Monthly Archives: April 2022

Radio Waves: AMARC Africa, Discussing HD Radio Australia, Learning by Doing, and RadCom Seeking New Editor

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

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


Study recommends revival of AMARC Africa (Red Tech)

HARARE, Zimbabwe — The unavailability of critical information about community radio in Africa has led the University of the Witwatersrand(Wits) journalism department and a consortium of media, civil rights and business NGOs — Fojo Media Institute, Civicus, Civil Rights Defenders, Defend Defenders and Hub Afrique — to carry out a study entitled “Mapping Community Radio in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

“Even basic information is hard to get, and it is often not even certain how many stations are on air. Operations collapse, and others start, with hardly anybody outside the immediate environment noticing. Even the licensing authorities sometimes struggle to keep accurate records,” revealed Prof. Franz Kruger, head of Wits Journalism.

Conducted by Jacob Ntshangase, the head of Wits Radio Academy, the study sought to gather information and better understand the community radio landscapes in different parts of Sub-Saharan Africa to identify needs, opportunities and potential partners for developing a program of support for community radio on the continent. [Continue reading…]

Can the HD Radio experience be of use in regional Australia. (RadioInfo)

The 2022 NAB Show is already underway in Las Vegas, and fresh from presenting some new research on HD radio in the US, Xperi SVP Broadcast Radio, Joe D’Angelo (pictured), sat down with radioinfo’s Wayne Stamm.

Joining the conversation was Commercial Radio Australia’s Head of Digital, Jamie Chaux, to add an Australian perspective and view on what might be gained from the HD experience in the States.

radioinfo: We’re talking about a couple of the presentations that are going to be made at NAB this year. Joe you’ve already done one of those presentations and taken a look at some very interesting studies that have been done recently about the penetration of HD radio, especially here in the US.

Joe D’Angelo: Yes, I finished a session today on actually UX guidelines (NABA Radio In-car User Experience) for in-car receiver design and that that went very well. And what’s really exciting about not only the work of the UX group, but the progress of HD radio, is we’re now at 85 million vehicles on the road.

And so we surveyed users of the technology and 91% of them came back and said that HD radio has significantly improved their radio listening experience.

74% of people said they would not buy another new car unless it had HD radio, which is very affirming.

Read more at: https://radioinfo.com.au/news/can-the-hd-radio-experience-be-of-use-in-regional-australia-nabshow/ © RadioInfo Australia

Learning Electronics By Just Doing It (Southgate ARC via Hackaday)

Learning anything new, especially so broad and far reaching as electronics, can be hard. [IMSAI Guy] knows this because he gets asked regularly ‘how do I learn electronics?’ Many of you reading this will have a few ideas to pass along (and we encourage you to share your take on it in the comments below) but there is an even greater number of people who are asking the same question, and [IMSAI Guy]’s take on it is one that this particular Hackaday writer can relate to.

According to [IMSAI Guy], an excellent place to start is the ARRL Handbook. The ARRL Handbook is an electronics and RF engineering guide published by the Amateur Radio Relay League in the US. It’s a wonderful reference, and past editions can be had very inexpensively and are every bit as handy. Many hams will have a copy they could be talked out of, and you can likely find one at your local library. Where to start in the Handbook, then?

[IMSAI Guy] recommend starting with whatever catches your fancy. As an example, he starts with Op Amps, and rather than diving straight into the math of how they work or even worrying to much about what they are- he just builds a circuit and then plays with it to intrinsically understand how it works, a “learn by doing” approach that he has found extremely helpful just as many of us have. We also appreciated is very straightforward approach to the math: Don’t bother with it unless you need to for some reason, and definitely don’t start by learning it first.

Read the full article and watch the video at:
https://hackaday.com/2022/04/25/learning-electronics-by-just-doing-it/

RadCom Managing Editor role (Southgate ARC via the RSGB)

As previously announced, RadCom Editor Elaine Richards, G4LFM is to retire in the summer and there will be a vacancy for a person to edit RadCom, the Society’s journal and one of the most respected amateur radio publications in the world.

