Tag Archives: Happy Station Show

“The Forgotten Firsts–Remembering Radio Netherlands”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who shares this excellent article by our friend Jonathan Marks in Medium:

Jonathan Marks, Director of Programmes, Radio Netherlands, Hilversum, June 1995 (Source: Medium.com)

Every country claims to have invented radio. In the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum they have so far focused on the radio pioneer Hanso Idzerda. He set up a business to make and sell his radios. And he realised that no-one would buy his radios if there was nothing to listen to. I think the evidence shows that he was one of the first, if not the first person to make regular broadcasts following a pre-announced schedule. But I would like to suggest he started off a chain of Dutch “firsts”, many of which are now in danger of being forgotten.

First, Idzerda started international broadcasting. From a rooftop antenna in the Hague, his low power mediumwave signal could be heard in the Southern part of the UK. And he capitalised on that by broadcasting an hour of concert music between 4 and 5 on a Sunday afternoon, responding to listeners correspondence. And he managed to get the programme paid for by the Daily Mail newspaper in London. So, the first international broadcasts were commercial. They were also the world’s first broadcasts using what today we would call narrow band frequency modulation. It wasn’t until 1933 that American engineer Edwin Armstrong, discovered this technique was capable of transmitting much better audio fidelity if you used much higher frequencies and more sensitive receivers.

In 1920’s, no-one understood radio propagation

But in 1919 no-one really understood how radio waves worked and the influence the sun has on the way they propagate. I’m guessing that Idzerda would have had most of his UK listeners in mid-winter when it was starting to get dark.

By 1925, various things were happening in parallel. Physicists like Edward Appelton were showing that there was a layer in the earth’s atmosphere which they later called the ionosphere. It acted like a mirror to radio waves. And the path of the signal followed was dependent on frequency.

So while Radio Kootwijk was using a high-power long-wave transmitter to try and send Morse code messages to the Dutch colony of the East Indies, now Indonesia, engineers at Philips in Eindhoven realised that shorter wavelengths were best suited to long distance communication using much less power than the 400kW being used in Kootwijk. They ran experiments in 1925 which were received in Malabar Indonesia. A certain Dr de Groot is listed is some accounts as a radio enthusiast. It’s just that he happened to be the head of the Dutch telegraph station in Sitoebondo, East Java and had been busy since 1916 trying to establish a reliable, direct connection between The Netherlands and its colonies. The Dutch were making use of long-distance phone cables owned by the British who were listening in to all the communications.[…]

Click here to continue reading the full article in Medium.

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SRAA Recording: The Happy Station Show circa 1979

Crosley-Dial-BlackAndWhiteMany thanks to Shortwave Radio Audio Archive contributor, Richard Collings, who recently submitted this amazing off-air recording of the Happy Station Show. Richard notes:

The Happy Station Show of Sunday 23rd December 1979. A pre-recorded special Christmas show with Tom Meijer. Broadcast from 0930 to 1020GMT [on 9895 kHz and received in Plymouth, Devon, UK].

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Note that this is one of many archived off-air recordings found on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

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PCJ’s North American schedule posted

SX-99-Dial

Many thanks to Keith Perron who shares PCJ’s new North American broadcast schedule via Global 24 on 9,395 kHz:

Program Schedule – North America

Saturday
0000UTC – Media Network Plus
0700UTC – Switzerland In Sound
0730UTC – Focus Asia Pacific
1030UTC – Switzerland In Sound
1300UTC – The Happy Station Show
1730UTC – Focus Asia Pacific
2200UTC – The Stuph File Program
2300UTC – Song of India

Sunday
1000UTC – Media Network Plus
1430UTC – Switzerland In Sound
2200UTC – The Kelly Alexander Show
2300UTC – The Happy Station Show

Monday
0400UTC – The Stuph File Program
0700UTC – Focus Asia Pacific
2100UTC – Focus Asia Pacific
2230UTC – Switzerland In Sound

Tuesday
0500UTC – Jazz For The Asking
0700UTC – Focus Asia Pacific

Wednesday
0030UTC – Switzerland In Sound
0700UTC – Focus Asia Pacific
1300UTC – Jazz For The Asking
2100UTC – The Stuph File Program

Thursday
0400UTC – The Kelly Alexander Show
1100UTC – The Happy Station Show

Friday
1100UTC – The Kelly Alexander Show
2100UTC – Jazz For The Asking
2200UTC – The Happy Station Show

(All times UTC)
Frequency: 9395khz
Reception reports and letters: pcjqsl@pcjmedia.com

Below is when 9395khz propagates best to each of the areas.

