The American Forces Network’s Pacific transmitting site, Diego Garcia, will have reduced radio broadcasts due to the US government shutdown. The following is a statement from their Facebook page:
“In light of the government shutdown, because of mandatory staff reductions at the AFN broadcast center, AFN will reduce television services to the news and pentagon channels only. AFN radio will carry some football games live on the voice. We’ll keep you updated as the situation progresses.”
AFN Diego Garcia broadcasts on 12,579 kHz and 4,319 kHz . Many thanks to Sudipta Ghose for the tip!
Due to budget cuts, the American Forces Network (AFRTS) has decommissioned their Key West, Florida SW frequencies of: 5446, 7811, 12133 kHz
Since the Navy provides the shortwave service as a supplementary or backup service for their ships that don’t have the Navy’s Direct-to-Sailor (DTS) capability, I’m not terribly surprised they’re downsizing. Even so, the AFN still maintains their Guam and Diego Garcia transmitters as they recognize that the, “[s]hortwave service is also an option for land-based listeners in remote locations that do not have access to local or satellite-delivered AFRTS full Satellite Network (SATNET) services.”
AFN/AFRTS Shortwave Frequencies (note: all broadcasts are in USB)
12,579 kHz daytime
4,319 kHz nighttime
13,362 kHz daytime
5,765 kHz nighttime
Personally, I’m a little saddened by the cuts as the Key West facility was the easiest for me to hear in the US, though I routinely hear Guam and Diego Garcia. Not familiar with the AFRTS? Check out our recent post.
I remember the first time, many years ago, when I first tuned to the American Forces Network (AFN) on my shortwave radio. I was scanning the bands and happened upon a fairly strong single sideband broadcast. When I tuned in the signal I heard National Public Radio (NPR), a largely domestic public broadcaster here in the US. I thought, perhaps, it was some strange, temporary relay of that news broadcaster. But after hanging around on the frequency for a while, I heard other news sources, and finally the station ID: “This is the American Forces Network.”
The American Forces Network (AFN), in case you’re not familiar with it, is the brand name used by the US Armed Forces American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) for its entertainment and its command internal information networks worldwide. The primary mission of the AFN is to serve American service men and women, the Department of Defense, and other US government civilians and families stationed at bases around the world, as well as on U.S. Navy ships at sea. The AFN broadcasts a wide array of American radio and television programs from the major U.S. networks.
Though the AFN doesn’t broadcast at power levels typically associated with international broadcasters, their broadcasts span the globe. How? By broadcasting in single sideband instead of AM.
On December 5, 2005, liberal/progressive Ed Schultz and conservative talk show host Sean Hannity were added to the radio programs provided by the AFN Broadcast Center to its affiliate stations. Liberal Alan Colmes rounds out the political talk lineup on The Voice channel.
On April 24, 2006, AFN Europe launched AFN The Eagle, a virtually 24-hour-a-day radio service format initially modeled after “Jack FM” but most recently a “Hot AC” format. This replaced ZFM, which had more of a CHR flavor. When the Eagle was launched AFN Europe took control of what local DJs could play.
Altogether, AFN produces 12 general-use streams for AFN stations to use. Of these, seven are music-based, two are sports-based, and three general news/talk channels, including The Voice, which features live play-by-play of American sports (it’s also the one heard on shortwave, if the shortwave radio has Single sideband (also known as SSB) installed). How these stations use these formats is up to them. These formats are:
Hot AC (mainstream hits and yesterday’s favorites)
The AFN is available on numerous FM relays around the world (basically, most places where US forces are stationed) and also via satellite. But, of course, you can find them on your shortwave dial as long as you have SSB. Note that reception will be much better if you have an external antenna–Navy ships, who primarily use the AFN on SW, have excellent receiving equipment. To hear the AFN reliably on a portable radio, especially if you don’t live within the footprint of their target broadcast area, you will be at the mercy of propagation.
Shortwave Frequencies (note: all broadcasts are in USB)