Category Archives: News

Radio Waves: Who Will Pay, Ham Radio Culture, OTH Support, CarnationFM, Night of Nights, and 100 Years of Radio

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!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Richard Cuff, Dennis Dura,
David Korchin, Roger Fitzharris, David Iurescia, and NT for the following tips:


In 1924, a magazine ran a contest: “Who is to pay for broadcasting and how?” A century later, we’re still asking the same question (NiemanLab)

Radio Broadcast received close to a thousand entries to its contest — but ultimately rejected them all.

After yet another day reading about audio industry layoffs and show cancellations, or listening to podcasts about layoffs and show cancellations, I sometimes wonder, “With all this great audio being given away for free, who did we think was supposed to pay for it all?”

I find some consolation in the fact that that question is more than a century old. In the spring of 1924, Radio Broadcast posed it in a contest called “Who is to Pay for Broadcasting and How?”The monthly trade magazine offered a prize of $500 (more than $9,000 in today’s dollars) for “a workable plan which shall take into account the problems in present radio broadcasting and propose a practical solution.”

The need for such a contest more than 100 years ago is revealing enough, but the reaction of the judges to the prize-winning plan turned out to be even more so — and it says a lot about why business models for audio production and broadcast remain a struggle. [Continue reading…]

The Rich History of Ham Radio Culture (The MIT Press Reader)

Drawing on a wealth of personal accounts found in magazines, newsletters, and trade journals, historian Kristen Haring provides an inside look at ham radio culture and its impact on hobbyists’ lives.

Every night thousands of men retreat to radio stations elaborately outfitted in suburban basements or tucked into closets of city apartments to talk to local friends or to strangers on the other side of the world. They communicate by speaking into a microphone, tapping out Morse code on a telegraph key, or typing at the keyboard of a teletypewriter. In the Internet age, instantaneous, long-distance, person-to-person communication seems ordinary. But amateur radio operators have been completing such contacts since the 1910s. The hobbyists often called “hams” initially turned to radio for technical challenges and thrills. As the original form of wireless technology became more reliable and commonplace in the 1930s, ham radio continued as a leisure activity. Hams formed a community through the same general practices of other social groups. They set conditions for membership, established rules of conduct, taught values, and developed a specialized vocabulary known only to insiders. What made hams’ culture different was its basis in technology. In her book “Ham Radio’s Technical Culture,” excerpted below, historian of science and technology Kristen Haring draws on a wealth of personal accounts found in radio magazines and newsletters and from technical manuals, trade journals, and government documents to illustrate how ham radio culture rippled through hobbyists’ lives. [Continue reading…]

CarnationFM: A Decentralized Radio Playing Songs With Encrypted Hidden Messages (Coin Desk)

CarnationFM emerged from EthBerlin 2024 and won the award for Best Social Impact.

Berlin, Germany: A music-focused radio FM which allows songs to act as a transport vessel for hidden messages has emerged from EthBerlin 2024. CarnationFM was created by five hackers and a mentor as a defensive, decentralized and encrypted communication tool enabling private messaging that safeguards anonymity.

The project, which won the award for the Best Social Impact at EthBerlin 2024, is focused on creating real world use cases factoring in privacy in the aftermath of the Alexey Perstev verdict. Alexey Perstev, one of the co-founders of Tornado Cash, was sentenced to 64 months in prison in May.

The verdict rattled the decentralized community because it suggested that a coder could be held responsible for everything that happens using that code. Perstev was found guilty because his open-source mixer Tornado cash allowed North Korea’s infamous Lazarus group to launder millions in crypto. [Continue reading…]

Nation’s last Morse code station comes back to life on annual ‘Night of Nights’ in Point Reyes (The Mercury News)

KPH, established in Point Reyes and Bolinas in 1913, will exchange messages with Morse code enthusiasts around the world

On July 12, 1999, the nation’s final message in Morse code was sent out to sea from a remote Bay Area radio station. The end of an era, the room’s mood was mournful. Grizzled old men wept.

“We wish you fair winds and following seas,” it said, offering a seafarers’ traditional farewell in a staccato stream of dots and dashes. And then the station went silent.

