Category Archives: Broadcasters

Radio Waves: Radio 77, RRI Personality of the Year, Radio Repair in Iraq, and Bernard’s Collection of 500+ Radios

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


The DJ Who Broadcast to One Listener for 40 Years (Narratively)

The Deke Duncan show on Radio 77 had it all — the latest hits, bouncy jingles, and a DJ who was born to be on the airwaves. In the 1970s it ran around the clock, several days a week, playing to the smallest audience in the world: Deke’s only listener was his wife. Radio 77 was based in a shed in Duncan’s backyard in a small English town, and everything on the show was a figment of his imagination. “My ultimate ambition would be to broadcast my radio station to the rest of Stevenage,” he told the BBC’s Nationwide TV show, when they visited his shed in 1974.

In a new podcast episode from Snap Judgement and Narratively, Duncan, now 75, reveals how he made up the news, the weather, and even the commercials — and kept Radio 77 alive for over forty years. It was Britain’s ‘pirate’ radio stations that inspired him, he said, recalling the rock’n’roll ships that broadcast illegally from international waters in the 1960s. But the young DJ’s dreams had been dashed when the BBC turned down his job application.

“They said, ‘I suggest you go away and get yourself a real job,’” Duncan recalled. (Check out an original Radio 77 show, recorded in 1974.) [Continue reading…]

RRI Personality of the Year (Radio Romania International)

Dear friends, RRI continues its traditional polling of listeners on short wave, the Internet and social media, with a new challenge, in a further complicated context generated by the Covid-19 pandemic. We would like to ask you which person you think left their imprint on the world in a positive way in 2021.

We are preparing to designate, based on your options, “The Personality of the Year 2021 on RRI”. Will this person be a public person, an opinion leader or a regular person with a special story? The decision is yours. We would also want to ask you why you picked that particular person. Continue reading

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Radio Waves: Build a Ham Radio Voice Keyer, Sony TFM1000 Decrustification, Shift at RTHK, and RFE Cold War Thriller “Glória”

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: 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 Marty, Dennis Dura, Dave Zantow, Al Holt, and Rich Cuff for the following tips:


Build a ham radio voice keyer for the backpack (Nuts and Volts)

I have an MFJ-434 voice keyer that has saved a lot of wear and tear on my vocal cords over the years. It has been a big asset during ham radio contests and when I’ve been calling CQs with reduced power (QRP) transceivers.

One of my new favorite pastimes has been operating QRP radios from remote off-the-grid locations. Most of the time, it’s important to pack only the bare essentials for these mini-DXpeditions. I have never taken the MFJ keyer, primarily due to its size. An “accessory” measuring 6-1/2 x 7 x 2-1/2 inches fills up a lot of backpack. It also weighs a pound and a half. On the other hand, I’m absolutely positive the lack of a keyer has resulted in fewer radio contacts. I always run out of voice before I run out of battery.

Last winter, I was packing a QRP “Go Box” for a trip to Florida. Since that stay was planned to last longer than my normal field trips, I decided to take my MFJ keyer for its first outing. What a difference that keyer made! In less than three months, I worked stations in 31 countries and five continents running a 10 watt transmitter and a dipole antenna!

The enormous number of contacts warranted a closer look at a keyer for shorter field trips. The MFJ-434 has 11 buttons to push, three potentiometers to turn, and two LEDs to show me the keyer is doing what I told it to do. Could I get by with fewer amenities and shrink the size, weight, and power requirements to something more backpack friendly? It was worth an investigation.

The MFJ keyer stores five messages. For field operation, I could live with a single CQ. I found a 20 second record-playback module on eBay for $2.59.

I also found a repeat-cycle timer (variable on and variable off delays) on eBay for $2.38. I could use it to “turn on” the playback message, then turn it “off” for a predetermined period of time before turning it on again.

A relay could be added to key the transmitter’s PTT circuit every time my CQ message was played. The receiver would automatically listen for any replies between messages. (This might actually work!) [Continue reading…]

Sony TFM1000 AM FM SW Vintage Radio Decrustification (YouTube)

Click here to view on YouTube.

Hong Kong Broadcaster’s Swift Turn From Maverick Voice to Official Mouthpiece (NY Times)

RTHK has often set the news agenda with its aggressive coverage of the city. But a Beijing clampdown has changed that, with pro-China coverage filling the void.

HONG KONG — Not long after Patrick Li took over as the government-appointed director of Hong Kong’s public broadcaster, a digital lock pad appeared outside his office entrance.

In the past, the director’s office had been where staffers at the broadcaster, Radio Television Hong Kong, gathered to air grievances with management decisions: programming changes, labor disputes. Now, the lock pad signaled, such complaints were no longer welcome.

