Tag Archives: Shortwave Schedules

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How to Identify Changes in Station Schedules

The shortwave bands are in a constant state of flux. And radio reception varies with the seasons. As a result, radio stations often need to alter their frequencies and times for best all-year-round reception at the listener’s location. There are two seasonal changeovers: the “A” transmission period coincides with the northern hemisphere summer (March to October), and the “B” transmission schedule for the winter period (October to March). Leading up to these changeovers, broadcasters plan their schedules for the coming season. The B16 transmission season began last weekend.

Want to improve your understanding of shortwave propagation characteristics? Study a few of the strategies employed by broadcast engineers at international radio stations during the twice yearly schedule changeovers. You’ll quickly learn much about how it all works!

Frequency changes by international broadcasters allow you the opportunity to observe the factors that come into play at BOTH the transmitter site and the reception target zone in another part of the world. Broadly speaking, we know that when winter arrives reception of the higher frequencies declines and the lower frequencies provide better reception. The reverse applies in summer – reception on the higher frequencies are enhanced and ionospheric absorption of signals increases at lower frequencies.

In addition, these characteristics change for both daytime and nighttime reception in summer and winter. Furthermore, some interesting reception opportunities occur in certain regions of the world during the summer and winter equinoxes. On top of this, factor in the 11-year sunspot cycle and the current monthly smoothed sunspot number (SSN). So, station engineers have quite a few variables to consider while selecting their preferred shortwave bands when targeting their signals to the listener’s location in some other part of the world! Perhaps one could even consider that these calculations as both a science and an art!

hfcc-big-logo

Next, the engineers representing each station have to sit down with their colleagues (competitors?) from other broadcasters and negotiate suitable frequency allocations in each of the preferred bands. This is why we have the existence of the High Frequency Coordination Committee (HFCC). Working together to find and register suitable frequencies that don’t interfere with other transmissions is an important part of successfully ensuring that everyone “wins”. The HFCC describes its role this way:

The main objective of the HFCC is to provide the representation and services for the promotion of an efficient and economical use of the short-wave radio spectrum, and the improvement of radio reception of shortwave broadcast transmissions worldwide……

HFCC’s main activity is a direct coordination of frequencies among frequency managers and specialists of broadcasters, administrations, transmission service providers and other organisations with the aim to facilitate the resolution or minimisation of mutual interference on short waves…..

Membership of the HFCC is open to all individuals and organisations that provide frequency management and planning for recognised shortwave broadcasters.

And it has to be said that the HFCC does a very good job at trying to resolve potential conflicts and clashes in frequency registration. But we didn’t always have this informal governing body. HFCC was only formed in 1990. Prior to that, there was much “rough and tumble” as stations tried to sort it out for themselves and avoid getting in each others way. Remember also, in the 1970s and 80’s there were many more shortwave broadcasters than there are today, each with very large operating schedules. For younger readers here, imagine the international bands being six or seven times busier than they are today!

Understanding propagation characteristics, frequency allocation, antenna beam headings, different time zones and many other aspects of international broadcasting have been a source of fascination for me, both as a shortwave listener and as an amateur (ham) radio operator.

Here are some things to consider when monitoring the change in transmission seasons:

    • Learn the basics of shortwave propagation and the characteristics on display over a 24-hour period, seasonally, annually, and within the sunspot cycle. It’s a big topic and takes a while to really absorb it all!
  • Familiarise yourself with which part of the spectrum the broadcaster can be expected to successfully utilise during a certain season.
    • When finding a station on a new frequency (NF), try to locate and note down the formerly used frequency. Sometimes, that same station will return to the deleted frequency at the start of the next season (the next half of the year).
    • Noting the deleted frequency often reveals that another station has taken up position on that channel.
    • Check to see if the same transmitter site is used for the NF. With so many stations using a variety of relay sites these days, you cannot just assume that the same relay is being used for the NF as it was for the old frequency.
    • Some station schedules are complicated and can be hard to decipher. Time changes, language changes, an increase or decrease in the number of frequencies the station employs for a particular service, daily broadcasts, weekends only, weekdays only, or only certains days of the week can make it tricky to reveal how the NF relates to the old frequency. Expect that you might sometimes get it wrong!
    • A few stations (e.g. China Radio International or Radio Free Asia) use so many outlets for some broadcasts that it can be too hard to tell what was the replaced frequency. In those cases, I just throw up my hands and move on!
  • Maybe the target location of the broadcast has changed. Checking the transmitter’s azimuth beam headings can help here.

