Category Archives: Sports

Football games relayed on 12,356 kHz

Fullscreen capture 6162015 122135 AMMany thanks to David Goren, who has apprised me of a (utility?) broadcaster who relaying Spanish language football matches on 12,365 kHz in the upper sideband. According to a message on the DXLD Yahoo group, someone has been relaying games on this frequency with some consistency.

As I type this, I’m listening to Chile v Mexico, though it’s a very faint signal here in eastern North America. The Elad FDM-S2 is doing a good job of pulling the signal out of the static, though. I have no clue where this broadcast originates.

Please comment if you’re able to log this station where you live, or you have further details about the relay.

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WRMI to cover 2015 sporting events

WRMI(Source: WRMI press release)

OKEECHOBEE, FLORIDA, USA – America’s most powerful radio signal will carry previews and highlights of some of the world’s top sporting events throughout 2015. WRMI (Radio Miami International) will provide exclusive shortwave coverage from the USA for more than two dozen leading events in sports, including hockey’s Stanley Cup finals, baseball’s World Series, football’s Super Bowl and international tournaments involving soccer, cricket and rugby.

WRMI sports director Bruce Baskin provided daily reports on last weekend’s Army-Navy football game (won by Navy, 17-7) and is presently providing updates on soccer’s Club World Cup, which features seven of the globe’s top sides converging in Morocco. “This will be different from our WRMI Scoreboard,” says Baskin. “Rather than giving scores and short stories from several sports per day, we’re going to focus on specific events for days at a time. In essence, we’re going from a ‘miles-wide, inches-deep’ approach to the opposite.”

After purchasing and moving to the former Family Radio broadcasting site in central Florida one year ago, WRMI now possesses twelve 100,000-watt transmitters (with a 50,000-watt backup) along with 23 antenna systems on a 660-acre complex, making it America’s farthest-reaching radio station. WRMI first signed on in 1994 and has been managed throughout its duration by Jeff White, a past president of the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters.

175 Fontainebleau Blvd, Suite 1N4, Miami, Florida 33172 USA
Tel +1-305-559-WRMI Fax +1-863-467-0185 E-mail info@wrmi.net Website www.wrmi.net

WRMI 2015 Sports Coverage Calendar

JANUARY (2)
12 NCAA Football Playoff Championship
18 NFL AFC/NFC Championships

FEBRUARY (2)
2 NFL Super Bowl
22 NASCAR Daytona 500

MARCH (2)
12 F1 Miami E-Prix
23-29 ICC Cricket World Cup

APRIL (2)
4-6 NCAA Final Four
9-12 PGA The Masters

MAY (3)
2 TRA Kentucky Derby
16 TRA Preakness Stakes
24 IRL Indianapolis 500

JUNE (3)
6 TRA Belmont Stakes
8-18 NHL Stanley Cup Finals
18-21 PGA U.S. Open

JULY (2)
10-13 ITF Wimbledon Finals
16-19 PGA British Open

AUGUST (2)
13-16 PGA PGA Championship
22-24 LLB Little League World Series

SEPTEMBER (2)
13-14 ITF U.S. Open Finals
18-31 IRB Rugby World Cup

OCTOBER (2)
3 NCAA Air Force-Navy football
21-31 MLB World Series

NOVEMBER (2)
7 NCAA Army-Air Force football
26-30 ITF Davis Cup finals

DECEMBER (2)
12 NCAA Army-Navy football
20 FIFA Club World Cup Final

175 Fontainebleau Blvd, Suite 1N4, Miami, Florida 33172 USA
Tel +1-305-559-WRMI Fax +1-305-559-8186 E-mail info@wrmi.net Website

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Recording the 2014 World Cup Final

WorldCupBall-001Sunday was the FIFA World Cup Final, and not only was I looking forward to the game, but (to tell the truth) I was also looking forward to recording the game via the BBC World Service for the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive. Due to the BBC WS cuts, part of me fears this may be a last chance to capture this radio and sports history.

If you would like to hear the recordings of the World Cup Final, skip to the bottom of this post. But if you want to know how I managed to make the recordings, and why I made the choices I did, feel free to continue reading…Warning: full-on radio geek tech ahead!

Making the recording

I had two SDRs (software defined radios) at my disposal: the Elad FDM-S2 and my trusty WinRadio Excalibur.  To record this match, I choose to use an SDR rather than a tabletop receiver for several reasons, namely:

  1. I wanted to make a spectrum recording so that I could record more than one frequency at a time;
  2. SDRs make recording radio content on the fly much easier than using a tabletop receiver, which must be connected to an external audio recorder, and I wanted ease of use so I could enjoy the game, too.

Propagation was rather mediocre Sunday, and there were only three feasible BBC World Service English frequencies I could tune in mid-afternoon, none of which, of course, were targeting North America:

  • 11,810 kHz from Ascension Island
  • 13,660 kHz from Woofferton, UK
  • 15,400 kHz from Ascension Island
  • 9,915 kHz from Woofferton, UK (starting at 20:00 UTC)

My hunch was that either 13,660 or 15,400 kHz would be my best bet for the early part of the match (pre-game starting at 18:30 UTC, half time at 20:00 UTC), however, I knew they would drop off after the first half of the game. And 11,800 kHz would be my best bet in the latter part of the game, unless 9,915 kHz happened to be stronger.

