Category Archives: FM

Could Norway and NATO clash over DAB frequencies?

(Source: NewsInEnglish.no via Mike Hansgen)

Thousands of ordinary Norwegian citizens aren’t the only ones frustrated and dissatisfied after Norway’s forced transition to DAB radio. It meant shutting down FM radio, and now NATO may find itself in conflict with the civilian DAB frequencies it was granted for exercises in Norway.

Norwegian politicians and authorities were reportedly warned before they imposed DAB on the civilian population that it could cause problems in crisis situations.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported on Tuesday that civilian radio and the military use the same frequency of 225-245 MHz. NATO had long ago pointed to that frequency as its own when Norway decided to switch from FM to DAB and Norway’s national communications authority (Nkom) allocated space on the network.

[…]The biggest test will come this fall, when around 40,000 soldiers, 130 military aircraft and 60 vessels from 29 countries will take part in NATO’s huge military exercise called Trident Juncture. Asked whether there will be problems with radio communication, divisional director at Nkom John-Eiving Velure gave Aftenposten an “unconditional yes.” Per-Thomas Bøe, spokesman for the Norwegian defense department also confirmed that NATO can override civilian DAB radio if it needs to.

That means civilian radio broadcasts can be cut out, like they allegedly were during the NATO exercise Dynamic Guard outside Bergen in February. Military communication among aircraft, vessels, army divisions and the commando center can also be disturbed.[…]

Click here to read the full story.

UPDATE: SWLing Post contributor Mike Barraclough points to the following article in telecompaper and notes:

The Norwergian Communications Authority has diplomatically stated that this article “has caused unnecessary concerns.”

Nkom denies DAB frequency use is at odds with NATO usage

Norwegian communications regulator Nkom said an article by newspaper Aftenposten reporting conflict with NATO over the use of airwaves normally reserved for DAB radio has caused unnecessary concerns. The regulator says Norway can decide for itself how to use frequencies, providing there is no breach of international agreements that it has signed. Anyone using radio frequencies in Norway must obtain a permit from Nkom, even the national armed forces and Norway’s NATO allies.

Nkom said use of frequencies for the Norwegian DAB network has been coordinated internationally and agreed with more than 30 European countries. Nkom would not allow anyone to use airwaves if this would disrupt normal broadcasting services.

Hospitals and RF noise: FM and HD radio’s strong suit

The Sangean HDR-14 AM/FM HD radio

For the past week, I’ve been away from home spending time with my mother at the hospital while she recovers from a surgery. I’ve got a number of reviews and evaluations in the pipeline, but thankfully no shortwave or HF radios on the table this week (although the ELAD FDM-S3 and CommRadio CTX-10 are just around the corner). Listening to shortwave (or even mediumwave) in a hospital room can be an exercise in futility–there are just too many devices emitting noise and the buildings are built like bunkers with incredibly thick walls to attenuate signals.

I’ve had the little Sangean HDR-14 with me, however, and have been very pleased with its ability to snag FM stations both analog and digital. I’ve also had fun discovering a surprisingly diverse FM landscape in this metro area. I haven’t snagged an AM HD station yet, but my hope is one evening I might DX one (fingers crossed and not holding my breath).

The Sangean HDR-14 (left) and CC Skywave SSB (right)

At the end of most days, I’ve been able to catch a little shortwave action with my CC Skywave SSB (pre-production) portable at the guest house where I’m staying. The evenings have been surprisingly peaceful here with only the occasional popup thunderstorm to insert a little QRN in my listening sessions.

Last night, while listening to jazz on FM, I finished reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (affiliate link).

We’ve mentioned this book before and I know of at least dozen SWLing Post contributors and friends who’ve personally recommended it to me.

It is a superb novel and will, no doubt, tug at the heart strings of any radio enthusiast or WWII history buff. Highly recommended!

Indeed, last night I couldn’t fall asleep until I finished the book around 12:30 AM!

And mom? She’s recovering quite well and we hope will be discharged from the hospital soon.