North America – 24 Hours a Day Europe
Europe – 1900UTC to 0800UTC
Middle East – 1800UTC to 0500UTC
South America – 2100UTC to 1000UTC
Africa – 2100UTC to 0500UTC
Pacific – 0700UTC to 1100UTC
East Asia – 2100UTC to 0200UTC
Southeast Asia – 1200UTC to 1600UTC

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1976 recording of RNW added to the Shotwave Radio Audio Archive

IMG_0135Greg Shoom, a new contributor to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive, has just submitted a 1976-1977 off air recording which includes:

  • The Happy Station Show hosted by Tom Meijer (Christmas 1976 edition),
  • an unidentified program called “Why Join a DX Club
  • and several longwave radio beacons.

Click here to listen to this recording on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

Remember, you can subscribe and download the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive collection (free!) as a podcast via iTunes or the SWAA RSS feed.

Many thanks to Greg Shoom for sharing this excellent recording!

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Win a shortwave portable via The Happy Station Show

ccradio-swpSWLing Post reader, Tom, writes:

The Happy Station Show from Tawain just started testing its show on 11880 for a time via WRMI facilities in Okeechobee FL, ex-WYFR

Broadcast schedule can be found here:  http://www.pcjmedia.com/

Also looks like they plan on giving away a shortwave radio [CCRadio SW Pocket] this week from their twitter account post at https://twitter.com/PCJMedia/status/418955953807962113/photo/1

Many thanks, Tom!

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PCJ Radio: Special shortwave broadcast to honor Radio Netherlands Worldwide on June 29

(Source: PCJ Radio press release)

PCJ Radio will present a special two hour edition of Happy Station Show targeting North America and the Caribbean on June 29th, 2012 from 0200UTC to 0400UTC (Local time June 28th, 2012 10:00pm to 12:00am) on 9955khz. This special is to coincide with the departure of Radio Netherlands Worldwide from shortwave and will be a tribute to what was once one of the most respected international broadcasters. A special QSL Card will be issued to those in the Americas who tune in on 9955khz. If your outside this area you can listen to the live stream on June 29th 2012 from 0200UTC to 0400UTC VIA www.wrmi.net. I’m not going to tell you just yet what we have in store. The only thing I will say is you will need to tune in.

Regards,
PCJ Radio International

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Between Broadcasts-Exploring Interval Signals

Lately, I’ve been listening to a plethora of shortwave broadcasts as I’m about to review several new radios. I’ve noted so many great interval signals that are still in use. The following is a reprise of a previous post–from over two years ago–about interval signals. If you’ve never heard of interval signals, this post offers an introduction. 

What are interval or tuning signals? Often the most recognized sounds in the shortwave bands are the repetitive tones and musical interludes heard between broadcasts, known as interval signals. These are simply characteristic  musical phrases that broadcasters play between programs.  In fact, for me, nothing is more nostalgic than to hear the interval signals of some of my favorite broadcasters from my youth. Here are a few classic examples of interval signals:Analog Radio Dial

Interval signals usually include station and program identification, and are often in multiple languages. Not only do they help identify the station, but in the days of crowded international broadcast bands, interval signals helped listeners tune in and adjust their radios prior to program commencement.

Broadcasters have been using interval signals since the 1920s, but there has been a decline with the advent of digitally tuned radios which, unlike analog tuners, take the guesswork out of tuning into a specific frequency.

So, in this digital age, are interval signals still around? Sure. Many broadcasters believe an interval signal is still the best way to announce station and program identification; one might say their interval signals have become audio “logos.”

Here is an audio clip I recorded on April 23, 2009, of the interval signal for the new Happy Station Show: [Click here to listen]

For comparison, listen to this audio clip of the Happy Station Show from Jan 20, 1980, when it was a part of Radio Netherlands: [Click here to listen]

Listening for Signals

Where can you hear interval signals today?  Fortunately, they can be heard all over the shortwave broadcast spectrum. The best times to hear interval signals are on the top of the hour and sometimes at the half or quarter hour.

Another great place to hear interval signals are on the web. There are several interval signal databases where you can listen to a wide variety of interval signals. One of my favorites is the Interval Signal Database. This site is in German and English and is well categorized and searchable. In fact, Bernhard, the webmaster of the Interval Signal Database, gave me permission to publish several of his audio clips above. [Danke, Bernhard!]

Here is a list of interval signal websites:

Since he’s somewhat of an interval signal guru, I asked Bernhard for his favorite interval signal recording. He pointed out this one from the Cold War era:  it is a recording of a special low-power (1kW) training station of the Austrian military. Bernhard informed me that in times of crisis, this station was to serve as a back-up for the Austrian Radio ORF.

Leave a comment:  What is your favorite interval signal, and why?

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On a side note–Bernhard also pointed out one of his favorite non-interval signal recordings.  In this recording, the news reader started the German language news by reading the frequencies, then noticed that the studio door was open.  You can clearly hear her getting up to close the door in the recording.

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