Tag Archives: Richard Cuff

Third day added to 2018 Winter SWL Fest–!

Art the Winter SWL Fest, my good friends (from left to right): Sheldon Harvey (of The International Radio Report), Tina Shields and Dan Srebnick

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Cuff, who shares the following news:

The feedback from the 30th SWL Fest in March was consistently positive: People enjoyed having the extra day for forums and fun.

We’ve decided to keep the 3rd day for 2018 — so begin making your plans now. The 31st (!) Annual Winter SWL Fest will be Thursday, March 1st through Saturday, March 3rd, at the Doubletree Guest Suites – Philadelphia West in Plymouth Meeting, PA.

We’ll start forums in the early afternoon on Thursday. Details to follow in the months ahead! Registration will begin in the autumn, though we will probably set up hotel registration before then.

Updates will posted at the Fest website, http://www.swlfest.com.

Thanks to all for supporting us in 2017 and all the prior years!

Richard Cuff and John Figliozzi, co-chairs

I think this is absolutely brilliant news!Thanks for sharing, Rich, and I’ll see you at the ’18 Winter SWL Fest!

Disappointment when the power comes back on

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Cuff, for sharing this column from The Athens News. I’m sure many of us relate to Dennis E. Powell (note this is only an excerpt):

If you lose power at just the right time, it can enrichen your life

This is being written last Monday night.

Several hours after the storms of earlier in the day passed, the sun shining, the birds singing, and all apparently right with the world, the electricity went out. Because there is no cellular telephone service in my part of the county, this necessitated a drive much of the way to Athens to register a report with the power company. The power company’s outage report line is the first entry in my cellular phonebook.

[…]The evening was (and as I write this, is) cool, with a bit of wind passing through the open windows, so there was no panic, as there is when the power disappears in the dead of winter or in the 100-degree summer – both of which I have experienced. But there was no fire to build, no need to think of a reason to drive to town for a few hours in some place air-conditioned.

Instead, I remembered that just a few days ago I had pushed the battery-charge button on one of a couple shortwave radios I have around here, this one a decade-old C. Crane CC Radio SW. It has a big speaker and a pleasant sound, though it’s not the sort of radio you get to dig faint signals out of the mud. It is just right for such an evening as this. So I brought it to the living room, extended its built-in antenna, and fired it up.

Shortwave radio is like Forest Gump’s mama’s box of chocolates, and that’s part of its appeal. Poking around the dial I find some Ohio shortwave amateurs putting on a bit of a panel show, passing the mic metaphorically from one to another. Because they are shortwave amateurs, all they talk about was their shortwave equipment.

The power is out all over the neighborhood, so there is not a single static scratch, no 60-Hz whine of interference. And the ionosphere seems stable, no fading in and out of signals.

Heading up the dial, I find a station in accented but easily understood English. I have to listen for a while before I learn that I am listening to Radio Romania International. That broadcast ended, so I retune and find a cranky man and a cranky woman who are discussing how awful things are and how the only thing you can count on is gold.

Moving along, I find an impassioned man with a deep Southern accent. He, too, is discussing how awful things are – and how they soon will be especially awful for those who put their trust in gold or other things of this world.

There is a broadcast from somewhere – from the accents I’d guess the Caribbean or Africa – that features a man and woman talking spiritedly and sweetly about English idioms.

Now I’m listening to the Argentine national shortwave service, which had a talk program in English though they’ve switched to Argentine music.

[…]I do hope the power comes back. Just not tonight. Tomorrow, maybe. Or the next day.

(Note: Just as I set this to email itself eventually to the Athens NEWS, minutes after I was done writing, the power came back on. And it really was a little disappointing.)

Read this full story via The Athens News online…

ABC International to increase investment in services for Chinese, Indonesian and Pacific audiences

ABC Australia

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Cuff, who shares this press release from ABC International:

ABC International focuses investment in region

ABC International will increase its investment in media services for Chinese, Indonesian and Pacific audiences to offer more comprehensive coverage for regional audiences. These new initiatives, the result of a strategic review, mean ABC International will be better positioned to deliver a greater range of content in these areas.

The changes mean ABC International will create eight new positions to lead content areas and improve editorial and workflow priorities. However, ABC International has also made the decision to end foreign language services in French, Khmer, Vietnamese and Burmese, which are currently single-person operations.

The recommendations from the strategic review and the decision to close some services will fund this reinvestment across the network. ABC International will build on key relationships with China, Indonesia and the Pacific with increased investment in services including:

  • For Chinese audiences: an additional Mandarin language site allowing ABC International to deliver a full Chinese news service, for Chinese audiences across the region and Australia, complementing the AustraliaPlus .cn cultural exchange portal.
  • For Bahasa Indonesian audiences: two new roles will be created, a new Content Maker and a Senior Producer, to improve ABC International’s capacity to extend Indonesian language content.
  • For Pacific audiences: the creation of a new Senior Producer Pacific position focussed on enhancing content for Pacific audiences. This new role will also manage and schedule the Radio Australia Services and the Pacific and Tok-Pisin service that has a distinct value in reaching PNG audiences.

Two other new Content Maker roles will be created, one with a focus on telling Pacific stories to audiences in that region and a second position to tailor English content on Australian life for all platforms.

