Tag Archives: BBC

Radio Waves: Future of AM in UK, BBC and Nuclear War, SAQ Unable to Air on Alexanderson Day 2022, ITU Ham Station Celebrates 60 years, and RRI International Quiz

Radio dial

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

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


Opinion: The Future of AM Radio
England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (FrequencyFinder.co.uk)

Summary

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.

Click here to download the full PDF of this article.

The Last Word – The BBC and Nuclear War (Atomic Hobo Podcast)

This episode of the Atomic Hobo podcast focuses on the role of the BBC before and after nuclear attack:

Click here to listen via Soundcloud.

SAQ unable to air on Alexanderson Day (The Alexander Association)

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).

Check the Alexander Association website for more details.

ITU’s ham radio station celebrates 60 years on air (ITU)

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…]

RRI Voice of Indonesia: International Quiz 2022


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BBC World Service: Licence fee spending to be cut £30m

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. 

Here’s the full text of the speech via the BBC Media Centre:


A digital-first BBC

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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Radio Waves: Solidarity Radio, BBC Shortwave & Dark Web, RnaG at 50, and CIDX Focus on Ukraine Update

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!


On air! Prague’s ‘solidarity radio’ targets Ukrainians (MSN)

Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war to the Czech Republic got a fresh morale booster this week as a new radio station based in Prague started offering broadcasts in Ukrainian.

The new channel called Radio Ukrajina broadcasts news, tips for refugees, music and fairy tales for children, as well as spiritual comfort passed on by Ukrainian churches.

Run by the Media Bohemia group comprising several radio stations, it broadcasts from an office building in central Prague via a mobile app and on the internet.

“It’s a solidarity radio,” said on-air manager Natalia Churikova, who spent 27 years working for the Prague-based, US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

“We are targeting Ukrainian war refugees who have moved here and trying to give them information they need to start a new life here before they can go back home, which we hope will eventually happen,” she told AFP. [Continue reading…]

BBC turns to dark web and shortwave radio to bring outside news to Russian people amid wartime crackdown (iNews)

Russian citizens are going underground to keep abreast of news from outside Kremlin-controlled sources

The BBC is trying techniques new and old to give Russians access to news from the outside world in the wake of a Kremlin crackdown on critical media.

It is just one of a number of western news sources – including social media platforms – being accessed through the so-called “dark web”, an underground version of the internet which can allow users to avoid being tracked.

“The BBC is doing what it has a long tradition of doing – making independent news available to people, often in places where authorities are trying to restrict access,” a spokesman for the broadcaster told i.

“So BBC will use the tools at its disposal – whether that was shortwave in the past or using circumvention tools now.” [Continue reading…]

RnaG at 50: A radio station created by the people for the people (The Irish Times)

RAIDIÓ NA GAELTACHTA HAS HAD A PROFOUND EFFECT ON THE GAELTACHT OVER THE LAST 50 YEARS, BUT IT DIDN’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT.

I’m a year older than Raidió na Gaeltachta, so I can’t remember a time that it wasn’t a presence in my life. So many memories are bound up in it,” says Gormfhlaith Ní Thuairisg, presenter of Raidió na Gaeltachta’s weekday morning news programme, Adhmhaidin.

On April 2nd, 1972, 50 years ago next weekend, the State delivered on a promise first made in the 1920s to establish a radio station dedicated to serving Irish speakers in their own language.

“It will not cost a great lot of money, and the intention is that it should provide a programme in keeping with the language of the people,” minister for posts and telegraphs JJ Walsh told the Dáil during a debate on the Wireless Telegraphy Bill in November 1926.

But by the time the 1960s came around, and with still no sign of an Irish language radio service, Irish speakers had had enough of what they saw as empty promises made by the State. [Continue reading…]

Canadian Int. DX Club’s “Focus on Ukraine – Version 2.1” now available (CIDX)

“Focus on Ukraine” is a compilation of news reports, feature articles, references, web links, monitoring information, radio frequencies, independent monitoring reports and more, focusing on the media, communications, radio broadcasting, etc. related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Version 2.1 of the special feature “Focus on Ukraine” is now available on the Canadian Int. DX Club’s webpage at https://cidxclub.ca/ukraine-v2/

NOTE: Items marked NEW in Version 2.1. are additions and updates to Version 1.1 of “Focus on Ukraine”, published March 9, 2022

Version 1.1 is also available at https://cidxclub.ca/ukraine/


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Ukraine: BBC adds two shortwave broadcasts, NEXUS adds MW service

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrea Borgnino (@aborgnino), who notes:

On shortwave, the BBC is adding 2 shortwave broadcasts to Ukraine on 5875 kHz from 8/10 UTC and on 15735 kHz from 2/4 UTC.

On medium wave, NEXUS- of Milan in Italy on 1323 kHz and proposes broadcasting for Eastern countries from 7/11 p.m. CET

Thank you for sharing this, Andrea.

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Radio Waves: BBC License Fee Frozen, Battling RFI, Warning to RTL-SDR Users in Ukraine, and WRD Special Broadcast

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!


BBC’s funding system under fire (Marketplace)

In the United Kingdom, you need a license to drive a car, fly a plane, practice medicine and watch TV.

The “TV license” is what Brits call their system for funding their world-famous broadcaster, the BBC. Currently, it costs the equivalent of $216 a year and is compulsory. Anyone in the U.K. caught watching or recording programs broadcast on any television channel or livestreamed on an online platform without a license is likely to be prosecuted.

