Category Archives: Radio History

Radio Waves: Future of AM in UK, BBC and Nuclear War, SAQ Unable to Air on Alexanderson Day 2022, ITU Ham Station Celebrates 60 years, and RRI International Quiz

Radio dial

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!


Opinion: The Future of AM Radio
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (FrequencyFinder.co.uk)

Summary

AM radio in the British Isles is now in terminal decline with audiences dropping and many transmitters closed already. The majority of the remaining transmitters will likely close by the end of 2027. Over the next few years, the BBC and major commercial broadcasters will be looking to minimise their AM transmission costs by reducing transmission powers at the high-power sites and closing some of the low-power transmitters serving small audiences.

A coordinated AM shutdown may then follow at some point, most likely in 2027, though some independent broadcasters may continue using AM beyond this. This article explores these issues in more detail.

Click here to download the full PDF of this article.

The Last Word – The BBC and Nuclear War (Atomic Hobo Podcast)

This episode of the Atomic Hobo podcast focuses on the role of the BBC before and after nuclear attack:

Click here to listen via Soundcloud.

SAQ unable to air on Alexanderson Day (The Alexander Association)

Note: the The Alexander Association has announced that they will be unable to put SAQ on the air this year on Alexanderson Day. There are no more details other than the title of their post (the content still reads as if the transmission will happen as planned).

Check the Alexander Association website for more details.

ITU’s ham radio station celebrates 60 years on air (ITU)

By Nick Sinanis, callsign SV3SJ, President of the International Amateur Radio Club (IARC), and Attila Matas, callsign OM1AM, Vice-president and Station Manager, IARC

Did you know that the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies owns and operates its very own radio station?

Residing at the headquarters of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the 60-year-old amateur station operates under the callsign 4U1ITU.

It started broadcasting on 10 June 1962 and was officially inaugurated the following month by then UN Secretary-General U Thant and ITU Secretary-General Gerald Gross – himself a ‘’ham” radio enthusiast known by the personal callsign W3GG.

Recognized as a unique “country” in the ham radio community, 4U1ITU operates in accordance with privileges extended by ITU and the Government of Switzerland. It has also earned the DXCC (or ham radio “century club”) award from the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), confirming air contacts with 100 or more countries.

From its long-time home on the 5th floor of the Varembé Building in Geneva’s international district, this unique broadcasting outlet still today serves as a model for the highest standards of amateur radio station operation everywhere.

From one to a million

4U1ITU’s first contact, or “QSO” in ham radio parlance, was made with a German station called DL4VK. Further QSOs followed, amounting to over 1,300 contacts worldwide in the first 24 hours.

In the six decades since, ITU’s radio station has made over a million contacts using Morse code carrier wave (CW), voice (SSB), and digital operational modes, based on more than 20,000 two-way QSOs with radio amateurs around the world.

4U1ITU can operate on most of the frequency bands allocated to amateur and amateur-satellite services as identified in Article 5 of the Radio Regulations.

Aside from letting licensed radio amateurs in ITU, its Member State representatives, and its conference and meeting delegates contact fellow radio hams, the station promotes international goodwill and cooperation across the community. It also allows hands-on demonstrations of amateur radio communications for delegates and meeting participants. [Continue reading…]

RRI Voice of Indonesia: International Quiz 2022


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Radio Waves: Broadcast Tower Climbers, Sony ICF-SW1 Repair, Franken-FM Status, and Marconi in a Van

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!


Spotlight on Broadcast Tower Climbers in New Documentary (Radio World)

NATE, in collaboration with Storybuilt Media, has created a feature-length documentary titled “Vertical Freedom,” which highlights the professional and personal lives of six communications infrastructure workers in the United States.

Throughout the film, these cellular and broadcast tower climbers share what compels and excites them about their line of work. Plus, how to overcome every-day danger in order to connect us all.

Ky Nguyen is just one of the climbers featured in the film. He has worked with RIO Steel and Tower out of Alvarado, Texas for the last 10 years.

After the Great Recession, Nguyen wanted to move away from his job in construction and — while he is skilled at his craft now — he was initially hired onto the tower communication service’s team with zero experience.

