Category Archives: Music

Radio Waves: Guardians of Early Recordings, VOA Firewall, New DRM-Based HF Station, and Breakfast on BBC Essex Features Amateur Radio

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 Kim Elliott, Benn Kobb, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


Meet the guardians of the world’s earliest musical recordings (LA Times)

The voice seeps in as if from another dimension, hissy and distant, like an AM radio broadcaster transmitting through late-night static.

“‘The Ambassador March’ by Brown’s Orche-streee for the Los Angeles Phonograph Company of Los Angeles, California,” a man announces with a gentlemanly accent. After a moment’s scratchy pause, a violinist opens with a melody, and a small orchestra jumps in. Led by a Long Beach-based bandleader named E.R. Brown, the song dances along for two minutes.

The fidelity is primitive by today’s high-definition audio standards, a quaint toss-away. But “The Ambassador March” and the Coke-can-sized wax cylinder upon which it was etched into permanence in the late 1800s open a portal to another era.

That wax cylinder and others like it — rescued from rural estate sales and dusty attics — have survived earthquakes, heat waves, mold and indifference. They feature Mexican folk songs; military band marches; minstrelsy songs of the kind that preceded American blues, folk and country music; and the voices of former Lincoln cabinet members, Southern senators, popes, preachers and comedians. Their survival is emblematic of a revolution that allowed sound to be freed from its origins. Once untethered, the world would be forever changed.[]

US international broadcasting: Rebuilding the firewall in the new administration (The Hill)

by Kim Andrew Elliott

President-elect Joe Biden, who as a senator had a key interest in U.S. international broadcasting, is looking at its future.

He named Richard Stengel, former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy, to head the transition team for the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM). Under USAGM are the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Inc., Radio Free Asia Inc., Office of Cuba Broadcast (Radio/TV Martí to Cuba) and Middle East Broadcasting Networks Inc. (the Arabic-language Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa).

With government officials under President Trump instructed not to cooperate with Biden’s teams, the transition for the time being will have to be done from afar. The Trump-appointed USAGM CEO Michael Pack, whose leadership has fomented several controversies since he was installed in June, might decide to be a benign, if uncooperative, caretaker until the new management comes in. Or he could impose personnel changes and alterations in content that could diminish the credibility of the USAGM entities, a situation that could take years to repair.

During his campaign, Biden promised to fire Pack. Pack might try to serve out the three-year term stipulated in the legislation that replaced the bipartisan Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) with a politically appointed CEO (Pack being the first). If such an attempt ends up in court, a June Supreme Court decision overruling the fixed term of the director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, a victory for the Trump administration, could, ironically, be the undoing of any plans by Pack to stay on at USAGM.

Pack has already left his mark by rescinding the firewall “rule” published in June by the outgoing BBG. The rule, however, was not an act of Congress or a presidential directive. It was simply language placed in the Federal Register “to codify and memorialize definitions and practices associated with the firewall.” On such shallow roots, this tree was easy to fall. In October, Pack issued a repeal, which waved away the firewall rule as readily as it was instituted.[]

A New HF Station that’s Similar, but Different (DRMNA.info)

On October 21, 2020, DPA Mac LLC filed a FCC license application for a new, DRM-based International Broadcast Station to be located in Maple Park, IL. The principal is San Francisco entrepreneur Seth Kenvin and its technical consultant is Tamir Ostfeld of Raft Technologies, an Israeli developer of low-latency HF systems for so-called algorithmic trading.

No station devoted to algorithmic trading has ever been authorized for regular commercial operation in the U.S., as there is no formal radio service or spectrum allocation for that purpose. Several such stations have been licensed in the Experimental Radio Service (ERS), which is ostensibly for scientific studies only.

If the FCC licenses DPA Mac, it will be the first such station to make the transition from the ERS to regular, non-experimental licensing. This station would be the successor to experimental station WI2XXG. Other than the license document, the FCC has withheld most of WI2XXG’s records from public disclosure since it was first licensed in 2017.

