Tag Archives: David Goren

“The Texas Tank: A Prison Radio Station Changing Lives”

SWLing Post friend and contributor, David Goren, notes that a piece he’s produced and Maria Margaronis has presented is now available to listen to online via BBC Radio 4: 

(Source: BBC Radio 4 with Photo credit from Michael Starghill))

The Allan B. Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas, used to be known as the Terror Dome for its high rates of inmate violence, murder and suicide. Polunsky houses all the men condemned to death in Texas (currently 185) and nearly 3,000 maximum security prisoners. But since the pandemic, a prison radio station almost entirely run by the men themselves has helped to create community–even for those on death row, who spend 23 hours a day locked alone in their cells.

The Tank beams all kinds of programmes across the prison complex: conversations both gruff and tender; music from R&B to metal; the soundtracks of old movies; inspirational messages from all faiths and none. The station’s steady signal has saved some men from suicide and many from loneliness; it lets family members and inmates dedicate songs to each other and make special shows for those on their way to execution. Maria Margaronis tunes in to The Tank and meets some of the men who say it’s changed their lives—even when those lives have just weeks left to run.

Produced by David Goren.

Click here to listen to The Texas Tank: A Prison Radio Station Changing Lives on Radio 4.

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Radio Waves: Brooklyn Pirate Radio Interview, Emergency Radio Evolution, SOTA Hams Prevent Forest Fire, and Morse Code Documentary

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!


Interview about Brooklyn pirate radio (Irish Pirate Radio Audio Archive)

Although Irish pirate radio is our main interest, today we explore the lively pirate scene in the Brooklyn area of New York City. The Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map is a fascinating project established by radio producer and audio archivist David Goren and provides interactive maps and historical and contemporary recordings of the many unlicensed stations in Brooklyn.

This is a longer version of an interview by John Walsh with David Goren first featured in Wireless, a series about radio, audio and media on Flirt FM in Galway. It covers the history of pirate radio in Brooklyn and New York generally, attempts to crack down on the unlicensed stations, the role of low-powered FM, the background to the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map itself and plans for the future. Many thanks to David for taking the time to explain this fantastic project for us. [Read the full article and listen to the interview on the Irish Pirate Radio Audio Archive…]

The Evolution of the Emergency Radio (Radio World)

From AM-only portables to multi-function machines

With the advent of the 9V battery-powered transistor radio in the 1950s, the “Emergency Radio” was born.

Unlike vacuum tube receivers with heavy batteries or unpowered crystal radios, these handheld AM portables were small and simple enough to keep in a drawer. They could then be retrieved whenever man-made or natural disasters knocked out the power, providing listeners with lifeline connections to news, weather and relief information. Continue reading

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Soldering is Easy: An amazing soldering primer in comic book form

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Goren, who shares a link to this PDF which is a primer on soldering…in comic book form!

Thing is, this primer is brilliantly illustrated and all of the soldering techniques are truly textbook. No wonder, though: the amazing Mitch Altman provided the “Soldering Wisdom.” (You might recall my love of Mitch’s TV-B-Gone kit.)

David didn’t know this, but I use this comic guide very heavily when teaching classes or individuals how to solder. It connects with all generations of makers and tinkerers.

It is the benchmark, in my opinion!

Mitch specifically designed this tutorial to be spread widely, so he licensed it under Creative Commons. Share this widely!

Click here to download the full PDF.

I’ve also stored a backup copy here on the SWLing Post.

Thanks for reminding me about this tutorial, David!

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Celebrating World Radio Day 2022!

Today is UNESCO World Radio Day and this year the theme of trust highlights the importance of radio as an accessible form of information.

Below are some of the many projects celebrating World Radio Day:


Cities and Memory: Shortwave Transmissions

As mentioned in a previous post, we at the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive are truly honored to have been a resource for this incredible and diverse sound project organized by Cities and Memory.

We encourage you to explore the creative work from over 120 artists and composers.

