I’m very pleased this morning to see that SWLing Post contributor, Paul Walker, appeared in an interview on ABC News Breakfast:
A brilliant interview, Paul! Thanks for representing your radio DXing community so very well.
And…WOW! Hobart from McGrath, AK! What a catch indeed!
Licence Details of ABC Local Radio Hobart (7ZR)
Carrier frequency 936 kHz, bandwidth 18 kHz, Transmitter output power 10 kW of silence.
Antenna height 198 metres
Effective omnidirectional radiating power 41219 Watts
Maximum Cyclomotive force 1510 Volts. The antenna is directional. Since Hobart is in the South Eastern corner of the island of Tasmania there is little signal going over Antarctica and the Arctica.
Transmitter location 42 55 32S 147 29 50E which is 12807 km Macgrath Alaska.
I should point out that Amplitude Modulation is used by both Medium Frequency (this is the ‘AM’ to which you refer) and High Frequency (‘Short Wave’) also uses one of the following;
High Frequency transmissions use the following modulations;
Broadcast: Amplitude Modulation and Digital Radio Mondale which itself uses COFDM modulation
Communications: Single Sideband, and digital modes.
If all broadcasting went to DRM or DAB+, the noisy, distorted sound will be replaced with excellent stereo sound, sound which breaks up under poor conditions or nothing. The frequency, power of the transmission and path blockages will determine the coverage area.
When the power of an AM and DRM transmission are equal and the RF signal is marginal, a reliable excellent DRM sound occurs but the AM is virtually unlistenable. If an AM/DRM simulcast occurs on adjacent channels the DRM power is much lower.
“Alaskan Radio Nerd” – hihi, a title of honor. Glad folks still refer to us in that way. We are one of a kind.
Rob, I was also on 2nc 1233 ABC Newcastle as well… 🙂
I think my job has helped me be bale to ad-lib and sometimes gently re-direct or correct someone without making it obvious… like answering her with “shortwave AND AM Radio..”.
Congrats, Paul. Your interview went very well indeed! I also enjoyed the Hobart radio interview you did several weeks ago – I thought you did a terrific job on that one, too! You are a great ambassador for the radio medium.
f the ABC stopped wasting the A$1 Billion dollars a year in funding on overpaid salaries and left wing propaganda then Radio Australia would still be on the air. It doesn’t cost a lot to run it and it’s disgraceful that they dismiss the importance of shortwave broadcasting for rural and remote Australia, the pacific region and the rest of the world. China wasted no time in grabbing the frequencies used by Radio Australia.
As for a radio enthusiast being called a nerd – it’s just a way to get people’s attention.
Doesnt cost alot to run shortwave, are you kidding? Think like someone other than a hobbyist.. how much do they need to spend to serve a couple thousand people here and there….
And if funding can support it im all for media people being paid well… so many complaints i hear from broadcasters are about the bad pay.
James has clearly shown his political stripes in his comment about Radio Australia. But we should remind him that RA shut the shortwave service down under the watch of the current conservative government that has been in power for the past eight years!
James, The Michelle Guthrie, the CEO who closed HF broadcasts was given the sack. Recently the Chinese have a pact with the Solomon Islands which is 1000 km from the Queensland coast, has renewed interest in HF broadcasting to the Pacific. We also have a change of Government, Labor has promised the return of HF radio to remote Australia and the Pacific. We wait and see.
It is an ideal opportunity to start crystal clear stereo DRM broadcasting. Its ability to wake potential victims of cyclones and tsunamis is useful in those areas, along with the ability to transmit maps and Multilanguage indexed text is most useful. Radio New Zealand Pacific still transmits DRM but it is restricted now because they only have one on air transmitter.
A couple of things.
Stop thinking like a hobbyist and start thinking like an average person. This story was done because their viewers can relate to have to pick up signals at longer distances in the outback from ABC Local Radio stations and others. They relate to their audience the best way they know how.
Notice, I did slip in a gentle “Shortwave and AM radio” when answering one of the female anchors questions.
As for the nerd thing, this is what an Australian radio friend tells me, “I hope you weren’t offended by being called a ‘radio nerd’.. lol. Aussies always use disparaging nick names for each other. It’s a thing and it’s meant as a friendly and endearing”
I’ve talked on air with ABC Radio Newcastle and Hobart and they were nothing less then genuine and interested but amazed by this. I’m not in the slightest bit offended by any of this.. so neither should any of you be.
Some people are always looking for the negative, to find something wrong and pick it apart. How about we look at the positive.. The DXing hobby was featured on national television and might spur a few memories in their viewers who will be tempted to pull out their old rigs or get into the hobby for the first time and get new radios and partake in Dxing?
Chill out indee!
