I created a survey form and left it open for about five days. In that time, we received 639 responses! If you’d like to read the results, continue scrolling or click on continue reading below. Continue reading →
In the song Por Eso Te Quiero Cuenca (That’s Why I Love You Cuenca) the singer recites a litany of the many reasons to love this city. What do I love about Cuenca? Well, unlike the song, I won’t include well-roasted guinea pig.
The elevation of 2560 meters (8,400 feet) gives Cuenca a comfortable spring-like climate year-round. Daily highs are usually around 20C/70F. Nights are chilly but not cold. Most days have at least several hours of sun, even during the rainy season (as it is now). There are numerous green parks and plazas including long tree-lined walking paths along the two main rivers that run through the city. The drinking water, which comes from high up in the mountains, is the best in South America. Yes, you can drink it right from the tap.
A walking/bike path runs along the Yanuncay River for over six kilometers through the south side of Cuenca. A similar path runs along the larger Tomebamba River in the center of town.
The people of Cuenca are among the friendliest I’ve found anywhere. It’s a well-run, educated city with lots of civic pride. The metro area population is only about a half-million so it’s small enough to easily get anywhere but large enough to have the benefits of a city. Cuenca has several good universities and theaters and the symphony orchestra gives free concerts most Friday evenings. It’s a pleasure to simply stroll through the beautiful architecture in the old centro neighborhood.
One of many beautifully restored buildings in Cuenca’s old centro.
Getting around Cuenca is easy. A ride on the excellent bus system costs just thirty cents and taxi rides usually run under two dollars. And, unlike the much larger cities of Quito and Guayaquil, Cuenca has a mass transit system. In 2013 city leaders voted to put in a light rail line. Doing so required digging up two of the main streets through the old downtown but rather than just dig up two streets they decided to dig up the entire old downtown … to replace the aging water and sewer systems, move all electric lines and cables underground, and install high-speed fiber optic Internet. (Fiber optic Internet was also run above ground in the newer neighborhoods outside the centro.) The result is one of the few places in Latin America where one can enjoy beautifully restored architecture and colonial churches without the views being marred by powerlines. And the Internet here is better than most places I’ve stayed at in the United States.
Those are just a handful of the reasons that I love Cuenca.
Early Radio in Cuenca
Radio broadcasting in Ecuador started in 1925 with Radio El Prado in Riobamba, a small city in the center of the country. Other stations soon started up in Guayaquil and Quito, including HCJB in 1931. Broadcasting came to Cuenca in 1934 when a group of friends purchased a homemade ten-watt transmitter from an engineer in Guayaquil and put it on the air as La Voz de Tomebamba. The name came from the main river flowing through Cuenca. At the time there were only four receivers in the city so the audience was rather sparse. La Voz de Tomebamba initially broadcast for only one or two hours a night and most of the musical selections were done live as there weren’t many 78 RPM records in town. Years later one early listener reminisced, “It was sixty percent noise. Only radio fanatics could be entertained by listening to such a thing.”
Old studio equipment from La Voz de Tomebamba
Gradually, the owners added new equipment and expanded the daily schedule. A fifty-watt transmitter was added in 1938 and by 1947 the power had been increased to two hundred watts. The first frequency listing that I’ve found for La Voz de Tomebamba was for 4200 kHz in a 1944 FBIS newsletter. The 1947 WRTH listed it as on the air from 0000 to 0430 GMT on 4200 kHz. And that was the station’s only frequency. Until the 1960s it was very common for radio stations in Ecuador to only broadcast on shortwave and not on medium wave. For example, the 1957 WRTH lists eighty Ecuadorian stations on shortwave (not counting HCJB) but only fifty-nine on medium wave.
Sometime in the early 1960s La Voz de Tomebamba made the switch to medium wave and left shortwave. Their 4200 kHz frequency is not listed in the 1965 WRTH, nor are they listed in any later ones. (I would be interested to hear from anyone who remembers listening to them on shortwave.) The changes may have had to do with financial problems the station was having. It closed in 1967 and remained off the air until returning under new ownership four years later. Today La Voz de Tomebamba is one of the most popular radio stations in town and has an excellent news department. Their sister station, Super Rock FM 94.9, is very popular with younger listeners.
La Voz de Tomebamba today.
