Despite being created 180 years ago and not being a requirement for amateur radio operators to learn since 1990, it has been kept alive by radio enthusiasts – and now more young people are getting involved.
A combination of pandemic lockdowns forcing youngsters to learn something new, and the use of Morse Code by popular K-Pop bands, has led to ‘a renaissance’ in teens wanting to learn the once groundbreaking form of communication.
From five-year-olds to 99-year-old war veterans, people all over the world are tapping in to communicate with others on the radio. [Continue reading…]
As he sits in a shed on the outskirts of Cambridge, Martin Atherton twists a radio dial and picks up a message being sent in Morse code. The audio dots and dashes, familiar from black-and-white war films, might seem to be relics of a past era.
But more than a century after it was first used, this mode of communication appears to be making a comeback. Since 2006 the number of amateur radio licences, which allow holders to send Morse and voice messages, has increased by almost 60 per cent, according to the Radio Society of Great Britain.
Last year the number of 13 to 44-year-olds viewing the society’s online tutorials, which cover topics such as “improving your Morse skills” and how to build your own equipment, more than tripled.
Allowing people to reach out to distant lands on a shoestring budget, the hobby could have been tailor-made for lockdown. The Netflix series Stranger Things, in which a “ham” radio set is used to contact another dimension, has also been linked to an increase in interest.
“Teenagers are picking it up, so are retirees,” said Atherton, 69, a member of the Cambridge University Wireless Society. [Continue reading…]
In the 1960s, the BBC had a vise grip on British radio, and rarely played the pop and rock music that was all the rage. So a group of rebellious radio DJs decided to give the people what they wanted, and started broadcasting popular music from boats stationed in international waters. Soon enough, these young DJs became national superstars… until the British government decided it was time to sink these pirates once and for all. This story comes from the History This Week podcast.
Whether it’s World of Warcraft, Uncharted or the upcoming Super Mario movie – games characters have been all over our cinemas in recent years.
The Last of Us is coming to television screens, where shows based on Resident Evil and Halo have found audiences.
Now, BBC Radio 4 is getting in on the act.
Sam Fisher, leading man from the Splinter Cell game series, can call the radio station home, thanks to a first-of-its-kind adaptation that producers say no-one had thought possible.
Radio 1 film critic Ali Plumb says that with so much competition for audiences these days it’s no surprise that commissioners are giving the green-light to projects with a “built-in audience”.
He argues that we live in a world that is dominated by content: “From podcasts to music, TV, movies, games and audiobooks – frankly its tricky for anyone to cut through the noise.
“The art of finding intellectual property, using the built-in fan base of that property and engaging with them in something you want to say about the world is the trick that many creative people are trying to do.”
Splinter Cell: Firewall is an eight part dramatisation of a novel based on the famous video game franchise. Sam Fisher, the series’ main protagonist, is a covert special agent who excels at sneaking around military bases at night, silently killing terrorist guards and generally saving the world.
Bringing the gaming revolution to audio drama makes perfect sense to actor Andonis Anthony, who plays Sam in the Radio 4 drama, which is also available on BBC Sounds. He argues that with more people turning to “non-music audio”, it’s a good time for BBC radio to tell stories that offer a “cinematic experience”.
“Given the rise in podcasts, and audiobooks being so popular – more and more people are getting used to listening to audio as a story experience. Everyone’s going out and about with their air pods on these days and listening in a different way to before.” [Continue reading…]
Software-defined radio is all the rage these days, and for good reason. It eliminates or drastically reduces the amount of otherwise pricey equipment needed to transmit or even just receive, and can pack many more features than most affordable radio setups otherwise would have. It also makes it possible to go mobile much more easily. [Rostislav Persion] uses a laptop for on-the-go SDR activities, and designed this 3D printed antenna mount to make his radio adventures much easier.
The antenna mount is a small 3D printed enclosure for his NESDR Smart Dongle with a wide base to attach to the back of his laptop lid with Velcro so it can easily be removed or attached. This allows him to run a single USB cable to the dongle and have it oriented properly for maximum antenna effectiveness without something cumbersome like a dedicated antenna stand. [Rostislav] even modeled the entire assembly so that he could run a stress analysis on it, and from that data ended up filling it with epoxy to ensure maximum lifespan with minimal wear on the components. [Continue reading…]
An experiment to bounce a radio signal off an asteroid on Dec. 27 will serve as a test for probing a larger asteroid that in 2029 will pass closer to Earth than the many geostationary satellites that orbit our planet.
