Thanks, Jason! Yes, you might have heard about Spectres of Shortwave here as I’ve been posting updates on the SWLing Post since 2013! I’m very happy to see the film nearing completion. Since my wife has worked in film production, I’m well aware of the enormous amount of time and effort it takes to produce a documentary on a shoestring budget.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who writes:
Here 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.
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:
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)
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.
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.
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.”