Monthly Archives: May 2014

Today: Choppy seas for the Shipping Forecast


Since the dawn of time, there is, there was, and there always has been…the Shipping Forecast. We set our clocks by it. Despite the complexities of our planet–war, famine, daytime television–the Shipping Forecast has been there for us.  Our steady friend amid the choppy seas of life. Our rock of Gibraltar…our security blanket.

Regardless of our diverse beliefs (or unbeliefs), it seems we all believe in the Forecast. We somehow find ourselves regularly returning to its altar, taking comfort in its soothing ministry. And why should we not? It’s been there, without fail, for ninety years.

That is…until this morning.

This morning, BBC Radio 4, who produces the Shipping Forecast experienced some technical difficulties. These, alas, led to a failure to broadcast the Forecast for the first time in, yes, ninety years.  Andy Sennit shares this article from The Guardian:

It was early-morning chaos and warnings of impending armageddon when BBC Radio 4 failed to broadcast the Shipping Forecast for the first time in more than 90 years.

The BBC radio service is something of an institution, metronomically broadcasting four forecasts a day since 1924, a routine which failed for the first time at 5.20am on Friday.

A technical glitch meant the BBC’s World Service was played in its place, a gaffe that prompted listeners to take to Twitter to voice their bewilderment.

Kirsty Connell said: “Eep. The shipping forecast didn’t get broadcast on @BBCRadio4 this morning. Isn’t that the sign of impending nuclear armageddon?”

Jordan Rowland added: “No shipping forecast? If UK submarines don’t get shipping forecast, don’t they launch nuclear attack?”

The BBC was only able to resolve the issue at 5.40am when it cut back to the Radio 4 programme. Friday morning’s Shipping Forecast eventually aired 6.40am.

[Continue reading…]

If this news has greatly unhinged you (as it has me) rest assured:  the world continues. Thus the Forecast will await us at its regularly scheduled time tomorrow morning.

(Readers, thanks for letting me wax poetic.)

Confused? If you’re wondering what the Shipping Forecast is, check out this previous post.

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Pirate Radio Recordings: Wolverine Radio

SWLing Post reader, Steve Yoth, decoded this Wolverine QSL two weeks ago using a Flex 3000.

A previous eQSL from Wolverine Radio. Try decoding the one at the end of this recording! 

For your listening pleasure: 1 hour, 20 minutes of the pirate radio station, Wolverine Radio–recorded May 26, 2014 starting around 1:20 UTC.

Wolverine was broadcasting on 6,950 kHz in the upper side band. Typical of Wolverine, lots of music variety which spans the decades and no commentary other than station ID throughout.

At the end of this recording, you’ll hear an SSTV QSL card being transmitted.

Try decoding the QSL image from this recording–it’s quite easy! I usually decode Wolverine’s SSTV QSL with Chris Smolinski’s SSTV app for iPhone, but there are other programs to do this. The eQSL above came from a broadcast about two weeks ago and was submitted by SWLing Post reader, Steve Yoth.

Click here to download the recording as an MP3 or simply listen via the embedded player below:

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An easier way to comment on the SWLing Post

If you’ve ever commented on the SWLing Post (or almost any other website, for that matter), you’ve no doubt been challenged by a CAPTCHA code before your comment could be published. The CAPTCHA system saves this blog from hundreds of bogus comments each day so it’s a necessary tool.

For those of you not familiar, CAPTCHAs look like this:


While the CAPTCHA code above is relatively simple, many are not and require several attempts before you can prove to CAPTCHA that you’re a human and not a SPAMbot. In this sense, CAPTCHAs can be rather annoying.

How to get around CAPTCHA on the SWLing Post

If you’re a regular here on the SWLing Post and would like to comment without a CAPTCHA moderation, I can register you for a subscriber account on the SWLing Post. I’ve made it so that CAPTCHA will skip any SWLing Post account holder who is logged in at time of comment.

Because of SPAMbots and Malware, I don’t make registration open to the public; I manually create each account.

If you would like an account, simply email me with the following info:

  • Your preferred username (a one word name, callsign, etc.)
  • Your valid email address
  • The make and model of your favorite radio (just a test to make sure you’re human! SPAMbots rarely listen to the shortwaves.)
  • Optional: your personal website URL (if you have a blog, etc.)
  • Optional: your full name (only if you want your name to show with your comments)

I’ll assign you a password which you can change later.

As soon as I create your account, you’ll receive a short email with your username, password and the URL to log in.

You’ll need to be logged in to the SWLing Post to avoid the CAPTCHA code, but I think it’s a much easier and quicker way to comment.

Again, if you would like to register, simply send the info above via the email address on my Contact page.

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Jerry’s flea market and estate sale radios

SWLing Post reader, Jerry (WW0E) writes:

“Sorry I missed your table at Dayton. Managed to add 4 old 1940’s 1950’s era broadcast band radios to my collection, had a great time. [Here is a] picture of my 1938 Wards dial tone with tuning eye, $35.00.”

wardsradioJerry continues:

“Found this GE-P780 at an estate sale last weekend $20.00, fantastic working condition!”


“Recently purchased this Philco console, 1938, with the Philco ‘cone-centric tuning dial system.'”


philco38-4_dial_1Many thanks, Jerry, for sharing these excellent finds! If I had a bigger house, I would certainly fill it with 1930’s era console radios!


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CW pirates promote separatist movement in Ukraine ?

Disputed Ukraine Map via Wikimedia Commons

(Source: Southgate Amateur Radio News)

“Two CW [Morse Code] stations have appeared on the higher HF bands, claiming to operate from Donetsk, as promoting a separatist ‘Peoples’ Republic of Donetsk’, or ‘NovoRossiya New Russia’.

The callsigns, D0A and 1C4M are believed to be two operators on the same transmitter. The callsigns are invalid and do not count for anything in ham radio terms.

While a QSL manager may be appointed shortly in Donetsk, communications are poor, and direct QSL is unlikely to succeed.

There is some doubt that the stations are really in Donetsk. There is evidence that they may be operating from Kazakhstan.”

Many thanks to the Southgate ARC for this news item.

Has anyone logged or recorded these pirates?

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