“I started as a climber and then just kept working my way up,” he said. “Then I became foreman and began project managing. I’m one of those types of guys where, if you want it done a certain way, you have to be with them, showing them, leading by example – so I’m climbing every day.” [Continue reading…]

Repairing the Sony ICF SW1 Receiver — Used for Numbers Station Reception? Why no replacement for C-625? (Soldersmoke)

Ten years ago, my friend John gave me this tiny Sony receiver. It wasn’t working. I tried to fix it but quickly discovered that the tiny size of the device made repair difficult. All you needed to do was to swap out some leaking electrolytics, but they are surface mount electrolytics — replacing them is not for the faint of heart. Kits are available, but again, this is not easy.

In 2020 I got one of the kits, but didn’t try to use it until yesterday. It only supplied six of the electrolytics. In the video above, they discuss replacing seven electrolytics, including the one that seems to be placed in the round black holder. C-625. Why didn’t my kit include a replacement for that one? Could it be that this capacitor was not one of the leaky SMD caps?

Replacing these caps really wasn’t easy. At one point I inadvertently removed not just the bad cap, but also a nearby surface mount resistor. Luckily the schematic showed it to be 0 ohms. That was easily replaced. I lifted one of the pads on one of the other caps — I just slid it back into place and hoped for the best. [Continue reading at Soldersmoke…]

FCC Report 5/22: FCC To Consider Franken-FM Status And Whether To Expand Radio Service On Channel 6 (Radio Insight)

The FCC has introduced a proposal for rulemaking to determine whether to permanently approve the use the spectrum of television channel 6 for analog radio service on 87.75 MHz and will vote on whether to proceed with it at its June meeting.

In July 2021, all of the remaining analog low-power television stations were required to convert to digital, which would then lead to thirteen of them resuming analog audio transmission within their ATSC 3 broadcasts on an experimental basis. The rulemaking proposal seeks comments whether FM on channel 6 operations server the public interest and should be authorized to continue, whether they should be authorized as ancillary or supplementary services and if so subject to a new rule that permits their operation subject the certain technical and operational requirements, whether they can limit future channel 6 FM operations to those stations with active STAs, whether to consider a proposal to license additional non-commercials FMs on 82-88 MHz in areas where no television stations are operating, and whether to eliminate or revise the distance separation rules between television stations on channel 6 and radio licenses in the non-commercial band.

The full proposal can be read at this link.

The petition by Educational Media Foundation and antenna manufacturers Dielectric, Jampro Antennas, Radio Frequency Systems, and Shively Labs to allow FM antenna directional pattern verification by computer modeling was approved at the FCC’s monthly open meeting. [Click here to read the full article at Radio Insight…]

A mobile exhibition celebrating the work and legacy of Guglielmo Marconi

The Marconi Van exhibition tells the story of Marconi’s pioneering work and its scientific legacy in radio and microwave physics. The exhibition combines:

Engaging exhibits and interactive activities exploring the past, present, and future of radio and communications physics.

An exploration of historical objects from the History of Science Museum’s Marconi collection.

Virtual experiments you can try yourself. As restrictions ease we shall be inviting you to have a go in the laboratory!

The exhibition is housed inside a 1968 Morris Motor Traveller van built at the iconic Morris Motors plant in Cowley, Oxford. The objects an information available inside the van will evolve as the exhibition progresses… so just because you’ve seen it once doesn’t mean there isn’t more to see.

The Marconi Van project is a collaboration between the Institute for Digital Archaeologythe History of Science Museum, OxfordMagdalen College, OxfordOxford’s Department of Physics, and the Guglielmo Marconi Science Park, in Santa Marinella, Italy.


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Radio Waves: Holme Moss Transmitter, Sherwood Tools, World of LPFMs, Shortwave Revival Response, and Russia “Thrown Back 40 Years”

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!


Holme Moss transmitter (BBC Archives)

A look at how the BBC’s third television transmitter in West Yorkshire was built.

These original masts broadcast to the surrounding population until 1985, when they were replaced by a new generation of transmitters.

