Tag Archives: Japan

Radio Waves: London’s Hyper-Local Radio Scene, Kraina FM, Swedish Radio Reconsiders Digital, Japanese Mobile Radio Station, and Guinea-Bissau Station Threatened

Radio Seribatu FM Tower

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

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 Eric Jon Magnuson for the following tips:


How the Capital Tuned in to Hyper-Local Radio (Standard.co.uk)

The capital’s local radio scene is having a renaissance. From pub garden pop-ups to shipping container stations, Londoners are falling back in love with FM (and DAB/online/smart speaker/insert new mode of listening here). Tuning in has never been better, says Jessica Benjamin — antennae at the ready, it’s time to meet our favourite local stations

Westside — Hanwell 89.6 FM

Broadcasting from Hanwell’s Clocktower Mews to west London, Westside Radio was launched in 2007 by none other than Boris Johnson himself. ‘He promised to come back to Westside if he was elected mayor on the condition that we would play songs by The Clash,’ station manager Sone Palda tells me. ‘All of this while he was surrounded by Labour MPs and councillors in the studio.’ Big name politicians aside, Palda is both excited by and concerned for the future of local radio. ‘In this era community radio is one of the key mediums producing genuine local content and news,’ he says. ‘Most of the local independent commercial stations are being bought up by the big groups, then being rebranded and losing their identity. We want to remain being a platform for emerging radio presenting and production talent, and to continue entertaining our dedicated local audience.’

Soho Radio — Soho

Launched in 2014 and broadcasting live from Broadwick Street, Soho Radio has serious clout when it comes to big name presenters. Think Primal Scream’s Simone Marie Butler, Groove Armada’s Tom Findlay, Jim Sclavunos of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Metronomy’s Anna Prior to name a few — and they don’t just stop at radio. ‘We won Event of the Decade [in Time Out magazine] for our 12-hour street party broadcast with R3 Soundsystem,’ station manager Rachael Bird says. ‘We had some amazing DJs join us live on air, with the likes of Seth Troxler, Norman Jay, Artwork, Eats Everything and Sink the Pink gracing the decks. The day culminated with our very own lorry sound system pulling up in the streets of Soho to finish the street party with a bang — it didn’t last long before it got shut down (whoops!) but was definitely a Soho Radio highlight and a day to remember.’ The grassroots online station has since expanded to the Big Apple, where it has been streaming from Lower Manhattan since late 2020 for a double dose of Soho listening. [Continue reading the full article…]

This Ukrainian radio station is staying on air for the war effort from a makeshift studio in the mountains (The Current – CBC)

Kraina FM CEO Bogdan Bolkhovetsky says station helps military, lifts people’s spirits

A Kyiv radio station is broadcasting from a makeshift studio to bring Ukrainians the latest news about the war, and music to lift their spirits during the hours spent sitting in air raid shelters.

“In Kyiv, air raid alerts are eight to nine times a day, lasting from 30 minutes to three hours,” said Bogdan Bolkhovetsky, CEO of Kraina FM, an independent Ukrainian music station.

“And while people sit in shelters, they sing … Ukrainian songs,” he told The Current’s Matt Galloway.

Playing a variety of Ukrainian on the airwaves “is good for people … it brings back some normality to life, I guess,” he said.

Bolkhovetsky and his family fled Kyiv in the days after the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24. Members of his team also fled, and they regrouped in a small village in the Carpathian Mountains on Feb. 27. The village lies south of Lviv in the west of Ukraine, where many refugees have fled to escape Russia’s advance from the east. Some find refuge in the west’s smaller towns and villages, but others press on to cross into neighbouring Poland or Slovakia.

Click here to read the full article and listen to the audio at The Current.

Swedish Radio reconsiders its digital strategy (Red Tech)

Cilla Benkö is the director general and CEO of Sveriges (Swedish) Radio. She started as an intern in the sports department when there were very few females in the industry. Benkö, who has worked at the organization for more than 30 years as a journalist and has held several managerial positions, provides insight into how Swedish Radio is navigating today’s evolving landscape. Continue reading

Spread the radio love

Radio Waves: First Transatlantic Signal 120 Years Today, 100 Years of German Radio, NASA Laser Communications, and Ham Transmitter on the Moon

Marconi watching associates raising the kite (a “Levitor” by B.F.S. Baden-Powell[47]) used to lift the antenna at St. John’s, Newfoundland, December 1901 (via Wikipedia)

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 Trevor R, Andrea Bornino, Wilbur Forcier, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


First radio transmission sent across the Atlantic Ocean (History.com)

Italian physicist and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi succeeds in sending the first radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean, disproving detractors who told him that the curvature of the earth would limit transmission to 200 miles or less. The message–simply the Morse-code signal for the letter “s”–traveled more than 2,000 miles from Poldhu in Cornwall, England, to Newfoundland, Canada.

