It is 2010 and Colombian Colonel Jose Espejo has a problem. Not only is the Farc increasing its kidnapping activity, targeting police and military hostages, but many of the soldiers already in captivity – some kept in barbed-wire cages and held isolation in for over a decade – are losing hope of ever being rescued.
Colombia’s dense jungle and mountainous terrain mean rescue missions can take months to plan, especially because Farc guerrillas are known to shoot all hostages dead at the first hint of a raid. Colonel Espejo knew that in order for future missions to succeed, he would need to warn the captives that help was coming so they could be ready to make a break for it when the army arrived. But how do you get a message across to military hostages without tipping off their captors and placing them in even greater danger?
The unexpected solution – hide the message in a pop song with an interlude in Morse code that the military hostages could decipher. Soldiers learned Morse code in basic training, and it was unlikely that the Farc, who were not military trained, would know it. This is the tale of Better Days, a pop song with a secret Morse code message that became an actual lifesaver.
At the NAFB Convention, Simington said AM radio is an “indispensable resource”
FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington met with members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting during their 79th annual convention on Nov. 16. In his remarks, Simington emphasized the importance of AM radio and outlined the steps needed to ensure its future in a changing market.
Simington began his remarks with a more personal anecdote. He said he grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada, where “besides the trade papers, there was no media institution more trusted to inform us about all we needed to know than AM radio.”
“AM radio was for us then, and is for the more than three million farmers across the U.S. now, an indispensable resource,” he said.
Simington said AM radio is the “essential spine” of the Emergency Alert System and “lets you know what’s happening not just globally, but locally — from school closures and traffic delays to city council and county management meetings and high school sports games.”
He comments on the growing populations that view AM radio as a “dead” and outdated technology, and why he believes that to be a falsity. [Continue reading…]
It’s a skill that radio amateurs pick up over years but which it sometimes comes as a surprise to find that is not shared by everyone, the ability to casually glance at an antenna on a mast or a rooftop and guess what it might be used for. By which of course I mean not some intuitive ability to mentally decode radio signals from thin air, but most of us can look at a given antenna and immediately glean a lot of information about its frequency and performance. Is this privileged knowledge handed down from the Elmers at the secret ceremony of conferring a radio amateur’s licence upon a baby ham? Not at all, in fact stick around, and I’ll share some of the tricks. [Continue reading…]
The latest version of the document (mrr.drm.org) describes the DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) receiver characteristics for consumer equipment intended for terrestrial reception operating in the frequency bands below 30 MHz (i.e. DRM robustness modes A to D) and also those for the frequency bands above 30 MHz (i.e. DRM robustness mode E). The goals of the document are to: provide guidelines to receiver manufacturers for minimum receiver performance and technical features, to offer confidence to broadcasters that their DRM transmission can be received by all receivers in the market, to assist broadcasters to plan their network and to give full confidence to consumers that all important DRM features are supported by receivers and all DRM transmissions can be received when they acquire a digital DRM receiver.
In its centenary year, we look at the BBC’s pivotal role in making the broadcast and radio technology field what it is today.
Daily London broadcasts by the newly formed British Broadcasting Company began from Marconi House on The Strand, on 14 November 1922, using the call sign 2LO, with transmissions from Birmingham and Manchester starting on the following day.
The first broadcast by the young company, which was heard as grainy, muffled speech, was read by Arthur Burrows, who joined the BBC as director of programmes. Notably, he was one of the first people to move from newspaper to broadcast reporting.
At the end of 1922, Scottish engineer John Reith, who was just 33 years old at the time, was appointed general manager of the BBC, which then had a staff of four. Reith is remembered for establishing the tradition of independent public service broadcasting in the United Kingdom.
Within months, the growing organisation moved into the same building as the Institution of Electrical Engineers at Savoy Hill (now the IET’s Savoy Place event venue), where it continued to expand. This was an obvious home for the young BBC, and for the next nine years this is where early innovations of broadcasting occurred.
The British Broadcasting Corporation, as it is known today, was established in January 1927 as a public corporation, and in 1934 it moved from Savoy Hill to the purpose-built Broadcasting House in Portland Place. [Continue reading…]
Kenyan broadcasters will be allowed to adopt a new digital radio standard, which will enable them to use their current spectrum to transmit their signals through a digital network, as the sector regulator moves to address the shortage of analogue frequencies.
