Vatican Radio’s English SW broadcast to Asia come to an end
Vatican Radio’s English shortwave broadcast for Asia has come to an end, with its last transmission going out Friday evening, after nearly 60 years of service. However this does not mean it has disappeared altogether. What ultimately closed on March 24 as Vatican Radio’s English Service for Asia, is however very much alive online on Vatican Radio’s website. The gradual phasing out of Vatican Radio’s shortwave frequencies is seen as part of the reform of the Roman Curia or the central administration of the Catholic Church here in the Vatican, called for by Pope Francis. The Pope established the new dicastery or office of the Secretariat for Communications on June 27, 2015, ?bringing 9 media bodies of the Vatican, including Vatican Radio, under the Secretariat’s direction, with the purpose of overhauling, streamlining and ultimately merging them as a cohesive unit.
What ended on March 24 as Vatican Radio’s English Service for Asia began way back in 1958. The only ?English programme of Vatican Radio then, headed by Jesuit Father Thomas O’Donnell, was repeated a number of times in different directions, ?including towards Africa and South Asia. It was a weekly 10-minute news broadcast for India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. However, the need for special programmes adapted to the ?distinctive cultural needs and tastes of Africa and South Asia gave way to independent programmes for ?these two regions. ?In 1964 South Asia got a boost when Pope Paul VI visited Bombay (today Mumbai), India for the 38th International Eucharistic Congress from 2nd to 5th of December. Hence in May 1965, the Indian Section officially came into being with a 10-minute broadcast twice a week each in the evening in Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam , while English went on air daily Monday through Saturday. In 1982, all the four languages began re-broadcasting their evening programmes the following morning. Three years later – on May 12, 1985, the Malayalam programme got extra airing time, broadcasting for 15 minutes in the morning, whereas the rest continued broadcasting for 10 minutes.
In 1986, Pope John Paul II visited India from January 31 to February 11. Just prior to this visit, on January 7th that year, Hindi, Tamil and English were given extra time, and so all the four languages began broadcasting daily for 15 minutes each, in the morning, which was a feature programme. The evening transmission consisted of 6 minutes of news only. By the end of 1986 the evening 6-minute news increased to 10 minutes and was repeated the following morning.
On March 25, 1990, Hindi, Tamil Malayalam and English began broadcasting for 15 minutes each, repeating it the following morning. And from Sept. 23, 1993, the four languages were transmitting for nearly 20 minutes each, repeating the evening programme twice the following morning.
It was on Oct 24, 1993 that the fifth language, Urdu, that is spoken mainly in Pakistan but is also widely followed in India, especially in the north, was added to the Indian Section. It began with a 7-minute Sunday programme, as part of the Hindi programme. On March 30, 2003 Urdu became a stand-alone programme, broadcasting for 15-minutes on Sundays and Wednesdays, and repeated the following mornings. The Urdu programme however closed down in September, 2013, after nearly 20 ?years of service.
On May 16, 2015, Vatican Radio marked the 50th anniversary of its Indian programmes with a ?Holy ?Mass and a reception.
SWLing Post contributor, London Shortwave, just published an interesting post on his blog. He begins:
I have been regularly recording the small spectrum window containing the endangered stations I mentioned in one of my previous posts. Three days ago I noticed something strange: a morse code transmission superimposed onto the Voice of Turkey’s signal on 9460 kHz.[…]
SWLing Post contributor, London Shortwave, hit his local park today with his Tecsun PL-680 and Zoom H1 in tow, then recorded the final broadcasts of Radio Belarus. He has published a post on his blog with details and two recordings of Radio Belarus.
Many thanks to London Shortwave for also going out of his way to post both recordings on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive! If you have a recording of Radio Belarus, we can add it as well.
A few days ago, SWLing Post reader LondonShortwave posted a playlist on his blog; it’s a great playlist of music he’s been exposed to via shortwave radio broadcasters over the years. I was quite inspired by this playlist (of all absolutely brilliant songs, by the way), not to mention, by the clever concept.
