Tag Archives: India

Radio Waves: 20K Hz & The Buzzer, Cuba Jamming, Rugby Radio Station soon a school, HRO Opens a store in FL, Police Use Morse, Tool Box Spy Radio, and “Einstein Listened”

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 Paul, David Goren, Pete Polanyk, Ulis Fleming, Troy Riedel, Tracy Wood, Dan Robinson, and Kris Partridge for the following tips:


The Buzzer (Twenty Thousand Hertz podcast)

This episode was written and produced by Olivia Rosenman.

Since World War I, countries around the world have been broadcasting mysterious numerical messages via shortwave radio. Though concrete evidence is hard to come by, the general consensus is that these coded messages are meant for undercover agents operating abroad. And one particular Russian station may have an even more sinister purpose. Featuring computer engineer Andrus Aaslaid, historian Maris Goldmanis, and documentary photographer Lewis Bush.

Cuba Jamming Ham Radio? Listen For Yourself (IEEE Spectrum)

A public SDR network triangulates the island as the source of mystery signals

By Stephen Cass

As anti-government protests spilled onto the streets in Cuba on July 11, something strange was happening on the airwaves. Amateur radio operators in the United States found that suddenly parts of the popular 40-meter band were being swamped with grating signals. Florida operators reported the signals were loudest there, enough to make communication with hams in Cuba impossible. Other operators in South America, Africa, and Europe also reported hearing the signal, and triangulation software that anyone with a web browser can try placed the source of the signals as emanating from Cuba.

Cuba has a long history of interfering with broadcast signals, with several commercial radio stations in Florida allowed to operate at higher than normal power levels to combat jamming. But these new mystery signals appeared to be intentionally targeting amateur radio transmissions. A few hours after the protest broke out on the 11th, ham Alex Valladares (W7HU) says he was speaking with a Cuban operator on 7.130 megahertz in the 40-meter band, when their conversation was suddenly overwhelmed with interference. “We moved to 7170, and they jam the frequency there,” he says. Valladares gave up for the night, but the following morning, he says, “I realize that they didn’t turn off those jammers. [Then] we went to [7]140 the next day and they put jamming in there.”[]

New school at home of former radio station on track for autumn launch (Coventry Telegraph)

Houlton School, where Rugby Radio Station once stood, is set take its first influx of pupils in September

Plans for a new school at the historic former home of Rugby Radio Station are being fine-tuned and remain on track for a September start.

Houlton School, which will be named after the town in America that received the first transatlantic voice broadcast from Rugby Radio Station in 1927, will take its first influx of 180 Year 7 pupils this autumn.

The school, which forms part of the 6,200-home urban extension in Houlton, east of Rugby town centre, will take a new year group of 180 pupils every 12 months.

Michael McCulley, the school’s Principal Designate, said: “Whilst building a fantastic £39m new school during three lockdowns has had its challenges, we are also acutely aware that we have had a completely blank page from which to develop our exciting curriculum and pastoral programme.

“This freedom has been important as we have needed to evolve to the changing needs of our first group of students.[]

Ham Radio Outlet to open store in Florida (Amateur Radio Newsline)

Ham Radio Outlet, the nationwide amateur radio retailer in the US, has announced that its ongoing expansion plans will include a store in the state of Florida. The new store will join 12 already open in such states as California in the West, where the company is based, to Delaware in the East, Arizona and Texas in the South, New Hampshire in the North. The company’s announcement on social media set off a wave of speculation about the new location, especially on Instagram where the company wrote, “We’re not telling yet! We’re open to suggestions.” The closest Ham Radio Outlet to Florida is in Atlanta, Georgia. The company, which calls itself the world’s largest supplier of amateur radio equipment, is also known for shipping internationally.

Old is gold: In times of satellite & internet, Pune cops keep Morse Code in use as a robust stand-by communication mode (The Indian Express)

Every Sunday, an operator with Pune Police’s wireless wing sends a Morse Code message to the office of the Director General of Police, Maharashtra.

IN THE era of satellite communication, which involves transmitting signals into space and back, and internet based systems transferring gigabytes of data in a flash, police have kept alive the age-old system of Morse Code – a primitive method of sending messages in the form of dots and dashes.