For many employees, the closed room was an emblem of the broader transformation sweeping through RTHK, the 93-year-old institution venerated by residents as one of the most trusted news sources in Hong Kong’s once freewheeling media landscape.

RTHK was once compared to the BBC for its fierce editorial independence. But under a sweeping national security law that Beijing imposed last year to silence dissent, many say it now more closely resembles China Central Television, the propagandistic Chinese state broadcaster.[Continue reading…]

‘Gloria’: Netflix’s First Original Series From Portugal Is A Great Spy Thriller (Forbes)

Netflix has released its first Portuguese original series. Glória is on Netflix since November 5. Produced by the SPi production company of Grupo SP Televisão and co-produced with RTP, Glória is an intense historical spy thriller taking place during the Cold War. It is a high-quality series from Portugal with an intricate storyline.

Set in a small Portuguese village named Glória do Ribatejo in the 1960s, the ten-part series follows João Vidal (played by Miguel Nunes), a young man whose family has connections with the leaders of the Estado Novo, the authoritarian Portuguese Regime. João works as an engineer at RARET, a U.S. re-broadcasting office of Radio Free Europe. The series shows how this small village became “an unlikely Cold War stage where American and Soviet forces fought through dangerous sabotage maneuvers to achieve control of Europe,” the Netflix synopsis explains. João gets recruited by the KGB, and will find himself in the middle of the intricate webs of spy games at play in RARET.

An original series created by Pedro Lopes and directed by Tiago Guedes, Glória is a slow-burning series that is a mixture of historical drama based on real events and espionage thriller. The series paints a dark image of Portugal’s past, its violence toward women and its brutal colonial war. It is the highest budget series in the history of Portuguese production, according to The Portugal News. [Continue reading…]


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Radio Waves: Broadcast v Ham Radio, Marjorie Stetson’s Secret Wartime Work, Czech Republic MW Switch-Off, and PV RFI

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


Alike, but Not Alike: Broadcast vs. Ham Radio (Radio World)

Experience in amateur radio can be a boon to the radio engineer

Starting in the 1920s and through the ’60s, almost every broadcast engineer was a licensed amateur radio operator. That has changed a bit, but the importance of being a ham has not.

Both environments involve getting an RF signal from Point A to Point B. But it is interesting to note that radio broadcast and amateur radio are similar and yet so different.

For those who don’t know much about ham radio, I’ll tell you that communicating locally or internationally, via licensed amateur radio, can be a fascinating and challenging hobby. There are about 700,000 hams in the U.S. and an equal number worldwide.

Physics

Broadcast and amateur radio operate under the same laws of science. Transmitters, transmission lines, antennas and receivers make up an RF path to convey a message.

Broadcast engineers know that signal propagation on AM and FM bands is dramatically different. It is because our FM band is roughly 100 times the frequency and 1/100th the RF wavelength of that on the AM band. Engineers also know that 950 MHz STL signals are line-of-sight and roughly a 10-times jump in frequency from FM broadcast frequencies. Each band has its own challenges in getting a useable signal through. [Continue reading…]

A Canadian opens up about her secret wartime work — eavesdropping on Japan (CBC)

Retired sergeant remembers what it was like on the ‘front line of the radio war’

At age 97, Marjorie Stetson has never told anyone her secret code number — until now.

That’s the identity code — 225 — that she typed on every page of her highly classified work for the Canadian Armed Forces during the Second World War.

The retired sergeant’s wartime work was so covert, she said, she had to sign 15 separate copies of Canada’s Official Secrets Act.

“Nobody knew where I worked,” Stetson told CBC News from her home in Massachusetts ahead of Remembrance Day. “Nobody knew what we did. Even my parents never knew what I did in the service.”

Her husband, an American sailor she met at a celebration marking the end of the war, passed away a decade ago. She never told him what she really did during the war.

Today, Stetson herself is only now learning about the true scope of her role and the significance of all those sheets of white paper she filled with encrypted messages from Japan. [Continue reading…]

Czech Republic: MW Switch-Off by 2021 (Radio Reporter)

Czech public radio ‘?eský Rozhlas‘ is stepping up its information campaign for listeners receiving mediumwave programmes, ahead of the planned switch-off of transmitters by the end of 2021. Since 1 November, more announcements have been broadcast to warn users and a call centre has been set up to explain the possible listening alternatives (from FM to DAB). In the run-up to Christmas, public radio will launch an intensive advertising campaign in the print media and online magazines on 22 November to promote the purchase of digital DAB receivers to replace analogue radio. [Continue reading…]

The impact of photovoltaics (Southgate ARC)

Seamus Ei8EP reports on the IARU Region 1 website that the 358 page Final Report on the Study on the evaluation of the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive has now been published.