The High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program research site in Gakona will transmit radio signals to asteroid 2010 XC15, which could be about 500 feet across. The University of New Mexico Long Wavelength Array near Socorro, New Mexico, and the Owens Valley Radio Observatory Long Wavelength Array near Bishop, California, will receive the signal.
This will be the first use of HAARP to probe an asteroid.
“What’s new and what we are trying to do is probe asteroid interiors with long wavelength radars and radio telescopes from the ground,” said Mark Haynes, lead investigator on the project and a radar systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “Longer wavelengths can penetrate the interior of an object much better than the radio wavelengths used for communication.”
Knowing more about an asteroid’s interior, especially of an asteroid large enough to cause major damage on Earth, is important for determining how to defend against it.
“If you know the distribution of mass, you can make an impactor more effective, because you’ll know where to hit the asteroid a little better,” Haynes said.
Many programs exist to quickly detect asteroids, determine their orbit and shape and image their surface, either with optical telescopes or the planetary radar of the Deep Space Network, NASA’s network of large and highly senstive radio antennas in California, Spain and Australia.
Those radar-imaging programs use signals of short wavelengths, which bounce off the surface and provide high-quality external images but don’t penetrate an object.
HAARP will transmit a continually chirping signal to asteroid 2010 XC15 at slightly above and below 9.6 megahertz (9.6 million times per second). The chirp will repeat at two-second intervals. Distance will be a challenge, Haynes said, because the asteroid will be twice as far from Earth as the moon is.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks operates HAARP under an agreement with the Air Force, which developed and owned HAARP but transferred the research instruments to UAF in August 2015.
The test on 2010 XC15 is yet another step toward the globally anticipated 2029 encounter with asteroid Apophis. It follows tests in January and October in which the moon was the target of a HAARP signal bounce.
Apophis was discovered in 2004 and will make its closest approach to Earth on April 13, 2029, when it comes within 20,000 miles. Geostationary satellites orbit Earth at about 23,000 miles. The asteroid, which NASA estimated to be about 1,100 feet across, was initially thought to pose a risk to Earth in 2068, but its orbit has since been better projected by researchers.
The test on 2010 XC15 and the 2029 Apophis encounter are of general interest to scientists who study near-Earth objects. But planetary defense is also a key research driver.
“The more time there is before a potential impact, the more options there are to try to deflect it,” Haynes said.
NASA says an automobile-sized asteroid hits Earth’s atmosphere about once a year, creating a fireball and burning up before reaching the surface.
About every 2,000 years a meteoroid the size of a football field hits Earth. Those can cause a lot of damage. And as for wiping out civilization, NASA says an object large enough to do that strikes the planet once every few million years.
NASA first successfully redirected an asteroid on Sept. 26, when its Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, or DART, collided with Dimorphos. That asteroid is an orbiting moonlet of the larger Didymos asteroid.
The DART collision altered the moonlet’s orbit time by 32 minutes.
The Dec. 27 test could reveal great potential for the use of asteroid sensing by long wavelength radio signals. Approximately 80 known near-Earth asteroids passed between the moon and Earth in 2019, most of them small and discovered near closest approach.
“If we can get the ground-based systems up and running, then that will give us a lot of chances to try to do interior sensing of these objects,” Haynes said.
The National Science Foundation is funding the work through its award to the Geophysical Institute for establishing the Subauroral Geophysical Observatory for Space Physics and Radio Science in Gakona
“HAARP is excited to partner with NASA and JPL to advance our knowledge of near-Earth objects,” said Jessica Matthews, HAARP’s program manager.
It has been just over four years since Hubbard Radio’s adult alternative “The Gamut” WWFD, Frederick, MD (820) powered down its analog signal and began operating as a digital-only AM station under experimental authority granted by the FCC. Since then, new FCC rules permitting all-digital AMs industrywide have broadcasters taking a closer look at WWFD as they consider options for struggling AMs.
