From October to March, it’s very dark up there so to have dark between the transmitter and the receiver.”
Forr contacted CBC Saskatchewan to verify his recording, providing MP3 evidence of the broadcast.[…]
Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, David LW4DAF, who shares this link from RCI news:
After seven days of walking, a group of supporters of Canada’s public broadcaster, has reached its goal on Parliament Hill in the national capital, Ottawa.
The group calling itself “Tous Amis de Radio-Canada” is protesting the severe budgte cutbacks to the institution. They, and the English equivalent “Friends of the CBC” say the funding reductions from the federal government have resulted in severe staff reductions in the past couple of years, along with an inability to properly fulfill its role.
The group of marchers and supporters stood on Parliament Hill today after walking about 200 km to arrive in the capital on this National thanksgiving holiday to deliver a message to politicians now in the final stretch of a close federal election campaign.
The group says that Radio-Canada/CBC has always been a vital national cultural institution, and critical source of Canadian viewpoints on world affairs. It notes however, that role is increasingly more important in the light of a globalized digital world, where the voice of Canada as a producer, distributor, and aggregator of domestic and world news from a Canadian perspective, current affairs, and Canadian entertainment, is often swamped by the vastly bigger content from foreign sources.
Shortwave Radio 1974: Canada, Argentina, Spain, West Germany, Albania, utility stations
-Brian Smith (W9IND)
Want to know what shortwave radio sounded like in 1974? This 55-minute recording, recovered from a cassette, was never intended to be anything but “audio notes”: I was an 18-year-old shortwave listener who collected QSL cards from international stations, and I was tired of using a pen and a notepad to copy down details of the broadcasts. I wanted an easier way to record what I heard, and my cassette tape recorder seemed like the perfect means to accomplish that goal.
But it wasn’t. I soon discovered that it was simpler to just edit my notes as I was jotting them down — not spend time on endless searches for specific information located all over on the tape. To make a long story shorter, I abandoned my “audio notes” plan after a single shortwave recording: This one.
Hallicrafters S-108 (Image source: DXing.com)
Still, for those who want to experience the feel of sitting at a shortwave radio in the mid-1970s and slowly spinning the dial, this tape delivers. Nothing great in terms of sound quality; I was using a Hallicrafters S-108 that was outdated even at the time. And my recording “technique” involved placing the cassette microphone next to the radio speaker.
Thus, what you’ll hear is a grab bag of randomness: Major shortwave broadcasting stations from Canada, Argentina, Spain, Germany and Albania; maritime CW and other utility stations; and even a one-sided conversation involving a mobile phone, apparently located at sea. There are lengthy (even boring) programs, theme songs and interval signals, and brief IDs, one in Morse code from an Italian Navy station and another from a Department of Energy station used to track shipments of nuclear materials. And I can’t even identify the station behind every recording, including several Spanish broadcasts (I don’t speak the language) and an interview in English with a UFO book author.
The following is a guide, with approximate Windows Media Player starting times, of the signals on this recording. (Incidentally, the CBC recording was from July 11, 1974 — a date I deduced by researching the Major League Baseball scores of the previous day.)
Guide To The Recording
00:00 — CBC (Radio Canada) Northern and Armed Forces Service: News and sports. 07:51 — RAE (Radio Argentina): Sign-off with closing theme 09:14 — Department of Energy station in Belton, Missouri: “This is KRF-265 clear.” 09:17 — Interval signal: Radio Spain. 09:40 — New York Radio, WSY-70 (aviation weather broadcast) 10:22 — Unidentified station (Spanish?): Music. 10:51— Unidentified station (English): Historic drama with mention of Vice President John Adams, plus bell-heavy closing theme. 14:12 — Unidentified station (Spanish?): Male announcer, poor signal strength. 14:20 — Unidentified station (Spanish): Theme music and apparent ID, good signal strength. 15:16 — Unidentified station (foreign-speaking, possibly Spanish): Song, “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep.” 17:00 — Deutsche Welle (The Voice of West Germany): Announcement of frequencies, theme song. 17:39 — Unidentified station (English): Interview with the Rev. Barry Downing, author of “The Bible and Flying Saucers.” 24:36 — One side of mobile telephone conversation in SSB, possibly from maritime location. 30:37 — Radio Tirana (Albania): Lengthy economic and geopolitical talk (female announcer); bad audio. Theme and ID at 36:23, sign-off at 55:03. 55:11 — Italian Navy, Rome: “VVV IDR3 (and long tone)” in Morse code.
Brian, this is a brilliant recording–regardless of audio quality–and we’re very thankful you took the time to share it. Propagation has left something to be desired as of late, so time traveling back to 1974 has been incredibly fun.
Post Readers: If, like Brian, you have off-air recordings on tape that you’d like to share, please contact me! Even if you don’t have the means to transfer your tapes to a digital format, I’m a part of a small community of shortwave radio archivists who would be quite willing to help.