Category Archives: Broadcasters

Radio Waves: First Microprocessors, Ocean FM, SWL Interviews, and NPR’s take on All-Digital AM

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’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Marty, Martin Butera, and the Radio Survivor for the following tips:

The Surprising Story of the First Microprocessors (IEEE Spectrum)

Transistors, the electronic amplifiers and switches found at the heart of everything from pocket radios to warehouse-size supercomputers, were invented in 1947. Early devices were of a type called bipolar transistors, which are still in use. By the 1960s, engineers had figured out how to combine multiple bipolar transistors into single integrated circuits. But because of the complex structure of these transistors, an integrated circuit could contain only a small number of them. So although a minicomputer built from bipolar integrated circuits was much smaller than earlier computers, it still required multiple boards with hundreds of chips.[]

Ocean FM Was Fire: How Local Radio Done Right Can Heat A Cabin | Radio Schmaltz (Part-Time Audiofile)

[…]The cabin on a rocky peninsula in Northwest Ireland might not have had all the letters for its Scrabble set or a microwave, but it did have another marvel of 20th century technology. It was a little CB/AM/FM radio crouching behind a box of matches on top of a kitchen cabinet.

I decided to put the switch on FM and started swirling the dial. As soon as I heard a lilting woman’s voice underneath a sheet of static, I began carrying it around the tiny room while adjusting the rabbit ears.

Now the signal was as clear as the peat-rich water was brown, a farmer was being interviewed about the economic downturn. It was a quick piece — just some brogue-ish assurances that one doesn’t choose agriculture for an easy life. Then came a trio playing an Irish ballad, and then came North West Hospice Bingo: a bingo game that allows listeners from across the broadcast range of Ocean FM’s two regional frequencies to play bingo, including the residents of the hospice.

I’d bundle up for walks outside where the wind was loud, blustery, and sacred. The ocean crashed against the rocks in a way I never conceived as being real outside of movies. But when I was inside, the radio might as well have been a Soviet relic with only a volume control and no tuner because I simply couldn’t touch that dial. I learned the schedule quickly, timing walks and firewood runs so that I’d be back in time for Country Jamboree, a boy-girl-boy-girl style line-up of Irish and American country tunes.

As I’d stand by the wood-stove, taking off my cold wet socks to put on the toasted, at time singed socks that I’d been roasting, I felt the fulfillment of the promise of radio. I could hear Fessenden making history with the first radio broadcast of music, Oh Holy Night transmitted on a rocky coast on Christmas Eve of 1906 and heard by ships at sea.[]

Coffee and Radio Listen

Coffee and Radio Listen is an investigation of Brazilian radio listener, by Martin Butera.

How they began listening to radio, the local or international stations that influenced them, the interests they have when tuning to a station, the languages they like to listen to, if they send listeners reports and collect QSLs, their antennas and receivers, and all aspects related to the radio listen both in shortwave and in other bands and modes.

Each month they will have in this blog, an exclusive interview with a Brazilian radio listen. At the end of this project, a free downloadable e-book will be available, which contains all the interviews and statistical references.

Every month there will be a new interview, this month of March launch month we start with 2 interviews

Martin is Argentinian, born in the city of Buenos Aires capital. He currently lives in Brasília DF, capital of Brazil. He is also a journalist, documentary maker and founding member of Radio Atomika 106.1 MHz (Buenos Aires, Argentina).

To know more about CREW 15.61 Radio Listeners’, please visit the following link.

Guest Post: Brazil’s newly-formed “15.61 Crew”

Collaborate on this project by Martín, our friend Rob Wagner (VK3BVW), Mount Evelyn DX Report (adapting the recordings).

Click here her to check out the Coffee And Radio Listen website.

NPR Supports All-Digital on AM, With Caveats (Radio World)

National Public Radio “generally supports” allowing stations to transition, if they wish, to all-digital AM transmission using HD Radio in the United States. But it believes the commission needs to go further on how it would handle interference complaints from neighboring analog stations in the band.

About 80 AM public radio stations are affiliated with NPR or receive operational funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, including WNYC(AM) in New York City.

NPR says it has significant interest in any measures to help AM broadcasters better serve the public by improving the listening experience.

“Facilitating the expansion of HD Radio and its additional functionality for program and public safety information and services would serve the public interest, provided the transition to all-digital HD Radio operation does not cause harmful interference,” NPR wrote in comments filed with the FCC this week.

