North Korea intensifies shortwave jamming

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(Source: DailyNK via Andrea Borgnino)

North Korea has been from the beginning of March continually signal jamming radio broadcasts on the shortwave frequency used by the South Korean non-profit broadcaster Unification Media Group (UMG). Given the present situation, in which North Korean residents might be influenced by outside information condemning the regime and explaining the purpose of the sanctions imposed by the United Nations, the regime has showed the will to block sources of outside information that might cause unrest.

The shortwave frequency […] in question, 7515 [kHz], has been actively jammed starting on March 1st making it extremely difficult for North Korean listeners to tune in. On the 15, UMG organization began using three receivers to test out reception at that and adjacent frequencies on a daily basis and was able to confirm that the exact signal is being jammed.

The blocking effort is being concentrated on the time period from 10pm- midnight. Specifically, from 10-11pm the jamming is very strong. The signal jamming is undetectable from midnight to 1am. The signal blocking became weaker at midnight on March 15, from which point onward the entire three hour broadcast was audible. Starting on the 17, UMG moved the frequency, but the jamming operators seemed not to notice because the interference continued on the old wavelength.

Continue reading at the DailyNK online…

BBC to launch Korean news service via shortwave in fall 2016

(Image source: BBC)

(Source: KBS World Radio via Andrea Borgnino)

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) will launch a shortwave radio service to North Korea this fall.

A BBC insider said the British government has given final approval to the public broadcaster’s plan to broadcast news to North Korea and has even earmarked a budget.

The 30-minute daily broadcast in the Korean language will include news from the two Koreas, China and Japan. BBC will also run a website with a listen again section.

[…]The news program will be produced at the BBC headquarters in London and transmitted via shortwave from locations including Singapore. Many North Korean residents are known to own a shortwave receiver.

BBC has been discussing the launch of a North Korea service since last year, which has faced strong opposition from North Korea. A high-level North Korean diplomat visited the U.K. parliamentary in protest of the plan two months ago.

BBC is also considering broadcasting its Korean news service in South Korea as well.

Read the full article at KBS World Radio online…

US legislation authorizes $50 million for broadcasts into North Korea

(Photo: VOA)

(Photo: VOA)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrea Borgnino, who shares this article from Fox News:

Seeking to derail North Korea’s drive for nuclear weapons, Republican and Democratic senators set aside their partisan differences Wednesday to unanimously pass legislation aimed at starving Pyongyang of the money it needs to build an atomic arsenal.

[…]The Senate bill, authored by Menendez and Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., targets North Korea’s ability to finance the development of miniaturized nuclear warheads and the long-range missiles required to deliver them. The legislation also authorizes $50 million over the next five years to transmit radio broadcasts into North Korea, purchase communications equipment and support humanitarian assistance programs.

The legislation comes in the wake of Pyongyang’s recent satellite launch and technical advances that U.S. intelligence agencies said the reclusive Asian nation is making in its nuclear weapons program.[…]

Read the full article at Fox News…

P5/3Z9DX: Successful ham radio activation of North Korea

NorthKoreaMap(Source: Southgate ARC)

Ham radio activation of North Korea

The ARRL reports the first amateur radio operation from Pyongyang, N.Korea in 13 years took place on December 20.

In an unexpected turn of events, Polish DXer Dom Gryzb, 3Z9DX, who has been visiting North Korea this week in advance of a planned Amateur Radio operation early next year, came on the air from the most-wanted DXCC entity around 0000 on December 20. P5/3Z9DX has been active on both 20 meters and 15 meters SSB only, and a few hundred stations have been fortunate enough to work him.

Propagation was unfavorable due to a geomagnetic storm that seems to have affected his efforts on 20 meters. He also reported that he faced extremely high ambient noise levels in Pyongyang. He ran 100 W to a vertical antenna mounted on a metal fencepost some 7 feet above the ground among government high-rise buildings.

Read the two ARRL stories:

North Korea on the Air for First Time Since 2002
http://www.arrl.org/news/north-korea-on-the-air-for-first-time-since-2002

P5/3Z9DX Concludes Demonstration Operation from North Korea
http://www.arrl.org/news/p5-3z9dx-concludes-demonstration-operation-from-north-korea

Could radio be a catalyst for revolution in North Korea?

