Is Someone Refurbing Shortwave Transmitters In Ethiopia?

I think the answer to this is.. YES! I say that based upon my monitoring from here in McGrath, Alaska.

I’ve never ever ever heard Amhara State Radio on 6090khz from my QTH. Now, that doesn’t mean they’ve never been on, but I’ve never even heard a carrier from them and I can’t recall anyone logging them.

Well, Saturday night February 17th (AK time) I detected an initially unknown signal on 6090khz. I noticed it just after 0300 Sun Feb. 18, I heard what was very decidedly African continent sounding music. It appeared to be one long track on a loop, because 2 days later, I had the same melody going for over 15 minutes… so I kept listening on that 3rd day and heard it fade down as it ended and started again.

There was no modulation that 2nd day. But as we look at the 3rd day again, I heard a different track start about 0345UTC or so. About,0352 I heard a guy speak (!!) but the signal started to lose steam quickly. About 0356 which is the listed sign on for Amhara on 6090khz, I heard an actual song start and about 0401 I heard a lady speak with what sounded like music.

Amharic is used on Shortwave by the BBC, Deutsche Welle and the VOA. While I don’t claim to be a language expert at all, what I heard on 6090 did sound similar to what I’ve heard from other broadcasters.

Fast forward to Wednesday night February 21st (AK Time), I detected a signal on 6110khz. To be fair, I’ve had something an “ok-ish”  a few times from my Alaska QTH but with less modulation than Cuba or Iran.  On Feb. 22nd (UTC) on the 0300 hour, I had a GOOD signal with modulation (!!) on 6110khz.

6110’s audio had, again like 6090khz, decidedly African continent  sounding music and lots of speech that sounded like Amharic to me.

6090khz and 6110khz either share a site or are close by. Is someone refurbing their transmitters…. China?  I sent a message to the Amhara State Media Facebook page but haven’t gotten an answer back.

I wonder what’s going on here? Your thoughts and comments are welcome

Paul Walker

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6 thoughts on “Is Someone Refurbing Shortwave Transmitters In Ethiopia?

  1. Garry

    A lot of illegal traffic coming out of Ethiopia including stations trying to reroute plans flying in areas close here .Refurbishing transmitters for terrorist cells? There was a incident recently were some terrorists tried to redirect an El Al plane and didn’t succeed during to sharp miner pilots . Probably not a good idea to publicise this evil venue.

  2. Vonu

    Changing frequencies on most shortwave transmitters is like changing them on a amateur transceiver.
    If they are running a balanced rhombic, they don’t need to tune the antenna.

  3. Frank Fertitta

    I concur with the band conditions answer. I heard BBC DRM on 3955 this morning, almost well enough to copy! The activity has been absolutely crazy this month! In the 70’s when I was a 14 year old with a CB radio, I just assumed it would always be that way. Then came the hard times… Well, I’d say we’re almost equal to the conditions we had in the 70’s.
    So, Ethiopia has probably always been on the air with the same power level but you just heard it because the band is on fire!

  4. Ralph Perry

    Re Ethiopians on air, ditto Rob’s comments.

    Both 6110 Fana and 6090 Amhara regularly heard during past DX seasons, local evenings in the Chicago area, 0300-0400+ window. During current season, only 6110 Fana heard so far, and signal definitely not as good as before. Possible xmtr deterioration.

    Other Ethiopian outlets like 6030 Oromiya and 5940 Deegaanka Soomaalida never heard here, though former is regularly reported by European DXers during their early evenings.

  5. Rob Wagner

    Both Fana and Amhara are regularly heard in my morning period 1800-2100z, often competing with the co-channel international broadcasters. Some interesting propagation characteristics are going on at the moment. Some think that high sunspots only affect/improve the higher frequencies. But changes can also be noted on some SP and LP circuits in the lower portions of the shortwave spectrum, too. This sunspot cycle is proving to be most enlightening!

  6. Haluk Mesci

    In the 70’s there was a certain ETLF (religious) broadcasting from Ethiopia on 49 m band…
    Your detection reminded me of that.


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