Have you noticed less Firedrake broadcasts lately? I certainly have. My buddy David pointed this out to me last week and since then I haven’t heard Firedrake even once. I have, however, heard the more aggressive and noisy Chinese jamming techniques.
Perhaps it’s just a “watched pot never boils” situation? I’m not sure; some SWLs on the hard-core DX reflector have also noticed a lack of Firedrake across the bands.
Have you heard Firedrake lately? Please comment with loggings.
An international broadcast association has condemned the deliberate jamming of shortwave broadcasts, including those from the ABC’s Radio Australia service, into Asia.
The Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) says English-language broadcasts from Radio Australia, the BBC World Service and the Voice of America are being jammed.
Chief Executive Simon Spanswick has told Radio Australia’s Connect Asia program research has indicated the jamming signals appear to be coming from within China.
“It appears to be quite wide,” he said.
“We’ve been talking to some monitors who keep ears on the shortwave bands around Asia and they say that it’s certainly audible well outside China.
“So, one imagines, even with the geographic scale of China itself, that this is right across the region.” […]
“What the Chinese have done for a long time is actually broadcast Chinese folk music [see our previous posts on Firedrake]…what’s happening in this case is that they’re transmitting a different sort of noise.
“The aim is to simply make it so uncomfortable to listen to that people switch off and don’t bother trying to listen to the program that they wanted to get.”
The AIB has lodged protests over the jamming with the Chinese embassies in Washington, London and Canberra.
Structure of a Denial of Service attack. (Image: WikiMedia Commons)
No doubt, in publishing this, The SWLing Post will be hit with another barrage of denial-of-service attacks. If you notice the site loading slowly, or completely off-line for periods of time in the near future, you’ll know why…
A few weeks ago I mentioned various upgrades to the SWLing Post web server. Part of this is due to our increased traffic and part is due to the fact that we were moving to a more secure server.
You see, recently I posted an article with a recording of Firedrake along with a follow-up from Post reader, Mark. Two days later, The SWLing Post was hit with denial-of-service attacks from IP addresses, all of which appeared to originate from China. It almost brought the whole server down–however, my intrepid web host, CloudWeb, scrambled to block the offenders, and they did an amazing job. You may note that I had to temporarily remove the Firedrake posts (they’ve since been re-published). I don’t consider this to be a conciliation, but rather a victory: for free speech, and for its power on shortwave radio.
Anyone who follows the SWLing Post with regularity will know that I’m a strong believer in access to and freedom of news and information, so I’m a bit annoyed by the DoS attacks that attempt, however unsuccessfully, to mute our voice in China and throughout the world. No doubt, The SWLing Post is already behind the “great” firewall, anyway.
Radio broadcasts in English from the BBC World Service are being jammed in China, the British broadcaster said on Monday, suggesting the Chinese authorities were behind the disruption.
“The BBC strongly condemns this action which is designed to disrupt audiences’ free access to news and information,” the BBC said in a statement.
China, which enforces strict restrictions on its domestic media, has been accused by several prominent foreign media of seeking to stop their news reports reaching Chinese audiences.
“The BBC has received reports that World Service English shortwave frequencies are being jammed in China,” said the London-based public service broadcaster.
“Though it is not possible at this stage to attribute the source of the jamming definitively, the extensive and coordinated efforts are indicative of a well-resourced country such as China.”
A duty officer at China’s foreign ministry had no immediate comment.
[…]”The jamming of shortwave transmissions is being timed to cause maximum disruption to BBC World Service English broadcasts in China,” said Peter Horrocks, director of BBC Global News.
“The deliberate and coordinated efforts by authorities in countries such as China and Iran illustrate the significance and importance of the role the BBC undertakes to provide impartial and accurate information to audiences around the world.”[…]
“Mum, this sounds like Firedrake. Quick, make a note of it in the logs!”
I’ve noticed a broadcaster that routinely transmits weekends at 11:00 UTC on 6,970 kHz. Some mornings, it’s much stronger than others. Saturday morning, my time, I managed to record it in its typical format: music. Specifically, Chinese folk music, at least so it sounds to my untrained ear.
I searched through logs and in the WRTH, and I could find no mention of a broadcaster on 6970 kHz. It doesn’t help that the 27 minute broadcast contained no audible IDs.
So, I’ve come to the conclusion that my initial hunch is correct–that this is the Chinese jamming service, Firedrake. Using Firedrake, the Chinese government transmits music on top of broadcasts they wish to block. It’s fairly effective (and annoying). While I’ve heard Firedrake a number of times over the bands, I can’t say I’ve ever tried to listen to the one-hour production.
The following recording contains a 27 minute broadcast of what I believe may be Firedrake on 6,970 kHz, starting around 11:00 UTC, Saturday January 26, 2013. Click here to download the MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below. Note that the first two minutes have some digital noises (in the lower side band) that affected my receiver’s AGC.
If you can confirm or correct my supposition, please comment!
I just received the following press release from Steve Handler (N9ABC), author of Firedrake – China’s Secret Shortwave Jamming Project Exposed!
Priced at $3.99, his new 45 page eBook is available at Amazon.com:
Firedrake – China’s Secret Shortwave Jamming Project Exposed! by Steven Handler is the new revised and updated version of this electronic publication. Published in late August, 2012, it is now available through Amazon.com for the Kindle. Other booksellers should, by Mid September, 2012, be offering versions for other electronic readers including the Nook, iPad, Sony Reader and other formats.
A little “Firedrake” History-The Chinese government jams or interferes with the HF broadcasts of certain shortwave stations that they apparently deem “dangerous” for their citizens to hear. My publication serves as a guide to the world of Chinese jamming and helps the reader learn about Firedrake and some of China’s other shortwave jamming stations.
Included are jamming frequencies heard during the current A-11 shortwave broadcasting season as well as times of reception. Also included are frequencies heard in use during the past two shortwave broadcasting seasons (A-11 and B-11). Readers will also find information about the direction finding results identifying transmitter sites which I obtained from ITU registered monitoring sites. There is also a virtual tour of a Chinese jamming facility.
Amazon.com also offers free Kindle Readers for both PCs and MAC. Information about the Free PC Kindle reader can be found on their web site. For information about Amazon.com’s Free Kindle reader for the Mac, click here.
The author does not sell copies of this publication directly. Rather copies are sold by retailers and bookstores.
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