Category Archives: Nostalgia

KPH Article on TechCrunch and Bay Area Backroads

Cypress tree avenue towards KPH. Photo by Frank Schulenburg via Wikimedia Commons

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Van Hoy, who writes:

“The Last Radio Station,” an article about maritime radio station, KPH, is up on TechCrunch ( https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/18/the-last-radio-station/ ).

KPH is silent on maritime frequencies, but through the hard work of volunteers continues operation 24/7 with a 3-30MHz KiwiSDR receiver (http://198.40.45.23:8073/) and various activities throughout the year. Full information on all things KPH can be found the excellent Maritime Radio Historical Society Website (http://www.radiomarine.org/).

Finally an excellent “Bay Area Backroads” episode about KPH is available on Youtube:

Can you copy the CW message at the end of the show?

Please comment if you can copy the CW message!

Thanks to much for sharing this, Dan!

Spread the radio love

Mindaugas Macijauskas’ stunning radio poster

Radio enthusiast, Mindaugas Macijauskas, has recently shared a graphics project he’s been working on for quite a few months. Mindaugas writes (on Facebook):

Few months ago I’ve started my little spare time project – “Longwave, mediumwave & shortwave bands” poster. So, I’m happy to announce that poster & wallpaper are ready to download!

Available for free in multiple sizes & formats at: https://macijauskas.org/shortwave/

This is initial, 1st edition so some errors might occur. In that case – please PM me.

Currently it’s a bit simpler version, than I’ve initially intended to create. But for this one decided to use “less is more” philosophy.

Had some issues with PDF making, so not all sizes currently are available. I’ll try to fix this within a week or so. On the other hand – tried to print 30×40 cm (12X16 inch) jpeg file at photo lab – and this went exceptionally well.

If you like my my work – you can support it via PayPal. Link is in website.

Very well done, Mindaugas! This is a gorgeous poster and is now the wallpaper on one of my PC monitors.

Click here to download the poster and support Mindaugas’ project. 

Spread the radio love

Reginald Fessenden’s connection to Bermuda

Reginald Fessenden: “The Father of Radio Broadcasting” (Source: Wikipedia)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans (W4/VP9KF), who writes:

The story of Reginald Fessenden has a background in Bermuda.

Before he finished his college education in Canada, he spotted an advert for Headmaster at a school in Bermuda. He applied for it and got the job. At the right age of 18 he became headmaster of Whitney Institute, a school near the top of the hill in Flatts and where your scribe went to school starting in 1968! He met Helen Trott of Flatts and they were married and he moved on to his radio and scientific fascination. The main school building that I attended is exactly as it was in Fessenden’s time (and is to this day).

Later, they moved back to Bermuda and bought Wistowe a house on North Shore Road in Flatts (on the east side of the inlet), which was no more than a stiff 10 minutes walk to Whitney). The school and house still stand although the roads are now so very busy (and the house literally within an inch of passing buses) it’s hard to see them (I do have pictures!). Wistowe is just yards from the Bermuda Aquarium across the road.

In October 2007 the amateur radio special callsign VP9F was used to celebrate his life (indeed he held the callsign himself in 1929).

A fuller article is at http://vp9ge.com/vp9f.htm as written by myself and Ed, VP9GE.

The celebrations also included Ken Hubbard who demonstrated radio to students from Whitney and other Bermuda schools (Ken was my Physics instructor at Bermuda College, although not a radio ham). In 1976 Ken and I did a public demo of radio while I manned the world’s first all solid state transceiver, the Atlas 210X at a similar open day at Bermuda College (ironically the student [me] taking the lead and having to supervise the instructor!).

Once again, a small world!

Thanks for sharing this interesting bit of Fessenden history, Paul!

Spread the radio love

WI2XLQ: Brian Justin’s annual longwave broadcast

Canadian Reginald Aubrey Fessenden in his lab believed circa 1906 (Source: Radio Canada International)

(Source: ARRL News via Harald Kuhl)

The Canadian inventor, experimenter, and entrepreneur Reginald Fessenden has been credited as the inventor of radiotelephony. Fessenden claimed to have made his first voice — and music — broadcast on Christmas Eve in 1906 from Brant Rock, Massachusetts, although his account is disputed. As he has done each December for the past few years, Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, of Forest, Virginia, will transmit a program on 486 kHz, under authority of his FCC Part 5 Experimental License WI2XLQ ito commemorate Fessenden’s accomplishments.