It is publicly available, free of charge, from the Publications Office of the European Union. The Political Relations Committee of the IARU Region 1 responded recently to a European Commission Roadmap on the environmental impact of photovoltaics.

The radio spectrum is an important finite natural resource which must be protected. While PV technology of itself is to be welcomed, the IARU submission pointed out the inherent problems of non-compliant installations, particularly the installation or retro-fitting of optimisers which can produce significant spectrum pollution for very limited efficiency increase.


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Radio Waves: Radio and Education, Border Blasters, FM Switch Delayed per DCMS, and A Quick Temporary AM Antenna

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


Can Radio Really Educate? (JSTOR Daily)

In the 1920s, radio was an exciting new mass medium. It was known for providing entertainment, but educators wondered if it could also be used for education.

It was mid-1922 and America was in the midst of the radio craze. Commercial broadcasting had emerged in a handful of cities in 1920, but at that time, few people had a receiving set—except for amateur radio operators, who knew how to build one. It wasn’t even called “radio” back then—newspapers referred to it as “radiophone” or “wireless telephone.” But only two years later, there were several hundred radio stations on the air, and you could purchase a radio in a store—although hobbyists still had fun trying to build their own, with varying degrees of success. Meanwhile, the word “radio” had become the common term for that wonderful new invention that everyone wanted in their home.

Today, we tend to take radio for granted; it is one of many ways to hear music or news or sports. But in 1922, radio was unique: it was the first mass medium to take people to an event in real time, and listeners were amazed by it. Suddenly, they could hear a popular orchestra coming through the radio set. Without leaving their home, they could listen to a baseball game, or an inspirational talk from a preacher; some stations even had the latest news headlines. In an era when traveling from one city to another could take hours (the popular Model T Ford had a top speed of 40-45 mph, and superhighways had not yet come along), listeners could travel by radio, hearing stations from distant cities. Before radio, only the wealthy could attend a concert featuring a famous vocalist, but now, anyone who had a receiving set could hear that singer’s music. And in an America that was still racially segregated, radio gave some musicians of color the opportunity to be heard by thousands of listeners. In magazines and newspapers, radio inspired “utopian hopes and bold predictions.” Writers referred to it as a cure for loneliness—especially for people living in rural areas or on the farm. It was also praised for helping the blind gain greater access to the world around them. More than one writer claimed radio would bring world peace, since everyone would unite around their favorite programs. And of course, as a sign of American progress, it was something no home should be without, not even the White House: President Harding was an enthusiastic radio fan, and had a set installed near his desk, so he could listen whenever he wanted to. [Continue reading…]

Psychics once ruled the airwaves thanks to the Texas-Mexico border and the magic of radio (KUT)

A new book includes details of how powerful radio stations along the border helped former vaudeville actors reach larger audiences.

In the 1920s and ’30s, some of the most popular radio programs in the United States featured radio psychics. The most successful among them made hundreds of thousands of dollars reading the minds and predicting the futures of eager listeners. To do it, they took advantage of a new and mysterious medium: radio. Continue reading

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Radio Waves: X-Class Flare & Halloween CME, Ham Callsign History, 2/3 UK Listeners Now Digital, AM/FM Until 2030, and Rampisham’s New Plan

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


Significant X-class solar flare (Southgate ARC)

There was a global eruption on the sun today. It started with a powerful X1-class solar flare from sunspot AR2887.

The blast created a massive tsunami of plasma in the sun’s atmosphere, which rippled across the entire solar disk. A CME is probably heading for Earth, raising the possibility of a geomagnetic storm on Halloween. More information and updates @ Spaceweather.com.

Solar Flare Alerts: Sign up for Space Weather Alerts and get instant text notifications when solar flares are underway.

History of the Ham Radio Callsign (Southgate ARC)

In this video Mike Ritz W7VO looks at the history of amateur radio call signs in the United States

Every legal amateur radio operator in the world has a unique callsign assigned to them by their government, and many of us are better known by our callsign than our given name. But what world event was it that caused these monikers to be? Why are they constructed the way they are? Continue reading

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Fred suggests a Halloween Spooktacular!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Fred Waterer, who writes:

This is going to meander a bit from shortwave, but I’ll give you a heads up in case it’s of interest.

October 31 is a Sunday this year and lines up with Michael Godin’s Treasure Island Oldies show

But…

This year there is a cool bonus!

Michael’s Annual Halloween Spooktacular, features four hours of great spooky and Halloween themed tunes. As usual, the show runs from 9pm EDT to 1am EDT (6pm PDT, 0100 UTC)

However if you tune in earlier at 6pm EDT (3pm PDT 2200 UTC) he will present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre with their notorious 1938 edition of War of the Worlds. This will be followed by Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, a musical version narrated by Sir Richard Burton and vocals by The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward.