A great many of these remarkable dynamic works draw on a wide array of recordings from the SRAA; the resulting compositions and soundscapes are rich with sonic textures, evocative collages of sound and memory, which emerge into further sources of inspiration.

Our profound thanks to Cities and Memory––and all of the participating artists––for this truly brilliant collection which you can check out on the Shortwave Transmissions project page.


BBC World Service Documentary: “World Wide Waves ’22: The sounds of community radio”

As we mention in a previous post, this brilliant radio documentary focusing on community radio is available on the BBC World Service website and BBC Sounds

Here’s the description:

For World Radio Day 2022, we tune in to radio stations around the world that connect communities, spark conversations, keep traditions alive and give a voice to their listeners. From Aboriginal Koori Radio in Australia to a community station in India run by rural women from the lowest Dalit caste, the airwaves carry intimate wisdom, vital knowledge, beats and tunes that keep reminding us who we are.

Note that this piece was produced by our friend David Goren, of Shortwaveology fame. Continue reading

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Wave Farm’s Short Waves / Long Distance Open Call 2022

(Source: Wave Farm via David Goren)

Short Waves / Long Distance Open Call 2022

Wave Farm, Montez Press Radio, and The North American Shortwave Association are pleased to announce “Short Waves / Long Distance,” an open call for works exploring the sonics of the shortwave radio spectrum (2-30 mHz), and the experience of long distance listening. The call is in conjunction with the 35th Anniversary of the Winter Shortwave Listener’s Fest and Wave Farm’s 25th Anniversary, both of which will be celebrated in 2022.

Selected works will be:

Submission Deadline: January 31, 2022

Submission Guidelines and Instructions:

  • Submissions are welcomed from all genres.
  • Both pre-existing and newly created works are eligible. Please note: Works submitted to the 2017 Open Call are ineligible, regardless of their selection status.
  • Works should not exceed ten minutes in duration.

Shortwave Listening Resources:

 

Click Here to Access the Online Submission Form

Jury and Notification Schedule:

  • A jury comprised of representatives from The Shortwave Shindig, Montez Press Radio, and Wave Farm will review submissions.
  • Selections will be announced in late February 2022

About The Shortwave Shindig
The Shortwave Shindig is a live immersion into the wavering, noisy sounds of the shortwave radio spectrum. Live performances, presentations and extended, multi-layered audio mixes combine real time and archival shortwave sounds, taking the listener on a guided tour through the atmospheric neighborhoods where shortwave stations cluster. Reels of archival audio and a bank of receivers are on hand for tuning-in to the distant, elusive sounds of the shortwave bands. http://www.shortwaveology.net/shortwave-shindig/

About the Winter SWL Fest
The Winter Shortwave Listener’s Fest (March 4th-5th 2022) is a conference of radio hobbyists of all stripes who listen to frequencies from “DC to daylight.” Every year scores of hobbyists descend on the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania suburbs for a weekend of camaraderie and talking radio. The Fest is sponsored by NASWA, the North American Shortwave Association, but it covers much more than just shortwave. Additional topics include Medium wave (AM), VHF scanning, satellite TV, and pirate broadcasting. http://www.swlfest.com/

About Montez Press Radio
Montez Press Radio is an experimental broadcasting and performance platform. Founded in 2018 with the goal of fostering greater experimentation and conversation between artists, writers, and thinkers through the medium of radio, MPR allows different corners of the art world to interact with each other in person and on air—a place where media finally meets flesh. We’re drawn to art that exists in the unexpected, the authenticity of sharing without a script, the sounds of ideas in the making, conversation that forgets there’s an audience. We also like books. All in-studio broadcasts are free and open to the public. Stop by when we’re live at 46 Canal Street #2 in NYC or look at the upcoming schedule to see if we’re off-site and broadcasting near you. https://radio.montezpress.com