So this morning I jotted down a few artists and songs I’ve also discovered via shortwave radio. Here are a just a few I could find on YouTube:
Ariane Moffatt’s “Montreal,” via former CBC North Quebec Service:
Istanbul Oriental Ensemble’s “Burhan Öçal” via Voice of Greece:
Ania’s cover of “Strawberry Fields Forever” via the Polish Radio External Service:
Novika’s “I Depend on You” also via the Polish Radio External Service:
Have you made any music discovery via shortwave radio? If so, please feel free to comment.
The Kyodo News Agency is possibly the last marine weather fax station which faxes daily news (full newspapers) and navigational warnings to ships at sea.
For those of you who might believe it takes a sophisticated setup to decode a FAX transmission, you would be incorrect. @K7al_L3afta uses only a Tecsun PL-660 portable hooked up to his PC running the MultiPSK application. He lives in Morocco–in an urban environment with lots of RFI as well, so those of you living in a similar situation should feel encouaged.
The CRF-V21 is a full-featured shortwave radio receiver with built-in printer and decoding for FAX and RTTY. In fact, with an optional AN-P1200 satellite antenna, the CRF-V21 will even copy and print G.O.E.S. satellite weather transmissions.
Here is Universal Radio’s archived description of the CRF-V21:
The Sony CRF-V21 Visual World Band Radio is the first portable to offer integrated facsimile (FAX) and radioteletype (RTTY) shortwave reception. You can print RTTY and FAX transmissions directly with the built-in thermal printer. Supported RTTY modes include Baudot at 60, 66, 75 and 100 WPM and ASCII at 110, 200, 300 and 600 bps. FAX shortwave speeds include 60, 90 120 and 240 rpm. Even G.O.E.S. satellite weather transmissions may be copied and displayed with the optional AN-P1200 satellite antenna.
Frequency coverage is 9 kHz to 30 MHz for all longwave, medium wave and shortwave frequencies. Plus FM coverage from 76 to 88 MHz and NOAA satellite channels 137.62/141.21 MHz. The optional AN-P1200 antenna system adds 1.6910/1.6945 GHz G.O.E.S. satellite reception. Another highlight of this radio is built-in spectrum display showing a visual picture of 200 kHz or 5 MHz of the shortwave spectrum.
Other refinements include: Mini Earphone Jack, S Meter, 350 Alpha Memories, Carry Handle, Clock, 8 Event Timer, Scan, Sweep, FM AFC, Synchronous Detection, Attenuator, 6/3.5/2.7/14 kHz Selectivity, AF Filter, Record Jack, Dial Lamp, Keypad and LCD Contrast Adjustment.
The CRF-V21 is supplied with: AN-V21 telescopic antenna unit, ACP-88R AC power unit, NP-227 battery, BCA-70 charge tray, antenna cable, protective cover, UPP-21 thermal printer paper and manuals. Operates from 110/120/220/240 VAC. Requires two AA cells for memory retention. 16.25 x 11.25 x 6.75 inches (21 lbs.).
The CRF-V21 is basically an all-in-one Holy Grail portable for those at sea!
Simply amazing. I love the display–reminds me of the Eton E1. I would expect excellent audio out of this rig as well.
When I checked today, there wasn’t even one CRF-V21 listed on eBay–not even as a completed listing. I imagine they are rare indeed.
Out of curiosity, do any SWLing Post readers have a Sony CRF-V12 in their collection? I would certainly like to add one to mine someday.
London Shortwave, a regular contributor to the SWLing Post, lives in London, England and copes with serious amounts of radio noise (QRM) at his home. Unlike many urban radio listeners, the QRM didn’t chase him away from the hobby, rather he looked at it as a challenge. Besides taking his radio kit outdoors to escape the noise, he also has a noise mitigation set-up at his home which has been refined over the years.
In this video I demonstrate an improvement to indoor radio reception quality, which is possible to achieve in an urban environment.
I compare using a Tecsun PL-390 portable receiver to a radio set-up that combines Lowe HF-150’s sync detector, the Wellbrook active loop antenna and real-time noise reduction software.
I recently told London Shortwave that he’s a QRM-fighting Samurai; I believe he certainly deserves the title!
Any other QRM Samurai’s out there?