Category Archives: International Broadcasting

Radio Waves: BBC Transmitter Audio Feed, New DRM Receivers Showcased, QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo, and New German Class “N” Ham License

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!


How the BBC (still) sends audio to transmitter sites (Hackaday)

Running a radio station is, on the face of it, a straightforward technical challenge. Build a studio, hook it up to a transmitter, and you’re good to go. But what happens when your station is not a single Rebel Radio-style hilltop installation, but a national chain of transmitter sites fed from a variety of city-based studios? This is the problem facing the BBC with their national UK FM transmitter chain, and since the 1980s it has been fed by a series of NICAM digital data streams. We mentioned back in 2016 how the ageing equipment had been replaced with a modern FPGA-based implementation without any listeners noticing, and now thanks to [Matt Millman], we have a chance to see a teardown of the original 1980s units. The tech is relatively easy to understand from a 2020s perspective, but it still contains a few surprises. [Continue reading at Hackaday…]

Receivers Introduced At Pre-IBC Event To Be Seen At RAI On Sep 10th (DRM Consortium)

This year’s IBC DRM virtual event, held on 6th September, was very well received by many participants world-wide. The much-awaited session on DRM receivers gave the listeners and viewers the opportunity to learn about new, hot off the press, receiver products and solutions in this sector.

A new cost-effective DRM solution developed by CML Microsystems in conjunction with Cambridge Consultants in the UK, is just one example. Their product is a multi-band broadcast DRM receiver module that makes it quick and easy for manufacturers to build DRM radio sets. The module supports DRM and analogue reception in the AM and VHF bands. Applicable IP royalties are included in the module price. The module also supports a remote controlled mode and thus can serve as the basis for full-featured DRM radio sets. The module is scheduled to be available to industry partners from Q1 2023.

Gospell from China presented their entire range of well-established and full-featured DRM receivers consisting of desktop and pocket radios, with support for EWF Emergency Warning Functionality and Journaline text service. In addition, Gospell unveiled their new car radio for easy integration, the Stereo Digital Radio Receiver GR-520. All models provide DRM reception across all DRM broadcast bands.

The Swiss company Starwaves announced three upcoming DRM receiver solutions: A complete and full-featured DRM and analogue AM/FM receiver module available to receiver manufacturers, with automotive-grade tuning and fast scanning across all DRM frequency bands and support for EWF Emergency Warning Functionality and Journaline text service. A first consumer receiver model built on this DRM module will be the W2401 desktop radio priced at €79. An even more advanced receiver at 99€ will in addition feature a built-in WiFi hotspot for web browser access to the DRM content. All Starwaves receivers can be enhanced with DAB+ functionality if required by a local market.

Starwaves also offers the DRM SoftRadio App for Android phones and tablets, which upgrades any device by connecting an analogue RF SDR dongle to a full-featured DRM receiver. The app is available in major app stores including Google, Huawei and Amazon.

Exciting DRM receiver solutions for professional applications and device manufacturers were presented by Fraunhofer IIS (Germany), such as the automotive receiver kit software SDR, and the DRM MultimediaPlayer Radio App as the basis of professional and consumer-grade radio implementations.

NXP, the leading, global semiconductor manufacturer, showcased their complete portfolio of automotive qualified suite of DRM chipsets for car receivers for all DRM broadcast bands.

Other companies from India, such as OptM and Inntot, as well as the South Korean manufacturer RF2Digital contributed to the pre-IBC DRM virtual event with videos presenting their solutions for DRM use in desktop radios, mobile phones and in cars.

CML Microsystems/Cambridge Consultants, Gospell, Starwaves and Fraunhofer IIS will also be present in Amsterdam during the IBC expo on the 10th September together with other key DRM members, such as BBC, Encompass, Nautel and RFmondial. IBC visitors participating in the two DRM sessions at the Fraunhofer IIS booth and at the Nautel booth will experience live demonstrations of the new DRM receivers and modules.

Selected news from the presentation on September 6th including from the DRM receiver section are available as a free download: https://s.drm.org/KJr9.

[Click here to read the full article.]

QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo is this weekend!

[The] QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo kicks off this Friday evening, September 16th at 1800 Pacific.

The Expo officially opens on September 17 2022 at, 01:00 UTC or September 16th at 6:00 PM Pacific.

To attend, all you need to do is go to the following website: https://qsotoday.vfairs.com. Simply login using the same email address that you used to purchase your ticket. No password is needed. You can test in advance to see that it works.

Click here to purchase your ticket and attend!

