Tag Archives: Guest Posts

Guest Post: Martin Butera visits Radio Guarujá in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor Martin Butera for the following guest post:


Photo: Martin Butera at the entrance of Guaruja Radio AM 1,550 kHz. The house, where Radio Guaruja is located in the Pitangueiras area, Santa Rosa neighborhood, in Guaruja, Sao Paulo, Brazil. It is easily recognised by the huge self-supporting medium wave antenna mast.

Radio Guarujá Paulista AM/FM and Ex tropical waves

AM: 1.550 KHZ/FM: 104,5 (ex-101,7) MHZ
ex Ondas Tropicales: 3,385 kHz – 90 Mts, 5,940 kHz – 49 Mts.
Guarujá, São Paulo – Brazil

Report and research by: Martín Butera

Photographs and Video (under study) by: Ligia Katze

Sudipta Ghose (VU2UT) for adaptation to English and corrections.

Guarujá is a municipality in the state Brazilian of San Pablo, located at a latitude of 23º 59 ’18 “South and longitude of 46º 14′ 32” West.

“Guarujá” is a term of Tupi origin that for some people means “bird master” or “bird chief”.


Table of contents

1. Introduction and brief history of Radio Guaruja

2. Interview with Orivaldo Rampazo (Director of Station Hisory)

3. Interview with Erminio Matos (coordinator of journalism and coordination of the broadcaster in general).

4. In the Short Waves of Guaruja Paulista

5. Study and Technical Control

6. Recording Studio

7. Field of Antennas

8. Final conclusions

9. Acknowledgments

10. Author’s review.


1. Brief Introduction to the History of Radio Guaruja

ZYK 590 (AM)

Radio Guarujá Paulista began broadcasting in the city, according to the data provided by ANATEL (Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações – Brazil), between the mid and late 1940s.
Currently the studios and transmitter plant is located in the area of Pitangueiras, a Santa Rosa neighborhood, duly assigned and domiciled in the street, José Vaz Porto, number 175.

The AM service, which operates at 1,550 kHz, covers several frequencies: medium waves, short waves and tropical waves. In shortwave, it operate at 5045 kHz and 3385 kHz.
It was the only radio station of “Baixada Santista” that does broadcast in short waves. The programming on these frequencies are the same as in the medium wave (AM).

Guarujá Radio during all these years witnessed historical moments of the city (political, social, sports) and has beyond the commercial aspect, an invaluable value for the population.

Radio Guarujá AM reached the pinnacle of the audience support. The numbers are impressive. Approximately 40% of the inhabitants of “Baixada Santista” tuned their radios on to Radio Guarujá AM.

FM ZYD 815 (FM)

Guarujá Paulista Radio also has commercial facilities in the neighbouring city of Santos, Sao Paulo, where it operates a station on frequency modulation mode (FM). The FM operations began on the 101.7 MHz, in the mid-1970s, with studios located in Praça da República, in the Santos Center.

At the end of 1987, there was an agreement between a group of businessmen from an Osasco station in Sao Paulo, called Alpha FM, which operated on the frequency of 104.5 MHz. Radio Guarujá, which transmitted on 101.7 MHz, reached an agreement and exchanged between  the frequencies, that way both could significantly increase their coverage area.

With the change in frequency Radio Guarujá FM, came close to the position of the other radio stations on the radio dial which the listeners tuned in regularly: Tribune (105.5 MHz) and Culture (106.7 MHz). In turn, the Osasco station (Alpha FM), would be closer, on the dial vis-à-vis the traditional stations of São Paulo, such as Jovem Pan (100.9) and Transamérica (100.1). The two radios signed into such agreement.

This change in frequency had the much desired effect, because after such an arduous task of consolidating the new position on the radio dial, Radio Guarujá FM has, since 1996, considered as the benchmark of IBOPE (Brazilian Institute of Public and Statistical Opinion), the first place in audience in all Santos.

The “other” Guarujá AM

There is another Guarujá radio station in Florianopolis, a city in southern Brazil, in the state of Santa Catarina, established in 1942 and broadcasts its programme on a frequency of 1420 kHz.

The choice of the name was a curious case, at that time as the inhabitants of the city could only tune in to two radio stations. They were: National Radio of Rio de Janeiro and Radio Atlantica, from the city of Santos.

On Radio Atlantica, complimentary messages to the beaches of Guarujá were common, as were comments on the elegance and opulence of their regular listeners. Thus, in Florianopolis, at that time, Guarujá became synonymous with elegant and luxurious things.

The name became fashionable and that way the station, was baptised with the name of “Guarujá”.


2. Interview with Orivaldo Rampazo

After several phone calls, e-mails and follow-ups, I finally managed to schedule a meeting with Orivaldo Rampazo.

It was an interview of only a few minutes, but of great importance. It was not difficult for me to read his mind in that short time to find that Don Orivaldo is truly passionate about radio.

In 1969, Orivaldo Rampazo was invited to take over the management of Radio Guarujá and 5 years later he would become the owner of the station.

Orivaldo Rampazo is a person of great historical importance not only for the Radio Guarujá, but also for the city of Guarujá.

He participated very actively in politics, trying to improve and solve the problems of the inhabitants of the city of Guaruja and he did so without taking up positions.

Photo: Martin Butera at the office of Orivaldo Rampazo.

MB: How did you start in radio?

OR: You see, I started working from a very young age, I worked in a furniture store as a polisher and one day by chance, they sent me to polish some furniture in a radio a station called Clube de Tupa AM 1320 radio.

They started giving me a sort of voice test which I was answering, until someone said, that I had a wonderful voice for radio.

Then I asked what I needed to be an announcer and they told me that I had to know how to read the newspapers very well and exercise my voice and that is how I prepared for the tests and started working as an announcer, going through several stations in Sao Paulo, as an announcer in different areas like information, sports, commercial etc.

At the end of the 60s I proposed to take up the post of manager of Guaruja radio and 5 years later I became its director and here I am since then.

MB: What do you like most: AM, FM or Shortwave broadcasting?

OR: Without a doubt, for me the best of radio is in modulated amplitude, in fact I hardly go to the FM radio as it is in the neighboring city.

MB: However, you are often considered as a supporter for FM?