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, and I’m glad to hear that you were not offended by the nerd term. You bring up several points that I’ll take the time to share my thoughts on.
First off, it’s very hard for me personally to think like an average person, since I am most definitely anything but average. This likely started when I was 7 years old, reading astronomy books, and my teacher sent a note home to my parents encouraging them to have me read more age-appropriate material. My parents sent a note back to leave me alone.
However, you have pointed out that the piece was aimed at their ‘average’ people, so I guess nerds is something they can relate to (whether in a good or bad way). Being accustomed to the journalistic standards of the BBC World Service for so many years, I forget that there are other ways of presenting a story. I do fail however to think that your radio/DX story was made better by being called a nerd…..that leaving the term out would somehow detract from the overall quality of the message.
Yes, I did notice the ‘shortwave and AM radio’ mention- good job.
And thank you for the reminder of the subtle cultural differences between the English-speaking societies. Having spent time in both Australia and New Zealand (and US, Canada, UK, South Africa, Belize, Malaysia, Hong Kong, etc.), I know that there are certainly linguistic differences, including the same words having completely different meanings.
However it’s an interesting comment from your Australian radio friend, as they themselves noted the radio nerd thing could be interpreted as offensive. The story producers must have thought it was acceptable, or maybe they’re getting some cheap popularity at your expense. I’m glad that you’re OK with the label, and if you think that is an appropriate endorsement of the DXing hobby, then all is good.
I’m all for mainstream exposure of our hobby as a way to get increased involvement (Smokey and the Bandit and Dukes of Hazzard did wonders for the CB hobby, some people of which went on to more serious aspects of radio). But I fail to understand how someone on the wire about the radio hobby (anywhere) would see that the pinnacle of achievement would earn them a nerd title and decide they’re all-in at that point.
I’m also thinking of radio enthusiasts living in HOA arrangements struggling to get any type of antenna up. Would the neighbors tend to be more tolerant with someone (refusing to be average) trying to offend their aesthetics with what they’ve been told is an activity of nerds?
I’ll take your recommendation of chilling out under consideration, and I’d similarly suggest to you not be quick to protect and justify people who possibly casts you in a less-than-favorable light- especially when you’re doing them a favor (like giving them a free story). I’m glad they were nice to you, they should be and I would expect it!
Well, a different perspective there and I can see that angle.
I for one, am offended by the story.
If some marginal IQ athlete sunk a hole-in-one from 10 miles away, or shot a basket(ball) from a mile away, would they be labeled a nerd? Think about it, is placing a ball in a cup or bucket some huge accomplishment? But the best athletes are regarded as something just this side of gods.
So why are we in the radio community, having such low self esteem, so excited with a few somewhat insulting crumbs of attention from the mainstream media regarding a pretty amazing catch?
The presenters were nice enough, though technically inaccurate (“shortwave” over that distance isn’t anything special, but this was medium wave and that, as we likely all know, is a very significant achievement). How about insulting the ABC staff for bungling the technical details and casually putting someone down? Whether or not the radio guy is a ‘nerd’ is a matter of personal perceptions, but I would not be happy with that label if I were him (maybe I’m overly sensitive, but that’s another matter!).
Just my spin….
By the way, and to reinforce my point, here are some definitions of “nerd” found:
A foolish, inept, or unattractive person.
A unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person.
A person considered to be socially awkward, boring, unstylish, etc.
A person, especially a man, who is not attractive and is awkward or socially embarrassing.
(slang, always derogatory) An unattractive, socially awkward, annoying, undesirable, and/or boring, person; a dork.
And a few other definitions that are more/less neutral, but not particularly flattering (except for some parts if one values knowledge):
A nerd is a person seen as overly intellectual, obsessive, introverted or lacking social skills. Such a person may spend inordinate amounts of time on unpopular, little known, or non-mainstream activities, which are generally either highly technical, abstract, or relating to topics of science fiction or fantasy, to the exclusion of more mainstream activities.
A person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept.
A person who is intellectual but generally introverted
An intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit.
A person who is extremely interested in one subject, especially computers, and knows a lot of facts about it.
Awesome! A DXer from Alaska on Australian TV, making a point about the importance of radio in Australia! I wonder if that would work the other way around too, you go to Australia to record KFQD or something in order to get on TV in Alaska? According to MWList.org 7ZR is not exactly a blowtorch either with 10kW!
The last time I witnessed the DX BCL hobby being represented on TV was a short feature in a German variety show in 1977 or ’78, and that was basically just a promotion for Grundig showing off their new Satellit 3400s. 🙂
I agree, the radio enthusiast gets a bad rap from so-called “normal” people. I’ve experienced that several times. Shake my head and keep on keepin’ on.