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.

Spread the radio love

10 thoughts on “Propaganda Shift: The Panmunjom Summit and monitoring the Voice of Korea

  1. Marcus Keulertz

    I used to listen to the spanish programme of VOK when i lived in the spanish capital.
    They sent me a QSL verification with some propaganda stuff. (a pennant was included.)

    1. Mark Fahey

      Spot on Richard!

      There is a KiwiSDR in Sth Korea which is great for discovering the Sth Korean jamming of the DPRK’s broadcasts. Some frequencies to try on this receiver are – tune the MW band, where you hear strong jammers they are usually Sth Korean jamming of North Korean MW stations. Also tune to 2850KHz, 6100KH and 9665 – if you hear jamming here it is the Sth Koreans jamming the Nth Korean domestic services (these frequencies are all relays of the main Nth Korean national program which is on 819KHz in Pyongyang.

      Jamming on 6400KHz is Sth Koreans blocking Pyongyang Pansong – basically the North Korean service for what they consider their occupied southern provinces (ie Sth Korea).

      There are 9-10 KiwiSDRs in Japan (so that’s 40 receivers you can use, so you will always find one to play with) – all of the Japanese Kiwi’s receive Nth Korea well, many also give local reception of Pyongyang’s MW outlet of 819KHz during darkness hours.

    1. DanH

      In this video of VOK made February 12, 2018 typical jamming is plainly heard at 0:11 – 0:16 of the recording. I have likened the sound of this jamming to that of a worn-out front loading washing machine on spin cycle. This jamming was ubiquitous regardless of frequency or time of broadcast. I used the jamming as a tool to seek and identify VOK long before hearing confirmation from programming content. I don’t know who jams VOK and other PRK broadcasts on shortwave but if I had to review at a round-up of the usual suspects I’m sure South Korea and Japan would figure prominently.

        1. DanH

          Your explanation is as good as any other. I’ve added PRK to the list of usual suspects. If true, a smoking gun should not be hard to locate. All that is needed is a recording of this jamming on a broadcast from a country outside of the PRK and maybe an analysis of the audio patterns. The reception videos I have posted from Shiokaze “Sea Breeze” and Furusato no Kaze “Wind of Hometown” during the last months are free of jamming. Those stations must certainly top PRK’s most wanted list for jamming.

  2. Richard Langley

    Hi Mark:
    You said:
    “[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 …”
    Would it be possible to get a copy of your Winter SWL Fest presentation?
    — Richard

    1. Mark Fahey

      For sure Richard – I will dig out the slides and PDF them. I will need to add some captions to them – my slides rarely have text on them, usually, they are just images as projected wallpaper illustrating whatever point I am verbally delivering. In the meantime here is the synopsis of what was presented…

      Transformation of Marginal & Noisy Tropical-Band Stations into Armchair Quality Reception using Real-Time Digital Processing
      (A live demonstration of real-time digital enhancement and filtering of shortwave signals)

      You have probably noticed music (albums) released originally on LP or CD are increasingly being remastered from the original recording source and republished with dramatically enhanced and crisp audio quality. Digital audio enhancement tools have now reached a level of sophistication that incredible improvements to audio can be made in real time to live audio. These new technology tools can be readily applied to marginal shortwave and medium wave signals to make a poor-quality broadcast sound like you are receiving it as a local FM station, in real-time. This session will on-the-fly, enhance a (received live) noisy tropical band station. The results will amaze; turning a noisy, marginal station into pleasant, enjoyable, armchair quality reception.

      1. DanH

        Mark, the filtered shortwave audio is excellent! I have plans to incorporate digital audio filtering to the LINE OUT audio available from my Sangean ATS-909X and vintage Hammarlund SP-600 JX-21. I too witnessed some the amazing results from digital remastering of 78 RPM recordings and LPs. I also heard what Dolby could do to tape hiss. Next to using digital SW signals noise reduction at the audio stage is the most promising field of improvement for shortwave audio.


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