Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrea Borgnino, who shared the following via Twitter:
The next edition of the WRTH “world’s most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to broadcasting” will be published in December 2022 in a printed and a digital version. The rights have now been transferred to Radio Data Center GmbH (RDC), based in Freising, Germany.
This is fantastic news! Thank you for sharing this, Andrea.
FORT MEADE, Md. — At the outbreak of WWII in 1939, Nazi Germany’s Enigma encryption machine stood as the state-of-the art method for sending and receiving secret messages. It wasn’t until 1940 that English mathematician Alan Turing, and the team at Bletchley Park, cracked the daily changes Berlin made to its cipher system, and helped the Allied powers win the war.
While the Enigma stands out as the most famous of encryption machines, Italy, set out to develop a high-end machine to rival its war partner, Germany. In 1939 Italy’s government secretly tasked a little-known photogrammetric equipment company, Ottico Meccanica Italiana (OMI), to build a device capable of rivaling its more famous cousin. Founded in 1926, OMI’s tools were used to create precision topographical maps and surveys using stereoscopic aerial photography. The technical expertise made OMI a natural fit for the job. The end result was OMI’s first cipher machine known as the Cryptograph Alpha.
OMI built cipher devices throughout WWII, and into the 1960’s, including: the OMI Cryptograph, the OMI Cryptograph-CR and the OMI Cryptograph-CR MkII. While many of these devices managed to survive passing through the hands of various collectors and museums, examples of the second iteration, the OMI Cryptograph machines, were widely believed to have been destroyed long ago. Until now. Digging through its vast collection of warehoused artifacts, the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), curators found an OMI Cryptograph machine in its collection.
NCM Collections Manager Spencer Allenbaugh recently discovered the OMI Cryptograph in a dusty crate and immediately knew he had found a treasure.
“This find gives the National Cryptologic Museum the chance to recover an artifact once thought to be lost forever. This device provides a small glimpse into Italy’s cryptologic history and how Italian cryptologists operated during that time period. This recovery also strengthens our already-strong reputation in the field of cryptologic history and will give people more reason to come and see the device up close once the museum re-opens,” said Allenbaugh.
“When the device is on display, researchers and historians will have the opportunity to see the artifact, study it, and learn more about its history and design,” he added.
Originally introduced around 1954, the OMI Cryptograph operated similarly to the German Enigma, with five moving cipher wheels to encipher/decipher messages, but, unlike the military Enigmas, it also had a built-in printer that produced its output directly onto a paper strip. This model was operational until the late 1950s when the OMI Cryptograph-CR succeeded it.
Visitors to the NCM can look forward to see this treasure on exhibit when museum renovations are completed and the museum reopens in Spring of 2022.
Radio Waves: Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio
Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers. To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Ron, Andrea Borgnino, and Tracy Wood for the following tips:
Non-official radio stations always attracted shortwave listeners who call them “clandestines”, follwing a mixture of mis-understanding and romanticism. The range of this class of stations is remarkably wide. Nowadays, the majority of them is renting time from major transmission centres like Nauen/Germany, Issoudun/France or Toshkent/Uzbekistan.
As all media, they are put into service to influence people and to sell something by propaganda. The difference between an official broadcaster, like Voice of America, and a “clandestine” like North Korea Reform Radio is not palpable – both are financed by the U.S. Congress.
With most broadcasters transmitting on a scale between facts (“white” – nearly only the BBC) and sheer disinformation (“black”), clandestines are placed on the darker third of this range. The separation between “clandestine” and “official” is rather artificial. There simply is no difference between e.g. the official World Harvest Radio and the clandestine Voice of Wilderness, both religious brodcasters, funded by Cornerstone Ministries International/USA – to take just two religious stations.
Today’s activity of clandestines is concentrated on Africa and Asia with especially taking countries like North Korea, China, Eritrea and Sudan into focus.[…]
In anticipation of its upcoming move, the FCC has adopted a new FCC seal. The redesigned seal is the product of an agency-wide contest that solicited proposals from employees and contractors. The winning design, submitted by Umasankar Arumugam, was selected by a vote of the agency’s employees and contractors.