OR: It was like that in FM, we were the pioneers, the first FM of the “Baixada Santista” was ours, we began to broadcast in 1974, with a small transmitter of 80 W and a single dipole. I dare to even say that we were one of the first FM stations in Sao Paulo.

MB: And how did your relationship with shortwave come into being?

OR: I always love shortwave. I lived in Sao Paolo and as a kid the only way to remain informed was by listening to shortwave radios, both Brazilian and international.

MB: Do you remember what radios you were listening to then?

OR: Of course, I listened a lot to the BBC in London, The Voice of America. I remember when I grew up and was working as a journalist, I learnt about the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on shortwave radio and took the lead in Lins Rádio Clube, an AM station, from the interior of Sao Paulo about 400 kilometers away from the capital.

Of the Brazilian radios, I liked to listen to the radio station Rádio Brasil Central of the city of Goiânia, the capital of the state of Goiás.

MB: Were you also a DXer?

OR: If you really liked the QSL confirmations, I have some very interesting ones. I also participated in several DXcamps of the DX Clube do Brasil. Some of them were very important as one of the Cumprida Island of 2003 (São Paulo, Brazil).

MB: And what was it like having your own shortwave station?

OR: In 2003, I acquired the tropical wave license of the Rádio Clube de Marília, a city in the interior of Sao Paulo, and another city in the interior of Sao Paulo, the Rádio Diffusora of Presidente Prudente, it was a dream come true.

They remained on air for about 5 to 6 years, until for economic reasons and for a little pressure from my home, my family did not think the shortwave operations as something profitable.

I tried to explain to them that one may not have a massive or profitable audience, but those of us who love radio with a capital letter know what the shortwave means.

The short wave is still an exceptionally good radio tool.

MB: Is your radio a family legacy?

OR: I would explain it with a simple word, Guaruja radio is love, the family legacy, five children of mine, the son-in-law and even the grandchildren continue in that.

As this interview ended, I got that word “love”, Orivaldo Rampazo, a radio man who knew how to build his own dream. Radio Guaruja AM 1,550 kHz, a family legacy, that seems to have no end.


2. Interview with Erminio Matos

With a forward-thinking, direct strategy, it’s amazing what Erminio Matos, son-in-law of Orivaldo Rampazzo, achieved in recent years.

The increase in the number of audience and a quantum leap in radio advertising for Guaruja AM 1,550 kHz. Easy task, given to the larger audiences, of the current medium-wave stations.

Erminio Matos, takes care of journalism and coordinates with Simona (daughter of Rampazo Orivaldo), at the current address of Radio Guaruja AM 1,550 Khz.

Restless, and having worked in other stations of Guaruja, at the end of the 90s he joined an important station of the great capital Sao Paulo, together with great personalities of the radio of Brazil like: Paulo Lopes, Kaká Siqueira and Eli Corrêa among others.

Since 2009 he is again with Guaruja Radio.

Photo: Erminio Matos, Coordinator of journalism and coordination of the broadcaster in general.

MB: What did it take to work with such important radio figures in Sao Paulo, capital?

EM: For someone from the interior of the country it is always a dream to arrive in Sao Paulo. Without a doubt those people managed to change my mind and thought process as a radio professional. Being always very frank I could understand that I needed to move or change some things.

MB: What things did you change?

EM: For example, here in the downward trend the pace is slower. I had to change my way of thinking and communicating, in Sao Paulo where there are about 12 million people. It is like a country within another country. To be able to perform here one must shoulder greater responsibility. You have to be agile and fast.

MB: Do you now impose that work culture on Radio Guaruja?

EM: Undoubtedly, all that I learned with these radio figures added a lot of value to me. Anyway I don’t allow myself to live in a world of fantasies, now I am aware about the small but great work I do here.

MB: How do you increase the audience?

EM: I have the understanding that the world changes fast. The modern world is trapped in social networks. Today people do not only have radio as “the great means of communication”.

Then using these modern resources with the radio, we set up a television-type computer program and we go out in video format through all the platforms and social networks. The path of radio is that of modernisation, the public is craving for that.

It seems simple and silly, but please think that Guaruja radio is a classic AM station of the “baixada santista”, with 70 years of history. It is not easy to change course.

MB: What did you do to increase advertising?

EM: Although the Internet connects everyone and makes it easier for any business to start their own advertising, people are still giving importance to the brand behind. In this case Radio Guaruja, Is getting duly recognised.

Anyway, it was not an easy task, I had to make the whole radio understand that the listener profile does not exist anymore, here we work for potential consumers, that look had to be transformed and end with the romanticism of the “listener”.

MB: Has programming also changed a lot?

EM: If now the radio is less music and more content, what is the use of making music programming today if the music is on Spotify.

Modernisation does not mean to kill the radio. On the contrary it gave push to the possibility that Orivaldo’s dream will continue to flourish for many more years.

When we understood that the radio must go to a fresh direction, we began to strongly invest in more modern equipment and to hire young people, from whom we can learn the new radio language.

MB: You have almost 40 years of experience in the field, then why change from the original formula that always worked?

EM: it is true I started very early; I am from an artistic era of radio. The movement started with vigour in the decade of the 90s. I did not mind leaving the cassette, to go to the CD and now we are on the mp3 and streaming transmissions.

That is why it was inevitable to change the working formula.

MB: What do you think about technological changes as you see the move of the AM to digital mode?

EM: That move should have been there years ago, without a doubt it will broaden the spectrum of radio consumers even more, but well, unfortunately Brazil is politically late, the migration of AM to digital mode is also late.

MB: Does Guaruja radio listen to other radio stations?

EM: I listen to other things all the time. I am now listening to a radio that has a very creative concept, it is called Wish Radio. It is a station in Philippines!

They broadcast in the format of a reality show and go out in the neighborhoods on a mobile phone and look for talents. The idea seems to me just fabulous.

MB: How do you see the Radio Guaruja AM 1,550 kHz in future?

EM: Radio is content, today everyone discusses everything and radio doesn’t have to be out of that discussion, radio has to prepare for that.

That’s why here in Guaruja radio we are already preparing for that to happen, working with young people, we have a lot to learn from them.

