Tag Archives: CBC News

Joseph Hovsepian: Montreal’s “Radio Doctor”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Scott Gamble and Bill Mead who both share the following story via the CBC News:

Joseph Hovsepian says he is part of the last generation that knows how to repair electronics

Joseph Hovsepian has been repairing? radios for so long that he claims that he can sometimes smell the problem.

“When I pick up a radio, I turn it on or I plug it in and the way it smells, the way it sounds or doesn’t sound, the way it crackles and fades away, all these things are recorded in my brain and I know exactly how to start and how to fix it,” he said.

Since 1960, Hovsepian has been fixing radios, turntables and other electronic gadgets from his Parc Ave. repair shop.

The 79-year-old sees himself as part of the last generation of people trained in the art of repair.

“We have lost the ability to touch things, fix things, repair them and feel good for doing it,” he said.

For almost his entire life, Hovsepian has been tinkering with radios. He built a crystal radio when he was 12, and his first tube radio at 15.

[…]He believes that today’s electronics lack the warmth that the old radios offered. Hovsepian said smartphones look dead to him compared to old technology.

“Even the sound of the old radios, a little scratch here, a little scratch there…This is radio.”[…]

Click here to read the full article at CBC News.

This is a charming story and I think Post readers can certainly understand why radio seems to be in a class of its own. I feel very fortunate that I’m friends with two people who repair radios for others, my buddy Charlie (W4MEC) and Vlado (N3CZ). Both are kind enough to show me the ropes as they troubleshoot problem sets.

Post readers: Do you live somewhere with a radio repair shop? Have any readers ever visited Mr. Hovsepian’s shop in Mile End? Please comment!

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CBC News picks up story about sale of RCI’s WWII era transmitter

After posting a story last week about finding a home for the old RCA transmitter at the former RCI Sackville site, I was approached by CBC reporter, Tori Weldon, who recently put together this piece:

(Source: CBC News)

‘It’s like Frankenstein’s lab’: Massive 78-year-old transmitter for sale

Mi’kmaq group hopes it finds ‘a good home’

A piece of radio history could be yours for $5,000.

A 1940 RCA 50 kW shortwave transmitter, located at the decommissioned Radio Canada International Site in Sackville, is up for sale.

The transmitter is a small room, about five metres long by two-and-a-half metres wide, and it’s filled with lever, buttons, glass tubes and wires.

The property was bought in February 2017 by Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn Incorporated (MTI), a group of Mi’Kmaq First Nations. Jesse John Simon, the group’s executive director, said workers are still taking electronic components apart and removing old equipment that won’t be needed now that property is no longer a broadcast site.

The old transmitter doesn’t work anymore, said Marc Goldstein, an electrical engineer helping to take out equipment no longer needed, adding it was decommissioned in the 1970s.
“It took three men to operate this radio,” he said.
“We’re trying to find a home for it.”[…]

Click here to read the full story at CBC News.

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CBC News: RCI looking for Sackville transmitter site buyers

The vast, open Sackville site will most likely become a wind farm.

Just posted by CBC News:  a breaking news item which focuses on the closure of the Sackville RCI transmitter site and reveals the fact that site owners are now looking for buyers.

During my recent visit to the Sackville site, I spoke with their Transmission Operations Technologist, Marcel Cantin; we both agreed that the most likely future of the transmitter site is to become a wind farm, much like one visible from the site in neighboring Nova Scotia. Evidently, the province has been talking with farmers whose property borders the Sackville site in hopes to procure more land for wind farm development. The Sackville site’s 280+ acres would represent a great portion of the land they wish to procure. The only obstacle I see to this not becoming a reality would be local opposition–and they may have good cause. The two main arguments against wind farms are the noise they produce (not really a problem where RCI is/was located) and the fact that they can harm migrating bird populations. The site is very close to the Sackville Waterfowl Park, a local bird sanctuary which is home or host to innumerable varieties of water birds, and which I also had the good fortune to visit when in Sackville. Opposition in this regard may be substantiated.

(Source: CBC News)

After decades of service, the transmission towers outside of Sackville, N.B are no longer broadcasting Radio Canada International to the world.

The international broadcasting service ended its shortwave transmission Sunday night.

“I find myself, on behalf of all of us, saying goodbye to 67 years of radio,” said host Marc Montgomery, breaking down on air.

[…]”There’s no denying the importance of the internet. There’s also no denying that it can be and is regularly blocked by authoritarian regimes. Shortwave broadcasts on the other hand, almost always get through to people hungry for information,” said Montgomery.

Martin Marcotte, director of CBC Transmission, said he’s now looking to sell the New Brunswick towers and land.

He said he’s focussing (sic) on selling the site to other shortwave broadcasters or wind farm companies.

“It will be fairly costly to dismantle and as a last resort we would dismantle the facility, return it to bare land as it was when we first acquired that site,” said Marcotte.

As for broadcasters, the only one of which I am aware who has both the funds and ambitions to purchase such a transmissions site, is China Radio International.

Of course, I would hope that a broad-sighted private purchaser or even non-profit could keep the site running much as it has been, recognizing its vital relevance to Canadian international relations and to the developing world generally–especially in light of the recent addition to the site of a remote operation system.

Too bad, the Canadian government couldn’t recognize this in time.

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