The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) has called for stakeholder and public views on a draft Digital Sound Broadcasting (DSB) framework it has formulated to ensure the efficient use of the available broadcasting spectrum and encourage investment in the sub-sector.
“The objective of this consultation is to develop a suitable framework for Digital Sound Broadcasting in Kenya to address the challenge of high demand and low availability for analogue FM broadcasting frequencies that is currently being experienced,” said the CA. [Continue reading…]
Encompass Digital Media will be running a one-off transmission from its site in Woofferton, UK, on Friday 4th of November. This electronic music broadcast will target the whole of India, around 5,000 miles (or about 8,000 kilometres) as the crow flies to the centre of the country. This might be the longest distance Encompass has covered with its DRM transmissions.
Before the actual broadcast, several tests were run using different frequencies, antennas and power combinations. The final test on November 2nd to confirm final set-up was a great success as the audio could be recorded from a KiwiSDR online receiver located in New Delhi. The SNR of 20dB was measured in New Delhi and 23.9dB in Bangalore, which proves the power of shortwave radio and how DRM and its excellent sound, even in shortwave, can travel such long distances. The audio was also decoded in Bangkok, and a listener report came even from Canada!
This experimental broadcast promoting the music of C. M. Obrecht is scheduled for tomorrow [today Nov 4 at time of publishing], 19:00 – 20:00 UTC, on 11710kHz. It will use xHE-AAC codec with DRM Mode B, transmitting at 125kW on a 78* bearing from Woofferton. The audio will be accompanied by ancillary data including a slideshow image of the album cover art.
Although the transmission time will mean it will be quite late in India, Encompass is interested in receiving any reception reports from within the country, particularly from anybody using a car radio. Please send reception reports to Steve Palmer at: [email protected] (This is also the address to use for further information about Encompass’ DRM projects and services).
The BBC’s 100th anniversary has been marked in the town that enabled it to make nationwide radio broadcasts.
Opening on 27 July 1925, the Daventry Transmitter was the world’s first long wave transmitting station.
Known as 5XX, it was on Borough Hill in the Northamptonshire town and its first transmission was with the a poem called “Daventry Calling…”.
Sophie Good from the town’s museum said: “Daventry has got a strong affiliation with the BBC.”
The BBC chose the position so the transmitter could cover the maximum land area.
It brought the total audience within listening distance to 94% of the population.
When it opened, the poem by Alfred Noyes was followed by speeches from the postmaster general, external and the mayor of Daventry, introduced by Lord Gainford, BBC Chairman.
The then Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin sent a message, published in the Radio Times, which said he saw “Daventry as another milestone on the road to the social betterment of our people”. [Continue read at the BBC…]
LONDON — The British Broadcasting Corp. marked 100 years of broadcasting on Tuesday, a century after a group of wireless manufacturers founded the company and began filling the airwaves with its first daily radio service.
The BBC was founded on Oct. 18, 1922, in London and daily broadcasting began a month later. The broadcaster is marking its centenary with a series of special programs, including a guest appearance from King Charles III on The Repair Shop, a program featuring expert craftspeople restoring antiques.
Actress Jodie Whittaker will make her last appearance as the Time Lord on a special episode of Doctor Who on Sunday, before Ncuti Gatwa takes over the role. [Continue reading…]
In September 2022, Ampegon Power Electronics AG and RNZ (New Zealand public broadcaster) signed a contract to supply a new TSW2100-V4 100 kW shortwave transmitter to New Zealand. The transmitter will broadcast the RNZ Pacific service to millions of people living across the Pacific with high reliability and energy efficiency: Ampegon wins a new Shortwave Transmitter Contract with RNZ – Ampegon.
The vast Okeechobee, Fla., antenna farm of privately-owned WRMI, which transmits programming to the world via shortwave radio, was hit hard by Hurricane Ian.
WRMI has 14 transmitters and 23 antenna systems. “We had winds up around 100 miles per hour, and that did a real number on our antenna field,” said Jeff White, general manager of WRMI.
“So far we have three antennas that are probably destroyed beyond repair: one to Europe, one to Africa and one to Central America and the South Pacific.”