The revised design incorporates several elements: communications technologies currently transforming our world; four stars on the outer seal border, drawing from the legacy of the predecessor Federal Radio Commission seal; 18 stars on the shield, recognizing the current number of bureaus and offices; and the eagle and shield, identifying the FCC as a federal government agency.[…]
The notion of WNYC becoming the flagship station of a non-commercial network of cultural stations was first publicly articulated by Mayor La Guardia at the launching of the station’s new WPA-built transmitter facility in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on October 31, 1937. La Guardia envisioned a non-commercial/educational radio network connected via shortwave rather than expensive landlines leased by AT&T, but the FCC prohibited interstation communication by means other than wire when wire is available. At the ceremony La Guardia sharply criticized the FCC prohibition: “That is just as nonsensical and as unreasonable as to say that one isn’t permitted to fly from here to Chicago because there are railroads going from here to Chicago. Of course, all this is very good for the New York Telephone Company, but it is not so hot for us.”[…]
New RAC membership renewal procedures (RAC via Southgate ARC)
On behalf of Radio Amateurs of Canada, I would like to thank you for your continued support of Amateur Radio in Canada and internationally.
Your membership has helped RAC in its two primary objectives: to support and promote Amateur Radio in Canada and internationally; and to provide valuable programs and services to RAC members (see below).
As a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the RAC Head Office in Ottawa has been closed temporarily and we are no longer able to send out membership renewal notices by mail and we will be sending out email notices instead.
We would appreciate it if you would please watch for these messages in your inbox and also in your junk folders – this is especially true if you have Outlook or Hotmail email addresses.
In addition, you can assist us by checking to see when your membership will expire by logging on to the RAC website and going to the “My Membership” webpage (https://www.rac.ca/my-membership/). You can also find it on the mailing label of the paper version of The Canadian Amateur magazine or by calling the RAC office as described below.
If you need to renew your membership you can do so by using one of the following options:
Online: by completing the online renewal form (or by clicking on the “Join Radio Amateurs of Canada” logo on the top right of the RAC website). Payments must be made by credit card or by PayPal.
By phone: by calling 877-273-8304 from 10 am to 4 pm EST/EDT, Monday through Friday (except statutory holidays). You may pay by credit card or you may send a cheque for the appropriate amount to the RAC head office.
By mail: if you prefer to have your renewal form processed via standard mail, you can download an application for your region from the Membership Renewals webpage and mail it to the RAC Office.
North Koreans continue to seek out foreign radio despite crackdown
Police in North Korea have recently focused their attention on cracking down on listeners of South Korean radio broadcasts in another sign of the government’s dual-approach to warming ties with the South, according to a source inside the country.
Speaking from Ryanggang Province on April 24, a source told Daily NK that “police have begun inspections of households possessing radios,” explaining that one method used to restrict radio usage includes applying stickers to the tuning buttons to prevent users from finding foreign broadcasts.
State-approved radios in North Korea are fixed to prevent tuning to non-official stations, but the authorities have used additional methods in recent times to handle the increasing amount of personal radios in the country. In addition to radio controls, authorities also place heavy restrictions on DVD players, phones, televisions, and other media devices.[…]
[O]n December 31, 2016, after more than 80 years of operation, Vatican Radio is being absorbed into the new Secretariat for Communications. The move is part of Pope Francis’ reorganization of Curial offices, and is intended to make better use of the Vatican’s limited financial resources. According to Catholic World News, broadcasting programs will continue—at least for the near-term future—but Vatican Radio will no longer have its own corporate identity.
Today, Vatican Radio employs a staff of 355 representing 59 nationalities, mostly lay people, who together produce more than 66 hours of daily programming (24,117 hours annually). There are currently 45 languages used on air, and 38 languages on the website. Programs are broadcast via short wave, medium wave, FM and satellite.
In recent years, Vatican Radio has experimented with digital transmission technologies (DRM, T-DAB, T-DMB). Their news reports and bulletins have been widely distributed through newsletters, podcasts, audio and video, paving the way to a Web TV. Vatican Radio and CTV began their own YouTube channel in 2010, operating in four languages, and on Twitter (6 channels).
Today with the reform of Vatican communications operations, Vatican Radio director Msgr. Dario Vigano has indicated that he plans to pare down short-wave radio operations. Other broadcasts will continue, but with an eye to controlling costs: Vatican Radio has been losing between €20 and €30 million ($21 – $31.5 million) annually.[…]