Photo: Martin Butera and Erminio Matos, in the office of Radio Guaruja AM 1,550 kHz

Erminio Matos, knew how to interpret the changes in the listeners’ taste vis-à-vis the rate at which the society changes.

The Radio Guaruja AM 1,550 Khz, has a lot in future with the Directors, who understand that sky is the limit !.


4. In the Shortwaves of Guaruja Paulista

In 2003, Radio Guarujá AM acquired the tropical band allocations of Rádio Clube de Marília and Rádio Diffuser of Presidente Prudente. The station signed an agreement with DX Clube do Brasil, which produced the Guarujá Paulista shortwave programs between 2004 and 2007.

The presentation was made by DXCB colleagues Sarmento Campos, Célio Romais, Renato Uliana and Adalberto Azevedo (already deceased), with the participation of the DX Clube do Brasil team. In 2007, Radio Guarujá Paulista joined, for a short period, the Radio Globo System and the program ceased to exist.


5. Studio and Technical Control

The radio station has studio and technical control together in the classic American way, although the announcer is assisted by a technical operator. Without naming brands, we can visualise the following setup:

Studio

The studio is vast so that you can work comfortably. It has a specially designed table, equipped with five condenser microphones and very good ergonomically designed chairs, to work comfortably in a relaxed manner, maintaining good body posture.

The walls and door of the studio are totally isolated from outside noise, with acoustic panels.

Control room

The control room is professional-grade, with all the necessary components to carry out programs.  They have: computers with radio automation software, sound console, several audio processors, monitors, televisions with different information channels.

Video: View of the technical control

Photo: Shift operator and Martin Butera – Radio Guaruja AM 1,550 kHz

Photo: Martin Butera, next to the audio rack of Radio Guaruja 1,550 kHz.

Photo: Rack of processors of Radio Guaruja AM 1,550 kHz

Photo: Martin Butera, sitting in the main studio of Radio Guaruja AM 1550 kHz.


6. Recording Studio

Radio Guaruja, has a recording studio that’s ideal for recording, editing and mixing different news, advertising and interviews without the need to occupy the main studio.

Here are details of the equipment that make up the recording studio, without naming brands: a good computer, an excellent DAW (digital audio workstation), program used to record and edit, a very good audio interface, mixing console, two high quality studio microphones, headphones, studio monitors.

Photo: Gateway to the recording studio of Radio Guaruja AM 1,550 kHz.

Photo: Microphones, mixing console and other equipments of the recording studio of Radio Guaruja AM 1,550 kHz.

Photo: Recording engineer on duty working in the recording studio of Radio Guaruja AM 1,550 kHz.


7. Antenna Field

The AM transmitting plant is on the same site, behind the radio studios.

The antenna is a classic folded monopole over 60 meters high which allows the station to have very good coverage.

On the day of the visit we could not enter the transmitter room.

Photo: Antenna, folded monopole over 60 meters high.

Photo: Radiation alert poster.

Photo: Home alarm (rooster)

Photo: Martin Butera, standing next to the Guaruja AM 1,550 kHz Radio antenna.

Here we can see a brief video of the antenna field:


 

8. Conclusion

I cannot finish this report without congratulating the Rampazzo family. The Guarujá AM 1,550 kHz radio studios are as modern as the major radio stations in São Paulo and even international stations.

Many say that AM radio is becoming extinct, and that is true, perhaps because AM stations haven’t adapted to modern times.

Erminio Matos, knows how to keep Radio Guarujá evolving, bringing news to the air, and insuring this family’s radio legacy will have an excellent future!


9. Thanks 

To the whole Rampazo Family.

Tourism, Municipal Prefeitura de Guarujá – Sao Paulo – Brazil.

To my wife, Ligia Katze (for the photographs).

To my dear friend Mark Van Marx (Marcos Melzi), in photo editing.

Thanks to the friend and shortwave listener and radio amateur from India, Sudipta Ghose (VU2UT) for his adaptation to English and correction. He is a member of the Indian DX club International http://idxcidxpedition.blogspot.com

To my friend Ivan Dias da Silva Junior, Director of the Regional DX – Sorocaba-Sao Paulo- Brazil, who collaborates in Portuguese translations and publishes this material in the form of a micro book, for the club and directs  https: //ivandias.wordpress.com

To the Colleagues of the DX Club of Brazil (DXCB), Sarmento Campos and Célio Romais https://www.ondascurtas.com/

Finally, my friend Thomas Witherspoon, Director of the SWLing Post, for publishing this exclusive report and collaborating in this way for the world of radio.

Photo: Martin Butera with Orivaldo Rampazo

Photo: Emir Matos and Martin Butera at Radio Guaruja AM 1,550 kHz

Photo: Ligia Katze (wife of Martin Butera), at the Guaruja AM 1,550 kHz radio studios.


10. Author’s review

Martín Butera is a shortwave radio listener and has been an amateur radio operator since 1992. Martin  has participated in DXpeditions throughout South America, with the Argentine radio callsign LU9EFO and the Brazilian callsign PT2ZDX.

Martin is a correspondent journalist from South America for the British DX Club’s magazine, Communication. If you would like to be a member of the Briitish DX Club, you can find information here http://bdxc.org.uk/apply.html

Martin is the founder of CREW called 15 point 61 (15.61), são paulo – Brazil.

Martín Butera is a journalist, documentary filmmaker and founding member of Radio Atomika 106.1 MHz (Buenos Aires, Argentina) www.radioatomika.com.ar

He currently lives in Brasilia, capital of Brazil.


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Guest Post: Paolo’s Tips For Avoiding Internet Scams

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paolo Viappiani (SWL I1-11437), who shares the following guest post:


Some Tips For Avoiding Internet Scams

by Paolo Viappiani – SWL I1-11437

pviappiani@tin.it

Recently, I have been amazed by the growing number of frauds that foul up the radio market on the Internet (I was scammed too), so I decided to write a post in order to help anyone who is interested in buying anything on the web.

First, it’s worth saying that most scam attempts involve high-quality items that are offered at surprisingly low prices. One of the most significant examples involves some rare (and discontinued) high-end radios by National Panasonic, typically the RF-8000 and RF-9000 models. In this post, I make an example of the RF-8000, but scams also concern radios of other brands..

