Many thanks for the following guest post about SWLing Post supporter, Mark Fahey, who will soon be launching three local Balinese radio stations:
Radio Seribatu New Year 2020
A 2018 personal DX-pedition by SWLing Post supporter Mark Fahey to a remote village community in Indonesia’s Bali Province was intended to capture and record local and regional MW and SW Tropical Band spectrum on a WinRadio Excalibur for the Radio Spectrum Archive.
The field trip took a most unexpected turn; It was a total failure. Mark didn’t suffer any equipment problems, the loop antennas performed well; the problem was that MW, SW radio was irrelevant to the local population and there were just no longer any local stations broadcasting to archive.
To salvage the experience, Mark shifted his focus to recording video and audio of local gamelan and soundscapes. Seen as a strange novelty by the local jungle community, Mark was soon allocated land, the village built him a house and he has become the first foreigner to ever become a resident of the district and village.
In return, he has undertaken a project to introduce, and up-skill the village in sustainable eco-industries and educate the village millennials on how to manage these ventures using digital technologies. A component of the project has seen the establishment of three radio stations broadcasting 100% Balinese content. They are the first 24-hour radio stations in the province.
For the last six months, the three stations, Radio Seribatu – Village; Radio Seribatu – Volcano and Radio Seribatu – Mesin have been building the studio complex, solving power and bandwidth issues and training the staff. The network licensing is now permanently allocated and at midnight on January 1st, the test transmissions finish and the three stations officially open.
Each station brings many firsts to the region. They are the first to broadcasts 24 hours per day in the province, the first to broadcast 100% Balinese content and the first to deploy a fully digital workflow and studio complex.
Late February, Mark is presenting a deep dive of the stations in a presentation at the upcoming NASWA Winter SWL Fest in Philadelphia, and at that time the SWLing Post will present a detailed tour of the network, discuss the journey, how unexpected twists and turns were overcome, and explain how Radio Seribatu’s test broadcasts in less than twelve months have reached the third most listened to radio network in all of Indonesia.
Most (if not all!) SWLing Post readers are beyond Radio Seribatu’s FM footprint; however, the majority of the station’s listeners tune in via their IP web streams and so can you! You will find the stations in most online radio directories, iOS and Android Apps and new generation factory fitted car radios (including Buick, Hyundai, Subaru, Mazda, Chevrolet, VW, BMW, GMC, Ford, Chrysler, Kia, Honda, Audi, Toyota, RAM, etc.).
A sure-fire way to listen is via the stream links on their website www.radioseribatu.com
On the Radio Seribatu VILLAGE station, you will hear everything that is happening around Seribatu village and wider across the island. This is the place to hear live gamelan, festival broadcasts and discussions about issues affecting the community.
On VOLCANO, the playlist is 100% Balinese Indi Rock, Alternative and Punk. 24 hours per day this is the place to hear Balinese bands.
On MESIN Radio Seribatu is playing 100% Balinese Electronic, Trance, House, Techno and Dance.
Each station’s test transmissions are on air right now and continue up until 6 PM Bali Time on New Year’s Eve, December 31st (1000 UTC December 31st). Then all three stations will be in simulcast, presenting a 6-hour special soundscape/actualities program that allows the listener to experience the tropical sounds of Seribatu. With the stroke of midnight; at the beginning of the new decade, all three stations launch into their regular programming.
Radio Seribatu is QSLing anyone who listens in, be it via stream or FM. Simply send a hello note and brief report of reception to email@example.com and in return, you will receive a limited edition QSL, complete with an exotic postage stamp, posted directly from the Balinese jungle. No return postage required!
Here’s a rundown of what you can hear on the 31st December 2019 launch broadcast:
1000 UTC – (6:00 PM Bali Time)
Puja Tri Sandya Prayers
The Trisandya (from Sanskrit ??????????? ??? , Trisandhy? Puja, “three-evening prayer”) is a commonly-used prayer in Balinese Hinduism. It is uttered three times each day: 6 am, noon, and 6 pm, somewhat reflecting the Muslim azan prayers heard in other parts of Indonesia.
