Monthly Archives: December 2018

From the Archives: Radio Australia rings in the millennium

Dear SWLing Post Reader,

It’s New Year’s Eve and as I do each year, I’ve been spending time on the radio tuning around the bands–crossing borders and time/date zones at will. Most broadcasters spend this day going over events of the year, playing music and looking back. Some even have an in-house on-air party of sorts when they slip into the new year. It’s always fun.

I remember very fondly the full day I spent at the radio as we entered the year 2000. I wrote a post about this and published a recording several years ago. I decided it was time to pull that post from the archives and put it on the front page once again. I hope you enjoy it.

Since this post was first published, Radio Australia has gone off the air of course, so I find recordings like this even more meaningful.

Here’s wishing you and yours an amazing New Year!

-Thomas


Radio Australia rings in the millennium

Source: Wikimedia CommonsYesterday–New Year’s Eve, 2014–I spent some time listening to a few broadcasters as the new year passed through their time zones. While I missed hearing Radio New Zealand International (the first to welcome the New Year on the air), I did manage to catch Radio Australia, and the New Year was celebrated with no fanfare; one program merely ran into the next, and there was a brief mention of 2014’s arrival in the headline news.

Oh, but it wasn’t that way when we moved into the year 2000…

Rewind 14 years

Back in December of 1999, before setting off to visit family for the New Year, I had a sudden notion: I decided it would be fun–and a bit novel–to record radio broadcasters as each moved into the new millennium. As we were packing the car to travel, I changed my mind about using my Grundig Yacht Boy 400 to accomplish this fairly ambitious, round-the-world listening/recording endeavor; instead, I grabbed my ham radio transceiver, an Icom IC-735, and packed it, along with a hefty 12-volt power supply. While my IC-735 lacked AM filters (at the time) it had much better sensitivity than the YB400, especially when hooked up to a decent antenna. I also had the foresight to take along a few odds and ends, including a mechanical antenna tuner and a spool of long wire.

The Icom IC-735

The Icom IC-735

To record the broadcast, I used my trusty Aiwa AM F70 MiniDisk recorder–remember those? Upon arrival at our extended family’s home, they kindly permitted me to erect a long wire antenna in a sloping configuration in their yard. It did a fine job netting the airwaves. The MiniDisk recorder recorded brilliantly, allowing me to monitor levels and even edit afterward.

As a result, I spent New Year’s Eve 2000 recording station after station as the earth turned.  It was great fun, and meanwhile had very little impact on our family celebrations as I simply left the recorder running for long periods of time.

My trusty Aiwa

My trusty Aiwa AM F70 MiniDisk recorder.

While I have yet to dissect the many hours of recordings, if memory serves, I think I managed to record Radio New Zealand International, Voice of Russia, Radio France International, NHK, Voice of America, and Radio Canada International as each rang in 2000. The IC-735 performed quite well, save a lack of bandwidth filters, as I only really had two–very wide, and very narrow.

So, for your New Year’s Day listening pleasure:  I hope you’ll enjoy, as much as I did,  listening to Radio Australia ring in the new millennium yet again. In the news items, you’ll hear that Russian President Boris Yeltson has handed the reigns over to Vladimir Putin, and remarks about the (lack of) problems resulting from the infamous Y2K threat.

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen below:

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David Vaughan on Czech radio and the role of propaganda leading up to WWII

Czechoslovak Radio in the mid-1930s, photo: Czech Radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John Palmer (KC8RZM), who writes:

Was listening to Radio Prague yesterday evening, there was a very interesting item where author, David Vaughan, was interviewed and talked about his most recent book “Hear My Voice” a novel which deals with the lead-up to WWII and in which Czech Radio plays a part:

Click here to view on Amazon (affiliate link).

The play, on which the novel is based, was commissioned by Czech Radio and was awarded the Czech Book readers’ award for 2015. In the interview the importance of this then new technology called radio was discussed and its influence, for good or bad, in the world at large, an interesting parallel to today’s discussion on the role of the internet and social media. From the capsule bio on the book cover his background is in languages and radio (BBC and Czech Radio).

