Monthly Archives: December 2012

International Broadcasters support freedom of information

JointStatementThe international broadcasting arms of France, Australia, the US, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands issued a joint statement in support of press freedoms across the globe. With the exception of the Netherlands (RNW), all of these countries still broadcast over the shortwaves.

(Source: BBC Media Center via Kim Elliott)

We, the representatives of Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France (AEF), Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) [Australia], British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) [United Kingdom], Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) [US], Deutsche Welle (DW) [Germany], Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) [Japan] and Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), have met in Berlin to discuss common concerns.

We find international journalism is facing unprecedented challenges from countries that seek to deny their own citizens access to information from outside their borders in violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

We call upon the world’s nations to strengthen their commitment to Article 19 and to support expanded opportunities to share information across borders through digital and mobile technologies.

Yet we note with dismay that certain governments continue to control the flow of information. For example, China routinely blocks the Web and social media sites of our broadcasters and jams our shortwave signals, or Iran and Syria interfere with the satellite signals that carry our programs. Governments in Eurasia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America also seek to control what their own citizens can see, hear and read.

Many of these actions, including intentional jamming of satellites, violate international regulations. We condemn them without reservation.

We also call attention to troubling new challenges to free expression. Some governments are seeking to enact far-reaching telecommunications regulations to stymie free speech.

At the World Conference on International Telecommunication (WICT) in Dubai, representatives of the world’s nations have considered telecommunications rules that might explicitly apply to the Internet for the first time.

We cast a wary eye on such efforts to control the Internet, and we denounce efforts to identify and track Internet users in order to stifle free expression, inquiry and political activity.

We have agreed to increase, whenever possible, our support for efforts to circumvent Web censorship through the use of new and innovative hardware and software tools. We also agreed to increase our advocacy for Internet freedom.

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Pirate Radio Recordings: Liquid Radio

LiquidRadioLast weekend, I also managed to record the shortwave radio pirate known as Liquid Radio–perhaps best known for their activity on the FM spectrum and on the web.

Liquid Radio’s format couldn’t be more different than our last pirate recording from Radio Casablanca; Liquid Radio plays a trance/techno/dance mix. Their last broadcast was nearly three hours long, and you’ll hear how fickle the propagation was as the signal waxes and wanes. I started recording their AM signal on 6.94 MHz around 4:00 UTC on Dec 16th.

You can click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen in the embedded player below:

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Aldous Huxley, radio in The Age of Noise

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

According to English satirist & humanist, Aldous Huxley, we live in the “Age of Noise.” When he wrote this, in 1945, he implicated radio:

“The twentieth century is, among other things, the Age of Noise. Physical noise, mental noise and noise of desire — we hold history’s record for all of them. And no wonder; for all the resources of our almost miraculous technology have been thrown into the current assault against silence. That most popular and influential of all recent inventions, the radio, is nothing but a conduit through which pre-fabricated din can flow into our homes. And this din goes far deeper, of course, than the ear-drums. It penetrates the mind, filling it with a babel of distractions – news items, mutually irrelevant bits of information, blasts of corybantic or sentimental music, continually repeated doses of drama that bring no catharsis, but merely create a craving for daily or even hourly emotional enemas. And where, as in most countries, the broadcasting stations support themselves by selling time to advertisers, the noise is carried from the ears, through the realms of phantasy, knowledge and feeling to the ego’s central core of wish and desire.”

In many ways, this is still true–but not necessarily of radio. I daresay if Mr. Huxley were still around, radio would be the least of his concerns.  Radio has gradually become the least invasive of the media that surrounds us, for the “noise” is now primarily visual:  unless we make an effort to “quiet” them, images bombard us from all sides….Ironically, radio now requires turning down the volume on these and everything else, in order to experience the same world of noise that Huxley once found so overwhelming.

(He obviously never listened to pirate radio.)

