Radio Cook Islands: Guy’s 1993 recordings

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Guy Atkins, for the following guest post:


Radio Cook Islands

by Guy Atkins

(Photo: Guy Atkins)

A view from the driveway entrance to the Radio Cook Islands studio in 1993. Insulators on an antenna (T2FD or multiband dipole) can be seen as dark spots against the cloudy sky. A feedline is also seen rising above the left side of the building. (Photo: Guy Atkins)

(Photo: Universal Radio)

(Photo: Universal Radio)

In 1993 I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit Rarotonga with my wife, courtesy of a nice award through my company which afforded me an all-expenses-paid trip anywhere we’d like to go.

I chose the South Pacific island of Rarotonga, partly because I wanted to visit Radio Cook Islands after listening to their “island music” on 11760 and 15170 kHz through my teenage years.

During our visit to the island I recorded 90+ minutes of RCI on 630 kHz with a local quality signal using a Grundig Satellit 500 and a Marantz PMD-221 recorder.

Recordings

The programming of Radio Cook Islands is bilingual, and announcers are fluent in both English and Cook Islands Maori. Music selections on RCI encompass all styles, to appeal to many age groups. These recordings was scheduled to include as much local music as possible.

RCI programming includes all the hallmarks of a small, non-professional station: stuck records & tape carts, dead air, poor modulation, and other miscues.

However, that’s part of the flavor of local radio, and these errors are heard throughout this recording. Particularly noticeable is the bassy, over-modulation of the studio announcer during sign-on announcements.

Recording 1

Notes: National anthem & hymn; sign-on announcements & music.
Music; weather; sign-off announcements & national anthem.
Local & regional news; weather; ads; music.

Recording 2

Notes: “Party Time” music request show; weather; local ads; more music.

Two engineers from Radio Cook Islands, photographed during my visit in April, 1993. (Photo: Guy Atkins)

Two engineers from Radio Cook Islands, photographed during my visit in April, 1993. (Photo: Guy Atkins)

Sadly, RCI will likely never be on shortwave again; a fire in the local tele-comm building a few months before my 1993 visit destroyed RCI’s transmitter. I had an amusing exchange with the secretary when I visited; she insisted that their station was still on shortwave. Of COURSE we’re on the air she said, because “the frequencies are published right here in the newspaper!” The engineer and announcer confirmed, though, that the silence on their former frequencies was for real. They indicated they were covering the outer islands just fine with FM translators and had no intention of restarting shortwave.

Radio Cook Islands 630 kHz antenna on the school ground of Takitumu Primary School.

Radio Cook Islands 630 kHz antenna on the school ground of Takitumu Primary School.

RCI’s headquarters is in downtown Avarua, and their 5 kw transmitter (reported at half power, 2.5 kw in Dec. 2012) and modern quarter-wavelength vertical antenna is located in the town of Matavera (northeast side of Rarotonga).

Bing.com maps view of Radio Cook Islands antenna, 630 kHz at Takitumu Primary School, Matavera.

Bing.com maps view of Radio Cook Islands antenna, 630 kHz at Takitumu Primary School, Matavera.

The antenna is in the yard of Takitumu primary school; see photos from Bing Maps and Panaromio [above].

It sure brings back a flood of good memories when I listen to these MP3s! I’d love to visit the Cooks again sometime.


Many thanks for this wonderful stroll down memory lane, Guy–radio nostalgia at its best!

I, too, would love to visit the Cook Islands someday–it is on my bucket list. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy your recordings. Again, many thanks for your guest post!

Richard’s CBC Radio-Canada QSL and interview with RCI

radio_canada1

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

“[C]oncerning the RCI anniversary, attached are scans of a QSL card from the CBC International Service for reception on 20 April 1964 when I was in high school. That was on the Knight-Kit Span Master regenerative receiver I had built the previous Christmas.”

radio_canada2 (1)

“About 50 years later (in 2012, actually), I did an interview with RCI’s Victor Nerenberg on GPS and the ionosphere, which appeared on the RCI program “The Link.”

It’s still on their website:
http://www.rcinet.ca/english/archives/program/the-link/home/date/27-01-2012/
(about 15 minutes in)
and
http://www.rcinet.ca/english/archives/program/the-link/archives/episode/09-10_2012-01-30-the-link-friday-january-27-2012/

The RCI site also is featuring some information related to the 70th anniversary:
www.rcinet.ca/rci70-en/

And, lastly, there’s also some interesting stuff in the CBC’s Digital Archives under
http://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/arts-entertainment/media/radio-canada-international-canadas-voice-to-the-world/broadcasting-to-the-world.html
There was also an episode of the CBC Rewind archives program on RCI:
http://www.cbc.ca/player/Radio/Rewind/2011/ID/2167995222/

Many thanks, Richard! I wish I understood the ionosphere as well as you do–that was a fascinating interview. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Gorgeous QSL card, by the way!

Remembering Radio Canada International’s final shortwave broadcast

The transmitter building of Radio Canada International, Sackville, NB.

The transmitter building of Radio Canada International, Sackville, NB.

I spent the summer of 2012 in an off-grid cabin on the eastern coast of Prince Edward Island, Canada. That summer, I listened as two of my favorite shortwave broadcasters left the air within weeks of each other: Radio Netherlands Worldwide and Radio Canada International.

I was able to not only listen to the final broadcasts of Radio Netherlands, but also record them. I wrote a post about that memorable experience.