The second station in Cuenca was Radio Cuenca, which began broadcasting in October 1945 on 2830 kHz with two-hundred watts. It was included in a 1953 list of stations logged by the Universal Radio DX Club of Indiana. To the local audience, Radio Cuenca was best known for its many live music broadcasts. Continue reading →
Fastradioburst23 here to let you know about our next imaginary Stations offering on Sunday 19th March 2023 on 9395 kHz at 2200 hrs UTC. This week it’s a WORK special. They’ll be a shortwave tea break with an assortment of biscuits*, training courses, interview tips and lots of tunes to get your through your shift. Clock in, tune in and then chill out.
*Subject to availability.
Hello shortwave listeners! I wanted to make this post in order to provide an updated broadcast schedule for my transmissions to North America for the Spring of 2023.
This radio program is 1 Hour in length and features miscellaneous discussion (sometimes about current events, other times about random subjects on my mind) at the start of the program and is then balanced out with listener requested music. I hope for it to be an enjoyable light entertainment program with good music and discussion!
Saturday 0600 UTC (2 AM Eastern / 1 AM Central) – 4840 kHz – WWCR 100 kW – North America
Monday 0400 UTC (12 AM Eastern / 11 PM Central Sunday Evening) – 4840 kHz – WWCR 100 kW – North America
Tuesday 2000 UTC (4 PM Eastern / 3 PM Central) – 15770 kHz – WRMI 100 kW – Eastern North America
Wednesday 1300 UTC (9AM Eastern / 8 AM Central) – 15770 kHz – WRMI 100 kW – Eastern North America
Thursday 1600 UTC (12 PM Eastern / 11 AM Central) – 15770 kHz – WRMI 100 kW – Eastern North America
Thursday 2200 UTC (6 PM Eastern / 5 PM Central) – 9955 kHz – WRMI 100 kW – South America
Friday 2100 UTC (5 PM Eastern / 4 PM Central) – 9955 kHz – WRMI 100 kW – South America
Saturday 0700 UTC (3 AM Eastern / 2 AM Central) – 1300 kHz – WNQM 5 kW – Tennessee
Saturday 2200 UTC (6 PM Eastern / 5 PM Central) – 6115 kHz – WWCR 100 kW – Noth AMerica
The father and son team of Joe and Jeff Geerling have teamed up on radio-related projects before.
Joe is a broadcast engineer, working into his fifth decade in the St. Louis market. He was market chief for CBS Radio for 20 years and today is the director of engineering for Covenant Network.
His son Jeff has spent nearly 15 years as a software architect and developer. He founded Midwestern Mac LLC and is active in many open-source software communities. Jeff recalls that one of his first web programming projects in the late 1990s was to construct an interface to display the current song on 98.1 KYKY(FM)’s initial website for his dad.
Last February, Joe appeared on a video on Jeff’s YouTube channel to install a Raspberry Pi IP KVM in a Covenant Network studio. That collaboration went so well that commenters on Jeff’s videos began clamoring for more appearances by the senior Geerling.
Over a family vacation, Joe and Jeff came to the realization that the iconic Crestwood Master Tower in Shrewsbury, Mo. — nicknamed by its original engineering community as “the Supertower” — would make for a perfect showcase for a new Geerling Engineering YouTube channel.
Given Joe’s expertise with the site, the idea for a video was a natural. In fact they ended up making two. [Continue reading…]
The investment activity of Amancio Ortega in the United Kingdom does not stop. Pontegadea, the group that manages the equity investments of the founder of Inditex (Zara, Massimo Dutti, Bershka…) and the richest man in Spain, is negotiating the purchase of a new office building in London, as revealed on Wednesday by the specialized website CoStar News. This, citing market sources, indicates that the operation would be around 80 million pounds (89.7 million euros, at current exchange rates). The building, originally a printing press built in the twenties, is close to the BBC headquarters and, in fact, for years served as offices for the commercial division of British public broadcasting.
The property, renovated in 2015 by the construction company Kier and the firm Brimelow McSweeney Architects, currently houses a business of coworking (flexible office rental). Of the more than 3,000 meters built, 2,100 are available for rent, according to the building’s commercial brochure. Some websites advertise their tables for a price that exceeds 840 euros per table per month. It offers, in addition to parking for bicycles or changing rooms, a kitchen, private offices, meeting rooms or terraces on the upper floor (the fifth) and on the roof. To this we must add a privileged location in the center of the British capital, in the Fitzrovia neighborhood. The building is close to Soho, the British Museum and Regent’s Park. [Continue reading…]
Our smartphones have become our constant companions over the last decade, and it’s often said that they have been such a success because they’ve absorbed the features of so many of the other devices we used to carry. PDA? Check. Pager? Check. Flashlight? Check. Camera? Check. MP3 player? Of course, and the list goes on. But alongside all that portable tech there’s a wider effect on less portable technology, and it’s one that even has a social aspect to it as well. In simple terms, there’s a generational divide that the smartphone has brought into focus, between older people who consume media in ways born in the analogue age, and younger people for whom their media experience is customized and definitely non-linear. Continue reading →
As nearly as I can tell, 13 people participated, and many had something positive to say about the experience, including they would like to do it again.
