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.

An iPhone app and Paul’s secret for successful reception reports

VoiceRecorderIconMany thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, who writes:

Wether you do AM, shortwave, longwave, FM or something else, I think this will prove useful.

I have a pretty high return rate when submitting reception reports and asking for QSL cards/letters. I’d say my return rate is probably better than 60 percent, sometimes even 70 or 80 percent. It just depends.

But what helps me so much? EVERY reception report I email or snail mail includes an audio recording. Sometimes it’s only 30 seconds if the signal is really rough, weak or hard to pick out anything useable. Sometimes I include anywhere between 5 minutes and 30 minutes with a detailed report.

Well, how do I record? I use my smartphone! I have an iPhone 6 Plus with 128 GB of storage. iPhones record some of the best audio I’ve ever heard from a smartphone. Androids do a pretty decent job–not as good, but not bad.

The best app I’ve found for this is Voice Recorder Pro 7.

Click here to view Voice Recorder Pro 7 on iTunes.

Voice Recorder Pro 7 Screenshots

Voice Recorder Pro 7 Screenshots

You can select the recording format (mp4, mp3 or wav), you can select the sample rate, bit rate (32kbps all the way up to 320kbps), you can select mono or stereo as well.

But where this really comes in handy? You can email the audio file to yourself or someone with the click of a button, you can upload it to a google drive, dropbox, one drive or a box cloud account. You can even have it upload to an FTP server or to your Facebook page if you want!!

The one feature I like is being able to turn audio into a YouTube video and uploading it directly! I was recording videos by holding it up to the radio’s display and while the audio was good, it wasn’t great because it was a bit further away from the speaker so I could show the S meter and frequency on the display.

So what I ended up doing is to put the phone right near the radio’s speaker and start recording… this produces better audio then a straight up video. Then you click a button after the recording is over and it generates the video frames for you, putting a picture there; you fill in the particulars of your video and it uploads it to your YouTube account.

See what I’m talking about here, by viewing my YouTube account:
https://www.youtube.com/user/OnAirDJPaulWalker

You can easily tell which videos were made by me holding up the phone to the radio’s display and which are audio only with the video generated by Voice Recorder Pro 7.

Here’s an audio only track I recorded to give you an idea how it sounds.

I don’t recall if they have this app for Android phones, but if they don’t, there’s something similar. It’s worth investigating.

A detailed written report is one thing when requesting a QSL, but audio is indisputable and absolute confirmation of what was heard.

Many thanks for the recommendation, Paul. I use an Android phone (the Moto X 2nd generation). I’m hoping a Post reader can suggest a recording app that is equally robust.

Like you, I typically send an audio recording when submitting a reception report. It’s certainly a valuable piece of information for broadcast engineers. Thanks again!

Shortwave Radio Recordings: RCI, BBC, VOA circa 1979 & 1981

HalliDial

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Tom Laskowski, who shares the following recording and notes:

A few snippets from my old shortwave tapes that were too short to upload individually. These were made using a GE portable multi band that had poor selectivity, hence the annoying ute during the BBC clip.

Times of individual clips are:

  • 00:00 – 01:59: 1979, July 19 – RCI, frequency announcements in English and french.
  • 01:59 – 09:51: 1979, July 20 – BBC, newscast, bothered by an annoying utility station.
  • 09:51 – 11:38: 1981, August 28 – VOA, science news item about Voyager 2
  • 11:38 – 14:52: 1981, August 29 – VOA, science news item about Voyager 2

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

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio Spaceshuttle International

Space_Shuttle_Atlantis-NASA

SWLing Post and SRAA contributor, Jim Clary (ND9M/VQ9JC), recorded the following final broadcast of Radio Spaceshuttle International while on board a US Navy ship off the coast of Rota, Spain. Jim notes:

I was packing up to leave my ship and return to the USA this week when the latest SWLing Post e-mail showed up with info about SSR’s final broadcast literally seven minutes before he was to come on the air. I’d already broken down the receiving gear, but it came back together in record time, and I was able to get the recorder going with a minute before the transmission started.

Click here to download Jim’s recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below. Note that Jim’s recording starts a few minutes before the broadcast begins:

Jim, thanks so much for putting all of your receiver and recording kit back together to make this recording!

Shortwave Radio Recordings: VOA on the 10th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing

Apollo_11_lunar_module-001

Many thanks to SWLing Post and SRAA contributor, Tom Laskowski, who shares this recording of the Voice of America; recorded on July 20, 1979 at 0500 UTC on the 31 meter band. Tom notes:

“The first 4:30 is from a VOA newscast that aired before the main part of the program. The main recording was presented on the 10th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. I enjoy listening to this every year on the landing anniversary.”

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

Note that Tom has been sharing a number of shortwave recordings from the late 1970s. All of his recordings are being published on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive. Tom: thanks so much for being a part of the shortwave archive community.

If you have recordings you would like to share with the world as well, please contact me.

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Channel Africa

SABCDespite dismal propagation, I was quite happy to receive a relatively strong signal earlier this week (31 August 2015) from Channel Africa, starting around 16:40 UTC on 15,235 kHz.

This recording begins with the French language service (already in progress), followed by the English language service. Receiver used was a WinRadio Excalibur connected to a large horizontal delta loop antenna.

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

Remember: this, along with many more recordings, are available in podcast form via the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive. Click here to view on iTunes.

Using synchronous detection and notch filter to eliminate het noise

WinRadioExcalibur-VOG-Notch

The lighter shaded side of the AM carrier indicates a lower sideband sync lock. (Click to enlarge)

A few days ago, I tuned to 9,420 kHz and found a relatively strong signal from the Avlis transmitter site of the Voice of Greece. The broadcast was quite clear until a heterodyne (het) tone popped up out of nowhere.

I checked the spectrum display of my Excalibur to find two steady carriers located about .5 kHz off each side of VOG’s AM carrier. I assume this may have been a faint digital signal centered on the same frequency as VOG.

The noise was annoying, but SDRs (and many tabletop radios) have tools to help mitigate this type of noise.

The het tone was originating from both sidebands of the VOG AM carrier (see spectrum display above). I had planned to use my notch filter to eliminate the noise, but I had two carriers to notch out and only one notch filter.

VOG AM carrier

Synchronous detection to the rescue… 

The simple solution was to eliminate one of the carriers using my SDR’s synchronous detector which can lock to either the upper or lower sideband. In this case, it didn’t make any difference which sideband I locked to because both had similar audio fidelity and were otherwise noise free. In the end, I locked to the lower sideband, thus eliminating the het in the upper sideband.

Next, I enabled my notch filter and moved its frequency to cover the annoying het carrier in the lower sideband; I kept the notch filter width as narrow as I could to preserve VOG’s audio fidelity. You can see the notch filter location and width in the spectrum display above (the notch filter is the thin yellow line).

I should note here that the great thing about using an SDR–or tabletop receiver with a spectrum display–is that you can see where the noise is. I was using my WinRadio Excalibur, but pretty much any SDR in my shack could have handled this task.

The results? No het tone and I was able to preserve the great audio fidelity from the Voice of Greece broadcast!

Here’s a 3.5 hour recording I made after cleaning up the signal. I believe at one point in the recording, I switched off the notch filter to demonstrate how loud the het tone was: