You’ll typically find North American radio pirates here on the SWLing Post, but on occasion, I do manage to pull in a station or two from Europe. Last night was one of those rare occasions, and I have Ragnar at Pirates Week to thank for the tip.
I tuned in Europirate Radio Borderhunter on 15,500 kHz AM, starting around 21:50 UTC. For an AM signal out of Europe, I was most impressed with Radio Borderhunter‘s strong signal.
I recorded about forty minutes of the pirate’s broadcast before propagation shifted. He then moved down to 6,210 kHz in the 48 meter band, a prime Europirate hangout, to continue his show.
VOA Radiogram for the weekend of 21-22 September 2013 is produced using Fldigi3.21.76AB. For best results, use this version, available from www.w1hkj.com/alpha/fldigi/v3.21/
One improvement in 3.21.76AB is that it can send images in MFSK64 and MFSK128. Previously, MFSK32 was the fastest MFSK mode for sending images without the pictures appearing skewed (off center). Images do not transmit more quickly in MFSK64 and MFSK128, but they do have higher resolution.
If your decoded MFSK64 and MFSK128 images are still slanted or skewed, calibration of the receive codec might be helpful. One such method for doing this is described here: www.w1hkj.com/FldigiHelp-3.21/DigiWWV.html.
Our non-Latin alphabet of the week is Greek. You will need the UTF-8 character set for the Greek and for some of the punctuation in the English items. I forgot to change some of the typographic apostrophes ’ to typewriter apostrophes ’ , so they will not display correctly if you do not have the UTF-8 character set. In Fldigi, that adjustment is made in Configure > Colors & Fonts.
This weekend’s program includes an English VOA News item in Flmsg format. When all the text is received, the story will render, or pop up, as a new web page on your browser, suitable for saving or forwarding. To make Flmsg work with Fldigi (both can be downloaded from w1hkj.com), in Fldigi: Configure > Misc > NBEMS — Under Reception of flmsg files, check both boxes, and under that indicate where your Flmsg.exe file is located.
Much of the show this weekend is in the MFSK64 mode, which might be a bit optimistic if reception conditions are less than ideal.
Here is the lineup of modes for VOA Radiogram, 21-22 September 2013:
2:53 MFSK16: Program preview
2:40 MFSK32: Sample of Greek text
:49 MFSK32 image: VOA Greek Service logo
3:01 MFSK32: “Need to Protect the Internet”
1:45 MFSK64: Radio Free Sarawak/Discovery Channel
2:23 MFSK64 image: “Duck Commander”
:27 MFSK128: CNBC Saracens deal
:48 MFSK128 image: CNBC logo
:45 MFSK32: E-mail address
4:40 MFSK64: BBC Worldwide, Giglio TV, Voice of Greece, All India Radio
2:55 MFSK64/Flmsg: VOA News re Voyager Golden Record
2:17 MFSK32 image: Voyager Golden Record
:33 MFSK32: Closing announcements
VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC)
Sat 1600-1630 17860 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1300-1330 6095 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.
I’m not surprised to find that North Korean families hide shortwave radios. After all, if it’s well hidden, and listened to privately, there is no way the government can monitor what is heard on shortwave, nor trace it back to the family listening. This is what separates radio from the Internet and mobile devices:
Many North Korean families keep a secret item at home, whose discovery may lead to harsh punishment. Away from prying eyes and in the privacy of their homes, North Koreans enjoy using items forbidden by the state, according to North Koreans who have recently escaped from the country.
“In every North Korean home, there is at least one secret item” says Jung Young-chul* (age 34), who left Korea in 2012. He had a short-wave radio in the house and the family would secretly listen to South Korean broadcasts. To avoid being caught, they kept the radio hidden under a container for keeping rice.
They were not the only ones with a hidden radio. Jung explains, “Once, a friend described a story that I had heard the night before while listening to a South Korean broadcast. I brought it up with him one night in drink, and he confided that his family too had a radio. We laughed about it together.”
This radio has been released in Australia via the Jaycar Electronics Stores as the Digitech Audio AR 1945. It has all the hallmarks of Redsun radios.
I bought one and overall the performance is very good on MW and SW, FM is ok and AIR band isn’t too bad. The big drawback is the SSB. It is dreadful, by far the worst SSB demodulation I have ever come across in a radio. This needs to be addressed and once done so, will be a good receiver.
Pity it doesn’t have Synchronous detection as, if you look at the display carefully, provision has been made for this feature. I wonder how it can be activated? I would appreciate any comments on a fix for the SSB
Has anyone found a mod to activate a potentially dormant sync detector or to improve SSB demodulation? Please comment.
I’ve posted various views of the Digitech AR1945 below, along with this full description from Jaycar’s website:
“Ideal for a novice ham radio licensor, keen fisherman or even just the outdoors type, this radio has everything you will ever need in a radio with the added function of single-sideband modulation (SSB). SSB is used to obtain current weather reports, so it is perfect to take to sea to avoid changing weather conditions. However with great FM and AM coverage and battery operation it is also perfect for camping, BBQs and thanks to its world/local time selection clock and alarm, it can even be used as an alarm clock! Additional features include auto tuning saving, 500 memories and keypad direct entry. This is certainly a radio of many uses! Power options are 6 x AA (not included) used with supplied 6 x D size battery adaptors, 6 x D batteries (not included) or the supplied 9V PSU. Supplied with a carry strap.”
Features: • Large back lit LCD • RF gain control • Bass & treble controls • Key lock • IF output • Line in and out • Earphone socket • Speaker 5W/4 ohms • Local/DX antenna switch • External antenna connection • Internal full range speaker • Mains or battery operated • Dimensions: 310(W) x 195(H) x 100(D)mm
Of course, this radio is most likely available in other parts of the world under different brand names. Let us know if you’ve seen it.
Check out this brilliant video tour of the BBC Woofferton Transmitting Station, presented by Senior Transmitter Engineer Dave Porter (G40YX). The video is divided in seven parts, thus I’ve created a playlist that will automatically load each video in order.