I say “as nearly as I can tell” with regard to the number of participants because some people posted the same thing multiple times . . . and there is a simple reason why. When someone posts a comment for the first time, or posts a comment for the first time with a new email address (which is one of the required fields when you post a comment), that comment is sent to moderation for approval before it is posted . . . which causes a delay. Thinking it didn’t work the first time, the commenter reposts again (and perhaps again and again) and after a while, all the posts appear, which confuses the counting process.
A variety of equipment was used: 4 GE Superadios, 2 Belka radios, a Yaesu FT950, an AirSpy SDR, a single-transistor regenerative radio, and a Sangean ATS 909-X2. Some ran barefoot (using internal antennas), some employed loops, dipoles, and even an AFA-200 from Icom.
In terms of station count, Tom Laskowski, in a neighborhood park in South Bend, Indiana, absolutely killed it with a GE Superadio, logging 69 stations with lots of colorful detail. Clearly he was enjoying himself. The total mileage of his top five stations was 1230 miles. He qualified for Chuck Rippel’s generous offer of a Superadio refurb.
13dka “informally reported” his results in miles, furlongs, and attoparsecs. From a dike at the German North Sea Coast (Riddle of the Sands?), his farthest station was 677 miles away and his top five total was 2748 miles . . . that’s 21,968.5 furlongs in case you were wondering. He used a Belka 2022 in combination with an AFA-200 active ferrite antenna (his ultra portable MW rig).
David Mappin in Filey, UK, managed to hear a station in Solt, Hungary, at a distance of 987 miles. His top five total mileage was 1965 miles. He used a Sangean ATS 909X2 with a Cross Country Wireless (CCW) Loop Antenna Amplifier with a one-meter loop made out of coax.
Everyone seemed to have a good time, even those to whom “life happened,” and could only get on for a few minutes.
So, therefore, you are all sentenced to more DX challenges in the future!
My operatives (the upstate irregulars) deep in the underground bunker at El Rancho Elliott tell me that some of the names of future challenges might include “The Midnight Ramble” and “The Grayline Sprint” . . . but these sources are unreliable.
In the meantime, thanks to all for participating, and I am glad you had fun.
PS – Some have suggested that taking station transmit power into account when figuring out scoring might be a thing to do. If you have practical ideas for doing this, post them, with examples in the comments section below. Bear in mind that any calculation of “difficulty factor” will fall on the folks recording their logs.
RadioGPT can talk. It can research. It can take your calls. And it could be coming to your market.
The humble broadcast-radio host, whether a disc jockey or interviewer or reporter, has been going through it for decades now. The 1996 Telecommunications Act fueled the consolidation of local stations, decimating their staffs. The explosion of online radio, music and video streaming, and podcasting have upended ratings for shows on public airwaves. Phones and computers and smart speakers increasingly supplant radio sets. Funding for public radio is notoriously unreliable. It isn’t the best time for your modern-day Wolfman Jacks, or for any media profession.
On top of all that, your local DJ was already on the losing end of the artificial-intelligence revolution. Before the A.I. hype from last year, and even before the COVID recession demolished media ad markets, broadcast networks were gutting on-air talent at the both the national and collegiate level to trim budgets and automate programming: syndicating well-known shows and brands, prerecording and prearranging late-night broadcasts, training a roboticized voice to fill in the space when needed. Coupled with major streaming services’ dependence on algorithms and automation to curate playlists and make user recommendations—often with bizarre side effects—these developments make clear that the music industry anticipates the need for fewer humans down the line.
A.I. hasn’t yet finished killing the radio star, nor is it truly likely to anytime soon. But there’s a new digital buddy out there that might give hosts additional pause: RadioGPT, a new tool from the Ohio-based software company Futuri Media that fully digitizes the broadcast host as you know it. [Continue reading at Slate…]
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