“As it has in the past, NPR supports the expansion of HD Radio, but not at the expense of current analog AM service.”[…]


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Shortwave broadcasters step up Covid-19 awareness and news

Several private shortwave broadcasters have been adding Coronavirus information and news to their scheduled programs.

One of the first broadcasters to make an announcement was the IRRS–they have even made a special QSL card available. Here’s their release via the WRTH Facebook page:

Hello There from IRRS & EGR,

1.) While most of Northern Italy has come (nearly) to a halt due to the recent coronavirus outbreak, we have just extended our global coverage with daily broadcasts to reach out to Europe, the Middle East, Asia/Pacific and Africa with daily news and commentaries on COVID-19 in English.

Here are our new (daily) frequencies as of Feb. 21, 2020 (@ 150 kW):

9640 kHz (1400-1500 UTC) to Asia and Middle East
7290 kHz (1800-2000 UTC) to Europe
9660 kHz (2000-2100 UTC) to Africa
594 kHz (2100-2200 UTC/2200-2300 CET) AM/Medium Wave to N Italy and Southern/Central Europe

Please check our blog for more details at:
https://nexus.org/coronavirus-qsl/

You may find our updated B19 frequency schedule at:
https://nexus.org/schedules

2.) On the occasion we have released our new QSL card available electronically for all reception reports.

3.) Additionally, new broadcasts have been started as of today March 4, 2020 in Oromo language to Ethiopia on 11990 from 1500-1600 UTC (@ 250 kW).

You may send your reception report for any of our broadcasts to reports@nexus.org. We will gladly acknowledge all verified reception reports with our new electronic QSL.

When requesting our QSL card, please consult our Privacy Policy at https://nexus.org/privacy and learn how we process your personal data according to the GDPR.

Stay home, stay safe: listen to Shortwave!

73s,
Ron

John with VORW has also shared the following announcement:

As the Coronavirus Pandemic continues to develop, I am now including 20 minutes of news and discussion concerning the virus in every broadcast. This new segment features a recap of the day’s major news developments regarding COVID-19, updated infection totals, analysis of the situation and common-sense tips and things to consider during this outbreak. Our main frequency to North America is 5850 kHz with new shows at 0200 UTC every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (10 PM Eastern every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

Additional times & frequencies are listed below.

1300 UTC Thursday – 15770 kHz to Europe
2000 UTC Thursday – 7780 kHz to Eastern North America
2100 UTC Thursday – 7780 kHz to Europe
2200 UTC Thursday – 9955 kHz to South America
0000 UTC Friday – 9395 kHz, 5950 kHz to North America
0100 UTC Friday – 7780 kHz to Europe
0200 UTC Friday – 5850 kHz to North America
2100 UTC Friday – 9955 kHz to South America
0200 UTC Saturday – 5850 kHz to North America
2200 UTC Saturday – 9395 kHz, 6115 kHz to North America
0200 UTC Sunday – 5850 kHz to North America
2200 UTC Sunday – 7780 kHz to Europe
0200 UTC Monday – 5850 kHz to North America

Listener comments and QSL Reports are welcome at vorwinfo@gmail.com

Feel free to comment on this post with any additional special shortwave broadcasts.  Thanks to several readers who have forwarded tips!

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Radio Waves: WNPV Off Air, Privat-Ear, End of Radio, and China COVID-19 shut-ins tune-in

(Source: JamesButters.com)

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’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Ron, Tracy Wood, and Dennis Dura for the following tips:


WNPV Radio preparing to go off air April 30 (The Reporter)

TOWAMENCIN — When April ends, the airwaves above the North Penn valley region will be emptier, and so will a little brick building on Snyder Road in Towamencin.

Sitting below five 165-foot-tall radio antennas and one cell tower, that brick building has been the home for six decades of WNPV, the local radio station found at 1440 AM and 98.5 FM.

“We’ve been at it for 60 years, and our mission and our core values are really no different today than they were in October of 1960. It literally is to serve the community,” said Phil Hunt, the station’s General Manager.

“It’s gotten to the point where it’s not sustainable for us to continue to do that. It takes resources to do it properly; those resources, primarily, are people, and we were having trouble making ends meet,” he said.