Germany: New Entry-Level license class ‘N’ on its way (DARC via Southgate ARC)

DARC reports on the planned introduction of an entry-level amateur radio license, it will be limited to just 10w EIRP in the 144 and 430 MHz bands but they can build their own equipment

A translation of the DARC post reads:

Today [June 7], the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport presented the draft of a new amateur radio regulation that will bring some innovations for all radio amateurs.

The chairman of the DARC e. V. and the Round Table Amateur Radio (RTA), Christian Entsfellner, DL3MBG was pleased: “The new regulation implements long-standing requirements of the DARC and the Round Table Amateur Radio. Remote operation will finally be allowed in the future. The Ministry has also implemented our demand for a beginner class, which has existed since 2008.

This makes it much easier to get started with amateur radio.” While the existing classes E and A are raised in level due to the introduction of new topics from digital technology, class N focuses on operational knowledge, regulations and basic knowledge of the technology.

Holders of the new Class N will be allowed to transmit on 2m and 70cm with a maximum power of 10W EIRP. “The new entry-level class should offer access to amateur radio in particular to young people and older people in accordance with international requirements,” explains board member Ronny Jerke, DG2RON. The legally stipulated self-build right is not restricted, so even beginners can develop, set up and put into operation radio devices or hotspots themselves.

The exam will follow a cumulative system, e.g. B. is known from the US amateur radio test. First of all, the exam for class N is taken, which already contains all questions from the areas of operational knowledge and regulations. The technical test for class E and then for class A can then be taken.

“The examination catalogs developed by the DARC for the three classes are structured in such a way that the content and questions are not repeated, i. H. Content that has already been examined in a lower class no longer plays a role in the examination for a higher class. So all future radio amateurs go through the exams of class N, through E to class A. It should be possible to take all the exams in one day.

The previously unregulated remote operation has been included in the new amateur radio regulation. Holders of license class A may in future operate amateur radio stations remotely and also allow other radio amateurs to use class A. Another important innovation concerns the training radio operation, which will be possible in the future without a separate training call sign. Instead, adding the prefix “DN/” makes any Class E or Class A callsign a training callsign.

The RTA now has 4 weeks to comment on the draft regulation. The board and the departments of the DARC have already started to examine the text of the ordinance in detail and will report promptly.

The press release from the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport can be found at
https://bmdv.bund.de/SharedDocs/DE/Pressemitteilungen/2022/065-kluckert-amateurfunkverordnung.html

Attached to the press release is a draft of the second ordinance amending the amateur radio ordinance. This can be found as a PDF file at

https://bmdv.bund.de/SharedDocs/DE/Gesetze-20/zzwei-verordnung-aenderung-amateurfunkverordnung.html

Source DARC https://darc.de/

 


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WRTH 2023 will be available in print and digital form under new ownership

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrea Borgnino, who shared the following via Twitter:

The next edition of the WRTH “world’s most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to broadcasting” will be published in December 2022 in a printed and a digital version. The rights have now been transferred to Radio Data Center GmbH (RDC), based in Freising, Germany.

This is fantastic news! Thank you for sharing this, Andrea.

UPDATE: WRTH has posted the following press release (click to download PDF).

Of course, we’ll post more details as they become available. 

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Guest commentary: Nothing is so constant as change

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jerome van der Linden, who shares the following guest post:


Nothing is so constant as change

by Jerome van der Linden

Those of us who have had an interest in broadcasting over many years realize pretty soon that technology is constantly changing. The following relates to the situation where I live in Australia, but I suspect similar things are occurring in other parts of the world, and serve as a constant reminder that we live in a world of change.

When we were in our teens, we had radios that would tune AM and one or more shortwave bands. Hence many of us first heard interstate medium wave stations, and realised that signals there travelled further during darkness hours. Then we switched to SW1 or SW2 and often heard nothing. But persistence paid off and soon we were listening to stations that were in other countries! And when we connected a long wire to the antenna terminal signals improved dramatically. Wasn’t that amazing?

Somewhere in the 70s (I think) our TV stations brought in colour and that too was an amazing change to experience.

Then – somewhat belatedly for us in Australia – FM radio came along and gee the quality of the audio was outstanding! Even my late father was surprised by the clarity with which he could now listen to classical music on our nationwide dedicated ABC Classic FM station. FM also brought with it the introduction of “Community Radio” stations and in more recent years many other types of broadcasters.

Satellite TV came to us in the form of Foxtel: carrying so many different channels it was bewildering. When I realized that the events of 9-11 were telecast live on BBC World (and others), I too decided we should have Foxtel, as I have always been a “news nerd”.

