Tag Archives: FM Radio

Radio Waves: AM/FM Receiver Sales Stabilize, Asheville Radio Museum Adds Model HS2, Legacy remains of WSY, and Farewell to WCFW

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!


AM/FM Receiver Sales Have ‘Stabilized’ Even As Audio Turns Up On More Devices. (Inside Radio)

Anyone who has tried to find an AM/FM receiver in a big box retailer knows they are not as easy to find as they once were. It is little surprise then that the Consumer Technology Association expects fewer to sell this year. But at roughly five million units now sold each year, CTA expects that number to hold steady in the years to come, in part due to the role radio plays during emergencies.

“That category has stabilized,” said Rick Kowalski, Director of Industry Analysis and Business Intelligence at CTA. “It’s a low number relative to other categories, but there’s a steady demand, just in terms of people having an AM/FM radio for those situations where you might need a battery-powered radio as a backup.”

CTA forecasts 4.7 million traditional radio receivers will be sold this year in the U.S. That is six percent lower than the five million units sold in 2021. “Looking out in the next five years. It’s not going to get much lower than that,” Kowalski said in an interview.

CTA projects 24.5 million smart speakers will sell this year, or roughly five-times as many as traditional radio receivers. But in what may be a surprise to many, that estimate is actually two percent lower than the 25 million smart speakers that CTA says were sold last year. [Continue reading…]

“Bringing it home” Asheville Radio Museum adds local piece of history to its collection (WLOS)

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — The Asheville Radio Museum has added a new piece of history to its’ collection!

It’s a 1922 radio receiver built by an Asheville-based business.

The model HS2 radio the museum procured is only one of two known to exist.

Collector and restorer Robert Lozier found that it was the first name brand radio built in North Carolina.

News 13 spoke to the director of media communications Peter Abzug about why this radio is so significant.

“Having this radio here, in Asheville, where it was built is really significant,” he said. “It’s bringing it home. Although the company itself didn’t last for years and years, it did employ people and it was a significant part of Asheville’s history, and something we can be very proud of.”

Click here to watch the video at WLOS.

Legacy remains of WSY, Alabama’s first radio station (Alabama News Center)

Innovation is at the historic heart of Alabama Power, beginning with its founding in 1906 and Capt. William Patrick Lay’s vision of electrifying the state by harnessing the power of Alabama’s rivers.

But the company’s embrace of another cutting-edge technology, just 16 years after Alabama Power’s incorporation, is also historic.

One hundred years ago this year, on April 24, 1922, Alabama Power hit the airwaves with the state’s first operating radio station. WSY (an acronym for “We Serve You”) began broadcasting from rented space in a building on Powell Avenue in Birmingham.

The 500-watt AM station was initially designed as a company tool, to provide better communications among employees – especially those in the field and at remote generating plants. In fact, radio technology was so new – regularly scheduled radio programming in the United States started only in 1920 – Alabama Power engineers had to design and build most of WSY’s transmitting equipment.

“We began assembling the set … with intentions of using it for purposes of operation of the system exclusively,” wrote George Miller, the employee in charge of the station, in the July 1922 issue of the company’s Powergrams. “The broadcast feature came up, though, and materially changed our plans.”

Indeed, a month before the station went on the air, The Birmingham News published a do-it-yourself piece about “how to make your own radiophone receiving set” so local residents could pick up WSY when it began broadcasting.

Interest in the station was so strong that within weeks it began offering entertainment programs, according to “Developed for the Service of Alabama,” the centennial history of Alabama Power, written by noted historian Leah Rawls Atkins.

Dee Haynes, with the Alabama Historical Radio Society, recalled one story that underscores WSY’s popular embrace. Soon after WSY went on the air, earpieces began disappearing from the handsets of payphones all over Birmingham, apparently because people were swiping them to use in home-built receiving sets. [Continue reading…]

FAREWELL TO FM: A Grandson’s Recollections of His Family’s Legacy Radio Station, WCFW (Volume One)

For 54 years, WCFW has been a beloved independently owned radio station on 105.7FM. But for lifelong Eau Claire resident Parker Reed, it has been more than that: it’s his family’s life, love, and legacy.

