Tag Archives: Canada

Amateur radio connecting without judgement

I think this is a brilliant story from the CBC:

Almost every morning and night, Therese Mair can be found sitting on her favourite chair in her living room, in front of a ham radio.

Mair lives in Georgetown, P.E.I., but by fiddling with a dial and searching through static, she can speak with people from around the world.

On a recent evening, Mair reached someone on a ship in Scotland, who — to her delight — struck up a conversation.

“The main thing I’m hoping for is a connection with somebody else — even just for a few minutes,” Mair said.

“There’s no pressure at all. We’re never going to meet. So it’s just a chance to talk with somebody else from a different part of the world.”

As a self-described introvert living alone in a small town, Mair says amateur radio has opened a social part of her life she didn’t know existed.

It has also allowed her to meet people, free of judgment, she says.

“I don’t think I’m a normal person at all, and so finding ways of connecting with people face-to-face hasn’t always been the most successful,” Mair said.

“Once I come home from work and close my doors, I don’t really communicate with people very much at all. The radio is a way for me to make that connection without being judged at all.”

She first picked up her hobby in 2017, after hearing that ham radios were the only way people in Puerto Rico could communicate in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Mair says speaking with people around the world through her radio reminds her that there are caring people everywhere, “no matter what the news brings.”

“There are all these people around the world; they just want a human connection, just for a few moments, and then that fills you up, makes you feel really good.” she said.

“And then — great. On with the rest of the day.”

Click here to read this story and listen to the interview.

 

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The Listeners: Members of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Corps who secretly monitored the airwaves

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Fred Waterer, who shares the following fascinating video from the CBC and notes:

“The Listeners” Members of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Corps monitored the airwaves for German U-Boat traffic. Their participation was secret for decades.”

Click here to view this video via the CBC.

This is such an amazing story, Fred, and the CBC did a fine job putting it together. Thanks so much for sharing.

Editor’s note regarding WWII history: Regular SWLing Post readers know that I’m an avid WWII history buff, in that I read, view, and especially listen to many accounts of the Second World War era, the glory days of radio. I’ve traveled and lived in several of the countries that were, at that time, among the Axis Powers, some of my close friends are from or reside in these countries now, and feel much as I do about this history: that this was a devastating war which we must not forget or romanticize, and from which we can learn about ourselves as human beings, hopefully with the view of preventing such chilling events from ever being repeated.  As we have readers and contributors from all over the world in this radio community, I sincerely hope that WWII-related articles are regarded in this light of understanding. The takeaway? Times have changed.  I firmly believe that a deep understanding of our shared history makes us all better people.

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“Hello Finland, this is Vancouver calling”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, William Lee, who shares the following story from the CBC:

Hello, Finland, this is Vancouver calling: radio fans listen to CBC from 6,700 km away

When people in other parts of the world tune in to CBC Radio in Vancouver, they usually do it through our app, or online or through Sirius XM.

But some people in Finland recently picked up Vancouver’s CBC broadcast — the broadcast heard locally at 690 AM and 88.1 FM — using an elaborate antenna system roughly 300 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle in Lapland, Finland.

“It’s a few [radio hobbyists] from around Finland who have a very nice place up in the north where there’s not much neighbours which means not much interference,” Patrik Willfor, one of the listeners, told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn. “It’s like a silent band there, so even the weakest signals come through.”

The practice is called DXing, and Willfor says he’s been at it for about 25 years since a friend told him that’s what their fathers used to do when they were young.[…]

Click here to read the full article on CBC British Columbia’s website.

Post readers: Is it just me? Or do you, too, get a kick out of it when the press gets a glimpse into the seemingly-anachronistic, but still-relevant-and-rocking world of radio–?

Note that you can also listen to the audio interview with Patrik via the embedded CBC player below:

 

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Transatlantic medium wave DX: 3 Canadian stations rarely heard in Oxford, UK

Hi there, I thought I’d share with you, three recent catches from Canada that I had not previously heard here in Oxford, UK, over the past 18 months of DXing. The first is VOWR, a religous station in Saint John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. At the time of reception their TX power was 2.5 kW, thus a really pleasing catch. 800 kHz is such a difficult channel to DX in Europe due to heavy adjacent channel QRM, but the brilliant selectivity of the Elad FDM DUO operating via the FDM-SW2 software performed really well, producing mostlyy intelligble audio on LSB with an audio bandwidth filter of 2.1 kHz. Below is an embedded video and text link.

MW DX with 200 m Beverage: VOWR 800 kHz, St. John’s, N&L, first reception, with ID

The next reception video is CHHA ‘Voces Latinas’ from Toronto on 1600 kHz. This was the biggest surprise because this channel at the start of the X-band is dominated by The Caribbean Beacon, Anguilla. In fact, I would go so far as to say I’ve never heard anything else but Anguilla on 1600 kHz. The only difference in this reception is that it occurred relatively late in the morning for me – around 7:45 am. To catch CHHA for the first time, with a very clear ID was great, I hope to hear them again soon.  Below is an embedded video and text link.

