Radio Waves: Colorado Inmate Radio, Experimental Radio News 4, BBC World Service to Ukraine, DIY Radio, and When the World Tuned to Shortwave

Radio 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’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Inmate-produced radio station streams beyond prison walls (NBC News)

Inside Wire, available 24/7 to incarcerated people in Colorado and to online listeners around the world, is said to offer a chance for prisoners and those they harmed to heal.

LIMON, Colo. — Herbert Alexander stares at the sound waves jumping on the computer screen in front of him, his shaved head partially covered by headphones. He’s editing a short audio feature on incarcerated fathers, a subject with which he is intimately familiar.

His two sons will soon hear his voice and his story because Alexander, 46, an inmate at Limon Correctional Facility, is preparing a segment for Inside Wire: Colorado Prison Radio, billed as the first radio station to be produced inside a prison and available to the world outside.

Other radio stations created in prisons generally air only within the walls of their lockups, but Inside Wire, which premiered March 1, reaches all 21 prisons in the state and beyond, online and by app, making the first of its kind in the country, organizers said.

“In spaces where isolation continues, this medium can cut through that,” said Ryan Conarro, general manager and program director of Inside Wire and creative producer for the University of Denver Prison Arts Initiative, which oversees the program in partnership with the Colorado Department of Corrections. [Continue reading at NBC…]

Experimental Radio News 4 (Experimental Radio News)

This issue of ERN includes novel aeronautical experiments, life-detecting radars and non-wearable health monitoring, the latest on those mysterious shortwave trading stations and more.

Click here to read a wide variety of topics in Experimental Radio News 4.

BBC World Service resurrects shortwave broadcasts in war-torn Ukraine (TPR)

The BBC has resurrected an old school way of broadcasting in order to reach people in the crisis area of Ukraine: Shortwave radio. What is shortwave, and why has the BBC decided to begin using it again?

It’s almost a forgotten technology in the United States, except for some Americans of a certain age, or maybe their parents or grandparents or even great grandparents.

Shortwave was used extensively during World War II and the Cold War. For many years, shortwave broadcasts were spread around the world over Voice of America. Russia had Radio Moscow and other countries had their own shortwave broadcasts.

What exactly is shortwave radio?

John Figliozzi is an expert and author of The Worldwide Listening Guide, now, in its tenth edition. He explained it like this: “Shortwave radio is a legacy technology using the ionosphere to bounce radio signals over a wide and long distances.”

That means it can be heard thousands of miles away. [Continue reading at TPR…]

DIY Radio Receivers For Cheap With Found Materials (Make Magazine)

Shortwave Collective is a 10-member feminist art group founded in 2020. Collectively, we’ve been exploring the process of radio circuit assembly, considering the radio spectrum as an artistic material, and building self-powered radio receivers. Through an artist residency at Buinho Creative Hub in Portugal, we also spent a week of in-person and remote collaboration developing radio wave receivers and experimenting with designs with others in an open workshop.

Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned — and how to build your own radio wave receiver.

[…]What interests us about the radio wave receiver projects is their accessibility. It’s a great way to learn about the physics of radio through practical experimentation.


Probably the most famous example of simple radio design in action is the foxhole radio. These were made from materials that were accessible to soldiers in the trenches (foxholes) during World War II. Though designs varied, they typically used a razor blade, pencil, and safety pin for parts. The official military vacuum-tube radios used during the war could be traced to reveal broadcast or reception locations, but foxhole radios operate without a power supply, and could not be detected. Thus, soldiers used them as a way to safely keep up with the world from their posts. [Click here to read the full article at Make Magazine…]

When the world got its news from shortwave radio (Southgate ARC)

Swiss Radio International ceased broadcasting in 2004, an article on the site of its successor organisation Swiss Info looks at the history of the station

The post from 2019 says:

From the mid-1930s to 2004, Switzerland’s international service was Swiss Radio International (SRI). The first few decades of SRI’s existence were the heyday of shortwave – it was often the only way of getting news directly from other countries.

What began as the Swiss Short Wave Service in 1935, would grow from broadcasting programmes in German, French, Italian and English to include other European languages and Arabic, and eventually change its name to Swiss Radio International.

Read the full story at—_when-the-world-got-its-news-from-shortwave-radio/45290852

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9 thoughts on “Radio Waves: Colorado Inmate Radio, Experimental Radio News 4, BBC World Service to Ukraine, DIY Radio, and When the World Tuned to Shortwave

  1. Chuck Rippel

    I remember a time when radio voices from the soviet bloc/eastern European countries were the Flotsam and Jetsam of the shortwaves. They were hard to avoid if one was stalking DX. Even so, it was great to listen to East Germany, Romania, Bulgaria or….. even Radio Kyiv. Most are gone but, there are others. Daily broadcast in the evenings East Coast time is prime time for some very listenable voices from Thailand, UK, Romania and New Zealand. Enough, to occupy for a full evening of listening.

  2. David

    The recent publicity about the BBC beginning to use shortwave again is a little misleading for non DXers. All the news stories I have read about this give the impression that the BBC had stopped using SW many years ago and have only restarted in response to the conflict in Ukraine. It is my understanding that the BBC had never stopped using SW, Just look in recent copies of WRTH. What the media stories should say is that BBC shortwave beamed to Europe has been restarted but I guess that doesn’t have the same headline grabbing effect. After all, headlines sell newspapers (or online subscriptions).

    1. mangosman

      Correct, they have the following transmitter sites
      Woofferton Ludlow, Shropshire UK 10 HF transmitters and 35 shortwave curtain arrays (aerials)
      Ascension Island (South Atlantic Ocean)
      Krangi, Singapore,
      Cyprus does not mention the following Digital Radio Mondiale transmissions: Woofferton transmits to NW Europe for an hour a day on 3955 kHz daily. Kranji an hour a day 3890 then 3845 kHz to Myanmar in Burmese, another oppressed nation, 15620 kHz an hour daily to India in English where there is lots of DRM transmissions including 3 DRM HF transmitters.

      1. Geir Laastad

        The BBC link mentioned above:
        has not been updated since 2014.
        It amazes me how little BBC really does making their shortwave schedules known. I still don’t know the correct BBC web address to get thier HF schedules. I guess such transmissions also must be highly ineffective just because BBC doesn’t care to publish it in better ways. To really be helpful for for the population in Ukraine, the correct frequencies and schedules should be put with “big letters” on BBC front page.

          1. mangosman

            Even so your link makes no mention of the DRM broadcasts where the reception quality is much better.\

  3. mangosman

    I was intrigued by the photo of the transparent cased radio. it is from What caught my attention is the number of coils and filters indicating it is a superhetrodyne design. This was around 2018. Compare this to DSP receivers which have no coils, transformers or capacitors in the signal path from the RF stage if present to the speaker. and were released for prisons and compares it with other models.


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