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Pirate Radio Recordings: Radio Casablanca

CasablancaOn Sunday, December 17th, around 22:00 UTC, I happened to pick up the last thirty minutes of Radio Casablanca; a pirate that plays a nostalgic mix of music from the 1930’s and 1940’s. They were broadcasting on 6939 kHz in AM.

Close your eyes, and you can imagine what it must have sounded like back in the day Phyllis Jeanne Creore Westerman graced the shortwaves.

You’ll hear me tweaking the receiver in the first three minutes while, in the background, I was entertaining my children. I though about cutting it out but, on second thought, simply uploaded it as-is. I switched from a very wide AM bandwidth to AM sync and then AM sync with only the lower sideband (to kill some noise in the upper side band) after adjusting the center slightly below 6940 kHz.

I love how the recording starts on a tone and then morphs into Close as Pages in a Book by Benny Goodman and his Orchestra.

You can download the MP3 by clicking here, or simply listen in the embedded player below:


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NPR: WWII ‘Canteen Girl’ Kept Troops Company From Afar

(Photo source: NPR)

(Photo source: NPR)

Long before the Internet and satellite phone, Phyllis Jeanne Creore Westerman brought soldiers home at Christmas via shortwave radio:

(Source: National Public Radio)

American service members have long spent holidays in dangerous places, far from family. These days, home is a video chat or Skype call away. But during World War II, packages, letters and radio programs bridged the lonely gaps. For 15 minutes every week, “Canteen Girl” Phyllis Jeanne Creore spoke and sang to the troops and their loved ones on NBC radio.

Her Christmas shows were morale boosters. America must “use more sentiment and less tinsel, and that’s the way it should be,” she told her listeners during one wartime Christmas broadcast. Now 96, Phyllis Jeanne Creore Westerman sits in her apartment on New York’s Fifth Avenue, remembering those seasonal broadcasts she recorded 70 years ago.

[…]She did a bit of radio work, found singing jobs with various bands at hotels like the Biltmore, and volunteered at the Stage Door Canteen. That’s where she got the idea for a regular radio show — to reach more troops — across the U.S., and in Europe by short wave.

Read the full article and listen to Susan Stamberg’s interview on

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Pirate Radio Recordings: Wolverine Radio, Dec 8 2012

Wolverine Radio’s upper side band signal came in loud and clear last Sunday (December 9, 2012) sometime around 2:25 UTC on 6940 kHz. Another great mix of music, complete with their interval signal.

It seems that their broadcast ended abruptly–no eQSL to decode at the end. Still, signal strength was quite good, as I’ve come to expect from this HF pirate.

Click here to download an MP3 of the entire show, or simply listen in the embedded player below:

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The Mighty KBC repeating digital tests this weekend

Caution: Don’t try this test if you’re driving an 18-wheeler!

The Mighty KBC is repeating the digital test they broadcast last weekend.

If you tune in (9,450 kHz, from 00:00-02:00 UTC) you should try decoding their digital message. If you configure FLDIGI according to their instructions, below, their broadcast should automatically launch your web browser with a message:

Because shortwave reception conditions were poor in many parts of the world last weekend, we will repeat the same digital text transmissions this weekend on The Mighty KBC.

These will be during the broadcast Sunday at 0000 to 0200 UTC (Saturday 7 to 9 pm Eastern Time in North America) on 9450 kHz. At about 0130 UTC, MT63-1000 will be centered at 1000 Hz, and PSKR125 will be centered at 2200 Hz. At just before 0200, MT63-2000 will be centered at 1500 Hz. Both MT63 modes will use long interleave.

Install both Fldigi and Flmsg from

In Fldigi, go to Configure > Modems > MT-63 > check 64-bit (long) interleave, 8-bit extended characters, and Allow manual tuning. Also, go to Configure > Misc > NBEMS > check Open with flmsg and Open in browser and, below that, indicate where your flmsg.exe file is located. If everything works, a shortwave transmitter in Bulgaria will open a new window of your web browser.

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