Monthly Archives: February 2013

Reader Chris shares travel recordings: Voice of Mongolia, Korea

Map pointing to Truk Lagoon (Source:

Map pointing to Truk Lagoon (Source:

SWLing Post reader, Chris Johnson, recently sent me a message confessing his love of travel combined with shortwave radio listening. When he told me about his enviable plans to travel to the tiny islands of Truk Lagoon in the Federated States of Micronesia–and to record some of the broadcasts he heard–I asked if he would allow me to share his recordings on the Post. Fortunately for us, he agreed!

Below are two of his recordings, the first from the Voice of Mongolia, the second from the Voice of Korea. Both happen to be very difficult stations to catch here in eastern North America. His comments follow each recording:

Voice of Mongolia Shortwave Broadcast to Asia and Europe. Using a Sony ICF-SW7600G with a whip antenna. Recorded on 29 January 2013 at 1030z on 12085 khz from the Blue Lagoon Resort, Truk Lagoon, Federated States of Micronesia. The broadcast interval signal begins at 1:35

Voice of Korea; Recorded on a Sony ICF-SW7600G using a whip antenna. 7 February 2013 on 15100 khz at 0500z Location; Puka Beach, Boracay Island, Philippines. The program was scheduled for 60 minutes but due to the frequent power outages in the DPRK, the program ceased at approximately 52 minutes.

Thanks, Chris!

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Shortwave Radio Recordings: Saturday Night Country

Emma Swift is filling is hosting Saturday Night Country while Felicity Urquhart is on maternity leave. (Photo: Radio Australia)

Emma Swift is hosting Saturday Night Country while Felicity Urquhart is on maternity leave. (Photo: Radio Australia)

As on many Saturday mornings, this past weekend I sipped my morning coffee while listening to ABC’s Saturday Night Country from Radio Australia’s Shepparton shortwave transmission site on 9.58 MHz…some 9,800 miles from my home.

In this program, Emma Swift continues to fill in for Felicity Urquhart (who is on maternity leave). Swift, who is an amazing host and songwriter in her own right, focuses in this show on country drinking songs (amongst others) and on a few nostalgic country songs in the final set. Fortunately, I captured the whole show in two recordings.

Click here to download the first recording and here to download the second as MP3s. Alternatively, you can simply listen via the embedded player below:

The download page for these recordings can be found here.

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How to decode that RDFT in numbers station HM01? Roland explains

DIGTRXA few weeks ago, I published a post with a recording of the Cuban numbers station HM01, a “Hybrid Mode” numbers station which interchangeably broadcasts both voice and a digital mode called RDFT with each transmission. I had suggested using an application called “DIGTRX” to decode the data bursts.

I then received  a comment on that post from the author of the DIGTRX program himself, Roland. He has actually created a page in English which describes in detail how to decode the RDFT in HM01.  Note that this page was originally in Roland’s native Portugese, and he kindly translates it into English for us:

[While this means that we can decode the transmissions, it doesn’t mean we can necessarily decipher them, however.  At least, not yet.]

Imagine that a spy numbers station is using an application you, yourself, authored to send coded messages. What are the odds?  This apparently happened to Roland, when he discovered that HM01 was, in fact, using his application DIGTRX. What?!?

Actually, it makes sense to me that numbers stations would use DIGTRX. After all, it’s open source. Operatives in the field can download the application without raising awareness. If it were a proprietary application, either commercially or of their own design, it would add to the complication of downloading and using it (on both ends). As you’ll read in Roland’s tutorial, HM01 has built in robust redundancies by using RDFT and DIGTRX. Very interesting.

Thanks, Roland, for sharing!

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VOA protests jamming of English service to China

voa logo(Source: VOA)

The Voice of America is protesting new jamming of its English broadcasts in China.

VOA Director David Ensor condemned the new interference and said the U.S. government broadcaster is working with experts to determine the precise origin of the jamming. He said “the free flow of information is a universal right and VOA will continue to provide accurate and balanced information on platforms that can reach audiences in areas subject to censorship.”

The U.S.-funded VOA is not the only victim of jamming. The British Broadcasting Corporation said this week its shortwave English radio broadcasts also are being jammed in China.