Like other “old dudes”, I have spent many years observing and documenting the schedule changes of shortwave broadcasters. This is a part of the hobby that I personally find quite absorbing. However, I’m aware that it’s probably NOT something that some others might enjoy quite so much!

Since the B16 changes came in one week ago, I have been busy monitoring the bands to find the NFs and the deleted frequencies (the ex’s) and any other variations to the broadcasting schedules of each station.

There are HUNDREDS of changes to discover. But I can’t find them all – I also have to eat, sleep, and get on with life!

However, here is a list of the 93 observations I have made over just the past few days:

NOTE: Frequencies in kHz, Times in UTC
ABBREVIATIONS: NF = New Frequency, ex = deleted frequency, QRM = interference, // = another or parallel frequency used at the same time, As = Asia, SEAs = South East Asia, etc. Af = Africa, WAf = West Africa, etc. Eu = Europe, EEu = Eastern Europe, etc. NAm = Nth America, ENAm = Eastern Nth America, etc. Oc = Oceania
FORMAT: Freq – Country of Transmitter site – Station Name – Transmitter Location – comments.

5885 NTH MARIANA IS. RFA – Tinian. Korean to EAs at 1710, NF and good signal, Nov 4.

5910 OMAN. BBC – Al Seela. S/on 1700 in Dari to SEAs, NF, good signal, Nov 4.

5955 ROMANIA. RRI – Tiganesti. Italian to SEu, 1715, NF (ex 5910) and fair signal, Nov 4.

5965 NTH MARIANA IS. RFA – Tinian. Mandarin at 2030, NF and heavy jamming, Oct 31.

5970 TURKEY. VoT – Emirler. French to Eu, 2035, NF (ex 9635), fair signal Oct 31.

5980 TURKEY. VoT – Emirler. Turkish to Eu 2005, NF (ex 9460), good signal, Oct 31.

5990 ROMANIA. RRI – Galbeni. Romanian to Eu, 2040 to s/off 2100, NF (Believed to be ex 9500), good signal, Oct 31.

6010 CHINA. CRI – Urumqi. S/on 1800 in Amoy (Min Nan Chinese), NF (ex 13700) fair signal but QRM from Korean jamming on 6015, Nov 4.

6025 IRAN. VOIRI – Sirjan. German to Eu at s/on 1720, NF (ex 9660), good signal, Nov. 4

6040 CHINA. CRI – Urumqi. Russian to EEu at 1745 to s/off 1757, NF (possibly ex 11875 for this txer site) and excellent signal Nov 4.

6050 TURKEY. VoT – Emirler. English to Eu at 2015 to s/off 2025, NF (ex 9785), fair signal, Oct 31.

6060 IRAN. VOIRI – Zhaedan. Arabic to NAf at 1802, NF (ex 7285), fair signal, Nov 4.

6070 CHINA. CRI – Beijing. Russian to EEu at 1815, NF (ex 9560), very good signal Nov 4.

6090 OMAN. BBC – Al Seela. English WS to CAs and ME, 1820, NF (ex 7375), good signal and // 6195 also heard via Al Seela, Nov 4.

6100 CHINA. CRI – Beijing. English to Eu at 1800-1900, NF (ex 9600), excellent signal and // 7405 (via Beijing) which is also a NF and well heard on Nov 4.

Click here to continue reading the remaining 78 new frequency observations

 

2016-shack-part-shot-3

Part of Rob’s shack. Top Row: Two power supplies. Middle Row: Bose powered speaker, Kenwood R5000 receiver. Bottom Row: Kenwood TS2000 transceiver, Yaesu FRG100 receiver.

Rob Wagner, VK3BVW, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. He also blogs at the Mount Evelyn DX Report.

PCJ Radio International moves to 11,835 kHz

pcj(Source: PCJ Media)

Due to co-channel interference on 11750khz we will change frequency for this Sunday. The new frequency is 11835khz. Your comments and reports about this new frequency are important. So tune in this Sunday and let us know.

