Category Archives: International Broadcasting

Radio Waves: Baseball Before Radio, VOA Ends Bangla on FM & SW, Brookmans Park Close to 100 Years, and Ireland National Shortwave Club on Zoom

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

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Tom Daly, David Iurescia, Dave Porter, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


Before There Was Radio: How Baseball Fans Followed Their Favorite Teams, 1912-1921 (SABR Century Research Committee)

If you were a major-league baseball fan in the 1910s, you were living at a time before commercial radio had come along. With no way to listen to the play-by-play at home (and no expectation that such a thing was even possible), you had to find other options when you wanted to know how your favorite team was doing. The best way, of course, was to go to the ballpark and watch the game in person, but not everyone could get the time off from work; there was no 40-hour workweek yet and putting in 50 or more hours a week was common in some jobs. And even if you had an understanding boss, there were still expenses to consider: By modern standards, tickets seemed cheap (even World’s Series seats ranged from 50 cents to $3), but keep in mind that the average worker’s salary was much less than what people earn today. For example, in 1915, the annual salary for teachers in most cities was less than $600,[1] and many other jobs paid no more than $700 a year.[2] Thus, attending a ballgame was reserved for special occasions.

Some fans who could not attend in person would go downtown and gather in front of the offices of the local newspaper, where they eagerly awaited the latest scores. The bigger cities often had a group of newspaper offices in close proximity to each other; in Boston and other large cities, this area was sometimes referred to as Newspaper Row. It became a place for fans to socialize, as everyone stood on the street in front of their favorite publication, hoping for good news about the game. When the newspaper received the latest scores from a telegrapher at the ballpark, a newsboy would write the information on a bulletin board, updating it every inning.[3] Some newspapers also had someone with a megaphone calling out the updates as they were received. In either case, the fans would cheer whenever the news was good, or express their disappointment when it wasn’t.[]

VOA’s Bangla Service Ends Radio Broadcasts, Expands TV and Social Media Coverage (VOA)

Voice of America Bangla language service FM and shortwave radio transmissions officially end on July 17, 2021, after 63 years of serving Bangladesh and the Bangla-speaking Indian states of West Bengal, Tripure and Assam. Simultaneously, the service’s television and social media content will expand considerably, as these are platforms more heavily used by VOA Bangla’s 16 million weekly audience members.

“When VOA Bangla launched in January 1958, Bangladesh was known as ‘East Pakistan’ and it was a territory under martial law with no television or private radio,” said John Lippman, Acting VOA Programming Director. “VOA’s shortwave radio transmissions from outside the borders were a lifeline to the Bangla-speaking population for independent news and information.”

While the service’s shortwave radio audience is now less than one percent, VOA Bangla social media audiences have grown significantly in recent years. Engagement actions on the Twitter account have risen 54% over the previous year, while video views on Instagram are up 274% in the same period.

“Dozens of domestic television and radio stations compete for Bangla-speaking audiences, as well as an increasing number of digital sources,” Lippman noted. “As the demand for TV and online access to news in Bangladesh expands, VOA’s Bangla service program offerings need to be on the platforms its audience already is most active.”

“VOA Bangla radio broadcasts brought world events to its audiences since the days when radio was the primary news medium,” Acting VOA Bangla Service Chief Satarupa Barua told staff this month. “It was a staple in our upbringing, a household name. We will build on that reputation, increasing our presence on media that is now far more heavily used than short wave and medium wave radio.”

During the final days of its radio broadcasts, the service will broadcast retrospective programming, looking back at the changes in the country since 1958. “Because of our service’s history in Bangladesh, working at VOA has been the ‘dream job’ for many of us. With the coming changes, it will continue to be,” Barua added.

This change in radio programming will not affect broadcasts of “Lifeline”, a 30-minute daily radio program in the Rohingya language, spoken by Muslim refugees in Bangladesh who fled ethnic violence in Myanmar. Produced by the Bangla service, the program launched in July 2019.

Hatfield’s nearly 100-year-old broadcast station that revolutionised BBC radio (HertsLive)

Among its multiple accolades, Hertfordshire is home to one of the most important facilities in British broadcasting history – and it’s nearly 100 years old.

