Monthly Archives: August 2017

From the Isle of Music & Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, Sep 3-9

From the Isle of Music, September 3-9:
This week, our special guest is Grupo Vocal Sampling, a unique acappella group who is this year’s Cubadisco winner in the Vocal/Choral Music category. We visited them in Havana during a rehearsal in May. Among other things, they demonstrate how they make their wonderful music. Also, a musical tribute to the late Lourdes Torres, a wonderful Cuban singer/songwriter who passed away last month.
Four opportunities to listen on shortwave:
1. For Eastern Europe but audible well beyond the target area in all directions with 100Kw, Sunday 1500-1600 UTC on SpaceLine, 9400 KHz, from Kostinbrod, Bulgaria (1800-1900 MSK)
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0000-0100 UTC on WBCQ, 7490 KHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EDT in the US)
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany.

It’s a funky world….
Episode 27 of Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot tears the roof off of Planet Earth on Thursday, September 7 from 2300-2330 UTC on WBCQ, 7490 KHz on the short waves. We’ll have funky stuff from a few different countries plus yet another contest.

Listener reports requested: Test transmissions targeting Venezuela on 800 kHz

Many thanks to Rocus de Joode who shares the following announcement and request for listener reports:

(Este mensaje seguirá en español.)

Dear radio friends,

I received your Email addresses from Jeff White, from WRMI in Florida.

[W]e would like to inform you about a possible new initiative for radio transmissions via mediumwave to Venezuela on 800 kHz.

We will perform test transmissions starting on Wednesday August 30th for seven days long at 1600 hours local time (2000 UTC). As you can understand we would like to receive test reports in order to verify the quality of reception.

The transmissions will be 30 minutes long and we will use two different antenna systems.

Therefore we ask you your kind cooperation to monitor as much as possible and report this back to us via this special Email address: test800am@gmail.com

This is our test schedule:

  • Dates of transmission: 30 August – 06 September 2017 (7 days)
  • Frequency: 800 kHz
  • Time of test broadcast: 1600-1630 LT / 2000-2030 UTC
  • Antenna 1: 1600-1615 LT / 2000-2015 UTC
  • Antenna 2: 1615-1630 LT / 2015-2030 UTC
  • Program content: General announcements and Music

We would like to receive your reception reports in the following order:

  • Dates of listening
  • Time of listening
  • Your location or city name
  • Reception quality in SIO or SINPO for both Antenna 1 and Antenna 2.
  • If possible also an S-meter reading
  • Audio quality
  • Type of radio used
  • Type of antenna used

We would appreciate if you also could inform other DX colleagues and radio enthusiasts you know.

We are also curious how the signal will perform while driving in a car.

On behalf of the initiators of this project I thank you already in advance for your cooperation!

73 from Rocus de Joode


Estimado amigo de la radioescucha,

Por medio de este mensaje me complace informarle acerca de una posible nueva iniciativa para transmisiones a través de la onda media para Venezuela en los 800 kHz.

Iniciaremos nuestras emisiones de prueba a partir del miércoles 30 de agosto durante 7 días a partir de las 16:00 hora local (20:00 UTC). Como bien comprenderá nos gustaría recibir sus informes de recepción de estas emisiones de prueba para así verificar la calidad de la recepción.

Las transmisiones tendrán una duración de 30 minutos y utilizaremos dos sistemas distintos de antena.

Le pedimos su amable cooperación en monitorear lo más posible y enviarnos sus informes de recepción

a la siguiente y especial dirección de E-mail: test800am@gmail.com

Este es nuestro esquema de pruebas :

  • Fechas de transmisión: del 30 de agosto al 6 de septiembre de 2017 (7 días)
  • Frecuencia: 800 kHz
  • Hora de la trasmisión de prueba: 1600-1630 HL / 2000-2030 UTC
  • Antena 1: 1600-1615 HL / 2000-2015 UTC
  • Antena 2: 1615-1630 HL / 2015-2030 UTC
  • Contenido del programa: Información de interés general y música

Nos gustaría recibir sus informes de recepción en el siguiente orden:

  • Fecha de la recepción
  • Hora de la escucha
  • Su localidad o ciudad
  • Calidad de la recepción en los códigos SIO o SINPO tanto para la Antena 1 como la Antena 2.
  • de ser posible, también la indicación del nivel relativo de la señal recibida – medidor S
  • Calidad del Audio
  • Tipo del receptor utilizado
  • Tipo de antena utilizada

También apreciaríamos mucho si usted pudiera informar sobre estas transmisiones a otros Dxistas y entusiastas de la escucha de la onda media que usted conozca. También estamos muy interesados en saber sobre la calidad de la señal cuando se escucha a bordo de un automóvil en marcha.

En nombre de los participantes en este proyecto quisiera agradecerles de antemano su amable cooperación!

Muchos 73!

Rocus de Joode

The C. Crane Skywave SSB: A sneak peek!

