Tag Archives: Free Press

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio Romania International

Like a lot of shortwave radio listeners, since I was a kid, I’ve enjoyed tuning my radio to parts of the world where events are unfolding.  There’s something tangible–something that is transportive–when you listen to a news coming directly from the source, on air and originating from halfway across the planet.

I believe, listening to government broadcasters, you get a much better picture of what is actually happening. For example, sometimes the broadcaster devotes the whole news hour to an important event, or (perhaps even more telling!) doesn’t mention anything at all! The Voice of Turkey comes to mind as a recent example.

Yesterday evening, I tuned to Radio Romania International–one of my favorite little international broadcasters.

If you’ve been following the news, you’ll know that there have been six consecutive days of massive protests to stop a Romanian law that would have eased corruption penalties. This is the sort of thing a lot of broadcasters– being the mouthpiece for their current administration or ruling party–would either ignore or bury in their news report.

I was happy to hear that RRI at least featured the protest as their very first news item.

This recording was made on 5,960 kHz starting at 0100 UTC on February 06, 2017. Receiver used was a WinRadio Excalibur with a large horizontal delta loop antenna here in North Carolina. The following recording includes a few minutes of the RRI interval signal. Enjoy:

Click here to download as an MP3.

The Outernet Lantern: a portable wireless library

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The Outernet Lantern.

One project I have been following very closely since its debut is Outernet: a satellite-based information retrieval system that promotes free–and anonymous–access to information. In a sense, it’s the closest thing I’ve ever seen to shortwave radio in the digital realm, in terms of information access.

I first mentioned Outernet nine months ago; since then, it appears to have met or exceeded all of its development goals.

Yesterday, I received an email from the Outernet campaign regarding a product they have in development called “Lantern.” Outernet describes Lantern thus:

Lantern is an anonymous portable library that constantly receives free data from space.

[…]Lantern continuously receives radio waves broadcast by Outernet from space. Lantern turns the signal into digital files, like webpages, news articles, ebooks, videos, and music. Lantern can receive and store any type of digital file on its internal drive. To view the content stored in Lantern, turn on the Wi-Fi hotspot and connect to Lantern with any Wi-Fi enabled device. All you need is a browser…Here is a quick overview of how the system works:

1. Outernet continuously broadcasts data from space. Most of what we broadcast is decided by you. The rest is either part of our Core Archive (critical content, like educational material or disaster updates) or Sponsored Content. In every case, we tell you how the content got there. If it’s sponsored, we tell you who paid for it.

2. Lantern connects to the satellite signal. A receiver, such as Lantern, can be bought from Outernet, or we’ll show you how to build one yourself. Lantern can receive numerous types of signals from various satellites and frequencies. Lantern can be plugged into a satellite dish to receive data at an even faster rate (200 MB/day and up).

3. Connect your Wi-Fi enabled device to Lantern. Lantern’s Wi-Fi hotspot allows anyone with a computer, tablet, or phone to interact with Lantern’s content. Everything can be viewed in a browser, just like the Internet, except this is an “offline” version.”

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With ETOW in mind, I’ve already pre-ordered a Lantern, supporting the project via IndieGoGo.  During the first 24 hours of the campaign, which started yesterday, the cost of a Lantern is $89 US.

If this interests you, too, watch the following video about Lantern and consider supporting the project at IndieGoGo:

Radio Thailand: no mention of military coup

RadioThailand_LogoThis morning, I was able to catch the first thirteen minutes of Radio Thailand‘s English language service on 9,390 kHz shortwave. I was curious if RT would mention the Thailand military coup or at least broadcast a sanctioned message from the military authorities. Yet I heard no mention of the coup whatsoever. And why not? Yesterday, General Prayuth Chan-ocha ordered all domestic TV and radio outlets to halt normal broadcasting and only include content the military provides. 

I was only able to record the first 13 minutes of the RT evening news as we had a powerful thunderstorm that forced me to unplug my external antenna. You’ll note the static crashes in the recording.  

The format sounds like a typical RT broadcast, save the lack of national news; instead, the hosts jump straight into global news, mentioning Nigeria, the Philippians, and the economy. Here’s the recording:

As a contrast, here is a recording SRAA contributor, Frank, made of Radio Thailand on May 14th, prior to the coup:

It will be interesting to hear how the nature and content of RT’s news changes with time while the country is under martial law.

BBC: Thailand TV and radio remains blacked out under military control

1000px-Thailand_(orthographic_projection).svg-001Many thanks to Andy who shares this article from BBC News. Here’s a clip:

“The day after the military takeover in Thailand, television and radio remains blacked out and under military control.

Instead, viewers and listeners are being fed a diet of traditional music interspersed with orders and announcements from the country’s new military rulers.

Each of the announcements – around 20 so far on the first day of military rule – is read out several times over both television and radio.

Other forms of communication, such as print media, the internet, landline and mobile phones have not been affected so far, although all media have been requested to refrain from criticism of the military authorities. [Continue reading…]

Reports from shortwave radio listeners are similar: many heard announcements in Thai along with patriotic music on Radio Thailand. I attempted to listen the the RT broadcast targeting eastern North America at 00:00 UTC on 15,590 kHz, but the signal was simply too weak. I could only hear a faint woman’s voice in the static.

If you are able to hear Radio Thailand where you live, consider recording a broadcast for the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive Click here to view for a comprehensive Radio Thailand schedule.

Thailand military suspends TV and radio programming

Original Image by Zuanzuanfuwa via WikiMedia Commons

Thailand’s army chief, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, declared a coup today (Thursday, May 22), and detained key party leaders while suspending the constitution in “a bid to restore order” after nearly six months of ant-government protests.

General Prayuth Chan-ocha has also ordered all domestic TV and radio outlets to halt normal broadcasting and only include content the military provides until further notice. Only yesterday, a group of Thai media bodies accused the Peace and Order Maintaining Command (POMC) of violating the constitution when the POMC banned 14 satellite TV outlets. Now that the constitution is suspended, I suppose it is no longer an obstacle.

I’m curious if Radio Thailand will be on the air today–if so, I assume broadcasts will contain military sanctioned content. I would encourage you to tune to Radio Thailand and, if possible, even record a broadcast to archive if they are indeed on the air.

The following is Radio Thailand‘s English broadcast schedule per Shortwave.am:

  • 9390 kHz, 1230-1300 UTC, Target: Oceania
  • 9390 kHz, 1400-1430 UTC, Target: Oceania
  • 9390 kHz, 1900-2000 UTC, Target: Europe
  • 9390 kHz, 2030-2045 UTC, Target: Europe
  • 15590 kHz, 0000-0030 UTC, Target: Eastern North America
  • 15590 kHz, 0030-0100 UTC, Target: Western North America
  • 15590 kHz, 0200-0230 UTC, Target: Eastern North America
  • 17640 kHz, 0530-0600 UTC, Target: Europe

Thailand is no stranger to full-blown military coups; this is their twelfth since 1932. I’ll be following this story closely as events unfold.