VOA Radiogram 128 on a cheap Tesco shortwave radio

VOA-Radiogram

SWLing Post reader, Christopher, lives on the north coast of Labrador, Canada. He recently contacted me regarding the purchase of a new receiver–he’s currently stuck with a very inexpensive analog portable he purchased at the UK grocery store, Tesco: the Tesco RAD-108.

While the RAD-108 has poor sensitivity and selectivity, it’s still (evidently) more than capable of receiving the VOA Radiogram. Many thanks to Christopher for sharing this video he found on YouTube:

Special VOA Radiogram broadcast for European Researchers’ Night

Fullscreen capture 9232015 13931 PM(Source: VOA Radiogram via Richard Langley)

VOA Radiogram will participate in European Researchers’ Night 2015, specifically to the Notte europea dei ricercatori at Frascati, near Rome. There will be a special broadcast of VOA Radiogram Friday, 25 September, at 1830-1900 UTC, on 17880 kHz, via the Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station in North Carolina.

This broadcast is in addition to regular VOA Radiogram schedule:

(days/times UTC):
Sat 0930-1000 5745 kHz
Sat 1600-1630 17870 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via North Carolina

More information:

http://voaradiogram.net

http://ec.europa.eu/research/researchersnight

http://www.frascatiscienza.it/pagine/notte-europea-dei-ricercatori-2015

Kim Elliott on shortwave radios & signal jamming in 2015

"Russian Federation (orthographic projection) - Crimea disputed" by FutureTrillionaire - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Russian_Federation_(orthographic_projection)_-_Crimea_disputed.svg#mediaviewer/File:Russian_Federation_(orthographic_projection)_-_Crimea_disputed.svg

(Source: USC Center on Public Diplomacy)

BBC Russian Wants to Expand, But It’s Not So Easy

The BBC, as part of its 2015 Charter Review document, announced proposals to “invest” in BBC World Service. This includes a desire for a “bigger digital presence in Russian through a new digital service on platforms such as YouTube and the Russian equivalent Rutube, together with TV bulletins for neighbouring states. We would also start a feasibility study for a satellite TV channel for Russia.”

[…]The feasibility of BBC satellite TV for Russia is problematic. Very few Russians have rotatable satellite dishes, surfing the Clarke Belt in search of outside news. About 25% of Russian homes have fixed Ku-band satellite dishes to receive proprietary domestic direct-to-home services such as TricolorTV and NTV+. Western Russian-language news channels are not included in these channel packages and are unlikely to be invited aboard. Content from Western Russian-language broadcasters, including Voice of America and Radio Liberty, is also legally not welcome on Russian domestic terrestrial television and radio stations.

[…]So far, Russia has not blocked the Internet content of Western international broadcasters, at least not on a continuous basis. The Kremlin’s repeated denials of any intent to block Internet content suggest that it has at least been thinking about it. And recent press accounts indicate that Russian authorities may even try to ban anonymizers and other methods used to work around online censorship. Circumvention tools would have to become even cleverer, and Russian users would have to be willing and able to use them. In an extreme scenario, Russia could physically cut off the landlines of Internet traffic into the country. Then no circumvention tool within the Internet Protocol would work.

This could bring BBC Russian full circle to the venerable but unfashionable medium of shortwave radio. To be sure, Russians are out of the habit of listening to shortwave. Shortwave is no longer used for domestic broadcasting in Russia. BBC Russian eliminated its shortwave broadcasts in 2011. But, if need be, Russians could dust off their Cold War era shortwave radios. Or they could purchase inexpensive Chinese-made portable radios with shortwave bands.

In addition to traditional voice broadcasts, text, images, and even formatted web pages can now be broadcast using existing shortwave transmitters, and received on any shortwave radio. The audio must be fed to a PC or mobile device equipped with appropriate (free) software. Such a method allows reception of content even in difficult reception conditions, and allows unattended reception. This new capability of existing shortwave broadcast technology has been demonstrated through the VOA Radiogram experiments.

If Russia blocks Internet content from abroad, it will also probably try to jam shortwave radio content from abroad. Most jamming transmitters of the Cold War era have been dismantled or have fallen into disrepair. Many of the jamming transmitters are outside of Russia, in former Soviet republics. Reviving a shortwave jamming apparatus would be a much more expensive proposition than blocking Internet content. Various Cold War anti-jamming tactics, using various tricks of ionospheric propagation, can be employed. Text via shortwave would be even more resistant to jamming than voice broadcasts.[…]

Read the full article by Kim Andrew Elliott at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy online.

Want to develop a VOA Radiogram application?

VOARadioGramAre you an application developer?

