Tag Archives: Humanitarian Radio

Radio Waves: North Korea Fights Outside Influence, Phishing Scam Uses Morse Code, The Power of Radio, and Afghanistan International TV

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!


That’s ‘Comrade’ To You! North Korea Fights To Purge Outside Influences On Language (NPR)

SEOUL — In the show Crash Landing on You, a rich South Korean woman accidentally paraglides into North Korea, where she is rescued by an army officer and falls in love with him. The series, which was released on Netflix in 2019, was a hit across the Korean Peninsula — including in the North, where it circulated on smuggled thumb drives.

“It created quite a stir, with Kim Jong Un even forbidding people from watching it,” says Kang Nara, a North Korean defector in Seoul who served as a consultant to the show.

That’s not surprising, as all South Korean content is effectively banned in North Korea.

Kang says she found Crash Landing on You appealing for its realistic depictions of life in the North, including the language. As in real life, North Koreans in the drama, for example, call their intimate partners “comrade” instead of “honey.”

But differences in language from the South are a sensitive issue for the North Korean regime. It has fought for more than half a century to purge North Korea’s language of foreign influences, and for roughly two decades to keep out southern-style expressions that northerners are gleaning from bootlegged South Korean TV dramas, movies and K-pop music. [Continue reading…]

Microsoft catches hackers using Morse Code to help cover their tracks (CyberScoop)

Clever hackers use a range of techniques to cover their tracks on a target computer, from benign-looking communication protocols to self-erasing software programs.

It’s not very often, though, that digital attackers turn to Morse Code, a 177-year-old signaling system, for operational security. Yet that’s exactly what played a part in a year-long phishing campaign that Microsoft researchers outlined on Thursday.

Morse Code — a method of representing characters with dots and dashes popularized by telegraph technology — was one of several methods that the hackers, whom Microsoft did not identify, used to obscure malicious software. It’s a reminder that, for all of their complexities, modern offensive and defensive cyber measures often rest on the simple concept of concealing and cracking code. Continue reading

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Radio Taboo: An amazing community radio station in rural Cameroon

Radio Taboo (Source: Issa Nyaphaga)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Alan Roe, who shares this Radio France International article and interview with Issa Nyaphaga, the tour de force behind Radio Taboo.

Here’s a video of the interview:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Thank you so much for sharing this, Alan.

Some of our initial radios received by Radio Taboo.

Readers: what Alan didn’t know is that I’ve been working with Issa via Ears To Our World and can confirm that this station is having a most positive impact on its community!

I was originally introduced to Issa via one of ETOW’s long-time supporters and friends a couple years ago.

At ETOW, we wanted to help establish more Radio Taboo listener groups, so we sent an initial batch of radios to be used in this very rural and remote part of Cameroon.

The radio we sent to Radio Taboo is the Tecsun GR-88 (or “Green-88”). This radio used to be branded by Grundig as the FR200, but Grundig no longer markets this model so we purchase them from Tecsun.

In fact, in a recent email to friends and supporters of Radio Taboo, Issa shared the following photo and noted:

“This man next to me is one of the first beneficiaries of the crank radios donated by Thomas Witherspoon, the founder of “Ears To Our World” a U.S. non-profit. They donated a dozen of these radios to some Radio Taboo’s listers. Radios made it in the Cameroon this week.”

I should mention it’s a logistical challenge to get radios to this part of the world (especially in the summer when the roads are nearly impassable due to rains) but we’re looking into a service that might be able to help in the future with a much larger donation of radios.

Alan, thanks again for sharing this story and giving me an opportunity to tell about our first-hand experience working with Radio Taboo!

Check out the full article about Radio Taboo at Radio France International by clicking here.

Click here to check out the Radio Taboo website.

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ETOW distributes radios to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico through amateur radio network

In November, we posted an update on the Ears To Our World website with information about our most recent work in Puerto Rico.

