Comrade Africa: A historic look at the GDR’s Cold War era shortwave broadcasts to Africa

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ulis (K3LU), who shares the following note via his Twitter feed:

“Comrade Africa” – a historic look at the GDR’s (Radio Berlin International) Cold War era shortwave broadcasts to Africa via the BBC World Service:

Click here to listen to the documentary at the BBC World Service.

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Radio Waves: New Ham Radio Store, SDR Market worth $14.5 billion by 2025, Retaining 87.7 FM, and Hard-Core-DX now on Slack

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Tracy Wood, Bill Patalon, Dennis Dura, and Mike Agner for the following tips:


Amateur Radio Field Day synchronized with radio store’s Grand Opening (Ramona Sentinel)

Ham radio hobbyists will test their emergency preparedness skills alongside All Day Radios’ Grand Opening celebration in Ramona next weekend.

The Amateur Radio Field Day, a national emergency preparedness activity sponsored by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), will be held in Ramona from 11 a.m. Saturday, June 26 and continues for 24 hours until 11 a.m. Sunday, June 27.

All Day Radios co-owner Peter Von Hagen will coordinate his Grand Opening in sync with Field Day from Friday through Sunday. The store is at 2855 state Route 67 between Dye Road and Hope Street, and Field Day will be held next door.

Von Hagen said the object of Field Day, held annually the fourth weekend in June, is to communicate on as many stations on amateur bands as possible to test the capabilities of communications equipment. Operators will be using backup sources of power such as solar power and batteries, he said.[]

Software Defined Radio Market worth $14.5 billion by 2025 (Markets and Markets Newsletter)

The demand for software defined radios, especially in the commercial applications, such as telecommunication, transportation, and commercial aviation, has been affected to a great extent. Due to precautionary measures undertaken by many countries to stop the spread of COVID-19, several public/private development activities have been stopped, resulting in a drop in demand for software defined radios. However, this trend seems to vary from country to country. For instance, the demand for software defined radios in Europe and the Asia Pacific has been affected by the pandemic owing to the stoppage of development activities.

Based on application, the commercial segment of the software defined radio market is projected to witness the substantial growth during the forecast period

In terms of application, the market is segregated into commercial and defense. The rising usage of SDRs in commercial applications including aviation communication, marine communication, transportation, telecommunication is supporting the segment growth. Software defined radios are predominantly used in Air Traffic Control (ATC), transportation, and telecommunication applications. They are easily upgradable and provide high data transmission rate that further enhances its usage for commercial segment.

Cognitive/ Intelligent radio sub segment of the software defined radio market by type is projected to witness the highest CAGR owing to increasing improvements in cognitive radio products.[…]

FCC Report 6/13: Has A STA Based Doorway Been Cracked Open To Retain 87.7 FM Operations? (Radio Insight)

The FCC has sent another reminder to licensees of analog low power television stations regarding the July 13 drop-dead date. If an analog LPTV has not applied for a digital CP by that date its license will be cancelled and those that have Construction Permit’s but will not be ready to broadcast digitally will need to file a waiver request but still will be required to turn off their analog signal on the 13th and cease operation until ready to begin operating with their digital facilities.

This will of course affect the thirty something LPTV’s on analog channel 6 operating as radio stations on 87.75 MHz. While some of these signals will be moving to other channels, many will be remaining on channel 6 and have spent the past few years seeking loopholes to continue to broadcast an analog audio signal past the digital conversion deadline. Venture Technologies Group, which owns five affected stations, threw the door wide open this week with the grant of a six month STA for its KBKF-LD San Jose CA. KBKF-LD, which is leased to Educational Media Foundation to air its “Air 1” network, will be permitted to continue to offer an analog audio signal on 87.75 FM in its ATSC 3.0 digital video signal.[]

Introducing: Hard-Core-DX Slack Chat (Hard-Core-DX)

From: Risto Kotalampi

Hi all,

Hard-Core-DX has been a pioneer in connecting shortwave listeners for nearly 30 years now. In its core it has been emailing lists and web sites and some other experiments which have either spun to become popular on their own (e.g. various ham related spotting sites or Online Log which is very popular in Finland) or not. Today we wanted to try to branch out into chat using Slack.

