Castro wants an end to US broadcasts directed at Cuba

Havana, Cuba (Photo: Wikimedia)

Havana, Cuba (Photo: Wikimedia)

(Source: VOA News)

Cuban President Raul Castro is urging the U.S. government to stop radio and television broadcasts that Cuba considers harmful, while also saying that his government is willing to keep improving relations with the United States.

In a speech broadcast on state television Friday, Castro said that his government will “continue insisting that to reach normalized relations, it is imperative that the United States government eliminate all of these policies from the past.”

He noted that the U.S. government continues to broadcast to Cuba, including transmissions of Radio Marti and TV Marti, despite Cuba’s objections. Radio Marti and TV Marti are overseen by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which is also the parent organization of the Voice of America.

Castro also criticized U.S. immigration policy that allows Cuban migrants to live in the United States if they reach U.S. territory.

“A preferential migration policy continues to be applied to Cuban citizens, which is evidenced by the enforcement of the wet foot/dry foot policy, the Medical Professional Parole Program and the Cuban Adjustment Act, which encourage an illegal, unsafe, disorderly and irregular migration, foment human smuggling and other related crimes, and create problems to other countries,” Castro said.

Continue reading on VOA News online…

An SWL perspective on US/Cuba relations

WFL_015Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, London Shortwave, who has posted an article on his blog regarding US/Cuba relations after Presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced, last Tuesday, the re-establishment of relations. London Shortwave has included recordings from the VOA, Radio Marti and Radio Havana Cuba.

Click here to read the full article on London Shortwave’s blog.

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio Progreso

Havana, Cuba (Photo: Wikimedia)

Earlier this week, I noted that Cuban medium wave station, Radio Progreso, was to begin broadcasting on 4,765 kHz shortwave, beginning October 1st at 00:30 UTC.

I listened between 00:30 and 2:30 UTC on Oct 1st, but heard nothing other than the weak carrier from (possibly) Radio Emissora De Educao Rural. However, the following evening at 01:00 UTC (October 2nd) I did hear a strong signal from Radio Progreso.

For your listening pleasure: the recording I made of Radio Progreso on October 2, 2013, starting around 01:00 UTC. Click here to download the recording as an MP3 or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Starting tonight, Radio Progreso on shortwave

Radio-Progreso-CubaAccording to Arnie Coro at Radio Havana Cuba, the Cuban medium wave broadcaster Radio Progreso will begin an “experimental” shortwave broadcast on 4,765 kHz from 00:30 till 04:00 UTC on October 1st, 2013. For those of us living in North America, this broadcast will begin at 08:30 PM EDT tonight.

I will attempt to listen and record the broadcast tonight.

Many thanks to David Goren for the tip and for Bryan Mangawhai’s original report to DX lists.

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio Havana Cuba’s DXers Unlimited

ArnieCoroDXersUnlimitedIf you live in the Americas and you regularly listen to a shortwave radio, you have no doubt heard Radio Havana Cuba across the shortwave spectrum. When I travel in North or Central America, I can easily hear RHC, often without even extending the telescopic antenna on my portable.

A long-running program on RHC’s English hour is Arnie Coro’s DXers Unlimited.

Tuesday night, I recorded the DXers Unlimited segment from RHC’s The English Hour on 6 MHz, and offer it here for your listening pleasure.  If the recording doesn’t sound typical of shortwave radio, it’s because: a) RHC’s signal is exceptionally strong into North America, and b) I recorded this with an AM filter 24 kHz wide.  In other words, I widened my DSP filter to match RHC’s bandwidth on my spectrum display–and to put this in perspective, I regularly record between 7-9 kHz wide. (This results in the crisp, high-fidelity audio you hear in this recording, though unfortunately at the compromise of any adjacent stations abiding by HF broadcasting etiquette.)

You can download the MP3 directly by clicking here, or simply listen in the embedded player below:

More shortwave digital text (and the reason behind it)

Screenshot of digital mode being selected in FLDIGI. Click image to enlarge.

SWLing Post readers have seen previous posts regarding text being broadcast via shortwave digital modes on WBCQ, WRMI and The Mighty KBC (which broadcasts again this weekend).

Recently, Kim Elliott explained his mission behind these digital tests. Not only do I agree, but I support him completely. Why? It’s proof that the shortwave spectrum is an excellent medium to transmit digital information across the globe. Decoding requires a very basic shortwave radio, some free software and a computer. I believe, in the near future, there will be a smart phone app that can handle this with ease–it simply needs a developer (hint, hint).

Here is Kim Elliott’s post on the topic–I have emphasized points in bold:

Radio amateurs use several modes to transmit text via shortwave. It occurred to me that text via shortwave might be a workaround whe[r]e the internet is not available because of disasters, dictators, or other causes.

I have not yet convinced any major international broadcasters to let me test this hypothesis on their (remaining) shortwave transmitters. However, the Netherlands-based Mighty KBC has kindly been allowing me two one-minute segments during their broadcast to North America at 0000 to 0200 UTC on 9450 kHz. This is via leased time on a transmitter in Bulgaria.

Reception of text via shortwave is possible on an inexpensive shortwave radio, even one without single sideband (SSB) capability. The audio is patched into a PC that does not have to be especially powerful. This involves a patch cord from the earphone jack of the radio to the microphone input of the PC. If there is no patch cord, placing the radio’s speaker near the built-in microphone of a laptop might work.

Software for decoding the text should be installed in the PC. There are several available to radio amateurs, including DM780, MixW, and MultiPSK. Especially popular these days is Fldigi. This is available from www.w1hkj.com. While you are there, please also download Flmsg, because it will be needed for this weekend’s test on KBC. [Note: This software is free and open source.]

This weekend’s test on KBC will feature the MT63 modes with long interleave. After Fldigi is installed, go to Configure > Modems > MT-63 > check 64-bit (long) interleave, 8-bit extended characters, and Allow manual tuning. Also, go to Configure > Misc > NBEMS > check Open with flmsg and Open in browser and, below that, indicate where your flmsg.exe file is located.

The first KBC text transmission will be around 0130 UTC Sunday (Saturday evening 8:30 pm EST). The MT63-1000 mode with long interleave will be centered at 1000 Hz on the waterfall visible on the software display. PSKR125 will be cenetered at 2200 Hz. Decode one while listening, and decode the other from your recording of the transmission.

The second text transmission will be just before 0200 UTC Sunday (9 pm Saturday EST). This will be MT63-2000 centered at 1500 Hz. This message will be formatted for Flmsg. If all goes well, the shortwave transmitter in Bulgaria will open a new window of Flmsg and then open a new window of your web browser with formatted content, in color no less.

One week after my first text transmissions (11 November) on KBC, Arnie Coro at Radio Havana Cuba began transmitting digital text modes on his Dxers Unlimited program (in English). He might do so again this weekend. The schedule for DXers Unlimited can be found at the World of Radio website (where all times and days are UTC, so those UT Monday transmissions are actually Sunday evening in North America).

More discussion of the concept of digital text via analog shortwave broadcast is in Kim’s December 2012 column (pdf) for the North American Shortwave Asociation.