WWFD posted a 1.5 share (12+) in Nielsen’s Frederick, MD spring survey with a weekly cume of 3,300. Before it went all digital, Dave Kolesar, Senior Broadcast Engineer at Hubbard and the station’s PD, says it was a ratings no-show, “a wasted signal.”
The idea for making the all-digital leap came around Christmas 2016 when Kolesar concluded that a music format on AM – even one as differentiated as The Gamut’s expansive playlist – was “pretty much a nonstarter that exists for the purpose of having an FM translator. In all-digital mode, the AM signal has the capability of becoming relevant again” with digital sound quality, and artist and album title and album artwork displays.
According to Xperi, about 35% of cars on the road in the DC market are equipped with HD Radio receivers. Yet only a small fraction of listening to radio in the market is to AM radio. The station focuses on the one-third of the market that could enjoy a music format that looks and feels like any other service in the dashboard. The strategy involves using the FM translator as promotional vehicle for the digital AM frequency: “when you’re outside the coverage area of our 94.3 FM signal, tune into 820 and hear us while you’re driving around,” Kolesar explains. [Continue reading…]
Radio DJ Tom Edwards looks back at his youth spent broadcasting off the East Anglia coast
Although I’ve lived in Lincolnshire for nearly 30 years having been born and educated in Norwich, I will of course always be a Norfolk man. At 77 years of age now I’ve been a broadcaster for 57 of those years.
During Easter of 1964 a somewhat mysterious radio station came on the airwaves playing non-stop music and the presenters seemed to be just ad libbing at the microphone in contrast to the rather staid BBC light programme which hardly played any popular music. The station turned out to be the now famous Radio Caroline, which was transmitting from a ship off the East Anglia coast.
I was a Bluecoat at Pontins holiday camp at Pakefield and the site had a Radio Pontins Tannoy system so I asked the boss for some money to buy some 45 hit singles which he agreed to and so started doing record requests for the happy campers.
Other stations, whether they were ships or wartime fortresses, suddenly began to appear right around the coast of the UK. Apart from Caroline there were other stations including Radio London, Radio England, Radio270 and Radio 390.
The more I heard of these stations, which were becoming so popular with an estimated audience of 22 million, the more I wanted to be out there at sea with them. I wrote and sent tapes of my Pontins shows to all of them. While on a few days off in Norwich, a man called Reg Calvert called me and said he liked what he heard and offered me a weekend try out on Radio City. [Continue reading…]
Surrounded by the barbed wires, dense deodar trees and Pir Panchal mountains in the backdrop, this is the All India Radio (AIR) Srinagar’s Radio Station which has been set up close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Rustum area of J&K’s Uri sector.
Set up in November 2020, the station has been built 9,000 feet above the sea level.
The radio station has been set up with an aim to provide access to the Kashmiri people living on the other side of the border to listen to their favourite programs.
“The local news, music programs and especially Pahari and Gojari programs are aired from this station for the Kashmiri population living on the other side of the LoC,” said Qazi Masood who heads the station in Uri. [Continue reading…]
Three top public media podcast executives discuss with PMA the benefits and complications that come with collaborations, and how ultimately, they can help public media organisations fulfil their public service obligations.
As the podcast market globally becomes ever more saturated and competitive, PMA invited three top podcast executives from three leading public media organisations to discuss how collaborations might provide the pathway for public media organisations to remain the premier podcast producers. It came after a talk about podcast collaborations at Radiodays Europe in Malmö, Sweden in May 2022.
They spoke to PMA’s Editorial Manager, Harry Lock.
Harry Lock:Could you give me some examples of podcasts which you’ve worked on where you collaborated with another organisation? How does it actually work logistics-wise?
Arif Noorani, Director of CBC Podcasts: Hunting Warhead is a collaboration we did with VG, Scandinavia’s biggest newspaper, on a story they’d spent more than two years on (it was nominated for a Prix Italia.) Production wise – CBC led the podcast and embedded a VG team member in the production team providing contacts, research and notes on scripts.