About Wave Farm
Wave Farm is a non-profit arts organization driven by experimentation with broadcast media and the airwaves. A pioneer of the Transmission Arts genre, Wave Farm provides access to transmission technologies and supports artists and organizations that engage with media and the electromagnetic spectrum as an art form. Wave Farm’s Residency Program provides artists working within the Transmission Arts genre opportunities to research and create new works. Wave Farm’s Archives document and contextualize this work, including the Wave Farm Radio Art Archive, which is a project of an annual fellowship program. The Transmission Art Installation park features long-term projects installed on Wave Farm’s 29-acres in Acra, NY. These projects amplify the environment revealing what is otherwise unheard or unseen. Wave Farm’s WGXC-FM is a full-power, non-commercial, listener-supported station in New York’s Upper Hudson Valley operating out of dedicated studios in Acra and Hudson, NY; as well as pop-up temporary studio locations throughout the listening area and beyond. WGXC transmits 3,300 watts to more than 78,000 potential listeners on 90.7-FM and unlimited international listeners at wavefarm.org/listen. Hands-on access and par­ticipation distinguish WGXC as a public platform for information, experimenta­tion, and engagement. https://wavefarm.org

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Radio Waves: 20K Hz & The Buzzer, Cuba Jamming, Rugby Radio Station soon a school, HRO Opens a store in FL, Police Use Morse, Tool Box Spy Radio, and “Einstein Listened”

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!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Paul, David Goren, Pete Polanyk, Ulis Fleming, Troy Riedel, Tracy Wood, Dan Robinson, and Kris Partridge for the following tips:


The Buzzer (Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast)

This episode was written and produced by Olivia Rosenman.

Since World War I, countries around the world have been broadcasting mysterious numerical messages via shortwave radio. Though concrete evidence is hard to come by, the general consensus is that these coded messages are meant for undercover agents operating abroad. And one particular Russian station may have an even more sinister purpose. Featuring computer engineer Andrus Aaslaid, historian Maris Goldmanis, and documentary photographer Lewis Bush.

Cuba Jamming Ham Radio? Listen For Yourself (IEEE Spectrum)

A public SDR network triangulates the island as the source of mystery signals

By Stephen Cass

As anti-government protests spilled onto the streets in Cuba on July 11, something strange was happening on the airwaves. Amateur radio operators in the United States found that suddenly parts of the popular 40-meter band were being swamped with grating signals. Florida operators reported the signals were loudest there, enough to make communication with hams in Cuba impossible. Other operators in South America, Africa, and Europe also reported hearing the signal, and triangulation software that anyone with a web browser can try placed the source of the signals as emanating from Cuba.

Cuba has a long history of interfering with broadcast signals, with several commercial radio stations in Florida allowed to operate at higher than normal power levels to combat jamming. But these new mystery signals appeared to be intentionally targeting amateur radio transmissions. A few hours after the protest broke out on the 11th, ham Alex Valladares (W7HU) says he was speaking with a Cuban operator on 7.130 megahertz in the 40-meter band, when their conversation was suddenly overwhelmed with interference. “We moved to 7170, and they jam the frequency there,” he says. Valladares gave up for the night, but the following morning, he says, “I realize that they didn’t turn off those jammers. [Then] we went to [7]140 the next day and they put jamming in there.”[]

New school at home of former radio station on track for autumn launch (Coventry Telegraph)

Houlton School, where Rugby Radio Station once stood, is set take its first influx of pupils in September

Plans for a new school at the historic former home of Rugby Radio Station are being fine-tuned and remain on track for a September start.

Houlton School, which will be named after the town in America that received the first transatlantic voice broadcast from Rugby Radio Station in 1927, will take its first influx of 180 Year 7 pupils this autumn.

The school, which forms part of the 6,200-home urban extension in Houlton, east of Rugby town centre, will take a new year group of 180 pupils every 12 months.

Michael McCulley, the school’s Principal Designate, said: “Whilst building a fantastic £39m new school during three lockdowns has had its challenges, we are also acutely aware that we have had a completely blank page from which to develop our exciting curriculum and pastoral programme.