A catchy jingle – featuring the melody “WCFW, where FM means fine music” – came across a young radio station owner’s desk in 1969.

It was short, simple, and it worked. The owner paid $25 for it, and more than 50 years later that same jingle – which has aired thousands of times on 105.7FM radio – exemplifies the values of WCFW in Chippewa Falls and the couple who have owned it for over half a century: simplicity and consistency.

My grandparents, Roland and Patricia Bushland, have owned and operated WCFW since its inaugural broadcast on the airwaves on Oct. 20, 1968. Earlier this summer, they decided to end their 54-year stint in radio, selling the legacy station to Magnum Media – a Wisconsin-based media organization owned by Dave Magnum who now owns 25 radio stations across the state and will take over operations of the quaint, easy-listening station later this fall.

It’s a bittersweet moment – for the community, yes, but especially for our family, for whom the station has been an integral part of our lives for decades.

“It’s hard to not have mixed feelings about it, because it was our life for so long,” said my grandmother, Patricia Bushland. “When you start something, and you’re the only people who ran it all those years, you get attached to it. But after so many years, I’m thrilled to death that someone new is coming in, and we can finally take a break.”

When my grandfather, Roland, was young, he would draw pictures of radio towers during school – as his life too began with radio, front and center. My great-grandfather Roy Bushland owned and operated multiple Bushland Radio Specialties storefronts in Chippewa Falls and Eau Claire since the early 1930s – a business where my grandfather got his start in 1952 after he graduated Chippewa Falls High School as salutatorian. [Continue reading…]


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Radio Waves: Triple J is Shedding Young Listeners, Audio is the new Radio, Benefits of OTA, and RX Radio

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!


Triple J is shedding young listeners, but radio isn’t a dead medium yet (The Age)

I’ll never forget the excitement I felt as I bought my first transistor radio with a hard-saved pile of silver coins. I was 9, and I wasn’t just getting a piece of shiny kit, I was gaining access to a whole world of music and chat and cool that might somehow magically bind me to the other kids in my neighbourhood and at my school.

That thrill was only topped when, in my teens, I discovered the seditious sounds of student radio on the FM band, and realised there really were other people like me in the world. Like Jenny in the Velvet Underground song, I turned on a radio station and my life was saved by rock and roll.

It’s doubtful, though, that young listeners feel the same way about the medium today. While they consume vast quantities of music, much of it is via streaming platforms like Spotify, YouTube and TikTok. The radio isn’t the principal conduit to a world and identity – it’s just one channel among many. And when they do listen to radio, young people are increasingly shunning the stations targeting them in favour of golden oldies.

The latest Australian radio survey results saw Smooth FM pick up considerable market share in the younger demographics – 10-17, 18-24 and 25-39 – and much of it came at the expense of the ABC’s youth-focused network Triple J.

In the survey, which covered the period of February 27 to May 21, Triple J clocked an average audience of just 78,000 listeners in the five mainland capital cities across the full listening week (from a total of 1.56 million average radio listeners). In Sydney, it held a 3.9 per cent share of the listening audience, in Melbourne 4.5 per cent. It did better in Brisbane, where it has a 6.7 per cent share of listening, Perth (6.8 per cent) and Adelaide (5.1 per cent). [Continue reading at The Age…]

Audio – it’s Radio, but not as we know it. (Radio Today)

Comment from Dean Buchanan.

Much is made of Radio’s digital future in Australia. The publicly listed broadcasters and the industry body CRA are obsessed with digital. And so they should be as the content equation continues to fragment and the battle for your attention increases. The buzzword is AUDIO.

