Tag Archives: Fred Waterer

Japan’s Longest Day: August 15, 1945

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Fred Waterer, who writes:

At Noon on August 15, 1945, Emporer Hirohito spoke to his nation by radio for the first time, ever. The intrigue surrounding the recording of his speech and the effort to get it on the air would be worthy of a Hollywood film. When word started getting out that the broadcast would be made, fanatics who wanted to keep fighting staged an attempted coup. An NHK (Japan Radio Corporation) engineer had a gun to his head as an officer attempted to hijack the station at 5am. His coolness under pressure saved his life. He also temporarily severed the line to the transmitter, just in case the officer changed his mind about killing him.

Meanwhile at the palace, the NHK recording engineers had recorded two versions of the speech. The recordings (and the engineers) were hidden overnight, as was the Emporer, in the labyrinth of the palace. Coup leaders searching for the disks to destroy them failed. Eventually troops loyal to the Emporer took control of the situation, with many of the coup plotters killing themselves. At noon, the recordings were in the NHK studios and were broadcast as scheduled.

The actual broadcast:

In 1967 a film about these events was made in Japan, called Japan’s Longest Day and starring the great Toshiro Mifune.

The recording scene:

Looks like quite a film!

Thank you for sharing this, Fred.

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Fred suggests a Halloween Spooktacular!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Fred Waterer, who writes:

This is going to meander a bit from shortwave, but I’ll give you a heads up in case it’s of interest.

October 31 is a Sunday this year and lines up with Michael Godin’s Treasure Island Oldies show


This year there is a cool bonus!

Michael’s Annual Halloween Spooktacular, features four hours of great spooky and Halloween themed tunes. As usual, the show runs from 9pm EDT to 1am EDT (6pm PDT, 0100 UTC)

However if you tune in earlier at 6pm EDT (3pm PDT 2200 UTC) he will present Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre with their notorious 1938 edition of War of the Worlds. This will be followed by Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, a musical version narrated by Sir Richard Burton and vocals by The Moody Blues’ Justin Hayward.

You can listen online via Michael’s website Treasure Island Oldies Radio Show, The Home Of Lost Treasures or some of the affiliates that carry him. My go to station in this regard is WTND.org, operated by former WBCQ broadcasters Tom and Darryl who had the Tom and Darryl Show.

It’s just not Halloween for me until I hear Orson Welles’ famous radio play.

Fred Waterer

PS Treasure Island Oldies is one of the longest running internet radio shows ever; broadcasting since 1997.

Thank you for the ip, Fred! And, yes, War of the Worlds is a must!

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Radio Waves: Sculptor Honors Fern Blodgett Sunde, Pack Removes VOA Editorial Independence, KDKA Centennial, and Tracking Murder Hornets with Wireless Tech

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 Fred Waterer, Phillip Novak, Guy Atkins, Dan Robinson, and Eric McFadden for the following tips:

Sudbury sculptor’s latest work honours Fern Blodgett Sunde (CBC)

‘The wave she touches symbolizes the wave of social change that came for Canadian women in the storm of war’

A sculptor from Sudbury has unveiled his latest life-sized bronze statue in honour of the first woman to work as a wireless radio operator.

Canadian Fern Blodgett Sunde served on a Norwegian merchant ship, during WW II’s Battle of the Atlantic.

Tyler Fauvelle’s statue of Sunde also honours all Canadians who served during that time — and it was unveiled in Cobourg earlier this month, where Sunde grew up. Fauvelle’s work includes more than a dozen public art bronze monuments, four of which are military-themed.

“Fern’s clothing is very typical of what she wore as she carried out her duties as a wireless operator aboard the Mosdale,” Fauvelle said.

“The headphones slung around her neck symbolize her work and her profession. The pin on her lapel commemorate the sisterhood of Sparks who followed her to sea. The wave she touches symbolizes the wave of social change that came for Canadian women in the storm of war.”

In 1943, she was awarded the Norwegian War Medal, the first woman ever to receive the honour.

“It was a privilege to create this lasting tribute to Canadians of a monumental generation, the men and women who fought and supported a necessary war,” Fauvelle said.

“Thousands didn’t live to see the peace that their sacrifice bought, and they were on my mind as I sculpted the clay.”[]

U.S. Agency Targets Its Own Journalists’ Independence (NPR)

A regulatory “firewall” intended to protect Voice of America and its affiliated newsrooms from political interference in their journalism was swept aside late Monday night by the chief executive of the federal agency which oversees the government’s international broadcasters.

Michael Pack, a Trump appointee who assumed leadership of the U.S. Agency for Global Media in June, wrote that he acted to eliminate policies that were “harmful to the agency and the U.S. national interest.” And Pack argued they had interfered with his mandate “to support the foreign policy of the United States.”

Pack has already come under fire for revelations that his senior aides investigated the agency’s journalists for bias against President Trump and pushed for their dismissals and reassignments, in seeming violation of the rules he has now rescinded, effective immediately.