Ironically, though I was only a geographic stone’s-throw from the RCI Sackville transmitter site, I struggled to hear any Sackville signals as my location was too close for skywave propagation and a little too far for ground wave. Though I paid a visit to the transmitter site only two days prior, I was unable to hear or record RCI’s final broadcast.

Unlike RNW’s final broadcasts, RCI’s ended without fanfare and quite abruptly. This week, I heard a recording of that final RCI broadcast for the first time. My friend, Rajdeep Das, recorded it on June 24, 2012 in Kolkata, India. Rajdeep has kindly shared his recording with the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive and here on the SWLing Post.

This is a short 10 minute recording, beginning at 1550 UTC, June 24, 2012 on 11,675 kHz. Listeners will note that the broadcast ends abruptly during the mailbag program–obviously the Sackville transmitters were turned off prematurely.

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

While we’re talking about RCI, I would also like to thank @LeedsRadio, @UKDXer and Al Holt for sharing the following brilliant QSLs and pennant:

UK-DXer-RCI-QSL

Source: @UKDXer via Twitter

LeedsRadio-RCI-NorthQuebecService-QSL

Source: @LeedsRadio via Twitter

Al-Holt-RCI-QSL

Source: @grovekid2 (Al Holt) via Twitter

 

Thanks for the stroll down memory lane!

SWLing Post readers should note that Rajdeep Das has a DX blog you should visit. I’ve added Rajdeep’s site to our blog roll. Thanks again, Rajdeep!

Special Broadcast: 70th Anniversary of Radio Canada International via PCJ

RCI-Logo(Source: PCJ Radio International)

This year marks the 70th Anniversary of Radio Canada International. On March 16, 2015 from 0100 to 0200UTC PCJ Radio International will present a special tribute program for their 70th Anniversary.

The program will include a recent interview with Eric Koch who was a presenter in the German Section. He will talk about the test transmissions that took place before the CBC International Service was officially inaugurated on February 25, 1945. And a special program produced and presented by Ian McFarland and Bob Cadman for the 40th Anniversary.

All times UTC
Latin America – 2300 to 0000UTC (March 13, 2015)
North America – 0100 to 0200UTC (March 15 from 9 to 10pm EDT)

Frequencies for the Americas are:
9955khz –2300 to 000UTC
7570khz – 0100 to 0200UTC

There will also be a special e-QSL issued.

Regards,
Keith Perron
PCJ Radio International

Radio Canada International 70th Anniversary was bittersweet for some

The transmitter building of Radio Canada International, Sackville, NB.

The transmitter building of Radio Canada International, Sackville, NB (June, 2012).

RCI Action

We recently noted that Radio Canada International (RCI) celebrated its 70th year anniversary.  While it was certainly an amazing milestone–dating back to WWII–it was a bittersweet celebration for some. Check out this article on the RCI Action blog:

“The flood of wonderful memories, fueled by the old and not so old photos of Radio Canada International’s 70 years, is now, as I write this, suddenly mixed with regret, lost opportunities, and missing colleagues.

In a way I dreaded this anniversary, not knowing how to deal with this important milestone.

RCI has survived all these years since its first broadcast on February 25, 1945, as Canada’s Voice to the World. But now, almost three years after an 80% budget cut that took us off shortwave radio, cutting us off from our listeners, how do you celebrate? How do you not look with some exasperation, regretfully, wistfully, at how little people, even colleagues, know about RCI’s proud achievements, and its path-breaking innovations?

The contradictions of how some viewed us and the reality is almost too much to bear. People say we used outdated technology, weren’t moving with the times, and no longer needed to explain Canada to the world.

Yet none of this is true.”

[Continue reading on RCI Action…]

Sheldon Harvey

My good friend, and host of the International Radio Report, Sheldon Harvey was interviewed  by Lynn Desjardins of Radio Canada International regarding Radio Canada International’s 70th anniversary. Here is a link to the story and the audio of the interview now accessible through RCI’s webpage

Amanda Dawn Christie

Amanda Dawn Christie

Amanda Dawn Christie

On a similar note, you might check out this interview between Wojtek Gwiazda and film marker, Amanda Dawn Christie. Amanda is making a documentary film about the destruction of the RCI Sackville transmitter site.

Click here to listen to the full interview via Radio Canada International online.

Check out Amanda’s short video of several towers as they were taken down:

Radio Canada International celebrates 70th Anniversary

RCISWLing Post reader, David Iurescia, reminds us that February 25th, 2015 was Radio Canada International‘s 70th anniversary.

While we can no longer hear RCI on shortwave, David points out that we can listen to some of the anniversary specials (interviews and programs) online all week:

http://www.rcinet.ca/en/2015/02/26/rci-celebrates-its-70th-anniversary/

Many thanks for the tip, David!

Thousands protest cuts to CBC

CBCbuilding

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, David Iurescia, for sharing this story from Radio Canada International:

“Thousands of people marched in several cities in the province of Quebec and the New Brunswick city of Moncton on Sunday to protest ongoing cuts to the public broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada.

Beginning in the 1990s, successive Canadian governments cut funding to the service. The latest round will lead to 1,500 job losses by 2020. That represents almost 20 per cent of the current, total number of employees.

Cultural groups in particular are concerned about the cuts to the English-language CBC and the French-language Radio-Canada. Preserving culture is particularly sensitive issue in the French-speaking province of Quebec.

Radio Canada International has also suffered from the budget cuts and had to dismantle its international shortwave service in 2012. RCI is now only accessible by internet.”

Also check out this article on the Montreal Gazette.