“This freedom has been important as we have needed to evolve to the changing needs of our first group of students.[]

Ham Radio Outlet to open store in Florida (Amateur Radio Newsline)

Ham Radio Outlet, the nationwide amateur radio retailer in the US, has announced that its ongoing expansion plans will include a store in the state of Florida. The new store will join 12 already open in such states as California in the West, where the company is based, to Delaware in the East, Arizona and Texas in the South, New Hampshire in the North. The company’s announcement on social media set off a wave of speculation about the new location, especially on Instagram where the company wrote, “We’re not telling yet! We’re open to suggestions.” The closest Ham Radio Outlet to Florida is in Atlanta, Georgia. The company, which calls itself the world’s largest supplier of amateur radio equipment, is also known for shipping internationally.

Old is gold: In times of satellite & internet, Pune cops keep Morse Code in use as a robust stand-by communication mode (The Indian Express)

Every Sunday, an operator with Pune Police’s wireless wing sends a Morse Code message to the office of the Director General of Police, Maharashtra.

IN THE era of satellite communication, which involves transmitting signals into space and back, and internet based systems transferring gigabytes of data in a flash, police have kept alive the age-old system of Morse Code – a primitive method of sending messages in the form of dots and dashes.

Every Sunday, an operator with Pune Police’s wireless wing sends a Morse Code message to the office of the Director General of Police, Maharashtra. While this is their way of paying tributes to one of the earliest modes of telecommunication, it is primarily a way of maintaining a robust stand-by mode of message delivery in case all other means of communication fail.

Pune City police have recently started a series of tweets featuring the communication systems used by the police and their evolution till date. On Sunday, Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta tweeted, “As an ode to the beginning of wireless communications, the Commissioner’s Office still uses Morse Code to transmit Messages every Sunday.”[]

Antiques Roadshow: Spy radio disguised as toolbox found in garden shed worth huge sum (The Express)

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW saw a World War II spy radio which was disguised as a toolbox fetch a huge valuation when it travelled to Kenilworth Castle.

Antiques Roadshow’s expert Mark Smith marvelled at the ingenuity of a spy radio which was used in World War Two in a recent episode. The item, from the outside, was made to look like a toolbox but when opened, displayed a detailed radio which could be “powered by any source”. So how much was it worth? Mark put a £10,000 to £15,000 price tag on it.[]

Einstein Listened (WNYC)

Former WNYC director Seymour N. Siegel suggested that WNYC once received fan mail from Einstein. As I continue to look far and wide for evidence of this alleged bit of praise, I can’t help but wonder, what broadcast prompted the great man to write? Alas, so far, the document has eluded me. But, we do know that the father of the theory of relativity was a subscriber to both the WNYC and WQXR program guides. And we have no less than Erwin Panofsky, the noted German-American art historian and friend of Einstein’s, to thank for that.

It all began when the distinguished gang at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey decided to chip in and build the Nobel laureate a “high-fidelity” radio for his 70th birthday. The 1949 gift included subscriptions to the WNYC, WQXR, and WABF program guides.[]


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Radio Waves: “Tuning In The World”, Subcarrier Signals, SSTV Event from the ISS, the Zeptosecond and Israel Army Radio Shut Down

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!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Tracy Wood, Dennis Dura, John Forsyth, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


Tuning In The World (Far From Home)

When David Goren was 13 years old, he and his family went to visit their Uncle Lou.

“He was usually just railing about my long hair or criticizing rock and roll,” he recalled. But this time was different. “He gave me an old radio of his that had a shortwave band on it. I really didn’t know what that was. I asked my dad, and he was like, ‘You won’t hear anything on that!’”

David was curious, though, so after he got home, he turned it on, started fidgeting with the dial, and was amazed to discover sounds and music from around the world![…]

Click here to read the full post and click here to subscribe to the Far From Home podcast.

Subcarrier Signals: The Unsung Heroes of the FM Dial (IEEE Spectrum)

How subcarrier radio signals made room for hidden FM stations—and helped ensure that everyone has access to the news

A version of this post originally appeared on Tedium, a twice-weekly newsletter that hunts for the end of the long tail.

