Category Archives: Shortwave Radio

Radio Waves: Radio Bulgaria’s Polish Service, AM Support, HBCU Radio Preservation Project, Golden Age of Radio Exhibition, and EAS Alert Language

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 David Iurescia and NT for the following tips:


When the BNR “spoke” Polish (BNR)

Radio Bulgaria is trying to track down old recordings of its radio programmes

Today, the Bulgarian National Radio’s foreign language service Radio Bulgaria “speaks” 11 languages. Through the years, languages have been added, others have been dropped – something that happened to the Polish-language programmes. They were aired by Radio Sofia, as the Bulgarian National Radio was called then, and by Radio Varna channel in the seaside city of the same name, but today they are rarely made mention of in the history of the BNR.

We were contacted by ham operator Jaros?aw Jedrzejczak from Poland who helped us pick up the missing information, putting an enormous amount of effort into tracing the history of the undeservedly forgotten programmes in Polish.

“Radio is a hobby of mine. When shortwave radio stations started closing down their Polish-language services, I took an interest in their history,” Mr. Jedrzejczak says. “In the Polish weekly “World of radio” I came across an advert for Radio Sofia from 1946, from which I found out it had aired 10-minute broadcasts in Polish from Bulgaria. That was when I started looking for information about Radio Sofia and to listen to these broadcasts. That was 30 years ago.”

Jaros?aw set about tracking down the Polish broadcasts. He got in touch with the first anchors and translators of Radio Sofia and Radio Varna’s Polish-language programmes, their heirs, collected the memories of the first people working at the foreign-language programmes, kept up a correspondence with the BNR. Who were they, who were the people speaking their own language from faraway Bulgaria? [Continue reading…]

Your Phone Has Nothing on AM Radio (The Atlantic) 

Why Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders are teaming up to save the century-old technology

By Jacob Stern

There is little love lost between Senator Ted Cruz and Representative Rashida Tlaib. She has called him a “dumbass” for his opposition to the Paris Climate Agreement; he has called her and her allies “shills for terrorists” on account of their support for Palestine. Lately, though, the right-wing Cruz and the left-wing Tlaib have found a cause they can both get behind: saving AM radio.

In recent years, a number of carmakers—BMW, Volvo, Tesla—have stopped offering AM radio in at least some models, especially electric cars. The problem is that their motors cause electromagnetic interference on the same frequency bands in which AM radio operates, in some cases making the already fuzzy medium inaudible. Carmakers do have ways to filter out the interference, but they are costly and imperfect—all to maintain a format that is in decline anyway. AM radio was eclipsed by the superior-sounding FM in the late ’70s, and the century-old technology can seem akin to floppy disks in the age of Spotify and podcasts. According to Ford’s internal data gathered from some of its newer vehicles, less than 5 percent of all in-car listening is to AM radio. Which is perhaps why Ford decided last year to drop AM from all of its vehicles, not just EVs.

Because so much listening happens in the car, the Ford news seemed like the beginning of the end for the whole medium. But just a few weeks after announcing that decision, the company reneged in response to political pressure. Before Ford’s reversal, Cruz and Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, had introduced the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act, which would require exactly what its title suggests. [Continue reading…note: paywall]

The HBCU Radio Preservation Project (WYSO)

The HBCU Radio Preservation Project is dedicated to honoring and preserving the vibrant history and cultural resource that is HBCU radio.

Nearly a third of the 104 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) have radio stations, and many have been on the air for more than fifty years. Much of the material created at these stations is at risk of being lost. Magnetic tape and other obsolete formats are deteriorating, and with them the primary source material that documents the rich history and diversity of the Black experience through the Civil Rights era and beyond. Present day digital material is also at risk.

The HBCU Radio Preservation Project grew out of a 2019 survey of HBCU radio stations to assess their preservation practices and needs. We collaborated with the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) on a follow up pilot project. With the generous support of the Mellon Foundation, we are now in the implementation phase of the project, partnering over the next four years with WYSO, NEDCC, the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University and the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. The goals of the project are to foster an ethos of preservation at HBCU radio stations, to preserve the stations’ audio collections, and to facilitate capacity-building and sustainability through connecting and supporting the stations and the institutional archives on campus.