Hunt announced Wednesday that WNPV will go off the air on April 30, bringing an end to an era of live, local news that began on Oct. 17, 1960. The station’s coverage of local sports, politics, breaking news, and key issues have earned dozens of awards, a handful of which greet visitors as you walk past an old teletype machine through the station’s front door.[]

Privat-ear Subminiature Tube Pocket Radio (JamesButters.com)

The Privat-ear pocket radio was manufactured in the USA and released onto the market by Electronics Systems Corporation in 1949 (1a, b, c). Although small enough to fit in a shirt pocket this is not a transistor radio; it owes its small size to the use of subminiature tubes developed during WWII and was designed as an earphone only model. It predates the first commercially available transistor radio by five years and was an innovative, but ultimately doomed, attempt at realizing an American cultural objective; the creation of a portable shirt pocket radio with mass appeal.

The Privat-ear was invented by Frank L Stuck, a Minister of Lakeland Florida. Born in Washington, Pennsylvania on October 13 1904 to William and Maise Stuck, he was the second youngest of four children (1d, e). He studied Theology at Bethany College, West Virginia from 1924 – 1927 and received a Doctor of Divinity degree from the American Theological Seminary at Wilmington Delaware (1f). Whilst attending College he was one of the founding members of Alpha Pi Alpha, was a member of the Student Volunteers and met and married Iva Myrtle Driggs.[]

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT – The End Of Radio. Really? (Radio Ink)

(By Mike Bustell) I try to keep my head down and quietly work behind the scenes helping our salespeople make a killing for our advertisers and our company. However, I had to react to Roger Lanctot’s “Technology Tyranny and the End of Radio” LinkedIn article published in last Friday’s Radio Ink headlines.

How Tesla and Silicon Valley (and other tech giants) feel about local radio is not much different than what our salespeople hear when talking with their local garden center or auto dealer group — that local radio is no longer relevant to bother putting it on their 2020 dashboards.

All these objections are happy opportunities to educate, bond, and sway hearts, minds, and advertising budgets. We have to be happy well-armed warriors with targeted customer-specific information every time we ask for a decision-maker’s valuable time. Once we earn an advertiser’s business we can never stop educating, bonding, or working on helping them grow their business.

Below is the most up-to-date look at the audio sources that $100K+HHI purchasers and lessees for new hybrid and electric vehicles are using. Like Mike Bloomberg taking the salt shakers off of New York City restaurants’ tables, Tesla’s removing easy access to local AM/FM radio stations on their new vehicles’ dashboards shows a similar out-of-touch-with-the-people attitude. Ninety-four and a half percent of $100K+ Age 25+ adults who plan to buy or lease a new hybrid or electric vehicle in 2020 listen to Local AM/FM radio every week — nearly three times that of Spotify, the second most-listened-to audio source every week used by these consumers.[]

China COVID-19 shut-in tunes in to the world via radio (Marketplace)

The battle to contain the COVID-19 virus in China has kept most people at home since the end of January.

Life is slowly returning to streets in cities like Shanghai, but face masks are now required in nearly all public spaces, even though they are not recommended for the general public by the Centers for Disease Control or World Health Organization.

Since there is a shortage of masks, most people are still effectively forced to stay home. As Marketplace’s China correspondent, this includes me. My window to the world for a better part of a month has been through radio.[]


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SiriusXM offers channel and free stream devoted to Covid-19 awareness

(Source: SiriusXM via Radio Survivor)

Doctor Radio & NYU Langone Health launch 24/7 coronavirus-focused channel & hotline

SiriusXM, in conjunction with NYU Langone Health, launched a special 24/7 channel dedicated to providing the public with the latest information on the coronavirus outbreak. The channel launched on Friday, March 6 at 6pm ET and features programming from SiriusXM’s Doctor Radio (Ch. 110). It is available on both active and inactive SiriusXM radios on Channel 121 and will also be available on the SiriusXM app and via SiriusXM.com.

Click the link below to hear an exclusive, free livestream of the channel.

Click here to listen now.

Click here to read the full announcement.

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Radio Waves: Eugène Aisberg, Filter Design, ABC Workers Face Cuts, and Data via Web SDRs

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Broadcasting 

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 Paul, Marty, and Michael Bird for the following tips:

Eugène Aisberg, Radio Writer (OneTubeRadio.com)

After a wartime absence, the January 1946 issue of Radio Craft carried an article by writer Eugène Aisberg.  While that name might not be familiar to American readers, Aisberg was a prolific author in the early days of radio, and wrote some of the best treatises on radio for the popular audience.  He was fluent in French, Esperanto, German, Russian, and English.

