FT Video: “Ukraine’s battle of the airwaves”

Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post contributors who share a link to the following video via the Financial Times.


A look at three aspects of wartime radio in Ukraine: the interception of communications between Russian soldiers, how broadcasters are using radio to combat censorship online, and the mysterious silence of a radio transmitter known as ‘The Russian Lady’

Click here to view on YouTube or click here to view on the Financial Times website.

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14 thoughts on “FT Video: “Ukraine’s battle of the airwaves”

  1. Phil from Darwin

    Very interesting video report.

    Unfortunately the war has spread to the amateur bands. On 12/04 around 1200 UTC there were recorded messages being broadcast from about 14.143 MHz up to approximately 14.175 MHz. A male voice was weaker to me (about 4/5) and a female voice (5/9) in what appeared to be Russian and/or Ukrainian language. There were numerous mention of “Ukraine” in the woman’s recording which seemed to run for about two minutes before both stations moved frequency and the recordings recommenced. At one stage there was a break in transmission and two males had an angry expletive laden exchange in English what sounded like Russian or Ukrainian accents. Then it was back to the recorded messages over the top of one another. Received in Darwin, Australia. Phil, VK8MC.

  2. US7IGN

    Hello all!
    I see such major web-SDR problems in Ukraine. First, too few people even know what it is and how to do it. The second – you need the presence of two mutually exclusive conditions – good Internet and clean air. In cities, it is not possible to install good antennas and remove noise. There is usually no good internet outside the city.

    1. Walt

      Thanks, Thomas. That’s more like it! Now we can have a civilized discussion on an interesting radio topic!

  3. Walt

    Sigh! We even have trolls on SWLing.com. Sad! This is an excellent radio topic. Ill-informed Pedro knows nothing. The presentation has nothing to do with the US. Interesting that they mention about setting up WebSDRs in Ukraine. Although there are none available now, there were a number before the ruSSian invasion. Of course, there are many excellent KiwiSDRs (and some Perseus SDRs) in the periphery to Ukraine. Mike, if you’ve ever seen a NATO AWACS aircraft, they have NATO OTAN on the fuselage. You speak about far-right military. These are the AZOV Battalion. Here’s a quote from a military fellow who knows what he’s talking about: “One video is from Azov Regiment in Mariupol. This is what epic defense in a siege looks like. I know Azov pretty well and I never met anyone even vaguely resembling a Nazi.” The Azov Regiment, along with a Marine Regiment are/were the only ones defending Mariupol from the complete destruction from the Russian military. They are feared by the enemy, and should be considered an elite force within the Ukrainian military. Whatever supposed right-winged/neo-nazi sentiments are nonsense today. If I were a soldier again, I’d want them on my side.

    1. Mike in Knoxville

      Thanks for the info, Walt. I’ve never been too familiar with NATO markings, as my time was spent down deep – sometimes even 200 meters and down (now there’s a radio reference for you!).

      1. Walt

        No problem, Mike. 200 meters underground (or underwater) just gives me the willies. One time in Donetsk (yes, I have family there), I was invited to go down into the coal mines. 1 km down, and up to 5 km horizontally once down there…..I passed on that! I always felt more comfortable up in the air!

  4. Jay bree

    Apparently not all respondents even played the video, or they’d realize the content was not from the US. Great video.

    1. Walt

      Agree with you, Jay! Clearly from the UK, and no mention of the US at all. All about stuff that we radio types know all about!

  5. Mike in Knoxville

    Not sure why Mr. M (below) felt the need to misspell NATO, though I do have my suspicions. Nevertheless, as Jock pointed out, the story quite clearly pointed out the potential for at least some of the intercepted communications to be fake. Other instances have been verified.

    I would also put money on western special operations forces being on the ground in Ukraine, though perhaps still in advisory roles. While there has been a small, far-right paramilitary group (possibly neo-Nazi – I don’t know) that was allowed by the Ukraine government to be recognized as an official military unit after Russia invaded, I have not seen any stories on them being linked in any way to the civilian atrocities.

    The Russian military doesn’t need any assistance from Ukrainians or others to show what kind of barbarians they are.

  6. Jock Elliott

    I thought “Ukraine’s battle of the airwaves” was really well done, balanced, and willing to admit that some questions are still open.


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