Category Archives: International Broadcasting

The Giant Antennas of Shanghai Coast Radio Station (XSG)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Michael (BD4AAQ) who shares the following guest post:


Shanghai Coast Radio Station (XSG):

Those Giant Antennas!

The 17th of May is the World Telecommunication Day. It is also the open day of Shanghai Coast Radio Station. On this day, a group of amateur radio operators were invited to visit the transmission facility, a huge antenna farm, of the radio station, located on Chongming Island of Shanghai, the third largest island in China.

Google Satellite Photo

The transmission site of Shanghai Coast Radio Station is as shown below in the map of Chongming Island. Other sites of the station include a central control/receive station in Zhangjiang, a receive station on Hengsha Island and some VHF base stations in a number of other locations. All these locations in Shanghai, linked via cable and microwave connection, form Shanghai Coast Radio Station, also known by its callsign as XSG.

(Google map of transmitter location for Shanghai Coast Radio Station. Note the antenna farm on the left.)

Presentation by Station Officials

Fifteen or so local hams were cordially invited to have a tour of the station. The radio enthusiasts were greeted by station representatives, including Mr Wan, Mr Wang, Mr Zhou and Mr Niu (BH4BFS), who also gave them an overview of the coast radio station’s history and development. 

Antenna Farm

Mr Wang then showed the visitors around the antenna farm. Many of us, myself included, saw and were deeply impressed with these huge antennas for the first time! Indeed, many professional radio facilities and operators of similar coast radio stations work quietly around the globe and around the clock to provide for distress, navigational, business and personal communications needs of ships!

[Click on images to enlarge.]

The antennas cover a wide range of frequencies, from MF, HF, to VHF and UHF. Many of them are, however, shortwave (HF) antennas.

Transmitter Room

(I placed a Tecsun PL-330 radio near the transmitter at 12380.1 kHz (weather fax). The signal strength, in dbu, is 96. Given the margin of error of the receiver’s display, that’s probably as high as it could go.)

Shanghai Coast Radio Station (XSG) operates on a wide range of frequencies. Its HF frequencies include 4207.5, 4209.5, 4215.5, 4369, 6312, 6326, 6501, 8414.5, 8425.5, 8770, 8806, 12577, 12637.5, 13176, 13188, 16804.5, 16898.5 and 17407 kHz. Of particular note is that they have kept a CW frequency of 8665 kHz for general broadcast of information on a 24 hour basis.

The station’s VHF phone service covers 25 nautical miles of the coast. Its MF NAVTEX covers 250 nautical miles of the coast. And its HF phone and weather fax and HF NAVTEX extend to 1,000 nautical miles.

History and Current Status

Founded in 1905, Shanghai Coast Radio Station has been around 119 years. The XSG callsign has since remained in use.

China has in place DSC watch and NAVTEX broadcast in coast stations (including XSG) in accordance with GMDSS requirements. Among services provided by XSG are Radio Telephony (RT), Narrow Band Direct Printing (NBDP), “Voice of the East China Sea Coast” (voice broadcast on 161.600 MHz and 8806 kHz) and marine radio weather fax. The station is without a doubt one of the largest coast radio stations in the Asia Pacific region and plays an essential role in the region’s marine safety and communications.

QSL Cards

Shanghai Coast Radio Station issues QSL cards in Chinese and English, traditionally in paper form and nowadays electronically.

(This is an electronic QSL card issued to a Shanghai listener, who received their signal over the radio. Examples of QSL cards in English can be found online.)

Show Room

[Click on images to enlarge.]

Ham Station

Mr Niu of Shanghai Coast Radio Station, one of the tour’s organisers, is a ham himself with callsign BH4BFS. According to him, there are intentions to start a ham radio station within the establishment, possibly incorporating the letters XSG. However, there is much work to be done to make it happen. An amateur radio station with overlapping callsigns with a professional one would be really charming.

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Calling all radio enthusiasts, calling all radio enthusiasts

FastRadioBurst 23 letting you know of a forthcoming project from DJ Frederick called The Radio Enthusiast e-APA. It looks very interesting and will cover subjects we all love radio-wise! As the flyer above states the main purpose of the project is “for fun, to connect with other radio enthusiasts, to share information & creativity.” It’ll be available via email and a print edition and also a possible audio program. It will go out three times a year: Spring, Summer and Autumn starting Summer 2024. So please send you submissions to: [email protected] Send anywhere from 1 to 10 pages per mailing by email (Word docs) please!