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Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley for sharing this article from The Guardian. The following is an excerpt:

Kim Cheol-su, who was born in Pyongsong City and defected from North Korea last year, says that up to 30-40% of DPRK citizens now listen to pirate radio, and that listening to the broadcasts made him realise the true nature of Kim Jong-un’s dictatorship.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion on the implications of the broadcasts in Seoul – and of the North’s thundering reaction – he said: “Children know that Kim Jong-un weighs more than 100kg. It’s because they are repeating what they hear from their parents, who listen to these foreign programmes.”

He added that the majority of North Korean citizens, desperate for news of the outside world, listen to the propaganda broadcasts which fan the flames of their doubt about the regime. The majority of those who flee to the South do so after hearing the broadcasts, he claimed.

“Before listening to the broadcasts, the citizens have no idea. But after they hear them, they realise the fact that the regime is deceiving people. They share what they have heard with their neighbours and friends.”

Kim also highlighted the fact that he heard about the Arab Spring movement through the broadcasts, and learned of the death of Libya’s former president, Muammar Gaddafi. “If the UN were to guarantee for us, as they did for Libya, help in opposing the regime, I believe that we would revolt as well,” he said.

Kim said lot of people listen to Radio Free Asia, as it comes in the clearest. “Personally, there were some programmes I liked on Open Radio for North Korea, so I used to tune in to those as well. However, short, one-hour programs were easy to miss. They were often finished by the time I found the frequency they were on.”

As for the contents of the broadcasts, Kim said having defectors talk freely about their lives was the best approach, and that programmes should include information on how to defect, offering examples of the kind of support and policies that exist for defectors in the South.

Read the full article at The Guardian online.

The vital role of radio in North Korea

North-Korea-Propaganda

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Ulis, who recently shared a link to this story in the DailyNK.

Here’s an excerpt:

In the case of loudspeaker broadcasts, which roiled the North, eventually leading to artillery fire, it can only be heard 25km into the North from the demilitarized zone, but in the case of radio broadcasts, many North Koreans can gain access, which is why it’s believed to a play a larger role in psychological warfare.

“After listening to the radio, I naturally found myself comparing things with the reality in North Korea,” Chae Ga Yeon (50), a North Korean defector who used to enjoy tuning into radio broadcasts, told Daily NK on Wednesday. “Having learned about things that are different from state propaganda, I took on a more critical way of thinking toward the state, and I started to realize Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are not gods as the state claims. They started to look like average human beings,” she said.

“People who have tuned into broadcasts like these don’t keep the information to themselves. They share it with others,” Chae explained. “This makes other people listen in on the broadcasts as well, and they start being more critical against the state that is blocking out the information.”

Kim Seong Yeob (45) is another escapee who also tuned into these broadcasts. “North Korean broadcasts are not interesting since all they do is focus on idolization, so I enjoyed listening to South Korean broadcasts since they would share different news stories and air radio dramas as well,” Kim said. “Then I came to open my eyes to the false propaganda and developed this desire to learn more about society in North Korea and study it,” he recalled.[…]

Experts believe these broadcasts can expedite change in people’s awareness in North Korea. Given that state dominance over information is the control mechanism used over North Koreans, they believe information from outside can deal a severe blow to the North Korean system.

Click here to read the full article at the DailyNK…

Daily NK and Unification Media Group will post a series of nine articles on the effects of broadcasts to North Korea. Check the DailyNK website for updates.

As we mentioned in a previous post, the BBC has announced plans to broadcast to North Korea in the near future via shortwave. Bloomberg Business reports, however, that these broadcasts may never happen due to the potential for political backlash.

To follow all of our North Korea posts, bookmark this tag.

BBC sets plans for next decade

BBC-AT-WARMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Bill, for sharing a link to this article which summarizes the BBC’s plans for the next ten years.

BBC director general, Tony Hall, said the corporation will become an “open BBC for the internet age”.

While Hall was quick to add that funding cuts would equate to “the loss or reduction of some services” he also highlighted several efforts that would include shortwave and mediumwave broadcasts, including:

  • “Significant investment” in the BBC World Service, including a daily news programme for North Korea and more broadcasts to Russia, India and the Middle East
  • A news service for Ethiopia and Eritrea on medium wave and short wave

Of course, we can expect more cuts to BBC World Service shortwave broadcasting over the next ten years even if it wasn’t specifically mentioned in Hall’s speech. If we’re lucky, the BBC will continue to broadcast into those parts of the world that still rely on shortwave. Specifically mentioning North Korea, Ethiopia and Eritrea appears to be a nod in that direction.

Click here to read this article on the BBC News website.

Also, The Guardian has posted the full text of Tony Hall’s speech. It’s worth reading.