Generally speaking, a number of advertisements on the most known advertising/classifieds sites (Quoka.de and ebay-kleinanzeigen.de in Germany, Subito.it, Kijiji and AAAnnunci.it in Italy, Le Bon Coin in France, ComoFicho in Spain, etc.) are mirrors for larks only, and we have to pay a great attention in order not to be scammed.

But… how can we recognize a scam?

The most common scams use the following techniques:

  1. The scammer advertises a very rare radio in like-new condition at an unbelievably low price. The buyer does not want to miss the bargain, so he contacts the seller and promptly transfers the money to him without further ado, but after that he waits in vain for the delivery of his item.
  2. High quality radios offered very cheap. If you contact the seller, the item is suddenly abroad. The alleged seller then proposes to handle the purchase through a “trust company”. The radio should be paid for in advance and the amount sent via cash transfer, but after that you never hear anything from the seller again.
  3. Alternatively, the buyer is requested to to deposit the money to the eBay company account to get the product. But the account is fake (really eBay has no “COMPANY ACCOUNT” and never handles private transactions–!), so the buyer loses his money and receives nothing in return.

Please also notice that often the fraudulent sellers offer a free period for evaluating the item, saying that  if you do not like the device, you can send it back. Please don’t fall into this trap, it is only one of the means the scammers use to entice you to purchase, but it is not true at all!

In the following section I’ll recount some examples of real scams concerning the National Panasonic RF-8000 and RF-9000 radios (but, as I already mentioned, the scams involve many other radios and also high-quality electronic or electro-acoustic devices).

One of the most prevalent (and very dangerous) scams concerning the RF-8000 radio is (was) perpetrated by a Portuguese seller who offered (for about 2.300 Euro on the AAAnnunci.it and Quoka.de websites) a very nice appearing radio, look at the photos below.

Really a radio in like-new conditions, uh?

But it is just a trap: most of the Panasonic RF-8000 radios have the leather covers on all sides cracked like crocodile skin (look at the image below); only a very few units still have the covers in pristine condition and for sure they cannot be found at cheap prices!

Incidentally, all the pictures used by that scammer (including the two shown in the first two pictures above) were stolen from an old eBay advertisement of October 2018 and that wonderful appearing RF-8000 was sold to a radio collector in China for about $ 5,000 USD.

But the same images also recently appeared on some European advertisement websites (in Italy and in Germany too); if you ask for info, you’ll be contacted soon by a seller from Portugal who offers to handle the purchase through a “trust company” of his confidence, named TrafCargo (beware of this, it is a convincing but fake website!).

Then, the seller requests that the amount for the radio and its shipping costs be sent via a bank wire transfer to the fake transportation company.

After that you never hear anything from the seller again.

Very similar scams are also found in various advertisement/classified websites (Quoka.de, ComoFicho.com etc.), look at the images below as examples. If such items are offered cheap, it is for sure a scam:

A similar attempt of fraud is commonly perpetrated by other people, including a female seller from Spain. As you might suspect, she offers something that looks like a real bargain, but it’s only a scam. After you have asked for info on the product, you receive a message in which it is specified that the item is located abroad and you are asked to deposit money to a fake “eBay” account (note that eBay does not accept any payment outside their site!).

In order to be more persuasive, often the scammer attaches a copy of his/her passport of other identity documentation in order to appear as a serious seller–please do not trust them however!

Also, beware of the fake “eBay invoice” that sometimes the scammers send, and for anything that involves eBay, contact the eBay helpdesk, ask for specific info and report them the fraud eventually.

In the following section you’ll find some useful advice on recognizing scams and making secure and safe purchases on the Internet:

  1. Always beware whenever the item is in a place (or a country) different from the one that was specified in the advertisement; also there is a valid reason for suspicion when the name or the address of the advertiser does not match the seller’s ones;
  2. Do not completely trust the pictures sent by the seller (they could be stolen from the Internet) and don’t forget to proceed to a “Google Image” search in order to find the sources of similar ones;
  3. Always ask the seller for some specific pictures or videos (radio precisely tuned on various frequencies and/or modes) and do not accept any runarounds about it (“you can try the radio for some days”, etc.); normally the scammers do not have the items they offer at hand, so they are not able to satisfy your precise requests.
  4. Never pay for the item in advance by rechargeable cards like Western Union or other non-secure ways of payment. Also the Bank Transfer (Wire Transfer) is not a secure form of payment in order to avoid frauds;
  5. Always ask the seller for payment by PayPal “Goods and Services” (NOT “Send money to friends”). If you choose Goods and Services, your purchase will be fully covered by the PayPal warranty.

And, in the case that you are a victim of a scam anyway, please always report the incident to the Police or the Judiciary of your Country, and don’t forget to also warn the site where the announcement was found.

Following the above advice should be sufficient to avoid any scam. So, good luck on your future web purchases!


This is excellent advice, Paolo. Thank you for sharing your experience!

One of my favorite bits of advice above–and one I use anytime I make a significant purchase via a classifieds website–is to ask the seller for specific photos or a video of the item. As you say, they don’t typically have the item on hand, so can’t comply and will make up excuses. That’s a major red flag!

Another red flag? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Trust your instincts and avoid the hassle and headache.

Post readers: Please share any other advice you have about avoiding radio scams. Have you ever been the victim of a scam? How did it play out? Please comment!


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Classic portables onboard a 1919 Great Lakes tugboat

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Phil Ewing, who writes:

I know you’re always on the lookout for trips and visits so I thought of you when we were up in Wisconsin last week. There’s a maritime museum up in Sturgeon Bay, on the peninsula, that includes a 100 year-old tug. You can go aboard and climb all up and down…and they’ve got some great radios in the crew cabins as part of the displays of what life was like back when the ship was working.

There were a number of standard but interesting normal transistors but what really caught my eye were the Hallicrafters World Wave in the pilothouse and a fantastic pair of Trans-Oceanics in the cabins of the chief engineer and the captain.

The purpose of the visit really isn’t the radios — it’s about the working life of the Great Lakes and an old ship — so discovering them was a fantastic lagniappe.