Originally broadcast 12 October 1951

Click here to watch the video at the BBC Archives.

Sherwood Tools Available (K4FMH Blog)

The work that Rob Sherwood NC0B has contributed to the public over the past decade is unique and an amazing service to hams worldwide. I’m talking about, of course, his summary Table of receive bench tests published at this Sherwood Engineering website. He is independent so no one can think that advertising dollars could skew his assessments or how he presents them. As a CW contest operator, he is very clear that he sorts his table on the basis of what his experience and training has shown him to be the single most important measurement in his table: the narrow dynamic range.

I am not a CW operator or accomplished contester (lol) but enjoy the latter with my small team of fellow hams. But I am a statistician who likes to focus on problems where analytic tools can help foster a wider understanding of the data surrounding the problem area. So, working with Rob NC0B, I’ve created a set of “Sherwood Tools” to visualize his data as well as link them to a couple of other critical aspects of a rig purchase: market-entry price, consumer satisfaction, and the year the radio entered the market. These four vectors of data drive all of these tools, now available over at foxmikehotel.com.

The tools include a sortable Sherwood list where you can sort on any of the nine tests he publishes as well as the composite index of them that I created and included in my two-part NCJ articles in 2021. A set of 3D data visualizations are available to simultaneously view radios on four data elements (that does make it 4D, technically). Several graphs illustrate key aspects of the data, including how to not get tripped-up in the “ranking” of radios where the bench measurements are just not appreciably different. Seeing how the past 50 years of radios appearing in Rob’s Table have made a remarkable and clear progression toward the best receiver performance that modern test equipment can detect is in another tool. In addition, how the trend in getting a receive bang-for-the-buck has progressed over this 50 year period is there, too. Finally, I’ve used the industry-standard tool by Gartner, the Magic Quadrant, to help isolate radios in Rob’s Table that perform and are rated above average at various price points. I call these the Golden Quadrant Lists. Continue reading

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Radio Waves: DRM Part of BBC Story, Antennas and Smith Charts, Shortwave “Hot Debate,” Carrington Event, and “Deep Freeze”

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!


DRM Is Part of the BBC World Service Story (Radio World)

The iconic broadcaster has been supportive of the standard for over 20 years

The author is chairman of the DRM Consortium. Her commentaries appear regularly at radioworld.com.

Our old friend James Careless studiously ignores DRM once more in his well-researched, but to our minds incomplete article “BBC World Service Turns 90” in the March 30 issue.

As an ex-BBC senior manager, I would like to complete the story now that the hectic NAB Show is over.

Having lived through and experienced at close quarters the decision to reduce the BBC shortwave about 20 years ago, I can confirm that the BBC World Service decision to cut back on its shortwave footprint — especially in North America, where reliable, easy-to-receive daily broadcasts ceased — has generated much listener unhappiness over the years.

In hindsight, the decision was probably right, especially in view of the many rebroadcasting deals with public FM and medium-wave stations in the U.S. (and later other parts of the world like Africa and Europe) that would carry news and programs of interest to the wide public.

But BBC World Service in its long history never underestimated the great advantages of shortwave: wide coverage, excellent audio in some important and populous key BBC markets (like Nigeria) and the anonymity of shortwave, an essential attribute in countries with undemocratic regimes.

BBC World Service still enjoys today about 40 million listeners worldwide nowadays. [Continue reading…]

The Magic of Antennas (Nuts & Volts)

If you really want to know what makes any wireless application work, it is the antenna. Most people working with wireless — radio to those of you who prefer that term — tend to take antennas for granted. It is just something you have to add on to a wireless application at the last minute. Well, boy, do I have news for you. Without a good antenna, radio just doesn’t work too well. In this age of store/online-bought shortwave receivers, scanners, and amateur radio transceivers, your main job in getting your money’s worth out of these high-ticket purchases is to invest a little bit more and put up a really good antenna. In this article, I want to summarize some of the most common types and make you aware of what an antenna really is and how it works.