As pressing as rebuilding these three antennas is for WRMI, “The biggest job we have at the moment is putting back up dozens of telephone poles that carry the transmission lines from the transmitter building to the antennas,” said White. [Continue read at Radio World…]
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Alex, who notes that some of VOK’s language services are now available in podcast form. If you wish to hear some old school propaganda in high fidelity, this is a good way to do so: check it out on Castbox.
Running a radio station is, on the face of it, a straightforward technical challenge. Build a studio, hook it up to a transmitter, and you’re good to go. But what happens when your station is not a single Rebel Radio-style hilltop installation, but a national chain of transmitter sites fed from a variety of city-based studios? This is the problem facing the BBC with their national UK FM transmitter chain, and since the 1980s it has been fed by a series of NICAM digital data streams. We mentioned back in 2016 how the ageing equipment had been replaced with a modern FPGA-based implementation without any listeners noticing, and now thanks to [Matt Millman], we have a chance to see a teardown of the original 1980s units. The tech is relatively easy to understand from a 2020s perspective, but it still contains a few surprises. [Continue reading at Hackaday…]
This year’s IBC DRM virtual event, held on 6th September, was very well received by many participants world-wide. The much-awaited session on DRM receivers gave the listeners and viewers the opportunity to learn about new, hot off the press, receiver products and solutions in this sector.
A new cost-effective DRM solution developed by CML Microsystems in conjunction with Cambridge Consultants in the UK, is just one example. Their product is a multi-band broadcast DRM receiver module that makes it quick and easy for manufacturers to build DRM radio sets. The module supports DRM and analogue reception in the AM and VHF bands. Applicable IP royalties are included in the module price. The module also supports a remote controlled mode and thus can serve as the basis for full-featured DRM radio sets. The module is scheduled to be available to industry partners from Q1 2023.
Gospell from China presented their entire range of well-established and full-featured DRM receivers consisting of desktop and pocket radios, with support for EWF Emergency Warning Functionality and Journaline text service. In addition, Gospell unveiled their new car radio for easy integration, the Stereo Digital Radio Receiver GR-520. All models provide DRM reception across all DRM broadcast bands.
The Swiss company Starwaves announced three upcoming DRM receiver solutions: A complete and full-featured DRM and analogue AM/FM receiver module available to receiver manufacturers, with automotive-grade tuning and fast scanning across all DRM frequency bands and support for EWF Emergency Warning Functionality and Journaline text service. A first consumer receiver model built on this DRM module will be the W2401 desktop radio priced at €79. An even more advanced receiver at 99€ will in addition feature a built-in WiFi hotspot for web browser access to the DRM content. All Starwaves receivers can be enhanced with DAB+ functionality if required by a local market.
Starwaves also offers the DRM SoftRadio App for Android phones and tablets, which upgrades any device by connecting an analogue RF SDR dongle to a full-featured DRM receiver. The app is available in major app stores including Google, Huawei and Amazon.
Exciting DRM receiver solutions for professional applications and device manufacturers were presented by Fraunhofer IIS (Germany), such as the automotive receiver kit software SDR, and the DRM MultimediaPlayer Radio App as the basis of professional and consumer-grade radio implementations.
NXP, the leading, global semiconductor manufacturer, showcased their complete portfolio of automotive qualified suite of DRM chipsets for car receivers for all DRM broadcast bands.
Other companies from India, such as OptM and Inntot, as well as the South Korean manufacturer RF2Digital contributed to the pre-IBC DRM virtual event with videos presenting their solutions for DRM use in desktop radios, mobile phones and in cars.
CML Microsystems/Cambridge Consultants, Gospell, Starwaves and Fraunhofer IIS will also be present in Amsterdam during the IBC expo on the 10th September together with other key DRM members, such as BBC, Encompass, Nautel and RFmondial. IBC visitors participating in the two DRM sessions at the Fraunhofer IIS booth and at the Nautel booth will experience live demonstrations of the new DRM receivers and modules.
Selected news from the presentation on September 6th including from the DRM receiver section are available as a free download: https://s.drm.org/KJr9.
[The] QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo kicks off this Friday evening, September 16th at 1800 Pacific.
The Expo officially opens on September 17 2022 at, 01:00 UTC or September 16th at 6:00 PM Pacific.
