The international service of the Sri Lankan Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) recently doubled its Tamil Service airtime to two hours, on 873 kHz AM (medium wave) from Puttalam transmitter. The new schedule is 0130-0330 UTC (7.00 am to 9.00 am IST). This is partly in response to individual efforts of listeners, many in the southern part of India, in Bengaluru. Introducing this change, Colombo International Radio also announced that shortly they are going to use DRM on 1548 kHz! This will be done by is using the old transmitter of Deutsche Welle located in the north of Sri Lanka at Trincomalee. The Sri Lankan public broadcaster has started airing the DRM announcement:
The publicity for the new DRM service is in full swing. See video:
On the occasion of Czech Radio’s centenary, we asked our listeners to let us know where they heard our special programme on that day in order to map Radio Prague International’s broadcast reach today. Here are at least some of the many letters and photos which you have sent us. Thank you to all our loyal fans.
George Jolly, who was listening to our special programme over the internet, wrote from Houston, Texas:
“Thank you so much for the special program today celebrating your 100 years of radio. If I were not so far away, I would surely visit you on Saturday. It means a lot to me that you continue the tradition of the ‘radio magazine’. Hearing the opera excerpt and other recordings from the past was wonderful!
“I love old music and old technology like radio, and I love that you are keeping their spirit alive and new again for today’s world. I am so grateful to celebrate your centenary with you from afar.”
Another listener from the United States is Timothy Marecki, who wrote us from New Port Richey in Florida: Continue reading →
I started this series several months ago with pictures of Ecos del Torbes and other stations in San Cristóbal, Venezuela. This time I want to take you to the other places I visited on that trip to Andean Venezuela in January 1995.
When I started DXing in the early 1970s, Venezuelans were the most commonly heard Latin American shortwave stations. The 90- and 60-meter bands were full of them and there were more than a few to be heard in the 49- and even 31-meter bands. But the Venezuelans began abandoning shortwave before other countries in the region and by the late 1970s their numbers had been considerably thinned. Only a handful remained in the early 1990s.
This radio dial [click to enlarge] goes back to a time when Latin American stations were found all over the radio bands.
One of the last Venezuelan stations to leave shortwave in the 1990s was Radio Valera in the busy commercial city of Valera.
For decades, Radio Valera was one of the best heard and most consistent Venezuelan stations on 60 meters. Roque Torres Aguilar, waving on the left side, was station manager at the time of my visit.
I’ve found listings in DX publications for their 4840 kHz frequency as far back as 1946.
I was given this 59th anniversary key chain when I visited Radio Valera in January 1995. So the station must have begun around 1935.
Station studio in 1995.
A second shortwave station in the state of Trujillo was Radio Trujillo in the nearby town of the same name. Broadcasting on 3295 kHz, they were one of the easier catches in the 90-meter band in the early 1970s but were gone by the late 1970s. Continue reading →
Radio Waves: Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio
Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors David Iurescia, Christopher Brennen, Doug Katz, Dennis Dura, Jon Langley, and Mark Pascoe for the following tips:
Czech National Bank issues special coin to commemorate 100 years of Czech Radio (Czech Radio)
A special CZK 200 silver coin has been issued by the Czech National Bank to mark the 100th anniversary of Czech Radio. The coin’s design features images related to the history of the radio’s first broadcasts.
It was way back in 1923, specifically on May 18 at 8:15pm in the evening, that Czechoslovak Radio began broadcasting from what was a Scouts’ tent in Prague’s Kbely district. Czechoslovakia thus became only the second country in Europe to establish regular broadcasting. At first these were only hour-long broadcasts, but soon they grew into longer and more varied segments that even included broadcasting in English and Esperanto as early as 1924.
The popularity, size and resources of the country’s radio grew rapidly from that point onwards and Czechoslovak Radio would go on to also play important roles in the country’s history by providing vital information to its citizens during the 1945 uprising against Nazi occupation forces and the 1968 Invasion of Czechoslovakia.
No wonder then that the centenary the country’s public broadcaster is being celebrated in great style. Czech Radio itself has prepared a variety of events and shows commemorating the anniversary this year – and especially this week. Meanwhile, the Czech Post has issued special stamps marking the occasion.