June 2nd – 1300 to 1400UTC

June 9th – 1300 to 1400UTC

June 16th – 1300 to 1400UTC

June 23rd – 1300 to 1400UTC

June 30th – 1300 to 1400UTC

July 7th – 1300 to 1400UTC

Frequency: 11835khz (25 meter band)
Target Area: East and Southeast Asia
Power: 125kw

2013 WRTH now available

WRTH has announced that their 2013 edition is now available online. Every year, I look forward to searching a new WRTH’s pages for the first time. What is the WRTH (World Radio and TV Handbook)? Click here to read my reviews of the 2010, 2011 and 2012  editions of WRTH. In the 2010 edition, I even include an interview with the publisher, Nicholas Hardyman.

To order your copy of WRTH 2013, go to this page on WRTH’s website.

Radio Northern Star: test transmission

(Via Cumbre DX and Svenn Martinsen on Facebook)

Test transmission from Radio Northern Star on Shortwave.

Starting on Friday July 6th 0330 UTC/GMT (0530 Norwegian Time/CET) Radio Nord Revival in Sweden will be relaying the programmes of Radio Northern Star in a long test transmission on Shortwave 5895 kHz in the 49 meter band with a power of 10 kW. The test will last until Saturday morning July 7th. We welcome written reception reports to Radio Northern Star, Box 100, N5331 RONG, NORWAY. Email may also be used:1000@northernstar.no.

For listeners outside Scandinavia we would also like recordings of the transmission, but please do not send large files as attachments to emails. If you want to send large files, send them on a CD to the address above. Be sure to include return postage if you’d like regular mail replies. Correct reports will be answered by QSL letter.

Radio Northern Star is an independent commercial radio station broadcasting on the web and available broadcasting platforms. Our website may be found here:
http://www.northernstar.no/

Glenn Hauser’s calendar of shortwave radio specials and farewells

Since I’m travelling, I was very pleased to find that Glenn Hauser outlined the many special broadcasts and farewells over the next couple of weeks. Frankly, there are so many, I’ve had trouble keeping them organized in my calendar.

(Source: Glenn Hauser – DX Listening Digest, via SW Programs)

CALENDAR OF SW SPECIALS, FAREWELLS

Dates, days and times are strictly UT

MONDAY JUNE 18 +

This is the final week for Radio Canada International, probably also for CBC NQ 9625, and relays via Sackville. You may want to make an effort to listen more than usual before the Last Days scheduled below.

THURSDAY JUNE 21

2130-2145 British Antarctic Survey special, 9850 & 5950 Skelton UK, 7360 Ascension; or may be 2130-2200, and possibly on WED JUNE 20 instead

FRIDAY JUNE 22

2100 until 2100 SATURDAY JUNE 23 “MidsummerRadio”, special from Scandinavian Weekend Radio, Finland, low power on 25 and 49m; hard to hear beyond Europe

http://www.swradio.net/index2.htm

SATURDAY JUNE 23

1200-1214, final Vatican Radio English via Sackville: 13730

SUNDAY JUNE 24

0000-0059 Maple Leaf Mailbag, finale from RCI: 11700 via Kunming

1500-1559 Maple Leaf Mailbag, finale from RCI: 11675 via Kunming; 15125 via Urumqi, East Turkistan

1800-1859 Maple Leaf Mailbag, finale from RCI: 17810 Skelton UK (should be audible in NAm), 11765 Skelton, 9530 Kashi, East Turkistan

2000-2059 Maple Leaf Mailbag, finale2 from RCI Sackville: 17735, 15330, 15235

RCI Chinese, French, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese final broadcasts should also be June 24, ending at 2330* UT on 11990, 13760, 15455:

http://www.hfcc.org/data/schedbybrc.php?seas=A12&broadc=RCI

June 24 also appears to be the final day on air for Sackville relays of other stations. It is unclear whether all of these will be gone once the UT day June 25 starts, but assuming they are, listen UT June 24:

NHK World Radio Japan: English 0500-0530 on 6110, 1200-1230 on 6120; Japanese 0200-0500 5960; 1300-1500 11655

Vatican Radio: English 0250-0315, Spanish 0320-0400 both on 7305, 9610; Spanish 1130-1214 13730

Voice of Vietnam: English 0100-0130, 0230-0300, 0330-0400 on 6175

KBS World Radio, English: 0230-0300 9560, 1200-1300 9650; Spanish 0200-0230 9560, 0600-0700 6045; Korean 1400-1500 9650

China Radio International: who cares? Too many and plenty will be left from elsewhere

Radio República, 2300-0200 on 9490 [or only until 0000?]

