Monthly Archives: March 2020

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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Free Radio Skybird returns March 29 and April 5

(Source: Pete Madtone)

We may be locked out from the outside world for a short while but don’t worry, that interesting thing called radio will help us through this mad time.

The next episode of DJ Frederick’s Free Radio Skybird will be aired on Sunday 29th March at 1100 UTC (1200 UK) on 6070 kHz via Channel 292. The show will be rebroadcast on Sunday 5th April at 1100 UTC (1200 UK) on 6070 kHz also. If you haven’t got a shortwave radio it can also be heard on the SDR link on Channel 292’s site here.

The programme will feature Justin Patrick Moore’s Radiophonic Laboratory and One Deck Pete presenting the Skybird Mailbag. There’ll also be an airing of Pete’s “Radio fanatics of the world unite” mix that has tunes from Nadezha Orlova, Duce Haus and Yemanjo and the Monarch Duo. Also in the next couple of months Free Radio Skybird will take to the air a little bit more. We will keep you posted!

And further radio help can be obtained from this week’s instalment of This is a music show available below. As usual there’s a mix of excellent music in a cross genre style, image data and a corker of a dub track. Our kind of radio show!

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Adam’s Andes DXers International certificate

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Adam Smith, who shares the following certificate and writes:

I was going to share a piece of history I just came across going through some of my shortwave radio boxes. Lots of QSLs but this its a membership in ANDES DX Club!

Good times!

Thank you for sharing this bit of shortwave radio nostalgia, Adam! Any others in the SWLing Post community belong to the Andes DXers International? Do you still have your certificate? Please comment!

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Ham Radio Outlet open for online and call-in orders during pandemic

(Source: Ham Radio Outlet via Dan Robinson)

Coronavirus Update
March 24, 2020

As you are aware, stores across the country have closed their doors to the public or restricted access to curb-side pickup only. During these times Ham Radio Outlet has stayed open and conducted normal business in areas that do not have federal, state, or city mandates.

States such as Ohio, Louisiana, Delaware, California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, Michigan, and others have ‘Shelter-In-Place’ orders. Other states are very soon to follow.

This morning the Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, spoke to the nation and indicated the following:

“I want America to understand, this week it’s going to get bad! The disease is spreading because many people — especially young people — are not abiding by guidance to stay at home and practice social distancing. Right now, there are not enough people out there who are taking this seriously.”

In order to protect the staff and customers of Ham Radio Outlet and to continue to operate in a safe manner HRO will be closed to walk in traffic at all locations effective 3/25/2020. Stores will continue to take phone calls, online orders, and ship product so long as we are legally allowed to operate. We encourage curb-side pickup where you may call in an order and then call into the store when you arrive at the facility. One of our staff will bring out the product to your vehicle.

Ham Radio Outlet will continue to monitor local, state, and national guideliness and adjust our store policies accordingly. HRO may change to something more restrictive in the near future. Our sincere hope is that we can return to business as usual as soon as possible, but until then we want to ensure the safety of both our staff and you, our customer.

For up-to-date information of any store’s status please visit our Coronavirus Status Page on our website located at: https://www.hamradio.com/coronavirus

If you have any questions regarding this policy you may direct those questions to Steve Gilmore, National Sales Manger, Ham Radio Outlet, 14803 Build America Dr. Building B, Woodbridge, Virginia 22191, Phone: 800-444-4799 | email: woodbridge@hamradio.com

Sincerely

-Ham Radio Outlet

HRO is still open for online and call-in orders–click here to check out their online catalog.

I did note that the Icom IC-7300 is now only $879.95 after rebates. That a lot of radio for the money!

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FTIOM & UBMP, March 29-April 4

From the Isle of Music, March 29-April 4:
This week, our special guest is Feliciano Arango, leader of Hermanos Arango, whose album Bendita Guanabacoa was nominated in the Best Instrumental Vocal category
in Cubadisco 2019 and named as one of the best Latin Jazz/Salsa albums of 2019 by Yannick le Maintec of Le Monde. This is a repeat by popular demand of a previous episode.
The broadcasts take place:
1. For Eastern Europe but audible well beyond the target area in most of the Eastern Hemisphere (including parts of East Asia and Oceania) with 100Kw, Sunday 1500-1600 UTC on SpaceLine, 9400 KHz, from Sofia, Bulgaria (1800-1900 MSK)
If you don’t have a shortwave radio or are out of range, you can listen live to an uplink from a listening radio in the Netherlands during the broadcast at
http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/?tune=9400am
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0000-0100 (New UTC) on WBCQ, 7490 KHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EST in the US).
If you don’t have a shortwave or are out of range, you can listen to a live stream from the WBCQ website here (choose 7490): http://www.wbcq.com/?page_id=7
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany.
If you don’t have a shortwave radio or are out of range, you can listen live to an uplink from a listening radio in Europe.
Visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fromtheisleofmusic

Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, March 29 and 31:
Episode 158 features some light-hearted music to lift our spirits in these times.
On WBCQ only, there is a second half-hour featuring one of the first episodes of our show in 2017.
The transmissions take place:
1.Sundays 2200-2300 NEW UTC (6:00PM -7:00PM Eastern US) on WBCQ The Planet 7490 KHz from the US to the Americas and parts of Europe
If you don’t have a shortwave or are out of range, you can listen to a live stream from the WBCQ website here (choose 7490): http://www.wbcq.com/?page_id=7
2. Tuesdays 2000-2030 UTC on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany for Europe.
If you don’t have a shortwave radio or are out of range, you can listen live to an uplink from different web SDRs in Europe.
Visit our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/UncleBillsMeltingPot

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ALT-512 QRP transceiver review in RadCom

If you’re a member of the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) you may have seen my review of the ALT-512 QRP transceiver in the March 2020 issue of Radcom. This was my first review for Radcom after having been invited to submit a review at the 2018 Hamvention.

I love Radcom so was pretty chuffed to see my review in the March pages:

I had the ALT-512 here at SWLing Post HQ, on loan from the manufacturer, for the better part of six months. I got to know this little radio inside-out. I’ve operated it in the field, in the shack and covered ever mode including FT-8 contacts during portable operations and even in a high school classroom.

Operating FT-8 with my ham radio class high school students last year. The ALT-512 is a digi-mode champ. With a very modest indoor mag loop antenna we averaged about 110 miles per watt.

The ALT-512 is a versatile, sturdy little rig–designed and manufactured in Bulgaria. I really only had minor complaints about this transceiver. I saw a bright future for this little rig. It was well-designed and backed by a company and team of ham radio operators that had already successfully launched several other transceivers.

Then the unexpected happened…

Early last month, I learned that the ALT-512’s main engineer and designer, Dobri Hristov (LZ2TU), passed away.

If you own the Sky SDR or LD-11, you may have communicated with Dobri at some point when you needed technical support.  Dobri was a well-respected fellow and distinguished ham radio operator/DXer. I corresponded with him quite a few times in the past.

Sadly, when Dobri passed away, he took the ALT-512 with him.

Here’s the announcement from Aerial-51’s website.

I think the ALT-512 would have been very successful and competitive in the European market and beyond.

Dobri passed away as the March 2020 issue of Radcom was being printed. He never got to see it, but I’d like to think he would have been quite proud of his little transceiver. In the end, I think it was an overall positive review.

You can judge for yourself: Aerial-51 recently published a copy of the ALT-512 review with permission from the RSGB.

Radcom

If you’re into ham radio and are looking for a top-shelf publication, consider joining the RSGB and subscribing to Radcom. I highly recommend them even though their judgement was obviously impaired when they invited me to write a review–! 🙂

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CPRM Lisboa: Another mystery signal solved

In response to our latest mystery utility signal challenge, SWLing Post contributor, Dean Bianco replies:

This is the musical marker for CPRM Lisboa, a radiotelephone terminal that provided overseas telephone and telegraph communications in the days prior to satellites.

I remembered the non-broadcast HF frequencies being loaded to bursting with many of these radio services. When not scrambled for privacy, one could hear a telephone call in progress. Instead of a musical IS such as this one, most were loop tape voice ID’s in several languages (almost always including English). So naturally these musical loops made it quite difficult to know what exactly one was hearing, to say the least!

To verify check out the following embedded audio file made by Willi Passmann  (via the excellent UtilityRadio.com website):

Once again, thanks to Dean Bianco for solving yet another mystery! Obviously, Dean is a Black Belt SWL and DXer!

FYI: I’ve received a number of emails from readers who really enjoy these mystery signals. Since we all seem to have more time at home these days, I’ll plan to keep them coming!


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