Justin will transmit for at least 24 hours starting at around 2000 UTC on December 24, with a repeat transmission on New Year’s Eve likely, “keeping in step with what Fessenden was reported to have done on both nights in 1906,” Justin explained.Fessenden’s transmitter was most likely a high-speed “dynamo” or alternator — a predecessor to the later Alexanderson alternator — modulated by placing a carbon microphone in series with the antenna feed line to create an amplitude modulated signal. Fessenden a few years earlier had limited success making voice transmissions using a rotary spark gap transmitter. Fessenden fed his signal into a substantial antenna system erected in Brant Rock for his experiments. Accounts say on Christmas Eve 1906, he transmitted recordings of two pieces of music and read a verse from the bible.

Justin will use somewhat more modern equipment — a home-brew master oscillator, power amplifier (MOPA) transmitter based on a classic design from the early 1920s. It uses a UV-201 oscillator tube driving a VT-25 tube — a modern equivalent to a UV-202 — to generate “a few watts” on 486 kHz. His modulator consists of another VT-25, which uses a large inductor in the RF amplifier’s plate supply to serve as a Heising modulator. The audio program comes from a laptop computer.

“Heising modulation was used in World War I as an easy way to achieve AM in rigs such as those used in aircraft,” Justin said. “My particular Heising modulator can deliver only around 60% modulation, so an audio processor is used to help boost the average volume level ahead of the modulator tube.”

Justin uses far more modern technology to boost “the few watts” of modulated RF to drive a modified Hafler 9505 solid-state 500-W audio amplifier. “The idea for the amp came from W1TAG and W1VD,” he said, “and information on using such an amp on the 630 and 2200-meter ham bands can be found on the web.” After a multi-pole low-pass filter, the carrier output is 150 W.

Justin’s antenna is a Marconi T, crafted from a 160-meter dipole some 60 feet above ground and fed with open-wire line, which is shorted at the transmitter end. A homebrew variometer — constructed from 14-gauge wire wound on a piece of 4-inch diameter PVC pipe — is placed in series to resonate the antenna, which is fed against an extensive ground system. “Most of the RF is lost due to the ohmic losses of the ground system, but at least 15 W ERP is possible, depending on the dampness of the soil. Damp soil helps lower the ground losses,” Justin said.

Click here to read the full article on the ARRL News.

Listener reports may be sent to Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, at his QRZ.com address.

If you would like more information about Brian Justin and WI2XLQ, check out our interview with him in 2013. Indeed, I successfully heard the 2013 WG2XFG broadcast and posted this audio clip on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

Additionally, SWLing Post reader, George Stein has a very personal connection with radio pioneer, Reginald Fessenden: click here to read his story.

Spread the radio love

Phil recommends The Radio Historian website

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Phill (W9IXX), who writes:

Thought might be interested in this if you haven’t already mentioned this site:

http://www.theradiohistorian.org/pubs.html

Check out his calendars!

Thanks for the tip, Phil! I know we’ve linked to article on this site before, but thanks for mentioning it again. This is truly a treasure trove for those of us who love vintage radio.  I especially like the articles page which has a number of fascinating reports. Of course there are a load of photographs and recordings as well.

Click here to check out The Radio Historian website.

Spread the radio love

Now Unblocked: Watching the new Radio Australia documentary

Yesterday, we posted a note about the new documentary, “Australia Calling: 80 Years of International Broadcasting.” At the time, I mentioned that the video was geo-blocked–meaning, you could not watch the video outside Australia without using a VPN.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Peter Marks, who shares this great news:

I’ve corresponded with the iview team and they have un-geoblocked the video. It can be watched here:

https://iview.abc.net.au/show/australia-calling-80-years-of-international-broadcasting/video/NC1940H001S00

I tested it over a VPN to Singapore and it played for me.

Thanks so much, Peter! I’ve loaded the video with no problems here in North America.

Click here to watch “Australia Calling.”


Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

Spread the radio love

Australia Calling: ABC documentary looking at the impact of Radio Australia

Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post contributors who contacted me about a new documentary focused on the impact of Radio Australia. Peter Marks writes:

The celebration of 80 years of international broadcasting from Australia continues. The ABC has published “Australia Calling: A look at 80 years of Radio Australia and ABC international broadcasting” today:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-16/abc-celebrating-80-years-of-international-broadcasting/11783252

And tonight there’s a documentary being shown on TV.

There’s even a story about the making of that documentary here:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/about/backstory/news-coverage/2019-12-16/making-australia-calling-documentary/11795134

Thank you, Peter! I just started watching the documentary via ABC’s iView. Note that the program is geo-blocked and not available outside of Australia (unless, like me, you have a good VPN). [No longer geo-blocked! See update.]

Here’s a link to the documentary on iView:

https://iview.abc.net.au/show/australia-calling-80-years-of-international-broadcasting

Peter also shared a number of related stories–some of which we’ve published in the past:

Spread the radio love