We will be able to serve all 29 HBCU radio stations through the project. Our replicable model will serve not only HBCUs, but ultimately any college radio station—and tribal stations, rural stations, and other public and community stations. [Continue reading…]

Golden Age of Radio in US (DPLA)

Tuning into the radio is now an integrated part of our everyday lives. We tune in while we drive, while we work, while we cook in our kitchens. Just 100 years ago, it was a novelty to turn on a radio. The radio emerged at the turn of the twentieth century, the result of decades of scientific experimentation with the theory that information could be transmitted over long distances. Radio as a medium reached its peak—the so-called Radio Golden Age—during the Great Depression and World War II. This was a time when the world was rapidly changing, and for the first time Americans experienced those history-making events as they happened. The emergence and popularity of radio shifted not just the way Americans across the country experienced news and entertainment, but also the way they communicated. This exhibition explores the development, rise, and adaptation of the radio, and its impact on American culture.

Explore Exhibition here

FCC Report 2/18: Should Stations Be Required To Offer EAS Alerts In The Language Of Its Programming? (Radio Insight)

The commission is opening a comment period for a proposed rulemaking for a “simplified multilingual alert processing approach for EAS alerts through which pre-scripted alerts that have been pre-translated into non-English languages can be initiated by alert originators for distribution to the public by the TV and radio broadcasters, cable service providers, and other services that make up the EAS public alert distribution system.” Among the topics the proposal seeks comments are whether stations should be required to transmit alerts in the language of the program content it carries, whether stations should also be allowed to transmit templated alerts in languages that do not correspond to the content offered on the station or whether to limit it to the language that corresponds to the station’s programming.

The proposal would see alerts offered in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese along with English and ASL. The FCC noted that the preliminary 2023 national EAS test revealed that already 2% of EAS participants transmitted alerts in Spanish, while 0.1% did so in other non-English languages. [Continue reading…]


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Is Someone Refurbing Shortwave Transmitters In Ethiopia?

I think the answer to this is.. YES! I say that based upon my monitoring from here in McGrath, Alaska.

I’ve never ever ever heard Amhara State Radio on 6090khz from my QTH. Now, that doesn’t mean they’ve never been on, but I’ve never even heard a carrier from them and I can’t recall anyone logging them.

Well, Saturday night February 17th (AK time) I detected an initially unknown signal on 6090khz. I noticed it just after 0300 Sun Feb. 18, I heard what was very decidedly African continent sounding music. It appeared to be one long track on a loop, because 2 days later, I had the same melody going for over 15 minutes… so I kept listening on that 3rd day and heard it fade down as it ended and started again.

There was no modulation that 2nd day. But as we look at the 3rd day again, I heard a different track start about 0345UTC or so. About,0352 I heard a guy speak (!!) but the signal started to lose steam quickly. About 0356 which is the listed sign on for Amhara on 6090khz, I heard an actual song start and about 0401 I heard a lady speak with what sounded like music.

Amharic is used on Shortwave by the BBC, Deutsche Welle and the VOA. While I don’t claim to be a language expert at all, what I heard on 6090 did sound similar to what I’ve heard from other broadcasters.

Fast forward to Wednesday night February 21st (AK Time), I detected a signal on 6110khz. To be fair, I’ve had something an “ok-ish”  a few times from my Alaska QTH but with less modulation than Cuba or Iran.  On Feb. 22nd (UTC) on the 0300 hour, I had a GOOD signal with modulation (!!) on 6110khz.

6110’s audio had, again like 6090khz, decidedly African continent  sounding music and lots of speech that sounded like Amharic to me.

6090khz and 6110khz either share a site or are close by. Is someone refurbing their transmitters…. China?  I sent a message to the Amhara State Media Facebook page but haven’t gotten an answer back.

I wonder what’s going on here? Your thoughts and comments are welcome

Paul Walker

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LRA 36 Test Transmission: Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Photo of portion of the Argentine Antarctic Base (LRA36)

[UPDATE: We’ve corrected the time of the test broadcast to Wednesday February 21, 2024.]