However, this appears to me at the significant risk of over-looking the goose that lays the golden eggs – FM and AM radio. The audience numbers and revenue this “traditional” medium continues to generate are staggering and dwarf many “digital audio” businesses.

This from radiotoday.com.au: “Commercial radio ad revenue in May was up 11.2% compared to May 2021, continuing months of sustained growth in the sector. (April was up 8.8%) That’s according to data released today by industry body Commercial Radio Australia. Ad revenue for the five major Australian capital city markets totalled $66.273 million during the month compared to $59.605 million a year ago. Commercial Radio is currently flying on all fronts with record audience listening levels in the most recent GFK survey and now an 11.2% year on year increase in commercial revenue for May.”

I would have thought that’s something for Radio to be very proud of, especially in the light of declining television viewership and publishing readership trends? But the word Radio is in danger of extinction.

This from SCA’s Annual report: “The four pillars of our refreshed corporate strategy are to entertain, inform and inspire our audiences; to establish LiSTNR as Australia’s ultimate audio destination; to use our assets to help our clients succeed; and drive and embed a digital audio first operating model.” Where’s Radio? [Continue reading at Radio Today…]

Don’t Overlook the Benefits of OTA (Radio World)

The author is a retired broadcast engineer who has been involved with advancing radio and television throughout his career, including for Qualcomm/MediaFLO, Harris, Nautel and ONEMedia LLC/Sinclair.

There are days when I feel like Ira Wilner, who wrote a piece here in reply to my commentary about NextGen TV.

Why bother with OTA broadcast? That is the question, isn’t it? But then, several explanations come to mind.

OTA is free. It’s hard to beat free. Streaming delivery requires an ISP or wireless data payment. Subscription satellite is needed when one drives through nowhere. Admittedly, many of us have connectivity in all the places we want it for other reasons; thus, sometimes it is a “sunk cost” for listeners, but always an additional, buy-it-by-the-bit, per-listener CDN cost for broadcasters.

OTA is low-friction. It’s hard to be smoother than navigating on-off/volume/tune.

OTA doesn’t buffer. It does not (and should not on NextGen) require searching with a browser. Done well, there isn’t even a “channel change” delay.

Try surfing through the dial on IP. Try scanning for local stations when travelling. I like local. On Sunday nights, I could stream “The Big Broadcast,” WAMU’s longest-running program, which I became addicted to when I commuted east; but I dial up KCFR or KUNC here in Denver instead. I am that lazy. I hate friction.

And if we don’t have an FCC license, just exactly what are we? Pause and contemplate what we’d be without a signal and those magic call letters. [Continue reading at Radio World…]

Groundbreaking children’s hospital radio station RX Radio appeals to public for support (IOL)

Cape Town – This Youth Month, award-winning RX Radio, run by and for children and based at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, are appealing to the public for help to keep the groundbreaking initiative going.

RX Radio celebrate their fifth birthday this year, with a studio based at Red Cross Hospital and their broadcast feed reaching the paediatric wards at Brooklyn Chest and Paarl Hospital.

With a vision of reaching every hospital with a paediatric ward in South Africa, RX Radio has trained over 135 young reporters from ages 4 and up.

A team of five staff, one intern, one mentor, volunteers and former reporters work behind the scenes to train, co-ordinate, and support the reporters – but the children are always behind the microphones and are active participants in the production; they design their own shows, choose the music, invite guests, write interviews, questions, and even plan fundraising events.

RX Radio founder, Dr Gabriel Urgoiti said: “Children make up 34% of people in South Africa; you see them everywhere, but at the same time you don’t see them, children are quite invisible. What RX radio continues trying to do is provide a platform where children can be heard and children can be engaged on things that are important to them. We provide them with an opportunity to talk, and working at hospitals has helped children with chronic conditions tell their stories and improve healthcare delivery.” [Continue reading at IOL…]

 


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Radio Waves: BBC WS extra funding, WRMI to Russia/Ukraine, Lviv Station’s Mission, Moscow Echo, and Former Tandy CEO Dies

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!