We have three international co-productions with the BBC World Service – launching in the next year. It’s an equal joint effort – Jon Manel, commissioner for the BBC World Service and I co-lead all aspects of the project. We think the combined heft of CBC Podcasts and the BBC World Service was attractive. We meet weekly and more (along with Whatsapping each other if it’s urgent) to discuss production, content, rollout and all the business side of things. We have one point person between the production teams and the BBC/CBC to keep it streamlined. To make this work, you have to have lots of trust between all sides, and a shared vision of the type of content you want to make (in this case journalistically-driven serialised narrative storytelling rich in characters and heartbeat). Jon and I have informally collaborated for a few years so that really helped. We’ll also combine our audience building, digital and marketing efforts in the launch and rollout.
Andrew Davies, Digital and Engagement Editor, ABC Australia: Co-productions and collaborations with external organisations/partners is still a relatively new area for the ABC in podcasting. There have been a number of collaborations between Radio National (ABC’s specialist talks network) and the BBC but those have mostly been radio focused. The ABC’s Audio Studios team did a co-production with WNYC Studios a few years ago with Short & Curly, our very popular ethics podcast for children.
More recently we’ve worked with Arif and the CBC Podcasts team around the release of series two of our popular Stuff The British Stole podcast. That involved the CBC team helping with audience building (through cross-promotion, publicity, marketing and digital/social content) in the North American market. That was a really successful collaboration and we were excited to work with the CBC as we knew they recognised not just what a great show it is but also wanted to help it reach a bigger audience. There were a large number of people involved from both broader teams but I want to echo Arif’s point about having clear point people on both sides to keep things streamlined.
Tim Watkin, Executive Producer of Podcasts & Series, RNZ: RNZ Podcasts has produced 46 podcasts in partnership with 38 different organisations. That includes other broadcasters and media, production houses and funders. Collaboration can take many forms.
The most common form of collaboration for RNZ is where we make a podcast alongside an independent production company. For example, Eating Fried Chicken in the Shower is a series that was pitched to us by an independent producer, Charlie Bleakley, and host James Nokise. RNZ paid for the series but was very hands-on, more than a mere commission. We provided a supervising producer, sound recordist on location, draft audio edits, studios for the final mix and promotion. [Continue reading…]
The police promptly responded to the call, but the SBU for some reason delays its response to illegal actions People’s deputy Mykola Knyazhytskyi announced this on Facebook .
“In Lviv, journalist Vitaly Portnikov, who hosts programs on Espresso and Radio Svoboda, found a eavesdropping device at home. It is a voice recorder with the ability to record for a long time. The police were called. They arrived quickly. The SBU was called. They are not going. As a member of the Verkhovna Rada, I ask the SBU to come immediately and disrupt case. We don’t know who installed this device and for what purpose: our services, foreign services or criminality,” the politician said.
Image via Espreso
Vitaly Portnikov commented on the incident for “Espresso”:
“Today, while cleaning the apartment I lived in at the end of February, when the war started, I found a recording device under the bed. The device had an inventory number. I informed the law enforcement authorities about my discovery so that they could investigate this incident.”
The journalist added that he hoped for a high-quality investigation and clarification of all the circumstances of the case:
“After my statement, the investigators of the SBU of the Lviv region conducted an inspection of the premises and seized a device that is a device for listening and recording information. I hope that the relevant structures will conduct an examination and find out by whom and why this device was placed in my apartment.”
Vitaly Portnikov is a well-known Ukrainian journalist, publicist and political commentator. Cooperates with Radio Svoboda and Espresso. On the Espresso TV channel, he creates the programs “Political Club of Vitaly Portnikov” and “Saturday Political Club”. [Click here to read the full article at Espreso.]
I’m honored to have been interviewed by Frank Howell (K4FMH) for the ICQ Amateur / Ham Radio Podcast. The interview was posted as a podcast this weekend.
If you’re not familiar, the ICQ podcast is posted every fortnight and runs about 1.5-2.5 hours or so depending on news items and features. Here’s the description of this episode (#322):
In this episode, Martin M1MRB is joined by Chris Howard M0TCH, Martin Rothwell M0SGL, Ed Durrant DD5LP, Frank Howell K4FMH and Bill Barns N3JIX to discuss the latest Amateur / Ham Radio news. Colin M6BOY rounds up the news in brief and this episode’s feature is – Passion of Shortwave Listening with Thomas Witherspoon K4SWL.