Aisberg was born in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1905, and lived most of his life in France. He was the director of the French magazine Toute la Radio and a prolific author of a number of books. His most popular book, which is still in print, is La Radio? Mais c’est très simple (Radio? But It’s So Simple!)  The book, currently in its 29th edition, an extremely solid background covering all aspects of electronics, and is written in a popular, easy-to-read style. While the book was ultimately translated into several languages, it was apparently never published in English.[]

Filter Design Software (Nuts and Volts)

If you’ve ever lived close to an AM broadcast station, you probably experienced the phenomenon known as fundamental overload. It occurs when a receiving device is functioning entirely properly but unable to reject a strong signal. The receiver might be a wireless telephone, a scanner, or even a TV or radio receiver. The AM signal is completely legal but just too strong, disrupting the function of the receiver or overriding the desired programming.

[…]Hams often experience fundamental overload on the 160 meter band (1.8–2.0 MHz) which is adjacent to the AM broadcast (BC) band (550 kHz–1.7 MHz). Antennas for those frequencies pick up a lot of AM band RF, overloading the input circuits and creating distortion or false signals inside the receiver. The usual solution is to install a high-pass broadcast-reject filter at the receiver input, attenuating the unwanted AM signals below 1.6 MHz while passing the desired 160 meter signals with little attenuation.

So far, so good, but a filter that doesn’t attenuate signals very much above 1.8 MHz while attenuating them significantly in the adjacent broadcast band is not a simple thing to design. There are tables and equations, but they are tedious to work with. Practically, you’ll need to build the filter with standard-value components as well, and that will affect filter performance too. Sounds like a job for some filter design software, doesn’t it?

There are several filter design software packages ranging from simple calculators to sophisticated CAD programs. Luckily for hams and other experimenters, there are plenty of free or low-cost programs to try.[]

ABC workers face anxious wait over job, program cuts (The Age)

David Anderson did not mince words at a Senate Estimates hearing last October. “There will be job losses,” ABC’s managing director warned. “It’s not something I can quantify at this point in time. There’s still more work to be done.”

Towards the end of March, Anderson will reveal a five-year plan for the national broadcaster. To the frustration of staff, it’s unlikely to specify which parts of the organisation will bear the brunt of these cuts or how many workers they might lose.

Several senior sources spoke about the situation at ABC on the condition of anonymity, given sensitive funding negotiations are yet to be finalised.

“All these media reports claiming the redundancy numbers will be finalised in March are just wrong,” says one ABC executive. “What we need is some clarity [about long-term resourcing] from the government.”[]

Receiving Data With Web Based Shortwave Radios (Nuts and Volts)

Your computer and the Internet give you free access to over 100 web based shortwave receivers that you can use as if they were your own. Unfortunately, employing these radios to decode data transmissions can be very difficult or impossible — unless you know the secret. So, read on and we’ll guide you through the details of how to do it.

Web based shortwave radios are an amazing new implementation of software defined radios (SDR). These SDRs are free to use and widely available on the Internet. Even more remarkable is that they are located in countries all around the world.[]


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Sky News: “BBC could be forced to sell radio stations in ‘massive pruning back'”

(Image source: BBC)

(Source: Sky News via Dan Van Hoy)

The number of TV channels could also be reduced, the website scaled back and stars banned from taking well-paid second jobs.

[…]The Sunday Times quoted a senior Downing Street source as saying that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “really strident” on the need for serious reform at the national broadcaster.

The number of TV channels could be reduced, the website scaled back and stars banned from taking well-paid second jobs, the newspaper said.

There will also be a consultation on replacing the licence fee with a subscription model, the source said, adding: “We are not bluffing on the licence fee.

“We are having a consultation and we will whack it. It has got to be a subscription model.

“They’ve got hundreds of radio stations, they’ve got all these TV stations and a massive website. The whole thing needs massive pruning back.

“They should have a few TV stations, a couple of radio stations and massively curtailed online presence and put more money and effort into the World Service which is part of its core job.

Read the full article at Sky News.