Ukraine war: BBC World Service granted extra funding (BBC News)

The BBC World Service will receive more than £4m in extra funding from the UK government to help counter disinformation about the Ukraine war.

The BBC made the request for the money, which will also be used by the Ukrainian and Russian language services to cover urgent and unexpected costs.

It welcomed the announcement and said the money would help relocate staff and operations to safe locations.

The two language services have had record audiences since the invasion.

The announcement on Wednesday followed a BBC request to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Foreign Office.

“The BBC has seen a big demand for clear, fact-based, impartial journalism to counter disinformation and our teams are working around the clock to bring people the very best independent journalism,” BBC director general Tim Davie said.

“This funding will also help us with the immediate need to support staff who have been displaced, many of whom are continuing to work and provide vital expertise to the whole of the BBC,” he added. [Continue reading…]

BBC gets emergency funding to fight Russian disinformation (Gov.UK)

£4.1 million in additional funding for BBC World Service to support Ukrainian and Russian language services in the region

The government is giving the BBC World Service emergency funding to help it continue bringing independent, impartial and accurate news to people in Ukraine and Russia in the face of increased propaganda from the Russian state.

BBC World Service will receive an additional £4.1 million in emergency funding to support its Ukrainian and Russian language services in the region, and to help it increase trusted and independent content to counter disinformation about the war in Ukraine.

BBC World Service channels – including TV, radio and digital – play an increasingly valuable role in challenging the Kremlin’s disinformation, but it is facing additional costs from operating within a military conflict and due to a crackdown on independent reporting in Russia.

Following a BBC request, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will provide the extra funding to cover urgent and unexpected costs that have arisen as a result of the conflict.

This will help the BBC to relocate staff and operations to safe locations to ensure the resilience of their services and that they continue to reach people in Russia and Ukraine.

The BBC will also use the funding to continue expanding new and more widely accessible content, delivered through a range of channels, to tackle disinformation and to help local audiences circumvent the Kremlin’s media restrictions and continue to access the BBC’s journalism.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said:

The Government is providing the BBC with an additional £4.1 million in emergency funding to help the World Service broadcast directly into Ukraine and Russia.

In scenes reminiscent of 80 years ago, the BBC will ensure that audiences in the region can continue to access independent news reporting in the face of systemic propaganda from a dictator waging war on European soil. It’s vital we lift the veil on and expose the barbaric actions of Putin’s forces.

Minister for Europe and North America, James Cleverly said:

Britain is calling out Putin’s lies and exposing his propaganda and fake news.

This new funding will help strengthen the BBC’s impartial voice in Russia and Ukraine, which is critical to counter Russian disinformation and will help ensure we win the battle for the airwaves.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The World Service receives funding from the BBC’s licence fee income, in addition to grant funding directly from the FCDO. The World Service’s Spending Review settlement for the period 2022 to 2025 from the FCDO will be confirmed shortly.

The Culture Secretary made it clear to the BBC in her letter confirming the final licence fee settlement that the BBC should continue to make a substantive investment from the licence fee into the World Service to ensure that it continues to effectively reflect the United Kingdom, its culture and values to the world – in English and through its language services.

Russia, Ukraine Get News From Shortwave Radio Station In South FL (Patch)

Radio Miami International (WRMI)? is working with Shortwaves for Freedom to transmit news to Russia and Ukraine during the war.

OKEECHOBEE, FL — When the commercial shortwave radio station Radio Miami International — which operates under the call letters WRMI — got its start in 1989, its primary focus was helping Cuban exile groups in Miami legally transmit programming to their homeland.

Since then, the station has broadcast news during all sorts of trying times — the Gulf War, hurricanes, earthquakes, other natural disasters.