The Brookmans Park Transmitting station in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, was originally built by the BBC as the first of a network of regional dual transmitter stations, replacing the city-based ones from before.

The station has played a crucial part in the history of broadcasting in Britain. It was the first purpose-built twin transmitter station in the world that was capable of broadcasting two radio programmes simultaneously when it was completed in 1929.

The transmitter also played a role in the early development of television broadcasting.

This particular station was the first in the BBC’s adventurous scheme to bring existing radio reception to the whole of Britain.[]

National Short Wave Listeners Club (Southgate ARC)

Ireland’s IRTS News report that meetings of the National Shortwave Club on Sunday evenings at 2000 on the Zoom platform will continue over the Summer months and they continue to attract around half of the membership of almost 120 most weeks.

A decision has been made to suspend the weekly Wednesday revision classes until it looks like an examination will be held within a reasonable time. Hopes are high that following next Thursdays Government announcement, an exam date will be published as soon as possible thereafter.

Interest in the new on-line classes which will begin in the autumn is already high and anyone interested is invited to reserve their place via email to ‘training at SWL.ie’


Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

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

Spread the radio love

Alan Roe’s A21 season guide to music on shortwave (version 4 update)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Alan Roe, who shares his latest A21 season guide to music on shortwave.

Click here to download Music on Shortwave A-21 v4 (PDF)

Alan notes that this might be the final update of the A-21 broadcast season.

This dedicated page will always have the latest version of Alan’s guide available for download.

Spread the radio love

Radio Waves: The Enduring Appeal of Shortwave Radio, Ampegon Ships 100kW Transmitter, 4,270 km FM DX, Emisión Sefarad, and the Eswatini Transmitter

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

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors David Goren, Tracy Wood, and David Iurescia for the following tips:


Deep in the dial: Lawrence English on the enduring appeal of shortwave radio (The Wire)

To mark The Wire’s Radio Activity special issue, the Room40 label head examines the uncanny sonic properties of high frequency transmission

100 years ago this December, voices spoken on one side of the Atlantic shot through the atmosphere and materialised on the other side of the ocean. It was a moment of jubilation for those involved and proof of concept that formalised the possibilities of an emergent zone of signalling and communications called radio. It also helped to bring into focus the unrealised potential of this technology as a mechanism for access to, and transference of, signals of all sorts from around the globe.

These first transatlantic voices were carried on wavelengths of around 200 metres. At that time, which was before the creation of the International Telecommunication Union who coordinate the use of various frequency bandwidths on the radio spectrum, the length of the waves sat at the cusp of two bandwidths: the lowest end of medium wave and the highest end of shortwave. Not only had this amateur broadcast achieved new distances over which communication might pass, but it also demonstrated the process of skywave propagation. This method, whereby radio signals are bounced off the ionosphere (the electrically charged upper layer of Earth’s atmosphere), extends the range of transmission of a radio signal considerably.

What made skywave propagation especially interesting was that, as a technique, it was being actively explored by both amateur radio enthusiasts (the so-called ham radio movement) and commercial interests alike. In fact, throughout the 1920s experimental approaches to radio (broadcast and otherwise) were an area of intense interest and research. This attention was aided by booms in broadcast hardware and a growing understanding about how the technology could be deployed to radically reconfigure the ways in which transmission of voice, music and other signals might be achieved over greater and greater distances.[]

Ampegon Ships First of Four 100kW Shortwave Transmitters (Ampegon)

Ampegon has shipped the first of a series of four new 100kW shortwave transmitters from its factory in Kleindöttingen, Aargau, Switzerland. The transmitter RF and PSM sections were carefully moved out of the factory and onto a lorry for transfer to our shipping partner. There it will be securely packed in shipping crates and prepared for onward transport.

Ampegon’s TSW-2100 100kW shortwave transmitter is an economical and reliable transmitter system intended for regional to international broadcasting. Its relatively high output power provides good signal strength hundreds of kilometers away from the transmitter when attached to a good antenna, while it is still of sufficiently low power to allow operation from standard low voltage three-phase electrical connections.

Almost all shortwave transmitters currently in production feature digital DRM capabilities, since they are specified with DRM modulators and content servers. This permits the delivery of stereo FM-quality sound and a digital data channel over the same 9/10kHz broadcast band as an analogue transmission. Additionally, when used in DRM mode, power consumption is reduced by approximately 40%-50%, saving broadcasters hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in electricity costs!