1005 UTC – (6:05 PM Bali Time)
Seribatu Village Awakens
Most Balinese families live within a family compound in villages that may have a population of around 700 – 800 people. In Seribatu the family compounds typically contain several homes for different members of the extended family. A typical home compound may comprise up to three families and grow to approximately 30 people. The village stirs to life just before the crack of dawn; roosters crow and chickens are fed. Early morning is a busy time in Seribatu, listen for village drums, Motor Bikes and Scooters heading off to the Dawn Market, Women sweeping their homes with a wicker brush, crickets chirp, and villagers trade at the dawn market. School starts early, and before the heat the day the Indonesian National Anthem is recited.
1017 UTC – (6:17 PM Bali Time)
Balinese Wisdom – The Song of Morality
Please don’t ever think you are very Clever; Let people either say you are good or great.
1019 UTC – (6:19 PM Bali Time)
Simple Seribatu village compounds do not have a refrigerator. Meat, fish and other food are purchased the local central market at dawn and the following few hours before the heat of the day descends. Farmers trade their vegetables and other produce. Merchants sell hardware and household supplies. Minivans packed to the roof with purchased fresh produce maneuver around the narrow lanes of the market.
1044 UTC – (6:44 PM Bali Time)
Ducks in the Rice Fields
Rice is a staple food in Bali, and it has strong ties to the Balinese culture. The cycle of rice growth pretty much sets the tone for much of the traditional Balinese life. The Balinese community views rice as a gift from God and a symbol of life. For thousands of years, the Balinese people have been growing rice and cultivating the beautiful rice terraces of Bali where three kinds of rice are grown: white rice, black rice, and red rice.
1102 UTC – (7:02 PM Bali Time)
Balinese Cleansing Ceremony
This ceremony is intended to cleanse the bhuana alit (the inner world of the individual human being or the micro-cosmos) of negativity so that he/she will be able (again) to enclose and utilize this inner power in an appropriate, spiritual way. The symbolism of this ceremony is intended to remind the individual to guard himself against the selfish desires and actions of the ego in favor of the unselfish goals of the soul or higher self. One prays for a clear mind with positive thinking and for strength to keep one’s self- control in situations where negative emotions are bound to arise.
1114 UTC – (7:14 PM Bali Time)
Satria Bird Market
As a popular Indonesian saying goes, a man is considered to be a real man if he has a house, a wife, a kris (dagger), and a bird. Keeping wild birds as pets is a massively popular hobby in many parts of Indonesia. The better the bird sings, the higher the demand for it. On a visit to Bali’s Satria Bird Market, you will see many thousands of birds from hundreds of species. Many of the birds are caged in poorly maintained conditions. Among the strangest are vendors who keep birds in bags, from unfledged chicks still in nests to breeding adults.
1115 UTC – (7:15 PM Bali Time)
Bats at the Goa Lawah Temple
One of nine sacred temples on the island of Bali, the cave temple of Pura Goa Lawah is home to thousands of bats. If the local legend is to be believed, it also hides a river of healing waters and a titanic snake wearing a crown.
While the site had no name when the temple was built, it gained its name due to the thousands of bats that cling to the ceiling and walls of the natural chasm, “Goa” meaning “cave” and “Lawah” meaning “bat.” It is thought that the cave may extend through the mountain right to a nearby town. The legend goes that the dark recesses of the tunnel are home to a mythical snake king known as Vasuki, a massive naga that wears a crown on his head. He is said to live on the copious amounts of bats in the cavern. Yet another legend claims that a river of miraculous healing waters rushes through the depths of the cave.
1120 UTC – (7:20 PM Bali Time)
Balaganjur Traditional Musicians Rehearsal
Baleganjur music is an inseparable part of life and death in Bali, heard in every village across the island. Its traditional purpose is to accompany funeral processions, so this intensely rhythmic yet dignified ensemble has a permanent role in Balinese society. The musicians play their instruments as they walk, and due to this portability, Baleganjur is now a fixture of all celebratory processions. A standard Baleganjur ensemble consists of about 20 musicians, plus helpers to carry gongs, but these days in Bali bigger is better!
1155 UTC – (7:55 PM Bali Time)
A Brief Balinese Radio Interlude
Listeners phone in and sing, callers discuss the terrorist bombings in Bali, Rinso (Indonesia’s most popular detergent) Soap Powder advertisement and how to cure a stubborn cough.