Now, 30 years later, at a time when Instagram, TikTok and other social media platforms rule when it comes to communication, WRMI finds itself in a unique position during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Working with several organizations and government groups, the station is broadcasting news programming to both Russians and Ukrainians who have access to shortwave radios.

“We’ve been through all sorts of crises. This is one of the biggest,” said Jeff White, the station’s general manager.

When the station launched three decades ago, Radio Miami International worked with Cuban exiles and Latin American groups to find existing shortwave stations where they could buy airtime to broadcast shows. [Continue reading…]

Lviv radio gets ‘new mission’ after Russian invasion (Yahoo News)

The Lvivska Khvylya local radio station in west Ukraine changed its broadcast output dramatically the day Russia invaded the country.

The first thing staff did was to ease off on the entertainment programming and ramp up coverage of the war for their tens of thousands of listeners. Continue reading

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Radio Waves: Mazdas Stuck On KUOW, Golden Age of Radio, Russian SW Broadcasts to Arctic, FCC Cleans Up Rules, and Starlink Loses 40 Satellites to Geo Storm

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!

Much thanks to the many contributors who shared the following items:


You’re listening to KUOW … like it or not: Mysterious glitch has Mazda drivers stuck on public radio (Geekwire)

Drivers of certain vehicles in Seattle and other parts of Western Washington are shouting at their car radios this week. Not because of any particular song or news item that’s being broadcast, but because an apparent technical glitch has caused the radios to be stuck on public radio station KUOW.

The impacted drivers appear to all be owners of Mazda vehicles from between 2014 and 2017. In some cases the in-car infotainment systems have stopped working altogether, derailing the ability to listen to the radio at all or use Bluetooth phone connections, GPS, the rear camera and more.

According to Mazda drivers who spoke with GeekWire, and others in a Reddit thread discussing the dilemma, everyone who has had an issue was listening to KUOW 94.9 in recent weeks when the car systems went haywire.

KUOW sounded unsure of a possible cause; at least one dealership service department blamed 5G; and Mazda told GeekWire in an official. [Continue reading…]

The real reason the 1930s were considered ‘the golden age of radio’ (The Grunge)

While it’s been widely contested who actually invented the first radio (both Italian physicist Gugliemo Marconi and Serbian-American inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla were fighting for the first patent, per PBS), it was Marconi who came out top in 1904, when the U.S. Patent Office officially dubbed him the inventor of the new breakthrough technology. According to APM Reports, in 1920, Americans had their first commercially licensed radio station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: KDKA. That number quickly rose after KDKA broadcast the election that saw Warren G. Harding become the 29th president, and by 1924, 500 stations were available for listening.

By 1930, over “40% of American households owned a radio,” per APM Reports. This became known as “The Golden Age of Radio.” As revealed by PBS, in 1930, 12 million Americans owned radios — growing to a whopping 28 million by the end of the decade.

Access to the radio came at a turbulent time in history. As the Great Depression caused widespread suffering for millions of Americans (via History), the households that could afford a radio saw it as a welcome source of entertainment and news that made them feel connected to the rest of the country. These days, with over 15,445 radio stations available in the U.S., it’s clear the radio still remains relevant, but its impact on society truly began nine decades ago. Let’s take a look at the real reason the 1930s were considered “The Golden Age of Radio.” [Continue reading…]

Russia initiates cross-border radio broadcast in North’s languages (Russian News Agency – TASS)

ST. PETERSBURG, February 7. /TASS/. The International Consortium for the Preservation of Arctic Cultural Heritage, based at the Russian State Hydrometeorology University (RSHU), initiated a cross-border radio broadcast in languages of the North’s indigenous peoples, the university’s representative in Moscow Andrei Bryksenkov told TASS.

An application for the broadcast has been filed with the Arctic Council. “The application must be filed from two countries, and we plan to go along with Norway – with the Sami Radio, which is a part of Norway’s big television and radio concern. <…> The idea has been supported at all levels. As for the cross-border broadcast, we, probably, will begin from the shortwave broadcast, as it covers bigger territories and is less costly,” he said.