With this transmitter safely on its way to its new home, attention turns to completing the next two systems currently under testing. All transmitters undergo rigorous factory acceptance testing to ensure installation and commissioning can be completed with minimum possible disruption.

For further information about Ampegon’s high power shortwave transmitter range, please see our product pages at: www.ampegon.com/products/sw-tube-transmitters/

To learn more about DRM transmissions, please visit the DRM consortium here: www.drm.org[]

FM radio station on 90.7 MHz near Quebec is heard across the Atlantic in Ireland – 21st June 2021 (EI7GL)

21st June 2021: This was a remarkable day for VHF propagation with a very rare trans-Atlantic opening on the 88-108 MHz FM band.

As outlined in a previous post, Paul Logan in the north of Ireland managed to hear a radio station from Greenland on 88.5 MHz from roughly 13:00 to 14:00 UTC on the 21st of June.

Near the end of this opening, Paul also managed to hear a radio station near Quebec in Canada, a distance of approximately 4,270 kms !

The radio station in question was the 100 kilowatt transmitter of CBRX-FM-3 ICI MUSIQUE which is located at Riviére-du-Loup just to the east of Quebec City in Canada.

A short audio clip from Paul is embedded below…

 

[Click here to continue reading this post on EI7GL’s blog…]

For 35 years, mother-daughter duo has run a radio show on Ladino and Sephardic Jewish culture from Madrid (South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Matilde Gini de Barnatán and her daughter Viviana Rajel Barnatán didn’t set out to make Jewish history in Spain.

In the 1960s and ’70s, Matilde, now 85, established herself in Argentina as a prominent researcher, teacher and scholar of the history of Sephardic culture and the Spanish Inquisition in Ibero-America. Her extensive expertise and recognition in Argentine intellectual circles helped her become a close friend of the renowned writer Jorge Luis Borges.

Viviana Rajel, now 55, studied acting in Buenos Aires.

But in April 1986, as Israel was establishing its diplomatic relations with Spain, so did the Spanish government with its Jewish ancestry. Through its state-owned public radio service, the country set out to develop a cultural project in the form of a radio show to reintroduce Ladino — or Judeo-Spanish, an endangered Romance language spoken by past generations of the Sephardic Jewish Diaspora — as a vital piece of Spanish heritage.

It was “a gesture of friendship between Spain, Israel and the Sephardic communities around the world,” according to Viviana Rajel.

Due to the lack of native Ladino speakers in Spain at the time, there was virtually no one available to take on the endeavor. Through academic networks of Sephardic scholars that linked Spain with Argentina, Matilde was found and asked to relocate and be the project’s primary role — which its developers pitched as a way to redress the historical wrong of the Spanish Inquisition, the 15th-century expulsion of Jews from the country.

Viviana Rajel followed her mother because she wanted the show to portray the matriarchal essence behind the oral tradition of Ladino, which traditionally passes from generation to generation through the women of the family.

Hence was born “Emisión Sefarad” (or “Sepharad Broadcast”), a weekly radio show available online and on shortwaves in Judeo-Spanish that broadcasts every Sunday on the Spanish National Radio’s overseas service. April marked 35 years of the program, which has aired uninterrupted since its launch.

Click here to continue reading, noting that this article is behind a paywall.

The incredible reach of the Eswatini transmitter (Evangelical Focus)

TWR Africa has been spreading hope throughout the African continent since 1974 engaging millions in more than 50 countries.

Radio, the internet, mobile devices, TWR360, and other media sources open doors to allow the gospel to spread to countries where Christianity is legally forbidden, to animistic tribes in the Nuba Mountains who are cut off from the rest of civilization, and to displaced people fleeing war in northern Mozambique. We have been equipped with powerful media tools to take the Good News into places where we physically cannot go. Through the power of the Spirit, we can use radio and other mass media to accomplish the task Jesus gave us to make disciples of all nations.