In the past, 11,800 had served me quite well for afternoon BBC listening, but yesterday there was an unscheduled religious broadcaster on 11,825 that was causing interference a full 30 kHz on either side of their carrier! During my pre-game check of the frequency, each attempt I made to block this broad interference was unsuccessful–very frustrating.

Which SDR?

The FDM-S2 is a fine SDR, and I was very tempted put it to the test.  But while the Elad FDM-S2 is quite capable of making very wide spectrum recordings (up to 6 MHz) and could easily record all four frequencies on four different meter bands at the same time, I decided to use the WinRadio Excalibur, instead.

Why? If 11,800 kHz was my only viable frequency option in the latter half of the game, I needed a receiver that could sync to the less noisy lower sideband of 11,800 kHz. While Elad plans to add USB/LSB selectable synchronous detection in the next version of their SDR application, it currently does not have this capability.

I suppose, too, I feel more comfortable with the WinRadio Excalibur; I’ve been using it now for well over two years. If something were to go wrong during the broadcast, I knew I could diagnose it quickly on the Excalibur.

In addition, the Excalibur can do both a spectrum recording and up to three individual AF recordings at the same time (though limited within a 2MHz bandwidth). I’m not sure if Elad has plans for this in their next SDR.

Setting up the Excalibur

The Excalibur only has a 2 MHz bandwidth for spectrum recordings. I knew if I focused on the middle frequency of 13,660, I would be able to record it and either 15,400 or 11,810 at the same time, but not all three.

The first half of the match, I recorded both 13,660 kHz and 15,400 kHz in a 2 MHz wide spectrum recording. At the same time, I recorded the audio (an AF recording) from 13,660 kHz, which was consistently the stronger of the two frequencies.

Half time

By 20:00 UTC, I knew both 13,660 and 15,400 kHz would stop transmitting and I would need to either hop to 11,810 kHz or 9,915 kHz.

While maintaining a good audio recording of 13,660, I stopped the 2 MHz spectrum recording and moved it to encompass 13,660 and 11,810 kHz. A quick check proved that 11,810 was the strongest station. Fortunately, the interference above 11,810 had quieted somewhat at that point, and by using the LSB sync lock, this noise was successfully mitigated a bit.

Still, I could hear a chuffing sound coming from the splatter 11,825 was producing. So I enabled the notch filter and widened it to 2 kHz. By shifting it around in the upper side band, I was able to find the “sweet spot” where most of the splatter noise was canceled. I then started the audio recording on 11,810 a few minutes prior to 20:00 UTC, making a little audio overlap with simultaneous recording on 13,660.

Syncing on the lower sideband and using the notch filter in the upper sideband mitigated most of the interference.

Syncing on the lower sideband and using the notch filter in the upper sideband mitigated most of the splatter interference.

In the end, I was very pleased with the results of the recordings. While capturing the BBC World Service isn’t exactly like snagging rare DX, I felt I had a lot riding on this recording, so pre-game preparations were necessary, especially since the Excalibur couldn’t record spectrum from 9,915 to 15,400 kHz.

And in theory, had I used the Elad FDM-S2, I could have recorded the entire chunk for three hours and then revisited the material later to make audio recordings from the AF.

The recordings

For your listening pleasure: the full 2014 World Cup final via the BBC World Service. This broadcast is broken into 3 sections: pre-game and the first half, second half, and extra time. Enjoy!

Pre-game and first half (13,66o kHz):

Second half (11,810 kHz):

Extra time and game wrap-up (11,810 kHz):

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BBC World Service: Portugal vs. Ghana

WorldCupBall-001Earlier today, I tuned to the BBC World Service on 17,830 kHz at 16:00 UTC, hoping they would be covering the USA vs. Germany game of the FIFA World Cup. I was pleased to hear World Cup coverage the moment I tuned in–but was a little disappointed that BBC had selected the Ghana vs. Portugal game.  Still, I can’t complain; this BBC service is, after all, intended for Africa. And a lot was at stake for Ghana…

So, I listened to the BBC coverage of that game while watching the USA vs Germany game stream over ESPN. I also watched a little of the Portugal/Ghana game, and realized I had an advantage over others streaming the game because the shortwave coverage from the BBC was almost 5 seconds ahead of the live stream. That’s the power of shortwave: goals at the speed of light!

For your listening pleasure, here is the full recording I made from the BBC World Service today. Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

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Happy Summer/Winter Solstice: Listening to New Zealand and Australia

Australia-NewZealand

I’ve been on the road a lot lately. A lack of time resulting from this, combined with frequent afternoon and evening thunderstorms when I am home, has meant that I’ve not had the radio time I often enjoy.

This morning,  I woke up around 5:50 AM determined to get a bit of time on the radio. After all, today is the first day of summer here in the US, and a special day for me. I walked outside and hooked my antenna back up; I had been forced to disconnect it yesterday as pop-up thunderstorms persisted throughout the afternoon and evening.