In our modern era, we tend to choose devices with as many functions as possible, and we bristle at the thought of an object with a single use—hence why umbrellas can be so frustrating to carry around. But sometimes, a single use case is exactly the right level of functionality. This is something I’ve been thinking about recently after I got my hands on a fairly large radio that has literally one function: You turn it on and a specific station plays, and there’s no surface-level way to do anything else with it.

This is a weird device—but for its niche, this device, called a subcarrier radio, was perfect. And it was one of many niches that subcarrier radios made possible.

What the heck is a subcarrier radio signal?
In 1985, a South Florida Sun-Sentinel article discussed a potentially lucrative offering for the owners of FM radio stations: ways to make extra money from parts of the licensed signal they weren’t already using.

This phenomenon was not unusual at the time; the practice had been around for decades. But what the article highlighted were the numerous ways radio signals were being used that the average listener was likely not even aware of—for background music, for stock reports, even to transmit computerized data.

And while station owners weren’t earning a ton of extra money—a single lease brought in US$1,400 a month (about $3,500 today)—for a struggling station, the additional revenue could mean the difference between being in the red and being in the black.

The thing that allows many radio stations to monetize their signals in this way is, essentially, a technical gap inside the FM broadcast signal. These gaps, or subcarriers, are frequencies that aren’t being used for the primary signal but could find secondary uses in more specialized contexts.[]

Amateur Radio on Shuttle, Mir and ISS (Southgate ARC)

ARISS report there will be an ‘Amateur Radio on Shuttle, Mir and ISS’ Slow Scan TV (SSTV) event from June 21-26. Transmissions from the International Space Station will be on 145.800 MHz FM using PD120

The ARISS team will be transmitting SSTV images continuously from June 21 until June 26. The images will be related to some of the amateur radio activities that have occurred on the Space Shuttle, Mir space station and the International Space Station.

The schedule start and stop times are:

Monday, June 21 – Setup is scheduled to begin at 09:40 UTC (transmissions should start a little later).

Saturday, June 26 – Transmissions are scheduled to end by 18:30 UTC.
Downlink frequency will be 145.800 MHz and the mode should be PD120.

Those that recently missed the opportunity during the limited period of MAI transmissions should have numerous chances over the 6 day period to capture many (if not all 12) of the images.

Check the ARISS SSTV blog for the latest information
http://ariss-sstv.blogspot.com/

The signal should be receivable on a handheld with a 1/4 wave whip. If your rig has selectable FM filters try the wider filter for 25 kHz channel spacing.

You can get predictions for the ISS pass times at
https://www.amsat.org/track/

Useful SSTV info and links
https://amsat-uk.org/beginners/iss-sstv/

Meet the zeptosecond, the shortest unit of time ever measured (Space.com)

Scientists have measured the shortest unit of time ever: the time it takes a light particle to cross a hydrogen molecule.

That time, for the record, is 247 zeptoseconds. A zeptosecond is a trillionth of a billionth of a second, or a decimal point followed by 20 zeroes and a 1. Previously, researchers had dipped into the realm of zeptoseconds; in 2016, researchers reporting in the journal Nature Physics used lasers to measure time in increments down to 850 zeptoseconds. This accuracy is a huge leap from the 1999 Nobel Prize-winning work that first measured time in femtoseconds, which are millionths of a billionths of seconds.

It takes femtoseconds for chemical bonds to break and form, but it takes zeptoseconds for light to travel across a single hydrogen molecule (H2). To measure this very short trip, physicist Reinhard Dörner of Goethe University in Germany and his colleagues shot X-rays from the PETRA III at Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), a particle accelerator in Hamburg.[]

Defense minister says he is sticking to plan to shut Army Radio (The Times of Israel)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz reiterated on Wednesday his belief that Army Radio should not continue in its current format as part of the Israel Defense Forces.

“I think that IDF soldiers must be kept as far as possible from any political involvement, and the station should be apolitical, and it has long stopped being so,” Gantz said in response to a query from Shas MK Moshe Abutbul on the Knesset floor. “I don’t think there is any way to operate Army Radio in its current form, largely due to the political angle.”[…]


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