This is not the only chat there is… IRC, Facebook, Whatsapp etc have small circles for shortwave listeners but they have all been closed systems and not enabling an environment that can be used across devices and have conversations about any topics we choose. In the corporate world Slack has revolutionized communications amongst colleagues and partners in different companies. Much of work in U.S.A. small companies happens nowadays in Slack and not so much in emails.

Hard-Core-DX has signed up and created it’s very own Slack service.
If you want to join the HCDX Slack, please click this link and create your own HCDX Slack account:

https://join.slack.com/t/hard-core-dx/shared_invite/zt-rn83gamf-_UCfo9LYUVmoIBhb0~3cSg

Some basic rules of the Slack service:

  1. When you join it, you will see some channels that have been created already. You can join them or if you can’t find the topic you’d like to chat about, please create your own.
  2. HCDX will not be in the business of moderating what people are creating or discussing. If you create a channel, you will choose the policies of the discussion.
  3. This can naturally invite some abuse. We will deal with it with Slack’s policies as time comes.
  4. You are welcome to invite your DX friends to the HCDX Slack and grow the community. Invite happens from menu in upper left corner and link “Invite people to Hard-Core-DX”
  5. Let’s keep subjects within shortwave radio, broadcast, utility, pirate DXing & ham radio if possible to keep the service relevant to us
  6. This is an experiment… if it doesn’t gain popularity or becomes a burden, we will shut it down. But for now, if you want to experiment and see if this is where you want to chat with your DX friends, join the fun.

Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

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FTIOM & UBMP, June 27-July 3


From the Isle of Music, June 27-July 3:

Part 2 of 2 parts: This week, our guest is Rodney Barreto, winner of the Making Of category in this year’s Cubadisco and a nominee in Jazz for Drummer Negrito.  He also performed in several other nominees and winners of Cubadisco. Our conversation will be in English.
The broadcasts take place:
1. For Eastern Europe but audible well beyond the target area in most of the Eastern Hemisphere (including parts of East Asia and Oceania) with 100Kw, Sunday 1500-1600 UTC on SpaceLine, 9400 KHz, from Sofia, Bulgaria (1800-1900 MSK)
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0000-0100 UTC on WBCQ, 7490 kHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EDT in the US).
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 kHz from Rohrbach, Germany.
Our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/fromtheisleofmusic/
Our V-Kontakte page is https://vk.com/fromtheisleofmusic
Our Patreon page is https://www.patreon.com/tilford

Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, June 27-July 3:
In episode 223, we present new and recent releases from various countries.
The transmissions take place:
1.Sunday 2200-2300 (6:00PM -7:00PM EDT) on WBCQ The Planet 7490 kHz from the US to the Americas and parts of Europe
2. Tuesday 2000-2100 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 kHz from Rohrbach, Germany for Europe.
3. Saturday 0800-0900 UTC on Channel 292, 9670 kHz from Rohrbach, Germany for Europe with a directional booster aimed eastward.
Our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/UncleBillsMeltingPot/
Our V-Kontakte page is https://vk.com/fromtheisleofmusic
Our Patreon page is https://www.patreon.com/tilford

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Guest Post: Great news from CFVP Alberta!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who shares the following guest post:


Big news in these days of declined shortwave

by Dan Robinson

It is rare — no super rare — that we get any good news these days about shortwave broadcasting. Remember the excitement a few years ago when Guinea returned to shortwave? Then, Nigeria returned but has now become worryingly intermittent.

Today, a station returned to shortwave, one that was absent for some time.

CFVP, the low power relay of 1060 kHz AM in Calgary, Alberta returned to 6,030 kHz with the help of amateur radio operators. The station had been off the air through 2019 — the last time it was reported was in late 2018 when it was relaying CKMX 1060 AM in Calgary.

