The Antique Wireless Association/Museum recently posted another excellent presentation on YouTube; this time taking a look at the history of British Broadcasting. Here’s the description followed by the video:
Radio broadcasting in the UK followed a much different path than it did in the US, and there’s more to the story than the BBC. Tim Barrett tells the whole story in this history of British Broadcasting.
The BBC is celebrating the centenary of its first official broadcast – a news bulletin that included a court report from the Old Bailey, details of London fog disruption, and billiards scores.
It was broadcast by London station 2LO, but new research shows many early BBC moments came from northern England.
Manchester station 2ZY aired the first children’s show and introduced the first regular weather forecast.
Birmingham’s 5IT station broadcast the first “official concert”
The BBC that began broadcasting at 6pm on 14 November 1922 was not the British Broadcasting Corporation of today. It was in fact the British Broadcasting Company and was made up of separate stations around the country operated by different companies.
London 2LO was run by the Marconi company. Manchester’s station was operated by Metropolitan-Vickers.
However, in these early days few records were kept of what was broadcast.
But new research on the BBC’s very early days has been carried out by Steve Arnold, a self-confessed Radio Times obsessive.
His tricky task was to try to piece together the BBC’s schedules before the Radio Times – so named as it listed the times that the new medium’s shows were being broadcast – was first published in September 1923.
He explained he found information in “gossip columns [in regional newspapers] mainly, people saying we listened to this last night and this is the only record of some of these things”.
Now, using sources from archive documents and newspapers, Steve has begun to piece together a picture of what the early BBC was doing. [Continue reading at the BBC…]
It’s a skill that radio amateurs pick up over years but which it sometimes comes as a surprise to find that is not shared by everyone, the ability to casually glance at an antenna on a mast or a rooftop and guess what it might be used for. By which of course I mean not some intuitive ability to mentally decode radio signals from thin air, but most of us can look at a given antenna and immediately glean a lot of information about its frequency and performance. Is this privileged knowledge handed down from the Elmers at the secret ceremony of conferring a radio amateur’s licence upon a baby ham? Not at all, in fact stick around, and I’ll share some of the tricks. [Continue reading…]
The latest version of the document (mrr.drm.org) describes the DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) receiver characteristics for consumer equipment intended for terrestrial reception operating in the frequency bands below 30 MHz (i.e. DRM robustness modes A to D) and also those for the frequency bands above 30 MHz (i.e. DRM robustness mode E). The goals of the document are to: provide guidelines to receiver manufacturers for minimum receiver performance and technical features, to offer confidence to broadcasters that their DRM transmission can be received by all receivers in the market, to assist broadcasters to plan their network and to give full confidence to consumers that all important DRM features are supported by receivers and all DRM transmissions can be received when they acquire a digital DRM receiver.
In its centenary year, we look at the BBC’s pivotal role in making the broadcast and radio technology field what it is today.
Daily London broadcasts by the newly formed British Broadcasting Company began from Marconi House on The Strand, on 14 November 1922, using the call sign 2LO, with transmissions from Birmingham and Manchester starting on the following day.
The first broadcast by the young company, which was heard as grainy, muffled speech, was read by Arthur Burrows, who joined the BBC as director of programmes. Notably, he was one of the first people to move from newspaper to broadcast reporting.
At the end of 1922, Scottish engineer John Reith, who was just 33 years old at the time, was appointed general manager of the BBC, which then had a staff of four. Reith is remembered for establishing the tradition of independent public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom.
Within months, the growing organisation moved into the same building as the Institution of Electrical Engineers at Savoy Hill (now the IET’s Savoy Place event venue), where it continued to expand. This was an obvious home for the young BBC, and for the next nine years this is where early innovations of broadcasting occurred.
The British Broadcasting Corporation, as it is known today, was established in January 1927 as a public corporation, and in 1934 it moved from Savoy Hill to the purpose-built Broadcasting House in Portland Place. [Continue reading…]
Kenyan broadcasters will be allowed to adopt a new digital radio standard, which will enable them to use their current spectrum to transmit their signals through a digital network, as the sector regulator moves to address the shortage of analogue frequencies.