Every Sunday, an operator with Pune Police’s wireless wing sends a Morse Code message to the office of the Director General of Police, Maharashtra. While this is their way of paying tributes to one of the earliest modes of telecommunication, it is primarily a way of maintaining a robust stand-by mode of message delivery in case all other means of communication fail.

Pune City police have recently started a series of tweets featuring the communication systems used by the police and their evolution till date. On Sunday, Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta tweeted, “As an ode to the beginning of wireless communications, the Commissioner’s Office still uses Morse Code to transmit Messages every Sunday.”[]

Antiques Roadshow: Spy radio disguised as toolbox found in garden shed worth huge sum (The Express)

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW saw a World War II spy radio which was disguised as a toolbox fetch a huge valuation when it travelled to Kenilworth Castle.

Antiques Roadshow’s expert Mark Smith marvelled at the ingenuity of a spy radio which was used in World War Two in a recent episode. The item, from the outside, was made to look like a toolbox but when opened, displayed a detailed radio which could be “powered by any source”. So how much was it worth? Mark put a £10,000 to £15,000 price tag on it.[]

Einstein Listened (WNYC)

Former WNYC director Seymour N. Siegel suggested that WNYC once received fan mail from Einstein. As I continue to look far and wide for evidence of this alleged bit of praise, I can’t help but wonder, what broadcast prompted the great man to write? Alas, so far, the document has eluded me. But, we do know that the father of the theory of relativity was a subscriber to both the WNYC and WQXR program guides. And we have no less than Erwin Panofsky, the noted German-American art historian and friend of Einstein’s, to thank for that.

It all began when the distinguished gang at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey decided to chip in and build the Nobel laureate a “high-fidelity” radio for his 70th birthday. The 1949 gift included subscriptions to the WNYC, WQXR, and WABF program guides.[]


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Guest Post: “Why are Kolkata DXers upbeat on World Radio Day 2018?”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Sandipan Basu Mallick (VU3JXD), who shares the following guest post:

Dear Thomas,

On the even of World radio Day, 10 DXers of Kolkata, India gathered while the radio enthusiast around the world are coping with bad news for the hobby.

In this regard, please find a guest post written by fellow DXer and Amateur Radio Operator Dr Supratik Sanatani (VU2IFB):


Why are Kolkata DXers upbeat on World Radio Day 2018?

DXers gathers to celebrate World Radio Day 2018 at Kolkata Maidan

A small group of ten DXers gathered in a Kolkata Maidan tent on the eve of World Radio Day 2018. They were very upbeat while worldwide radio enthusiasts have to cope up with bad news for the hobby. In the last few years stations after stations had closed down and so had iconic radio clubs like Danish Short Wave Club and periodicals like Monitoring Times. Broadcasting mega corporations like VOA and DW have reduced their presence in the airwaves to a faint whisper compared to their former roar.

Why are the Kolkata DXers upbeat in 2018? AIR Kolkata which was the first transmitter of the AIR network beginning from 1926 as erstwhile Indian Broadcasting Corporation had gone nearly silent few years ago with woes from aging valve tube transmitters. Then there was the assault of the tropical storm Aila which had brought down one of its mw antenna towers. The situation is entirely different today.

There are brand new solid state DRM capable mw transmitters in place which are blaring out Kolkata A 657 kHz and Kolkata B 1008 kHz signals at signal levels which dare to compete with the FM stations. Rightfully the two iconic stations have been rechristened “Gitanjali” for Kolkata A and “Sanchaita” for Kolkata B both named after famous works of the noble prize winning prolific author poet composer and painter Rabindra Nath Tagore. In the outskirts of the city AIR Maitri 594 kHz 1000kw which is a external service Bengali broadcast to neighbouring Bangladesh proudly blares its signals across the wave. AIR Maitri was made possible by the personal enthusiasm of the former Chairman of Prasar Bharati, the holding corporation of All India Radio and Doordarshan TV, Mr Jwahar Sircar who hails from the city.