According to a note posted on the World of Radio group:

“two engineers from Bell Media, Dale and Gerry, who are also hams, VA6AD and V6QCT respectively, rebuilt the transmitter (partially with ham radio parts) and repaired the connection to the antenna with a temporary matching network…the temporary matching network means that not all the 100 watts are going into antenna.”

According to Harold Sellers, who is acting as eQSL manager for the re-activated shortwave station, CFVP 6030 was back on the air as of 0900, though I was unable to hear it until later on June 19th. Best reception was via SDR sites in southern Alberta, northern Montana, Idaho and up in Edmonton, Alberta.

Programming consisted of straight comedy routines from Funny 1060 AM, the Calgary station that carries old recordings of standup comedians, with local IDs and ads mixed in every few minutes. I made a video showing CFVP reception on one of the SDR sites, changing between 6,030 kHz and 1060 kHz which was also audible at SDR locations.

Earlier this year, in March, DX’er Don Moman reported the following, which proved to be true:

” . . .They had a transmitter problem which has been fixed, but they have also identified an antenna issue. The problem [was] troubleshooting and testing the antenna and matching network in the point blank presence of a 50kw AM transmitter. Testing/ repair on CFVP radiator will be done when the 50kw signal can be powered down or off, to enable more accurate testing. Bell will not power down or shut down during ratings periods which are long and frequent. Having said that, repair will likely happen with the above taken into consideration, as well as warm weather. Best guess: Before next winter at the latest, this spring the earliest.”

In August, Harold Sellers reported that the ground at the base of the shortwave tower was under water, and that grounding rods and ground wire needed replacement, and later that the tower grounding had been replaced/fixed. The transmitter also had issues but was repaired and back out at the site.

I quickly sent a reception report to the email address provided by Harold Sellers, and was pleased to receive back a eQSL which Harold said was the second one sent out to those who heard the station on its re-activation day.

Those of us who began our listening in the 1960’s (some much earlier than that!) remember the great days when Canada had a number of regional stations on shortwave. QSLs from some of those, including a 1983 QSL from CFVP/Calgary, are attached to this article.

A screenshot of CFVP as it was being heard on reactivated 6,030 kHz is also shown.

Interestingly, the Wikipedia listing for CKMX shows 6,030 kHz as being active — it’s not known, however, whether the Wikipedia listing was ever updated to note that 6,030 kHz was off the air for nearly 2 years.

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Giuseppe’s improved read-to-go case for the Tecsun S-8800

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Giuseppe Morlè (IZ0GZW), who writes:

Dear Thomas,

I want to share my latest version of my case / antenna for Tecsun S-8800 to make it immediately operational: simply open and listen.

In addition to the loop inside the case with a 3-meter wire at one of the ends that join two telescoping style whips of one meter each short-circuited to take advantage of the entire length. At the other end of the loop, a cable that goes to the ground of the variable capacitor.

I can tune the whole range from 3 to 16 MHz with truly amazing results.

You can see the video from my Youtube channel at the link:

Thanks to you and all the friends of SWLing Post.
Regards.
73. Giuseppe Morlè iz0gzw.

This is incredibly clever, Giuseppe! AS I mentioned before, I love how self-contained this makes the entire listening station and I especially love the built-in antenna options! This is truly a shack-in-a-case!

Thank you for sharing this.

Click here to read Giuseppe’s other contributions here on the SWLing Post!

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Please share your recording of the 2021 BBC Midwinter Broadcast to Antarctica here!

Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey’s new base (Source: British Antarctic Survey)

In the comments section of this post, I’d like you to share your recording of the NNC Midwinter Broadcast to Antarctica!

In years past, I’ve created a post with all of the Midwinter recordings curated in one article. This usually takes me 12+ hours to prepare over a couple of weeks as many of the audio clips and video recordings must be formatted for the site and embedded. There is also a lot of discussions back/forth confirming details with listeners. This year, my schedule is such that if I try to piece one of these articles together I might not have it published for many, many weeks. That and I will not have reliable internet service over the next couple of weeks.