ABC International Chief Executive Officer Lynley Marshall said the changes to these services would benefit the wider audience base in the region.

“These changes are the result of careful consideration and commitment to our services in the region as we approach 2020,” she said.

“The ABC has a long history with the Pacific nations while Indonesian and Chinese audiences comprise a growing audience base, both across our region and here in Australia.

“ABC International is determined to uphold the highest standards in international media services including our expanding digital and social media services. These changes represent ABC International’s commitment to delivering compelling content to key audiences.”

The closure of the Vietnamese, Khmer and Burmese language services will become effective on 2 December 2016, while the French service will continue until arrangements with France Television end in February 2017. The closures will affect six positions and a staff consultation process will begin shortly.

For more information

Nick Leys
Media Manager, Corporate Affairs
03 9626 1417
leys.nick@abc.net.au

Radio connection: English city named after Maine relay station

RCA-Dial

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Cuff, who writes:

“Thought the blog might enjoy this…it’s actually longwave related more than SW, but I know you often include historical items in blog posts.”

Indeed I do, Richard! Thanks for sharing. Here’s an excerpt from the Bangor Daily News:

Former radio relay station in Houlton may lead to new connection to England

HOULTON, Maine — Rugby Radio Station, a radio transmission site in the United Kingdom that once had ties to this Aroostook County community as part of a transoceanic communications network in the 1930s, is being re-imagined as a new city in England that will be aptly named: Houlton.

Rugby Radio Station was a radio transmission facility near the town of Rugby, Warwickshire in England. From 1927 to 1957, Houlton served as a relay station for long-wave transoceanic transmissions between New York and London.

Located on the County Road, the Houlton site was decommissioned on Oct. 1, 1957. That property is home to Roger and Carol Hand.

James Scott, who is the director of planning and communication for Urban and Civic, a property development and investment company based in London, was in Houlton on April 29 to meet with town officials and local historians to get a better feel for the American community that will bear the namesake of the new development.

[…]The Rugby site, which will be renamed Houlton, is 1,100 acres and over the next 20 years it will be developed into 6,000 homes, three primary schools, one secondary school and 1 million square feet of commercial floor space.

“The radio station [in England] was in operation from 1926 until 2005,” Scott said. “The site is really interesting in that it is mainly open fields, with some very large buildings and 12 800-foot masts. It was a very emotive site for a lot of people, but it was not very well developed.”

The masts have all been torn down, but some of the buildings were preserved for historical purposes.

[…]In the early days of transoceanic transmissions, a crew of five individuals worked at the Houlton station from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to a November 1957 article in Long Lines, a company magazine produced by employees of American Telephone and Telegraph. As demand for service increased, coverage was extended from 4 a.m. to midnight.

Houlton was chosen as the relay station because the signal could not reach all the way from England to New York directly. The local site did not have massive antennae reaching upward such as the location in England. Instead, the transmission lines here were placed horizontally and stretched for many miles.

By the mid-1930s, long-wave transmissions declined because of technological improvements in short-wave radios. The Houlton site was also used in the 1940s as a ship-to-shore service.

Read the full article, at the Bangor Daily News site.

BBC World Service as a lifeline and making radio as “a symbol of resistance”

BurundiMany thanks toSWLing Post contributor,  Richard Cuff, for sharing this article from the NewStatesman:

In the week when Apple’s Beats 1 radio station was launched – “Worldwide. Always on . . . It broadcasts 24/7 to over 100 countries from our studios in Los Angeles, New York and London” – there was also discussion of the BBC’s latest global audience measurement figures. The most striking thing in the report, which tracked listening habits and how they had changed over the past year, was how short-wave radio – in rural and poorer areas where there is no FM, no cable and no electricity, it’s still the only way of tuning in – is under increasing threat from something as basic as jamming.

Apple’s idea of radio as digital and impermeable never felt more breezily First World. Listeners to the English-language programmes on the BBC World Service, for example – in India, Nepal and Bangladesh, in particular – have almost halved in number because of deliberate disruption on the short-wave signal, apparently from China, forcing stations to rotate frequencies on the same band to at least attempt a slot.

“Tune around . . . You’ll find us. We will be there,” advised a technician on Over to You (4 July, 5.50pm). It conjured that most antiquated and urgent of images: a person clutching their temples, coaxing a dial, trying and trying to find a signal.

“I grew up with short-wave radio,” insisted a caller to the show, “and I got to understand the world, got to understand life. If you don’t know short-wave radio, you don’t know life.” Only moments later, there was talk of the closure of all the non-state-run radio stations in Burundi (one of the poorest and least connected countries in the world). Before the recent coup attempt, independent radio stations played a huge role in holding the government to account but many radio journalists are now forced to report using what social media is available.

“The exercise of making radio matters,” said a caller. “It’s a symbol of resistance.” And another, with some disdain, said: “Doing it on the internet is just a way of keeping it on record.” The more than century-long act of turning a dial and finding a signal, with a human voice hitching a ride on electromagnetic energy through space, is something it seems our species now feels in the bones. But worldwide? Always on? Only for some.

Read the full article at the NewStatesman.