DPA Mac is similar to other DRM stations on which we previously reported: WIPE in Alpine, NJ, which is built and is waiting on its FCC license; and WPBC, proposed for Batavia, IL. With regard to their use for non-broadcast, private data transmissions, those stations made general and non-descriptive representations to the FCC. On the other hand, DPA Mac’s license application is fairly transparent. The station aims to transmit “investment data from points within the United States to locations outside the United States carried over a channel immediately adjacent to the HF broadcasts…a low-power, low-latency digital data transmission service provided to private investors, including small- and medium-sized firms.” [Continue reading…]

Amateur radio on BBC Radio Essex

On Tuesday, November 24, CB and amateur radio featured in Sonia Watson’s popular Breakfast show on BBC Radio Essex

Among those interviewed was the Chair of Essex Ham, Pete M0PSX, who talked about the resurgence of interest in amateur radio.

Listen to the interview at 1:38:20 in this recording
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08xv7dv

You can find out more about amateur radio and the free Essex Ham Foundation Online training course at
https://www.essexham.co.uk/train/foundation-online/

You can follow Essex Ham on Twitter at
https://twitter.com/EssexHam

 


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Aircheck cassette leads to lost album with heavy shortwave influence

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor Pete Polanyk, who shares the following story that all started with a recording he submitted to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive:

Remember I sent you that clip of Radio Canada (that went up on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive) that was on the other side of a punk tape? Well I digitised and sold it on eBay. The tape featured a live gig of the band ATV (Mark Perry was the lead singer and main ideas person). A few days later I received an email from the buyer–a nice chap called Phillipe in France–who’s a big ATV fan.

“Just listened to the ATV one… I wonder, have you the faintest idea what the B-side is? It sounds like radio recordings, but on repeated listening sounds like some kind of noisy pieces or experimentation, which reminds me of similar ‘shortwave’ experiments done by ATV at the time of the second album. Do you know if this was somehow linked to the band?”

I replied saying it was a recording by me off the shortwave from the early 1980’s sadly, not the band, he wrote back:

“So, I guess playing with shortwave must have been something in the air back then?!
The funny thing is that there is a very similar track from a ‘lost ATV album’ entitled The End Of Flight 182 from late ‘78.

It’s actually more Dave George (later of The Good Missionaries) than ATV but still Mark Perry contributed a bit to the recordings; and one of its tracks was released somewhere else as ATV. Anyway… the album features a ‘Shortwave’ track (entitled as such) by Dave George, and I’ve have included it here (I’ve attached the track he sent us.) Can you hear how it sounds similar to yours? The track/experimentation may also been what led ATV to write ‘The Radio Story’, but that’s just a personal assumption. Mark and George were definitely in touch back in those days since Mark contributed a bit to his album which was was recorded a few months before Dave joined ATV (which then soon became The Good Missionaries). Sadly Dave George passed a few years ago, so we won’t know much more about the album and the track.”

I wrote back and told him that I will probably send it to you as you’ll be well interested in the story. This is his last reply:

“Yeah, it could be nice and interesting Thomas’ mentions it on his site. To avoid any confusion here’re a few more details: the ‘Shortwave’ track is only Dave George, and was recorded a few months before Dave joined ATV (which then soon became The Good Missionaries), so technically it’s not ATV. But he was definitely in touch with Mark Perry back in those days since Mark contributed a bit to the album as I said; hence Thomas could also publish a youtube link to The Radio Story as well. Sadly Dave George passed a few years ago, so we won’t know much more about the album and the track.”

So that was the story! What a mad coincidence eh?

A mad coincidence indeed! Thank you for sharing the story, Pete. I love where art and shortwave meet and especially in moments of serendipity like this! Now to explore more Dave and ATV…

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Alan Roe’s B20 season guide to music on shortwave

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Alan Roe, who shares his much anticipated B20 broadcast season guide to music on shortwave.

Each time Alan releases a new guide, I print it and keep it and keep a copy in the shack–a valuable resource indeed!

Click here to download a PDF copy of Alan Roe’s Music on Shortwave A20.

Alan, thanks so much for keeping this brilliant guide updated each broadcast season and for sharing it here with the community.

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Radio Waves: Free Download of Equinox E-book, Pop Shop Radio, Hamcation Postponed, and “Radio Ga Ga” Salutes Radio Pioneers

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 DM Barrett, Tracy Wood, Mike Terry, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


EQUINOX – Free Download (D.M. Barrett)

EQUINOX, DM Barrett’s best seller that blends science fiction with amateur radio and shortwave, can be downloaded FREE in eBook format from Amazon on the following dates:

Thursday, October 22, 2020;
Thursday, November 5, 2020;
Thursday, November 12, 2020;
Thursday, November 26, 2020; and,
Thursday, December 10, 2020.