I recently received a review copy of the 9th Edition of the Worldwide Listening Guide by John Figliozzi:
While WRTH is my favorite guide for radio frequencies and schedules, Figliozzi’s Worldwide Listening Guide (WWLG) is my go-to for programming and content, not only helpful on the shortwaves, but especially handy when tracking online content.
The WWLG is a unique guide–there’s nothing quite like it on the market. I look forward to each edition because it truly takes a deep dive into the world of broadcasting, technology, and programming.
“Deep dive” almost feels like an understatement. I received the latest edition only a few days before Christmas travels, so packed it in my luggage and read it over the course of a week. Being the editor of the SWLing Post, I’m in the middle of a constant stream of news items and tips about the world of broadcasting and communications technology. When I read the WWLG, however, I discover so much information about the broadcasting industry as a whole, the health of various platforms, particular media companies, and even the history and technology behind content delivery systems.
Case in point: I always assumed SiriusXM satellite radio was delivered by a network of geostationary satellites. Turns out, they use a hybrid system of both “roving” satellites that orbit in a figure 8 pattern and geostationary satellites in the Clarke Belt. The WWLG is chock-full of details like this.
Each media delivery platform–AM, Shortwave, FM, Satellite Radio, Internet (WiFi Radio), and Podcasting–has a dedicated section in the book where Figliozzi explores each in detail. He also includes a “State of the Radio Platforms” chapter where he examines the health and potential direction of each.
SWLing Post contributor, Mark Fahey, recently summed up his love of the WWLG in the following comment:
[I]t’s the best guide to digital streaming media I have ever found. An indispensable guide to the world’s public broadcasters and others broadcasters who appeal to us raised on decades of shortwave.
As shortwave transmitters close, don’t make the mistake of thinking your favourite broadcasters disappear – they in most cases continue and the Worldwide Listening Guide will guide you to them as live and on-demand programs.
I use the guide as a directory for online listening, but of course RF transmission broadcasts are comprehensively covered as well.
I agree 100%.
Like Mark and many SWLs, I’m something of a “Content DXer:” I love chasing obscure programming––news, documentaries, music, and variety shows, anything the broadcasting world has to offer. For this, I often turn to Wi-Fi radio. Wi-Fi radio offers the discerning listener the ability to track down fascinating regional content from every corner of the globe––content never actually intended for an international audience.
Digging into local content via a WiFi radio isn’t nearly as challenging or fun (for me, at least) as scanning the shortwave bands in search of elusive weak signal DX or a pop-up pirate radio station. Though my WiFi radio offers an easy and reliable way to “tune” to online content–both station streams and podcasts–the actual content discovery part is quite difficult.
Truth is, there’s so much content out there–tens of thousands of stations and shows–it’s hard to know where to start!
This is where the WWLG comes in: Figliozzi exhaustively curates thousands of programs, indexing their airing times, stations, days of broadcast, program types, frequencies, and web addresses. Additionally, he sorts the programs by genre: arts, culture, history, music, sports, and more. And Figliozzi also includes a well-thought-out directory of at least forty genres. In my shack and office, the WWLG has been an invaluable tool for content discovery.
There’s a surprising amount of information packed into this slim, spiral-bound edition of the Worldwide Listening Guide…enough to keep even a seasoned content DXer happy for years.
The 9th edition of Worldwide Listening Guide can be purchased here:
Being a radio buff – or shall I say an ALL radio buff – I cannot fully comprehend that “people are no longer dependent on radio”. But I do acknowledge that technology has allowed us to manage our time better. And having a local podcast of news does appeal to many (yes, I suppose even to me at times).
It’s a very short article – three paragraphs – but I challenge the readers to comment: are you no longer dependent on radio? Okay – that’s a loaded question to this audience – just look at this post within the past 24-hours! But we’d also like to know: is there anything in your area, like this article describes of St. Louis Public Radio, where your local stations are turning to podcasts or other means to reach and/or expand their target audience?
Thanks in advance for your comments.
Guest Post by Troy Riedel
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