TRANSDUCER TO THE ETHER
In every wireless application, there is a transmitter and a receiver. They communicate via free space or what is often called the ether. At the transmitter, a radio signal is developed and then amplified to a specific power level. Then it is connected to an antenna. The antenna is the physical “thing” that converts the voltage from the transmitter into a radio signal. The radio signal is launched from the antenna toward the receiver.

A radio signal is the combination of a magnetic field and an electric field. Recall that a magnetic field is generated any time a current flows in a conductor. It is that invisible force field that can attract metal objects and cause compass needles to move. An electric field is another type of invisible force field that appears between conductors across which a voltage is applied. You have experienced an electric field if you have ever built up a charge by shuffling your feet across a carpet then touching something metal … zaaapp. A charged capacitor encloses an electric field between its plates.

Anyway, a radio wave is just a combination of the electric and magnetic fields at a right angle to one another. We call this an electromagnetic wave. This is what the antenna produces. It translates the voltage of the signal to be transmitted into these fields. The pair of fields are launched into space by the antenna, at which time they propagate at the speed of light through space (300,000,000 meters per second or about 186,000 miles per second). The two fields hang together and in effect, support and regenerate one another along the way. [Continue reading…]

Smith Chart Fundamentals (Nuts & Volts)

The Smith Chart is one of the most useful tools in radio communications, but it is often misunderstood. The purpose of this article is to introduce you to the basics of the Smith Chart. After reading this, you will have a better understanding of impedance matching and VSWR — common parameters in a radio station.

THE INVENTOR
The Smith Chart was invented by Phillip Smith, who was born in Lexington, MA on April 29, 1905. Smith attended Tufts College and was an active amateur radio operator with the callsign 1ANB. In 1928, he joined Bell Labs, where he became involved in the design of antennas for commercial AM broadcasting. Although Smith did a great deal of work with antennas, his expertise and passion focused on transmission lines. He relished the problem of matching the transmission line to the antenna; a component he considered matched the line to space. Continue reading

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Radio Waves: First BNR Overseas Broadcasts, Russian Milcomm Intercepts, Mount Merapi Community Radio, and Saskatchewan’s Oldest Station Turns 100

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!


The fascinating story of the first overseas broadcasts BNR (Radio Bulgaria)

In 1936 BNR, then under the name of Radio Sofia, started broadcasting on short waves via the ELZA transmitter (the abbreviation coming from the radio station’s international code – L-Z-A). The same year the radio started broadcasts to abroad.

In 1936, information about Bulgaria could only be heard in Bulgarian and in the artificially created language Esperanto. It was after 1 May 1937, when programs began to be broadcast in French, German, English and Italian.

In the spring of 1938, broadcasts for foreign audiences were further developed to include “Special Broadcasts for Some European Countries”.

What was special about these was the advance publicity which the radio made in the countries for which the broadcast is intended. Such publicity was carried out through the legations, business representatives, foreign radio stations and newspapers so as to attract the attention of listeners abroad in advance.

Authors and hosts of the first broadcasts abroad were free-lance collaborators, among whom were legendary Bulgarian journalists and intellectuals like Petar Ouvaliev, Georges Milchev, Bory Ganchev, Mikhail Hadzhimishev and others.

After 9 September 1944, when the communist regime seized power in Bulgaria, Radio Sofia’s foreign language broadcasts continued to air news bulletins and commentaries on events in Bulgaria and around the world. From 1945 to 1950, Bulgarian Radio Sofia broadcast 10-minute news bulletins in Romanian, Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian, Greek and Turkish.

The Bulgarian Radio began broadcasting in Turkish language in July 1945. The programme targets the Turkish population in this country as well as listeners from neighbouring Turkey. It was run by Chudomir Petrov, BNR Deputy Director and head of the Foreign Information Department.

There were two 10-minute broadcasts each day. Editor was Boris Pilosoff, who then also led the French-language broadcasts. The first hosts of the program in Turkish were Ulfet Sad?kova, R?za Mollov, Mustafa Bekirov, Sali Baklaciev among others.

The Greek-language emissions started in the first half of 1948. By then, democratic power had already been installed in Greece under US and Western European pressure. The Greek Communist Party’s resistance movement was destroyed and many Greek functionaries found refuge in Bulgaria. Curiously, it was with their help that the Greek editorial board was set up.

