Radio Waves: Absolute Radio’s Switch-Off, Pirate Database, Little Pea Island, Zero Power Transmitting, and is AM Radio Dead?

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!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Dennis Dura, JP, NT, and Paul for the following tips:

Hear Absolute Radio’s 200KW Transmitter Switch Off Forever (YouTube)

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16 thoughts on “Radio Waves: Absolute Radio’s Switch-Off, Pirate Database, Little Pea Island, Zero Power Transmitting, and is AM Radio Dead?

  1. Ward

    Thanks Mangosman, for the clarification about DRM and it’s current capabilities. I guess Europe and India will get the future first?
    Can we not find an unused portion of spectrum and open it up for commercial experimentation?
    Happily radioing on into the future.

    1. mangosman

      If you are from North America the answer is yes. 54 – 72, 76 – 88 MHz which is analog TV channels 2 – 6.
      The reason why experimentation is not occurring is because all of the management positions in the Federal Communications Commission are all lawyers from the telco industry and the National Association of Broadcasters is also run by a lawyer. None of these people have been trained in the technologies used in broadcasting. This is the reason for the continued use of 120 and 80 year old AM and FM radio as well as disaster which is HDRadio®. Yes a registered trademark!

      The only reason USA TV went digital in 2009 is because the telcos wanted the spectrum made available by digital. Analog TV needed an empty channel either side of a transmission in that area, digital does not need that. This is why many TV transmitters had to change channels to give a clear block of frequencies to form the 700 – 800 MHz LTE phone band.

  2. Mike

    I’ll start by saying that I’m no expert, just someone with an open mind. We all know that sometimes “what we see,” isn’t always what we see. Sure, times change and markets change. Vinyl was replaced by 8 track, then that was replaced by cassette, which was replace by CD, then that was replaced by a music form we can’t touch or see, but can still hear.

    I can only speak from my point of view in the United States. I still listen to AM. I actually enjoy the sound of AM over FM. It makes me feel like I’m actually listening to a radio instead of a person standing in the room with me. It’s the same with movies or photos. I prefer old film instead of digital.

    Okay, so we all know that the world isn’t run by the populations of people in all the countries. It’s run by a select few who have the power to influence what happens. Now getting to my point on AM and also shortwave. Now remember, I’m no expert on radio waves.

    I have heard of HAARP, which I’m sure a lot of you have. I’ve also seen where massive amounts of satellites and whatever else are floating in space above us. I’ve also seen where the United States has started the Space Force. I also know that defense technology is kept secret and way far more advanced that most of us could ever know.

    So now my question and I’m totally serious on this, because I don’t have the experience or knowledge to say yes or no. Could it be that shortwave and AM are being gradually phased out under the guise of obsolete or too expensive or low interest technology, because the radio wave propagation interferes with government/military equipment that we are not privy to?

    Things don’t happen overnight, so a gradual phase out of technology over time to not draw attention would seem a likely path. We all walk around with a cell phone in our hands, triangulated by antennas. Low frequency radio waves have been experimented with in the past to alter a person’s mood.

    Now another question for the experts. If low frequency radio waves were by chance transmitted from space and down to the ground, would they be altered by AM radio waves being transmitted across the cities and towns of the world? Would eliminating those AM radio waves “clear” the air so to speak?

      1. Mike

        I didn’t mean combine, I mentioned interfered with or altered. I imagine there has to be some kind of interference. Electric car manufacturers are ditching AM so it doesn’t interfere with the cars.

        Not too long ago I was setting up an old Pioneer stereo system and I couldn’t tune in any radio stations. Then I realized I still had my iPhone in my pocket. Each time I leaned over the radio to tune, the cell phone blocked the tuner from picking up any station.

        I was listening to a shortwave station a few months back and a family member turned on an electric popcorn popper. The entire time the popper was on, the shortwave was complete static.

        So what I’m getting to is that there has to be some chance of interference on a larger scale.

  3. mangosman

    Is WINB transmitting in XHE AAC or HE AAC compression? This is because it has a big effect on sound quality particularly for speech at such low bit rates. page 21 gives the options. For HF broadcasting use the 10 kHz bandwidth, For troublesome long distance paths with little power use Mode D and QAM 16. If you have plenty of power then QAM 64. If a broadcaster is transmitting on one channel and using the adjacent channel for AM, the bit rate must be reduced to stop interference to your own signal.