I then brewed a cup of coffee and settled into my “listening lounge” for some early morning tuning.

Elad-FDM-S2-Coffee

I started off this morning off by tuning the Elad FDM-S2 to Radio New Zealand International on 9,890 kHz in DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale). I was treated to one full hour of Peter Fry’s Saturday Night music; the DRM lock was completely stable.  Though I prefer the sonic characteristics of AM over digital modes, I’m most impressed with the audio quality DRM affords coming from a 50 kW signal being broadcast on the other side of the planet. The quality is so exceptional that, if you listen carefully, you can even hear the news reader shifting papers at the top of the hour.

That got me thinking: I’m flawlessly receiving and decoding a wireless digital audio signal from 13,500 kM away. Amazing. Especially considering that my laptop struggles to receive Wi-Fi in many hotels.

RNZI signed off after an hour, so I switched modes to AM and tuned to Radio Australia on 9,580 kHz.

BombersAs I had hoped, RA was broadcasting the second half of the AFL match featuring the Essendon Bombers who ultimately held a nine-point win over the Adelaide Crows. Alas, Radio Australia dropped the signal before the end of the final quarter, but I was able to watch the results roll in on my iPhone while making waffles in the kitchen. If this had been a World Cup match, I would have scoured the shortwaves for another Radio Australia frequency.

Immediately after tuning in RNZI, I hit the record button on the FDM-S2 (around 5:55 EDT/9:55 UTC) and didn’t stop the recording until after Radio Australia signed off, so there is a 30 second silence in the middle while I tuned and switched modes from DRM to AM.

Click here to download my full 2+ hour morning recording, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Depending on which hemisphere you live in, I hope you enjoy this summer–or winter– solstice.

As for me, I’m looking forward to a happy birthday with my family.  Cheers!

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Radio Australia in NA: best times and frequencies on Saturdays?

ABC-GrandstandMy good friend, Rob De Santos, is trying to identify the best times and frequencies to hear Radio Australia across North America on Saturdays. Can you help him?

Rob writes:

“I am updating a page on my website with shortwave info on Radio Australia’s Grandstand coverage of Australian football. Typically this occurs on Friday night / Saturday morning US time (0330 to 1230 UTC Saturday, varies). As you all know, RA does not target North America and hasn’t for some time however some of the frequencies can be heard here.

I can tell you which ones I can hear in Columbus, OH but that doesn’t really give me much feel for all of the USA or Canada so I need your feedback. What is best in Vancouver, BC and Naples, FL are not likely identical and not at the same hours.

Which RA frequencies are best at your location between 0330 and 1230 UTC Saturdays? Are there particular hours better than others?

If you can [comment here] with the best frequencies and your QTH that would be terrific. The more geographic diversity and individual experience I can get the better advice I can give on the web page.

Thanks,
Rob de Santos”

Readers: if you can help Rob, please comment below.  Many thanks in advance!

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Shortwave Radio Recordings: Worldwide All-Ireland GAA finals via RTÉ

22 September 2002; A general view of Croke Park at 3.29pm, a minute before the start of the game. Kerry v Armagh, All Ireland Football Final, Croke Park, Dublin. Picture credit; Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

22 September 2002; A general view of Croke Park at 3.29pm, a minute before the start of the game. Kerry v Armagh, All Ireland Football Final, Croke Park, Dublin. (Photo credit; Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE)

Sunday afternoon, I was at home to catch a bit of the GAA finals via RTÉ on 17,725 kHz, starting around 15:00 UTC.

I enjoy hearing sporting events broadcast over shortwave–perhaps it’s my imagination filling in the gaps from the live coverage or the washy sound of the crowds roaring.  Regardless, RTÉ has a long-standing track record of broadcasting the GAA finals on every medium possible.

As I listened to the live broadcast, Sunday, I read Norman Freeman’s account of listening to the GAA finals from a ship in the Indian Ocean, back in 1956. He writes:

“Almost 50 years ago, listening to the All-Ireland by radio was uncertain and frustrating.

In 1956, RTÉ knew how much the All-Ireland meant to the Irish diaspora. Arrangements were made with the authorities in the then French Congo to have the match rebroadcast the following evening, on the powerful short-wave transmitter in Brazzaville.

The time and frequencies were published in the Irish newspapers. This information was sent by letter to the Irish on oil rigs off the coast of Borneo, to round-the-year painters on Brooklyn Bridge, and to missionaries within sight of Mount Kilimanjaro.

I had noted the time and frequencies before I was sent out to Mumbai to join my first ship, the Amra, as second radio officer. The hurling final was between two giants, Cork and Wexford.”
[Continue reading…]

While Freeman doesn’t miss the uncertainty and fickle nature of shortwave radio as the messenger of his favorite sporting event, his look back is certainly nostalgic. After all, Radio Brazzaville transported Freeman and his boss back to Ireland for the length of the game. And to RTÉ’s credit, they continue to broadcast to the Irish diaspora on shortwave radio, if only for this event. 

If you would like to hear my recording of the GAA Finals, click here to download the MP3 recording, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

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