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has called for stakeholder and public views on a draft Digital Sound Broadcasting (DSB) framework it has formulated to ensure the efficient use of the available broadcasting spectrum and encourage investment in the sub-sector.
“The objective of this consultation is to develop a suitable framework for Digital Sound Broadcasting in Kenya to address the challenge of high demand and low availability for analogue FM broadcasting frequencies that is currently being experienced,” said the CA. [Continue reading…]
The BBC’s 100th anniversary has been marked in the town that enabled it to make nationwide radio broadcasts.
Opening on 27 July 1925, the Daventry Transmitter was the world’s first long wave transmitting station.
Known as 5XX, it was on Borough Hill in the Northamptonshire town and its first transmission was with the a poem called “Daventry Calling…”.
Sophie Good from the town’s museum said: “Daventry has got a strong affiliation with the BBC.”
The BBC chose the position so the transmitter could cover the maximum land area.
It brought the total audience within listening distance to 94% of the population.
When it opened, the poem by Alfred Noyes was followed by speeches from the postmaster general, external and the mayor of Daventry, introduced by Lord Gainford, BBC Chairman.
The then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin sent a message, published in the Radio Times, which said he saw “Daventry as another milestone on the road to the social betterment of our people”. [Continue read at the BBC…]
LONDON — The British Broadcasting Corp. marked 100 years of broadcasting on Tuesday, a century after a group of wireless manufacturers founded the company and began filling the airwaves with its first daily radio service.
The BBC was founded on Oct. 18, 1922, in London and daily broadcasting began a month later. The broadcaster is marking its centenary with a series of special programs, including a guest appearance from King Charles III on The Repair Shop, a program featuring expert craftspeople restoring antiques.
Actress Jodie Whittaker will make her last appearance as the Time Lord on a special episode of Doctor Who on Sunday, before Ncuti Gatwa takes over the role. [Continue reading…]
In September 2022, Ampegon Power Electronics AG and RNZ (New Zealand public broadcaster) signed a contract to supply a new TSW2100-V4 100 kW shortwave transmitter to New Zealand. The transmitter will broadcast the RNZ Pacific service to millions of people living across the Pacific with high reliability and energy efficiency: Ampegon wins a new Shortwave Transmitter Contract with RNZ – Ampegon.
Running a radio station is, on the face of it, a straightforward technical challenge. Build a studio, hook it up to a transmitter, and you’re good to go. But what happens when your station is not a single Rebel Radio-style hilltop installation, but a national chain of transmitter sites fed from a variety of city-based studios? This is the problem facing the BBC with their national UK FM transmitter chain, and since the 1980s it has been fed by a series of NICAM digital data streams. We mentioned back in 2016 how the ageing equipment had been replaced with a modern FPGA-based implementation without any listeners noticing, and now thanks to [Matt Millman], we have a chance to see a teardown of the original 1980s units. The tech is relatively easy to understand from a 2020s perspective, but it still contains a few surprises. [Continue reading at Hackaday…]
This year’s IBC DRM virtual event, held on 6th September, was very well received by many participants world-wide. The much-awaited session on DRM receivers gave the listeners and viewers the opportunity to learn about new, hot off the press, receiver products and solutions in this sector.
A new cost-effective DRM solution developed by CML Microsystems in conjunction with Cambridge Consultants in the UK, is just one example. Their product is a multi-band broadcast DRM receiver module that makes it quick and easy for manufacturers to build DRM radio sets. The module supports DRM and analogue reception in the AM and VHF bands. Applicable IP royalties are included in the module price. The module also supports a remote controlled mode and thus can serve as the basis for full-featured DRM radio sets. The module is scheduled to be available to industry partners from Q1 2023.
Gospell from China presented their entire range of well-established and full-featured DRM receivers consisting of desktop and pocket radios, with support for EWF Emergency Warning Functionality and Journaline text service. In addition, Gospell unveiled their new car radio for easy integration, the Stereo Digital Radio Receiver GR-520. All models provide DRM reception across all DRM broadcast bands.