1100-1127 Cartas @ RN, finale of mailbag show on RN Spanish 9895 & 6165-Bonaire
1130-1157 Cartas @ RN, finale of mailbag show on RN Spanish 6165- Bonaire
1200-1227 Cartas @ RN, finale of mailbag show on RN Spanish 9715 & 6165-Bonaire

MONDAY JUNE 25

0000-0057 Cartas @ RN, finale of mailbag show on RN Spanish 6165- Bonaire
0100-0157 Cartas @ RN, finale of mailbag show on RN Spanish 6165- Bonaire
0830-0900 Fiji Democracy & Freedom Movement, 11565 via WHRI, weekly

This is the final week for Radio Netherlands. You may want to make an effort to listen before the Last Show special scheduled below

FRIDAY JUNE 29

0200-0400 PCJ Radio Special farewell to RNW, on WRMI 9955

For more details visit http://www.pcjmedia.com

A bit cheeky to schedule this at the same time as RN`s own Last Show!

0159-0257 RNW`s Last Show special to ENAm, 6165-Bonaire [not 11640]
0259-0357 RNW`s Last Show special to CNAm, 6165-Bonaire
0459-0557 RNW`s Last Show special to WNAm, 6165-Bonaire; NZ/SEAu 12015-Bonaire

In case there are any further changes from the `final` schedule:

http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/were-changing

Will Tom Meyer appear on this one? He does in Spanish:

1000-1057, RNW farewell broadcast in Indonesian: 17840 & 21485 Madagascar, 15300 & 15565 Sri Lanka; maybe also at 1100, 2100 [or June 28]
1330-1430 RNW Spanish farewell program with live video stream, including interview with Tom Meyer; repeated on SW the following evening on usual frequencies; see SAT
1400-1457 RNW`s Last Show special to Asia, 9800-Sri Lanka
1800-1957 RNW`s Last Show special to Africa, 17605-Vatican [audible in NAm]

1859-2057 RNW`s Last Show Special to Eu 6065
1900-2057 RNW`s Last Show Special to Af 7425-Madagascar
1900-2057 RNW`s Last Show Special to Af 11615-France
1900-2057 RNW`s Last Show Special to Af 15495-Vatican [maybe audible in NAm]. 2057 UT is really The End, for English

SATURDAY JUNE 30

0000-0057 & 0100-0157, RNW Spanish Farewell program [that`s what they say, unlike English which will end the previous night. Also check UT Friday June 29 in case that is correct date for Spanish too], 6165- Bonaire. See

http://www.rnw.nl/espanol/radioshow/cartasrn-en-v%C3%ADsperas-del- %C3%BAltimo-programa

VATICAN RADIO is also canceling most of its SW and MW broadcasts to Europe, and SW to Americas as of July 1. Presumably many of them will last be aired on June 30, altho the Sackville relays may have ended a week earlier. See

http://www.hfcc.org/data/schedbybrc.php?seas=A12&broadc=VAT

Many of the SMG transmissions to elsewhere are audible in NAm; also via Madagascar; and especially BONAIRE: 0030-0200 15470 in Portuguese, Spanish; 0230-0250 6040, 9610 in French. Since these are after 0000 UT, will their last day be UT June 30 or July 1?

2359-2400, LEAP SECOND, the 61-second minute on WWV, WWVH and all the world`s timesignal stations

http://hpiers.obspm.fr/iers/bul/bulc/bulletinc.dat

FRIDAY JULY 6

2100 until 2100 UT July 7, Scandinavian Weekend Radio monthly broadcast expected, not confirmed; see June 22

THURSDAY JULY 12-SUNDAY JULY 15

R. Hami, Finland, low-power special on 6170, 1584, 94.7. Details:

http://radiohami.fi/

FRIDAY JULY 13

BBC Radio 3 Prom Concert season starts, until September 8

http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms

This calendar will be updated and reissued as needed

Latest edition: http://www.w4uvh.net/calendar.html

(Glenn Hauser, 1640 UT June 18, DX LISTENING DIGEST)

I will try to record some of these, but would love your recordings if you catch them.