Monthly Archives: February 2013

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Voice of Greece

TheParthenonAthensFor your listening pleasure: two hours of music, and a little Greek commentary, from the Voice of Greece.

Recorded on February 24, 2013 at 00:00 UTC on 9.42 MHz.

Click here to download the MP3 of the recording, or listen below:

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Frank hears Bureau Met in DRM

drmlogoFrank writes:

Hello Thomas,

This afternoon I came across ‘Bureau Met’ on 5960 [kHz]. I have been listening since 0800Z today, 24th Feb. SNR is a constant 19/20dB (RNZI peaks at about 17 on a good day. ). Content is a speech by Martin Luther King, ‘ one small step for mankind’, a speech by Churchill, more Apollo mission, Bill Clinton apologizing to the nation, and similar stuff repeating about every 40 minutes..

I suspect this is a Radio Australia test tx from their Canberra transmitter.

No station ID on the hour.


Thanks, Frank! Has anyone else caught this DRM broadcast?

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Numbers stations: stranger than fiction

towersMore mentions of numbers stations in the popular press, thanks to the new movie, The Numbers Station. Hat tip to SWLing Post reader, HK:


[…]If you ever find yourself wishing your life was filled with a little more mystery, a little more excitement, save up thirty dollars and go buy a shortwave radio and start scanning the airwaves. With a little luck and a lot of patience, you might come across a band carrying the monotone voice of a man reciting military call letters (“Echo — Kilo — Charlie”), the robotic voice of a woman counting in Russian, or one broadcasting a continual string of beeps, chirps or hums. If you manage to tune in to one of these stations, you could very well be listening in on a coded message intended for a spy.

Once thought to be useless for communications purposes because of their high frequencies and short wavelengths, shortwave radio bands were, it was discovered in the 1920’s, ideal for sending messages over extremely long distances. Shortwave signals are broadcast into the sky, where they are reflected or refracted off of the electrically-charged ionosphere layer of the upper atmoshpere and sent back down to Earth as far as a continent away. By the start of the Cold War a few decades later, countless shortwave radio stations were found to be broadcasting strange, seemingly coded, messages using this technique. At the time, these so-called “number stations” (or “numbers stations”) were widely believed to be in use by various government intelligence agencies to broadcast secret messages to spies over great distances, but none of the codes — if, indeed, that’s what the signals were — were ever cracked and no governments ever officially acknowledged their use.

Number stations remained a mystery and were all but forgotten by the general public until the discovery in the ’70s of a station that was broadcasting a powerful signal comprised of the synthesized voice of a British woman speaking a sequence of five numbers. The station came to be known as “The Lincolnshire Poacher” because two bars from the English folk song of that name served as interval signals. The signal from the station was traced back to the Royal Air Force base at Akrotiri, on the island of Cyprus, providing number station enthusiasts with the first “proof” that government organizations like the British Secret Intelligence Service were behind some, if not most, of the number stations.[…]

Read the full article at Keep track of news on numbers stations and our recordings by following the numbers stations category.

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Media Institute of Southern Africa reacts to Zimbabwe shortwave receiver ban

The shortwave version of the Eton Microlink FR160 is one of the noted "

The shortwave Eton Microlink FR160 is one of the noted “specially-designed radios” capable of receiving international broadcasts (like those from the Voice of America) which might compete with state-owned stations.

International broadcasters (and those cutting their budgets) should ask themselves the following question:

If shortwave radio is no longer relevant in today’s high-tech world, why are these radios suddenly being banned in a country controlled by a repressive regime?

The government of Zimbabwe apparently fears the little self-powered shortwave radio you see on the right.  —>

Read the Media Institute of Southern Africa’s reaction to the radio ban in the Huffington Post:

(Source: Huffington Post)

Media freedom campaigners said Friday police in Zimbabwe are breaking the law by seizing and banning small radio receivers that can tune in to stations not linked to the state broadcasting monopoly controlled by President Robert Mugabe’s party.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa said Friday no regulations outlaw the hand-cranked, solar powered radios that democracy and election support groups plan to use ahead of a referendum on a new constitution next month and crucial elections later in the year. Police insist the radios and cheap Chinese 3G smartphones with GPS capability are being supplied by “subversive organizations” and pose a security threat surrounding the polling.

[…]”The importance of a radio set cannot be overemphasized as it is a generally affordable legal gadget used for receiving information by the public,” the group said.