Born in Bologna, Italy, in 1874 to an Italian father and an Irish mother, Marconi studied physics and became interested in the transmission of radio waves after learning of the experiments of the German physicist Heinrich Hertz. He began his own experiments in Bologna beginning in 1894 and soon succeeded in sending a radio signal over a distance of 1.5 miles. Receiving little encouragement for his experiments in Italy, he went to England in 1896. He formed a wireless telegraph company and soon was sending transmissions from distances farther than 10 miles. In 1899, he succeeded in sending a transmission across the English Channel. That year, he also equipped two U.S. ships to report to New York newspapers on the progress of the America’s Cup yacht race. That successful endeavor aroused widespread interest in Marconi and his wireless company. Continue reading

Spread the radio love

Typhoon Surigae: Carlos listens to Okinawa Prefectural Fisheries Radio Alerts

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Carlos Latuff, who writes:

Even with the latest communications technology available in the world today, radio remains indispensable.

Japan, a country known for its state-of-the-art technology, has a network of coastal radios to communicate with fishing vessels, transmitting in medium and shortwaves. In this audio I made, the Okinawa coastal station broadcasts weather reports and an alert for typhoon category 5 Surigae, which is currently heading south in Japan.

The signal was listened yesterday in Porto Alegre, Brazil, at 9 am (UTC).

You’ve a very good point, Carlos. Even though there are advanced satellite systems that help maritime traffic with weather, they still rely on real-time reports over the air when systems fail, and when cloud cover or stormy seas might interfere with sat comms.

Spread the radio love

Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association asks gov’t to abolish AM radio requirements by 2028

(Source: Japan Today via Bill Mead)

The Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association on Wednesday urged the government to allow them to abolish costly AM radio by 2028 amid falling revenues.

Many broadcasters are struggling to maintain both AM and FM radio services. “Resolving the overlapping investment for AM and FM radio services is essential,” an official of the association said in a meeting held by the communications ministry.

The association also called on the government to take measures to conduct an experiment to stop broadcasting AM radio in some areas in around 2023.

If the government approves the necessary legal change, FM complementary broadcasting, currently used for fringe areas of AM radio and as a disaster countermeasure, could be standardized as FM radio while AM radio services are terminated in most areas of Japan.[…]

Continue reading the full article at Japan Today.

Spread the radio love

Guest Post: A visit to Tokyo’s Akihabara district

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and word traveler, Chris Johnson, who shares the following:

This past year while traveling for business in Japan I decided to explore a district within the city limits of Tokyo known as Akihabara or better known to locals as the “Electronics District”.

After jumping off the train I found my senses bombarded by a cacophony of sounds and enough neon from the street to the sky to put your senses into overload. The streets were crowded and the stores were filled with every modern electronic device known to man.

Click here to watch video.

My imagination ran wild, I started wondering what this place would have been like in the 1970’s when some of the most cutting edge electronics were CB radios or shortwave receivers, the different brands, models etc… Perhaps some of that still existed here so I started wandering the streets and found more of the same you would find in a big box store but multiplied by 10, overwhelming.

Just when I was ready to give up the search I turned the corner down a side street and discovered a red awning with “Tokyo Radio Department Store” emblazoned on it, I felt like I discovered a lost treasure amongst the modernity.

I walked through the main entrance and was immediately drawn down a maze of narrow corridors that were staffed with small stores and stalls that sold electronic parts both popular and obscure, it was incredible. That was just the first floor with 3 more above to discover, I thought to myself if I ever wanted to build a transmitter this is the one place in the world where you could shop and find all the parts you need.

As I ventured up the narrow stairs to the floors above once again I felt like I found a treasure of gold, before me were shelves and displays crammed full of radios, some I haven’t seen in many years and some from the recent past .

This was like a Hamfest and eBay together under one roof. Truly incredible as you will see in the pictures below. I couldn’t get close to some of the ones wrapped in plastic but maybe a sharp eyed enthusiast can Identify them. I highly recommend anyone traveling to this part of Asia to check out this hidden gem you will not be disappointed.