    The data load from pictures and text depends on how long you are prepared to wait for the whole image to be sent to the receivers’ memory. Scrolling line of text doesn’t use much data capacity, many pages does. The transmission of the station logos are important to broadcasters’ management and it makes it easier for the listener to find the broadcaster they are looking for particularly for foreign languages.

  4. Mark

    I was saddened to see the end of 1215 Khz and RTL’s LW 234 Khz, it’s a sad time for AM radio in Europe.

    Sad to see the BBC turn their backs on AM to such an extent, though in reality there probably isn’t a case for it these days with the internet and mobile phone towers anyone with an app can get all the stations they want.

    Such contempt the BBC have for RF transmissions, they said they want to end them by 2030.

  5. Ward

    I’m not an electrical engineer, just a guy who loves radio. I have an idea that could get young people interested in radio?
    If we had a radio with a data/video screen built in, it could save radio. HD, FM, AM could each have their own style of video/data. As data compression improves, radio could provide an alternative to the internet.
    Thanks for listening, cheers,

    1. mangosman

      Ward, It is already here, outside of North America. Digital Radio Mondiale already has this Look at what is happening in India on that website.
      The total transmitted signal is digital, including images and text. Unfortunately the North America is only allowed to use HDRadio® which has a very small data carrying capacity which only allows a small image usually used for logos or album cover images.

  6. adi

    Why the fellow hide the maker and model of the nice radio on ~8:34.
    who will identify it?
    -Kol Israel shut down it’s AM service in NOV2011

  7. Paul Evans

    This is absolutely nothing compared to what will happen when EVs go into ‘wireless’ charging. Most of LF will be blocked out from LW to > 7 MHz with very high levels of interference. Very little stands in the way of the crazy Musk and others from trying to very inefficiently charge a car just for convenience. Yes, there are some specialist meetings of groups under ITU and IARU to try to limit this interference, but I fear it’s inevitable. There are many advantages for the manufacturers, including burying charging pads into supermarket car parks and thereby allowing more spots where charging can occur while shopping, etc. Escaping this, even in a rural environment, will be very difficult. Data over powerlines was fought off, yet DSL in Europe causes massive problems on LF.

  8. mangosman

    I watched the video.
    Why show a very tall tower for the transmission of TV or FM. It is not an antenna for medium frequency AM.
    AM started broadcasting when the T model Ford hit retailers! even FM broadcasting started 81 years ago.
    Tesla moved from the T model Ford ‘s gasoline engine to electricity from 2009 in a population of over 360 million. When is radio to make the same large step and move all digital, like TV and radio in other areas of the world?
    In Europe and Australia, DAB+ pure digital radio commenced broadcasting 13 years ago. A single transmitter radiates around 18 stereo programs from a TV tower. The European Union, population around 500 million, made it compulsory for all new cars to have terrestrial digital reception. So they install DAB+/FM/Bluetooth receivers. North America cannot use DAB+ because the channels are used for TV.
    In India, who has a population of 1300 million which is covered with high powered medium frequency DRM transmissions, they transmit 3 programs on pure digital and 2 on their simulcast stations. They have 5.5 million new cars equipped with DRM receivers and the number is rapidly growing.
    Outside of North America, no digital TVs will tune any frequency below 174 MHz which is the bottom edge of the American channel 7. In the USA there is now only 35 medium powered digital TV transmitters on air with a few village coverage transmitters. Analog TV is now banned. This leaves room for 352 DRM channels which is enough for all AM and FM broadcasters. There are no interference issues like with HD radio in existing bands because the transmission of up to 3 programs per channel fits with in a transmission channel. You can convert an FM transmitter to DRM and transmit 6 channels ie 18 programs from a single transmitter. Broadcasters could share a transmitter, but still have absolute control of their on air content.
    The telcos pushed the TV industry to convert to digital, but are not interested in radio because the antenna will not fit into a phone, The broadcasters will save a lot of money and greenhouse gasses if they convert to pure digital DRM.

    1. Mark

      “The broadcasters will save a lot of money and greenhouse gasses if they convert to pure digital DRM.”

      Not at 8 Kbps though, that’s not audio at this point. Listening to WINB at 8 kbps and it’s hurting my head.

      I’d rather have much higher audio quality than text or pictures in a Shortwave transmission, if the audio is poor then what’s the point ?


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