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Adrian Korol, who shares the following announcement:

LRA36 Test Transmission

LRA 36 RADIO NACIONAL ARCÁNGEL SAN GABRIEL will carry out a test transmission on Wednesday, February 21 between 21:00 and 22:00 UTC on its 15476 kHz (USB) frequency.
The new output stage that was installed in the Collins HF80 transmitter will be adjusted.

We welcome your reception reports, as well as audio records and listening videos on the social networks of LRA 36 RADIO NACIONAL ARCÁNGEL SAN GABRIEL and by email to: [email protected]

The dissemination of this information among your fellow radio listeners, die-hards and radio amateurs is appreciated.

Thank you so much

73

Adrian Korol

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VIS: The End of an Era

Many thanks to SWLing Post and SRAA contributor, Dan Greenall, who shares the following guest post:


The End of an Era

by Dan Greenall

Many of us can remember the many radio telephone stations that could be found outside the regular SWBC bands during the 1970’s and 80’s and even into the 1990’s. They often ran repeating “voice mirrors” to help the receiving station tune them in prior to handling actual traffic. Some of these also operated within the designated maritime (ship to shore) frequencies.

One such station was coastal radio VIS from Sydney, Australia and they could frequently be heard here in southern Ontario, Canada on both SSB or CW modes. I received their attractive QSL card for reception in 1972.

However, with the advent of satellite and internet communications, these type of stations began to disappear from the HF shortwave bands.

On Christmas day in 1998, I happened to tune into the attached repeating transmission. This station is presumed to be maritime radio VIS in Sydney, Australia on 13083 kHz. The recording was made at Thamesford, Ontario, Canada on December 25, 1998. The repeating message was “The number you have called is not in service. Please check the number you have dialed. If you require further assistance, please call 1225.” 1225 was the number for International Directory Assistance in Australia.

Audio:

Internet research indicates that VIS discontinued its CW service in 1999. I believe the station completely closed down in 2002.

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Amanda Dawn Christie’s Book on the Radio Canada International Antennas

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who writes:


Amanda Dawn Christie’s Book on the Radio Canada International Antennas

Amanda Dawn Christie together with Thaddeus Holownia and Radio Canada International has authored a 96-page bilingual book titled “Ghost Stations = Stations Fantômes” a catalogue of an exhibition in the Upper Gallery at 50 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, home of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, in March and April 2022. Amanda’s film and a shortwave radio simulcast were featured during the exhibition. From the preface of the book:

“Ghost Stations was an exhibition about the remarkable — and now-demolished — shortwave antenna array on the Tantramar Marshes in Sackville, New Brunswick that Radio Canada International (RCI) used to transmit programming internationally from 1945 until 2012.”

This is a true hard-cover art book with exquisite page display, typography, and binding and comes with a slip cover. Lots of great photographs and two extended essays: “Photography, Film, and Electricity” and “Radio Canada International’s Modern Spirit.” The end-pieces of the book feature images of a CBC Radio-Canada International Service QSL card.

A limited number of copies of the book are available from the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts:

Price List

Pick-up in Ottawa (no shipping)
CAD $50.85

Shipping anywhere in Canada
CAD $70.85

Shipping anywhere in US
$70.00 (U.S. Dollars)

Shipping Outside of USA/CANADA
CAD $85.00

How to Pay:

Through cheque
Send a cheque through the post:
Payable to the RCA
50 Sussex Dr
Ottawa, ON
Canada
K1M 2C9

Online
Pay through paypal link:
Follow the link paypal.me/RCAARC

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Radio Documentary: World Wide Waves ’24

World Wide Waves ’24 – The Documentary (BBC World Service)

Radio can be a lifeline for women: a place to speak out in safety; a place to find their voices. We hear from women taking to the air and making waves in the cracks left by the Taliban in Afghanistan; in Fiji’s scattered archipelago threatened by climate change; in the migrant farmworker community of the Yakima Valley in North America’s Pacific north-west; and in the Ecuadorean Amazon, where indigenous women are coming together to save their land from pollution and destruction by oil companies. A feast of women’s voices from around the world: open, brave, joyful, and full of life and music.

Click here to listen to World Wide Waves ’24 on the BBC website.

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