Police efforts to “criminalize the distribution and possession of the radio sets” infringed citizens constitutional rights to freedom of expression and basic civil liberties,” it said.

Such radios and other equipment were seized in recent police raids on the Zimbabwe Peace Project, a human rights group that monitors political violence, and the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network.

Police allege those and other groups were planning to mobilize “recruits” with unauthorized communications devices in rural districts across the country, traditionally voting strongholds of Mugabe’s party.

The Elton [Eton, actually] Microlink radio, at a cost of about $30, has channels able to receive Voice of America broadcasts beamed in from neighboring Botswana and shortwave broadcasts on Zimbabwe from Europe.

The state Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp. has four radio stations fiercely loyal to Mugabe. State and independent newspapers are not commonly found in impoverished rural districts where communities rely for information on radios only receiving state radio and powered by batteries that are often in short supply.

Police warned this week that the activities of some Western-backed non-governmental organizations and rights groups now verged on espionage. People found in remote areas with the cited devices could face arrest.

They said the “specially designed radios are not compatible with state-owned radio stations” and could inflame election tensions by promoting hate speech.[…]

Read the full article here…

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Pirate Radio Recordings: Wolverine Radio


Wolverine Radio eQSL–one of two SSTV images decoded near the end of the broadcast

For your listening pleasure: 2 hours and 46 minutes of pirate radio station, Wolverine Radio–recorded Sunday, February 17, 2013 around 2:40 UTC.

Wolverine was broadcasting on 6.925 MHz in the upper side band. Typical of Wolverine, lots of music variety which spans the decades, and no commentary other than station ID throughout.

I decoded two of the SSTV images Wolverine transmitted; the Canadian flag (see right) and this one. You can easily decode these live, or via the recording below. Per Ragnar’s suggestion, I now use MMSTV to decode SSTV images.

Click here to download the full recording of Wolverine Radio, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

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Daniel shares recent QSLs

Daniel (W3DI) writes:

I have been enjoying some shortwave broadcasts recently and received some nice QSL cards. Wanted to share the cards and some station information.

 Deutsche Welle - copied broadcast on 15,275 KHz - Jan 20 , 2013 at 1930 UTC

Deutsche Welle – copied broadcast on 15,275 KHz – Jan 20 , 2013 at 1930 UTC

China Radio International - copied broadcast on 9,580 & 6,020 KHz - Dec 29 & 31 , 2012   at 0130 UTC

China Radio International – copied broadcast on 9,580 & 6,020 KHz – Dec 29 & 31 , 2012 at 0130 UTC


VOA -  Africa service - They sent not only a QSL but a beautiful 2013 calendar.

VOA – Africa service –
They sent not only a QSL but a beautiful 2013 calendar.

Daniel addeded:

Shortwave listening was my first step to becoming an amateur [radio operator]. First receiver was a Lafayette HE – 10 with a Q mulitplier I built. Now using a WinRadio 313 – things have really changed.

Shortwave listening was also my first step to becoming a ham radio operator. The Lafayette HE-10 is a beautiful little 9 tube radio. I love the split dials on the front–much like the venerable Hallicrafters S-38.

The Lafayette HE - 10 (Photo:

The Lafayette HE – 10 (Photo:


The Hallicrafters S-38 (Photo: The S-38 Guy)


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VOA’s Radiogram adds digital content to AM broadcasts


VOA Radiogram is a new Voice of America program experimenting with digital text and images via AM shortwave broadcasting.  One might say this is the crossover point between classic shortwave and current technology.  It’s fun and fascinating stuff, and also has real utility.

If you’ve been an SWLing Post reader for very long, you’ll be familiar with the digital messages, otherwise known as radiograms, included in broadcasts from The Mighty KBC and, earlier, from WBCQ.  We’ve also offered a small primer on decoding.

In the near future, Dr. Kim Elliott’s digital radiograms will be broadcast through VOA via the Edward R. Murrow Transmission Station in Greenville, NC.

The new VOA Radiogram website contains time and frequencies and all of the information you’ll need to decode VOA radiograms.

Incidentally, Kim Elliott and I will be presenting on the topic of VOA Radiograms and digital modes at the 2013 NASWA Winter SWL Fest. If you’re interested, it’s not too late to register!  Meanwhile, stay tuned for more information about radiograms.

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