The successful candidate will need to show demonstrable experience of producing professional and technical publications in both print and digital formats as they will need to take the entire co-ordinated portfolio forward and exploit new media opportunities.

The role also includes overseeing the publication of RadCom Basics and RadCom Plus with their editors, as well as being part of the team that puts together GB2RS news each week.

The role is being advertised by Redwood Publishing Recruitment and is also on the Guardian Jobs website and LinkedIn. If you’d like an informal chat about the role, please contact the General Manager via gm.dept@rsgb.org.uk

All applications must be made via the Redwood website: https://www.redwoodrecruitment.com


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Special DX Test via WCGA: May 1, 2022 at 04:00 UTC

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor Loyd Van Horn at DX Central who writes:

Wanted to share this with you…..our final DX Central Live stream for season 2 will coincide with the upcoming WCGA-GA DX Test coming Saturday night/Sunday morning. You should have a GREAT shot at hearing this one….would love to have you join us for the livestream, too, if you can make it!

The link to the release with all of the details can be found below….

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Apr 28, 2022

The Courtesy Program Committee (CPC) of the National Radio Club (NRC) and the International Radio Club of America (IRCA) is pleased to announce a special DX Test for distant listeners for WCGA on 1100 kHz in Woodbine, GA. The test is scheduled for 5/1/2022 at 12:00:00 AM Eastern Time (0400 UTC Sunday, May 1st).  This test is scheduled to run for 2 hours.

For WCGA, Wesley Cox, will be performing regular maintenance of the station’s audio chain and transmitter during the test. Listeners will hear: Morse Code IDs at 10 WPM at 800 Hz, Morse Code IDs at 20 WPM at 1000 Hz, Tone Sweeps, Long duration tones at 1 kHz, Off-hook Telephone Sounds, Voice IDs and more.

WCGA will be operating on a full daytime power of 10,000 watts during the test on their daytime antenna pattern.   This should aid DXers across the country and indeed the world in being able to receive this test!

RECEPTION REPORTS & QSL REQUESTS

WCGA is actively soliciting reports from DX’ers on their signal. They’re interested in hearing about frequency stability, audio quality, and overall performance. The station will accept both hard copy reports via USPS mail and email reports. They would love to receive audio recordings in either .WAV or.MP3 and videos in .MP4 video.

Reception reports should go directly to:

Wesley Cox

Owner/General Manager

News/Talk 1100 WCGA

714 Narrow Way

St. Simons Island, Georgia 31522

wcganews@yahoo.com

Physical QSL card senders will receive a physical QSL. Email QSLs will receive email QSL.

Best audio narrative recording and received via email in MP3 or MP4 about themselves and their passion for radio that includes their reception of WCGA and the who, what, when, where, why and how of that event taking place will receive a special prize from the station. DX’ers who submit recordings must grant permission to broadcast their recordings. The decision of WCGA staff on the winner is final.

The IRCA/NRC CPC would like to thank the owners of WCGA, Wesley Cox, and Hall of Fame DXer, Jim Renfrew, for helping to arrange the test.

Good luck to all DXers!

About the CPC

The Courtesy Program Committee (CPC) is a cross-functional group comprised of members of both the National Radio Club (NRC) and International Radio Club of America (IRCA) for the purpose of coordinating and arranging DX Tests with AM radio stations.  These DX tests both allow radio stations to conduct valuable equipment tests on their transmitter and audio chain as well as enable DX hobbyists to receive the testing station from greater distances than would normally be possible.  The CPC membership consists of:  Chairman Les Rayburn, Paul Walker, George Santulli, Joe Miller and Loyd Van Horn.

For radio stations interested in coordinating a DX test with the CPC, please visit the following Web site for more information:

https://amdxtest.blogspot.com/

For more information on the types of content heard during a DX test, the video  “An introduction to DX Tests” is available at DX Central:

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More from out of the KBIN this weekend

Hi SWLing Post community, this is Fastradioburst23 again and just letting you know of another episode of KBIN this coming weekend via WRMI. Each week it seems the KBIN gets reloaded. Will you skip into the skip with us and see what we can recover?

