Monthly Archives: March 2020

I should be working, but instead I’m playing radio…

Ever had one of those days where you should be catching up on work, correspondence, and projects, but instead you find yourself outside, in front of a radio and just enjoying a long listening session?

Yeah, that’s me and that’s today.

How did it all happen?

Well, this morning I dropped an RF adapter behind a shelf and, in the process, picked up my Sony ICF-5500W that was standing in the way. It felt a little light because it had no batteries inside.

Next thing I know, I’m loading the ‘5500W with C cells and heading outside.

It’s a gorgeous day, so I thought it might not be a bad idea to energize the caps in this benchmark solid-state radio and check reception outdoors. Besides, it’s a perfect way to do my bit for Social DXing, right?

The ‘5500W was performing flawlessly, so the next thing I know I’ve passed a good hour band-scanning and doing a little daytime DXing.

The ‘500W is truly a remarkable mediumwave receiver and I love the fluid “tuning experience” of the analog dial.  The audio, of course, is brilliant and perhaps that’s why I can’t let go of it (nor the Panny RF-2200).

So am I the only one playing radio today instead of doing work–? Tell me it ain’t so!  Please comment!

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Radio Waves: QSL delays, Radio’s Chance to Matter, Radio Listening Booms, and Experimental Radio News

Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Roseanna, the International Radio Report, Bennett, and Eric McFadden for the following tips:


QSL news for March 2020: Radio Taiwan International and Radio Slovakia International (The Girl with the Radio)

I have some news, first from Radio Taiwan International:
Due to COVID-19, RTI has decided to suspend posting QSL cards to the countries listed in the image [attached].

If you live in any of these countries I would advise you to expect significant delays in receiving a physical QSL card from RTI.

Secondly, Radio Slovakia International have announced on their show that they currently don’t expect to be able to have QSL cards made and/or sent out in a timely manner for quite some time, again due to COVID-19.[]

Radio, Don’t Blow Your Chance to Matter Again (Guest Column — Variety)

Radio, I’ve just about had enough of you and your abandonment of your defining purpose as broadcasters. With the coronavirus pandemic now ravaging everyday life and suspending every reliable comfort from work routines to sports and entertainment or actual human contact, we’re looking for steadiness somewhere — an echo of the familiar, a kindred connection. Anything to tether us to something recognizable. A service the radio dial used to provide — and public radio still does.

Corporate radio is missing its biggest opportunity in a generation right at this moment.

Based on the events of the last few days in Los Angeles, market No. 2 with a 60-plus year history of rich and vibrant local broadcasting excellence, it appears there is little wisdom or vision left. Case in point: the vast audience disconnect in Entercom’s abrupt and confusing decision at KROQ-FM to fire morning show personality Kevin Ryder on Wednesday, someone who is a heritage voice in L.A. with a long local history as half of the “Kevin & Bean Show,” a well-loved talent who had just launched the freshly-formed team “Kevin in the Morning With Allie & Jensen” this past January (in the wake of longtime partner Gene “Bean” Baxter’s retirement last year). But instead of capitalizing on that position of strength, using this particular anchor as a steady ship for the approaching tidal wave of pandemic upheavals, KROQ chooses to obliterate a main source of humor and comfort from its airwaves right at a moment when the attending audience needs stability more than ever.[]

Coronavirus: Radio listening booms while music streaming stalls (Southgate ARC)

BBC News report that people staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic appear to be listening to more radio rather than music apps, figures suggest.

Global, which owns Capital FM and talk station LBC, said online radio listening had risen by 15%.

The BBC said streaming of its radio stations had risen 18% since last week.

Meanwhile, data from two US analytics companies suggested use of music-streaming apps such as Spotify had dipped by about 8%.

“These figures indicate that the public are turning to radio in times of crisis,” a Global spokeswoman said.

BBC Radio and Education director James Purnell said: “People turn to us during significant events for our news and analysis but also for music, entertainment and companionship.

Article continues here:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-52037461

Experimental Radio News 2

Experimental Radio licenses from the files of the Federal Communications Commission

On February 24, 2020, Lynk’s experimental satellite licensed as WQ9XDP was received on an unmodified mobile phone in the Falklands. The test apparently was in “cell broadcast” mode — as in Wireless Emergency Alerts and Amber Alerts — and not an individualized call to a specific handset. (The video below contains an expletive.)