Now, the Czech National Bank has joined in, by issuing its own special CZK 200 silver coin. On one side, it features pictures of a radio microphone, transmission masts and of the historic broadcasting facility in Kbely. The other side of the coin shows the tent from which the first broadcast was made and the logo of Czechoslovak Radio. The design is the work of academic sculptor Marie Šeborová, who has already created several commemorative coins and medals in the past. Continue reading →
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.
Ford Motor Co. plans to stop putting AM radio in new gas-powered and electric vehicles beginning in 2024, including the all-electric Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning pickup, the Detroit Free Press has confirmed.
“We are transitioning from AM radio for most new and updated 2024 models,” Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood told the Free Press. “A majority of U.S. AM stations, as well as a number of countries and automakers globally, are modernizing radio by offering internet streaming through mobile apps, FM, digital and satellite radio options. Ford will continue to offer these alternatives for customers to hear their favorite AM radio music, news and podcasts as we remove amplitude modulation — the definition of AM in this case — from most new and updated models we bring to market.”
Commercial vehicles will continue to offer AM radio because of longstanding contract language, Sherwood said.
Drivers often turn to AM radio for live traffic updates and weather reports, as well as emergency communication. [Continue reading…]
Did you know that one of our AM radio stations can also be used as a bunker? What’s more, the opening of this station was of such importance that King George VI addressed the nation during its inaugural broadcast in December 1937? Considered an engineering feat in its time, the Hornby AM radio site is the oldest transmission site owned and operated by CBC/Radio-Canada. Here are some interesting facts.
Listen to the King’s First Empire Christmas Greeting:
A little bit of history
Located in Hornby, Ontario, this AM radio site was built in 1937 for the CBL radio service (the ancestor of CBC Radio One) one year after the creation of CBC/Radio-Canada. The station contained a 50-kilowatt transmitter and a 640-foot tower, making it the tallest structure in Canada from 1937 to 1954. That’s more than twice the height of Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower, London).
Already a technological feat in itself, the site then added a second radio service (CJBC) in 1944 and became one of the rare AM sites to broadcast two services from one tower. The joint CBL-CJBC signal was so powerful that people could hear the program simply by putting an ear on nearby wire fences.
All about the bunker
Between 1946 and 1948, Canadians were seeing the beginning of the Cold War and, with it, the threat of nuclear attacks. As a result, the site underwent a “wartime expansion” during which the existing underground bunker, a reinforced underground shelter built for protection, was installed. Continue reading →
The prized retro audio components are mostly manufactured in Russia and China. Now, a small Georgia company is rebooting US production.
ROSSVILLE, GEORGIA, ON the border with Tennessee, doesn’t look like a tech town. It’s the kind of place where homey restaurants promising succulent fried chicken and sweet tea are tucked among shuttered businesses and prosperous liquor stores. The cost of living is moderate, crime is high, politics are red, and the population has withered to 3,980.
But in the view of entrepreneur Charles Whitener, Rossville is the perfect place to stage a revival in US technology and manufacturing—albeit with a device that was cutting edge when the Ford Model A ruled the roads.
Whitener owns Western Electric, the last US manufacturer of vacuum tubes, those glass and metal bulbs that controlled current in electric circuits before the advent of the transistor made them largely obsolete. Tubes are still prized for high-end hi-fi equipment and by music gear companies such as Fender for their distinctive sound. But most of the world’s supply comes from manufacturers in Russia and China, which after the transistor era began in earnest in the 1960s helped sunset the US vacuum tube industry by driving down prices.
Whitener, a 69-year-old self-described inventor, vintage hi-fi collector, and Led Zeppelin fanatic, bought and revived AT&T’s shuttered vacuum tube business in 1995. The business has ticked along in the era of cheap overseas tubes primarily by serving the small market for vacuum tubes in premium hi-fi equipment with a model called the 300B, originally designed in 1938 to enable transoceanic phone calls. [Continue reading…]
100 years is an incredible milestone for any business or organization! In this Valley PBS Original Documentary, we take you back in time as we explore the origins of KMJ as a conservative talk radio station as well as the long-lasting legacy and impact of their century-long run on the air and in the hearts & minds of their listeners.
Many still rely on radio broadcasts for news, entertainment across continent
HARARE, Zimbabwe — Just the size of his hand, the radio set hung in the busy marketplace stall is essential to Mark Nyabanda.