At the initial stage, the pilot broadcast will be organized on the territories of Finland, Norway and Russia. The project’s initiators are ready to cooperate with other countries. “One transmitter in Krasnoyarsk may cover 80% of the Russian North. Norway has such a transmitter, which covers the Scandinavian territory. Another two transmitters are on Alaska,” he continued. Later on, the broadcast will be also on middle and long waves, thus one frequency will carry 3-4 channels, he added. One of them will be in Russian and English, and the rest – in languages of the indigenous peoples.

The audience will learn about traditions, skills of the peoples living in the North. The content will fully focus on culture. The countries, participating in the project, will open newsrooms. “We hope the general center, which will coordinate the project, will be at the Arctic Council,” he said.

The International Consortium for the Preservation of Arctic Cultural Heritage includes St. Petersburg’s committee on the Arctic, the Arctic museum and exhibition center in St. Petersburg, the Association of indigenous low-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East, and others. [Read full article…]

FCC Is ‘Cleaning Up’ Of More Radio Rules. Here Is What Will (And Will Not) Change. (Inside Radio)

The modernization of radio’s regulatory rulebook that began under the prior administration continues at the Federal Communications Commission. It is slated to approve a half dozen changes at the Commission’s February meeting, in what Chair Jessica Rosenworcel says is a “cleaning up” of the broadcast radio rules.

“The Commission’s current rules for full-power and translator radio stations contain a number of provisions that are redundant, outdated, or in conflict with other rules,” said Rosenworcel. She said the proposal would “update and clean up” those provisions “in order to reduce any potential confusion, alleviate unnecessary burdens, and make sure our rules reflect the latest technical requirements.”

The proposed order (MB Docket No. 21-263) would update six rules, while scrap plans to change another. They include –

Eliminate Transmitter Power Limit Rule For AMs.

The draft order says the FCC has tentatively concluded the rule is “outdated and unnecessary” given its current reliance on actual operating antenna input power as the most accurate and effective means of ensuring that AM stations adhere to their authorized power limits. The FCC also agreed with comments filed by the National Association of Broadcasters that said the elimination of the technical restriction will allow AMs of any class to use transmitters of any rated power. That, it says, will benefit all AMs by broadening the market of transmitters, enhancing the secondary market for AM transmitters, and reducing the number of transmitters that need to be disposed of.

Clarify AM Fill-in Area Definition

The FCC is poised to amend the definition of an “AM fill-in area” used when an FM translator simulcasts an AM station. [Continue reading…]

Geomagnetic storm and recently deployed Starlink satellites (SpaceX Blog)

On Thursday, February 3 at 1:13 p.m. EST, Falcon 9 launched 49 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Falcon 9’s second stage deployed the satellites into their intended orbit, with a perigee of approximately 210 kilometers above Earth, and each satellite achieved controlled flight.

SpaceX deploys its satellites into these lower orbits so that in the very rare case any satellite does not pass initial system checkouts it will quickly be deorbited by atmospheric drag. While the low deployment altitude requires more capable satellites at a considerable cost to us, it’s the right thing to do to maintain a sustainable space environment.

Unfortunately, the satellites deployed on Thursday were significantly impacted by a geomagnetic storm on Friday. These storms cause the atmosphere to warm and atmospheric density at our low deployment altitudes to increase. In fact, onboard GPS suggests the escalation speed and severity of the storm caused atmospheric drag to increase up to 50 percent higher than during previous launches. The Starlink team commanded the satellites into a safe-mode where they would fly edge-on (like a sheet of paper) to minimize drag—to effectively “take cover from the storm”—and continued to work closely with the Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron and LeoLabs to provide updates on the satellites based on ground radars.