[…]WJ2XUG was issued to PointView Tech, reportedly a unit of Facebook, for the Athena satellite project in the 70 and 80 GHz bands. At this writing, the public record for this experiment was incomplete as the FCC had asked PointView for additional ground station information.

[…]Viziv Technologies, licensee of WJ2XGB, a giant experimental station in Texas, has proposed additional uses for its technology beyond wireless power transmission.

[…]Another wireless power venture is Guru Wireless, which was issued WK2XRN for tests at 10, 24 and 62 GHz. “Radio wave energy is generated in the GU [generating unit], and then it is refracted and channeled into highly focused beams, which reach and power your devices,” according to the Guru website.

[…]Rohde & Schwarz USA was issued WP9XZP for Special Temporary Authority in association with Microsoft, which is evaluating security scanners apparently for its own use. The Rohde & Schwartz product is a “millimeter wave security scanner that automatically detects potentially dangerous items carried on the body or in clothing. It consists of a flat panel with 3,008 transmitter/receiver pairs that emit extremely low-power millimeter waves in very short succession,” the company said.[…]

These are clippings from Experimental Radio News–click here to read the full items.


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Encore – Classical Music on Shortwave

Regular Broadcast times of Encore are: 
11:00 – 12:00 UTC Saturday 6070 kHz Channel 292 to Europe – This will change to 10:00 – 11:00 UTC on 4th April
Repeated 
01:00 – 02:00 UTC Sunday 5850 kHz WRMI to the US and Canada
08:00 – 09:00 UTC Sunday 7440 kHz Channel 292 to Europe
02:00 – 03:00 UTC Monday 9455 kHz WRMI to the US and Canada
19:00 – 20:00 UTC Friday 6070 kHz Channel 292 to Europe
Our email is  encoretumbril@gmail.com. Informal reception reports as well as those requesting eQSL welcome.
The website is www.tumbril.co.uk where there are transmission times and frequencies, the playlist for the most recent programme and more information about Radio Tumbril.
This week’s programme has the suite for Much Ado About Nothing from Erich Korngold, some Thomas Adès, Rameau, Beethoven, and song from the contemporary composer Bonnie Miksch.
The playlist is on the website and will be updated soon after Saturday’s broadcast of the new show by Channel 292 at 11:00 UTC – but probably not until Sunday evening.
Channel 292 can be pulled live off the internet if the reception is poor in your location. Easy to find their site with a google search.
In the meantime – thank you for spreading the word about Encore – Classical Music on Shortwave on Radio Tumbril. And thank you to everyone for letting us know how well the signal is received where you live.
Brice Avery – Encore – Radio Tumbril – Scotland
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Radio Waves: Digitizing Pakistan, BBC MW Closures, Lowe HF-250 Review, and BBC News suspends 450 job cuts

Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Alan, Mike, and Dave Zantow for the following tips:


Government to fully digitize Radio Pakistan (Radio Pakistan)

The incumbent government, under its vision of introducing modern trends and technology in different sectors, has planned to fully digitize the state-owned Radio Pakistan.

This information has been revealed in official documents during the ongoing week-long national workshop on Digital Radio Migration policy of Radio Pakistan at Pakistan Broadcasting Academy, Islamabad.

The digitization will bring about a revolution in the field of broadcasting in the country, and will capture the audience at home and abroad including South Asia and Central Asia and the Middle East through quality news, current affairs and programs.

Under the plan, the biggest 1000-Kilowatt DRM Medium-wave transmitting station of Radio Pakistan will be set up at Fort Monroe hill station in Dera Ghazi Khan district in South Punjab at an estimated cost of three billion rupees.

It will be the first ever most powerful but digital transmitter of Radio Pakistan that is to be established in center of the country as part of Phase-II of Digital Radio Migration policy and it will help cover the entire population of Pakistan with crystal clear and noise-free waves.

The project has already been approved by the federal cabinet while the Punjab government has been asked to acquire land for the said purpose.

Under Phase-II of DRM plan, five DRM+FM transmitters of 10-kilowatt each will be installed in Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Faisalabad and Multan in the existing Radio Stations.

Besides, eight DRM+FM transmitters of five kilowatt each will be installed in Quetta, Peshawar, Gilgit, Skardu, Gwadar, Mirpur (Azad Kashmir), Khairpur and Narowal in the existing radio stations.