Similarly, after the political events in Yugoslavia and Albania in 1948, political immigrants seeking protection from the Bulgarian communist government created broadcasts in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian.

The first editors and speakers of Serbo-Croatian language had their quarters at 10 Danube Street in Sofia. There they prepared and translated the material for the Bulgarian radio broadcasts.

Based on historical accounts collected by Bozhidar Metodiev – founder and curator of the BNR Museum.

To be continued.

Compiled by: Krasimir Martinov

Editor: Darina Grigorova

English version: Elizabeth Radkova

Clcik here to follow this series on the BNR website.

How does Ukraine keep intercepting Russian military communications? (NPR)

Russia is regarded as one of the world’s most advanced countries when it comes to anything and everything related to spying, and that includes secretive, high-tech military communications.

For Russian leader Vladimir Putin, a former intelligence officer, this is a particular point of pride. Yet Russia’s reputation has taken a major blow with the often bumbling way the military has handled communications in Ukraine.

Here’s a look at how the Ukrainians have effectively countered the Russians on multiple fronts:

Q. Ukraine keeps publicly releasing what it says are intercepted Russian communications from the battlefield. Wouldn’t Ukraine want to keep this under wraps?

Ukraine feels there are huge public relations benefits in releasing intercepted material that’s either embarrassing to Russia or points to Russian wrongdoing, possibly even atrocities.

Ukraine’s military intelligence recently put out audio on social media, saying that as two Russian military members were speaking, one called for Ukrainian prisoners of war to be killed.

“Keep the most senior among them, and let the rest go forever. Let them go forever, damn it, so that no one will ever see them again, including relatives,” a voice says on the tape. [Continue reading at NPR…]

Hot rocks, smouldering ash: Community radio a vital source of information around Indonesia’s Mount Merapi (Channel News Asia)

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia: With a soft, soothing voice, Mujianto greeted his listeners before reading out an important update from the volcanologists at Indonesia’s Center for Geological Disaster Research and Technology Development (BPPTKG).

Mount Merapi, located just 4km from Mujianto’s village in Boyolali Regency, Central Java province, continued to show signs of heightened activity, he warned.

Since 2019, the mountain has been hurling glowing hot rocks from deep inside its magma chamber. Occasionally, Merapi erupted, spewing a column of smouldering ash high into the air and blanketing nearby villages in black and grey soot.

“People are advised not to conduct any activity in potentially hazardous areas,” Mujianto, who like many Indonesians goes with one name, told his listeners, concluding his announcement.

A farmer by day and an amateur radio DJ by night, Mujianto and six others at MMC FM have been providing residents of Samiran village with information about the dangers posed by Merapi, Indonesia’s most active volcano, as well as educating them on disaster mitigation since 2002.

MMC stands for Merapi Merbabu Community, with Merbabu being another volcano north of Merapi. Mujianto’s MMC FM is one of eight community radios run by people living on the slopes of Merapi, which straddles along the border of the Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces. [Continue reading…]

Oldest radio station in Saskatchewan turns 100 (Discover Humboldt)

It is thought to be the fourth oldest radio station in Canada, and it is the oldest radio station in Saskatchewan. This weekend, Moose Jaw’s CHAB is celebrating 100 years on the air.

The story started in 1922 – April 23rd, 1922 when, after many meetings, planning and anticipation, 10-AB began broadcasting. According to Broadcasting-History.com, the Moose Jaw Amateur Radio Association “had planned originally to operate the station, but found they couldn’t afford to run it, so handed it over to the Kiwanis Club. 10-AB was licensed as a non-commercial station at 1200 kHz with 50 watts of power.”

One hundred years later in 2022 the signal at 800 on the AM radio dial booms across the province and into the northern United States with 10,000 watts of power with studios located atop Main Street in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, broadcasting through a transmitter located near Pasqua, just southeast of Canada’s “Most Notorious City”.

It was in the fall of 1922 that the Kiwanis Club turned 10-AB back to the re-organized Moose Jaw Radio Association and in 1924 the studio was moved from the old YMCA building to the top floor of the Bellamy Furniture Store, a building which still stands to this day, having been turned into an apartment block on Main Street, downtown.