Preliminary analysis show the increased drag at the low altitudes prevented the satellites from leaving safe-mode to begin orbit raising maneuvers, and up to 40 of the satellites will reenter or already have reentered the Earth’s atmosphere. The deorbiting satellites pose zero collision risk with other satellites and by design demise upon atmospheric reentry—meaning no orbital debris is created and no satellite parts hit the ground. This unique situation demonstrates the great lengths the Starlink team has gone to ensure the system is on the leading edge of on-orbit debris mitigation. [Read at SpaceX…]


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Radio Waves: Old Gen FM Radio, Radio Burst Model Challenged, Iceland WebSDR, and Ida Destroys WZRH/KVDU Tower

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 Dennis Dura, Troy Riedel, Dan Van Hoy, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


FM Radio, the choice of an old generation (Hackaday)

Had the pandemic not upended many of this summer’s fun and games, many of my friends would have made a trip to the MCH hacker camp in the Netherlands earlier this month. I had an idea for a game for the event, a friend and I were going to secrete a set of those low-power FM transmitters as numbers stations around the camp for players to find and solve the numerical puzzles they would transmit. I even bought a few cheap FM transmitter modules from China for evaluation, and had some fun sending a chiptune Rick Astley across a housing estate in Northamptonshire.

To me as someone who grew up with FM radio and whose teen years played out to the sounds of BBC Radio 1 FM it made absolute sense to do a puzzle in this way, but it was my personal reminder of advancing years to find that some of my friends differed on the matter. Sure, they thought it was a great idea, but they gently reminded me that the kids don’t listen to any sort of conventional broadcast radio these days, instead they stream their music, so very few of them would have the means for listening to my numbers stations. Even for me it’s something I only use for BBC Radio 4 in the car, and to traverse the remainder of the FM dial is to hear a selection of easy listening, oldies, and classical music. It’s becoming an older person’s medium, and it’s inevitable that like AM before it, it will eventually wane.

There are two angles to this that might detain the casual hacker; first what it will mean from a broadcasting and radio spectrum perspective, and then how it is already influencing some of our projects. [Continue reading…]

New observations challenge popular radio burst model (Sky and Telescope)

Strange behavior caught by two radio observatories may send theorists back to the drawing board.

Fourteen years ago, the first fast radio burst (FRB) was discovered. By now, many hundreds of these energetic, millisecond-duration bursts from deep space have been detected (most of them by the CHIME radio observatory in British Columbia, Canada), but astronomers still struggle to explain their enigmatic properties. A new publication in this week’s Nature “adds a new piece to the puzzle,” says Victoria Kaspi (McGill University, Canada). “In this field of research, surprising twists are almost as common as new results.”

Most astronomers agree that FRBs are probably explosions on the surfaces of highly magnetized neutron stars (so-called magnetars). But it’s unclear why most FRBs appear to be one-off events, while others flare repeatedly. In some cases, these repeating bursts show signs of periodicity, and scientists had come up with an attractive model to explain this behavior, involving stellar winds in binary systems.

However, new observations by European radio telescopes may rule out this model.

Astronomers knew that FRB 20180916B, located in a galaxy some 475 million light-years away, produces multiple bursts about every 16 days, during a ‘window’ that lasts for a few days. “The idea was that the magnetar is part of a binary system with a 16.29-day period,” says Inés Pastor-Marazuela (University of Amsterdam), the first author of the new paper. If the companion star had a thick stellar wind that absorbs radio waves, the bursts would only be visible when the magnetar was on ‘our’ side of the orbit, she explains. [Continue reading…]

New WebSDR in Iceland (Southgate ARC)

Iceland’s IRA reports on August 24 Karl Georg Karlsson TF3CZ connected a new receiver over the internet covering 24-1800 MHz

A translation of the IRA post reads:

QTH is Perlan in Öskjuhlíð in Reykjavík. These are Airspy R2 SDR receivers for 24-1800 MHz (on VHF and UHF). The antenna is a Diamond D-190.