The phase-II of the plan would be accomplished in three years with an overall estimated cost of 3,153 million rupees.

And under Phase-III of the plan, four DRM medium wave transmitters of 100-kilowatt each will be installed in Lahore, Skardu, Quetta and Peshawar for strategic purposes.[]

BBC Radio to close more medium wave transmitters (Radio Today)

The BBC says it is closing a further 18 medium wave transmitters across England, Scotland and Wales in the next stage of its plan to cut costs.

Services being closed range from BBC Radio Solent’s two AM frequencies on the South Coast to BBC Radio Scotland’s service in Aberdeen.

Six more BBC Local Radio services will no longer be transmitted on AM – they are Three Counties Radio (630 and 1161 kHz), BBC Radio Merseyside (1485 KHz), BBC Radio Newcastle (1458 KHz), BBC Radio Solent and BBC Radio Solent (for Dorset) 999 and 1359 KHz, BBC Radio Cornwall (630 and 657 kHz) and BBC Radio York (666 and 1260 KHz).

Kieran Clifton, Director, BBC Distribution & Business Development explains: “The majority of radio listening in the UK – including to the BBC – is now digital, and digital listening is continuing to grow.

“This change was planned as long ago as 2011, but we have taken a measured approach to implement it to ensure that as many of you as possible have already moved on to other ways of receiving the services before we make this change. We know that the changes will impact some of you, and that’s why we’re speaking about the plans again now. We want to make sure that people listening to these transmissions will be able to use other methods to hear the same programmes.”[]

Dave’s review of the Lowe HF-250 (N9EWO)

[…]As far as audio quality goes, it’s extremely difficult to beat the Lowe HF-250. Mind you it has it’s share of “bug-a-boos” as well.

In our view it has held up much better in it’s old age vs. the AOR AR7030. Properly operating and in decent condition samples are fairly rare on the used market now (even more so in North America). Most owners know what the receiver is and hang on to them. But once a great while one does show up on the used market. Click here to read the full review.

BBC News suspends 450 job cuts to ensure Covid-19 coverage (BBC News)

BBC News has suspended plans to cut 450 jobs as it faces the demands of covering the coronavirus pandemic.

The job losses were announced in January and were part of a plan to complete a £80m savings target by 2022.

Outlets due to be hit include BBC Two’s Newsnight, BBC Radio 5 Live and the World Service’s World Update programme.

Director general Tony Hall gave staff the news on Wednesday, a week after the broadcaster delayed the end of the free TV licence scheme for all over-75s.

Lord Hall said “we’re suspending the consultation on those saving plans”.

He told staff: “We’ve got to get on with doing the job that you’re doing really brilliantly.

“It would be inappropriate. We haven’t got the resource to plough ahead with those plans at the moment, so we’ll come back to that at some point.

“But for the moment we just want to make sure you are supported and you’ve got the resources to do the job that you and your colleagues are doing amazingly.”[]


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Martin is pleased with the Retekess/Tivdio V-115 (a.k.a. Audiomax SRW-710S)

Thomas takes this little portable on travels to record Shortwave, AM and FM broadcasters. Very handy.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Martin, who shares the following comment:

Ok, this comment might be a little bit too late, but what the heck, SW radios are way more too old so. I’m 46 and as a little kid, my first “electronic” device was a National or Panasonic (not sure what was it) AM Transistor Portable Radio and I loved it. I spent hours looking for something to hear through all the spectrum. In 1988 (I think) my father bought a Panasonic SW Portable Radio and I “stole” it from him, it took me back to the Radio experience and open me the interest for the SW. 10 years later, or so, it was stolen from me (and eye for an eye).

A couple of years ago I was thinking about getting one but didn’t want to spend too much for an entry-level radio. So after a lot of research (including your post Troy), I decided to go for the Retekess V115, which is the rebranded version of the Audiomax SRW710s, or the Tivdio V115, or… I bought it for around $23.00 USD through our local “eBay” platform “Mercado Libre” in Mexico as they had local stock. I first bought a Retekess V117 for my dad which is an analog version and for the old man will be easier to use. After testing this one before handing it to the old man I was impressed by its performance, so I decided to go for the “digital” version. 2 versions were available as an entry, the V111, and the V115. I went for the V115 as it has a rechargeable iON battery, numerical buttons for presets and entering stations, and last but not less it is an MP3 player.