But every July 12, the golden age of maritime radio comes back to life. [Continue reading…]

Navy researchers ask Envisioneering to support over-the-horizon radar that relies on HF radio signals (Military Aerospace Electronics)

Over-the-horizon radar typically uses HF radio signals at frequencies between 2 and 30 MHz to reach beyond the horizon in open-ocean areas.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Navy researchers needed to help develop a new prototype High Frequency (HF) over the horizon (OTH) radar system. They found a solution from Envisioneering Inc. in Alexandria, Va.

Officials of the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington announced a $45.4 million contract to Envisioneering Inc. on Monday for design, development and integration of a mobile over-the-horizon radar (MOTHR).

Over-the-horizon radar typically uses HF radio signals at frequencies between 2 and 30 MHz to reach beyond the horizon in open-ocean areas. HF signals bounce off the ionosphere to achieve long distances and operate beyond the curvature of the Earth.

Envisioneering will work alongside the NRL research team to support key areas such as refinement of system requirements; system and subsystem design; mechanical analysis; specifying and procuring long-lead items; integration; testing; and signal processing. [Continue reading…]

100 Years of 100 Things: Radio (WNYC)

Continuing our centennial series 100 Years of 100 Things, Matthew Barton, curator of recorded sound at the Library of Congress, walks us through the history of radio.

100 Years of 100 Things is part of WNYC’s centennial celebration. Each week, we’ll take listeners through a century’s worth of history of things that shape our politics, our lives and our world. Topics will include everything from immigration policy to political conventions, American capitalism to American socialism, the Jersey Shore to the Catskills, baseball to ice cream.

Click hee to listen via WNYC.


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XHDATA D-220 available in three colors

XHDATA D-220 – A Throwback to a Simpler Time

By Robert Gulley

XHDATA recently contacted me about a new portable radio, saying “XHDATA is planning to launch a new portable radio, the D-220, which has good reception and excellent sound quality. Not only can it receive FM/MW/SW bands, but the price will be surprisingly good value.”

Okay, well that sounded somewhat interesting (especially the bit about being “a surprisingly good value”). So within a few days I had a pre-release copy of the radio after choosing the color I preferred (black – what can I say, I am a traditionalist!).

The radio is small, 5” tall, 2-1/2 inches wide, and about 1 inch thick, very reminiscent of my first transistor radio in the (ahem) 60s. It has an analog tuning dial, volume control, and slider switch to go between FM1/2, MW, and SW. It also has a headphone jack. It takes 2 AA batteries (very old school!), and, unlike my transistor radio of old, a swing-out stand. That’s it. And, interestingly enough, that’s all it needs.

As my wife and I like to say about life sometimes, “It is what it is.” And, unlike life so often, in this case that’s a good thing. The radio is simple to operate – no menus, no bells and whistles, just the basics. You, an antenna, and a tuning dial.

For some, the tuning dial will be an aggravation, because just like my transistor radio of old, the tuning dial covers a lot of ground in a relatively short rotation. This means you will want to turn the dial slowly, very slowly. While this does not bother me, I realize this may not be everybody’s cup of tea. To get the best reception out of this radio, you need to turn the dial in millimeters, not even fractions of an inch.

Fortunately, the tuning dial is very firm and yet responds well to a light touch. I had no problem tuning between stations, even on a very crowded FM band or on a tight SW band covering 5.6 to 22MHz.

As for reception – well, I was rather surprised by this little radio. AM and FM delivered many, many stations in the rural area which I call home, and the biggest surprise was the shortwave reception. I waited until I had a storm-free evening (not always easy this summer here in the Midwest), and fired up the radio expecting to hear some of the more powerful stations, but not expecting to hear a large number of stations 10MHz and below on such a small (10-1/2”) antenna.

Speaking of the antenna, it is solid and one of the better antennas I have found on this size of radio. Yes, you can break it I am sure, but flimsy it is not. The same goes for the battery door, it closes with a resounding “click,” and I do not believe one could open it unintentionally.

As for the sound, it is surprisingly clear, and loud. One of the advantages of modern radios is smaller components, which in turn allows for bigger speakers. This speaker punches above its weight class for both talk radio and music. Both sound good with a reasonable signal.