“I can’t do without it,” said the 25-year old, taking a break from selling fertilizer in Mbare market in the capital, Harare, to listen to a radio weather report warning of possible floods.
Radio bulletins also provide him with information on disease outbreaks, political news and entertainment, he said.
“I don’t trust these new technologies,” he said, referring to social media. “They are full of falsehoods. We saw it during the coronavirus outbreak.”
In many Western countries, conventional radio has been overtaken by streaming, podcasts and on-demand content accessed via smartphones and computers.
But in many of Africa’s 54 countries, with a combined population of 1.3 billion people, traditional radio sets are widely used, highlighting the digital divide between rich countries and those still struggling to have reliable internet.
Radio sets are all over the place in Zimbabwe. Rural livestock herders dangle them from their necks while tending animals while those in the cities listen to their radio sets for news. [Continue reading…]
The powerful solar storm supercharged auroras as far south as Colorado and New Mexico.
The most powerful solar storm in nearly six years slammed Earth today (March 24), but strangely, space weather forecasters didn’t see it coming.
The geomagnetic storm peaked as a severe G4 on the 5-grade scale used by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to assess the severity of space weather events. The storm’s unexpected ferocity not only made auroras visible as far south as New Mexico in the U.S., but it also forced spaceflight company Rocket Lab to delay a launch by 90 minutes.
Geomagnetic storms are disturbances to Earth’s magnetic field caused by solar material from coronal mass ejections (CME) — large expulsions of plasma and magnetic field from the sun’s atmosphere. It turns out that this particular geomagnetic storm was triggered by a “stealth” CME which — as the name suggests — is rather tricky to detect. [Continue reading…]
Gottheimer also supports federal spending on AM infrastructure to assure continuity of service
A congressman from New Jersey wants the government to add AM radio to the list of safety equipment that carmakers must include in their vehicles.
Rep. Josh Gottheimer has called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to “add AM radio to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to require that all automakers, including EV manufacturers, include AM radio as a stock feature in their vehicles. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are the minimum safety standards that a manufacturer must meet when making a vehicle — including requirements related to airbags, brakes, seatbelts, tires, controls and displays.”
The National Association of Broadcasters welcomed his effort.
Gottheimer, a Democrat who represents a district along the state’s northern border, held a news event next to a Tesla dealership in Paramus, N.J., along with New Jersey Broadcasters Association Executive Director Jordan Walton. [Continue reading…]
An AI-generated radio DJ could be coming to your local radio station.
RadioGPT, a GPT-4-powered radio content generator from media company Futuri, is set to debut next month in radio stations in the US and Canada, Axios Cleveland reported.
Powered by the same tech that ChatGPT draws upon, RadioGPT aims to man radio airtime spots with AI-generated scripts and voices, as well as tailored local news content.
You can listen to a demo from the company that gives you a preview of what the AI-generated DJ voices sound like — which tell listeners that they are, in fact, fully AI — sprinkled between curated songs. The page includes snippets of RadioGPT-generated voices presenting news, weather, and traffic updates.
“Anything a radio human can do, I can do better,” one of the AI hosts can be heard saying in between songs. “Every voice you hear is 100% AI.” [Continue reading…]
The FCC is using its new powers to ask from the maximum fine from an Ecuadorian pirate radio station that’s run for more than 15 years.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is using a new law to fine a pirate radio station operating in New York City for more than $2 million. For 15 years, Impacto 2, which has been operated by two brothers, has broadcast Ecuadorian news, culture, sports, and talk-radio on 105.5 FM in Queens. The feds have tried to shut it down repeatedly, but have never succeeded.
The FCC announced the fine in a press release last week. “The Commission proposed the maximum penalty allowable, $2,316,034, against brothers César Ayora and Luis Angel Ayora for pirate radio broadcasting in Queens, New York,” the release said. The FCC also said it was trying to seize $80,000 in equipment from a man broadcasting pirate radio in Eastern Oregon.
The Ayoras have been on the FCC’s radar since 2008 when they started broadcasting Impacto 2 for the Ecuadorian community in Queens: “The brothers César and [Luis] Angel Ayora in September 2008 founded the first Ecuadorian FM radio station in New York City. . . The station never sleeps, because a team of communication professionals are working for you 24 hours a day,” their website, which is currently down, said. The station is broadcast over the internet and has moved around the FM spectrum several times over the years. [Continue reading…]