Mali relay site near Bamako is back on air diffusing China Radio’s shortwave signal. The site carries CRI’s shortwave broadcasts for more than 20 frequency hours a day to Africa. The move has also benefited Mali’s own shortwave transmissions, which were reportedly suffering from weak signals and poor modulation. “The reactivation of the facility is in contrast to the shuttering of other shortwave sites on the continent, such as the Sentech facility in Meyerton, South Africa,” writes Hans Johnson.
Thanks for the tip, Roseanna! I believe this makes sense. CRI seem to have a backlog of paper QSL cards to post so by restricting paper cards to those who submit listener reports by snail mail, it will cut down on the processing time. Those seeking a quick confirmation can simply submit their reception reports by email and thus receive an eQSL in short order. Thanks again for the tip!
Beijing has a new propaganda weapon: Voice of China
China is creating a new giant broadcaster to ensure its voice is heard loud and clear around the world.
Voice of China, as the new outlet will be known internationally, will be formed by combining three mammoth state-run national networks: China Central Television (CCTV), China National Radio and China Radio International. It will employ more than 14,000 people.
The merger was revealed in a Communist Party document on a sprawling government reorganization program, championed by President Xi Jinping to reinforce the party’s absolute control in all aspects of state governance.
State news agency Xinhua released the document Wednesday after it was approved by China’s rubber-stamp parliament.
With echos of the Voice of America radio service created by the US government during World War II, Voice of China is tasked with “propagating the party’s theories, directions, principles and policies” as well as “telling good China stories,” according to the document.
It will be under the direct control of the party’s central propaganda department.
The new broadcast juggernaut is being formed at a time when Chinese authorities face growing challenges to control their message in the age of the internet and social media. They are making strenuous efforts to maintain strict censorship at home while pouring money into propaganda projects abroad.[…]
OTTAWA, Ontario — With the advent of radio in the 20th century, the shortwave band (1710–30,000 kHz) soon became a hotbed of long-distance radio broadcasting. Used primarily by state-run international broadcasters, plus ham radio operators and ship-to-shore radio communications, the shortwave band was prized due to its astoundingly broad reach.
That reach was — and is still — made possible by the tendency of ground-based shortwave radio transmissions to bounce off the ionosphere and back to earth; allowing shortwave broadcasts to “hop” repeatedly, increasing a broadcast’s range while minimizing its decay.
[…]At the height of the Cold War, the shortwave bands were packed with content as the Voice of America and West Germany’s Deutsche Welle (Voice of Germany) traded ideological punches with Radio Moscow and East Germany’s Radio Berlin International. This is because analog shortwave radio broadcasting was the only way for both sides to make their political cases cross international borders: There was no satellite TV, let alone any internet.
Each morning, I enjoy listening to Radio Australia on 9,580 kHz, but I’m forced to tune elsewhere due to interference when China Radio International starts broadcasting on 9,570 kHz, via Radio Havana Cuba’s relay.
Hypothetically I should be able to mitigate any adjacent interference from CRI by listening to Radio Australia’s upper sideband. But unfortunately, RHC’s transmitters spew spurious emissions a full 20 kHz on either side of their carrier. It’s most annoying.
Here’s what my waterfall looked like when CRI signed off:
Notice how clear the 35 kHz waterfall window became (that’s Radio Australia centered on 9850 kHz):
The reason for this is clear: obviously, some of RHC’s transmitters are in need of care–and they’re not the only ones.
I’ve received a number of requests from Radio Cairo to post notices about their English language broadcasts. Normally, I’m quite happy to post press releases, but in each case I’ve mentioned that their English broadcasts are almost impossible to understand. For years, RC has had a problem with AM modulation (I assume) and, to my knowledge, have never addressed it.
I’ve sent RC feedback on a number of occasions; in response, I’ve received only the inconclusive reply that they’re “looking into the situation.”