As the radio has not been released to the general public yet, the XHDATA website does not have a listing for the radio, and therefore no price information. However, and this is a bonus for those of you who have read this far, Thomas’ readers will be eligible for a 40% discount when the radio becomes available for sale from XHDATA, the current projection being sometime in August. They will send out a shopping link and discount code when available.

Pros

  1. Great sound
  2. Solid antenna
  3. Impressive reception on all bands
  4. Analog dial tuning, solid and easily turned slowly (see Cons)

Cons

  1. Very tight tuning dial with little space between stations (see Pros)
  2. Not available quite yet

 

Conclusion

This is a solid little radio you can carry in a shirt pocket or jacket pocket easily, and since it runs on AA batteries with no significant draw of power, should provide hours and hours of enjoyment. The addition of the shortwave band, along with its decent reception, is a nice bonus, especially since I prefer SW to most anything I hear on MW and FM (wait, did I say that out loud? Oops!).

I suspect this will be a good radio to put on your to-buy list, especially with a 40% discount!

73, Robert K4PKM

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Bring your own Lederhosen (BYOL)

Hi it’s FastRadioBurst 23 from Imaginary Stations here letting you know of a couple of polka specials this coming week.

On Sunday 21st July 2024 at 0900/1300 hrs UTC on 6160 kHz and then at 2000 UTC on 6160 kHz and 3975 kHz the Imaginary Stations crew bring you a shortwave Polka Party.  So rent yourself some colourful Lederhosen for the evening and get ready for one exciting polka party.

Then via WRMI on Wednesday 24h July 2024 at 0200 UTC on 9395 kHz we’ll be bringing you  another Polka Party. This is different from the Shortwave Gold show so tune in and enjoy more polka dance classics!

We now have a Patreon page for our regular listeners here. Monthly memberships are available for exclusive audio and zines.

For more information on all our shows, please send  to [email protected] and check out our old shows at our Mixcloud page here.

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Winning with flare: An easier path to the W9IMS Checkered Flag Award

By Brian D. Smith

NASCAR comes to Indy this Sunday, which means that from now until then, you have a chance to snare the third and final QSL card in the 2024 set of amateur radio station W9IMS. Better yet, you can earn this year’s Checkered Flag Award with less effort than usual, thanks to the unforeseen effects of a mischievous sun.

Back in early May, the W9IMS crew staged their first special event of the year, commemorating the IndyCar Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But a series of solar flares spoiled the party, making it difficult for many stations to connect with W9IMS.

Since the usual requirement of the Checkered Flag Award is to work or tune in all three W9IMS special events in a given year, the uncharacteristically low number of Grand Prix contacts seemed destined to result in an uncharacteristically low number of certificate recipients.

So club officers changed the rules. This year, you can qualify for the award with credits for any two of the three special events: the Grand Prix and Indy 500 in May, and the upcoming NASCAR 400 at the Brickyard.

Of course, it’s best to bag all the events and claim the trio of ’24 QSL cards along with the certificate. But for anyone who went 1-for-2 in May, the coming week is your last opportunity to add more W9IMS wallpaper to your shack. The station will be on the air through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 21 (Indianapolis time)/0359 UTC Monday, July 22.

W9IMS operates primarily on 20 and 40 meters, but occasionally adds 80 meters later in the week (and occasionally 2 meters on Race Day for locals and fans in the stands at the Speedway). Preferred frequencies are 14.245 and 7.245 SSB, plus or minus QRM.

A few tips on locating W9IMS:

  1. Check DX Summit (www.dxsummit.fi) for spots listing the current frequency or frequencies of W9IMS. You can customize your search by typing “W9IMS” in the box at upper right.
  2. Go to the W9IMS web page (www.w9ims.org) and look for the heading, “2024 Operating Schedule.” Click on the “NASCAR 400 at the Brickyard” link, which opens into a weeklong schedule of individual operators and their reserved time slots. Although operators frequently get on the air at unscheduled times, your odds of catching the station improve significantly during hours with a listed op.
  3. Prime time for weeknight operations is 6 to 10 p.m. in Indy (2200-0200 UTC). That’s also your most likely shot at finding W9IMS active on two bands. However, it’s not unusual for operators to continue till midnight or later if band conditions allow.
  4. Remember that the published schedule can be shortened by adverse circumstances, such as local thunderstorms, a lack of calling stations and, as we discovered in May, solar flares! Don’t wait till the final hour to look for W9IMS.
  5. But if you still haven’t worked W9IMS by the final weekend, don’t give up too soon. Toward the end of the special event, W9IMS ops often call for “only stations that haven’t worked us this week” and/or switch to contest-style operations, exchanging only signal reports to put more calls in the log.
  6. Keep in mind that both hams and SWLs are eligible for QSL cards and the certificate. So if your ham station isn’t able to work W9IMS by Sunday night, you can create an SWL report by copying down details of successful contacts – such as date, frequency, UTC, and the callsigns of several stations you heard W9IMS working. SWL reports count as credits too, although the certificate may feature your name instead of your call.
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“Medium wave’s sunset in Europe”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Alan, who shares the following article from Red Tech:

Medium wave’s sunset in Europe (Red Tech)

GENEVA — European medium-wave transmitters are going silent. On April 1, the BBC shut down the nine transmitters that had previously brought BBC Radio 4 in AM to the whole country. Since January 2018, the British public broadcaster has started to switch off the AM transmitters for its local stations. Looking ahead, it plans to abandon the band totally by 2027 at the latest.

This trend goes beyond the BBC. In the last years, British commercial broadcasters have also switched off AM transmitters. In the case of Bauer Media, not a single AM transmitter remains operational.

The United Kingdom is the last fortress of AM transmission in Europe. Over the last 15 years, many other countries disconnected their last AM transmitters — Austria (in 2008), Switzerland (2010), Ireland (2012), Germany (2015), Belarus (2016), Albania (2017) and Belgium (2018), to name a few. More than 20 European countries have ceased AM transmission. Across the continent, less than 100 AM services remain active.

Notwithstanding, AM still resists against all odds in markets such as Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain, among others. However, many big broadcasters still relying on this technology have often reduced their transmission power without receiving complaints from the audience. This is a strong signal about how the future may look like. [Continue reading…]

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Carlos’ Shortwave Art from NHK and Radiofax via Kyodo News

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, who shares his radio log art of a recent broadcast of NHK Japan.


Carlos notes:

Part of NHK news bulletin, in Japanese, about Trump assassination attempt.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Kyodo News Radiofax

[T]his is the radiofax I got today from Kyodo News, with two front pages dedicated to the assassination attempt. Click here for the original radiofax audio file.

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Special QSL Card: RTI Direct from Tamsui July/August 2024

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Gérard Koopal, who writes:

Dear Thomas,

See below for a schedule from RTI stating their direct transmissions/programs from Tamsui Taiwan in German starting this Friday [July 12].

Reports can be sent to: [email protected] or by post: Radio Taiwan International, German Service, P.O. Box 123-199, Taipei 11199, Taiwan.

They also state that there will also be programs in French from August 9 until September 1 on Saturday and Sunday on the same times and frequencies directly from Tamsui.

All reports will receive a special QSL card.

The following announcement from RTI was translated to English via Google Translate:

RTI Direct from Tamsui July/August 2024

Dear listeners,

Radio Taiwan International will once again be broadcasting German-language programs on several days this year directly from the Tamsui transmitter in Taiwan.

Broadcast dates and frequencies:
The broadcast times are given in UTC (CEST=UTC+2)

1700-1730 UTC 11995 kHz

1730-1800 UTC 9545 kHz

July 12th (Friday)

July 13th (Saturday)

July 14th (Sunday)

July 19th (Friday)

July 20th (Saturday)

July 21st (Sunday)

July 26th (Friday)

July 27th (Saturday)

July 28th (Sunday)

August 2nd (Friday)

August 3rd (Saturday)
04.08. (Sunday)

Please send reception reports by email to: [email protected]
or via the online form: https://de.rti.org.tw/index/content/id/8
or by post to: Radio Taiwan International, German Service, P.O. Box 123-199, Taipei 11199, Taiwan

We will again confirm reception reports with a special QSL card!

further information:
https://de.rti.org.tw/radio/programView/id/2001

We would also like to point out that in August and September (August 9th to September 1st, 2024) RTI will also broadcast French-language programs directly from the Tamsui transmitter on Friday, Saturday and Sunday on the same frequencies at the same times.

Kind regards
Your RTI editorial team
[email protected]
https://de.rti.org.tw/

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