So far I have used both AM & FM radio with a pleasant experience. I work in a hard concrete building and it gets signal from stations that I couldn’t get with my mobile FM radio app. As for the SW I have gotten signals from CUBA, and I believe some others from Europe. I haven’t spent too much time looking for SW stations though. Sound is amazing for this little thing, it is crisp on radio and it also delivers some bass with music! MP3 player is kind of limited, but it is not an iPod, right? It only plays by folder but also you can look for specific songs surfing the root file.

Anyway, I highly recommend this little thing for an entry level SW radio, even if you don’t want to spend too much and are not looking for the big guys (Tecsun, Grudnig, C. Crane), I can assure you will have a lot of fun with it.

Happy tunings and greetings from Guadalajara, Mexico.

Thank you so much for sharing your review, Martin. You’re right: the audio from this little radio is pretty impressive especially considering the price and size. As I mention in the photo caption above, I often travel with the V-115/SRW-710S because I can so easily make off-air recordings on the internal MicroSD card.

This radio has so many brand names, it’s difficult to track them down. At the moment, it seems Retekess V115 is the most ubiquitous. Also look for AudioMax and Tivdio.

Click here to check Amazon.com (affiliate link supports the SWLing Post)

Search eBay.com

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With no Internet at home, PA school district uses AM radio to reach students

Check out the following story and video from WTAE Pittsburgh:

BUTLER, Pa. —As the coronavirus shutdown continues, the is going back to an old technology to help kids from falling more behind than they already are.

AM radio is making a comeback.

“We were trying to figure out how to create some normalcy for all of our students,” said Superintendent Brian White, “and we thought what better way than grabbing onto AM radio?”

White says he got the idea from a conversation with his father, also an educator, as they were setting up ways to communicate.

White says several students in the geographically large district don’t have access to the internet.

“When he was talking about that, I thought why aren’t we doing this for all of our students, that would be great. But let’s go to radio instead,” White said.

Elementary and secondary school teachers record lessons the night before and send them in. Then, 680 AM WISR in Butler broadcasts the lessons. Secondary students get their lessons at 9 a.m. and elementary students at 9:30 a.m.

“I thought the idea was great. It kind of takes you back in a way to think about the days of fireside chats,” said Hope Hull, the principal at Connoquenessing Elementary School.

Hull says she thinks this exercise improves listening skills for students. She added that her teachers are excited to put these lessons together.

White says there are plans in motion to get more students laptops and Wi-Fi capability.

Click here to read the full story and watch the WTAE video.

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All India Radio suspends shortwave and “pure DRM’ transmissions during Covid-19 lock-down

Photo by Karthik Chandran

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Fahey, who notes that All India Radio has suspended a number of their broadcast services during the Covid-19 lock-down.

Mark shares the following Office Memorandum from India’s Public Service Broadcaster.

Click here to download memorandum (PDF).

In terms of shortwave (ESD) services, here’s the relevant section from the Memorandum:

B) NON-ESSENTIAL RADIO SERVICES

The following non-essential radio services may be suspended with immediate effect during the lock-down

ESD

5) All ESD services

6) All transmitters dedicated to ESD

DRM

7) Pure DRM mode operations

a. DRM transmitters may be operated on analogue / simulcast mode to relay the National News Service subject to local circumstances and conditions

FM

8) Stations with a 3rd FM channel may relay audio of DD News or DD India subject to feasibility

On the WRTH Facebook group, Sanjay Sutradhar, did note one shortwave broadcast still in service:

It appears 9380 kHz from Aligarh is radiating AIR Vividh Bharti services, may be on a truncated wattage. 8am & 8.30pm news is extended to one hour dedicated to Covid-19 news in-country and world-wide and developments but it is the common broadcast carried out in-country on all bands, at 1.45 UTC

Mark Fahey asks:

I wonder if they will ever bring AIR’s External Service back–?

That’s the big question, isn’t it? The government lock-down is set for 21 days, but I fully expect it could take much longer if other Covid-19 countries are any indication.

If AIR’s shortwave service is closed for an extended period of time–recognizing they deem it “non-essential”–I wouldn’t be surprised if they made deep cuts or keep it closed. Let’s hope for the best outcome, though.

Stay tuned! We’ll keep you updated.


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