[T]he appeal of shortwave in these circumstances is clear: Imagine you’re in the middle of Lake Superior towing a barge full of logs to be pulped, or some other unglamorous but essential Great Lakes cargo — maybe a barge full of big rocks to build a breakwater in, say, Sheboygan — and you come off watch in the middle of the night. Life on a ship can be deadly monotonous and deeply lonely but then picture yourself tuning in to the international band on your luxurious Zenith set … not bad since the iPad won’t be invented for another 40 or so years.

These pix also depict the engine order telegraph, which the captain in the pilothouse used to signal commands to the engine room. There was one for each of the two main engines, and duplicates in the pilothouse.

The captain moves the handle so that it indicates the speed he wants (e.g., Ahead Full) and the bottom needle on the telegraph in the engine room moves, ringing a bell. This is why an engineer might report he was ready to sail by saying he was standing by to “answer bells.” The engineers would select the speed on the engines and then move their own handle on their own telegraph to correspond with the captain’s order, signaling to the pilothouse they’d completed the instruction.

The engines are the white things pictured behind the telegraph and on which was stamped the brass plate also photographed here. The diesel engines were made by the Electro Motive Division of GM and replaced this ship’s original steam propulsion system. EMD is most famous for its pioneering and legendary freight locomotives, which led the way in “dieselization” after WWII in converting many railroads from their romantic but much less efficient and much dirtier steam power. But the company also made marine diesel engines as evidenced here and these served this ship for another three decades or so — just think about that. There also are still EMD GP30 locomotives from the 1960s still in service in some places in the U.S., according to what I read in this month’s Trains magazine.


Fascinating, Phil––what terrific vintage kit! Thanks for sharing those wonderful photos and descriptions with us. 

Yes, I can imagine SWLing would have been a vital entertainment outlet for those on working ships in the Great Lakes. No doubt they had access to a number of strong mediumwave stations on the coast, as well. What a way to while away the off-hours.

Click here to follow @PhilEwing on Twitter.

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Guest Post: Bolivian Mining Radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Martin Butera, who shares the following guest post which was originally published in the June 2019 issue of the British DX Club magazine:


Bolivian Mining Radio

By Martin Butera

Radio Mineras Bolivianas are unique in the world, because they belonged to the unions of mining workers, and were created to defend the interests and the struggle of the workers’ movement.

Mining was fundamental in Bolivia long before the country reached its independence in 1825. When the Spanish conquistadores began to exploit the silver of Potosí in the 17th century they never imagined that there was such a quantity under the “silver mountain”. Bolivia’s exports were mainly based on silver and then tin, until the country’s economy was transformed in the last decades of the 20th century. For three centuries the silver extracted from Potosí was taken to Spain, until the mountain lost its original shape and gradually collapsed. It has been written that six million Aymara and Quechua Indians, plus a considerable number of African slaves, lost their lives in the mines during that period. Potosí was then one of the great cities of the western world. In 1625 it had a population greater than London or Paris, and more churches than any other city in the new world. Although isolated in the altiplano, at an altitude of 4,200 meters, in Potosí the most luxurious goods imported from Europe could be found.

From the independence of Bolivia in 1825 until the mid-1970s, mining continued to be the main economic activity generating income. Silver gradually became less important, but the country became the world’s second tin producer. In the mid-1950s minerals accounted for 70% of exports. A few thousand workers in the mining centres had on their shoulders the responsibility of sustaining the economy of the country and its five million inhabitants. No government could afford to ignore the political opinion of the miners, especially when their unions were reputed to be the most democratic and politically advanced in Latin America.

Station Resistance

The 1980 military coup of General Luis García Meza had triumphed in Bolivia, many citizens who resisted were killed or imprisoned, others escaped into exile. The army managed to completely control the cities. The first military objective was the media: all the radios, television channels and newspapers were closed and when they came to light again, it was under strict military censorship. Actually, not all radio stations …

The chain of approximately twenty stations in the mining districts of Potosí and Oruro, in the Bolivian highlands, continued transmissions under very high pressure. In order to know what was really happening in Bolivia after the coup, people searched the radio for the frequency of La Voz del Minero Radio Animas or Radio Pío XII. Even foreign correspondents based their news radios on mining radios. The army knew, that is why every day the troops came closer to the mining districts, breaking little by little the resistance of the workers who defended their stations with their lives.

Photo: The radio station door shattered by bullets, during the military coup of Garcia Meza

One of the last mining stations to fall under military control was Radio Animas. This is the transcript of the dramatic final live broadcast:

The troops are approximately five kilometres from Siete Suyos and very close to Santa Ana … so we are preparing to defend ourselves … The number of detainees reaches 31, who have been moved to the city of Tupiza according to the reports that have reached us … This is Radio Animas for all the south of the country … We are in this crucial hour, we are in constant mobilization, women have contributed greatly in the preparation of the defence … We will be to the last comrades, because that is our mission, to defend ourselves …

That was near the end. Minutes later shooting was heard at Radio Animas. The last thing the announcer managed to transmit was a message to the other stations, Pío XII and Radio Nacional de Huanuni, to take the signal and continue with the live broadcasts of the mining chain. Others continued until the army silenced the last one, destroying the equipment and killing those who defended their right to communicate.

La Voz del Minero, Radio Vanguardia de Colquiri, Radio Animas, Radio 21 de Diciembre, Radio Nacional de Huanunison are some of the radio stations created, financed and controlled by the mining workers of Bolivia.

In the Beginning

It all started around 1949, with a station that settled in the mining district of Catavi. During the following 15 years, other districts followed suit: they bought equipment, trained young people from the camps, financed by workers who gave a percentage of their salary to support the radio stations.

The stations started precariously, equipped with the bare minimum. Some managed to obtain international support and became more sophisticated broadcasters, with better equipment and facilities. Several even built an assembly hall next to the station, in order to broadcast the union meetings live. Radio Vanguardia decorated its living room with a large mural that tells the story of the Colquiri mining centre. A scene in the mural depicts the bombing of Bolivian Air Force aircraft in 1967, when the country was subjected to a military dictatorship.

At the beginning of the 1970s there were 26 stations in operation, almost all of them in the mining districts of the Bolivian highlands. At that time, the miners’ unions were still very important, considered as the political vanguard in Latin America.