You can listen online via Michael’s website Treasure Island Oldies Radio Show, The Home Of Lost Treasures or some of the affiliates that carry him. My go to station in this regard is WTND.org, operated by former WBCQ broadcasters Tom and Darryl who had the Tom and Darryl Show.

It’s just not Halloween for me until I hear Orson Welles’ famous radio play.

Fred Waterer

PS Treasure Island Oldies is one of the longest running internet radio shows ever; broadcasting since 1997.

Thank you for the ip, Fred! And, yes, War of the Worlds is a must!

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Radio Waves: DAB on UK Smart Speakers, MORE Project, Sun Getting Busy, and RTI’s German special “garners thousands of responses”

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: 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 Skip Arey, Mike Hansgen, and David Iurescia for the following tips:


Nobody cares about DAB radio – so let’s force it onto smart speakers, suggests UK govt review (The Register)

Britain’s anti Amazon and Google war gets a second front

The UK may require smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home devices to broadcast UK DAB radio stations, over government fears that Brits aren’t consuming enough of the unloved radio tech.

Under the guise of “protecting UK radio stations’ accessibility” the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a report calling for smart speakers to rebroadcast domestic radio stations’ output. The recommendation is as follows:

The government to consider regulatory changes to ensure radio stations and radio and audio content can be easily found and is discoverable by users of voice assistant platforms, including smart speakers and in-car infotainment systems.

The call, made in the Ministry of Fun’s Digital Radio and Audio Review, was backed by national broadcaster the BBC and commercial radio groups.

The same report found that 64 per cent of audio on smart speakers is live radio, though smart speaker users make up around 6 per cent of radio listeners at present. Nonetheless, DCMS called for governmental action to enforce the provision of something that’s already provided.

Media minister Julia Lopez said in a canned statement: “We must make sure this treasured medium continues to reach audiences as listening shifts to new technologies and that we have a gradual transition away from FM to protect elderly listeners and those in remote areas.” [Continue reading…]

Interested in getting a U.S. Amateur Radio license? (David Sarnoff Radio Club)

Earlier this year, the IEEE Princeton / Central Jersey Section’s Broadcast Technology Chapter (IEEE PCJS BT) received a generous grant to provide mentoring and equipment that encourages understanding of digital and analog aspects of radio communication, through hands-on activities and explorations. Over the next 2 years, our Make Operating Radio Easier (MORE) Project will be training 500 new U.S. Amateur Radio (“Ham”) operators in small (10 to 15 person) groups. We are especially seeking youth (ages 12-18) and non-males to help increase the demographics for these underrepresented groups on the air, but are currently accepting applicants of all ages (12+) and all genders.

Class sessions are primarily virtual (via Zoom) but may be arranged to be on-site if there is sufficient interest by a school, club or organization (as allowed, given the ongoing health situation). Virtual or in-person FCC amateur license testing sessions will also be arranged (throughout the USA) by our ARRL-certified MORE Project Volunteer Examiner (VE) team. There is no charge for the classes, and ALL testing and licensing fees for participants in the MORE Project are covered by our grant. Trainees in our program will also receive (paid by the MORE Project) a Software Defined Radio USB dongle, a pre-assembled 25-foot longwire receiving antenna, and (after successfully licensing) a hand-held Yaesu 2 Meter (HT) radio. The MORE Project course will provide instruction in the use of this equipment and assistance in Getting On The Air (GOTA) to make radio contacts.

Additional information about the MORE Project, including how to register for a training course, is at n2re.org/m-o-r-e-project and in our IEEE PCJS Call for Participation flyer. Questions should be directed to Dr. Rebecca Mercuri K3RPM at rtmercuri@ieee.org.

Our Sun is About to Get Busy | Solar Storm Forecast 10.25.2021 (Tamitha Skove)

RTI’s German-language special program garners thousands of responses (RTI)

During the third quarter of every year, Radio Taiwan International (RTI) broadcasts a special one-hour radio program via shortwave directly to German-speaking countries. The programs were transmitted over four weekends between July and August. Usually, RTI’s German programs are relayed through Bulgaria.

This year, thanks to conducive weather conditions and precise engineering, RTI’s signal was stronger than in prior years. In response to the program, listeners from 33 countries sent over a thousand reception reports confirming they received the broadcast. According to RTI, it received a record number of reports.

Radio Taiwan International President Chang Cheng says that even though most of the station’s programs are available online, there is still a significant community of people that prefers listening to shortwave radio.

This year, listeners who sent in a reception report for the special one-hour broadcast will receive a limited edition RTI QSL card featuring Taiwan’s iconic Formosan Blue Magpie. RTI says that it is still in the process of responding to all of the listening reports it received.


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