Tuesday afternoon, I took a number of portable radios to the field: the Tecsun S-8800, Tecsun PL-880, Digitech AR-1780, C. Crane CC Skywave and the new C. Crane CC Skywave SSB.

Last week, I received a pilot run (pre-production) CC Skywave SSB from C. Crane to test and provide feedback. My unit, of course, is still subject to cosmetic changes and engineering tweaks.

Since this is not a final iteration of the product, I won’t comment or review performance other than to say that if you like the original CC Skywave, you should love the new CC Skywave SSB.

C. Crane has kindly given me permission to post a few preview photos.

CC Skywave SSB Photos

First thing you’ll notice is that the CC Skywave SSB is essentially identical to its predecessor in size and shape.

Indeed, the CC Skywave SSB fits the original Skywave’s carry case perfectly. If you’ve purchased a custom protective case–like this one— for the original Skywave, it’ll fit the CC Skywave SSB like a glove.   As you can see above, the front panel design has changed, though. The CC Skywave SSB accommodates four additional function buttons and sports a re-designed speaker grill (similar to the CC Pocket Radio).  Nice touch! C. Crane thought to use that little piece of real estate behind the backstand.

As many of you know, I’m a one-bag-traveler-kind-of-guy who never leaves home without a shortwave radio. On one bag travels, of course, I only carry one full-featured portable. Space is too precious to carry two.

Listening to the 2016 BBC Midwinter Broadcast to Antarctica while traveling in Canada with the CC Skywave.

The original CC Skywave has pretty much been my go-to travel radio since it was released. I’ve taken it everywhere.

I’ve also taken the amazing Sony ICF-SW100 and the full-featured Grundig G6 (which even includes the AIR band) on trips when I wanted access to single sideband mode–something the original CC Skywave lacked. (Note that both of these radios are now discontinued.)

But when traveling in North America or by air, I really appreciate the Skywave’s excellent NOAA weather radio and access to aviation frequencies on the AIR band. Very handy features for the traveler who likes to stay informed.

By adding single sideband mode to an already capable ultra-compact travel radio, C. Crane has created a welcome radio traveling companion indeed.

Image shows the extent of human radio broadcasts

Click to enlarge (Image credit: Adam Grossman of The Dark Sky Company)

(Source: Popular Mechanics)

Carl Sagan’s famous line from his 1990 speech about the Pale Blue Dot image—”Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark”—is an understatement. We might consider our Milky Way, with its estimated 100 to 400 billion stars, a significant fixture in the cosmos. But there are some 100 billion galaxies just like it in the observable universe. It’s a daunting reality to consider when we’re thinking about the possibility of making contact with any intelligence that might be out there.

This map designed by Adam Grossman of The Dark Sky Company puts into perspective the enormity of these scales. The Milky Way stretches between 100,000 and 180,000 light-years across, depending on where you measure, which means a signal broadcast from one side of the galaxy would take 100,000 years or more to reach the other side. Now consider that our species started broadcasting radio signals into space only about a century ago. That’s represented by a small blue bubble measuring 200 light-years in diameter surrounding the position of the Earth. For any alien civilizations to have heard us, they must be within the bubble.[…]

Continue reading at Popular Mechanics online…

Variety: Legacy Radio “Faces a Grim Future”

(Source: Variety)

Traditional Radio Faces a Grim Future, New Study Says

A new study published today by the head of New York University’s Steinhart Music Business Program casts a sobering outlook on the future of terrestrial radio.

In the 30-page report, Larry Miller argues that traditional radio has failed to engage with Generation Z — people born after 1995 — and that its influence and relevance will continue to be subsumed by digital services unless it upgrades. Key points made in the study include:

*Generation Z, which is projected to account for 40% of all consumers in the U.S. by 2020, shows little interest in traditional media, including radio, having grown up in an on-demand digital environment;

*AM/FM radio is in the midst of a massive drop-off as a music-discovery tool by younger generations, with self-reported listening to AM/FM radio among teens aged 13 and up declining by almost 50 percentage points between 2005 and 2016. Music discovery as a whole is moving away from AM/FM radio and toward YouTube, Spotify and Pandora, especially among younger listeners, with 19% of a 2017 study of surveyed listeners citing it as a source for keeping up-to-date with music — down from 28% the previous year. Among 12-24 year olds who find music discovery important, AM/FM radio (50%) becomes even less influential, trailing YouTube (80%), Spotify (59%), and Pandora (53%).

*By 2020, 75% of new cars are expected to be “connected” to digital services, breaking radio’s monopoly on the car dashboard and relegating AM/FM to just one of a series of audio options behind the wheel. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the typical car in the U.S. was 11.6 years old in 2016, which explains why radio has not yet faced its disruption event. However, drivers are buying new cars at a faster rate than ever, and new vehicles come with more installed options for digital music services.[…]

Continue reading at Variety online…