Tag Archives: Christmas

Radio Free Europe and Christmas

1951 RFE Christmas card

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Cummings, who shares the 1951 Radio Free Europe Christmas card above.

Richard also notes that he recently published a two-part series on RFE and Christmas on his blog, Cold War Radio Vignettes.

Both excellent reads! Thanks, Richard!

“A DXer’s Christmas”

My buddy, Skip Arey (N2EI), shared the following poem on his Facebook page and has kindly allowed me to post it here!

Skip writes:

“I originally published this in the NASWA “FRENDX” club journal in 1987 and later in the December 1992 issue of Monitoring Times magazine. Many thanks to Steven K. Roberts for recovering the text for me as it never stuck to my hard drive. Enjoy.”

A DXer’s Christmas

(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
and all through the house
The “Harmonics” were sleeping,
and so was the spouse;
The antennas were hung
from the chimney with care
in hopes that some signals
would come through the air;
The receivers were nestled
all neat in a row, With filters and tuners
all ready to go;
With a strong cup of coffee,
sitting at my right hand,
I had just settled in to some radio band,
When out of my headphones
there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk
to see what was the matter.
Away to the window
I flew like a flash,
To determine the cause of this odd static crash.
The Moon on the breast
of the new -fallen snow,
Gave my antenna wires an unusual glow;
When what to my wondering
eyes should appear,
But a weird little sleigh
and eight tiny reindeer.
With a strange little driver,
who looked like a “Hippie,”
I though for a moment
my brain had gone dippy.
More rapid than eagles
his coursers they came,
And he wheezed, and he cursed, as he called them by name: “Now Ten-Tec! Now Icom!
Now Yaesu and Philips!
On Grundig! On Sony!
On Kenwood and Collins!
Watch out for the porch!
Watch out for the wall!
Stay out of the way,
and don’t let me fall!”
As dry leaves that before
the wild hurricane ride,
When they met with an obstacle,
they kicked it aside.
So up to the house -top
the coursers they flew,
And got tangled in wire;
the old Hippie did too.
And then, in a twinkling
I heard through the ceiling, a great deal of cursing,
and swearing, and squealing.
As I shook my head,
and hollered out “Stop!”
Down the chimney the bearded one
fell with a plop.
He was dressed all in denim,
from his headphones to tail,
His clothes smelled like sweatsocks,
and his breath like cheap ale;
The stump of a stogie
he held tight in his teeth.
And the rancid smoke circled
his head like a wreath;
He had a fat face
and a great big beer -belly,
That shook when he burped,
like a bowlful of jelly.
He spoke not a word
but went straight to his work,
Opened up my receiver,
and tuned with a jerk.
Then sticking a finger
inside of his nose,
And giving a burp,
up the chimney he rose. The receiver it squealed,
and gave out a whistle,
And the stations I heard that night,
would fill an epistle.
And I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy DX, Old Man,
next time, leave on a light!”

Vatican Radio Christmas specials

(Source: Mauno Ritola via the WRTH Facebook page)

Vatican Radio special broadcasts on Christmas:

Saturday 24 December 2016
1600-1652 [UTC]
Mass in Chinese 5975 7200 kHz 2025-2230
Portuguese 11625 kHz Angola and Mozambique
French 6080 kHz West Africa
English 7275 kHz Central Africa
Chinese 6185 kHz China

Sunday 25 December 2016
1055-1130 [UTC]
Portuguese 21560 kHz Angola and Mozambique
French 17520 kHz West Africa
English 15570 kHz Central Africa

Live audio from S.Peter’s without any comment:

  • 9645 kHz, 11740 kHz Europe
  • 15595 kHz Near East

All from Santa Maria di Galeria.
http://www.radiovaticana.va

NPR: “almost certainly, the tiniest radio receiver in the world”

(Source: NPR)

Physicists at Harvard have built a radio receiver out of building blocks the size of two atoms. It is, almost certainly, the tiniest radio receiver in the world.

And since it’s a radio, it can play whatever you want to send its way, including Christmas music, as this video by the Harvard team that designed it makes clear:

Click here to view on YouTube.

NPR then quotes from The Harvard Gazette where Leah Burrows, of Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, explains how the tiny radio works:

Radios have five basic components: a power source, a receiver, a transducer to convert the high-frequency electromagnetic signal in the air to a low-frequency current, a tuner, and a speaker or headphones to convert the current to sound.

In the Harvard device, electrons in diamond NV centers are powered, or pumped, by green light emitted from a laser. These electrons are sensitive to electromagnetic fields, including the waves used in FM radio. When NV center receives radio waves. it converts them and emits the audio signal as red light. A common photodiode converts that light into a current, which is then converted to sound through a simple speaker or headphone.

An electromagnet creates a strong magnetic field around the diamond, which can be used to change the radio station, tuning the receiving frequency of the NV centers.

Shao and Lon?ar used billions of NV centers to boost the signal, but the radio works with a single NV center, emitting one photon at a time, rather than a stream of light.

The radio is extremely resilient, thanks to the inherent strength of diamond. The team successfully played music at 350 degrees Celsius — about 660 Fahrenheit.[…]

Click here to read the full article on NPR’s website.

From the Archives: Yes, there is a shortwave…!

Note: Jeff Murray and I posted this last Christmas–I thought it would be fun to dig it out of the archives for this Christmas as well.  Enjoy!


Virginia letter Dash

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no shortwave. Uncle DX Dash! says, “If you see it on the SWLing Post, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a shortwave?

Virginia E. Layer
330 Independence Ave., S.W.

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a digital age. They do not believe what can’t be heard or seen on their smart phone. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by Google. They seek credit cards, not QSL cards.

Yes, Virginia, there is a shortwave. It exists as certainly as sound and circuits and tubes exist, and you know that these abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no shortwave! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no heterodynes, no band openings, no propagation to make tolerable this existence. It would be a world without London Calling.

Not believe in shortwave! You might as well not believe in the ionosphere. You might get your papa to hire men to listen to all of the wi-fi radios of the world, but even if you did not hear shortwave, what would that prove? The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see ground waves dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can casually conceive or imagine all the wonders there are heard and unheard in the listening world. For that, you must wear headphones.

No shortwave! Thank goodness! It lives, and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, shortwave will continue to make glad the hearts of listeners.


Happy Holidays from your friends at Dashtoons and the SWLing Post!

With apologies to The New York Sun.  Our tongue-in-cheek editorial borrows from the timeless classic, “Is There a Santa Claus?” printed in the September 21, 1897, issue of The New York SunClick here to read the original