I’m sure his other book, Battle of the Airwaves: Radio and the 1938 Munich Crisis, will be of interest to shortwave listeners:

Click here to view on Amazon (affiliate link).

From the Amazon description:

“1938 was a turning point in the histories of Europe and the media. When Hitler annexed Austria and then turned his attention to Czechoslovakia, radio was at the heart of events. Battle for the Airwaves looks at the Munich crisis as it was played out on the radio stations of Czechoslovakia, Germany, Britain and the United States, and reveals just how central a role radio played in the run-up to the Munich Agreement and beyond. It is a story of propaganda and counter-propaganda, censorship and self-censorship. It is also a story of courage and innovation. Munich was a fateful step in the road to World War Two; it also marked the beginning of the age of the electronic media. Published in English and Czech in a single, illustrated, hardback volume, Battle for the Airwaves is accompanied by a CD recording of key British, Czechoslovak, German and American radio broadcasts from 1938.”

Anyway, just thought the above might be of interest to others at the SWLing Post. I’d like to learn more from him on the role of radio in those early days on the events leading up to WWII. I’m probably going to check out his novel.

Thank you so much for sharing this John! I received an Amazon gift card and have already put Hear My Voice in the cart. I look forward to reading it!

I missed the live broadcast, but did find Pavla Horáková’s interview with David Vaughan on the Czech Radio website. Here’s the introduction and audio:

Earlier this year the Czech Republic marked the 80th anniversary of the Munich Agreement, signed in September 1938 by the leaders of Germany, France, Great Britain, and Italy, resulting in the annexation of the Sudetenland by Nazi Germany. Radio Prague’s David Vaughan recently published a book in the UK titled “Hear My Voice”, most of which is set in Czechoslovakia in the months preceding the Munich agreement. Its narrator is an interpreter for the international press corps in Prague and he watches the events of 1938 unfold in Central Europe as the atmosphere is getting tenser ahead of the outbreak of the Second World War. Pavla Horáková spoke to David Vaughan and their conversation begins with a few paragraphs from the book.

Click here to download the MP3 audio of this interview.

Check out the full story and listen to the interview via Czech Radio/Radio Praha.

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The Italian Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) halts shortwave broadcasting

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ralf Bender, who notes that the following announcement has been posted on the IBC website:

In addition, the IBC posted the following note on their Facebook page:

IBC – ITALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION
www.ibcradio.webs.com
With great regret we announce the closure of our shortwave transmissions starting today, 31 December 2018. The reasons are economic, organizational and not least also the bad coverage of our signal in Italy lately. However, we plan to return with you as soon as possible.
To all HNY!

Thank you for the tip, Ralf, although this news sounds ominous. I hope the IBC can resolve their issues and return to the air.

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Dave spots a Sony ICF-2001 in sitcom “Family Ties”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who writes:

You like to point out SW radios on TV shows. I caught a part of a episode of “Family Ties” (Season 2 Episode 11, “Birthday Boy”) where Alex was given a Sony ICF-2001 (it was the original 2001 version of course). Time : 3:24 into the program. NOTE : It’s actually a 1984 episode not 1982 as given in the video link ! About that time the ICF-2001 was discontinued (or was on the way out). Enjoy:

Click here to watch at DailyMotion.

Wow! Somehow I missed this episode in the 1980s–I know I would have remembered the ICF-2001! I’ll add this find to our ever growing archive of radios in film. Thanks, Dave!

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Randy Bachman features Radio Caroline music on the CBC

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bruce Atchison, who writes:

Randy Bachman featured the music played on Radio Caroline in two shows
broadcast on CBC during the spring of this year. Check out both on
www.randybachman.com and scroll down until you find the pirate radio
shows.

Both programs of Randy’s Vinyl Tap brought back so many good
memories.

Thanks for the tip, Bruce!

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