Monthly Archives: April 2018

Propaganda Shift: The Panmunjom Summit and monitoring the Voice of Korea

Front page of the North Korean newspaper “Rodong” on April 28, 2018. (Source: Mark Fahey)

With North Korea in the global spotlight, I’ve been making every effort to listen to the Voice of Korea on shortwave.  Unfortunately, from here on the east coast of North America, conditions have simply not been in my favor.

Fortunately, a couple of SWLing Post and SRAA contributors have had my back.

Yesterday, Richard Langley, uploaded a great VOK recording made with the U Twente WebSDR on April 28 at 13:30 UTC on 13760 kHz. Thank you Richard!

This morning, North Korean propaganda specialist Mark Fahey uploaded the following VOK recording to the archive and included notes and insight:

[The recording is] off 9,730 kHz so a mint shortwave file.

Recorded at the “Behind The Curtain” remote satellite and HF receiving site near Taipei, Taiwan (the site is remotely operated from Freemans Reach in Australia and was specifically established to monitor North Korean radio & television 24×7).

Remote Module #1 prior to sealing.

[Note: Click here to read about Mark’s self-contained deployable remote SDR stations.]

Remote Module #2 fully weather sealed and ready to deploy.

[…]I must say getting a good recording off shortwave is quite a challenge, just going to their satellite circuits far easier!

[T]he reason for the almost hi-fi quality is that I used the real-time audio enhancement and noise reduction techniques I presented at the Winter SWL Fest. The signal in reality was much noisier:

Click here to download an MP3 copy of the off-air recording.

[I] also have long domestic recordings (which is what I have been focusing on rather than VOK).

[…]Of course domestic in Korean – but that has been my main interest/monitoring – what does the regime say to the domestic audience–?

They seem quite serious (I mean genuine) even acknowledging South Korea as a separate place and Moon being the president of this place. The domestic propaganda now not hiding the fact that South Korea is a separate sovereign nation, which is very un-North Korean propaganda!

The news is still kind of breaking in North Korea and the radio reflects that – the reports sound like Friday was yesterday. It takes a long time for North Korean media to report anything, so news from 3 days ago is presented as if it only happened 3 hours ago.

Also since it’s all topical I will include a YouTube link to a Voice Of Korea Documentary (propaganda to our ears of course–!) that has recently been posted to the Arabia Chapter of The Korean Friendship Association:

Click here to watch on YouTube.

Thank you, Mark! Certainly history in the making.

Mark Fahey is my go-to guy for what’s really happening in North Korea, especially with regards to the message the government shares with its people.

Though I haven’t asked him in advance, I’m sure Mark can follow the comments thread of this post and answer your North Korea questions.

Click here to leave a comment/question or follow the comments thread.

If you have a recording of VOK (or any other broadcaster) that you would like to share, consider contributing to the SRAA.

Armed Forces Day Crossband Test on May 12, 2018

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian (W9IND), who shares the following announcement regarding the next Armed Forces Day Crossband Test:

The Army Military Auxiliary Radio System will host this year’s Armed Forces Day Crossband Test, scheduled for May 12, 2018. This annual event is open to all radio operators, and will not impact any public or private communications. For more than 50 years, military and amateur stations have taken part in this event, which is only an exercise scenario, designed to include hobbyist and government radio operators alike.

The AFD Crossband Test is a unique opportunity to test two-way communications between military communicators and radio stations in the Amateur Radio Service (ARS), as authorized in 47 CFR 97.111. These tests provide opportunities and challenges for radio operators to demonstrate individual technical skills in a tightly-controlled exercise scenario that does not impact any public or private communications.

Military stations will transmit on selected military frequencies and will announce the specific ARS frequencies monitored. All times are ZULU (Z), and all frequencies are Upper Side Band (USB) unless otherwise noted. The frequencies used for the test will not impact any public or private communications, and will not stray outside the confines of the exercise.

The following stations will be making two way radiotelephone contacts with stations in the ARS between the time periods listed on the frequencies listed in kilohertz below. WAR, WUG-2 and NSS will also make CW contacts.

