Category Archives: Broadcasters

RNZ changes its pips!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Iurescia, who shares the following news from Radio New Zealand:

RNZ’s pips are changing – Can you hear the difference? (RNZ)

RNZ National is changing the pips – the beeps that mark the start of each hour which play immediately before the news bulletin broadcast.

The pips were last changed in 2013 when a lightning strike damaged the clock which sent signals from the Measurement Standards Laboratory’s atomic clock.

The replacement sound was a little higher. (Continue reading…)

Spread the radio love

Tuning In: An Artistic and Auditory Exploration of Korean Radio by Carlos Latuff

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, who shares this special dive into the world of radio both in and targeting the Korean peninsula. His report includes off-air recordings along with his own original artwork.


Koreas’ Radio War

by Carlos Latuff, a special for the SWLing Post

The war that divided Korea in two began in 1950. A truce was signed by both sides in 1953, but a peace agreement never came to fruition. Therefore, North Korea and South Korea remain at war. And this war is not just happening on the ground, but also over the airwaves.

Every day, a battle for hearts and minds takes place on AM, FM and shortwave. Whether the DPRK broadcasts are directed to South Korea, or South Korean broadcasters (including clandestine ones) broadcast to the DPRK.

I bring here a small collection of radio listenings made between February 29th and March 17th, all of them happened in Porto Alegre, Brazil, using a XHDATA D-808 receiver, with long wire antenna (outdoor), except for Radio Free Asia, listened with a Toshiba TR 486 receiver, using a telescopic antenna (indoor). Translations from Korean to English were made using transcription and translation apps.

KBS World

KBS World Radio was created in 1953, the year the truce was signed between the two warring Koreas, under the name “The Voice of Free Korea”, and today, as a public radio station, it broadcasts to several countries in different languages. Its programming includes news, music, variety, and of course, opposition to the DPRK government.

 

As part of the effort to promote “regime change” in the DPRK, the Seoul government, through its intelligence service, maintains clandestine radio stations (“Echo of Hope” and “Voice of the People”) whose role is basically broadcast 24 hours a day anti-Communist propaganda to North Korea, along South Korean and American pop music.

Echo of Hope

Voice of the People

Radio Free Asia

Created by the CIA in 1951, at the height of the Cold War and the conflict in Korea, Radio Free Asia has undergone changes throughout its history, but continues to be operated by the United States government and aims, in its own words, to “provide independent, uncensored and accurate local news” for countries like China, Vietnam and, of course, North Korea. Content directed at the DPRK follows the same principle as South Korean clandestine broadcasters: basically anti-Communist orientation, in order to achieve a “regime change”. The articles broadcasted on the radio are the same as those published on the Radio Free Asia’s website.

KCBS Pyongyang

Korean Central Broadcasting Station (KCBS) Pyongyang is the DPRK’s domestic radio station, whose programming reaches North and South Korea, even being heard in Japan. News about the achievements of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, music and attacks on Seoul government, seen by Pyongyang as a puppet regime.

Voice of Korea

On October 14, 1945, the year Japan was defeated in World War II, KCBS Pyongyang and Voice of Korea were founded (domestic and international radio stations respectively). Voice of Korea broadcasts programming in several languages ??to the world via shortwave. The content is not much different from KCBS Pyongyang: achievements of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, attacks on Seoul government and the United States, and traditional/patriotic music.

Spread the radio love

Radio Waves: International Symposium Focuses on Broadcasting, Last Morse Station, Yaesu FRG-7 Digital Frequency Kit, and Remembering Bob Heil,

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 Jamet, Bob Butterfield, and NT for the following tips:


International symposium: Université Toulouse Capitole, 14 and 15 November 2024

From COVID-19 to armed conflicts: radio faced with a multiplicity of crises

https://radiography.hypotheses.org/files/2023/12/Appel-a-communication-Colloque-international-Radio-et-crises-Toulouse-2024-version-anglaise.pdf

Deadline: April 25th, 2024

America’s Last Morse Code Station (The Atlantic)

Maritime Morse code was formally phased out in 1999, but in California, a group of enthusiasts who call themselves the “radio squirrels” keeps the tradition alive.

Calling all. This is our last cry before our eternal silence.” With that, in January 1997, the French coast guard transmitted its final message in Morse code. Ships in distress had radioed out dits and dahs from the era of the Titanic to the era of Titanic. In near-instant time, the beeps could be deciphered by Morse-code stations thousands of miles away. First used to send messages over land in 1844, Morse code outlived the telegraph age by becoming the lingua franca of the sea. But by the late 20th century, satellite radio was turning it into a dying language. In February 1999, it officially ceased being the standard for maritime communication.

