Tag Archives: Aviation

Radio Waves: ATC Communications, ABC is Highly Trusted, New SW Forum in Turkey, and Did a Ham Speak To Crew Dragon?

Photo credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Michael Bird, Seyfi Genç, and London Shortwave for the following tips:


Can you hear me now: How pilots communicate with ATC while 35,000 feet in the air (The Points Guy UK)

When you’re in a sealed, pressurised tube five miles above the ground, being able to communicate effectively is essential. In the early days of aviation, flags and light signals were used before designers were able to fit basic radio equipment into aircraft.

Modern aircraft now have an array of communication devices from the rudimentary HF radios of old to sophisticated satellite-based systems that enable us to talk almost as if we were on a mobile phone.

[…]The most common form of communication in aviation, very high frequency (VHF) radio calls are what we use for around 95% of our communications with ATC. In simplified terms, the transmitting station sends a signal that travels in a straight line and is picked up by the receiving station.

VHF comms provide clear voice communications. However, as the radio signals travel in straight lines, they are limited by the curvature of the earth and objects that they may come into contact with, such as hills and mountains.

The distance which a VHF signal can travel depends on both the height from which the signal is sent and the height of the receiving station. If both the sender and the receiver are on the ground, the distance will be relatively small. If both stations are in the air, the distance the signals can travel is much further.[]

Bushfire Research shows ABC Radio highly trusted and saves lives (Radio Info)

As the Bushfire Royal Commission continues, the ABC has released independent research that shows Australians turned to the national broadcaster in record numbers during the recent bushfire crisis.

The research shows that the ABC was the most trusted information source during the fires and that lives were saved as a result of people acting on information the ABC provided.

At the height of the bushfire crisis (31 December-14 January) ABC Sydney and ABC NSW local radio produced 296 hours of rolling/continuous fire coverage, ABC Gippsland 134 hours, and ABC Melbourne 83 hours.[]

New Shortwave Forum in Turkey

73 and hello from Shortwave Forum!

A dedicated Facebook and parallel Whatsapp group, to exchange news and info by SWL’s and DX’ers from Turkey, NOW goes wider and more permanent:

http://www.shortwaveforum.com

The Shortwave Forum will be open to all who want to join and contribute. Membership is free.

With members from all corners of the globe, the content of our beautiful hobby will reach the richness it always deserves.

Register now! And keep those tips and news coming!

Did a Ham Radio Enthusiast Actually Speak to Crew Dragon? (Popular Mechanics)

In a strange turn of events, a ham radio enthusiast in Gujarat, India falsely claimed to have made contact with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley during their historic journey to the International Space Station last weekend.

Engineer Adhir Saiyadh told the Ahmedabad Mirror he decided to try to connect with the ISS as it sped over India and “coincidentally got connected to their frequency and received a response from one of the commandants of the capsule,” he said.

But NASA says it simply isn’t true.

Behnken and Hurley blasted off from NASA’s historic Launch Complex 39A on Saturday, May 30. After 19 hours in orbit, the astronauts docked with the ISS and reunited with fellow astronaut Chris Cassidy—whose ham call sign is KF5KDR, by the way—and Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner.

“We did check with SpaceX to confirm that they were not aware of any communication with the astronauts via ham radio, and the crew did not report having received communication,” a NASA spokesperson told Popular Mechanics via email. “We are also under the impression that may be technically impossible for the Crew Dragon to communicate through ham radio.”[]


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Radio Waves: Canada Radio Stamps, Across the Pacific, Satellite Talk Presentation, and BBC Radio 6 Breaks Records

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’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Richard Langley, Charlie Liberto, and Mike Terry for the following tips:


History of Radio in Canada stamps available May 20 (Linn’s Stamp News)

On May 20, Canada Post is issuing a se-tenant (side-by-side) pair of nondenominated permanent-rate (currently 92¢) History of Radio in Canada stamps. The new issue comes in a self-adhesive booklet of 10.

The stamps commemorate Canada’s inaugural radio broadcast, which hit the airwaves a century ago on the evening of May 20, 1920. According to Canada Post’s Details magazine for collectors, the radio program came from Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company’s studios in Montreal, Quebec, and was a closed broadcast for a Royal Society of Canada gathering at the Chateau Laurier hotel in Ottawa, Ontario.

The show featured a live performance by soprano Dorothy Lutton.

“As reported in the Ottawa Journal by one of the journalists invited to listen in, when ‘the latest one-step’ was played, the clarity was so impressive that several of the newspaper writers began to dance,” the May Details magazine said.