In times of peace and democracy – which were not the most frequent – mining radios were integrated into the daily life of the communities. They functioned efficiently as alternatives to telephone and mail services. The people of the mining centres received their correspondence through the radio and sent messages of all kinds, which were read several times a day: calls for meetings of the Committee of Housewives, messages from the union leaders about their negotiations with the Government in the capital, messages of love between young people, sports activities, funerals, births and local festivities.

In times of political conflict, trade union radios became the only reliable source of information. While the military attacked newspapers radio and television stations in the cities, the only information available came through the mining radios. All of them joined in the “mining chain” until the army penetrated the mining districts and stormed the facilities, defended to the last by the workers. A movie of Jorge Sanjinés, El Coraje del Pueblo, rebuilds the  army attack in June 1967 in the mining district of Siglo XX and the seizure of union radio.

Click here to view on YouTube.

The mining radios were important insofar as the miners were important in the economy and politics of Bolivia. But also the influence of the miners grew during the decades in which they had at their disposal this powerful means of communication to express their ideas. As the importance of mining declined in the 1980s, trade unions weakened and many of the stations disappeared, at the same time the mines were closed.

Participatory Communication

The radio stations played a preponderant role in strengthening the mining unions in the struggle for unity. All unions were affiliated with the Bolivian Trade Union Federation of Mining Workers (FSTMB), which for four decades (1946 to 1986) was the vanguard of the powerful Bolivian Workers’ Central (COB). It is not simply coincidence that unions and radio stations shared premises in most of the mining districts, and that the union’s Secretary ofCulture was usually the director of the radio station.

The social impact of the radio stations of the mines was also important in the process of construction of a cultural identity in the mining centres and in the surrounding peasant communities. On a daily basis, the mining radios were open to participation. The visits to the stations were very frequent, whenever people needed to express themselves on any topic that affected their lives.

The most innovative in the experience of mining radios in Bolivia is community participation. The characteristics of this participation constituted a revolutionary event in the 1950s, as they still are today. Very few experiences of participatory communication have reached a level of total appropriation of a means of communication in terms of technology, day-to-day management, content and service to the community.

One of the most interesting aspects is that of training. The mining stations gave rise to new generations of journalists. The training was usually done locally, with the support of other organizations. Some journalists and broadcasters who began their professional activity in the mining radios later became well-known radialistas when emigrating to the cities.

The end of mining radio stations

Although the mining radios were oriented by the ideology of the unions, this did not represent an obstacle to participation insofar as they reflected the will of the workers. In the positions of responsibility of the union, leaders of different political parties were elected, but none of them intended to break the  sense of unity that was reflected in the radio programmes.

The real challenge of the mining radios was political repression, the same one that affected the mining class as a whole. Some stations were destroyed by the army six or seven times in the course of their existence. Several chose to preserve the traces of resistance on their walls: the bullet impacts received. Again and again, destroyed equipment was replaced by new equipment purchased with the contribution of the workers. Impoverished but worthy, they offered one day of their salary to their station.

Martin Butera with mining radio journalist (La Paz, Bolivia)

From the technical point of view, the mining stations suffered material deficiencies. The equipment of most of them was very elementary, although sufficient to carry out the work. When equipment was damaged it was repaired by local technicians who lacked the necessary replacement parts but were abundant in creativity. The low capacity to pay salaries to producers made the quality of programming low, especially in terms of educational content.

What finally caused the mining radios to end in the 1980s was the abrupt change in the country’s economy. Traditional mining ceased to be central in exports and the cost of producing tin was higher than the international price. The government closed state mines; workers moved to cities in search of employment, leaving ghost camps behind. The influence of the unions decreased, and few stations survived the transition to the new century.

On 28 August 2017, the Ministry of Mining presented a decoration to the directors of the mining radios that are still in force. The award also recognized the “high level of awareness of workers to convey their ideals against the editorial position of the commercial media that did not take into account these struggles.”

The Bolivian government recognized the mining radios for their contribution to the democratic political history, the defence of human rights and their consequences in defence of the working class and workers.

“One of the disastrous actions was when several military radios intervened in the military coup, the equipment was destroyed, many journalists and journalists were imprisoned, because the network of mining radios constituted a whole subversive network of communication for revolution and liberation. , that is why this type of media is important, “said the current Minister of Mining, Cesar Navarro Miranda, when he offered the tribute.

Likewise, he indicated that the political participation from the chain of mining radios in dictatorial processes was decisive for the return of democracy and that is why they constitute a political and democratic history, thanks to the sacrifice of the workers. Among those that stand out: Radio 21 December, National de Huanuni, Vanguardia de Colquiri, 16 March of the Bolívar mine, Ánimas and Chichas de Siete Suyos, among others. The event was nuanced with musical participation achieving great emotion among the participants.

One of the few survivors

On 24 June Huanuni National Radio will be 60 years old. The historic National Radio of Huanuni, one of the first miner-union radios in Bolivia, recognized for its active participation in the country’s social struggles, is ready for its re-launch with a powerful team and state support.

Now with a modern FM equipment (and on 92.5 MHz), it will be a witness to the new Huanuni radio that emerged to the ether in the 1950’s and was a faithful witness of the struggle of the mining unions and the popular classes.

Respondent since its birth, Radio Nacional de Huanuni became the inseparable companion of the workers of this mining centrw who bled tin for the benefit of the great powers and the so-called “tin barons”.

Since then, the union radio station has written an unprecedented story in Bolivia, as an inseparable companion of the workers’ struggles and vanguard of the resistance of the miners against totalitarian regimes between 1964 and 1982.

Also as a school of Bolivian broadcasting, by the passage of the brightest speakers and budding journalists by their microphones. Because of the station’s irrefutable identification with the social movements it suffered several attempts to silence its voice, through dictatorial governments that destroyed equipment and assassinated several miners.

Like the one perpetrated in 1967 in the ferocious massacre of San Juan when military forces razed all their equipment and looted their nightclub when the radio accompanied and encouraged a mining protest against the government of President René Barrientos Ortuño.

www.radionacionaldehuanuni.com

Documentaries

First documentary about one of the most important historical experiences of participatory communication: the radio stations of the mining workers of Bolivia. Made in 1983 for UNESCO by Eduardo Barrios and Alfonso Gumucio Dagron, in 16 mm.

