Tag Archives: Recordings

Radio Botswana, 1987 Style

No seasoned shortwave DXer can forget one of the most distinctive interval signals ever–the “barnyard animals” which marked the beginning of the broadcast day of Radio Botswana, Gaborone, for decades.

On its long-time frequency of 4820 kHz, Botswana was an occasional catch for me from the Seattle USA area. I yearned for clearer, more reliable reception of this station and other Africans which my East Coast USA DXer pals enjoyed!

Zebras mingle with other animals at Chobe National Park, Botswana.

Zebras mingle with other animals at Chobe National Park, Botswana.

It was always fun–and a DXing challenge–to catch Radio Botswana’s interval signal and sign-on announcements, but it was typically mid winter for reception in Seattle. Propagation on 60 meters needed to be favorable to enjoy anything other than a weak, barely listenable signal. Imagine my surprise and excitement when on the evening of December 27, 1987 I came upon the following signal booming in on 4820 kHz, far, FAR better than any previous Botswana reception. Indeed, their signal that evening surpassed in clarity even the Papua New Guinea and Indonesian “regulars” I would hear on the tropical bands from the Northwest USA.


This recording begins with the famous barnyard animals interval, the beautiful Botswana national anthem (Fatshe leno la rona, or This is Our Land in English) and is followed by a full list of broadcasting frequencies and times in English and the (presumed) Setswana language. That information is followed by a flute instrumental version of the Christian hymn Beautiful Savior, which introduces a short devotional or scripture message. The 10 minute recording wraps up with an a cappella children’s choir.

Great Circle route from the Gaborone transmitter to Seattle receiver location.

Great Circle route from the Gaborone transmitter to Seattle receiver location.

My receiving setup for this 1987 recording was an ICOM IC-R70 and a 300 foot long random wire antenna. Such a long antenna is unusual for the middle of an urban area, but I took advantage of living in a 3rd floor apartment across from a small city park. One midweek day, while most folks were at work, I managed to string out this long antenna with very small diameter braided steel wire from the 3rd floor apartment balcony to a distant treetop. This “sloper” antenna had significant directivity to the northeast, which happens to be the bearing for many African stations heard from the Pacific Northwest USA. The small diameter wire was suspended so high that it was virtually invisible from ground level.

Antenna orientation for 1987 reception of Radio Botswana. I'm sure this urban location is plagued by QRM and radio frequency interference now in 2016! My ICOM IC-R70 receiver handled the strong signals from nearby MW & FM broadcasters surprisingly well with the addition of a Grove Tun3 Mini-tuner preselector.

Antenna orientation for 1987 reception of Radio Botswana. I’m sure this urban location is plagued by QRM and radio frequency interference now in 2016! My ICOM IC-R70 receiver handled the strong signals from nearby MW & FM broadcasters surprisingly well with the addition of a Grove Tun3 Mini-tuner preselector.

I continued to log Radio Botswana occasionally on 60 meters until the station eventually left the air (early 2000s I think), but I never heard them again with such a strong, clear signal as in late December 1987!

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

Shortwave Radio Recordings: KNLS test transmission circa 1983

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We’ve just posted yet another excellent recording by Tom Laskowski to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive. I thought a number of Post readers might appreciate this one.

Tom notes:

KNLS – Anchor Point, Alaska, from what I believe is a test transmission on August 1, 1983. According to Wikipedia, KNLS signed on the air July 23, 1983. The program consists of the sign-on ID in English and Russian then is mostly a mix of Big Band music. This recording is 31 minutes long.

Tom’s receiver was a Sony ICF-2001 and he started recording at 09:00 UTC on 11.820 MHz. His location, at the time, was South Bend, Indiana (USA).

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

You can listen to more archived shortwave recordings at the SRAA website, or by subscribing to the audio feed via iTunes. You can also listen to the archive on TuneIn radio.

Recordings: Paul records Vanuatu and Solomon Islands from central Alaska

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Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who shares the following recordings of Radio Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands Broadcasting. Paul lives in Galena, Alaska, and records most of these broadcasts outside of his broadcasting studio:

7260 kHz:

5020 kHz:

5020 kHz:

3945 is much weaker then 7260 for some reason and Nikkei is on that channel till 0900 UTC, so about the only chance I have of hearing Vanuatu on 3945 CLEARLY is when Nikkei signs off.

9545 kHz Monday Night 1130 AKDT/(0730 utc Tuesday)

7260 from April 19th at 1135 AKDT /0735 UTC)

5020 from April 20th at 1248 am AKDT/0848 UTC

Thanks for sharing your recordings, Paul! You’ve certainly done a fine job DXing in the northern latitudes all while standing next to a broadcast station.

Keep up the great work!

Pirate Radio Recordings: Radio Casablanca

Poster - Casablanca_13

Last night at about 00:10 UTC, I was pleased to hear the interval signal of one of my favorite pirate radio stations: Radio Casablanca.

“Rick Blaine” fired up his AM transmitter and pumped out some amazing WWII era music on 6,940 kHz for about one hour and a half. Radio Casablanca only pops up a few times a year, so I always feel fortunate to grab the broadcast (click here to listen to previous recordings).

Signal strength varied over the course of the broadcast and the bands were quite noisy–still, the Casablanca signal punched through quite well at times.

Close your eyes and imagine what it must have been like to hear the great bands of the era over the shortwaves…

Click here to download an MP3 of the full recording, or simply listen via the embedded player below. Note that the interval signal starts around 01:25:

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.