The stamp designs list the 10 decades of radio from 1920 to 2020 on the outside edges.[]

A New PBS Documentary Series about Pan American Airways  (Pan Am Historical Foundation)

When the China Clipper took off for the first scheduled flight to Manila on November 22, 1935, it riveted the attention of people around the world. At that moment Pan Am vaulted to a commanding position and the world changed forever as a result. That’s the story brought to life in “Across the Pacific.” Newly unearthed archival motion pictures, photographs, and original sound recordings as well as stunning graphics, help bring this history back to life. The film by Moreno/Lyons Productions tells the epic story of how Pan American Airways became the first to bridge the mighty Pacific – the first airline to cross any ocean. Focusing in particular on the contributions of Pan Am’s visionary leader Juan Trippe, aircraft designer Igor Sikorsky, and radio engineer Hugo Leuteritz, the three-part program will be broadcast on public television, beginning May 18th, 2020.[…]

Charlie notes that this documentary series will feature radio as seen in the following trailer:

Zoom satellite talk now on YouTube (Southgate ARC)

A video of the talk on amateur radio satellites, EME, Meteor scatter and the International Space Station by Robin Moseley G1MHU given via Zoom on Wednesday, May 13 is now available on YouTube

Watch G1MHU talk on satellites
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKjCXepCK_s

The talk was organised by the Denby Dale Amateur Radio Society, their next talk on Zoom will be by the Editor of Practical Wireless, Don Field G3XTT, at 7:30pm BST on Wednesday, May 20, Zoom meeting ID 278 609 9353

http://www.ddars.net/

AMSAT-UK https://amsat-uk.org/

BBC Radio 6 Music breaks its audience record as UK’s biggest digital-only station (BBC Media Centre)

BBC Radio 6 Music reached a record 2.56 million listeners (from 2.49m last quarter and 2.52m last year), with the station’s weekday breakfast show with Lauren Laverne also seeing its biggest audience ever with 1.3 million listeners, according to the latest Rajars.
The figures released today covering the first quarter of 2020 also reveal that BBC Radio 1’s Breakfast show with Greg James gained 343,000 young 10+ listeners on previous quarter, and BBC Asian Network saw a boost in its audiences.

Figures released earlier this week for the same three months show the audience on BBC Sounds is growing, with a record 3.5 million weekly users in March. The total number of plays of live and on-demand content on BBC Sounds between January and March was 275 million, up 25 million on the previous quarter, and there was a record 123 million plays of on-demand radio programmes and podcasts.

James Purnell, Director of BBC Radio and Education, says: “It’s wonderful that listeners have granted BBC Radio 6 Music the top spot as the UK’s biggest digital only station by tuning in in record numbers. It’s no surprise that the station’s brilliant presenters and talented teams are proving a winning formula with their love and passion for music.

“We’ve been holding on to our younger audiences with more than 13 million 15-44 year olds listening to our stations every week whilst competition for their time has continued to intensify. And with more than a quarter of the population now listening to live radio online every week, it shows what an important role BBC Sounds plays for our stations and for our audiences, with record numbers of both live and on-demand plays in the first three months of the year.”

Overall, BBC Radio had 33.54 million listeners and a share of 49.7% (from 33.58m/51% in last quarter and 34.44/51.4% last year).

BBC Radio 1 posted a reach of 9.81 million listeners aged 10+ (from 9.72m last quarter and 10.18m last year). There were 8.92 million 15+ listeners (from 8.79m last quarter and 9.30m last year). The Radio 1 Breakfast Show now attracts 5.47 million listeners 10+ (Mon-Thu), from 5.13m last quarter and 5.44m last year. This quarter saw 4.87 million 15+ listeners (Mon-Thu), compared to 4.81m last quarter and 5.04m last year.

BBC Radio 2’s weekly audience was 14.36 million (from 14.44m last quarter and 15.36m last year). The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show attracted 8.11 million listeners per week, compared to 8.24m last quarter and 9.05m last year.

BBC Radio 3’s audience was 1.98 million (compared with 2.13m last quarter and 2.04m last year).

BBC Radio 4 posted a weekly reach of 10.76 million during the quarter (10.98m last quarter and 11.01m last year). The Today programme (Mon-Sat) has 7.12 million listeners each week, from 7.37m last quarter and 7.32m last year.

BBC Radio 5 Live posted a reach of 5.22 million listeners (5.41m last quarter and 5.40m last year).

Amongst digital-only stations, BBC Radio 1Xtra had a reach of 1.05m weekly listeners 10+ from 1.06m last quarter and 1.13m last year (986,000 weekly listeners 15+ from 987,000 last quarter and 1.05m last year). BBC Radio 4 Extra attracted 1.98 million listeners per week (from 2.27m last quarter and 2.24m last year). BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra attracted 601,000 listeners per week (from 914,000m last quarter and 708,000 last year).