Finally, a reception video of CBC Radio 1, transmitting on 1140 kHz. CBC are very often herad at my shack in Oxford, in fact, I see at least one carrier, usually with audio most evenings/mornings and often multiple signals are present across 600, 750 and 1400 KHz. However, their transmission from Sydney, Nova Scotia had never been copied previously and so this was a pleasing catch. Below is an embedded video and text link.


Thanks for reading/watching/listening and I wish you all great DX!

Clint Gouveia is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Clint actively publishes videos of his shortwave radio excursions on his YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log. Clint is based in Oxfordshire, England.

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Oxford Shortwave Log: transatlantic MW DX catches with 200 metre Beverage – part 2

verdad-final

Hi there, here is the second set of reception videos for my transatlantic MW DX catches using the 200 metre Beverage antenna. Most of the signals originate from the United States and Canada, however, there is also a catch from Mexico – XERF La Ponderosa – which is a personal first and another from Bogotá, Colombia – Verdad Radio. I hope you enjoy them. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like further details regarding the Beverage design and/or construction. in the meantime, thank you for watching/listening and I wish you all great DX!



Clint Gouveia is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Clint actively publishes videos of his shortwave radio excursions on his YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log. Clint is based in Oxfordshire, England.

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Thump interviews filmmaker Amanda Dawn Christie

View of the western cluster of curtain antennas from the roof of RCI Sackville's transmissions building. (Photo: The SWLing Post) --Click to enlarge

View of the western cluster of curtain antennas from the roof of RCI Sackville’s transmissions building in 2012. (Photo: The SWLing Post) –Click to enlarge

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike Barraclough, who shares this Thump interview with Amanda Dawn Christie:

For her latest documentary, Spectres of Shortwave, Moncton-born experimental artist and filmmaker Amanda Dawn Christie spent the last seven years exploring this otherworldly phenomenon. While working at Sackville’s Struts Gallery in 2009, she heard stories from local residents about voices in sinks where “pipes acted like antennas and the bowl became a gramophone speaker.” Christie was jealous that hers didn’t pick it up, so she spent her pay cheques for the rest of the summer at a plumbing store, extending her pipes to bring the sink to the marsh.

Sackville is also home to SappyFest, a beloved music festival taking over the town every August since 2006, with performances from local and internationals artists. Fred Squire is one of the former, and it’s his story of dreaming in foreign languages—due to transmissions from an amp in his bedroom entering a hypnagogic mindstate—that provides the documentary’s centerpiece.

“Fred would fall asleep and dream perfectly coherently in Chinese or Russian,” [film maker Amanda Dawn] Christie explains. “He decided to call the radio towers to see if they were doing anything that would cause it. Then about 40 minutes later in the film there’s a story from a technician who describes his call from a guy dreaming in different languages. The stories are similar but contradict each other, leaving the viewer wondering which one is telling the truth.”[…]

Click here to read the full interview on Thump.

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The Snowbirds in Québec City

DSC_4513Maybe it’s my radio-loving fascination with technology, travel, and what at times seems like sheer magic–-but for some reason I’ve long been something of an aviation enthusiast, as well. Over the years, I’ve discovered quite a lot of SWLs and ham radio operators share this interest…and if you’re one of these folks, well, have I got a post for you.

Aerien-Quebec

Wednesday in Québec City, as the sun dipped in the sky, viewers standing on the city’s walled fortifications were treated to an amazing aviation display which included a CF-18 Hornet, the CH-146 Griffon and last but definitely not least, the Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron––aka, the Snowbirds.

In the first act, helicopters:  four CH-146 Griffon helicopters in neat formation, and then the Canadian Coast Guard demonstrated lowering a guy from a emergency helicopter onto a Coast Guard boat in the middle of the St. Lawrence, , then drawing him back up into the chopper a few minutes later––with, of course, maneuvers throughout.

For the second act, the CF-18 Hornet pounded the sky with an assault of black-and-yellow speed, twice turning and showing both back and belly.

And for the finale, the Snowbirds skimmed into view in exquisite formation, and with tight, astonishing precision, glided around the ramparts of the old walled city, leaving perfectly drawn contrails of colored smoke.

Here are a few photos I snagged of the demo:

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The Snowbirds

This particular public event wasn’t granted permission for a full acrobatic show, but the Snowbirds were in the air at least thirty minutes and showed off every one of their nine-plane position formations.  And were they ever precise!

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The Snowbirds gave us a flawless and graceful show, one I’ll never forget. Canadian readers, you should be mighty proud of your Snowbirds; they’re an aviation team to be reckoned with.

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