The Swiss company Starwaves announced three upcoming DRM receiver solutions: A complete and full-featured DRM and analogue AM/FM receiver module available to receiver manufacturers, with automotive-grade tuning and fast scanning across all DRM frequency bands and support for EWF Emergency Warning Functionality and Journaline text service. A first consumer receiver model built on this DRM module will be the W2401 desktop radio priced at €79. An even more advanced receiver at 99€ will in addition feature a built-in WiFi hotspot for web browser access to the DRM content. All Starwaves receivers can be enhanced with DAB+ functionality if required by a local market.
Starwaves also offers the DRM SoftRadio App for Android phones and tablets, which upgrades any device by connecting an analogue RF SDR dongle to a full-featured DRM receiver. The app is available in major app stores including Google, Huawei and Amazon.
Exciting DRM receiver solutions for professional applications and device manufacturers were presented by Fraunhofer IIS (Germany), such as the automotive receiver kit software SDR, and the DRM MultimediaPlayer Radio App as the basis of professional and consumer-grade radio implementations.
NXP, the leading, global semiconductor manufacturer, showcased their complete portfolio of automotive qualified suite of DRM chipsets for car receivers for all DRM broadcast bands.
Other companies from India, such as OptM and Inntot, as well as the South Korean manufacturer RF2Digital contributed to the pre-IBC DRM virtual event with videos presenting their solutions for DRM use in desktop radios, mobile phones and in cars.
CML Microsystems/Cambridge Consultants, Gospell, Starwaves and Fraunhofer IIS will also be present in Amsterdam during the IBC expo on the 10th September together with other key DRM members, such as BBC, Encompass, Nautel and RFmondial. IBC visitors participating in the two DRM sessions at the Fraunhofer IIS booth and at the Nautel booth will experience live demonstrations of the new DRM receivers and modules.
Selected news from the presentation on September 6th including from the DRM receiver section are available as a free download: https://s.drm.org/KJr9.
[The] QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo kicks off this Friday evening, September 16th at 1800 Pacific.
The Expo officially opens on September 17 2022 at, 01:00 UTC or September 16th at 6:00 PM Pacific.
To attend, all you need to do is go to the following website: https://qsotoday.vfairs.com. Simply login using the same email address that you used to purchase your ticket. No password is needed. You can test in advance to see that it works.
DARC reports on the planned introduction of an entry-level amateur radio license, it will be limited to just 10w EIRP in the 144 and 430 MHz bands but they can build their own equipment
A translation of the DARC post reads:
Today [June 7], the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport presented the draft of a new amateur radio regulation that will bring some innovations for all radio amateurs.
The chairman of the DARC e. V. and the Round Table Amateur Radio (RTA), Christian Entsfellner, DL3MBG was pleased: “The new regulation implements long-standing requirements of the DARC and the Round Table Amateur Radio. Remote operation will finally be allowed in the future. The Ministry has also implemented our demand for a beginner class, which has existed since 2008.
This makes it much easier to get started with amateur radio.” While the existing classes E and A are raised in level due to the introduction of new topics from digital technology, class N focuses on operational knowledge, regulations and basic knowledge of the technology.
Holders of the new Class N will be allowed to transmit on 2m and 70cm with a maximum power of 10W EIRP. “The new entry-level class should offer access to amateur radio in particular to young people and older people in accordance with international requirements,” explains board member Ronny Jerke, DG2RON. The legally stipulated self-build right is not restricted, so even beginners can develop, set up and put into operation radio devices or hotspots themselves.
The exam will follow a cumulative system, e.g. B. is known from the US amateur radio test. First of all, the exam for class N is taken, which already contains all questions from the areas of operational knowledge and regulations. The technical test for class E and then for class A can then be taken.
“The examination catalogs developed by the DARC for the three classes are structured in such a way that the content and questions are not repeated, i. H. Content that has already been examined in a lower class no longer plays a role in the examination for a higher class. So all future radio amateurs go through the exams of class N, through E to class A. It should be possible to take all the exams in one day.
The previously unregulated remote operation has been included in the new amateur radio regulation. Holders of license class A may in future operate amateur radio stations remotely and also allow other radio amateurs to use class A. Another important innovation concerns the training radio operation, which will be possible in the future without a separate training call sign. Instead, adding the prefix “DN/” makes any Class E or Class A callsign a training callsign.