In 1931 there was another move to new studios at The Grant Hall Hotel, a lovely, historic building that has been completely refurbished.

Financial struggles in 1933 would lead to 10-AB leaving the air on November 11th. The history books tell us that Rudy Vallee “provided the background to the sign-off singing I’m Heading for the Last Round-Up”. It was just a few weeks later when 10-AB returned to the air as CHAB after being issued a commercial broadcasting license by the federal government. Carson Buchanan, the secretary of the Amateur Radio Association, would own the radio station with partners and become the general manager at CHAB.

It was in 1937 that one of the first true radio stars to come out of Moose Jaw would begin his career. Elwood Glover got his start at CHAB, working for $5.00 a week. Glover would later move on to become CBC Radio’s Chief Announcer.

In fact, CHAB was an affiliate of the CBC from 1933 through 1962 when CBC’s Dominion Network folded and they became an independent station. [Continue reading…]

 


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World War II Radio Letters: a real-life shortwave story – Part II

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jock Elliott, who shares the following guest post:


World War II Radio Letters: a real-life shortwave story – Part II

By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

That so many people have been moved by Part I has been heartwarming. Since writing it, there have been further developments. Tecsun Radio Australia asked (and was granted) permission to reproduce the article for Anzac Day (April 25), when all fallen personnel in all wars are remembered in Australia.

In addition, I became aware of two books – World War II Radio Heroes Letters of Compassion and Waves of Hope (thanks, Bill Hemphill!) – that are all about World War II radio letters. We’ll get to those books in just a bit.

But first, I wanted to tell you something you might find surprising: I did not set out to write about how shortwave listeners had reassured my Mom that my Dad was alive during WWII. Not at all. In fact, in my 50 years as a writer, I found the process of how this came to be written, well, a little strange.

The night before, I had drifted off to sleep thinking about a radio and antenna comparison I had been fooling around with during the day (and which I plan to write up in the future). But in the morning – Holy Smokes! – completely out of the blue, my mind was seized by the following thought: Wasn’t it a shortwave listener in New Jersey that first informed my Mom that my Dad was a prisoner of War? (It turned out that wasn’t quite correct.) It’s in a scrapbook in the basement . . . go find it!

Now, I had not thought about those old scrapbooks in at least two decades, maybe more, but I could picture a particular scrapbook in my mind. Rooting around in the basement, I found it, but it didn’t contain anything about my Dad going missing in action or my Mom being informed he was still alive. Maybe I was wrong, I thought.

Back upstairs in my easy chair, the thought would not leave me alone, kept nudging me: Go find it. More digging in the basement produced the right scrapbook with the right information. Reading it, I found tears running down my face at the kindness of strangers.

As I completed writing World War II Radio Letters Part I and sent it off to Thomas, it struck me as curious that, in all my years writing about radio subjects, I had ever seen an article, or even a mention, of the shortwave monitors of WWII. I thought perhaps no one had ever written on the subject, but I was wrong.

I was poking around the internet and came across World War II Radio Heroes: Letters of Compassion Second Edition by Lisa Spahr. It is a 212-page 10-inch by 7-inch book that details her discovery of her grandfather’s WWII trunk, which contained dozens of letters and postcards from shortwave listeners who wrote to Spahr’s great-grandmother to let her know that her son had been captured and was a prisoner of war.

The book, which contains photos of the original correspondence from the SWLs, chronicles her attempt to contact those shortwave listeners or their families, her discovery of the Short Wave Amateur Monitors Club – which turned the monitoring for POWs names into an organized effort – and a lot else besides. If you enjoyed my first post on this subject, I am pretty sure you will enjoy this book.

The other book – Waves of Hope by Ronald Edward Negra – is about how his mother, Agnes Joan Negra, was a shortwave monitor during WWII who sent out more than 300 letters and postcards to families to inform them that their loved ones were captured and still alive. This is a larger format book (8.5 inches by 11 inches) running to 124 pages that reproduces the letters that Agnes received back from grateful families after receiving the news from Agnes. At the time of this writing, Agnes is still alive, about to celebrate her 102nd birthday!

