Monthly Archives: March 2013

BBC World Service to “simplify” English and cut Arabic on shortwave

BBC-WorldServiceSadly, the BBC World Service is going forward with cuts that had been announced in 2012.

Global English service is being reduced, but Arabic services are being cut altogether. The BBC expect to lose 1.5 million listeners to Global English cuts, 800,000 listeners to Arabic cuts.

Fortunately, they will maintain all shortwave service into Sudan.

Here is the full press release:

(Source: BBC Media Centre)

25 March 2013

The World Service English global schedule will be simplified with fewer regional variations from Sunday 31 March 2013 and shortwave Arabic broadcasts will cease.

The reductions to shortwave services were announced in October 2012 as part of the UK government’s 2010 spending review. BBC World Service on FM and online and on television will not be affected and no language services are closing.

Shortwave and medium wave transmissions in English will be reduced to a minimum of 6 hours in total each day. This will generally be two periods of between 2 and 4 hours each, usually at peak listening times in the morning and evening to help minimise disruption. The changes will have less impact in regions where World Service is increasingly accessed via partner stations or online and in countries where FM is widely available.

Steve Titherington, Senior Commissioning Editor for BBC World Service, said: “We know that increasing numbers of people are accessing World Service on FM, online, and television. For those who can’t access these platforms, we’ve tried to ensure that they will continue to hear to the best the World Service has to offer at times of the day when they are most likely to tune in.”

“As part of the new schedule we will endeavour to have a mixture of news, current affairs and a mix of programmes covering the arts, science and human interest stories.” says Titherington.

A new programme, The Newsroom, will replace World Briefing. Outlook will be extended to an hour-long format and offer a new approach to covering arts, music and humanities following the closure of The Strand. Every Friday, The 5th Floor will run in the prominent Outlook time slot offering a review of the pick of the BBC’s 27 language services programing – in English.

The estimated loss of listeners to Global English on shortwave will be around 1.5m listeners, equivalent to 1.3% of the total Global News English audience on any platform.

BBC Arabic audiences are estimated to reduce by 800,000 as a result of the closure of shortwave broadcasts.

In the Arabic speaking world, the World Service broadcasts on a network of FM relays, a 24-hour television channel and thebbcarabic.com website.

Shortwave services to Sudan are not affected as the shortwave service is currently the most viable method of broadcasting to this large region.

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CommRadio CR-1 training videos

Don Moore, founder of CommRadio, has uploaded training videos for the CommRadio CR-1. These offer a pretty comprehensive overview of the CR-1, especially in terms of functions and menu structure.

Training Video 1 – Overview

Training Video 2 – Tuning

Training Video 3 – Menus and Functions

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NHK Radio Japan to end shortwave service to North America

NHK-Radio-JapanI’ve heard from several sources that NHK Radio Japan will end shortwave service to North America on March 31st, 2013.  No doubt, this is due to the April closing of the Montsinéry site in French Guiana.

NHK is one of the few “big” broadcasters that still targeted North America. In truth, I’m happy to see NHK close down the North American service rather than closing down all shortwave services. Many radio hobbyists in North America will still be able to hear their broadcasts targeting other parts of the world–it’ll just take a little more DXing–but we won’t get that big signal from Montsinéry.

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Pirate Radio Recordings: Radio Ronin Shortwave

Ronin's mix starts with the Sex Pistols (Photo: 45cat.com)|

Ronin’s mix starts with the Sex Pistols (Photo: 45cat.com)|

If you can’t tell from the number of recordings I posted today, last night was a busy night for pirate radio.

I heard no less than five pirates: AATW Radio, Red Mercury Labs Radio, Rave On Radio, Black Cat Radio and Radio Ronin Shortwave.

Though many had great signals, the strongest was Radio Ronin Shortwave on 6.925 MHz (AM). Ronin’s broadcast started around  22:15 UTC (March 22, 2013) and lasted for more than an hour. Near the end, you will hear some interference from maritime mobile stations in the upper side band of 6.925–that just ads character in my book.

Click here to download the full recording by clicking here, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Standard Pirate Radio Disclaimer: This is a recording of a real pirate radio broadcast, and as such, may include strong or colorful language or lyrics. In general, if you are easily offended by the words, ideas, music lyrics, or music herein, you should slowly…back… away…

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Pirate Radio Recordings: All Along The Watchtower Radio

(Click to enlarge)

One short pirate broadcast I caught last night was All Along The Watchtower Radio.

AATW Radio’s USB signal on 6.955 MHz started around 00:24 UTC (23 March 2013).

The (robo voice) host, Alex Jobs, played a great mix of music starting with a version of Video Killed the Radio Star by The Presidents of the United States of America. It actually sounded pretty good in upper side band!

Hear for yourself! Click here to download the MP3 recording of the full broadcast, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

"Mom, could that be The Presidents of The United States of America? How patriotic!"

“Mom, could that be The Presidents of The United States of America? How patriotic!”

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Rijmenants’ paper sheds light on Cuban numbers stations

WFL_015I’m always amazed by the remarkable talents and extraordinary knowledge of SWLing Post readers. Dirk Rijmenants recently commented on one of our Cuban spy numbers station postings:

[T]hanks for your work on this fascinating blog.

I have additional information on how and who used these Cuban numbers stations. I composed a paper based on FBI and court documents. “Cuban Agent Communications” can by found in the Papers section of my website.

Here’s the direct link (pdf):
http://users.telenet.be/d.rijmenants/papers/cuban_agent_communications.pdf

Have fun reading!

Dirk Rijmenants
Cipher Machines & Cryptology

I’ve read Dirk’s paper, which does, indeed, shed light on the process of receiving and decoding numbers. Most of all, it exposes the vulnerability and fallacy of using anything other than one-time decryption keys and single-use pads. Why? Most of what the FBI has learned about Cuban numbers came from laptops that were used to help decrypt coded messages–an unnecessary procedure when numbers can simply be decoded on note pads that can then be burnt or destroyed.

But don’t take my word for it–download and read Dirk’s paper Cuban Agent Communications” by clicking here. Also, be sure to check out Dirk’s blog and cryptology website; I’ve bookmarked both.

Thanks for sharing your findings, Dirk!

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