Tag Archives: NPR

Leap second added to 2016

(Source: NPR)

Here’s a timely reminder for all you would-be revelers out there: Be careful with your countdowns this New Year’s Eve. There will be a little extra time to bask in the glow of a retreating 2016 — or curse its name, as the case may be.

Whatever your inclination may be, one thing is certain: Before the year is out, the world’s foremost authority on time will be adding one more second to the clock.

In a bulletin released this summer, the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, or IERS, said it would be necessary to introduce a “leap second” at the end of December. Timekeepers use this added second much as leap years are used — to bring the world’s atomic clocks in sync with the Earth’s own distinctive rhythm, which in this case is determined by its rotation.

This leap second isn’t the first. Since 1971, the world has added leap seconds with some regularity — typically every two to three years — and the latest leap second was added only last year, in June.

Continue reading at NPR…

Last year, I recorded the 2015 Leap Second via WWV–click here to read that post. Though such a subtle change, it is fun to hear that extra second added. I plan to record the full 31 meter band New Year’s Eve–hopefully, I’ll also catch the 10,000 kHz WWV Leap Second!

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.

Paul gives us a glimpse of KIYU Alaska

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SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, is not only a shortwave listener, he’s also a broadcaster.

Paul works at community radio station KIYU in Galena, Alaska. At my request, Paul has kindly shared a few photos of his workplace with us.IMG_0077IMG_2797IMG_2799

Paul also sent this short video at the mic of KIYU:

Very cool, Paul! You certainly have a lot of translators to list in your station ID–no doubt, these are the many sites that serve your communities.

Thanks for sharing a little of your world at KIYU!

If you’d like to try hear Paul on the air, check out the KIYU home page.

NPR: European Pirate Radio Network Broadcasts Alternative To Syria’s State Media

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(Source: NPR)

A non-profit organization in Berlin has invented a small portable transmitter that can download satellite signals and rebroadcast them on FM for Syrians to listen to on their car or household radios.

If this story sounds familiar, it’s because we posted something about the organization a few weeks ago.

Unlocking the trapped FM receiver in your smart phone

RadioDialWhile Norway prepares to shut down FM, one group–the National Association of Broadcasters–is trying to unlock FM receivers in smart phones; receivers built into smart phones, but not allowed to be activated.

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Benn, for sharing this report from NPR’s All Tech Considered:

UPDATE: KQED posts this tutorial on activating your FM receiver chip by contacting your mobile phone provider.