Nestled within the Point Reyes National Seashore, north of San Francisco, KPH Maritime Radio is the last operational Morse-code radio station in North America. The station—which consists of two buildings some 25 miles apart—once watched over the waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Both KPH sites shut down in 1997, but a few years later, a couple of radio enthusiasts brought them back to life. The crew has gotten slightly larger over the years. Its members call themselves the “radio squirrels.” Every Saturday, they beep out maritime news and weather reports, and receive any stray messages. Much of their communication is with the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, a World War II–era ship permanently parked at a San Francisco pier. [Continue reading, noting that much of The Atlantic’s content is behind a paywall…]

Yaesu FRG-7 Digital Frequency and S-meter Readout Kit

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bob Butterfield, who writes:

Readers who own a Yaesu FRG-7 and are interested in a digital frequency readout/S-meter kit that replaces the original analog S-meter may be interested in this item from Marcel Jacobs, PA8MA, Netherlands. It is available on eBay:

https://ebay.us/ji2zp7 [Note: this eBay partnership link supports the SWLing Post.]

I have not personally tried out this unit, however, it does look pretty slick. Further information can be found in the FRG-7 groups.io user group.

A video is also available on YouTube:

Audio Innovator Bob Heil Dies (Radio World)

Gave a unique sound to Frampton and was known in radio, audio and ham radio

Bob Heil has died, according to the company he founded. He was 83.

“Bob fought a valiant, year-long battle with cancer, and passed peacefully surrounded by his family,” Heil Sound posted on Facebook.

“Driven by a lifelong passion for sound, Bob’s pioneering work revolutionized how concertgoers experienced live sound.” [Here’ his official obituary.]

Heil was the inventor of the famous Heil Talk Box used memorably by musicians like Joe Walsh, Peter Frampton, Slash, Richie Sambora and others. He was invited to exhibit his innovations at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He also was an active member of the amateur radio community.

In 2022 Bob and Sarah Heil transferred ownership of their company to President/CEO Ash Levitt and Director of Operations Steve Warford, Radio World reported at the time. “Sarah Heil has retired, but Bob will continue to do outreach work and product design within the amateur radio space under the title Founder and CEO Emeritus,” it stated then. [Continue reading…]


Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

Spread the radio love

The Conversation: “100 Years of Radio in Africa: from propaganda to people’s power”

Radio Taboo in Cameroon

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Marty, who shares the following article from The Conversation:

100 years of radio in Africa: from propaganda to people’s power (The Conversation)

Radio is thriving across Africa. Exact figures are difficult to come by because audience research differs across countries. But studies estimate radio listenership to be between 60% and 80% of the continent’s 1.4 billion population.

In contrast to many western countries, where there has been a shift towards streaming and podcasts, traditional radio continues to be widely embraced in Africa. Because of poor literacy levels and uneven access to the internet and technological infrastructure, old-fashioned radio remains a reliable and inclusive medium.

This year’s celebration of the 100-plus years of radio offers us an opportunity, as African media scholars, to reflect on the historical significance, cultural relevance, political power and social impact of the medium on the continent. We home in on examples from the regions we’ve studied to demonstrate this rich history.

Early years

The story of radio in Africa starts with its introduction to serve colonial interests. Cameroonian scholar Francis Nyamnjoh argues that as soon as it had established itself as a mass medium in the 1920s,

European states were quick to realise the part radio could play in realising their desire to swallow up weaker cultures around the globe.

Historians note that it also allowed Europeans in the colonies to connect to home, their culture and their languages.

In the early 1920s amateur radio enthusiasts had already begun tinkering with the technology. The first official broadcast seems to have been on 18 December 1923 in Johannesburg, South Africa. [Continue reading at The Conversation…]

Spread the radio love

UNESCO World Radio Day 2024: Club du Perche contribution

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Jamet, who shares the following contribution to World Radio Day 2024 on behalf of the Club du Perche:


Word Radio Day 2024

Paul JAMET

Member of the Radio Club du Perche

Among the framing elements of the 2024 edition, UNESCO states on its website that the celebration highlights three important values:

UNESCO – The indelible history of Radio and its powerful impact upon news, drama, music, sports …

P.J. – Radio is a grand lady, a hundred years old, still young at heart and full of projects! Its birth and history have given rise to numerous publications and captivating accounts, because for over a century, radio has been the world’s sound memory. Radio stations regularly draw on their rich archives to help us relive key events, because history informs the future. Since the 1920s, radio has demonstrated its usefulness in explaining how the world works, educating listeners and providing entertainment (music, theater, sports, etc.).

UNESCO – The ongoing utilitarian value of Radio as a relatively free and portable public safety net during emergencies and power outages brought on by natural and human-made disasters such as storms, earthquakes, floods, heat, wildfires, accidents and warfare.

P.J. – In recent years, with the increasing number of conflicts and natural disasters resulting from climate change, radio has taken on a new and extremely important role, that of providing a public safety network for both emergency resources and victims. Dozens of models of portable emergency receivers are already available, while others are arriving on the market all the time, using new technologies such as the digitization of radio signals, the use of emergency frequencies for broadcasting warning messages: NOAA frequencies in North America, EWF (Emergency Warning Functionality) technology with DRM broadcasting, and expected also with DAB+ broadcasting.