The BBC — the Beeb, as it’s known — derives around $5 billion a year from this source. That’s 75% of the total revenue it needs to run a vast media empire, comprising 10 national TV channels and 10 national and 40 local radio stations as well as its World Service broadcasts and a global news website.

Full disclosure: The Beeb is a content partner for Marketplace.

But the license fee is under attack. The government just announced that it’s freezing the fee at the current level for two years and not increasing it in line with inflation — a decision that could cost the corporation nearly $400 million. The government has also hinted that it would like to eventually scrap the license fee altogether. [Continue reading at Marketplace…]

RF Interference (Nuts and Volts)

It’s everywhere! It’s everywhere! Fortunately, you can take a bite out of RFI.

RF interference — is it interference to you? Is it interference by you? Possibly both! What does this interference consist of? And how can you tell what type is present? A topic that starts off with so many questions is bound to cover a lot of ground, so let’s get started. Continue reading

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BBC Crowd Science: “How does my radio work?”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kris Partridge, for sharing the following story:

Crowd Science: How does my radio work?

How is a small budget pocket radio able to recreate all the atmosphere and sounds of a football match? CrowdScience listener Andy wants to know about the science enabling his radio listening, so presenter CrowdScience Geoff Marsh sets off – microphone in hand – to follow the journey of sound on the radio.

Starting with the microphone, Geoff learns how acoustic energy is converted into electrical signals. Then BBC World Service presenter Gareth takes Geoff to a little-known room in the BBC called the Radio Shack. Gareth demonstrates how these electrical signals are attached to radio waves before being sent over the airwaves and they take a radio kit apart to understand how these waves are received and converted back into sound waves.
Geoff talks to a speech and hearing specialist who, through the use of auditory illusions, shows Geoff that our brains are often filling in the gaps of lower quality audio.

Finally, Geoff visits an acoustic lab at Salford University where he hears a demonstration of ‘object based audio’. This technology could enable us to create our own bespoke mix of dramas and sports, such as heightening the commentary sound or choosing to hear just the crowd, just by using the everyday speakers many have lying around them, such as mobile phones.

Tune in and join us!
Presented by Geoff Marsh
Produced by Melanie Brown

Click here to read/listen on the BBC website.

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Radio Waves: Dynamic GPS Tutorial, BBC’s First Female Employee, Rugby CW ID in Tubular Bells, and Roger Wallis Passes Away

Radio Sweden QSL

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!


GPS Tutorial by Bartosz Ciechanowski

Check out this amazing, dynamic deep-dive into the world of GPS. 

The BBC’s First Female Employee: Isobel Shields (The British Broadcasting Century with Paul Kerensa)

Episode 41 (aka Season 3 episode 2):

On January 2nd 1923, John Reith interviewed Miss Frances Isobel Shields for a job at the BBC, to be his secretary. At the time the BBC had four or five male staff members. Miss Shields started work on January 8th, instantly making the BBC a 20% female organisation. It’s been greater than that ever since.

This episode’s fab guest is Dr Kate Murphy: academic, former producer of BBC’s Woman’s Hour and author of Behind the Wireless: A History of Early Women at the BBC. Her book is brilliant and highly recommended for a deep dive into the subject.

Hear Isobel Shields’ tale, plus the women who broadcast before her: Britain’s first DJ Gertrude Donisthorpe, 2LO’s first children’s presenter Vivienne Chatterton, and one of our first broadcast comedians Helena Millais. (You can hear their fuller tales if you go back to the earlier episodes on this podcast.)

And hear about some of the women who joined the BBC soon after Miss Shields, like telephonist Olive May and women’s staff supervisor Caroline Banks. Plus hear about some of John Reith’s unusual management practices, from taking his secretaries to the cinema to his brutal firing criteria.

But we dwell on his hiring not firing, as well tell the origin story of British broadcasting. [Continue reading…]

Hidden Morse Code in Tubular Bells (Madpsy’s Palace) 

The link between The Exorcist, Amateur Radio and Alan Turing.

A quick look at how the movie The Exorcist from 1973 has links to the late great Alan Turing via Mike Oldfield’s album Tubular Bells, Scotland and Amateur Radio. It’s Halloween so figured why not throw some horror in the mix.

When Mike Oldfield recorded Tubular Bells in 1973 he had no idea his first album on Virgin Records would be chosen as the soundtrack to The Exorcist later that year. Neither did he know that recording with Virgin Records would have an unintended consequence of hiding a secret message which dates back to 1926, shortly after World War One.

Tubular Bells was famously recorded at The Manor Studio which was owned by Richard Branston and used as a recording studio for Virgin Records. The building is located in Shipton-on-Cherwell, England. Mike was given one week to record the album, on which he played almost all the instruments himself.

The album initially struggled to sell. Then, later the same year, it was chosen as the soundtrack for the movie The Exorcist. It then experienced massive success and has since sold over 15 million copies worldwide. [Continue reading…]

Roger Wallis from “The Saturday Show” on Radio Sweden passes away

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Lennart Wennberg, who notes:

Just got the news that Mr Roger Wallis has died at the age of 80.

I remember him from Radio Sweden’s Saturday Shows on MW in the 70s. He was “Big Bad Roger” and hosted together with Kangaroo Kim.

Lennart Wennberg
Sweden

From Wikipedia:

Roger Wallis (8 August 1941 – 22 January 2022) was a British-born Swedish musician, journalist and researcher.[1]. He was an adjunct professor of multimedia at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.[2]

Between 1967 and 1981, Wallis was the main presenter of the English language The Saturday Show on Radio Sweden. Wallis also co-wrote “Judy, min vän”.

Wallis died on 22 January 2022, at the age of 80.


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