In this meeting there were veteran DXers such as Babul Gupta and Sudipto Ghosh who have had their first QSL in the late 60s to the early 70s, sitting side by side with Abhijit Dutta who started MW listening in Siliguri. When he moved to Kolkata Abhijit came across Kallol Nath who started DXing only a couple of years ago. Kallol introduced Abhijit to the joy of shortwave listening and that is why he was there at the meet. Kallol in this meet narrated how his Tecsun PL660 was bugged by technical glitches and had to be serviced twice in the warranty period by shipping it all the way to the vendor at Singapore. With his receiver Kallol, from his high rise apartment in the heart of Kolkata has to still climb to its roof for better reception. That is when the veterans lamented the rise of manmade radio frequency interference (RFI) from the array of household and community sources which bug the Short Wave DXers today. The present sunspot low is also a big obstacle before the new entrants to the hobby.

While the conventional radio stations are dwindling, the profile of SW and MW DXer is also changing. Debanjan Chakrabarti is a case in point. Starting from a conventional DXer he is now an avid radio collector. He is also a licenced radio amateur (VU3DCH) .His collection sports the iconic radio sets such as the Yaseu FRG 7 which was the apple of the DXers eye in the early eighties. A visit to Debanjans shack is like a trip to the museum of DXing from early 80s. Now a licenced radio amateur Debanjan is presently toying with the idea of adding a hybrid transeceiver to his collection. This would be a radio set sporting both tubes and transistors,

A distinct shift in profile of the Kolkata DXer is that many of them have either acquired or are in the process of getting their radio amateurs licence. Sandipan Basu Mallick (VU3JXD) is one such who was one of the organisers of this small gathering. The meet was graciously hosted by the veteran technical DXer Sudipto Ghosh (VU2UT). Sandipan is active in Short Wave DXing over 2 decades and recently local VHF bands and Hamsphere as well.

Babul Gupta after his years of Short Wave DXing is active in Hamsphere. I owe Babul Gupta (VU3ZBG) a QSL because he received my only transmission from my BITX made from my (VU2IFB) location at South of Kolkata to his place some 30 km away at North 24 Parganas. Most of the former SWL only Dxers have their call signs even though the activity level is abysmally low ranging from a a couple of contacts to no
contact.

The icing in the cake of this meet was the presence of the veteran homebrew radio amateur Atanu Dasgupta (VU2ATN). His conversation with the group was indeed a technical orientation programme for the semi advanced to the advanced DXer. His emphasis was focussing on basics and keeping the target small – “start with a small project like power supply or a grid dip meter” was his advice to the group. His brief presentation on the powerful history of innovative home brewing in amateur radio in this city from Anadi Ganguly (VU2GE) to Ganesh Banerjee (VU2LL) to Amal Piplai (VU2AT) was an eye-opener for most in this group. Atanau Dasguptas suggestion to those planning for the amateur licence was to aim for the general category because the restrictive category is too restrictive and does not permit Morse. His suggestions and narrative were so useful that that they have been documented in a separate blog page.

An invitee, though not a DXer himself, who could not make to the meet due to previous commitment was Bamaprasad Mukherjee. Mr Mukherjee is a writer for children’s magazines in Bengali. One of his articles which in the late nineties appeared in Bengali children’s monthly “Anandamela” was extremely popular and introduced many a DXers from the city who are very active today. Mr Mukherjee is planning to write another feature on the hobby of DXing, which surely will bring in more enthusiasts to this hobby.

The Kolkata DXers have much to cheer on World Radio Day 2018

Compiled by Dr Supratik Sanatani (VU2IFB) on World Radio Day, February 13, 2018

Video of World Radio Day 2018, Kolkata DXers Meet:


Thank you, Sandipan, for sharing your World Radio Day meet with the SWLing Post community!

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BBC News adds daily newscasts in Telugu, Gujarati, Punjabi and Marathi

"India (orthographic projection)" by Ssolbergj (talk) - Own work,This vector image was created with Inkscape.Aquarius.geomar.deThe map has been created with the Generic Mapping Tools: http://gmt.soest.hawaii.edu/ using one or more of these public domain datasets for the relief:ETOPO2 (topography/bathymetry): http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/global/global.htmlGLOBE (topography): http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/topo/gltiles.htmlSRTM (topography): http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/srtm/English | italiano | ?????????? | ??? | +/?Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled GNU Free Documentation License.. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:India_(orthographic_projection).svg#mediaviewer/File:India_(orthographic_projection).svg

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jonathan Marks, who shares the following article from Rediff News in which Jim Egan, CEO, BBC Global News, tells Vanita Kohli-Khandekar about the addition of daily newscasts in Telugu, Gujarati, Punjabi and Marathi:

[…]Delhi is by far the BBC’s number one international bureau with over 120 people. This will more than double to 300 by autumn as the language expansion begins.