To underscore the point, on Sunday Andrea Borgnino shared the following video/audio of Radio Cairo via Twitter.
There are other broadcasters that emit messy signals, but Radio Havana Cuba and Radio Cairo are the most noticeable in my listening area. And, it seems, neither broadcaster is in any hurry to address their ongoing problems.
In Radio Cairo’s case, especially, the broadcaster is simply wasting money by attempting to broadcast a signal that can neither be received nor interpreted. It’s rather sad. Ultimately, one has to wonder why they bother to broadcast at all…
Radio Havana Cuba, China Radio International, and Radio Cairo (among others) take note: a little care of your radio transmitters will go a long way toward increasing your listenership.
What you can do: Consider contacting broadcasters when when you become aware of transmitter problems. Despite RC’s notable exception, oftentimes a broadcaster may not be fully aware of the issue––thus your feedback is necessary to help correct the problem.
This morning, I listened to Radio Australia on 9,580 kHz with my WWII era Scott Marine Radio SLR-M (above).
Radio Australia provides a reliable, strong signal into North America every morning and it’s where I typically tune for the morning news at the top of the hour.
China Radio International also fires up on the adjacent frequency of 9570 kHz around 1200 UTC–their signal is also incredibly strong here as it’s relayed from Radio Havana Cuba at 250 kW. CRI’s bandwidth is almost always wider than 10 kHz–indeed, it’s often 20 kHz–which means that it completely wipes out any average adjacent signal.
Indeed, when I’m testing selectivity on portable shortwave radios, I’ll often tune to Radio Australia and wait for CRI to fire up on 9570 kHz. If the portable radio can still lock onto Radio Australia after CRI is on the air–or, better yet, if an upper side band sync lock can eliminate all traces of CRI–I know the receiver has decent selectivity.
This morning, when CRI began transmitting at 1200 UTC, their signal completely wiped out every trace of Radio Australia. Though the SLR-M’s narrow AM filter is still quite wide, it can typically cope with the adjacent CRI carrier.
I fired up the TitanSDR to see what CRI’s signal looked like on a spectrum display–here’s what I found:
CRI’s AM bandwidth was 30+ kHz wide!
In my book, that was an abusive use of the band.
This was, by no means, an isolated event. It was just particularly annoying for me this morning as I was enjoying a good cup of coffee and the morning ABC news.
I’ll send a message to CRI and RHC about this, but I have my doubts anyone will take action.
The Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department are investigating a California firm whose U.S. radio broadcasts are backed by a subsidiary of the Chinese government, officials said.
Both investigations come in response to a Reuters report published on Monday that revealed the existence of the covert radio network, which broadcasts in more than a dozen American cities, including Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston and San Francisco. (reut.rs/1Wrflt4)
“Based on reports, the FCC will initiate an inquiry into the facts surrounding the foreign ownership issues raised in the stories, including whether the Commission’s statutory foreign ownership rules have been violated,” FCC spokesman Neil Grace said.
The California firm is owned by James Su, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Shanghai. Reuters reported Monday that Su’s company, G&E Studio Inc, is 60 percent owned by a subsidiary of Chinese state-run radio broadcaster China Radio International (CRI).
The FCC doesn’t restrict content on U.S. radio stations, except for rules covering indecency, political advertising and children’s programming.
But under U.S. law, the FCC prohibits foreign governments or their representatives from holding a radio license for a U.S. broadcast station. Foreign individuals, governments and corporations are permitted to hold up to 20 percent ownership directly in a station and up to 25 percent in the U.S. parent corporation of a station.
G&E does not own any U.S. stations, but it leases two 50,000-watt stations: WCRW in Washington for more than $720,000 a year, and WNWR in Philadelphia for more than $600,000 a year.
Through a different set of limited liability companies, Su owns, co-owns or leases virtually all the air time on at least a dozen other U.S. stations. Those stations carry G&E content, which is produced largely by his West Covina, California studios or by state-run CRI in Beijing….