Click here to view on YouTube.

Voices of the Socavón Two Argentines produced a documentary that highlights the struggle of mining radios in Bolivia during the dictatorships. Voces del Socavón, a production made by Argentine filmmakers Julia Delfini and Magalí Vela Vázquez and is about the radio La voz del minero from the Siglo XX mine in Potosí, which was the first station financed and controlled by workers, and a pioneer in America Latina

The voices of the tunnel tells the story of Bolivia’s mining radios, led by La Voz del Minero, and its role in the workers’ union struggle during the second half of the 20th century. The protagonists of this story, union leaders, women of the Housewives Committee, miners and announcers, relate the historical events they went through in search of the Bolivian workers’ revolution. The

film links the culture within the mining camps, accompanied by the poetry and stories of the famous Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, in what is one of his last interviews.

Here you can see his trailer https://youtu.be/HUM40UGEQTA

Mining Radio Stations Today

Currently of the more than 20 mining radios that operated in the country of Bolivia, only three of them are on air. These are Radio Nacional de Huanuni (Huanuni- Oruro), Radio Vanguardia (Colquiri- La Paz) and Radio 16 de Marzo (Bolívar-Oruro).

National Radio of Huanuni (Huanuni-Oruro), that used to transmit by short wave, is on FM (94.5 MHz) and online: www.radionacionaldehuanuni.com/

Photos of Radio Vanguardia’s building and transmitter:

Radio Vanguardia of Colquiri, owned by the mining workers of that district, currently has a new transmitter on medium wave 1270 kHz with a power of 3 kW and an FM transmitter, 98.3 MHz with a power of 1 kW. The AM signal can be heard in the remotest corners of the department of La Paz and even nationwide.

About the author

Martín Butera is a journalist, documentary maker and founding member of Radio Atomika 106.1 MHz (Buenos Aires, Argentina) www.radioatomika.com.ar

Photo: Martín Butera visiting, Radio Club La Paz Bolivia CP1AA

Martín Butera

He is an Amateur Radio operator with more than 29 years of experience, and has participated in DXpeditions throughout South America, with the Argentine radio callsign LU9EFO and Brazilian callsign PT2ZDX.

It is to collaborate for the newsletter of the British Dx Club (United Kingdom).

Martin is Argentinian, born in the city of Buenos Aires capital. He currently lives in Brasilia DF, capital of Brazil

About the The British DX Club

This guest post by Martin Butera was originally published in the June 2019 issue of “Communication” magazine of the prestigious The British DX Club. It is now available for free from the club site http://bdxc.org.uk/, remembering that like this report many other very interesting ones can be downloaded.

We congratulate Martín Butera for this interesting report, as well as his editor Chrissy Brand.

If you would like to be a member of the Briitish DX Club, you can find information here http://bdxc.org.uk/apply.html


`Thank you for this fascinating look at the history of Bolivian Mining Radio, Martin!


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Guest Post: Summer Daytime DXing 2019

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, TomL, who shares the following guest post:


Summer Daytime DXing 2019

by TomL

I took note of the mediocre band conditions this summer amongst amateur radio operators as they were making off the cuff comments about still being in a solar minimum.  Some had gone out and bought upgraded transmitters to solve the problem (MOAR WATTS!). And more power thrown at a weak ionosphere does seem to help get a signal farther.  I had not been out since the spring and decided to find out for myself. But instead of more watts, I wanted more height.

Greene Valley Scenic Overlook is open to the public from May through October on weekends only (and only from 11am-6pm).  It was the largest land fill (aka, garbage dump) in Illinois, now covered over and producing captured methane gas. On August 3 & 4, I ventured over there to see if its 190 feet above the surroundings might help my radio reception.

After trying my luck with a 12 foot vertical antenna on a tripod (and numerous children running around it chasing butterflies or looking at the view of Chicago), I went out the next day and parked away from anyone and put up my 19 foot vertical on the roof of the car.  This setup is still amazing to me and works much better than the tripod mounted antenna, probably because it has a proper ground plane as well as being 7 foot taller.

So, yes, the conditions were so-so, not too bad and not too good.  Lots of weak signals and some empty frequencies that I had expected to hear some South American stations around the 5 – 10 kw range.  Weak stations from Asia were more scratchy sounding than usual even with the extra 190 feet of height. Here are 5 broadcast recordings as a sample (times in UTC):

9920 kHz at 21.14 – Radio Thailand in Thai, just catching the end of the broadcast:

9685 kHz at 21.20 – Radio Free Asia in Chinese from Kuwait:

9650 kHz at 21.23 – Radio Guinea in French:

9445 kHz at 21.30 – All India Radio in English (fighting off computer generated noise on my SDR and cheap Dell laptop) and just getting a station identification:

11780 kHz at 21.44 – Radio Nacional de Amazonia booming in with the usual annoying host yelling enthusiastically over every tune he played:

Running out of things to listen to, I wandered over to the 20 meter amateur radio band and found a different situation.  Propagation was decent between the Western hemisphere and Europe. Lots of “pile ups” going on with people trying to make contact with their trans-Atlantic counterparts.  Some said they were running 500 watts or more, so more power does seem to help! Here are 5 recordings to show how active it was:

14171 kHz at 21.55 – Inaki (F5RAG) from southwestern France conversing with Carlos (YV3CRT) in Venezuela (surprised anyone is left in Venezuela with operating radio equipment and not sold off for food with the ongoing difficulties there).  Then Inaki makes contact with Alejandro (CE2ATS) from Chile with a good signal. All in Spanish:

14199.38 kHz at 22.04 – Ervin (VE3GAL) tries his QRP portable setup from Ontario to contact Ron (F4VSM) in Southwestern France who has a 500 watt setup and large Yagi antenna. Sometimes things do not go so well but that is the challenge of using low power, maybe around 10 watts (meaning that just because you can hear them, you cannot always transmit to them with the same effectiveness and vice-versa, for various reasons):

14228 kHz at 22.12 – “BAN” (IZ1PNT) from Italy makes contact with Norman (N3PVQ) in FL after asking everyone to be quiet. Good control over the frequency:

14238 kHz at 22.17 – Slavko (S57DX) booming in, making a contact (Rob, KK4HEQ) in Florida:

14245 kHz at 22.24 – Gabrielle from the Czech Republic, participating at a Youth event using station OL88YL contacting Ira (VP2EIH) in the British Virgin Islands and then another dude from Florida, Roy (AD4AN).  She handled it very well:

This outing was quite educational and I find it curious that people running 1000 watts or less are able to be heard well between continents but the large broadcasters were difficult to hear.  Antennas pointed in the right direction, at the right time of day and frequency, can certainly do amazing things, plucking those weak signals out of the air so easily. And I do think the extra height had something to do with hearing this magic, too!