N4ECW’s EQUINOX, as well as his other novels, can be obtained at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The audiobook versions are available at audible.com and iTunes.

Broadcasting from Hope, on shortwave radio (Hope Standard)

Tony Pavick combines love for music and radio in weekly show, Pop Shop Radio

While he may not be jumping up and down in a radio booth throwing records on turntables, Tony Pavick is once again pumping out radio in the form of a weekly hour-long show from his home in Hope.

It’s been 20 years since radio was broadcast from Hope – former radio personality and now fire chief Tom DeSorcy confirmed that CKGO, Hope’s AM radio station, closed its doors in 2000. And while Pavick isn’t starting a new radio station, he’s broadcasting for an hour each week from Hope to the world via shortwave radio.

Shortwave, a band in between the AM and FM band, Pavick explained, was utilized right up until the 1990s by countries wanting to spread their news, propaganda and cultural content. Living in the U.S., Pavick got his first taste of Canada while listening to Radio Canada International on a shortwave radio his parents bought him in the late 1960s.

Since the end of the Cold War, Pavick explains, countries have turned their radio equipment over to different groups. One of those is Channel 292 at the University of Twente, where he broadcasts at a rate of 15 Euro for an hour of radio time. Those without the ability to pick up shortwave can listen to Pavick’s show online at websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/?tune=6070am.

The show starts with radio static, followed by the sound of a pop being opened and poured. Then Pavick comes in with “from the town of Hope in super natural British Columbia, in Canada, I’m Tony and this is Pop Shop Radio.”

Pavick plays a wide range of pop music, for example his first show included a Czech language version of Heart of Glass recorded when Czechoslovakia was still a nation, and a 2006 Groovefinder remix of Nina Simone’s Ain’t Got No.

He draws inspiration from a time when you could hear, on a top 40 station, a line-up featuring Jefferson Airplane, followed by Johnny Cash and then the The Beatles. “There was a great variety of music played on the same station,” he said. “Popular music wasn’t just rock n’ roll, it was rock and pop and country and just a whole variety of things. So that’s where the idea for it being called the Pop Shop came about.”

Pavick doesn’t keep it a secret where he finds some of the more obscure plays. He uses music website 45cat.com, an extensive online music archive.[]

Orlando HamCation postponed (Southgate ARC)

As the world’s second largest hamfest, we pride ourselves on delivering a high-quality event to our attendees and would not want to put on a show that is anything less than what the ham radio community deserves.

After much deliberation, the difficult decision to postpone the 75th Orlando HamCation was made. It is with heavy hearts that we must make this decision. We had wished to see all of you next year in person, but the situation we face globally has made this challenging. Instead, HamCation will be moved to February 11-13th, 2022. We are looking to host some unique Webinars, a QSO Party and possibly Prize Drawings for 2021.

More information to come on our website soon.
For those who have already purchased tickets and spaces, we will be in contact with you shortly and will reach out to you directly. You will have the option to use your ticket for HamCation 2022, receive a refund or donate the funds to the Orlando Amateur Radio Club.

We thank all of you for your patience and understanding during these times and are excited to see you all again in 2022…

73, Michael Cauley, W4MCA
General Chairman
Orlando HamCation

For more details see: https://www.hamcation.com
http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-national-convention-and-orlando-hamcation-postponed-to-february-2022
Also, check the ARRL Letter for October 8th, 2020:
http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter?issue=2020-10-08

Radio Ga Ga: Aberdeen author creates new work to salute the pioneers of the airwaves (The Press and Journal)

Gordon Bathgate can barely recall a time when he wasn’t in thrall to the radio and marvelling at all the different sounds which came out of a magic box in his living room when he was growing up in the north-east of Scotland.

A lot of snap, crackle and pop music has come and gone since these early days, but he is still Radio Ga Ga about an invention which has shaped all our lives and is celebrating its centenary in 2020.

This follows the innovation and imagination of so many pioneering figures, including his compatriot James Clerk Maxwell, Heinrich Hertz and Guglielmo Marconi, whose name has become inextricably linked with the device.

In so many different ways, Mr Bathgate, who has written a new book, Radio Broadcasting: A History of the Airwaves, has devoted decades to boosting its profile in many guises.

He was a founding member of Grampian Hospital Radio at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary – a service which does invaluable work and particularly in the current Covid-induced social isolation.