The RTA now has 4 weeks to comment on the draft regulation. The board and the departments of the DARC have already started to examine the text of the ordinance in detail and will report promptly.
AM radio in the British Isles is now in terminal decline with audiences dropping and many transmitters closed already. The majority of the remaining transmitters will likely close by the end of 2027. Over the next few years, the BBC and major commercial broadcasters will be looking to minimise their AM transmission costs by reducing transmission powers at the high-power sites and closing some of the low-power transmitters serving small audiences.
A coordinated AM shutdown may then follow at some point, most likely in 2027, though some independent broadcasters may continue using AM beyond this. This article explores these issues in more detail.
Note: the The Alexander Association has announced that they will be unable to put SAQ on the air this year on Alexanderson Day. There are no more details other than the title of their post (the content still reads as if the transmission will happen as planned).
By Nick Sinanis, callsign SV3SJ, President of the International Amateur Radio Club (IARC), and Attila Matas, callsign OM1AM, Vice-president and Station Manager, IARC
Did you know that the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies owns and operates its very own radio station?
Residing at the headquarters of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the 60-year-old amateur station operates under the callsign 4U1ITU.
It started broadcasting on 10 June 1962 and was officially inaugurated the following month by then UN Secretary-General U Thant and ITU Secretary-General Gerald Gross – himself a ‘’ham” radio enthusiast known by the personal callsign W3GG.
Recognized as a unique “country” in the ham radio community, 4U1ITU operates in accordance with privileges extended by ITU and the Government of Switzerland. It has also earned the DXCC (or ham radio “century club”) award from the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), confirming air contacts with 100 or more countries.
From its long-time home on the 5th floor of the Varembé Building in Geneva’s international district, this unique broadcasting outlet still today serves as a model for the highest standards of amateur radio station operation everywhere.
From one to a million
4U1ITU’s first contact, or “QSO” in ham radio parlance, was made with a German station called DL4VK. Further QSOs followed, amounting to over 1,300 contacts worldwide in the first 24 hours.
In the six decades since, ITU’s radio station has made over a million contacts using Morse code carrier wave (CW), voice (SSB), and digital operational modes, based on more than 20,000 two-way QSOs with radio amateurs around the world.
4U1ITU can operate on most of the frequency bands allocated to amateur and amateur-satellite services as identified in Article 5 of the Radio Regulations.
Aside from letting licensed radio amateurs in ITU, its Member State representatives, and its conference and meeting delegates contact fellow radio hams, the station promotes international goodwill and cooperation across the community. It also allows hands-on demonstrations of amateur radio communications for delegates and meeting participants. [Continue reading…]
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jonathan Marks, who notes that BBC Director General Tim Davie announced a digital strategy along with a number cuts following the BBC licence fee settlement. This was all outlined in his “A digital-first BBC“ speech to staff this afternoon.
I’ve pasted the full copy of his speech below, but regarding the BBC World Service, here is an excerpt:
“The Government’s commitment to extend its £94m annual funding for the World Service for a further three years is very welcome. But UK licence fee funding for the World Service, which has been around £254m in recent years, is now running at over £290m including World News – a level that is unsustainable following the licence fee settlement.
We will set out plans in the coming weeks for how we will initially reduce licence fee spending on the World Service by around £30m by the start of 2023/24, while protecting the full breadth of languages.
At the same time, our strategic review will identify the right longer-term model for a digital-first World Service and lay out a strong case for more investment from government over the coming years. This case for a strengthened World Service is compelling but we can only expect UK licence fee payers to fund so much.”
In addition, they hope to save £500m annually by cutting services such as Radio 4 Extra, Radio 4’s Long Wave service, and Radio 5 Live’s mediumwave transmitter network.
The Director General’s speech to staff, of course, primarily focused on being a world-class digital and on-demand provider.
BBC Director-General Tim Davie’s speech to staff on 26 May 2022
Published: 26 May 2022
Good afternoon everybody.
Today, in our centenary year, I want to set out a vision of how we keep the BBC relevant and offer value to all audiences in an on-demand age.
I will cover three things: the pressing need to build a digital-first BBC; how we spend our money now that we have the certainty of public funding for six years; and how we keep reforming the way we work. Continue reading →
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