BBC Asian Network drew 543,000 listeners, compared to 519,000 listeners last quarter and 536,000 last year.

The BBC World Service posted a weekly UK audience of 1.35 million (from 1.38m last quarter and 1.48m last year). BBC local radio reached 7.8 million listeners per week, from 7.5m last quarter and 7.86m last year.[]


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Radio Waves: ACMA Report, Maine Stations Close, The National Emergency Library, and RAF Bombing Disrupted Propaganda

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 Alan, Bill Mead, Bill Hemphill, and Gregg Freeby for the following tips:


The future delivery of radio (Australia Communications and Media Authority)

The ACMA released an issue paper in May 2019 to hear from industry about the delivery of radio.  We also wanted to consider if there needs to be any changes to support radio services into the future.

Following this, we conducted a public consultation, receiving submissions from across the industry. We found that live radio across different platforms is important to Australians. This is especially relevant during emergency situations, such as the recent bushfires. We also determined that a mix of platforms is crucial to bringing radio to listeners.

Our report identifies four broadcast spectrum planning priority activities to help support radio:

    • converting commercial, community and national radio broadcasting services from AM to FM where available
    • improving the coverage of radio broadcasting services where spectrum is readily available
    • making digital radio channel plans for regional DAB+ where there is a planned rollout
    • supporting trials of new broadcasting technology.

Report to the Minister Future delivery of radio (319.59 KB)

WOXO says farewell to listeners; Gleason Radio Group to go silent after 45 years (Sun Journal)

AUBURN — On Maine Big Z’s “The Breakfast Club,” Mark Turcotte interviewed local business owners, entertainers, activists, and once last summer, a mixed martial arts cage fighter and state senator one hour apart.

“Had to shift gears pretty quickly that morning,” quipped Turcotte, the morning show host since December 2018.

On Wednesday, he was abruptly down to two final shows.

Gleason Radio Group announced that its five stations will go off the air at 7 p.m. Sunday. They include Norway, Paris, Rumford, Mexico and Auburn.

“This feels like the end of an era in Maine radio,” Turcotte said.

Kathy Gleason has run the business with WOXO station manager Vic Hodgkins in the year since her husband, founder and former Auburn Mayor Dick Gleason, died.

“I feel that I tried very hard to keep it going and at the same time have it be for sale,” Gleason said. “It didn’t sell, it may sell. The coronavirus was kind of like the last straw as far as finances go.”

Hodgkins said a combination of low receivables and slow payments, combined with a projected drop in advertising because of COVID-19, has resulted in the need to close the stations.[]

Announcing The National Emergency Library (Internet Archive)

To address our unprecedented global and immediate need for access to reading and research materials, as of today, March 24, 2020, the Internet Archive will suspend waitlists for the 1.4 million (and growing) books in our lending library by creating a National Emergency Library to serve the nation’s displaced learners. This suspension will run through June 30, 2020, or the end of the US national emergency, whichever is later.

During the waitlist suspension, users will be able to borrow books from the National Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, ensuring that students will have access to assigned readings and library materials that the Internet Archive has digitized for the remainder of the US academic calendar, and that people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis, keeping themselves and others safe.

This library brings together all the books from Phillips Academy Andover and Marygrove College, and much of Trent University’s collections, along with over a million other books donated from other libraries to readers worldwide that are locked out of their libraries.

This is a response to the scores of inquiries from educators about the capacity of our lending system and the scale needed to meet classroom demands because of the closures. Working with librarians in Boston area, led by Tom Blake of Boston Public Library, who gathered course reserves and reading lists from college and school libraries, we determined which of those books the Internet Archive had already digitized.  Through that work we quickly realized that our lending library wasn’t going to scale to meet the needs of a global community of displaced learners. To make a real difference for the nation and the world, we would have to take a bigger step.[]

World War II’s Strangest Bombing Mission (Air & Space)

The RAF knew how to cut the power on propaganda.

eichsmarschall Hermann Göring was beside himself with anger. Years before, he had told the people of Germany that no enemy aircraft would ever cross the country’s borders. Now, on January 30, 1943, a national day of celebration marking the 10th anniversary of Hitler’s rise to power, Göring was made to look like a buffoon.

Dodging in and out of slate gray clouds, Royal Air Force bombers from No. 105 Squadron howled across Berlin. With bomb doors open and Merlin engines at their limits, the wail from a trio of de Havilland Mosquitos mixed with blasts from anti-aircraft batteries below. If everything went as planned, all that noise was going to be on the radio.

