Category Archives: Current Events

Today: National Radio Day

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tom Ally, who notes that today is National Radio Day:

(Source: National Radio Day)

About

National Radio Day is a time to honor one of the most longstanding electronic media and its role in our everyday lives. Radio delivers information, news, entertainment and company to millions of Americans every hour of every day. We invite listeners, broadcasters, producers and stations to celebrate on August 20.

History

Although there is not one authoritative source on the history of National Radio Day, it has been celebrated since the early 1990s on August 20. Perhaps it was decided that August 20 would be an appropriate day because 8MK (now WWJ) in Detroit, first broadcast on August 20, 1920.

According to Wikipedia, WWJ debuted as the “Detroit News Radiophone” and was “the outgrowth of interest in radio technology by the publishers of The Detroit News, combined with inventor Lee de Forest’s longtime promotion of radio broadcasting.”

Regular annual recognition didn’t quite take off until 2011 when NPR brought renewed attention to the day.

Now

National Radio Day is organized by Sabrina Roach, a Doer at Brown Paper Tickets, in partnership with non-commercial radio stations across the United States.

In July 2015, Roach called a meeting of radio broadcasters, producers and enthusiasts to discuss initiating a project to raise the visibility of non-commercial radio across the country. That effort put fresh energy behind the celebration of National Radio Day.

It’s also an ideal time to initiate a common project for full-power and low-power FM (LPFM) stations as hundreds of new LPFMs are getting on the air made possible by the Local Community Radio Act.

Click here to visit the National Radio Day website.

Solar Eclipse 2017: In the path of totality

A portion of the PARI campus

Tomorrow, we will be experiencing a total solar eclipse here in the mountains of western North Carolina.

Instead of enjoying the eclipse at home, I will be volunteering as a docent at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute in Rosman, North Carolina. Post readers might recall PARI as it was the location of our 2015 PARI DXpedition.

One of PARI’s 26 meter radio telescopes.

PARI is expecting at least 1,000 visitors tomorrow, from a number of countries. Many are scientists, astronomers, and guests who want to be in the path of totality.

On the PARI campus, we will be in totality for about 1 minutes, 47 seconds.

What makes the event truly special for PARI is that this is the first time in history a world-class radio astronomy observatory has been in the path of totality. To say the PARI astronomers are excited is simply an understatement. All four of PARI’s telescopes will be trained on our local star and gathering copious amounts of data.

If you don’t live in the path of the Eclipse, I invite you to check out PARI’s YouTube channel where they will host a live stream:

Click here to watch on YouTube.

Gathering spectrum

I will also be gathering data of my own during the event.

I will remotely record the entire mediumwave (AM broadcast) band several hours before, during and after the eclipse. I will also set up a separate SDR to record either the 31/30 meter bands and my buddy, Vlado (N3CZ) is kindly using his SDRplay RSP1 to record from 6 MHz – 8 MHz.

What do I expect to see/hear in the spectrum recordings? Certainly a drop in noise. If I’m lucky, I also hope to hear some DX anomalies–hopefully a signal or two that I wouldn’t normally here in the middle of a summer day.

I don’t expect any dramatic results (though I would love to be proven otherwise!) since the ionosphere takes time to change states. My buddy Mike (K8RAT) likens it to an oven: it takes time for it to heat up to the desired temperature, and it takes time for it to cool down as well. I’m not so sure the shadow of the moon, which moves at a good clip, will be persistent enough to change the state of the ionosphere in any meaningful way.

If it does, I’ll be there to record it!

There are many other radio related experiments happening during the solar eclipse. A notable one that you can even help with is the 2017 Ham Radio Eclipse Experiment.

SWLing Post contributor, Dan Srebnick also suggests a few stations you might try catching on the AM broadcast band. Dan notes:

Something to do during the solar eclipse on Monday. There are 13 clear channel AM stations along the path of totality. Give a listen for them:
[LIST OF AM CLEAR CHANNEL STATIONS]
kHz CALL Location Eclipse UTC
—— ——- —————- ————–
650 WSM Nashville, TN 18:28
670 KBOI Boise, ID 17:27
750 WSB Atlanta, GA 18:36
840 WHAS Louisville, KY 18:27
880 KRVN Lexington, NE 17:57
1030 KTWO Casper, WY 17:43
1040 WHO DesMoines, IA 18:08
1110 KFAB Omaha, NE 18:04
1110 WBT Charlotte, NC 18:41
1120 KPNW Eugene, OR 17:17
1120 KMOX St. Louis, MO 18:18
1190 KEX Portland, OR 17:19
1510 WLAC Nashville, TN 18:28

Kudos to Bob WB4APR (of APRS fame) for producing this list.

