Tag Archives: India

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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