Monthly Archives: June 2014

Dashtoons: Über cool radio art by Jeff K1NSS



Among the fascinating people I met at the Dayton Hamvention this year was Jeff Murray, K1NSS. Though Jeff and I have communicated online, our paths had not yet crossed in real life; I was very pleased to finally meet him in person.

SWLing Post readers will have seen Jeff’s name before: he’s a talented graphic artist (and ham, obviously) whose work focuses on the radio community and culture.

You may recall that Jeff created the art for the the Shortwaveology website, not to mention the cool retro graphic you’ll find on the Shortwave Shindig tee.

Jeff also creates custom QSL cards, comic books, clip art, and promotional material for companies like Alpha Amplifiers…all of it inspired.

s38-flatIf Jeff designed a spaceship based on the aesthetics of the Hallicrafters S-38, it would not surprise me in the least.

Do yourself a favor and check out Jeff’s website at It is chock-full of radio wackiness and whimsy. You can lose yourself there and thoroughly enjoy the scenery.

Jeff Murray (K1NSS) on right, and me (K4SWL) on left among the Dayton Hamvention tail-gaters.

Jeff Murray (K1NSS), left, and me (K4SWL), right among the Dayton Hamvention tailgaters.

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Polish Radio External Service drops German language programs

PolishRadioMany thanks to SWLing Post reader, Dominik, who writes:

I think you may be interested in the recent changes in Polish Radio External Service. A recent article from states that German-language programmes are going to be terminated. Here is a link to the original article and below you can find my (rough) translation:

From 1st July Polish Radio External Service’s programmes will be changed. The station wants to expand English and Russian sections, but the German section will be liquidated. English-language thematic programs will appear.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs wants changes in organizational structure of PRES, which receives a yearly grant. This year PRES will receive 9,3 million z? – it means a drop of about 1 million z?.

According to the Ministry’s expectations, Hebrew broadcasts were stopped in April, however the Hebrew section will officially cease to exist now. The station will be developing its English and Russian sections. Programmes in Belarusian and Ukrainian languages will still be transmitted. The Polish section will be also changed. Starting from July, it won’t produce its own materials – it will only broadcast materials from other stations of Polish Radio.

Polish Radio wants to continue analogue broadcasting of a channel, which plays an important role in Eastern European countries. The internet presence of the channel is also going to be expanded. – Apart from the English-language site, a site dedicated to Eastern European countries – – will be created. – says Rados?aw Kazimierski, spokesman of Polish Radio.

The broadcaster wants to prepare thematic programs for listeners in Ireland, UK and USA. Programmes for listeners in India and China (in Radiovision system) are also planned. – The changes will be systematically introduced during the upcoming months. – says Kazimierski.

Few workers will lose their jobs after those changes.

Dominik then comments:

The article states that PR wants to keep the analogue broadcasting, but it doesn’t specify what kind of broadcasting will continue.

After the recent closure of three remaining shortwave transmissions, following relays are still on air:

  • Polish section: 1386 kHz via Lithuania 19:00-20:00 UTC
  • Belarusian section: 1386 kHz via Lithuania 20:00-21:00 UTC
  • German section via Radio 700: 14:30-15:00 on 7310 and 6005 kHz, 18:00-18:30 on 3985 kHz.

There are also some local relays on FM and DAB, but the recent events in Crimea showed that they aren’t as reliable as AM. Ukrainian section of PRES was relayed in Crimea via transmitters of Radio ERA. Two (of total 4) were switched off by separatists.

Many thanks for this update and your comments, Dominik.  I will be very interested to see how PR decides to deliver their programming in the UK, Ireland and the US. I would have to assume only by the Internet as I don’t believe they would invest in local AM (MW) relays like Russia Today and China Radio International.

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Looking for a weekend radio project? Check out MakeRF

MakeRF-LogoThis year, at the 2014 Dayton Hamvention, I had the pleasure of meeting a number of SWLing Post readers–truly a highlight for me at the convention.

One of the readers I met was Mike Gualtieri (KB3TKG). Mike and I had a great conversation about pirate radio, ham radio and shortwave listening.

I also learned that, one year ago, Mike started MakeRF: a blog devoted to making radios and accessories. He has already documented several savvy projects:

I encourage you to bookmark MakeRF and even give one of these simple projects a go. Many thanks, Mike!