By the late 1990s – having seen a hey day in probably the 60s and 70s – shortwave listening was rapidly becoming a thing of the past, and only hobbyists listened to SW: I remember being asked by another passenger when I was on a South Pacific cruise, what was that I was listening with out on deck? Was it some kind of computer? No, it was just a Sony SW55, and I was listening to Radio Australia.

Then, probably 5 years ago in Australia DAB+ radio was introduced, and whereas we previously had a choice of perhaps 10 to 15 AM & FM radio stations to tune to, suddenly we had a choice of these same stations on DAB radio (in major cities only), PLUS another 10 or 15! We have a phenomenal choice of what to listen to. From a technical view it was amazing to think that all the signals were coming from only one or two transmitters. For those of us with some technical interest it was for a while inconceivable that each station would not have its own transmitter.

Meanwhile, our TV systems have also become digitized in the last couple of years. Not just do we have perhaps three different channels for each commercial network, so 3 commercial networks are now providing probably 9 different programs. On top of that the Government broadcasters (ABC & SBS) have provided not just at least 3 TV channels each, but each of their numerous ­radio services is now also available on every TV set (eg BBC World Service is available 24/7).

About the same time, with higher internet speeds (ie better data transfers) being available, TV services and radio services are increasingly being streamed into our homes and to our mobile devices, with radio Apps promising they’re “free”, when in fact they do incur a data transfer impact/cost in whatever Internet plan one may have available. Many of the older generation probably don’t even realize what streaming video or sound means, but I think the younger generation is catching on.

Now, to my horror, my favourite DAB music station (“Buddha”) has been making announcements on air saying that the DAB service will be terminated from September 1st, and if I want to continue listening, I must tune in using that Company’s own “LiSTNR” app! Does this mean that listening to what comes over the ether will be a thing of the past? Will we be obliged to pay $x per annum to use a company’s streaming app just to be able to listen to their programs? Whatever is the world coming to?

Our country is, I suspect, very well catered for in terms of media services, and I wonder if we’ve done that too well. I also fear though, that those of us trying to push for reintroduction of shortwave services for remote Northern Territory areas (where streaming apps are a non sense), and for Australia to again broadcast into Pacific territories, may be fighting an uphill battle.

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Radio Waves: Radio Liberty Journalist Bugged, Invisible Battle, RNZ Shortwave After Tonga Eruption, Closing Analog FM in Spain to Save Energy, and Keeping Morse Code Alive

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!


Journalist Vitaly Portnikov was found to be “eavesdropped” at his home in Lviv, – Knyazhytskyi (Espeso)

Note this article has been translated in English. Original in Ukrainian found here.

The police promptly responded to the call, but the SBU for some reason delays its response to illegal actions People’s deputy Mykola Knyazhytskyi announced this on Facebook .

“In Lviv, journalist Vitaly Portnikov, who hosts programs on Espresso and Radio Svoboda, found a eavesdropping device at home. It is a voice recorder with the ability to record for a long time. The police were called. They arrived quickly. The SBU was called. They are not going. As a member of the Verkhovna Rada, I ask the SBU to come immediately and disrupt case. We don’t know who installed this device and for what purpose: our services, foreign services or criminality,” the politician said.

Image via Espreso

Vitaly Portnikov commented on the incident for “Espresso”:

“Today, while cleaning the apartment I lived in at the end of February, when the war started, I found a recording device under the bed. The device had an inventory number. I informed the law enforcement authorities about my discovery so that they could investigate this incident.”

The journalist added that he hoped for a high-quality investigation and clarification of all the circumstances of the case:

“After my statement, the investigators of the SBU of the Lviv region conducted an inspection of the premises and seized a device that is a device for listening and recording information. I hope that the relevant structures will conduct an examination and find out by whom and why this device was placed in my apartment.”

Vitaly Portnikov is a well-known Ukrainian journalist, publicist and political commentator. Cooperates with Radio Svoboda and Espresso. On the Espresso TV channel, he creates the programs “Political Club of Vitaly Portnikov” and “Saturday Political Club”. [Click here to read the full article at Espreso.]

The Invisible Battle of the Cold War Airwaves (Bureau of Lost Culture)

This Episode explore three stories of cold war era radio in the USSR: Soviet Radio Jammers, the Russian ‘Woodpecker’ and the Soviet Radio Hooligans

[Click here to listen to the podcast via PodBean.]

We meet with Russian broadcaster Vladimir Raevsky to talk about radio jamming in cold war era Soviet Union.

As East and West super powers square up to each with nuclear weapons, a parallel invisible war is being fought in the airwaves. Continue reading

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The Voice of Greece is no longer on shortwave

I suppose I’ve been holding out hope that the Voice of Greece would magically reappear on 9,420 kHz, but they’ve been off the air for 45 days now and we must assume this time it’s for good.