The BBC is all set to produce daily newscasts in Telugu, Gujarati, Punjabi and Marathi (in addition to the existing Hindi, Tamil and Urdu), which will be distributed through local TV partners.

It will also be expanding its online presence in these languages.

“A lot of people in India tell us ‘My grandfather used to watch the BBC.’ But we don’t want to be remembered by what we were, but what we are,” says Egan.[…]

Click here to read the full interview at Rediff News.

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AIR launching Phase II of DRM conversion

All India Radio (AIR) Headquarters in Dehli, India. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

(Source: Radio Mag via Dennis Dura)

AIR Launching DRM Conversion, Phase II

NEW DELHI — All India Radio was recently congratulated by India’s Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shri Venkaiah Naidu for having completed phase I of the national DRM digital radio roll-out in India. Thirty-seven DRM transmitters have been installed by AIR throughout the country, and all are now operational, according to DRM news.

Of the 37 new transmitters, 35 are medium wave and 2 are shortwave transmitters. Both SW transmitters are for international service and are broadcasting in pure DRM. […]

AIR is now in the process of launching phase-II of the DRM project by offering full features and services from these DRM transmitters and further improving service quality. When Phase-II is complete, the full-featured DRM services will be available to the audience and a public information campaign will be initiated to inform the Indian citizens of the completely new and future- oriented DRM radio platform and its many benefits. […]

Phase-III, as presented by AIR, will eventually culminate in the complete transition of radio services to the digital DRM platform, further improving the number and quality of radio services and extra features for the listeners, while also saving tremendous amounts of transmission power every year, according to the same article.

Click here to read the full article via Radio Mag Online.

While it sounds like the broadcasting side of DRM is progressing with AIR domestically, I haven’t read anything recently about affordable DRM receivers being developed for the market in India (other than possibly the Titus II and Gospell GR-216 which, I suppose, could be imported).

Based on messages I’ve received from readers/listeners in India, any new DRM receiver must be very affordable ($40 US or so) if wide adoption is to be expected.

I believe this is an opportunity for a manufacturer like Tecsun to step in and make an affordable DRM portable for the market in India–something with a simple display and controls. Otherwise, this might be another “cart before the horse” situation for DRM.  That would be sad.

Titus II at NAB

The least expensive portable DRM receiver on the horizon could be the PantonX Titus II (not yet in production).  PantronX has claimed the Titus II will cost “less than $100.”

And speaking of the Titus II, SWLing Post reader, Ed, notes:

pantronX is reportedly going to announce its Titus II Android SDR boombox at NAB April 22-27, which is another indication this radio is for real.

http://www.thebdr.net/hotlinks/mfgr.html

We’ll post updates about the Titus II as they become available. Follow the tag: PantronX Titus II

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Guest Post: International Radio Fair and World Radio Day in Bhubaneswar, India

Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ashok Shankar Das, who shares the following guest post originally published on his blog SWLDAS:


International Radio Fair and World Radio Day

by Ashok Shankar Das

For last few years Outreach International used to organize a radio fair. This year too they organized “International Radio Fair 2017” at Bhubaneswar, Odisha. Besides other participants, Amateur Radio Society of Odisha (ARSO) participated in the fair too.

Main Attractions

The main attractions of this fair was HAM radio, vintage radio collection and radio related stamp collection.

International Radio Fair 2017 Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

The Sand Art for World Radio Day in the venue

Vintage Radio collection

Mr. Ghanasyam collected several radios Most of them are vintage tube radios. Though they are non functional but for a museum it is very nice to see radios from my Grand fathers time. Around 500 to 600 radios were on display.

Mr. Ghanashyam in his 80s now a radio lover, I would say Radio Crazy man.

Vintage Radio Stall from a distance.

Few Radios with close-ups.