“The key to the credibility of any news organization is editorial independence and adherence to the professional standards of journalism,” said David Kligerman, whom Pack suspended as the agency’s general counsel in August.

Kligerman was the chief author of the regulation which Pack just killed. It was supported by the agency’s bipartisan board, which was dissolved upon Pack’s confirmation. Kligerman is also among a group of a half-dozen whistleblowers who have come forward to challenge Pack’s actions since he arrived in June.

“The firewall protects the networks by insulating their editorial decisions from political interference,” Kligerman said. “That is what differentiates the Voice of America and the other USAGM-funded networks from the state-sponsored propaganda of Russia, China, Iran and others.”[]

Also see: VOA Reporter Apologizes for Halloween Tweet That Sparked Wave of Anti-Trump Comments (BBG Watch)


KDKA Centennial-The birth of Commercial Radio (Southgate ARC)

November 2, 2020 marks the centennial of radio station KDKA going on the air for the first time. Their first broadcast, considered by many to be the birth of commercial broadcast radio, was to report the election results of the Harding-Cox presidential race. KDKA has been on the air continuously ever since.

To celebrate this historic milestone, Pittsburgh area amateur radio operators, also known as hams, will take to the airwaves with a series of special event stations. Their goal is to contact as many other ham radio operators across the United States and around the world. They will be celebrating the centennial of KDKA for the entire month of November.

KDKA originally began operations in 1916 as an amateur radio station, call sign 8XK, operated by Dr. Frank Conrad, Assistant Chief Engineer of Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company. During World War I, amateur radio operations were ordered to be suspended because of national security concerns. After the war, the operators reorganized the station as a commercial AM radio station. The first transmissions of KDKA were from a makeshift studio on a roof of the Westinghouse K Building in East Pittsburgh.

Ham radio clubs participating in the centennial special event include the North Hills Amateur Radio Club in Pittsburgh, which is planning to operate from II-VI Incorporated located in Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, the former KDKA transmitter site from 1931 to 1939. One of the original tower piers still stands on the property to this day. Another operating location is being planned at the Westinghouse Lodge in Forest Hills, located about ten miles east in suburban Pittsburgh, which was the former KDKA transmitter site from 1923 to 1930.

Other Pittsburgh area ham radio clubs planning operations include the Panther Amateur Radio Club in addition to a joint operation planned between the Steel City Amateur Radio Club and the Wireless Association of South Hills. Outside of Pittsburgh, other ham radio clubs planning operations are The Skyview Radio Society in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, which will operate from their clubhouse, in addition to the Butler County Amateur Radio Public Servce Group in Butler, Pennsylvania, and the Washington Amateur Communications Radio Club in Washington, Pennsylvania. Individual radio amateurs will also be operating from their home stations. In addition, there is a small group of ham radio operators planning portable field operations from South Park in suburban Pittsburgh.

“More than one hundred years ago, many experimenters started delving into a new technology known as wireless, or radio,” said Bob Bastone, WC3O, Radio Officer for the Skyview Radio Society in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Bastone explained that many of those early pioneers were radio amateurs. “One hundred plus years later, many amateur radio operators are still contributing to wireless technology while also serving their communities and enhancing international goodwill. Congratulations to KDKA Radio, also known in the early years as amateur radio stations 8XK, 8ZZ, and W8XK.”

Bastone said that the special event stations will exchange post cards, called QSL cards, with hams who confirm radio contacts with them.
A commemorative QSL card has been produced with artwork designed by the graphic arts department at KDKA Radio. “We amateur radio operators look forward to contacting thousands of other hams around the world to celebrate this huge milestone in the commercial broadcasting industry,” said Bastone.

The KDKA amateur radio special event stations, operating with call signs K3A, K3D, K3K, and W8XK will be set up at several locations in Pennsylvania during November, inviting the public to come visit while observing the required social distancing protocols. “The special event stations will also help demonstrate ham radio to our communities while our volunteers practice operating skills and station readiness,” said Robert Mente, NU3Q, Emergency Coordinator for the Allegheny County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). He and his fellow volunteers log many hours each year providing public service and practicing their emergency communications capability. The group provides communication services for The Pittsburgh Marathon, Race for the Cure, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, the Great Race, and the American Diabetes Tour de Cure in addition to providing communication support for the American Red Cross and the Pittsburgh National Weather Service office.

For more information about the KDKA centennial and a schedule for the ham radio special event stations including locations, operating frequencies, and how to obtain a commemorative certificate, visit www.kdka100.org and www.qrz.com/db/w8xk. Information is also available in the Special Events Station section both on the ARRL website and in QST Magazine.

We wish to thank II-VI (pronounced two-six) for the use of their corporate facilities in Saxonburg, PA, on the very site where KDKA used to broadcast from for most of the 1930s. II-VI is a global leader in engineered materials and optoelectronic components. For nearly 50 years, they have manufactured innovative products for applications in the industrial, communications, aerospace & defense, life sciences, semiconductor capital equipment, automotive, and consumer markets. Learn more at ii-vi.com.

ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio® in the US, has information on becoming a ham radio operator:

Tracking Murder Hornets with Wireless Tech (Multiple Sources via Guy Atkins)

Here is a story a lot of people in my state have been following for a few weeks. It culminated last Saturday with the identification of a nest of so-called “Murder Hornets”. The big break in finding the nest came recently when a radio-tagged hornet led researchers to the actual hive or nest.


This link from our local paper shows the hornet eradication in action. Check out the alien-like protective suits! https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/scientists-remove-98-murder-hornets-in-washington-state/

[Check out] the picture of the hornet next to the ruler, to see the size of these nasties: https://www.geekwire.com/2020/using-radio-trackers-scientists-finally-locate-murder-hornet-nest-washington-state/

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Guest Post: “Radio. Now is your time to shine.”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Fred Waterer, who shares this message from his friend, Jarrad Brooke:

Radio. Now is your time to shine.

As more and more mass gatherings are cancelled and outdoor entertainment is cancelled – more and more people will turn to other forms of media for entertainment. Netflix and streaming are the obvious choices – but I believe even Free to Air TV and yes -radio will get a free kick as well.

I’m not talking about those in isolation or quarantine – as that is obviously an extremely small portion (or hopefully!) a small portion of our potential audience. I’m talking just the general population who feel they need somewhere to go, tune out, escape and be entertained… seeing as they have no where in groups outdoors to do it anymore.

Radio – now more than ever, needs to make sure they use this free kick of audience to their advantage to make sure they become loyal and stay. Everything that goes to air right now needs to be to the highest quality – every song, announcer break, commercial and element needs to fit now more than ever.

Radio did such a great job in the bush fire emergency. Now build on that and maximise it even more. You never know, you could be a listeners emergency today in needing them needing an escape from reality for a while.

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“BBC’s secret World War Two activities revealed”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Fred Waterer and Mike Hansgen who share the following article from the BBC:

A new archive has revealed the BBC’s role in secret activities during World War Two, including sending coded messages to European resistance groups.

Documents and interviews, released by BBC History, include plans to replace Big Ben’s chimes with a recorded version in the event of an air attack.

This would ensure the Germans did not know their planes were over Westminster.

BBC programmers would also play music to contact Polish freedom fighters.

Using the codename “Peter Peterkin”, a government representative would provide staff with a particular piece that would be broadcast following the Polish news service.

Historian David Hendy said: “The bulletins broadcast to Poland would be deliberately short by a minute or so and then a secret messenger from the exiled Polish government would deliver a record to be played.

“The choice of music would send the message to fighters.”[…]

Click here to read the full article at the BBC.

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Remembering Bill Bergadano

BillThe shortwave radio community lost a friend last week: Bill Bergadano (KA2EMZ).

I never got to know Bill personally, but I knew of him and we had many mutual friends.

Fred Waterer, my friend and fellow writer at The Spectrum Monitor magazine, worked with Bill at his online radio station, Radio Scooter International.

Fred writes:

“Bill Bergadano was the nicest guy you would ever want to know.. He “freinded” me on Facebook sometime in 2010 or 2011. He had been one of my readers, at Monitoring Times and the Ontario DX Association for years. Bill ran internet radio station Radio Scooter International. He said, “Hey, c’mon over to the chatroom during my show” (Bill’s show The Friday Night Party, was the flagship show on the station). I did. I got to know Jeri and Mary Anthony and Carrie Walden Merritt and of course Bill and the rest of the chatroom gang.

After a spell, he said “Why don’t you do a show on RSI?” At first I dismissed the idea as ludicrous. Me? Host a radio show?? Why me? Then I got to thinking “Why NOT me?” I have been a fan of radio since 1969, written about it in various forums since 1986. Why not try it? If nothing else it would be an interesting experience for a few weeks to try things from the other side of the mic. So I did. In August 2012, The Radio Time Capsule debuted to no acclaim. I told no one. I figured if I fell flat on my face no one would know but me and Bill and a small circle of friends.

Well I did fall flat on my face. I was terrible. Nervous. But Bill encouraged me. After a few weeks I started to get comfortable, relax and enjoy the show. I love it now. I owe Bill a huge debt of gratitude just for giving me the opportunity to do something this fun and creative.

Bill shared a love of radio as a broadcaster and a listener. He was an avid Ham, in fact one of our last conversations was about a Ham he had worked. He also had a fabulous sense of humour. I will never forget his silly jokes. He would give you the shirt off his back. He also attended many of the Winter SWL Fests over the years. His was a life well lived. A remarkable fellow I was proud to call my friend.

I have no idea what the future will hold. But my pal Bill will always be part of it. I will carry his memory and friendship with me as long as I live.”

Many thanks, Fred for sharing your memories of Bill.

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