It’s at 1800 EST/2022 UTC on Sunday 1st May 2022 on 9395 kHz and it’ll be another “straight out of the bargain bin” broadcast. We’ve got more recycled radio for you including KFOG and CTRN so tune in and catch yourself another great value for money transmission. Remember this is a once in a lifetime offer, never to be repeated again (until the next time)!

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New High Power Broadcast of VORW Radio International to Europe!

Hello shortwave listeners! I don’t post here very often but I just wanted to get the word out about a new broadcast I’ll be regularly doing for listeners in Europe, Central Asia and perhaps even East Asia.

Beginning Friday the 29th of April, 2022 and continuing every Friday – this radio program will be heard across Europe & Beyond from a high power transmitter in Moosbrunn, Austria.

The broadcast is 1 hour in length and I always consider it to be a light entertainment program. The aim of this radio show is to provide good music and occasional discussion to listeners worldwide. Oftentimes, listener music requests are taken and played and all are invited to participate.

Here is the broadcast schedule for this additional airing:

Fridays 1600 UTC (7 PM EEST/MSK) – 9670 kHz – Moosbrunn 100 kW – Europe, Russia, Central & East Asia

For this airing I will resume QSL verification of reception reports, something I have stopped since 2020.

Reception reports and feedback are most welcome at vorwinfo@gmail.com

That’s all for today, I just wanted to let you all know that there’s a new airing out there if you’d like something to listen to!

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Radio Waves: First BNR Overseas Broadcasts, Russian Milcomm Intercepts, Mount Merapi Community Radio, and Saskatchewan’s Oldest Station Turns 100

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

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


The fascinating story of the first overseas broadcasts BNR (Radio Bulgaria)

In 1936 BNR, then under the name of Radio Sofia, started broadcasting on short waves via the ELZA transmitter (the abbreviation coming from the radio station’s international code – L-Z-A). The same year the radio started broadcasts to abroad.

In 1936, information about Bulgaria could only be heard in Bulgarian and in the artificially created language Esperanto. It was after 1 May 1937, when programs began to be broadcast in French, German, English and Italian.

In the spring of 1938, broadcasts for foreign audiences were further developed to include “Special Broadcasts for Some European Countries”.

What was special about these was the advance publicity which the radio made in the countries for which the broadcast is intended. Such publicity was carried out through the legations, business representatives, foreign radio stations and newspapers so as to attract the attention of listeners abroad in advance.

Authors and hosts of the first broadcasts abroad were free-lance collaborators, among whom were legendary Bulgarian journalists and intellectuals like Petar Ouvaliev, Georges Milchev, Bory Ganchev, Mikhail Hadzhimishev and others.

After 9 September 1944, when the communist regime seized power in Bulgaria, Radio Sofia’s foreign language broadcasts continued to air news bulletins and commentaries on events in Bulgaria and around the world. From 1945 to 1950, Bulgarian Radio Sofia broadcast 10-minute news bulletins in Romanian, Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian, Greek and Turkish.

The Bulgarian Radio began broadcasting in Turkish language in July 1945. The programme targets the Turkish population in this country as well as listeners from neighbouring Turkey. It was run by Chudomir Petrov, BNR Deputy Director and head of the Foreign Information Department.

There were two 10-minute broadcasts each day. Editor was Boris Pilosoff, who then also led the French-language broadcasts. The first hosts of the program in Turkish were Ulfet Sad?kova, R?za Mollov, Mustafa Bekirov, Sali Baklaciev among others.

The Greek-language emissions started in the first half of 1948. By then, democratic power had already been installed in Greece under US and Western European pressure. The Greek Communist Party’s resistance movement was destroyed and many Greek functionaries found refuge in Bulgaria. Curiously, it was with their help that the Greek editorial board was set up.

Similarly, after the political events in Yugoslavia and Albania in 1948, political immigrants seeking protection from the Bulgarian communist government created broadcasts in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian.