Instead, I’d like to try something new!

Please comment with your recording on this post!

Listening to the 2017 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast from the back of my vehicle in Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré, Québec, Canada.

I’ve created this dedicated post where you can comment and include links to audio and video of your 2021 Midwinter Broadcast recordings. This will allow you to post your logs and recordings at your convenience without my availability becoming the bottleneck.

Here’s the format I’d like you to leave in your comment of this post:

Name:

Listening location:

Notes: (Include frequencies and any details about your receiver and antenna.)

Link to audio or video: (YouTube, Vimeo, Internet Archive, SoundCloud, etc.)

Video and Audio Recordings

There is no way to directly upload audio in your comments, however, you can link to the recordings if you upload them to the Internet Archive (which I’d highly recommend) or any of the video streaming services like YouTube and Vimeo–or audio services like SoundCloud.

If you have a photo you’d like to include in your comment, send me an email from the same address you used in your comment. I’ll manually post the image at the top of your comment when time allows.

As with each year, I’ll make sure the BAS team and the BBC receive a link with all of your recordings!

Click here to comment with your recording of the 2021 BBC Midwinter Broadcast to Antarctica!

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Mikael enjoys listening to the Big Gun Friendship Net with his Tecsun PL-660

Photo from K3LR’s “super station.” (via QRZ.com)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mikael, who writes:

The Big Gun Friendship Net, an amazing and friendly net!

It was late or earlier here in France, when I switched on my Tecsun PL-660 with its wire antenna plugged in.

As always, I was scanning the 40 meters band. I obtained my ham licence in 2019 but still do not have a rig to transmit on HF, so I am listening and learning.

Well…it was not exactly typical, because usually at this hour I am asleep. It was 02:00 UTC. I was not able to catch a lot traffic as Europe is asleep or just beginning to wake up…

And I hit the 7128 kHz frequency. Amazing! Lots of traffic and some very powerful stations. As I was listening, I figure out that it was not a chaotic traffic, but an organized one where every participants were referring to one or two call signs, which were giving a turn to speak and call CQ to make contact all over the world and try to help each other to make contact.

Oh! it is a net! And what a net ! The “Big Gun Friendship Net” where you can find amazing big station from all over the world and mainly from north America and Europe.

Now I am listening to these friendly voices at least one or three times per week. I spotted some recurring call-signs, and thanks to the qrz.com database I could check out their personals pages with the amazing photos of their antennas and installation. I can cite WP3R, Angel from Arecibo Porto Rico who gives us news about the state of the Arecibo Radio Telescope. K3VOX almost always the master of ceremony of the Net from Florida, who manage it so kindly and friendly, but there are many others Tim, K3LR, Mr. Pete YO7MPD from Romania always present and M0KPD/M with its impressive mobile installation who pops up sometimes.

Listening to this net, I could enjoy the contacts they are able to do, Kuwait, Nicaragua, Russia and many more.

Many thanks to all the participants of the Big Gun Friendship Net who make it possible!

If you are an SWL, I encourage you to tune in 7128 kHz between 02:00 UTC and 04:00 UTC; it is amazing!

Hoping one day I would be able to respond to the “CQ DX, CQ Delta X-Ray…” launched by the net.

73
Mikael, F4IGT

Thank you for sharing this, Mikael! What a great recommendation.

I don’t think I’ve ever noted this on the SWLing Post before, but I often use radio nets like the Big Gun Friendship Net to not only check propagation, but also how sensitive and selective a portable shortwave receiver is in SSB mode. It’s a great one stop shop! Simply tune to the frequency and listen to the stations check into the net. Their callsigns make it easy to ID the station location and, quite often, they’ll give detailed TX information such as their rig, power output, and antenna.

Thanks again for sharing!

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