To attend, all you need to do is go to the following website: https://qsotoday.vfairs.com. Simply login using the same email address that you used to purchase your ticket. No password is needed. You can test in advance to see that it works.
DARC reports on the planned introduction of an entry-level amateur radio license, it will be limited to just 10w EIRP in the 144 and 430 MHz bands but they can build their own equipment
A translation of the DARC post reads:
Today [June 7], the Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport presented the draft of a new amateur radio regulation that will bring some innovations for all radio amateurs.
The chairman of the DARC e. V. and the Round Table Amateur Radio (RTA), Christian Entsfellner, DL3MBG was pleased: “The new regulation implements long-standing requirements of the DARC and the Round Table Amateur Radio. Remote operation will finally be allowed in the future. The Ministry has also implemented our demand for a beginner class, which has existed since 2008.
This makes it much easier to get started with amateur radio.” While the existing classes E and A are raised in level due to the introduction of new topics from digital technology, class N focuses on operational knowledge, regulations and basic knowledge of the technology.
Holders of the new Class N will be allowed to transmit on 2m and 70cm with a maximum power of 10W EIRP. “The new entry-level class should offer access to amateur radio in particular to young people and older people in accordance with international requirements,” explains board member Ronny Jerke, DG2RON. The legally stipulated self-build right is not restricted, so even beginners can develop, set up and put into operation radio devices or hotspots themselves.
The exam will follow a cumulative system, e.g. B. is known from the US amateur radio test. First of all, the exam for class N is taken, which already contains all questions from the areas of operational knowledge and regulations. The technical test for class E and then for class A can then be taken.
“The examination catalogs developed by the DARC for the three classes are structured in such a way that the content and questions are not repeated, i. H. Content that has already been examined in a lower class no longer plays a role in the examination for a higher class. So all future radio amateurs go through the exams of class N, through E to class A. It should be possible to take all the exams in one day.
The previously unregulated remote operation has been included in the new amateur radio regulation. Holders of license class A may in future operate amateur radio stations remotely and also allow other radio amateurs to use class A. Another important innovation concerns the training radio operation, which will be possible in the future without a separate training call sign. Instead, adding the prefix “DN/” makes any Class E or Class A callsign a training callsign.
The RTA now has 4 weeks to comment on the draft regulation. The board and the departments of the DARC have already started to examine the text of the ordinance in detail and will report promptly.
The clear and periodic pattern of fast radio bursts may originate from a distant neutron star.
Astronomers at MIT and universities across Canada and the United States have detected a strange and persistent radio signal from a far-off galaxy that appears to be flashing with surprising regularity.
The signal is classified as a fast radio burst, or FRB — an intensely strong burst of radio waves of unknown astrophysical origin, that typically lasts for a few milliseconds at most. However, this new signal persists for up to three seconds, about 1,000 times longer than the average FRB. Within this window, the team detected bursts of radio waves that repeat every 0.2 seconds in a clear periodic pattern, similar to a beating heart.
The researchers have labeled the signal FRB 20191221A, and it is currently the longest-lasting FRB, with the clearest periodic pattern, detected to date.
The source of the signal lies in a distant galaxy, several billion light-years from Earth. Exactly what that source might be remains a mystery, though astronomers suspect the signal could emanate from either a radio pulsar or a magnetar, both of which are types of neutron stars — extremely dense, rapidly spinning collapsed cores of giant stars.
“There are not many things in the universe that emit strictly periodic signals,” says Daniele Michilli, a postdoc in MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. “Examples that we know of in our own galaxy are radio pulsars and magnetars, which rotate and produce a beamed emission similar to a lighthouse. And we think this new signal could be a magnetar or pulsar on steroids.”
The team hopes to detect more periodic signals from this source, which could then be used as an astrophysical clock. For instance, the frequency of the bursts, and how they change as the source moves away from Earth, could be used to measure the rate at which the universe is expanding. [Continue reading…]
Transmission company CRA looks at possibility for reusing analog transmission facilities
Czech transmission services company ?eské Radiokomunikace (CRA) is testing the DRM medium-wave digital radio system on 954 kHz.
According to a tweet from Marcel Prochazka, director of legal and regulatory affairs for CRA, the transmissions are originating from ?eské Bud?jovice in South Bohemia and operating at a power of 3.16 kW from a 107-meter HAAT antenna. Continue reading →
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