The first editors and speakers of Serbo-Croatian language had their quarters at 10 Danube Street in Sofia. There they prepared and translated the material for the Bulgarian radio broadcasts.

Based on historical accounts collected by Bozhidar Metodiev – founder and curator of the BNR Museum.

To be continued.

Compiled by: Krasimir Martinov

Editor: Darina Grigorova

English version: Elizabeth Radkova

Clcik here to follow this series on the BNR website.

How does Ukraine keep intercepting Russian military communications? (NPR)

Russia is regarded as one of the world’s most advanced countries when it comes to anything and everything related to spying, and that includes secretive, high-tech military communications.

For Russian leader Vladimir Putin, a former intelligence officer, this is a particular point of pride. Yet Russia’s reputation has taken a major blow with the often bumbling way the military has handled communications in Ukraine.

Here’s a look at how the Ukrainians have effectively countered the Russians on multiple fronts:

Q. Ukraine keeps publicly releasing what it says are intercepted Russian communications from the battlefield. Wouldn’t Ukraine want to keep this under wraps?

Ukraine feels there are huge public relations benefits in releasing intercepted material that’s either embarrassing to Russia or points to Russian wrongdoing, possibly even atrocities.

Ukraine’s military intelligence recently put out audio on social media, saying that as two Russian military members were speaking, one called for Ukrainian prisoners of war to be killed.

“Keep the most senior among them, and let the rest go forever. Let them go forever, damn it, so that no one will ever see them again, including relatives,” a voice says on the tape. [Continue reading at NPR…]

Hot rocks, smouldering ash: Community radio a vital source of information around Indonesia’s Mount Merapi (Channel News Asia)

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia: With a soft, soothing voice, Mujianto greeted his listeners before reading out an important update from the volcanologists at Indonesia’s Center for Geological Disaster Research and Technology Development (BPPTKG).

Mount Merapi, located just 4km from Mujianto’s village in Boyolali Regency, Central Java province, continued to show signs of heightened activity, he warned.

Since 2019, the mountain has been hurling glowing hot rocks from deep inside its magma chamber. Occasionally, Merapi erupted, spewing a column of smouldering ash high into the air and blanketing nearby villages in black and grey soot.

“People are advised not to conduct any activity in potentially hazardous areas,” Mujianto, who like many Indonesians goes with one name, told his listeners, concluding his announcement.

A farmer by day and an amateur radio DJ by night, Mujianto and six others at MMC FM have been providing residents of Samiran village with information about the dangers posed by Merapi, Indonesia’s most active volcano, as well as educating them on disaster mitigation since 2002.

MMC stands for Merapi Merbabu Community, with Merbabu being another volcano north of Merapi. Mujianto’s MMC FM is one of eight community radios run by people living on the slopes of Merapi, which straddles along the border of the Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces. [Continue reading…]

Oldest radio station in Saskatchewan turns 100 (Discover Humboldt)

It is thought to be the fourth oldest radio station in Canada, and it is the oldest radio station in Saskatchewan. This weekend, Moose Jaw’s CHAB is celebrating 100 years on the air.

The story started in 1922 – April 23rd, 1922 when, after many meetings, planning and anticipation, 10-AB began broadcasting. According to Broadcasting-History.com, the Moose Jaw Amateur Radio Association “had planned originally to operate the station, but found they couldn’t afford to run it, so handed it over to the Kiwanis Club. 10-AB was licensed as a non-commercial station at 1200 kHz with 50 watts of power.”

One hundred years later in 2022 the signal at 800 on the AM radio dial booms across the province and into the northern United States with 10,000 watts of power with studios located atop Main Street in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, broadcasting through a transmitter located near Pasqua, just southeast of Canada’s “Most Notorious City”.

It was in the fall of 1922 that the Kiwanis Club turned 10-AB back to the re-organized Moose Jaw Radio Association and in 1924 the studio was moved from the old YMCA building to the top floor of the Bellamy Furniture Store, a building which still stands to this day, having been turned into an apartment block on Main Street, downtown.

