Radio Australia: SWLing in the Colorado Rockies

Sony-ICF-SW7600GR-RA-CO I’m in Keystone, Colorado at about 9,300′ (2,835 M) above sea level; mornings are crisp and chilly (38F/3C), but that doesn’t stop me from putting on a jacket, heading to the balcony and listening to Radio Australia on 9,580 kHz. Despite flaky solar conditions (flaky, frankly, is an understatement) I managed to snag RA Wednesday morning (13:58 UTC) on my Sony ICF-SW7600GR. There was a little fading, and a little local noise, but overall signal quality was quite good.

gnav_logoThis recording starts a couple of minutes before the top of the hour; you’ll hear the TOTH news brief and then triple ja brilliant show dedicated to new Australian music.

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

Happy Summer/Winter Solstice: Listening to New Zealand and Australia

Australia-NewZealand

I’ve been on the road a lot lately. A lack of time resulting from this, combined with frequent afternoon and evening thunderstorms when I am home, has meant that I’ve not had the radio time I often enjoy.

This morning,  I woke up around 5:50 AM determined to get a bit of time on the radio. After all, today is the first day of summer here in the US, and a special day for me. I walked outside and hooked my antenna back up; I had been forced to disconnect it yesterday as pop-up thunderstorms persisted throughout the afternoon and evening.

I then brewed a cup of coffee and settled into my “listening lounge” for some early morning tuning.

Elad-FDM-S2-Coffee

I started off this morning off by tuning the Elad FDM-S2 to Radio New Zealand International on 9,890 kHz in DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale). I was treated to one full hour of Peter Fry’s Saturday Night music; the DRM lock was completely stable.  Though I prefer the sonic characteristics of AM over digital modes, I’m most impressed with the audio quality DRM affords coming from a 50 kW signal being broadcast on the other side of the planet. The quality is so exceptional that, if you listen carefully, you can even hear the news reader shifting papers at the top of the hour.

That got me thinking: I’m flawlessly receiving and decoding a wireless digital audio signal from 13,500 kM away. Amazing. Especially considering that my laptop struggles to receive Wi-Fi in many hotels.

RNZI signed off after an hour, so I switched modes to AM and tuned to Radio Australia on 9,580 kHz.

BombersAs I had hoped, RA was broadcasting the second half of the AFL match featuring the Essendon Bombers who ultimately held a nine-point win over the Adelaide Crows. Alas, Radio Australia dropped the signal before the end of the final quarter, but I was able to watch the results roll in on my iPhone while making waffles in the kitchen. If this had been a World Cup match, I would have scoured the shortwaves for another Radio Australia frequency.

Immediately after tuning in RNZI, I hit the record button on the FDM-S2 (around 5:55 EDT/9:55 UTC) and didn’t stop the recording until after Radio Australia signed off, so there is a 30 second silence in the middle while I tuned and switched modes from DRM to AM.

Click here to download my full 2+ hour morning recording, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Depending on which hemisphere you live in, I hope you enjoy this summer–or winter– solstice.

As for me, I’m looking forward to a happy birthday with my family.  Cheers!

Australia Network News: Broadcast group condemns China over radio jamming

OHtower(Source: Australia News Network)

An international broadcast association has condemned the deliberate jamming of shortwave broadcasts, including those from the ABC’s Radio Australia service, into Asia.

The Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) says English-language broadcasts from Radio Australia, the BBC World Service and the Voice of America are being jammed.

Chief Executive Simon Spanswick has told Radio Australia’s Connect Asia program research has indicated the jamming signals appear to be coming from within China.

“It appears to be quite wide,” he said.

“We’ve been talking to some monitors who keep ears on the shortwave bands around Asia and they say that it’s certainly audible well outside China.

“So, one imagines, even with the geographic scale of China itself, that this is right across the region.” […]

“What the Chinese have done for a long time is actually broadcast Chinese folk music [see our previous posts on Firedrake]…what’s happening in this case is that they’re transmitting a different sort of noise.

“The aim is to simply make it so uncomfortable to listen to that people switch off and don’t bother trying to listen to the program that they wanted to get.”

The AIB has lodged protests over the jamming with the Chinese embassies in Washington, London and Canberra.

[Continue reading…]

Radio Australia’s Jazz Notes

Jazz Notes presenter, Ivan Lloyd (Photo: Radio Australia)

Jazz Notes presenter, Ivan Lloyd (Photo: Radio Australia)

One Radio Australia music program I make a point of listening to each week– besides Saturday Night Country–is a wonderful show called Jazz Notes.

Jazz Notes showcases the best in Australian jazz, often featuring new and original recordings made in ABC’s studios. The show is hosted by Ivan Lloyd and has been offered on Radio Australia for several years.  I listen to the show every Wednesday morning at 8:30 am EST.  If you’ve never heard of Jazz Notes, I can understand why, since it’s only a 30 minute show and begins at the half hour–but it’s certainly worth hearing.

Next week, make a point to tune your shortwave radio to 5940, 9580 or 11945 kHz on Wednesday at 13:30 UTC.  As you will hear in the following recording, listeners in North America will be most impressed by the strong signal out of Shepparton, Australia, on 9,580 kHz. Even an inexpensive portable receiver can pick up this robust broadcast.

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

International Broadcasters support freedom of information

JointStatementThe international broadcasting arms of France, Australia, the US, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands issued a joint statement in support of press freedoms across the globe. With the exception of the Netherlands (RNW), all of these countries still broadcast over the shortwaves.

(Source: BBC Media Center via Kim Elliott)

We, the representatives of Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France (AEF), Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) [Australia], British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) [United Kingdom], Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) [US], Deutsche Welle (DW) [Germany], Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) [Japan] and Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), have met in Berlin to discuss common concerns.

We find international journalism is facing unprecedented challenges from countries that seek to deny their own citizens access to information from outside their borders in violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

We call upon the world’s nations to strengthen their commitment to Article 19 and to support expanded opportunities to share information across borders through digital and mobile technologies.

Yet we note with dismay that certain governments continue to control the flow of information. For example, China routinely blocks the Web and social media sites of our broadcasters and jams our shortwave signals, or Iran and Syria interfere with the satellite signals that carry our programs. Governments in Eurasia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America also seek to control what their own citizens can see, hear and read.

Many of these actions, including intentional jamming of satellites, violate international regulations. We condemn them without reservation.

We also call attention to troubling new challenges to free expression. Some governments are seeking to enact far-reaching telecommunications regulations to stymie free speech.

At the World Conference on International Telecommunication (WICT) in Dubai, representatives of the world’s nations have considered telecommunications rules that might explicitly apply to the Internet for the first time.

We cast a wary eye on such efforts to control the Internet, and we denounce efforts to identify and track Internet users in order to stifle free expression, inquiry and political activity.

We have agreed to increase, whenever possible, our support for efforts to circumvent Web censorship through the use of new and innovative hardware and software tools. We also agreed to increase our advocacy for Internet freedom.