1242 UTC – (8:42 PM Bali Time)
Subak – Water Irrigation
Subak is a traditional ecologically sustainable irrigation system that binds Balinese agrarian society together within the village’s Bale Banjar community center and Balinese temples. For the Balinese, irrigation is not simply providing water for the plant’s roots, but water is used to construct a complex, pulsed artificial ecosystem. The water management is under the authority of the priests in water temples, who practice Tri Hita Karana Philosophy, a self-described relationship between humans, the earth and the gods.
1255 UTC – (8:50 PM Bali Time)
In Bali, there are over 4,500 temples where ceremonies take place almost every day of the year. Temple festivals are held on the anniversary of when the temple was consecrated and usually on a new or full moon.
An Odalan or temple ceremony usually lasts for three days, but larger ones, which occur every 5, 10, 30 or 100 years, can last for 11 days or longer. The Balinese are honoring the deities that rule over the temple by giving them a myriad of offerings, performances of vocal music, dance and gamelan music. They invite them down from their abode on Mount Agung to partake in the activities. Every ceremony in Bali is to maintain the natural balance of positive to negative, so the Balinese do not destroy the negative forces, but balance them in harmony with the positive.
1426 UTC – (10:26 PM Bali Time)
As the end of the year and the decade approaches, the sounds of frogs, crickets and tropical rain delight the ear while a cool bottle of Bintang refreshes your thirst.
1505 UTC – (11:05 PM Bali Time)
Radio Seribatu Countdown to Launch
Sinaga Goatama’s (Mendira Village) original electronic composition “Blazing Fire” guides us to midnight and the launch of regular programming on all three Radio Seribatu stations.
1600 UTC – (Midnight AM Bali Time)
It’s 2020 and Radio Seribatu has Launched!
All three of Radio Seribatu’s Radio Stations; Village, Volcano and Mesin radio are officially on-air, and commence their regular programming!
Wow, Mark! This is a most impressive endeavor and, no doubt, all three Seribatu stations will have a loyal following in Bali and across the planet! I’ve already become a fan of MESIN!
We wish you and the Seribatu staff/volunteers massive success in your 2020 launch year!
Post readers: Again, Radio Seribatu, is QSLing anyone who listens in. Send a brief, accurate report and you will receive a limited edition Seribatu QSL. Send all reports to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I recently received an inquiry from SWLing Post contributor, Geroge (NJ3H), who is a big fan of the simple logging application NewLog.
NewLog was written by Tom Lackamp (formerly AB9B) who was very well regarded in the community. Several years ago, however, he seemed to disappear: his callsign was reassigned and his email no longer works. Many assume, of course, that he could be SK.
UPDATE: Many thanks to the SWLing Post readers who shared the sad news that Tom Lackamp passed away on 12/26/2017 at age 70.
George has attempted to track Tom down because there are a few minor modifications he’d like to make to NewLog.
I’m told Tom openly encouraged his users to modify NewLog’s source files that we believe to have been written in Delphi.
If you happen to have the source files for NewLog–or know of a way to locate them–can you please comment on this post? Perhaps NewLog can be given a second life in the hands of the right programmer. Of course, please comment if you know how to contact Tom Lackamp or if you know what might have happened to him.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike S, who shares his assessment of the Retekess TR608. Mike writes:
For this model, the company marketing electronics under the Retekess brand seems to be using a different supplier compared to the previous digital-radio-plus-memory—card-player products. The result is a more traditionally styled multiband DSP radio which runs on (gasp) traditional AA batteries. Its feature set takes inspiration from the Radiwow R108 and original CCrane Skywave, but with mixed results (albeit at a fraction of the price). It delivers decent performance for its price class but more serious listeners would be advised to spend a little more on a more established model.
- Usual set of features: sleep timer, alarm, scanning, auto memory fill.
- Uses replaceable alkaline or NiMH “AA” cells.
- Decent sensitivity across the board.
- Full shortwave coverage.
- Frequency display is large and contrasty.
- Dial light is effective and can be disabled. Display is readable without it, even in dim light.
- No annoying keypad “beep”, so no mad rush to discover how it can be disabled.
- Speaker can play reasonably loud without distortion.
- FM reception is solid with good frequency response and stereo reception through headphones; this also activates a display indicator.