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Radio Waves: Radio Bulgaria, Asur Community Radio, Digital Sign Compliance, and a Sound Card Scope

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’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Marty, David Iurescia (LW4DAF), and Phillip Novak for the following tips:


Radio Bulgaria to resume its audio broadcast (Bulgarian National Radio)

“Radio Bulgaria needs to resume its sound presence and we are to work together with the team, in order to build a firm concept in this direction.” This was what BNR Director General Andon Baltakov said in his first interview with Radio Bulgaria.

On the eve of Radio Bulgaria’s 84th anniversary, which is celebrated on February 16, 2020, Mr. Baltakov said that broadcasts of the National Radio aimed for foreign countries would be modernized, but would preserve their philosophy – being Bulgaria’s window to the world and vice versa. You can read the whole interview here. []

Radio aids revival of dying tribal language (The Hindu)

Tucked away in the hills of Jharkhand’s Latehar district, Asur, a particularly vulnerable tribal group, may not have access to good road or means of transportation to the outside world, but that has not deterred them from saving their language. Using mobile radio, the Asur community has been spreading the popularity of the language within their geographical limits.

As the voice Dahan-Dahan Turrarr .. Dang T inatang Turrarr.. Noa Hake Asur Akhada Radio Enegabu Degeabu Siringabu Urrarr (Come, sing, dance and talk.. This is Asur Centre Radio) is played out through loud speakers, the bustle at the weekly market at Kotia seizes briefly, as people turn their attention to the sound system that transmits songs and news transmitted in their native language.

Attention of the Asur tribals assembled at the market is immediately diverted to the sound system that transmits songs, news and information about government schemes — all in their native dialect.

[…]“The initiative has got a huge response from people. Now, villagers are requesting us to organise events at their places and they are also interested in preparing radio programmes,” said Ms. Tete.

“When we started working on languages, we focused on five tribal and four regional languages. Then we realised that the bigger groups can take care of their own languages, but smaller communities need help,” said Ms .Tete.

[…]Youth from the community are also being encouraged to write poems in their language and older ones narrate their experience in their own language.[]

FCC Digital Sign Compliance (International Sign Association)

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues to cite businesses because digital signs are interfering with the wireless spectrum, creating problems with commercial and public wireless devices. This may occur because the signs are operating at Electro Magnetic Interference (EMI) levels not allowed under U.S. federal law and in violation of FCC regulations.

Click here for frequently asked questions to better understand these issues.[…]

How To: Surface Mount Soldering (Nuts & Volts)

Some people tend to shy away from using surface-mount components in their projects. It seems to be too difficult or needs an array of specialized equipment. In the past, I found myself in this same mindset — wary of using these types of parts. That all changed when I got involved with an open source motor controller project (OSMC).

It used a mix of surface-mount and through-hole components. I took the plunge and built up a pair of OSMC H-bridge boards and the MOB (Modular OSMC Brain) controller board which I used in the Battlebot Crash Test Junior.

At the time, there was little information available on how to mount these parts using an ordinary soldering station and tools that most hobbyists would have on hand. Not wanting to invest in a whole new set of tools (hot air stations, etc.), I experimented a bit and used common sense techniques to get the job done. A point I’d like to stress is the myth about requiring anything exotic to work with most surface-mount parts. I don’t own or use any special soldering equipment for this. All of the soldering that I’ve done on surface-mount boards is built with an old Weller WTCPT station and TC201 soldering iron. It has the fine tip that came standard on it. If you happen to have access to specialized tools, go ahead and use them but you still may find these tips helpful. It has been my experience that depending upon your techniques, you can get by just fine in most instances without specialized tools.[]

Turn Your Computer’s Sound Card Into A Scope (Nuts & Volts)

I’ve been using an oscilloscope for almost 50 years. It’s my go-to measurement instrument in every electronics project I work on, helping me debug and fine-tune hardware and software projects.

In this article, I’ll show how you can get started with a simple-to-use scope you probably already have. Best of all, it’s free! When you graduate from this simple scope, you can purchase a more powerful scope using the exact same user interface.

Full disclosure: I love scopes so much, 10 years ago, I joined Teledyne LeCroy — the third largest scope manufacturer in the world behind Tektronix and Keysight. However, I use the Digilent Analog Discovery 2 Scope (described in this article) in all my hobby activities and in the workshops I teach at Tinkermill — our hackerspace in Longmont, CO.

I think the free scope control software, Waveforms, is the simplest to use, most feature-rich pro-level software of any of the available options. Using a sound card as the hardware interface with Waveforms puts a simple — yet powerful — scope in your hands for free.[]


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