Category Archives: International Broadcasting

Photos of WRMI antenna field damage

Since we’ve been following WRMI in the wake of Hurricane Irma, I’ve posted a few photos below that WRMI shared on their Facebook page. These photos give us an idea about the magnitude of damage to their antenna farm.

Amazingly, Jeff White confirmed a few days ago that WRMI is back up to full power on all of their frequencies.

All of the caption below were noted by WRMI:

One of the towers holding our 44-degree antenna to Europe was folded in the middle by the hurricane.

A mess of crossed transmission lines in the field.

Transmission lines on the ground that should be above ground on poles.

Transmission line poles were knocked down.

A second tower holding the 44-degree antenna was snapped in the middle.

We had some requests a few days ago from listeners who wanted to see a diagram of our transmitter-antenna connections. This may blow your mind, but here goes…

For all WRMI updates, please bookmark the WRMI Facebook page.

The Guardian: Study shows ABC cuts to shortwave & rural broadcasts “jeopardising safety of remote communities”

(Source: The Guardian via Ian P)

Reduction of local news and station closures disastrous for people living outside Australia’s cities, researchers say

Cuts to the ABC in regional and rural Australia and the corporation’s increasing reliance on digital technologies is jeopardising the safety of remote communities and their access to emergency warnings, Deakin University research has found.

The ABC’s increasingly “digital-first” approach to emergency information and the reduction in ABC reporters’ local knowledge is causing great distress among rural populations who rely on broadcast signals because they don’t have the bandwidth or coverage for digital, researchers say.

A reduction of local news and information, centralised newsrooms in metropolitan areas, the closure of several ABC stations and the scaling back of broadcast programming has been disastrous for people outside the cities, according to a new study, Communication life line? ABC emergency broadcasting in rural/regional Australia.

But the ABC has played down the study’s significance, saying it is based on parliamentary submissions and is not an “accurate or up-to-date” summary of the corporation’s role in rural and regional Australia; and that the ABC is not funded as an emergency service.

Based on public submissions to a parliamentary inquiry, the researchers Julie Freeman, Kristy Hess and Lisa Waller found “burgeoning discontent about the corporation’s ability to fulfil its role as a designated emergency broadcaster and provide communication life lines to rural and regional communities”.[…]

Continue reading at The Guardian.

Nick Xenophon champions review of ABC shortwave broadcasting to Pacific

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ian P, who shares the following via ABC News:

ABC shortwave broadcasting to the Pacific to be reviewed

The decision to end Australian shortwave broadcasting to the Pacific earlier this year could be revisited.

There’s to be a review of Asia Pacific broadcasting services, as part of a wide ranging package of reforms to the country’s media laws agreed to by independent Senator Nick Xenophon.

The Department of Communications and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are to conduct a review, including examining whether shortwave radio technology should be used.

The review will include public consultation and the report will be made public.

Senator Nick Xenophon has been strenuously opposed the decision by the ABC to end shortwave services, and he was a key crossbench figure in negotiations over the media reforms.

Click here to download the interview.

Click here to read and listen to the interview via ABC News.

London Shortwave’s innovative PocketCHIP-powered field portable SDR

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, London Shortwave, who recently shared his latest SDR project: a field-portable, ultra-compact, SDR spectrum recording system based on the PocketCHIP computer.

London Shortwave has built this system from the ground up and notes that it works well but is currently limited to the FunCube Dongle Pro+ at 192 kHz bandwidth. There is no real-time monitoring of what’s being recorded, but it works efficiently and effectively–making spectrum captures from the field effortless. The following is a video London Shortwave shared via Twitter:

Click here to view via Twitter.

The PocketCHIP–the device his system is built around–is a $69 (US) handheld computer with color display:

Click here to view the PocketCHIP website.

I think this field portable SDR system is absolutely brilliant!

Homegrown innovation

London Shortwave has done all of the coding to make the FunCube Dongle Pro + work with the PocketChip computer. Even though live spectrum can’t be monitored in the field, the fact that it’s making such a clean spectrum recording is all that really matters.

All London Shortwave has to do is head to a park with his kit, deploy it, sit on a bench, read a good book, eat a sandwich, then pack it all up. Once home, he transfers the recording and enjoys tuning through relatively RFI-free radio.

A very clever way to escape the noise.

The kit is so incredibly portable, it would make DXing from any location a breeze. You could easily pack this in a carry-on item, backpack or briefcase, then take it to a park, a national forest, a lake, a remote beach–anywhere.

What I really love about this? He didn’t wait for something to be designed for him, he simply made it himself.

Thanks again, London Shortwave. We look forward to reading about your radio adventures with this cool field SDR!

East German schoolboy who was jailed for writing the BBC

(Source: BBC News via Namal Dolakumbura, 4S6NDO)

The East German secret police went to extraordinary lengths to track down people who wrote letters to the BBC during the Cold War. One of those arrested and jailed was a teenager who longed to express himself freely – and paid a high price.

It was the last day of the summer holidays. For 18-year-old Karl-Heinz Borchardt that should have meant an afternoon on a windswept Baltic beach with his girlfriend, or a few hours spent trying to catch the latest pop songs on his portable radio.
Instead his childhood came to a sudden end.

His mother hurried into his room unusually early and told him to get dressed. Five uniformed agents were waiting downstairs.

Borchardt bought himself time. “I needed time to think,” he says. “It could have been for any number of reasons.”

Insisting he needed a wash, he started to fling sheets of incriminating texts out of the window. He couldn’t know that the secret police already had all the evidence they needed.
It was two years earlier, in September 1968, that Borchardt had written his first letter.

It wasn’t easy to keep anything hidden in the cramped two-room flat Borchardt shared with his family in Greifswald, a small town on Germany’s northern coastline.

So as he sat down to write at the living room table he covered the sheet of paper with his homework whenever someone poked their head round the door.

The radio sat to his left and Borchardt was glued to the crackly foreign broadcasts coming out of Prague, where Soviet guns and tanks had rolled in to crush an attempt to introduce liberal reforms.

“To the staff of Radio London’s German service!” he wrote.

I have only just started listening to your programme, ‘Letters without signatures’, but I like it a lot, since it airs opinions you don’t find in our media. I am 16 years old. I will write to you regularly, mainly about young people and their views on world affairs. In my view, the west did not intervene strongly enough in Czechoslovakia. Does a country which fought so hard for its freedom have to carry on marching to the tune of the Soviets?

Warm regards from a schoolboy

Continue reading on the BBC News website…