Thank you so much for sharing this photo tour, Chris! I mean…WOW! There are so many radio gems here. I see some classic solid-state receivers, ham radio transceivers and even valve gear I’ve never seen before. Amazing!

Thank you for taking the time to share your tour of the Akihabara district of Tokyo!

Post readers: Please comment if you’ve ever visited the Akihabara district or any other “Radio Row” districts in the world. please consider sharing your photos!

Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

Spread the radio love

“Broadcast Isolation in Japan”–no workarounds?

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader @medmouad who recently shared a link to the following article by Kenji Rikitake at Medium.com:

I’m sure Japan is one of those countries which implement the worst online broadcasting policies.

You cannot listen to Japanese internet radio stations from outside the nation, thanks to the geotagging technology for the IPv4 address; most of the major broadcasting stations do not allow access to their streaming feed outside Japan. This is a huge disservice to the expats, but the broadcasters seem not to care about it at all.

Japan’s geotagging policy against streaming broadcast is even worse within the nation; the telecom ministry enforces prefectural border limits for licensing the broadcast stations, though in some rare cases wider limits are allowed. Japan is regionally divided into 47 prefectures. So you cannot listen to Tokyo radio stations for free when you are in Osaka over internet. And vice versa. Recently a consortium of private broadcast stations, radiko.jp, announced a paid service for cross-prefectural listening of JPY300 (about USD3) per month. Isn’t this a ripoff? And it’s still not accessible from outside Japan.

Japan has a weird article in the copyright law too; the copyright owner can claim the right of making the contents being able and ready to be publicly transmitted. This right is applicable to all transmission media including internet and airwaves. So when you buy a CD, you cannot transmit without the permission of the copyright holder, usually the publisher.

[…]I hope someday I can listen to Japanese radio outside Japan over internet. The day, however, will not come soon.

Continue reading the full article at Medium.com.

If you’re an SWLing Post reader, I’m willing to bet you’re thinking: “Yeah…this is one of the downfalls of radio over the Internet.” We never have this issue with shortwave radio broadcasts since they’re built upon a medium that has, at its very core, no regard for national borders.

Of course, this article focuses on local/regional FM outlets in Japan and the firewalls that keep their online streams neatly contained.

I can’t help but think that there must be workarounds to defeat IPv4 address geotagging within Japan. Perhaps I’m wrong.

I do know that I can easily listen to local AM/mediumwave broadcasters throughout Japan using one of many web SDRs on the KiwiSDR network. Surely the same could be done for FM using a network of web accessible RTL-SDR dongles–?

Has anyone found a workaround? Mark Fahey, you know I’m looking a you!

Please comment!

Spread the radio love

SDRplay RSP review in CQ Ham Radio Japan

CQhamradioMag-Front

Two weeks ago, I received a mystery package in the mail: a copy of the October 2015 issue of CQ Ham Radio magazine, sent directly from the publisher in Tokyo, Japan.

Supplement magazine shipped with the October issue.

Supplement magazine shipped with the October issue.

Since I can’t speak or read Japanese, I was very confused why I would receive a copy.

Out of curiosity, last week, I opened the magazine to see what sort of articles it contained.

In short: I was very impressed. While I couldn’t read the content, of course, I was able to get an idea of the scope of this magazine–it contained numerous articles, news items, reviews and photos.

I was pleased to note a section that focused on good etiquette for amateur radio exchanges in English. After all, if you are a Japanese DXer, you will need to know enough English to log DX stations around the world as English is the staple DX language. Japanese hams are well known for their excellent on-air etiquette–ask anyone who has been on a DXpedition.

The magazine is thick, too; most of the pages are black and white news print, but there are several color/glossy sections as well. This particular issue was even mailed with a separate supplement magazine containing a history of ham radio ads throughout the years. I thoroughly enjoyed the trip down memory lane.

CQhamradioMag-Article

Once I landed on the page above, I quickly realized why I had been sent a courtesy copy of the magazine: my SDRplay RSP review had been translated and published. It was then I remembered granting permission to have the article translated into Japanese for a ham radio magazine. I had completely forgotten!

I’m honored my review was printed in CQ ham radio, but most of all, it has been fascinating to browse through what appears to be an excellent radio publication. I offer my gratitude to the translator who took the time to edit my article.

Spread the radio love