His collection includes several radios from Philips, Murphy, Bush and HMV to name a few…

Radio Philatelist

The other attraction is Philatelist Mr. Ashok Kumar Tiwari. his collection includes Radio inventors/researcher, development of radio, broadcast history, Emergency Communication and HAM radio. A very nice and exhaustive collection.

Alexander Popov

J.C Bose

G.Marconi

HAM radio related.

I could not put all the pictures of his collections, its huge…

Last but not the end…

The HAM radio stalls

In this category ARSO Bhubaneswar and ARCCS from Kolkata put up their stalls. Evan they have made a special call-sign for this Event(AT0IRF). In ARCCS stall, they have displayed and try to promote ON-AIR and how to reach out more people. On the other hand ARSO team focused on HAM radio Homebrew and Radio concepts.

VU2PQS(sitting) VU3XUS and VU2AOR

VU2PQS describing About HAM radio

VU2ABG from Surat came to meet ARSO team.

Concluding remarks

Though it was a very nice initiative, participation should have been more. Though it is organized jointly by UNESCO no International participation seen. hope coming year these shortcomings are fulfilled.


Ashok, thanks so much for sharing your photos and comments from the International Radio Fair and World Radio Day in Bhubaneswar.

Click here to check out Ashok’s blog SWLDAS.

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Director General of All India Radio: “it is agreed by all that shortwave will stay”

All India Radio (AIR) Headquarters in Dehli, India. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

All India Radio (AIR) Headquarters in Dehli, India. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Mike, who shares a link to the following interview with Fayyaz Sheheryar, Director General of All India Radio. I’ve pasted a couple of Sheheryar’s responses below–click here to read the full interview.

But there had been some talk in the government at one time to disband short wave broadcasts?

Yes, but we had opposed this and it is agreed by all that short wave will stay.

[…]

What are the future plans for popularizing programming and strengthening internal functioning?

AIR has embarked on a major plan to start a Content Delivery Network (CDN) which will be ready within the next two to three months. It will help keep track of number of listeners, and also prevent ‘stream theft’.

There will be greater live streaming of channels on the internet complementing Short wave on air.org.in, and Mobile Apps will be launched for more channels. It will also be possible to give audio on demand and the internet will store programmes of up to seven days for this purpose. The App will be monetized, and there will be an alert which gives information about listeners, and messages and advice about programmes on the Apps.

India’s terrestrial transmission today was even larger than China.

Thanks again, Mike, for the tip!

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Tropical Band DXing at home with Elad FDM DUO and Wellbrook ALA1530 active loop

2-jungleRecently I have spent a little more time listening out for Tropical Band stations from my shack in Oxford UK, attempting to emulate some of the very nice signals I have previously recorded out on DX’peditions. The obvious problems with this (and they are numerous) include the relatively weak signal strength of many tropical band stations, the ubiquitous blanket of QRM, resulting in generally poor SNR, lack of space for a large antenna……need I go on?! Fortunately, the Elad FDM DUO has proven to be a very senstive and selective receiver, capable of, at times, incredible SNR, coupled with almost limitless signal conditioning options and SSB, SYNC, ECSS etc. Throw the Wellbrook ALA1530 active loop into the mix (not literally!) and you have a very powerful Tropical Band receive set-up. The Wellbrook is able to null most (although not all) QRM in my shack and that really can make the difference between simply observing a carrier and actually hearing audio. Clearly one cannot expect to hear DX at home under heavy QRM as well as you might outdoors, however, the following stations were logged in the past month or so, with respectable signals, with the ALA1530 indoors:

Video links also follow below, thanks for reading/ watching.

Direct link to Oxford Shortwave Log video; Radio Logos 4810 kHz, Peru

Direct link to Oxford Shortwave Log video; Radio Cultura Ondas Manaus 4845 kHz, Brazil

Direct link to Oxford Shortwave Log video; AIR Bhopal 4810 kHz, India

Direct link to Oxford Shortwave Log video; Rádio Educação Rural 4925.2 kHz, Tefé, Brazil

Direct link to Oxford Shortwave Log video; Radio Mosoj Chaski 3310 kHz, Bolivia

 

Clint Gouveia is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Clint actively publishes videos of his shortwave radio excursions on his YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log. Clint is based in Oxfordshire, England.

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