After Hurricane Maria left the majority of Puerto Rico without power and basic services, at ETOW we waited for the right opportunity (after food, water and medical supplies were rushed in) to send self-powered radios to those still living without power and in need of basic community information.

Once US Postal Service delivery was restored to the island, we turned to our amazing volunteer (and SWLing Post contributor) Robert Gulley (AK3Q) to coordinate the process.

Robert contacted the Lares Amateur Radio Emergency Service (LARES) in Puerto Rico and asked for their assistance. Nelson Santiago (WP3B) with LARES enthusiastically volunteered to venture out into the community and distribute radios to those who needed them the most–families still lacking mains power. The LARES club distributed the radios effectively and efficiently–they also photo-documented everything.

The whole process was simply amazing to watch unfold.

Many thanks to Universal Radio who helped us quickly procure 15 self-powered radios for our initial pilot shipment. As of December, we’ve now sent and distributed an additional 40 radios–totaling 55 units to 55 families.

This whole project became a reality through our network of radio enthusiasts. We’re so grateful to everyone involved.  Thank you!

Click here to view photos and read about this project at Ears To Our World.

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Radio World International eBook: “Radio’s Role in Developing Countries”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors, Bill Patalon and Dennis Dura for sharing a link to this free eBook download from the excellent RadioWorld Magazine.

Here’s the press release from Radio World International:

Radio’s Role in Developing Countries

A new eBook from Radio World International is now available

Radio is the primary communications medium in many developing countries. It is able to reach millions and has a vast impact on societies facing adversity. What are the obstacles and opportunities for radio broadcasters in these regions and how can stations benefit from their unique position, while ensuring social development for local populations?

This latest Radio World International eBook looks at the ways stations and nonprofit establishments are meeting the challenges of this important role. It offers some notable examples of how broadcasters are launching or expanding services in specific emerging countries, illustrating how the medium plays an essential part in improving people’s lives; and more.

Learn more in the latest free Radio World International eBook. Read it free
now — click here!

Produced by the editors of RADIO WORLD INTERNATIONAL.

Click here to read “Radio’s Role in Developing Countries”

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The ONEMI Radio

ONEMIRadio

Chile is one of the most seismically-active countries in the world. The ONEMI (Oficina Nacional de Emergencia del Ministerio del Interior)–Chile’s emergency management office–recently added a a new tool to Earthquake kits Chilean families keep at hand.

It’s a foldable, flat-packed, solar-powered cardboard FM radio called the ONEMI Radio. It has a very simple design and interface: a volume control and tuning button that auto-tunes local FM stations.

It’s a cheap, portable and efficient solution that can enable Chilean emergency management to communicate advice during state of emergencies. Clever!

Check out the following video:

Click here to view on YouTube.

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USAID sends the Kchibo KK-9803 to Nigeria

The Kchibo KK-9803 portable shortwave radio

The Kchibo KK-9803 portable shortwave radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kim Elliott, who shared a link to this tweet by USAID and notes:

“I don’t know if USAID is doing them any favors by giving them a Kchibo KK-9803 …”

I agree with Kim. Even though, of course, I’m committed to the idea that radios bring access to information in parts of the world that need it the most, USAID obviously did no research prior to purchasing the Kchibo KK-9803 for humanitarian use.

No doubt, the Kchibo KK-9803 is one of the poorest performing radios I’ve ever reviewed (click here to read the full review). Though I fully support the concept of what USAID is doing, almost any other receiver would have been a better choice.

At ETOW, we work on a very modest budget–indeed a micro budget by USAID standards–but we would rather invest in better equipment, even if it means sending a smaller quantity to the field. Since so many resources are used just to deliver equipment to remote areas, one hates to waste those resources on equipment that may not perform the intended task or suffer from poor longevity.

My hope is that someone at USAID will read this and, at least, consult us prior to future distributions. An efficient analog portable (even the TECSUN R-911, for example) would be a much better choice.

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