I found Waves of Hope to be a moving and compassionate book, and I think any SWL will appreciate having it on his or her bookshelf.

Finally, you will find a great deal of additional information here: https://www.ontheshortwaves.com/history-III.html#POW

At the end of it all – the strange process of writing the story, the response of the readers, the books telling the story of WWII radio letters – I come back to the place I started as a grade school boy. It was then that I discovered monitoring the radio can be an almost magical activity . . . and you never know when something you heard may touch another’s life in a profound way.

So keep listening!

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Radio Waves: Border Blaster Early Days, Resistance on the Radiowaves, Towers With Flared Skirts, and Palau Restores AM

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!


In border radio’s early days, psychics and mystics ruled the airwaves (Mexico News Daily)

Charlatans originally built powerful ‘border blaster’ stations to evade scrutiny by US authorities

In radio’s early decades, among the oddball attractions found on the airwaves from 1920 to 1940 included a husband-and-wife team of psychics broadcasting from the U.S.-Mexico border under the stage names of Koran and Rose Dawn who became so popular that their extensive following helped them create a secondary income source: an organization called The Mayan Order.

Those who applied for membership and received its periodicals, the founders suggested, could harness the ancient Mesoamerican civilization’s secrets.

The pair were just two of the many psychics and other broadcasters of questionable integrity on the airwaves along the Rio Grande during radio’s beginnings. These characters built “border-blaster” stations of such epic size and scope that they could transmit from the Mexican side of the border into the United States.

Author John Benedict Buescher’s new book, Radio Psychics: Mind Reading and Fortune Telling in American Broadcasting, 1920–1940, unearths Koran and Rose Dawn’s forgotten story, as well as those of about 25 other border-blaster radio personalities on the Rio Grande who were heirs to a longtime American fascination with the occult.

“I was surprised how really dominant this stuff was in the early days of radio,” Buescher said. “Radio historians typically have just waved it off, not really focused on it, didn’t really take it seriously.” [Continue reading…]

Ukraine’s resistance on the radiowaves (DW Video)

Ukraine is fighting with more than weapons. The airwaves are also a frontier. Ukrainian computer specialists and radio operators have managed to jam Russian communications or intercept them. revealing some shocking details of the war’s brutality.

Click here to watch the view at DW’s website.

Why Well-Dressed Towers May Wear Flared Skirts (Radio World)

Cox, Dawson explore the benefits of umbrella-spoke feed for MW towers

Ben Dawson and Bobby Cox will talk about flared skirts at the NAB Show.

“A flared skirt is a set of symmetrically spaced cables around the tower, which attach electrically near the top of the tower, extend outward from the tower along a path similar to the top guy cables, and then turn back in toward the tower base at a point roughly halfway down the tower,” said Cox, senior staff engineer at Kintronic Labs.

“Insulators at this midpoint insulate the cables from ground. The cables terminate on an insulated feed ring encircling the tower base above ground level, similarly to a conventional skirt feed. The antenna is driven between this feed ring and RF ground. The resulting flared skirt takes the shape of a diamond, looking rather like umbrella spokes.”

These systems are used to provide a feed arrangement for grounded towers that is mechanically simple but has certain attractive aspects.

“The wide bandwidth characteristics of the flared skirt make these antenna designs extremely useful for multiplexing several AM stations onto a common antenna,” said Dawson, consultant engineer at Hatfield & Dawson. [Continue reading…]

Palau restores AM radio service (RNZ)

After erecting a new tower Palau’s state broadcaster has restored its AM radio service.

The previous AM tower was destroyed during Typhoon Bopha, in 2012.

Rondy Ronny, head of programming said that the new AM tower and radio service will benefit all the 16 states of Palau.

“A lot of the outlying states are not able to connect into the internet and just don’t have that capability or have very high tech phones like how we do here in Koror. People don’t expect people from Angaur, from Babeldaob to be on their phones all the time.”

Ronny said that the new tower will be crucial to Palauans during natural disasters. [Continue reading at RNZ…]


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