The BBC said that while it is not possible to know who is doing the jamming, “the extensive and co-ordinated efforts are indicative of a well-resourced country such as China.”

VOA broadcast engineers say Radio Australia also is being jammed.

At VOA headquarters in Washington, engineers say that while the agency’s Chinese-language broadcasts are routinely jammed in China, its English broadcasts usually are not. They noticed the jamming of the English programs about a month ago and say it appears to use a new technology.

Many countries have used various methods to jam VOA broadcasts for decades, especially during the Cold War when VOA broadcast heavily into the former Soviet Union and other countries under Communist control. Now, its Persian satellite television broadcasts into Iran are frequently jammed, as are VOA Horn of Africa broadcasts to Ethiopia.

Note our previous article on the topic of harmful interference from China.

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Pirate Radio Recordings: Radio GaGa

1-RadioListeningFor your listening pleasure: two recordings of the pirate radio station, Radio GaGa.

Both of these broadcasts were recorded on 6.925 MHz in the upper side band on February 23rd, 2013; the first one at 12:40 UTC, the second one at 04:10 UTC.

Download the broadcasts from this page, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

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Radio Canada International’s first broadcast 68 years ago

RCI(Source: RCI Action)

Canada’s international radio service started officially on February 25, 1945 with an address by Canada’s Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, followed by Justice Minister Louis St-Laurent (in French) and then by Howard B. Chase, chairman of the CBC board of governors[…]

Read the full article and listen to the broadcast on the RCI Action website.

Click here to listen to the first broadcast on the CBC website.

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China appears to be jamming the BBC World Service (and the SWLing Post)

Structure of a Denial of Service attack. (Image: WikiMedia Commons)

Structure of a Denial of Service attack. (Image: WikiMedia Commons)

No doubt, in publishing this, The SWLing Post will be hit with another barrage of denial-of-service attacks. If you notice the site loading slowly, or completely off-line for periods of time in the near future, you’ll know why…

A few weeks ago I mentioned various upgrades to the SWLing Post web server.  Part of this is due to our increased traffic and part is due to the fact that we were moving to a more secure server.

You see, recently I posted an article with a recording of Firedrake along with a follow-up from Post reader, Mark. Two days later, The SWLing Post was hit with denial-of-service attacks from IP addresses, all of which appeared to originate from China. It almost brought the whole server down–however, my intrepid web host, CloudWeb, scrambled to block the offenders, and they did an amazing job. You may note that I had to temporarily remove the Firedrake posts (they’ve since been re-published).  I don’t consider this to be a conciliation, but rather a victory:  for free speech, and for its power on shortwave radio.

Anyone who follows the SWLing Post with regularity will know that I’m a strong believer in access to and freedom of news and information, so I’m a bit annoyed by the DoS attacks that attempt, however unsuccessfully, to mute our voice in China and throughout the world. No doubt, The SWLing Post is already behind the “great” firewall, anyway.

If our site does go down, follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook.

With that preamble behind me, I owe my thanks to Andy Sennitt for bringing this article to my attention:

Reuters-Logo1(Source: Reuters)

Radio broadcasts in English from the BBC World Service are being jammed in China, the British broadcaster said on Monday, suggesting the Chinese authorities were behind the disruption.

“The BBC strongly condemns this action which is designed to disrupt audiences’ free access to news and information,” the BBC said in a statement.

China, which enforces strict restrictions on its domestic media, has been accused by several prominent foreign media of seeking to stop their news reports reaching Chinese audiences.

“The BBC has received reports that World Service English shortwave frequencies are being jammed in China,” said the London-based public service broadcaster.

“Though it is not possible at this stage to attribute the source of the jamming definitively, the extensive and coordinated efforts are indicative of a well-resourced country such as China.”

A duty officer at China’s foreign ministry had no immediate comment.

[…]”The jamming of shortwave transmissions is being timed to cause maximum disruption to BBC World Service English broadcasts in China,” said Peter Horrocks, director of BBC Global News.

“The deliberate and coordinated efforts by authorities in countries such as China and Iran illustrate the significance and importance of the role the BBC undertakes to provide impartial and accurate information to audiences around the world.”[…]

Click here to read the full article by Estelle Shirbon; with additional reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer at

For more stories like this, follow our tag: Why Shortwave Radio?

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