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 Paul, Frank Howell, NT, and Dan Finegan for the following tips:
The Buzzer, also known as UVB-76 or UZB-76, has been a constant companion to anyone with a shortwave radio tuned to 4625 kHz. However, [Ringway Manchester] notes that there is now a second buzzer operating near in frequency to the original. Of course, like all mysterious stations, people try to track their origin. [Ringway] shows some older sites for the Buzzer and the current speculation on the current transmitter locations.
Of course, the real question is why? The buzzing isn’t quite nonstop. There are occasional voice messages. There are also jamming attempts, including one, apparently, by Pac Man.
Some people think the new buzzer is an image, but it doesn’t seem to be the same signal. The theory is that the buzzing is just to keep the frequency clear in case it is needed. However, we wonder if it isn’t something else. Compressed data would sound like noise. Other theories are that the buzzing studies the ionosphere or that it is part of a doomsday system that would launch nuclear missiles. Given that the signal has broken down numerous times, this doesn’t seem likely. [Continue reading…]
The pioneering inventor died on March 27th at the age of 96.
If you haven’t heard of Virginia Norwood, it’s about time you did. An aerospace pioneer whose career would have been historic even without its undercurrent of triumph over misogynistic discrimination, she invented the Landsat satellite program that monitors the Earth’s surface today. Norwood passed away on March 27th at the age of 96, as reported by NASA and The New York Times.
She achieved all this despite significant pushback from the male-dominated industry before and after her rise. Despite her obvious talent, numerous employers declined to hire her after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For example, Sikorsky Aircraft told her they would never pay her requested salary, equivalent to the lowest rank in the civil service. Another food lab she applied for asked her to promise not to get pregnant as a condition of her employment. (She withdrew her application.) Finally, the gun manufacturer Remington appreciated her “brilliant” ideas in an interview but told her they were hiring a man instead. [Continue reading…]
Facing an existential moment in the 100-year history of the medium, AM broadcasters are banding together, calling on allies in Congress, and enlisting listener support to preserve their place in the automobile. The heads of 10 state broadcasting associations have formed a Dashboard Subcommittee within the National Alliance of State Broadcasters Associations (NASBA) to slow or stop the removal of AM radio from the dashboard. The two-week old group is working on multiple fronts including fact finding, education and advocacy.
“Our AM general managers and owners are extremely concerned about this issue,” says Jordan Walton, head of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association and a member of the Dashboard Subcommittee.
Among its first actions is gathering information from member stations. A survey sent out two weeks ago asks stations to rate their concern about the removal of AM radio from EV and gas-powered vehicles.
The plan is to use the results to inform the radio industry dialogue with the auto industry and Congress on the prickly subject. The subcommittee expects the survey results to reinforce the position of the nation’s 4,500+ AM stations that online streams and FM translators are not a sufficient substitute for AM radio.
Response has been swift. Within hours of sending the survey out, the subcommittee received more than 200 responses. That number exceeded 400 on Friday and completed surveys continue to roll in. [Continue reading…]
They may be finding God at the Eastside Free Methodist Church in Portland, OR but it is also where field agents from the Federal Communications Commission are facing a bedeviling problem: pirate radio.
The FCC says its Portland, OR-based agents tracked an unlicensed FM station operating on 90.5 FM to the church on 139th Avenue. It appears field agents did not come across anyone at the site, however, and that may be due in part to questions about whether the church is even open any longer. Some postings online say the Eastside Free Methodist Church has gone dark for good, raising questions about whether it is the church members – or someone else – that is using the space.
Nevertheless, under federal law because Eastside Free Methodist Church owns the building, it is potentially on the hook for enforcement action related to the pirate station. The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau is giving the property owner ten days to respond to the warnings with any evidence they may have, showing they are no longer permitting pirate radio broadcasting to occur on their property. The warning letter to the church also points out it could face a penance of more than $2.3 million in fines.
It is the second Oregon-targeted pirate action to be released by the FCC in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the FCC proposed an $80,000 fine against an alleged pirate operating in La Grande, OR. The FCC says Thomas Barnes was the man behind a pirate station operating on 100.5 FM since at least 2018. Under FCC rules, Barnes has until mid-April to decide if he wants to pay the penalty or file a request that it be cancelled or reduced. [Continue reading…]
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