Category Archives: News

Guest Post: Bolivian Miners’ Radio Station Documentaries

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tracy Wood (K7UO), who shares the following guest post:


Bolivian Miners’ Radio Station Documentaries

Bolivian mine workers’ radio stations have long held an affinity among these Altiplano communities. Many were stations were targeted for shootings, bombings, etc. by forces loyal to earlier dictatorships. Today, few stations remain as the mining sector has declined in importance and newer generations migrate to the larger cities and lowland farming regions.

Radio Nacional de Huanuni and the Catholic church’s Radio Pio XII are two of the remaining miners’ stations with some long-standing shortwave presence; others like Chocaya’s Radio Ánimas permanently signed off with the mining center’s closing.

Two documentaries have been made about this earlier Bolivian miners’ broadcasting movement. The first one is a 30-minute 1983 UNESCO documentary entitled “La Voz del Minero” (“The Voice of the Miner”). This grainy 16-mm Spanish-language documentary fortunately has been ported to YouTube. The film features audio and video clips from several stations including Radio Nacional de Huanuni, Radio Pio XII, Radio Ánimas and Radio Vanguardia. Sharp eyes will notice at the 26-minute point a console-mounted Hammarlund HQ receiver in Radio Pio XII’s studios.

The second documentary is from 2017 but remains in limited release. It includes many interviews/images. The film is called “Las Voces del Socavón” (“Voices of the Tunnels) by Argentine filmmakers Magalí Vela Vázquez and Julia Delfini.

“La Voz del Minero”:

Click here to view on YouTube.

“Las Voces del Socavón” (trailer)

Click here to view on YouTube.

(interview on ATB TV)

Click here to view on YouTube.

Here are some mining station URLs:
http://www.radiofedecomin.com/
http://www.radionacionaldehuanuni.com/
http://radiopio12.com.bo/

Listening to the Huanuni station you will hear 1970’s-era taped IDs listing the shortwave channel. Evenings and Sundays are the best times for those flashback moments.

For further backgrounder Don Moore published a 2004 Monitoring Times piece which can be found here: http://www.pateplumaradio.com/south/bolivia/miners.html

A larger complex topic read is the 2004 book by Alan O’Connor titled “Community Radio in Bolivia: The Miners’ Radio Station.” (Edwin Mellen Press Ltd, ISBN-13 978-0773463929).

As an aside, perhaps the most esoteric cinematic reference to shortwave can be found in Kiro Russo’s 2016 Bolivian mining-themed movie “Viejo Calavera” (Dark Skull). In one nighttime scene, Radio Pio XII (Siglo XX) plays in the background with announcer mentioning Pio XII is broadcasting their shortwave call-in show and getting DX reports from Sweden. (Sorry, this cool background banter is not subtitled to English.)

Finally, both documentaries feature the haunting song “El Minero” by Savia Andina sung in Spanish and Quechua. The best YouTube video of the song with Quechua-to-Spanish translation is found here:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Musica.com has the lyrics.

Celebrating UNESCO’s International Year of indigenous Languages with shortwave radio!

– Tracy Wood (K7UO)

Thank you so much, Tracy, for sharing these fascinating documentaries!


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Weekend Broadcasts of VORW Radio International

Hello readers! I just wanted to provide an updated schedule for this weekend’s broadcasts of VORW Radio International.

For any new listeners – VORW Radio International is an hour long music based program, featuring listener requested music. It’s a very diverse show where you are guaranteed to hear music of many genres and eras! Here’s when you can listen if you want to tune in:

Saturday:
2300 UTC – 6 PM Eastern – 9395 kHz WRMI – Targeting North America

Sunday:
0100 UTC – 8 PM Eastern Saturday – 5850 kHz WRMI – Targeting Western North America
2200 UTC – 5 PM Eastern – 7570 kHz WRMI – Targeting Western North America

Feedback, music requests and QSL Reports are encouraged and can be sent (and will be verified) at vorwinfo@gmail.com

Happy listening!

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FY 2019 NIST budget looks good for time stations

WWV Chief Engineer Matt Deutch. (Photo: Thomas Witherspoon)

Many thanks to the number of SWLing Post readers who have forwarded this article from the ARRL News that notes the WWV Special Event Station, planned for later this year, is a go. This is great news indeed.

With regards to the FY2019 budget uncertainty surrounding NIST radio stations WWV, WWVH and WWVB, the ARRL notes:

“The NIST budget for WWV, WWVH, and WWVB will remain level for FY 2019.”

As I mentioned in a recent post, this is the feedback I’ve received as well–that the portion of the budget that includes NIST radios station will remain the same as it was last year. Last year, the NIST internally-allocated funds for the stations and it appears it will this will happen again! Brilliant news, indeed.

With that said, I do wonder if the next budget request (which is only a few months away) will include all of the NIST radio stations.

Time will tell…

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International Space Station SSTV Event Feb 15-17

(Source: Southgate ARC)

Space Station Slow Scan TV Event Feb 15-17

ARISS is planning another of their popular Slow Scan Television (SSTV) experiment events from the International Space Station on February 15-17

Transmissions on 145.800 MHz FM are scheduled to begin Friday, Feb. 15 at 08:45 UT and run through Sunday, Feb. 17 at 17:25 UT.

SSTV operations is a process by which images are sent from the International Space Station (ISS) via ham radio and received by ham operators, shortwave listeners and other radio enthusiasts on Earth, similar to pictures shared on cell phones using Twitter or Instagram.

When this event becomes active, SSTV images will be transmitted from the ISS at the frequency of 145.800 MHz using the SSTV mode of PD120 and can be received using ham radio equipment as simple as a 2 meter handheld radio or a common shortwave or scanner receiver the covers the 2 meter ham band. After connecting the audio output of the radio receiver to the audio input of a computer running free software such as MMSSTV, the SSTV images can be displayed.

Transmissions will consist of eight NASA On The Air (NOTA) images (see https://nasaontheair.
wordpress.com/
). In additional, four ARISS commemorative images will also be included.

Once received, Images can be posted and viewed by the public at
http://www.spaceflight
software.com/ARISS_SSTV/index.php

In addition, you can receive a special SSTV ARISS Award for posting your image. Once the event begins, see details at https://ariss.pzk.org.pl/sstv/

Please note that the event is dependent on other activities, schedules and crew responsibilities on the ISS and are subject to change at any time. Please check for news and the most current information on the ARISS Twitter feed @ARISS_status or the AMSAT Bulletin Board

The SSTV images will be transmitted in PD-120 on 145.800 MHz FM using the Kenwood TM-D710 transceiver located in the Russian ISS Service module.

Note the ISS transmissions use the 5 kHz deviation FM standard rather than the narrow 2.5 kHz used in Europe. If your transceiver has selectable FM filters try using the wider filter. Handheld transceivers generally have a single wide filter fitted as standard and you should get good results outdoors using just a 1/4 wave whip antenna.

ISS SSTV links for tracking and decoding Apps
https://amsat-uk.org/beginners/iss-sstv/

You can receive the SSTV transmissions by using an Online Radio (WebSDR) and the MMSSTV software:
• Listen to the ISS when it is in range of London with the SUWS WebSDR http://farnham-sdr.com/
• Listen to the ISS when it is over Russia with the R4UAB WebSDR http://websdr.r4uab.ru/

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