In 1931 there was another move to new studios at The Grant Hall Hotel, a lovely, historic building that has been completely refurbished.

Financial struggles in 1933 would lead to 10-AB leaving the air on November 11th. The history books tell us that Rudy Vallee “provided the background to the sign-off singing I’m Heading for the Last Round-Up”. It was just a few weeks later when 10-AB returned to the air as CHAB after being issued a commercial broadcasting license by the federal government. Carson Buchanan, the secretary of the Amateur Radio Association, would own the radio station with partners and become the general manager at CHAB.

It was in 1937 that one of the first true radio stars to come out of Moose Jaw would begin his career. Elwood Glover got his start at CHAB, working for $5.00 a week. Glover would later move on to become CBC Radio’s Chief Announcer.

In fact, CHAB was an affiliate of the CBC from 1933 through 1962 when CBC’s Dominion Network folded and they became an independent station. [Continue reading…]

 


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Matt’s 2022 Rooftop Receiver Shootout!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Matt Blaze, for the following guest post:


2022 rooftop receiver shootout

by Matt Blaze

I realized it’s been long past time for me to do another head-to-head receiver comparison “shootout”, where you can compare the audio from multiple radios receiving the same signal at the same time. Long time readers of Thomas’ blog may remember I’ve posted a few of these before.

So I took advantage of the nice weather and brought a bunch of radios, recording gear, and an antenna up to the roof to listen and record signals under an open sky. My neighbors, no doubt, wondered what I must have been up to. (Don’t tell them I’m just a harmless radio nerd.)

This year, our focus is on eight “dream receivers” from the 1980’s to the present. Each radio is at or near the top of the line in its class at the time of its release. Our radios include, in roughly reverse chronological order:

  • Icom R-8600, a current production “DC to Daylight” (or up to 3 GHz, at least) general coverage communications receiver, with highly regarded shortwave performance.
  • AOR AR-ONE, another DC to Daylight general coverage radio, less well known due to the high price and limited US availability. Excellent performer, but a terrible (menu-driven) user interface for shortwave, in my opinion.
  • Reuter RDR Pocket, a very cute, if virtually impossible to get in the US, small production, high performance SDR-based shortwave portable receiver. It’s got an excellent spectrum display and packs a lot of performance into a surprisingly small package.
  • AOR 7030Plus, an extremely well regarded shortwave receiver from the late 90’s; designed in the UK. It’s got a quirky menu-driven user interface but is a lot of fun to use.
  • Drake R8B, the last of the much-beloved Drake receivers. Probably the chief competitor to the 7030.
  • Drake R7A, an excellent analog communications receiver (but with a digital VFO) from the early 80’s. It still outperforms even many current radios.
  • Sony ICF-6800W, a top of the line “boom box” style consumer receiver from the early 80’s. Great radio, but hard to use on SSB.
  • Panasonic RF-4900, the main competition for the Sony. Boat-anchor form factor, but runs on batteries. Excellent performer, but also hard to use on SSB.

The radios were fed from my portable Wellbrook FLX-1530 antenna, using a Stridsberg Engineering HF distribution amplifier. So every radio was getting pretty close to exactly the same signal at its RF input.

Recordings were taken from the line output, if one was available, or the external speaker/headphone output otherwise. In either case, the audio was then isolated and converted to a balanced signal for recording.

For each signal, I recorded monaural “solo” tracks for each radio, as well as a narrated stereo track in which I compared the audio from each radio (one after the other) against the Icom R8600, with the audio from the R8600 on the left channel and the audio from the other radios on the right channel. This gives you a quick overview of what all the radios sound like.

The stereo recording requires some explanation. For it to make any sense, you MUST listen in stereo, using decent headphones if at all possible. You can switch earpieces back and forth (with your finger on pause and rewind) to get a quick idea of what each radio sounds like compared with a modern receiver, and how they handle things like fades and static.

The solo tracks, on the other hand, consist entirely of the continuous audio from a single radio, with no narration or interruption.