Happy Listening,

TomL

NOTES:

  1. An easy way to lookup amateur radio operator “call signs” is to go to web site QRZCQ.com which does not need a login.  Some records may be out of date, but most of it is accurate.
  2. Setup used was a cheap Dell laptop, Windows 10, SDR Console 3.03,  connected to the AirSpy HF+, a Palstar amplified preselector, and an old Kiwa BCB filter, then going up to the car roof magnetic balun (a Palomar MLB2) which is then connected to the 4 magnet base and the MFJ 19 foot stainless steel antenna.  You can read about it here:

https://swling.com/blog/2018/07/guest-post-backpack-shack-3-0-part-3/


Brilliant report, Tom! It’s true: the bands are fickle, but like you I always find interesting things to hear on HF. I think your setup using your vehicle as the ground plane for the antenna is a fantastic idea. Plus, set up is easy, self-supporting, and you’ll never have to worry about a park ranger, for example, complaining because you have a wire suspended from a tree. And when there are no trees? You’re still golden. 

Thanks for sharing your experience and DX! Amazing that even with mediocre conditions, you still snagged some distant signals.


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People Are No Longer Dependent On Radio (really?!)

Credit: St. Louis Public Radio via RadioINK.com

As the regular readers know, this site is not purely and entirely shortwave radio-centric … we enjoy all radio.

I don’t think we’ve mentioned this web site before, but I recently ran across this article on RadioINK:

People are no longer dependent on radio.

That’s what St. Louis Public Radio contends with the launch of its new podcast, The Gateway, another short (7-15 minutes), daily news podcast. Here’s what they had to say about the new show

Being a radio buff – or shall I say an ALL radio buff – I cannot fully comprehend that “people are no longer dependent on radio”. But I do acknowledge that technology has allowed us to manage our time better. And having a local podcast of news does appeal to many (yes, I suppose even to me at times).

It’s a very short article – three paragraphs – but I challenge the readers to comment: are you no longer dependent on radio? Okay – that’s a loaded question to this audience – just look at this post within the past 24-hours! But we’d also like to know: is there anything in your area, like this article describes of St. Louis Public Radio, where your local stations are turning to podcasts or other means to reach and/or expand their target audience?

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Guest Post by Troy Riedel

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Ultra-Rare DX: Logging Radio Kahuzi in the DRC

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who shares the following guest post:


In these days of declining activity on the shortwave bands, we don’t often enjoy the experience of hearing what we might still call “rare” stations.  The new year brought an exception.

On January 1st, 2019 I was tuning around the 48 meter band, which is largely populated by European pirate stations, utilities, and weather stations, when I heard a station on 6,210.20 khz.  It was very distinct in that it sounded like an African station — music, with a male DJ/MC and religious songs.

What immediately came to mind was the religious station calling itself Radio Kahuzi, which is in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The station has been heard by DX’ers in a number of countries since the mid-2000’s and because it’s management is based in the U.S. it is possible to obtain a QSL verification.

Radio Kahuzi also has Twitter and Facebook channels, making it easier to communicate with station managers and staff, and has this blog site: http://radiokahuzi.blogspot.com/

As a You Tube video shows the station has been on the air since the early 1990s:

Click here to view on YouTube.

On January 1st, RK was heard from about 1730 to 1747 UTC when it shut down, playing what Richard McDonald, one of the station’s founders, says were musical pieces that are specific to RK.

On January 2nd, 2019 the station was heard again via Europe-based SDRs, signing off at approximately 1811 UTC.

Here is McDonald’s response to my report (which included an mp3) from January 1st, in which he notes that he even went so far as to give the main station announcer, Gregoire, my name and asked him to mention me in the station’s broadcast:

“I just shared with Gregoire that you had sent a recording of the last minutes of his closing musical sign-off if Radio Kahuzi and he agreed to greet you by name this evening and several days in several languages including English.

You got him saying his name at 5:54 into your recording yesterday,and the ID sign off Mountain Blue-Grass Music was unique to Best Radio Kahuzi in Bukavu!

Barbara Smith will be happy to send the QSL Card and info about us and our National Director and his family situation in case you have any suggestions

Powering off here!  Our power cuts off with SNEL often — I just lost a longer reply to you !
But Keep Looking UP !    And Keep On Keeping ON !

Richard & Kathy McDonald”

By the way, according to Wikipedia, SNEL stands for Société nationale d’électricité “the national electricity company of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its head office building is located in the district of La Gombe in the capital city, Kinshasa. SNEL operates the Inga Dam facility on the Congo River, and also operates thermal power plants.”

A very interesting page containing the history of Radio Kahuzi, with information about the McDonalds, is at: http://www.besi.org/

As of the time of this writing, it’s unclear to me whether the extended broadcast times of Radio Kahuzi will be continued or if this was a one shot deal linked to the new year — we may have some clarification on this in coming days.

Here’s a video of my January 1st, 2019 reception of Radio Kahuzi:

Click here to view on YouTube.

For now, I am quite pleased to join the group of about 63 DX’ers around the world (that number comes from a link on the RK website called “Shortwave Listeners” that lists SWLs who have heard and contacted the station).

Though it is highly unlikely that Radio Kahuzi will be heard anytime soon in the United States (the station’s schedules shows it being active from 8 AM to 8 PM Bukavu time) at least using U.S.-based radios, whether SDR or traditional receivers, it’s nice to know that there is still a station out there (with 800 watts!) that is a real DX target!


Wow! What a fantastic catch, Dan! Thank you for sharing your catch and, especially, shedding light on this rare DX. 

Post Readers: Please comment if you’ve logged and/or confirmed Radio Kahuzi.

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