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Washington Post: VOA needs to keep an “objective voice”

Many thanks to Richard Cuff for sharing this editorial from the Washington Post:

WashingtonPostLogo(Source: Washington Post)

AS AUTHORITARIAN states such as Russia and China ramp up well-funded and sophisticated global propaganda operations, U.S. officials and members of Congress fret that the U.S. government’s information operations are lagging behind. […]

A bipartisan bill headed for the House floor after more than a year of study and drafting would tackle some of these problems. But it also would take a dangerous step toward converting the most venerable and listened-to U.S. outlet, Voice of America, into another official mouthpiece.[…]

The bill sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward R. Royce (R-Calif.) and ranking Democrat Eliot L. Engel (N.Y.) would refocus VOA on reporting “United States and international news and information,” which might eliminate some of the overlap. It also would usefully reorganize the management of the surrogates, combining them into one non-federal entity called the Freedom News Network and creating an independent governing board similar to the one that directs the National Endowment for Democracy.

However, the bill would define VOA as an instrument of U.S. “public diplomacy,” fold it into a new United States International Communications Agency and require programming that “is consistent with and promotes the broad foreign policies of the United States.” Quarterly meetings would be required with the State Department undersecretary charged with directing public diplomacy. This mandate inevitably would conflict with VOA’s historic mission of producing “accurate, objective and comprehensive news”; how could stories about controversial subjects such as the Guantanamo Bay prison or National Security Agency spying be “objective” and supportive of U.S. policy? The result could be an exodus of VOA’s best journalists and a steep drop in its credibility with international audiences.

[…]The United States will never beat China and Russia in the game of official propaganda, but it can win the war of ideas — if it doesn’t lose faith in its own principles.

Read the full editorial at the Washington Post website.

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Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio New Zealand International (DRM)

This morning, while scanning the 31 meter band, I noticed a DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) signal on 9,890 kHz. Normally, I ignore most DRM signals because the amount of signal strength needed to properly decode the mode (here in the US) is simply too low for pleasant, artifact-free copy.

Still, I thought I’d give the new Elad FDM-S2 a try, so I changed mode from AM to DRM.

RNZI-DRM-003To my amazement, the FDM-S2 quickly decoded the signal and produced excellent audio from Radio New Zealand International.

I assumed the decoding lock would not hold, but I was wrong; indeed, I believe there were only one or two significant drops in the 40+ minutes I listened. This may be a very good sign from the FDM-S2, even if propagation was above average.

I’m not a big DRM listener, but that’s mainly because there is so little to hear on the bands. The real test will be All India Radio in DRM–I’ve never managed to get a consistent lock on them from here in eastern North America.

Still, I’m pleased as punch that I can so easily copy RNZI–one of my favorite international broadcasters–in DRM.

Here’s a recording of the broadcast starting at 11:18 UTC on June 14, 2014. Click here to download the the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

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RadioShack turnaround is ‘nearly impossible’


Many thanks to Dave and Skip for sharing this article from the Wall Street Journal which highlights the struggle RadioShack faces this year: an effort to modernize before their stock value slips to zero:

(Source: The Wall Street Journal, Marketwatch)

RadioShack Corp.’s mounting losses amid declining sales have been widely covered in the media. The company’s misfortune has also inspired Wall Street analysts to slash their target price on the stock, with a range this year of $1 to $3 a share.

However, that changed on Wednesday after B Riley analyst Scott Tilghman, who already rates the stock RSH +0.87% a sell, lowered his price target to zero from $1 a share after the company on Tuesday reported another in a series of wider-than-expected losses. The company’s cash level also plunged. Chief Financial OfficerJohn Feray said Tuesday the company has enough liquidity to execute its turnaround over the next 12 months, and that it’s examining expenses from utility bills to ocean freight.

“We think survival is in real jeopardy” with the cash burn and lack of asset value, the analyst told MarketWatch.

Continue reading on WSJ’s Marketwatch.


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The state of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)


View of the Capitol Building from the roof of the Voice of America on 330 Independence Ave., S.W.

View of the Capitol Building from the roof of the Voice of America on 330 Independence Ave., S.W.

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Lyle, for sharing this article from Radio World which takes an in-depth look at the state of US International Broadcasting and poses the question, “How effective is the BBG in 2014?”

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