The VOA Radiogram is seeking a developer to create software for PCs and mobile devices “to simplify the decoding of text and images transmitted by VOA and other radio stations.”

The RFQ and Statement of Work from the Broadcasting Board of Governors can be dowloaded by clicking here.

Note that there is a very short deadline–September 26–to submit your proposal.

One Post reader notes that, “although BBG will make the software available for free, and will provide the source code, this is a paid procurement. Respondents are expected to state their fee.”

The category is $15,000 – $25,000 as can be seen here:

http://www.bbg.gov/partnerwithus/doing-business/

Again, responses are due September 26, 2015!

Richard’s search to find the best SWLing spot on campus

Richard-UNB

SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, has been seeking the perfect spot on the campus of the University of New Brunswick (UNB) to listen to shortwave. He recently shared the following:

Here’s a link to a brief video of my recording of last weekend’s VOA Radiogram “in the field” (a UNB parking lot):

Richard goes on to say that he’s found an even better location:

receiver_locations_smaller (1)

“That location on campus (green pin on attached image) turned out to not be noise-free on all bands. Found an even better location (red pin). Negligible power-line interference although still within Wi-Fi range of UNB’s system but no significant effects from that discovered yet. Got excellent reception of VOA’s Radiogram this past Saturday afternoon. Extremely clean waterfall in Fldigi. And virtually noise-free images [below]”

voa_radiogram (1)

Richard’s decoded message. (Click to enlarge)

pic_2015-06-06_181519z

VOA Radiogram decoded image

Many thanks for sharing this with us, Richard!

Those of you who live or work in areas with significant radio noise should consider scouting out a listening spot like Richard has. Also, you might be inspired by LondonShortwave who takes his radios to public parks. Regardless, moving your receiver as far away from sources of radio interference as possible will always yield better listening results.

VOA Radiogram #100

VOARadioGramDr. Kim Elliott, has been transmitting VOA Radiograms to a devoted set of global listeners for two years. Indeed, he recently passed a milestone by transmitting the 100th episode of the VOA Radiogram. Most impressive!

SWLing Post reader, Harald (DL1ABJ), recently sent the following message regarding reception of the 100th episode:

Dear Thomas,

Last weekend I decoded VOA Radiogram #100 on 17860 kHz AM (via Greenville, Edward R. Murrow TX station) from 1600 till 1630 UTC here in Germany.

Part of it was a text by Kim Andrew Elliott, KD9XB, telling a bit about his project of broadcasting text and pictures over AM transmitters on shortwave.

I am also attaching one of the pictures sent during VOA Radiogram #100.

Regards

Harald

VOARadiogram100 VOARadiogram100

Click here to view/download Harald’s text file (.RTF).

Many thanks for sharing this, Harald. VOA Radiograms are successfully decoded by listeners across the world. If you’re interested in decoding a VOA Radiogram, or simply following the broadcasts, bookmark VOAradiogram.net.

VOA Radiogram, 29-30 November 2014: Dim the lights

VOARadioGram(Source: VOA Radiogram)

Flmsg returns this weekend on The Mighty KBC. See details below.

This week on VOA Radiogram, the “surprise mode of the week” becomes the “bonus mode of the week.” Because many of you have problems with the RSID, I will divulge the bonus mode so that you can make manual adjustment if necessary.

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, program 87, 29-30 November 2014, all in MFSK32 centered on 1500 Hz except where indicated:

1:37 Program preview
2:39 Dimming lights to see the night sky*
11:27 Cambodian rice wins “world’s best” title*
19:53 Color photos of 1963 Soviet Union*
26:29 Closing announcements
27:20 Bonus mode of the week: MT63-2000L

Please send reception reports to radiogram@voanews.com

VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC):
Sat 0930-1000 5910 kHz
Sat 1600-1630 17860 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

The Mighty KBC will transmit a minute of MFSK64 Saturday at about 1230 UTC on 6095 kHz, and Sunday at about 0130 UTC (Saturday 8:30 pm EST) on 7375 kHz. Both frequencies are via Germany. Reports to Eric at themightykbc (at) gmail.com.

This weekend, the MFSK64 transmissions on The Mighty KBC will be in Flmsg format. If you do not have the Flmsg software, download it from the same source as Fldigi: http://w1hkj.com/download.html.

To make Flmsg work with Fldigi, in Fldigi: Fldigi: Configure > Misc > NBEMS > Under “Reception of flmsg files” check both “Open with flmsg” and “Open in browser.” Under that indicate where your Flmsg program is located, for example C:Program Files (x86)\flmsg-2.0.5\flmsg.exe.

If all goes well, the text from The Mighty KBC will pop up on your web browser.