He also presented shows for North East Community Radio at Kintore and presents music programmes as far afield as Peterhead, The Netherlands and the fabled Radio Caroline.

He has created a series of witty little films, imparting his love for the Doric language, including pastiches of Star Trek and Dallas.

But it’s his passion for radio which shines through the pages of his new production.[]


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Radio Northern Europe International Show 9

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Roseanna, with Radio Northern Europe International who shares the following announcement:


Radio Northern Europe International Show 9 announcement

Hei all,

It’s our pleasure to announce RNEI #9 to you!

RNEI 9’s music features:

  • An artist introduction to a brand new group from the Faeroe Islands with their first song announced by Heidrik from the band
  • A candidate for Denmark’s Eurovision from 2020
  • A catchy Swedish song I really like at the moment
  • The return of Evelina and Zupermaria
  • Some traditional Icelandic and Samí music I think a lot of you will like
  • A Norwegian song from the 1970s that I recently discovered with a beep but no boops
  • Our first Estonian song to start of the dance segment
  • Fading into a Danish dance song to end off the show

RNEI 9’s digital experiments on Shortwave:

  • Easypal QAM16 7zip file transfer (of a website!) embedded into our interval signal
  • A few hidden experiments (Running JS8Call nearer the end isn’t a bad idea ? )
  • DominoEX22 embedded in the final song

Please note: On WRMI the broadcasts are 30 seconds shorter necessitating a shorter interval signal and therefore a shorter Easypal segment than the Channel 292 and Onda broadcasts. Expect potential changes e.g. QAM64 or lesser error correction modes. The version sent to World FM, Unique Radio and later On-Demand will be the “HQ” version, meaning it doesn’t have the Easypal (because it sounds nasty) nor does it use the Comb Stereo system.

TIAEMS for this month is really good complete with MFSK data and lots of great music!

As promised the Saturday 6070 kHz broadcast will be the first one on shortwave carrying the new show!

Our schedule is available here: https://rnei.org/listen/

QSLs are running massively behind schedule, we are very sorry, show first, website second and QSLs third at the moment making very little time to reply to them. We have got some ideas to speed up the process soon though!

Sending you all good wishes and hoping you can listen and enjoy the show,
Roseanna

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This weekend: Brane Five broadcast on Channel 292 and WRMI

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Linus Ruckstuhl (HB3XSQ), who writes:

I am a longtime reader of your blog. My brothers band (branefive.com just released their first rock song “Free the Animal in You” today on September 25th 2020. I got the idea to launch the song on shortwave in addition to the streaming services to celebrate it, especially because there are no physical discs and records anymore. The first broadcast at 0900 UTC on Channel 292 on 6070kHz already got us many Reception Reports. The song with the corresponding announcement will be rebroadcast by Channel292 this weekend from 25.-27.09.2020. The schedule is in the attachment.

73 from Lucerne, Switzerland

Channel 292:

WRMI Schedule:

Saturday 09/26/2020
7:00 pm ET (2300 UTC) on 7570 kHz to North America
7:30 pm ET (2330 UTC) on 9395 kHz to North America
9:30 pm ET (0130 UTC Sunday) on 9395 kHz to North America
0300 UTC Sunday (11:00 pm ET Saturday) on 5800 kHz to Caribbean, Latin America

Sunday 09/27/2020
5:00 pm ET (2100 UTC) on 9455 kHz to North America
7:00 pm ET (2300 UTC) on 7570 kHz to North America
7:30 pm ET (2330 UTC) on 9395 kHz to North America
7:45 pm ET (2345 UTC) on 9955 kHz to Caribbean, Latin America (and on Internet www.wrmi.net)
0300 UTC Monday (11:00 pm ET Sunday) on 5800 kHz to Caribbean, Latin America
0430 UTC Monday (10:30 pm Sunday in Costa Rica) on 5985 kHz to Central America

WRMI will repeat the same schedule next weekend. Due to the broadcast through Channel292 on 6070, 3955 and 9760 kHz we already received many reception reports from DXers and SWLs all over Europe as well as Malaysia and Australia. Now we hope to receive some more from the Americas and the Caribbean thanks to the broadcasts of WRMI.

Thank you for sharing this broadcast, Linus, and my apologies for missing your first email before the weekend.

Post readers: Check out the schedule and send in your reception reports! As Linus said, they’re especially looking forward to more reports from the Americas and Caribbean!

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