Over the past decade the Voice of Greece seems to have weathered every storm it encountered; even broadcasting for weeks without a license.

We learned in February 2022 that VOG was on the chopping block, then they were given an additional two months on the air, and according to numerous DXers here and on Twitter, the last broadcast seems to have taken place on June 15, 2022.

I certainly haven’t heard them on shortwave since then.

VOG was one of my favorite, reliable sources of music on shortwave and you’ll notice that in many of my radio photos, the dial is tuned to 9,420 kHz because they were such an easy catch here in eastern North America regardless of propagation.

If you miss hearing VOG on shortwave you can, of course, still listen to them online.

I’ve well over one hundred hours of Voice of Greece recordings in my spectrum archives, at the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive, and here on the SWLing Post.

In fact, I’m reminded of one of my favorite VOG listening sessions which I’ll share here from the SWLing Post archives. This post was originally published on November 15, 2013:


Voice of Greece: walking in on a party

This Voice of Greece broadcast begins with a piece by Burhan Öcal, with the Istanbul Oriental Ensemble (Photo: National Geographic)

This Voice of Greece broadcast begins with a piece by Burhan Öcal, with the Istanbul Oriental Ensemble (Photo: National Geographic)

I never know what to expect when I tune around on one of my shortwave radios.  Perhaps that’s one of the things I find captivating about the medium; there’s no playlist, no app, no content controls, other than the tuning knob.

Sometimes, I tune to a station, and it’s as though I’ve just opened a door and walked in on a party–one in full swing, with dancing and incredible live music.

That’s exactly what I felt when I tuned to the Voice of Greece last night. I walked in on a party.  And I needed no invitation; I was welcomed there.

Hear it, just as I did, starting right in the middle of this party:

Listen above, or click here to download three hours and 31 minutes of musical bliss (until they turned the transmitter off).

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Jerome’s response from Australian Foreign Affairs regarding shortwave to Pacific

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jerome van der Linden, who shares the following response from from the Australian Foreign Affairs department regarding any future shortwave services to the Pacific. As Jerome notes, the letter “suggests that all is not yet lost, though it’s lacking in commitment.”

Click here to download a PDF of the response.

Quite correct, Jerome. The letter is noncommittal, but at least acknowledges the government will take this under formal review.  I doubt anyone should hold their breath, of course.

Thank you so much for sharing!

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Radio Waves: Fast Radio Bursts, Czechia DRM AM Trial, Kumartuli Radio Shop, and Ekho Moskvy Off Air

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!


Astronomers detect a radio “heartbeat” billions of light-years from Earth (MIT)

The clear and periodic pattern of fast radio bursts may originate from a distant neutron star.

Astronomers at MIT and universities across Canada and the United States have detected a strange and persistent radio signal from a far-off galaxy that appears to be flashing with surprising regularity.

The signal is classified as a fast radio burst, or FRB — an intensely strong burst of radio waves of unknown astrophysical origin, that typically lasts for a few milliseconds at most. However, this new signal persists for up to three seconds, about 1,000 times longer than the average FRB. Within this window, the team detected bursts of radio waves that repeat every 0.2 seconds in a clear periodic pattern, similar to a beating heart.

The researchers have labeled the signal FRB 20191221A, and it is currently the longest-lasting FRB, with the clearest periodic pattern, detected to date.

The source of the signal lies in a distant galaxy, several billion light-years from Earth. Exactly what that source might be remains a mystery, though astronomers suspect the signal could emanate from either a radio pulsar or a magnetar, both of which are types of neutron stars — extremely dense, rapidly spinning collapsed cores of giant stars.

“There are not many things in the universe that emit strictly periodic signals,” says Daniele Michilli, a postdoc in MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. “Examples that we know of in our own galaxy are radio pulsars and magnetars, which rotate and produce a beamed emission similar to a lighthouse. And we think this new signal could be a magnetar or pulsar on steroids.”

The team hopes to detect more periodic signals from this source, which could then be used as an astrophysical clock. For instance, the frequency of the bursts, and how they change as the source moves away from Earth, could be used to measure the rate at which the universe is expanding. [Continue reading…]

CRA Runs DRM Digital AM Trial in Czechia (Radio World)

Transmission company CRA looks at possibility for reusing analog transmission facilities

Czech transmission services company ?eské Radiokomunikace (CRA) is testing the DRM medium-wave digital radio system on 954 kHz.

According to a tweet from Marcel Prochazka, director of legal and regulatory affairs for CRA, the transmissions are originating from ?eské Bud?jovice in South Bohemia and operating at a power of 3.16 kW from a 107-meter HAAT antenna. Continue reading

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