TWR broadcasts from various transmitter sites in Africa including TWR Eswatini and the Middle East on shortwave, and TWR West Africa on medium wave (AM). In addition, TWR broadcasts programs via several TWR partner FM radio networks and a satellite channel that offer direct-to-home services to various parts of the continent.[]

 


Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

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

Spread the radio love

Comrade Africa: A historic look at the GDR’s Cold War era shortwave broadcasts to Africa

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ulis (K3LU), who shares the following note via his Twitter feed:

“Comrade Africa” – a historic look at the GDR’s (Radio Berlin International) Cold War era shortwave broadcasts to Africa via the BBC World Service:

Click here to listen to the documentary at the BBC World Service.

Spread the radio love

Please share your recording of the 2021 BBC Midwinter Broadcast to Antarctica here!

Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey’s new base (Source: British Antarctic Survey)

In the comments section of this post, I’d like you to share your recording of the NNC Midwinter Broadcast to Antarctica!

In years past, I’ve created a post with all of the Midwinter recordings curated in one article. This usually takes me 12+ hours to prepare over a couple of weeks as many of the audio clips and video recordings must be formatted for the site and embedded. There is also a lot of discussions back/forth confirming details with listeners. This year, my schedule is such that if I try to piece one of these articles together I might not have it published for many, many weeks. That and I will not have reliable internet service over the next couple of weeks.

Instead, I’d like to try something new!

Please comment with your recording on this post!

Listening to the 2017 BBC Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast from the back of my vehicle in Saint-Anne-de-Beaupré, Québec, Canada.

I’ve created this dedicated post where you can comment and include links to audio and video of your 2021 Midwinter Broadcast recordings. This will allow you to post your logs and recordings at your convenience without my availability becoming the bottleneck.

Here’s the format I’d like you to leave in your comment of this post:

Name:

Listening location:

Notes: (Include frequencies and any details about your receiver and antenna.)

Link to audio or video: (YouTube, Vimeo, Internet Archive, SoundCloud, etc.)

Video and Audio Recordings

There is no way to directly upload audio in your comments, however, you can link to the recordings if you upload them to the Internet Archive (which I’d highly recommend) or any of the video streaming services like YouTube and Vimeo–or audio services like SoundCloud.

If you have a photo you’d like to include in your comment, send me an email from the same address you used in your comment. I’ll manually post the image at the top of your comment when time allows.

As with each year, I’ll make sure the BAS team and the BBC receive a link with all of your recordings!

Click here to comment with your recording of the 2021 BBC Midwinter Broadcast to Antarctica!

Spread the radio love

Four frequencies will be used for the 2021 BBC Midwinter Broadcast

Many thanks to Richard Hollingham with Boffin Media, who writes:

Hi – I’m (proudly) the Executive Producer of the Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast. It’s made by Boffin Media for the BBC….I’m about to deliver this year’s edition.

In terms of the broadcast itself, following the test on Monday, the BBC’s decided to transmit on all four of the frequencies [noted here] this year.

Because it’s a unique broadcast, the SW version is 30 minutes long whereas the global version is 26′ 29″ (to fit the standard World Service half hour, following the news bulletin). The SW version also has a different introduction as it’s aimed just at our audience of 35 in Antarctica.

Fascinating! Thank you for sharing this, Richard. We’ll be listening!

As a reminder, here are the frequencies courtesy of Richard Langley:

  • 6035 kHz from Dhabbaya
  • 6170 kHz from Ascension
  • 7305 kHz from Woofferton
  • 9505 kHz from Woofferton
Spread the radio love

Possible frequencies for the 2021 BBC Midwinter Broadcast

Halley VI: The British Antarctic Survey’s new base (Source: British Antarctic Survey)

Click here to read an update to this post (17 June 2021).

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who follows up with the following information about the 2021 Midwinter Broadcast to Antarctica:

As usual, there was a test of this year’s possible frequencies yesterday (14 June) from 21:30 to 21:45 UTC.

They were:

    • 6035 kHz from Dhabbaya
    • 6170 kHz from Ascension
    • 7305 kHz from Woofferton
    • 9505 kHz from Woofferton

As has been the case in past years, three of these frequencies will be chosen for the actual broadcast. Here in NB yesterday, good signals were received on 6170, 7305, and 9505 kHz. 6035 kHz was not heard.

Thank you for sharing this, Richard!

Spread the radio love