Karl Georg stated the following on FB:
The extension is not just for 2m, it can only be on one band at a time. So if one user switches, others who are connected also move between bands. (However, you can listen to each frequency within the same band). The receiver automatically tunes to APRS QRG 144.800 MHz, see the APRS website: http://SDR.ekkert.org/map

URL of the receiver
http://perlan.utvarp.com/#freq=24890000,mod=usb,sql=-150

Thanks to Karl Georg for his valuable contribution. This is an important addition for radio amateurs who experiment in these frequency ranges, as well as listeners and anyone interested in the spread of radio waves.

IRA Board

Source Iceland’s national amateur radio society, the IRA
https://tinyurl.com/IcelandIRA

WZRH/KVDU Tower Destroyed By Hurricane Ida (Radio Insight)

The nearly 2000 foot tower utilized by Cumulus Media Alternative “Alt 92.3” WZRH LaPlace and iHeartMedia Variety Hits “104.1 The Spot” KVDU Houma LA was toppled by the winds of Hurricane Ida.

The 1999 foot structure was constructed in 1988 to host both signals. Only the bottom 150 to 200 feet remain standing. Both stations are licensed to operate with 100kW/591m, but have low powered auxiliary sites in downtown New Orleans. WZRH is located on the roof of Place St. Charles with 630w/200m. KVDU is on the Hancock Whitney Center with 1.2kW/220m.

In addition to KVDU, iHeartMedia Gospel 940 WYLD is silent at its cluster. The company reports that the remainder of its signals are now operational after all but 93.3 KQUE and 98.5 WYLD-FM were off the air on Monday.

Cumulus Media states that its entire cluster of WZRH, Adult R&B 102.9 KMEZ Belle Chasse, Country “106.1 Nash-FM” WRKN Picayune MS, and Hot AC “106.7 The Krewe” KKND Port Sulphur LA are off the air. [Continue reading…]

 


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Klubrádió: Hungarian independent talk radio station leaves the airwaves

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Balázs Kovács, who writes:

Hi Thomas,

As it was first announced last September as a possibility now happens: (one of?) the last major independent talk radio station in Hungary, the Klubrádió is forced off the air (92.9 MHz, Budapest region) from Monday (they will continue online).

“With the silencing of Klubrádió, it’s not just my morning commute that will suffer. Europe will have failed to stand up for its most fundamental values.”
A detailed article about the situation at the Independent from a former member of the governing party:
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/eu-hungary-media-viktor-orban-b1799214.html

“There is a huge propaganda balloon built up by the government and Klubrádió was a little hole, a little piece of truth where the air could escape, so they had to close this little hole in the balloon and so they can construct their own propaganda world which does not reflect the realities of Hungary.”
The latest news in a shorter form at the CNN:
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/02/09/europe/hungary-klubradio-ruling-intl/index.html

“Finally, Ms. Karas says that Klubrádió still has a chance to be on air in case of a successful tender, but then right after this, she symbolically pulled the plug out of the transmitting equipment.”
Latest news release in response to the state from the radio:
https://www.klubradio.hu/adasok/klubradio-news-release-116227

with best regards,
Balazs

Balazs also shared this video which captures the last broadcast of Klubrádió:

Thank you for sharing this Balázs. I’m certain there are other SWLing Post readers in Hungary and throughout Europe who appreciated this independent voice over the air.

To listen to Klubrádió online, check out their website for details.

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Any experience with the Tecsun TU-80 enthusiast-grade FM tuner?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, George, who writes:

Hi Thomas -I hope you’re keeping well.

[…]I have had my eye on the Tecsun TU-80. However, I seem to find no videos on its use and no reviews. Perhaps it’s because it’s new.

I wonder if any of the SWLing Post readers have some info about it.

Post readers: If you have any experience using the Tecsun TU-80 FM tuner, please comment. I am not familiar with it. Very curious if it might be a great dedicated FM DXing receiver. It is pricey ($530 US on eBay).

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