- MW/SW reception is NOT plagued by digital hash bleeding through from the processor as with most other models in this price range!
- Significantly larger than expected.
- Unfortunately the added cabinet space is not utilized for a more wide-range speaker; audio is tinny.
- Clumsy mounting of one spring in the battery compartment on my sample makes it almost impossible to insert the third AA battery without risking damage.
- Many keypad buttons are so tiny and almost flush with the cabinet, that they are difficult to press.
- Lens over LCD display is molded and unpolished with moiré distortion at some viewing angles.
- Air band reception marred by birdies, bleed-through from other bands, and lack of squelch.
- Volume control defaults back to level “10” under some circumstances (the manual warns about this).
- Confusing 2-level LOCK function requires close attention to almost microscopic indicator on LCD.
- No battery level indicator.
- Although the manual advises that batteries can be charged using the 4.5V coaxial socket, no charging indicator is obvious.
- Rotary knob, used for both tuning and volume adjustments, has no detents and so can easily spin off target.
- Assigned function (no indication) depends on whether the tuning or volume buttons on the keypad were the last to be used.
- No fine tuning outside of pre-programmed increments.
- MW selectivity is a bit too wide for congested night reception.
- MW reception occasionally exhibits weird artifacts; ghost images, sputtering audio on marginal signals, and “processed” sounding voice audio. Don’t know if these are DSP or AGC related, or a mixture of both. I have observed the same thing with the Eton Mini and other inexpensive portables using marginal DSP implementations.
SHOWSTOPPER ALERT: MW band channel assignments marred by 9kHz-centric firmware bug. Even after changing to 10kHz channel spacing (undocumented), the CPU still “thinks” in 9kHz assignments for direct input. Entering FREQ-1-0-1-0-FREQ should get you to 1010 kHz; but it actually lands on 1018 kHz because that is the nearest channel in the 9kHz band plan. You are now stuck in frequency step hell, as the up-down frequency keys still operate in 10KHz mode but do not know they are now off bandplan. UP/DOWN yield 1028/1008, not 1020/1000. The only way to recover is to enter a MW frequency that is the same in both bandplans, or to power off and double-reset the step rate resulting in all memories being lost.
Thank you so much for the review, Mike. It sounds like this little receiver isn’t ready for prime time yet. The issues with frequency steps on the mediumwave band is certainly a show-stopper for anyone in North America. Indeed, it sounds like mediumwave reception, in general, is mediocre at best. At least the receiver isn’t plagued with internal noises.
With pricing around $29.99-$39.99 it’s certainly a bargain radio. But I’m sure you’re thinking what I’m thinking: you pay for what you get.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Alan Fahrner, who writes:
Didn’t know if any of your readers would be interested in the Woot deal on refurb Panasonic RF-2400s:
Thank you, Alan! Click here to read our previous post about this radio.
“Happy Holidays. Software update brings integrated DRM receiver (Digital Radio Mondiale) based on Dream 2.1.1 to all KiwiSDRs. Stock BeagleBone-Green/Black based Kiwis support one DRM channel, BeagleBone-AI Kiwis support four. Development work continues.”
Ironically, I had only recently published a post asking if anyone had ever attempted to decode DRM using a KiwiSDR. Turns out, several readers had by porting the IQ audio output into the DREAM application. Now that KiwiSDR will have a native DRM mode, this will no longer be necessary.
Many thanks, Mark, for sharing this tip! As you say, this is “mega news!”
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Gaétan Teyssonneau, who notes that Europe 1 has announced that they will close their 183 kHz longwave service on December 31, 2019 at midnight. Gaétan shared the following message, in French, from Europe 1:
Les habitudes d’écoute étant en train d’évoluer et l’utilisation des supports numérique se multipliant, Europe 1 n’émettra plus en grandes ondes à partir du 31 décembre 2019 minuit.
Un choix assumé par la station qui a toujours fait preuve d’innovation dans sa manière de penser et concevoir l’écoute de ses programmes. l’approche environnementale a également motivé cette décision. Quitter les grandes ondes c’est aussi protéger l’environnement.
Bonnes fêtes à vous .
Directrice Générale Lagardère News (Europe 1/ Paris Match / JDD)
CEO ELLE International
Thanks again for sharing this news, Gaétan.