Tag Archives: Eric McFadden (WD8RIF)

NPR: ‘Radio Dodo’ Creates Bedtime Stories For Syrian Refugees

(Source: NPR via Eric McFadden)

NPR’s Ari Shapiro talks to Brigitte Alepin, the creator of “Radio Dodo,” or Sleepytime Radio, a program that creates bedtime stories for Syrian refugees.

Click here to read the full transcript or listen to the story via NPR.

The ISS will be sending SSTV in April

(Source: ARRL via Eric McFadden, WD8RIF)

Space Station’s Slow-Scan Television System to be Active in April

The Amateur Radio Slow-Scan Television (SSTV) system on the International Space Station (ISS) is expected to be active in April on 145.800 MHz (FM). The Russian segment’s MAI 75 SSTV has announced transmissions on Monday, April 2, 1505 – 1830 UTC, and on Tuesday, April 3, 1415 – 1840 UTC.

“Reviewing the crew schedule, the SSTV activity, which uses Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) radios, was coordinated around ARISS school contacts and is listed for April 2 and April 3,” said NASA ISS Ham Project Coordinator Kenneth Ransom, N5VHO.

The SSTV system, which uses the call sign RS0ISS, is also expected to be active from April 11 – 14 worldwide to mark Cosmonautics Day in Russia on April 12. Specific transmission times are not yet available. Images on all dates will be related to the Soviet Union’s Interkosmos cooperative space ventures project.

SSTV images will be transmitted in PD-120 format on 145.800 MHz (FM) using the Kenwood TM-D710 transceiver in the ISS Russian Service Module. ISS transmissions use the 5-kHz deviation FM standard. It’s possible to receive SSTV transmissions with only a handheld transceiver and appropriate SSTV software[…]

Click here to read the full article on the ARRL website.

Atlas Obscura: “This weather report has been making waves for 150 years.”

Photo by Michael Browning on Unsplash.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Eric McFadden (WD8RIF), who notes that the excellent website, Atlas Obscura, recently featured The Shipping Forecast:

Why a Maritime Forecast Is So Beloved in the United Kingdom

For the penultimate song on their 1994 album Parklife, Blur chose the swirling, meditative epic, “This Is a Low.” The song envisions a five-minute trip around the British Isles as an area of low pressure hits.

“Up the Tyne, Forth, and Cromarty,” sings the lead singer Damon Albarn, “there’s a low in the high Forties.” The song’s litany of playful-sounding place names, including the improbable “Biscay” and “Dogger,” may seem obscure to listeners abroad, but to a British audience, they resonate.

The song’s lyrics were inspired by the Shipping Forecast, a weather report that is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. Sailors working around the coasts of Britain and Ireland, recipients of the wrath of the North Atlantic and North Sea, are the ostensible beneficiaries of the forecast.

But, for listeners who tune in while tucked in bed rather than sailing the high seas, the reassuring sound—a simple, steady listing of conditions in the seas around the British Isles, broken down into 31 “sea areas,” most of which are named after nearby geographical features—is something more akin to the beating pulse of the United Kingdom, as familiar as the national anthem or the solemn chimes of Big Ben.[…]

Continue reading the full story via Atlas Obscura.

Thanks for the tip, Eric!

SWLing Post readers know that I’m quite a fan of The Shipping Forecast. We’ve posted a number of articles about the Forecast on the SWLing Post in the past–click here to read through our archives.

When I lived in the UK, I would often fall asleep and/or wake up to the Shipping Forecast. Here in the States, I can listen to the forecast live via the U Twente WebSDR, but I rarely remember to do so.

And, of course, I can navigate to the Radio 4 website and stream current and past forecasts on demand, but I find the audio a little too clean and full fidelity. I prefer listening to my maritime poetry via Amplitude Modulation (AM)!

To satisfy my desire for some AM forecasts, this morning I fed my SSTran AM transmitter with audio from the Radio 4 website, then made a recording with my AirSpy HF+ SDR.

Here’s my AM version of the Shipping Forecast:

Click here to download as an MP3.

For the record: this is what you get when you combine a radio and shipping forecast geek!

Guest Post: A Photographic Tour of Universal Radio’s New Location

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Eric McFadden (WD8RIF), for sharing the following guest post:


In October, 2017, Universal Radio moved from their large Reynoldsburg, Ohio retail store and warehouse to a smaller retail store and warehouse at 651-B Lakeview Plaza, Worthington, Ohio. This is actually Universal Radio’s fourth location in its 75 year history. In 1942, Universal Service opened on North Third Street in downtown Columbus. In 1977, Universal Radio moved to Aida Drive in Reynoldsburg. In 1992, Universal Radio moved to Americana Drive in Reynoldsburg. Finally, in 2017, Universal Radio moved to the current location in Worthington.

On Friday, November 17, I had the opportunity to visit the new location of Universal Radio  for the first time and I prepared a photographic tour of the new location.

The new location is smaller than the previous location and instead of consisting of one large showroom space, the new location consists of several smaller rooms. (Indeed, the new layout reminds me the layout of one of my all-time favorite bookstores, the Book Loft in Columbus’s German Village neighborhood, which now has 32 (!) rooms of books. No, Universal Radio’s new store does not have 32 rooms!) As can be seen in the following photographs, these rooms are densely stocked. Universal Radio still offers all the items that were available in the previous store location. Of course, just as at the previous, larger, location, some items aren’t on immediate display but are available upon request.

The new Universal Radio storefront at 651-B Lakeview Plaza Blvd, Worthington, Ohio

The new Universal Radio storefront at 651-B Lakeview Plaza Blvd, Worthington, Ohio. There’s more than ample parking.

The sign and entrance to the new Universal Radio store

The sign and entrance to the new Universal Radio store.

Books, with Barb stocking the shelves with the newest "The Worldwide Listening Guide"

Immediately upon entering the store, one will find hundreds of book titles. Here, Barb is stocking the shelves with the newest, just-released, “The Worldwide Listening Guide”.

Magazines

And, of course, Universal still offers several issues each of the two major American amateur radio magazines.

Antennas, shortwave receivers, HTs, scanners + VHF/UHF mobiles

In the main showroom: antennas, shortwave receivers, HTs, scanners, and VHF/UHF mobile transceivers.

HF transceivers

In the same showroom, the HF transceivers, available to operate.

The Heil microphone display

The Heil microphone and headset display.

Used equipment

The Used equipment display: HF transceivers, shortwave receivers, VHF/UHF transceivers, handhelds, and accessories.

Antennas!

Antennas!

More antennas!

And more antennas!

The warehouse area, with Barb and Cathy

Just as with nearly any other modern retailer, Universal Radio’s bread-and-butter is internet and telephone orders. This is just a small portion of the new warehouse and shipping area, with Barb and Cathy busily filling orders.

The warehouse area

A small portion of the warehouse and shipping area.

The well-equipped service area

Universal Radio still has a nicely-equipped service area.

Just as at the previous Reynoldsburg location (and at the even earlier Aida Drive location), the new Universal Radio store is home to several cats which, sadly, I neglected to photograph.

The new store is staffed by the same friendly and helpful people we’ve come to know from the Americana Drive location. During this visit, I saw and spoke with Josh, Eric, Barb, and Cathy.