Post readers: Will you be in the path of totality or do you plan to enjoy a partial eclipse? Have you ever experienced a total solar eclipse?  What are your plans if any? Please comment!

August 28: BBC Atlantic Relay station special DRM broadcasts

RNZI-DRM-2(Source: DRM Consortium)

DRM will be part of a big anniversary on a small island in the Atlantic Ocean. On 28th of August at 1155 GMT Babcock International will ensure a special BBC digital transmission on 21715 kHz from the BBC Atlantic Relay station, marking the fiftieth anniversary of the BBC’s first short-wave radio broadcast from Ascension Island.

Since 1966, the Atlantic Relay station has broadcast BBC World Service programmes to Africa and South America, and to this day, continues to broadcast over 250 programme hours every week to East and West Africa in English, French, Hausa and Somali.

BBCRelayStation-Ascension IslandThe two hour-transmission on 21715 kHz will start with the old, special sound of Bow Church Bell in east London, the sound of which, even if in DRM this time,  will remind older listeners of the BBC broadcasts of many decades ago. The 21-hour transmission will be the regular BBC programmes for West and South Africa and will end at 1400.

DRM – Digital Radio Mondiale, is an international digital radio standard designed by broadcasters, for broadcasters, in co-operation with transmitter and receiver manufacturers. DRM is a high quality digital replacement for analogue radio broadcasting in the AM and FM bands.

This special transmission will be sent with greetings from Ascension Island’s BBC and Babcock International staff and visitors, who will be celebrating half a century of sterling broadcasting on August 28th.

Click here to read more about the fascinating history of the BBC’s broadcasts from Ascension Island.

Transmission Details

FREQ   TIME (UTC)       SERVICE          TX        kW       Bearing Day      LANG               TARGET

21715   1155-1201         BBC DRM         ASC     250       114       1          English             S. Africa           (Special Announcement)

21715   1201-1400         BBC DRM         ASC     250       114       1          English             S. Africa            (English – ENAFW)

21715   1400-1430         BBC DRM         ASC     250       250       1          English             Brazil                (English – ENAFW)

Additional analogue transmission will broadcast from 13.30 GMT for ceremonial purposes.

15105   1330-1430         BAB                  ASC     250       27         1          English             W. Africa                   (Special Announcement)

Grimeton Radio / SAQ Transmission on July 3rd

(Source: The Alexander Association)

Reminder of Grimeton Radio / SAQ Transmission

Alexanderson alternator in the SAQ Grimeton VLF transmitter.

Alexanderson alternator in the SAQ Grimeton VLF transmitter.

The annual transmission “Alexanderson Day” with the Alexanderson alternator on VLF 17.2 kHz with the call SAQ will take place Sunday, July 3rd, 2016 at 09:00 UTC (tuning up from after 08:30 UTC) and will be repeated at 12:00 UTC (tuning up from after 11:30 UTC).

Amateur Radio Station with the call “SK6SAQ” will be QRV on the following frequencies:
– 7.035 kHz CW or
– 14.035 kHz CW or
– 21.035 kHz CW or
– 3.755 kHz SSB

Two stations will be on the air most of the time.

QSL-reports to SAQ and SK6SAQ are kindly received via:
– E-mail to: info@alexander.n.se
– or via: SM bureau
– or direct by mail to: Alexander – Grimeton Veteranradios Vaenner,

Radiostationen
Grimeton 72
SE-432 98 GRIMETON
S W E D E N

Also read our website: www.alexander.n.se
The station will be open to visitors.

WELCOME!

Yours
Lars Kalland / SM6NM
Alexander/SAQ

Free SDRuno webinars this weekend

sdrunostartburst

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike (K8RAT), who writes:

According to the SDRplay blog they will be hosting a series of Webinar events centered around the RSP and SDRuno. Starting this Saturday.
http://sdrplay.com/blog.html

From Jon Hudson on SDRplay’s Facebook page:

We will be hosting a series of Webinar events centred around the SDRplay RSP and SDRuno. These events will be streamed live, but will also be recorded and hosted on our website for those that are unable to attend.

The first event is scheduled for this Saturday (2nd July) at 16:00 UTC – we will give some background to SDRuno and explain it’s core functionality and what the future holds for its development. It will be fairly informal and interactive, we will try to answer as many questions as we can. We will try to stick to a timeframe of about 45 minutes to 1 hour maximum.

You will be able to view the broadcast here: http://connectcast.tv/SDRplay

If you would like to contribute to the text chat discussion, you will need to signup with an account here: http://connectcast.tv/signup

If this proves to be of interest and value, we’ll schedule some more with special guests to go through specific real world use cases with the RSP and SDRuno

Jon (SDRplay )