Radioinfo: “Are we moving to an all-IP media future?”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, William Lee, who shares the following article from Radioinfo.com.au:

Radio Tomorrow with James Cridland

We believe that the days when all media will be distributed over the internet are not too far away.”

Those are the words of the BBC’s Chief Technology and Product Officer, the very nice Matthew Postgate, who made a long speech which the BBC has reproduced on its press site. Digital TV Europe excitedly reported it as the BBC predicting an all-IP future.

I tweeted this last week, and it was retweeted heavily, with a lot of radio people posting “I told you so!” and “I’ve been saying this for ages!”; and a few online radio companies jumped to self-promote themselves as part of the all-IP future.

Calm down, everyone.

First, as a former senior manager at the BBC, I’d start with the seemingly trite statement that whenever you hear “we” coming from a BBC manager in a speech, what they really mean is, firstly, “my department”, and secondly, in most cases, they also mean “television”. Indeed, there is no mention of radio in the section of Matthew’s speech which talks about an all-IP future.

Radio and television are very, very different.[…]

Continue reading the full article at Radioinfo.com.au.

“Radio theater makes a comeback across Minnesota”

(Source: Star Tribune via Mike Hansgen)

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when from out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of … a sound effects man with a pair of coconut shells.

Radio theater, which was killed off by television, is being resurrected on the air — and the internet — across the country and across the state.

In International Falls, Icebox Radio Theater produces a twice monthly podcast about a tiny northern Minnesota town isolated by a meteorite strike. “Weird stuff keeps happening,” said playwright Jeff Adams of the fictional town of Icebox, Minn. “Comedy and science fiction and maybe some dark touches now and then.”

St. Cloud’s “Granite City Radio Theatre” serves up inside humor plus cameo appearances by the police chief and the university president. “Imagine ‘Prairie Home Companion’ was about your neighborhood,” said Jo McMullen-Boyer, station manager of KVSC, which has produced the skit-and-music show four times a year for six years. “It’s hyperlocal. It’s poking fun at ourselves, but also with pride.”

And in the Twin Cities, the Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society embraces nostalgia by turning recordings of old radio shows into scripts, which it stages as live performances (including sound effects and commercials) before audiences at the James J. Hill Center in downtown St. Paul.[…]

Click here to read the full story at the Star Tribune.

In the pipeline: a review of the Sangean HDR-14 portable AM/FM HD radio

Based on readers correspondence, the most anticipated non-shortwave radio to hit the market this year might be the Sangean HDR-14 AM/FM HD radio.

Sangean sent me a sample evaluation unit and I’ve had it on the air since taking delivery last week. I’m starting to put the elements of my HDR-14 review together while also writing Part 2 of my SDR primer for The Spectrum Monitor magazine (Part 1 was published last week). Indeed, I’ve a total of five reviews and evaluations on my desk right now–!

So far, I’m impressed with the little HDR-14. If you recall my review of the Sangean HDR-16, I mentioned that one of my benchmark distant HD FM stations is WFAE 2–its transmitter is a full 101 miles from my home and I’m well outside even the the fringe reception area.

The HDR-14 has a unique back stand: a small foot that swivels out of the base of the chassis.

I’m pleased to note that on more than one occasion, I’ve gotten a reliable HD lock of WFAE from my porch. A most positive sign!

Over the next three weeks, the HDR-14 will be travelling with me and I hope to even snag an AM HD station if all goes well.

I can tell you already that I’m as pleased as punch Sangean gave the HDR-14 a total of 20 AM and 20 FM memory presets. The larger HDR-16, in contrast, only has 5 AM and 5 FM presets.

Look for my review of the HDR-14 on the SWLing Post in the coming weeks. If interested, follow the tag: HDR-14

I’ve noted that both Universal Radio and Amazon.com (affiliate link) have the HDR-14 in stock and shipping. Universal’s price is $79.99 plus shipping and Amazon’s price is $88.67 including shipping.