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Guest Post: Pre-Internet Sources of Shortwave Information

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Greenall, who shares the following guest post:


Sources of SWL Information “Pre-Internet”

by Dan Greenall

When I first discovered the world of shortwave listening, many years before the internet, access to hobby related information was mostly available through over-the-air DX programs, monthly DX club bulletins, as well as a number of books and electronics magazines.  I joined a few clubs including the Midwest DX Club, SPEEDX, and the Ontario DX Association, and eagerly awaited each issue of Electronics Illustrated and Popular Electronics (early 1970’s) on the news stand.  Later, in the 1980’s,  Popular Communications and Monitoring Times came along, though these were not always easy to find here in Canada.

 

Ironically, nearly all issues of these magazines can be read today, over 30, 40 and even 50 years later, thanks to David Gleason’s not-for-profit, free online library

https://www.worldradiohistory.com/index.htm

You can also find the semi-annual (and eventually annual) Communications World (1971-81) which contained the popular White’s Radio Log.

As well, five issues of the Communications Handbook can be found;  1963, 1966, 1967, 1974 and 1977.  It only came out once a year but was still a favourite of mine, so much so, that I still have my copies from 1971 and 1972.

I have scanned parts of these and put them on the Internet Archive.  You can find them here:

Communications Handbook 1971: https://archive.org/details/page-09

Communications Handbook 1972: https://archive.org/details/page-20

Here are links that will lead to some of the other magazines:

As a bonus, all of the issues of the monthly SPEEDX bulletin (1971-95) have been made available here

https://www.worldradiohistory.com/Speedx.htm

And finally, a good read is Shortwave Voices of the World by the late Dr. Richard E. Wood written in 1969.  I still have my copy of it, but you can find it online here

https://archive.org/details/shortwave-voices-of-the-world-richard-wood-ed-1-pr-1-1969

WDX SWL registration program

My link to the 1971 Communications Handbook contains pages regarding the old WDX SWL registration program. I have found my old certificate from December 1971:

Wonder how many others still have theirs, or even the WPE ones from the 1960’s?

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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.

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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…]


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Radio Waves: Tropical KTWR, DRM at BES, and 88 Years of Radio Poland

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 Alan and David Iurescia for the following tips:


This Shortwave Station’s Transmitter Site Sits Pretty in the Tropics (Radio World)

KTWR’s home is on Guam, which makes for some interesting broadcasting

If you’re an avid Radio World reader, you know that we love to highlight unique radio facilities, whether they be local or abroad. If you happen to love that sort of content, you’re in luck!

Broadcasting since 1954, Trans World Radio, or TWR, is a Christian radio distributor that collaborates with U.S.-based radio stations to spread the gospel via local FMs, mediumwave or high-powered AMs and shortwave transmitters.

According to its website, TWR’s programming is broadcast in 200-plus languages on air, online and on the ground in 190 countries. It is celebrating its 70th anniversary this month.

With such an extensive résumé, TWR was bound to have at least a few unique transmitter sites. One such site that we’ll share with you here can be found “Where America’s Day Begins,” floating just above the equator in the western Pacific Ocean.

In Micronesia, TWR’s shortwave member station on Guam, KTWR, serves listeners across most of Asia, spanning Siberia to India to Indonesia. [Continue reading…]

Video: DRM at BES (DRM Consortium)

The recently concluded BES Expo 2024 has occasioned the presentation of several new DRM achievements under one single (stall) roof.

For those who could not join the DRM Consortium members in India, here is a tour of the best under the guidance of Alexander Zink, vice-chairman of the DRM Consortium:

Radio Poland marks 88 years on air (Polskie Radio)

Radio Poland is celebrating its 88th anniversary on the air.

The station, launched on March 1, 1936, is part of Poland’s public radio network.

It broadcasts programmes on developments at home and abroad, Polish foreign policy, the economy, business and foreign investment.

Radio Poland, also known as Polish Radio’s External Service (Polskie Radio dla Zagranicy), aims to provide objective and impartial information about Poland and the country’s stance on international affairs.

It reports on developments in Polish society, its daily life as well as scientific and cultural achievements.

The thenews.pl website, part of Radio Poland, is a leading English-language resource for Polish news.

Updated regularly all day, every day, the website covers domestic and foreign affairs, economy and business, culture, sports and human interest stories.

Polish Radio launched shortwave broadcasts in English and Polish in 1936. They were discontinued with the outbreak of World War II in 1939.

After the end of the war in 1945, the shortwave channel Warszawa III resumed external broadcasts.

In 1990, Polish Radio started broadcasting in Ukrainian, Belarusian, Lithuanian, Czech and Slovak.

Then in 1994 the External Service began daily broadcasts in several languages via the World Radio Network.

In 2007, Polish Radio’s External Service launched its news website, now available at www.polskieradio.pl.

Today, Radio Poland broadcasts in Polish and five foreign languages: English, German, Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian. [Continue reading…]


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Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

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

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