AAZ / FT HUACHUCA, AZ

1500Z – 2359Z 5,330.5 14,438.5 18,211.0

AAC / BARROW ARMY RESERVE CENTER, KY

1300Z – 0100Z 5,346.5 7,542.0 13,963.5 20,920.0

ABH / SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, HI

1600Z – 2300Z 5,357.0 14,438.5 18,272.0 20,997.0

ABM1 / CAMP ZAMA, JAPAN

1500Z – 0100Z 14,487.0 20,994.0

ADB / CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA

1500Z – 0100Z 14,487.0 20,994.0

WAR / PENTAGON WASHINGTON, DC

1200Z – 2400Z 5,357.0 13,963.5 18,211.0 24,760.0 USB + CW

WUG-2 / ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, TN

1300Z – 0200Z 5,403.5 13,910.5 18,293.0 20,973.5 USB + CW

AIR / ANDREWS AFB

1200Z – 2400Z 4,517.0 7,305.0 15,807.0 20,740.0

AGA2SY / HANCOCK FIELD, NY

1200Z – 2400Z 4,575.0 7,540.0 13,993.0

AGA5SC / SCOTT AFB, IL

1600Z – 2300Z 3,308.0 4,872.0 7,545.0

AGA9TR / TRAVIS AFB, CA

1600Z – 0100Z 5,346.5 7,329.0 13,996.0 14,411.0

AFM4AF / NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY MID-SOUTH MILLINTON, TN

1200Z – 0300Z 7,375.5 13,498.0

NMC1 / COAST GUARD ISLAND, ALAMEDA, CA

1700Z – 2359Z 7,542.0 15,740.5 22,924.5

NIIW / USS MIDWAY CV-41 SAN DIEGO, CA

1400Z – 0400Z 4,013.5 5371.5 7,493.5 14,383.5 18,211.0

NWKJ / USS YORKTOWN CV-10 CHARLESTON, SC

1200Z – 2200Z 4,000.0 7,360.0 14,663.5

NEPM / USS IOWA BB 61 LOS ANGELES, CA

1500Z – 2359Z 4,043.5 6,903.5 14,463.5 18,293.0

NWVC / LST-325 EVANSVILLE, IN

1200Z – 0400Z 4,007.0 6,913.0 9988.5 13,974.0

NSS / US NAVAL ACADEMY ANNAPOLIS, MD

1300Z – 0200Z 4,038.5 5,330.5 7,533.5 9,447.0 14,487.0 17,545.0 USB + CW

An AFD test message will be transmitted utilizing the Military Standard (MIL-STD) Serial PSK waveform (M110) followed by MIL-STD Wide Shift FSK (850 Hz RTTY) as described in MIL-STD 188-110A/B.

Technical information regarding these waveforms is provided at:

http://www.n2ckh.com/MARS_ALE_FORUM/MSDMT.html.

The AFD test message will also be sent at 0300Z in Continuous Wave (CW) mode (refer to the far right column in the table below). The message will be transmitted on the following frequencies in kilohertz and at the listed times:

1400Z AGA2SY 13,506.5 kHz ACC 17,443.0 kHz

1420Z WAR 13,506.5 kHz AGA2SY 17,443.0 kHz

1440Z ACC 13,506.5 kHz WAR 17,443.0 kHz

1500Z AAZ 13,506.5 kHz AAZ 17,443.0 kHz

2200Z ADB 13,506.5 kHz AGA2SY 17,443.0 kHz

0300Z NWVC 5,346.5 kHz

For those who wish to document their contacts with a QSL card, go to

http://www.usarmymars.org/events and complete the request form.

Gary DeBock shares most distant catch from Cook Island DXpedition

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Gary DeBock, who shares the following note about his recent Cook Island DXpedition:

The farthest DX received during the Cook Island DXpedition (on Aitutaki island) was 657-All India Radio in Kolkata, India, at 8,072 miles (12,991 km). Recorded by accident during a sunrise check of the Korean big guns at 1641 on April 12, reception of this longest-distance station went unnoticed until file review after return to the States.

The female speaker (in the Bengali language) is the third station in the recording, after the female vocal music from Pyongyang BS and the Irish-accented male preacher from NZ’s Star network. Her speech peaks around 40 to 50 seconds into the recording.

The isolation of the Star network at the 55 second point was done by the Ultralight’s loopstick, not by the propagation. Thanks to Alokesh Gupta for the language and station identification!

Click here to download MP3.

Wow! A mediumwave DX catch of 8,072 miles using a compact (heavily souped-up!) CC Skywave SSB? Simply amazing, Gary!

Your enthusiasm and passion for Ultralight DX is simply infectious!

Hand Made Vacuum Tubes by Claude Paillard

This is an amazing video – hand-made vacuum tubes! About 17 minutes long – well worth the watching if you have any interest at all in old equipment!

You can find the video here

Enjoy!

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.