Tag Archives: Deutsche Welle

Deutsche Welle closes Kigali relay station

DW's relay station in Kigali (Source: Deutsche Welle)

DW’s relay station in Kigali (Source: Deutsche Welle)

(Source: KT Press via Richard Cuff)

Germans Close Business in Rwanda After Half Century Lease Expires

Once a powerful facility in the region, the German owned Deutsche Welle radio center at Kinyinya hill outside Kigali is finally and completely shutting down. It’s no more.

In 1965, Rwanda leased 68.4 hectares on Kinyinya hill for fifty years to the Germans- that later set up a massive facility to boost Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster.

“We are stopping our short wave transmitters today and then next week we will start dismantling them and the masts in order to meet the deadline of August when our license expires,” said Bernhard Ahlborn, the deputy director of Deutsche Welle.

On March 28, 2015 the facility stopped its operations, to begin dismantling their equipment, to pave away for the handover of the Land to Rwanda government.

The Germans will today hand over the premises of the relay station with its infrastructure to the Government of Rwanda, to mark the end of 50 year concession agreement.

The Deutsche Welle relay station in Kigali has been serving African and the Middle East audiences. It was the only firm facility of the kind that was remaining. The Germans had similar facilities in other 60 countries.

Continue reading on the KT Press website…

Radio Time Travel: Brian’s 1974 shortwave radio recording

Many thanks to SWLing Post and SRAA contributor, Brian D. Smith (W9IND), for the following guest post and recording.

Note that Brian could use your help to ID a few unidentified broadcasters in this recording. If you can help, please comment:


HalliDial

Shortwave Radio 1974: Canada, Argentina, Spain, West Germany, Albania, utility stations

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 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: DXing.com)

Hallicrafters S-108 (Image: 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

0:00 — CBC (Radio Canada) Northern and Armed Forces Service: News and sports.
7:51 — RAE (Radio Argentina): Sign-off with closing theme
9:14 — Department of Energy station in Belton, Missouri: “This is KRF-265 clear.”
9:17 — Interval signal: Radio Spain.
9:40 — 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 — RAI (Italy), 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.

Click here to download an MP3 of the full recording, or simply listen via the embedded player below:


Wow–what an amazing trip back in time, Brian! Thank you for taking the time to digitize and share your recording with us.

Post Readers: If you can help Brian ID the few unidentified stations in his recording, please comment!

Note that Brian is a frequent contributor to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive. Click here to listen to his contributions. 

Guest Post: Brian’s 1974 mix tape of off-air shortwave radio recordings

HalliDial

Many thanks to SWLing Post and Shortwave Radio Audio Archive contributor, Brian Smith, for the following guest post and vintage recording:


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: DXing.com)

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.

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded audio player below:


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.

Recording Deutsche Welle Kigali’s final broadcast and remembering its early days

DW's relay station in Kigali (Source: Deutsche Welle)

DW’s relay station in Kigali (Source: Deutsche Welle)

Yesterday, Deutsche Welle transmitted its final broadcast from the Kigali, Rwanda relay station. Since I’ve only had moderate luck hearing the Kigali site the past few days–especially on 31 meters–I fired up the TitanSDR Pro (which is still currently under review) and set it to record all three final afternoon broadcasts from Kigali on 12,005, 15,275 and 17,800 kHz.

TitanSDR-DeutscheWelle-FinalBroadcasts

As you can see from the screenshot above, Kigali produced a very strong signal on 17,800 kHz. The TitanSDR recorded the full broadcast, starting with one minute of the transmitter tuning, then one hour of DW’s French language service, followed by one hour of DW’s Hausa language service…then the transmitter went silent.

The recording begins around 1659 UTC on March 28, 2015 on 17,800 kHz:

Kigali’s early days

Last week, SWLing Post reader Bob LaRose (W6ACU) sent me the following message and scans:

“Here’s some nostalgia from [when the Kigali relay] opened, 50 years ago!”

Kigali Front

Kigali 2

Bob then followed this with another email:

“I dug into the “vault” and I found [the] 1964 Third Quarter issue of “Hallo, Friends” from Deutsche Welle that talks about the “new” Kigali station as it was being built. The 1965 issues did not cover the actual inauguration.”

DW-HalloFriends-BobLaRose

Click here to download this page as a PDF.

Many thanks for digging through your archives and sharing this wonderful DW nostalgia, Bob! It’s simply brilliant!

Readers: If you have shortwave nostalgia you would like to share on the SWLing Post, please contact me.

Deutsche Welle to close Kigali relay March 28, 2015

DW's relay station in Kigali (Source: Deutsche Welle)

DW’s relay station in Kigali (Source: Deutsche Welle)

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Mike, who writes:

“I wanted to pass on a quick (and unfortunate) word that Deutsche Welle will be closing its Kigali, Rwanda relay on March 28th. This word came from the Wavescan program on WRMI. I would highly recommend that anyone who would like a QSL response from DW should get their correspondences in as soon as possible. It seems that the site will be dismantled shortly afterward. In addition it seems that tests are ongoing at RFI’s Issoudun site by DW to replace some of the broadcasts that used to originate from their Kigali relay.

I find the closing of another landmark relay a greatly displeasing event especially due to the short time frame between the announcement of the closure and the actual closure date. I find it surprising as well due to the lack of mention of any recent budget cuts at Deutsche Welle.”

As Mike mentions, the relay is scheduled to close on March 28, 2015–if you’d like to log this site, you’ll need to do so very soon. Click here for current schedules. Kigali is Deutsche Welle’s only remaining relay station.

RadioWorld magazine also posted a short news item about the Kigali closure–click here to read.