I recorded three different signals, for a three part comparison. (Parts four and up will come, hopefully, soon). I think both the differences and similarities will surprise you.

Part One

Our first signal was the BBC on 9915 KHz, broadcasting from Madagascar to western Africa. This signal was extremely marginal here, intended to show how each receiver can or can’t handle signals down in the noise. It’s definitely not “armchair copy”.

The stereo overview is at:

The individual receiver solo tracks can be found here:

Icom R-8600:

AOR AR-ONE:

Reuter RDR Pocket:

AOR 7030Plus:

Drake R8B:

Drake R7A:

Sony ICF-6800W:

Panasonic RF-4900:

Part Two

Our next signal was the Shannon (Ireland) aviation VOLMET broadcast on 5505 KHz USB. This synthesized voice gives the latest meteorological conditions at airports around Europe. The signal was not strong, but entirely readable. It shows how the radios handle a weak SSB signal. Note that the Sony and Panasonic consumer radios, though equipped with a BFO, were VERY hard to tune properly.

The stereo overview is at:

Receiver solo tracks can be found here:

Icom R-8600:

AOR AR-ONE:

Reuter RDR Pocket:

AOR 7030Plus:

Drake R8B:

Drake R7A:

Sony ICF-6800W:

Panasonic RF-4900:

 

Part Three

Our final signal was a stronger, though occasionally fading, shortwave broadcaster, Radio Romania International on 13650 KHz AM. This gives you a sense of how the receivers performed on a typical “average” signal that you might actually want to enjoy listening to. Because the radios have different filters and other capabilities, I tuned each radio to whatever sounded best; I did not attempt to use comparable settings (since no common settings existed).

The stereo overview can be found at:

And the individual solo tracks are here:

Icom R-8600:

AOR AR-ONE:

Reuter RDR Pocket:

AOR 7030Plus:

Drake R8B:

Drake R7A:

Sony ICF-6800W:

Panasonic RF-4900:

Subsequent comparisons, hopefully soon, will focus on receiver performance on signals in crowded bands and under various kinds of interference and noise.

A quick note on production: The recordings were made with a 12 channel Sound Devices 833 recorder with a Sound Devices SL-16 mixing console. The audio was isolated and converted to balanced output with Switchcraft 318 direct interface boxes (highly recommended for recording radios with pro audio gear).

The stereo track narration was done by me in real time, as the signals were being recorded. I made some comments about which receivers I thought sounded best that were not always the same as what I would later conclude after carefully listening to the solo tracks once back inside. But judge for yourself. I used a Coles “lip” microphone, an amazing ribbon mic designed decades ago for the BBC for use in highly noisy environments. It was very effective in reducing the sometimes considerable street noise and other ambient outdoor sounds.

Thanks for listening and 73!

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Towers destroyed at Moldovan station relaying Vesti FM and Radio Rossii

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Wlodek, who writes:

I just saw the news [below] that the antennas of the transmitter that broadcast Russian propaganda Vesti FM and Radio Russia on 1413 kHz, 999 kHz and 621 kHz were destroyed.

Ministry of the Interior of the Pridnestrovan Moldovan Republic

April 26, 2022

In the early morning of April 26, two explosions thundered in the village of Mayak, Grigoriopol district: the first at 6:40, the second at 7:05.

Law enforcement officers and emergency services of Pridnestrovie were immediately sent to the scene. Grigoriopol militiamen cordoned off the territory of the Mayak radio and television center, sappers of the Ministry of Defense began to examine all the objects of the PRTC.

As of 9 am, it is known that the two most powerful antennas were out of order: one – megawatt, the second – half-megawatt. Both rebroadcast RF radio.

None of the PRTC employees and local residents were injured.

PRTC – Pridnestrovian radio and television center. This is one of 14 radio transmitting centers of the former USSR.

The signal from the PRTC can be relayed to the USA, the Middle East and Latin America. The radio center was built in the late 60s.


Also, SWLing Post contributor London Shortwave, share a link to this news article with more detail.

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