RCI programming returns to shortwave via Shortwaveservice.com

SX-99-Dial-Nar

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who writes:

Radio700Here is the response from Christian Milling, the director of Radio 700 and Shortwaveservice. Note that he is stressing the difference between Radio 700 (as a program and separate broadcasting station) and Shortwaveservice (as the provider of technical services for the shortwave transmitters at the Kall-Krekkel). The transmitters are actually maintained by Burkhard Baumgartner, DF5XV, under the name “Classic Broadcast”.

All three operations are closely linked so it’s understandable that there is confusion about who does what. Furthermore, in the WRTH, we have “Radio 700 Kurzwellendienst” (Radio 700 Shortwave Service). No reply directly from RCI yet.

Dear Richard Langley,

thank you very much for your e-Mail. Indeed we (not Radio700 but Shortwaveservice.com as technical provider) has set up an official cooperation with Radio Canada International which allows us to transmit the english, french and spanish programming. So this will be a long-term relay on a legal basis. As we prepare a spanish language outlet, the spanish broadcast of RCI will follow later on on SW.

The propagation conditions are a bit lousy at the moment, resulting in a bigger skipzone since a few days on 7310 kHz. Normally we boom into on that frequency also in Twente (which is approx. 200km away from our tranmitter [sic] site). We got some reception reports from the UK, which one from Manchester I’d like to quote: “Good clear signal, just some slight fading from solar disturbance that was taking place. How wonderful to hear Radio Canada International back on shortwave again, I really hope they continue broadcasting from Kall, I couldn’t believe it when I saw they would be broadcasting here this week.”

As the brodcasts [sic] are intended for the reception in europe and most speak either french or english and our weekend-schedule is very crowded, we only managed to find a slot for both languages at a time. But we will think about a re-run of the shows on a different day.

Thanks for tuning in!

If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Best regards,
Christian Milling

Thanks so much for the update, Richard!

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. 

Radio Canada International’s 71st anniversary

RCIMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Iurescia (LW4DAF), who writes:

Today February 25 th is the 71th anniversary of Radio Canada International.

They published this:

http://www.rcinet.ca/en/2016/02/25/history-feb-25-1945-canadas-voice-to-the-world-official-start/

Earlier this month, I listened to a 2012 spectrum recording of the 31 meter band–RCI’s north Quebec service was transmitting on 9,625 kHz. I sure do miss them on the shortwaves but I’m glad I can do a little radio time travel with my SDRs and tune in once again from time to time.

Spectres of Shortwave: near completion

SackvilleCurtainAntennas

I took this photo of the RCI Sackville curtain antennas in June, 2012. (Photo: Thomas)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who shares this CBC New Brunswick article about Amanda Dawn Christie’s film, Spectres of Shortwave:

(Source: CBC)

Amanda Dawn Christie launching documentary about demise of RCI towers

Documentary ‘Spectres of Shortwave’ to be finished in time for possible premiere at Toronto’s Hot Docs

Moncton artist Amanda Dawn Christie says after six years, her documentary Spectres of Shortwave, about the demise of the Radio-Canada International towers in Sackville, is nearly complete.

“A project like this is very hard,” Christie said in an interview on Information Morning Moncton. “When I went into this project they weren’t supposed to be tearing the towers down.”

After budget cuts in 2012, CBC announced the shortwave service would end after 67 years of broadcasting around the world.

Christie calls that decision a loss for the international community.

“Shortwave communication is something that will always get through. Even though technology advances and people rely on the internet — not everyone can afford a computer or digital receiver … Canada was known for more objective, non-biased broadcasting.”

Continue reading on the CBC New Brunswick website…

1989 RCI Christmas Special: a studio recording

UK-DXer-RCI-QSLMany thanks to Colin Newell who writes:

Over on the DXer.ca homepage I have a 32kbps MP3 recording on a CBC RCI broadcast that has not been heard since December 1989! A 1 hour program from the Reel-Reel master that Ian McFarland owns.

Head on over – download for free –

And Merry Christmas!

What a great early Christmas gift for those of us who miss the Ian McFarland days of RCI.  Thank you, Colin!

Click here to visit DXer.ca.

William Westenhaver, RIP

UK-DXer-RCI-QSL

Sheldon Harvey kindly posted the following notice regarding William (Bill) Westenhaver on the NASWA Winter SWL Fest Facebook group:

I’m sad to report the passing this week of a person well known within the radio hobby community, William (Bill) Westenhaver.

A native of Angola, Indiana, Bill moved to Montreal in the late 1960s, where he spent the rest of his life. An avid shortwave listener, DXer and QSL collector, Bill was an active member of several radio clubs including CIDX and Speedx. He was a participant in numerous ANARC conventions and Winter SWL Festivals.

Bill took a job with Radio Canada International, working in the Audience Relations department. One of his principal duties was issuing RCI QSL cards for reception reports received from around the world. Bill went on to other duties within the CBC/Radio-Canada headquarters in Montreal.

Bill was an active member of the Coalition to Restore RCI Funding and the RCI Action Group, the ad hoc groups that worked tirelessly to restore and/or retain the services of Radio Canada International on shortwave.

Bill was also the original co-host of The International Radio Report, with Sheldon Harvey, on CKUT-FM in Montreal. He also worked on a number of other programs on CKUT over the years.

Bill passed away earlier this week here in Montreal. We extend our condolences to all of his family and friends. He will be fondly remember throughout the radio community.

Sheldon Harvey

RCI’s The Link also posted the following message:

All members of RCI are mourning the sudden loss this week of William Westenhaver Bill was an integral member of the RCI team for years, handling our mail and prize mailouts, as well as participating in a number of shows over several years, especially on the various iterations of the “mailbag” shows. Bill adored shortwave radio, and with the budget [cuts], found work in another department of Radio Canada, but stayed in touch with many of us, always with a smile and friendly word in the hallways of this big building. We shall miss him dearly.

I never met Bill in person, but I communicated with him many times. He received my reception reports, issued QSL cards, and set up a couple of interviews on RCI.

If you’ve ever requested a QSL from RCI, Bill was most likely the fellow who issued your cards. Bill was an incredibly friendly and helpful fellow.

I’m also forever grateful for his help in securing a special guided tour of the RCI Sackville transmitter site–only months before it was closed.

Many thanks, Sheldon, for sharing your memories–condolences to his family and many friends.

Update: RCI recently posted this memorial page for Bill.

Tom’s 1981 off-air recording of RCI’s Shortwave Listener’s Digest hosted by Ian McFarland

I snapped a photo of this propagation poster in RCI's Sackville, NB transmitter site only months befor ethe site was closed.

A propagation poster in the foyer of RCI’s Sackville, NB, transmitter site only months before the site was closed. (Photo: Thomas Witherspoon) 

Tom Laskowski, has been generously contributing a number of off-air shortwave radio recordings to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive (SRAA).

Recently, he shared a series I’m sure many of you remember. Tom writes:

My first contribution of many recordings I have of Radio Canada International’s Shortwave Listener’s Digest hosted by Ian McFarland.”

“The first 12 1/2 minutes is Bonsoir Africa. The recording was made using a cheap GE portable. The audio quality isn’t great but it’s still very nostalgic listening to a program I recorded 34 years ago.”

This brings back many memories of one of my favorite shortwave programs–thank you, Tom!

The audio quality actually reminds me of one of my first analog portables, Tom! Nostalgia at its best.

Check out all Tom’s SRAA contributions by clicking here. While you’re at it, bookmark the SRAA!