In Berlin, amid the grim news from the battlefronts in North Africa and Stalingrad, the January 30 celebration was intended to take German minds off their fallen soldiers and reversals of fortune. The Nazis were going to have a parade. Göring, one of the most powerful figures in the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, was about to deliver a speech to kick off the opening ceremonies in the capital city. British operatives knew it all. They even found out what time the Luftwaffe commandant was due to step to the podium at the Air Ministry Building—exactly 1100.

Royal Air Force leaders had dispatched orders to a pair of Mosquito squadrons experienced in low-level attacks. “I was playing [cards] in the crew room when my driver first told me we were going on an op,” Sergeant Richard Charles “Lofty” Fletcher later told reporters. “I must admit I was a bit shattered when I found out it was Berlin.”

The 400-mph Mosquitos were undertaking the RAF’s first daylight bombing attack on Germany’s largest city. Their target was not the parade route or even the Reichsmarschall himself, but something bigger. It didn’t take a top-level English spy to figure out that Göring’s remarks would be transmitted to the far corners of the Third Reich. The bombers banked and streaked towards Berlin’s Haus des Rundfunks—the headquarters building of the German State broadcasting company.

Göring and the radio building were slightly more than four miles apart—a distance that the Mosquitos could cover, going all-out, in roughly 40 seconds. And the cacophony they brought with them traveled even faster. As the mics went live and Göring began to speak, the roar of impending catastrophe became audible over the radio.[]


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The Sporty’s Air Scan II has a unique “Aviation Interrupt” feature

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and supporter, Mario Filippi (N2HUN), who writes:

Hope you are doing well, am really enjoying the SWLing Post, it’s my daily version of the New York Times for the radio hobbyist. I realize that this is not SW related but did you know there is an unusual aircraft scanner sold by Sporty’s Pilot Shop?

The AirScan II is an AM/FM/VHF air band scanner.

Beauty of it is you can listen to your favorite AM or FM broadcast while it scans your favorite air band channels, then it’ll interrupt the broadcast when it finds an active channel.

https://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/air-scan-ii-radio-with-aviation-interrupttm.html

I think it’s an excellent idea. I’ve purchased from Sporty’s in the past, they are excellent. Keep up the good work Thomas and 73’s.

Thank you for the tip, Mario! That is a brilliant feature–especially for aviation monitoring. This little scanner also has some bluetooth functionality, so you could connect your smartphone, tablet, or PC to it, play your favorite recordings, and it would also interrupt the Bluetooth audio for aviation traffic. Very cool.

Reviews say that air band sensitivity is mediocre, but I bet with an external antenna, it would be improved.  As you say, Mario, Sporty’s has an excellent reputation as an aviation retailer.

And thanks for the kind compliments about the SWLing Post!

Please comment if you own or have used the Sporty’s Air Scan II!

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Thomas (N1SPY) explores the world of non-directional beacons (NDBs)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ivan Cholakov (NO2CW), who shares the following:

Thomas, N1SPY did a follow up video [to this previous post] where he explained a few details about NDBs (Non Directional Beacons).

I knew they existed but had no idea about their historical significance.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Another excellent and informative video, Thomas! Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work!

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An aircraft hijacking story with “a shortwave twist”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Fahey, who writes:

[A] great aircraft hijacking story with a shortwave twist….

Read the full article from NK News on the link below–the shortwave twists are here in two interesting paragraphs…

“Two fight attendants from the YS-11 eventually emerged as announcers on the “Voice of the National Salvation,” a North Korean propaganda radio station targeting South Korean audiences.”

“The station claimed to be a voice of the alleged South Korean underground Juche resistance, and thus it badly needed broadcasters who were capable of speaking polished, Seoul-style Korean.”

Take to the skies: North Korea’s role in the mysterious hijacking of KAL YS-11 | NK News – North Korea News

https://www.nknews.org/2019/03/take-to-the-skies-north-koreas-role-in-the-mysterious-hijacking-of-kal-ys-11/

Thank you, Mark. I was not aware of this story. It was too bad for those flight attendants that they had a skill the North Korea propaganda machine needed.

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Boeing 787 Antennas

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Sally, who writes:

Besides being a bit of a radio geek, I also love aviation and am working on my PPL (private pilot license). I recently discovered this image [above] of the Boeing 787 antenna compliment. It’s amazing to see how many antennas they fit on this heavy bird!

Thank you for sharing, Sally! I can assure you, you’re not the only aviation nut here on the SWLing Post. I’m guilty as well!

It is amazing to see just how many various antennas are install on modern commercial aircraft. Looking at this image, you would think it’s a flying antenna farm!

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