UNESCOThe continuing democratic value of Radio to serve as a grassroots catalyst for connectedness within underserved groups including immigrant, religious, minority and poverty-stricken populations; and as an instantaneous bellwether of public opinion expressed through the auspices of free speech in the public space.

 P.J. – I was born after the Second World War. My mother often told me about the importance of [clandestine] listening to Radio Londres broadcast by the BBC to occupied France. At the time, the BBC was broadcasting messages to the Resistance operating in France and other European countries. Since then, radio has played a decisive role in many similar situations. Such was the case with Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty until the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. More recently, a few days after the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war, some stations reactivated their Shortwave transmitters to broadcast special programs to the conflict zone – Zone CIRAF 29. 

Since the start of the third millennium, or even before, several countries have abandoned international broadcasting for a variety of reasons: financial, but also linked to the declining audience, preferring to use the Internet, at least in the best-equipped countries. Many stations have disappeared, and not the least, stations that made a major contribution to the plurality of information and points of view, such as RCI – Canada and RSI – Switzerland, not forgetting DW – Germany and ABC – Australia. Some countries have even demolished their installations and taken down their antennas! 

Yet there are still vast areas of the globe without Internet access or a reliable Internet network. There are still countries where freedom of information is severely controlled. 

In a recent article published on the Radioworld website, Kim Andrew Elliott, who produced “VoA Radiogram”, argues for a revival of Shortwave by proposing Shortwave 2.0, essentially using the following argument: « radio is the ultimate internet circumvention tool ». The author criticizes DRM for dropping out when transmission conditions are poor. He prefers text transmission via the system he has experimented with, which he believes to be more robust. Finally, he adds that « international broadcasters should not close any more shortwave transmitting sites. They are essential facilities to relay information when the internet is blocked, which will happen in more places, more frequently and more thoroughly ».

Through regular listening and exchanges, I fully support international radio stations for the indispensable role they play in providing a plurality of information, but also in providing entertainment (there are many cultural programs) and education, enabling the discovery of other countries and, above all, a better understanding of other cultures.

 As for the Clubs d’écouteurs, they have had to adapt to changes in the radio landscape and advances in information technology.  On the strength of its 40 years of existence and experience, the Radio Club du Perche wishes to take up these challenges and continue its role of promoting international broadcasting – particularly French-speaking – by adapting as best we can to the technological evolutions that are taking place. 

In conclusion, international shortwave broadcasting not only makes sense, but is still very useful for a large number of listeners or in certain situations. Nevertheless, it must adapt to the new realities of modern communication if it is to remain relevant and viable. 

Paul JAMET  –  [email protected] 

Radio Club du Perche


Paul adds that his club members are writing stations to not only submit listener reports but to thank them for their service on the air. We encourage readers to do the same: reach out to any/all radio stations you listen to regularly and let them know you’re listening! 

Spread the radio love

Yet another reason why you need a weather radio

Photo by Raychel Sanner via Unsplash

by Jock Elliott

Today is the 154th birthday of the National Weather Service. The NWS covers from American Samoa to the Virgin Islands and from Hawaii to the Arctic Circle of Alaska, and it does so with fewer than 4,000 employees nationwide.

It is, according to Mike Smith’s blog: “one of the few federal agencies that is essential to the welfare of the Nation.” https://www.mikesmithenterprisesblog.com/2024/02/154th-birthday-of-he-national-weather.html

And in my view, NOAA Weather Radio is essential for every household. If live in the US you don’t have a radio capable of receiving the Weather Radio channels, you need one.

For more info, check here: https://swling.com/blog/2022/02/jock-shares-a-bit-more-about-noaa-weather-radio/

Spread the radio love

BBC: “Do We Still Need the Pips?”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who shares the following piece which recently aired on BBC Radio 4 (click link below to listen):

To mark the centenary of the Greenwich Time Signal on the BBC, Paddy O’Connell asks the unaskable – Do We Still Need the Pips?

First broadcast at 9.30pm on Feb the 5th 1924, the six pips of the Greenwich Time Signal have become synonymous with Radio 4.
But today digital broadcasting has rendered this time signal delayed and inaccurate. Plus their immovable presence can cause accidents on-air, and no-one wants to crash the Pips.
So after 100 years, should Radio 4 just get rid of them? What is the point of a time signal in 2024 anyway?

Paddy O’Connell looks back across a century of organised beeps, and meets the people who listen to, broadcast and sometimes crash in to the Pips to find out what we really think about these six little characters.
With interviews including Mishal Husain, Robin Ince & Brian Cox, Jane Steel, Richard Hoptroff, Jon Holmes and David Rooney.

Produced by Luke Doran.
Original music by Ed Carter.

Click here to listen to this episode on BBC Radio 4.

Spread the radio love