Tag Archives: Longwave

WI2XLQ (formerly WG2XFQ): Brian Justin’s annual longwave broadcast Dec 24-25

Reginald Aubrey Fessenden (October 6, 1866 – July 22, 1932)

Reginald Aubrey Fessenden (October 6, 1866 – July 22, 1932)

Now an annual Christmas tradition, Brian Justin (WA1ZMS) will put his longwave experimental station WI2XLQ on the air to commemorate the 110th anniversary of Reginald Fessenden’s first audio transmission.

WI2XLQ will broadcast under its new callsign (formerly WG2XFQ) on 486 kHz from Forest, Virginia, beginning on December 24 at 0001 UTC. WI2XLQ will remain on the air for 48 hours.

Listener reports may be sent to Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, at his QRZ.com address.

If you would like more information about Brian Justin and WI2XLQ, check out our interview with him in 2013. Indeed, I successfully heard the 2013 WG2XFG broadcast and posted this audio clip on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

Additionally, SWLing Post reader, George Stein has a very personal connection with radio pioneer, Reginald Fessenden: click here to read his story.

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162 kHz longwave: CSA France seeks expressions of interest for broadcast license

(Source: Southgate ARC via Mike Barraclough)

French 162 kHz Broadcast Licence

The French Superior Council of Audiovisual (Content), CSA, is calling for expressions of interest in broadcasting on 162 kHz

They say: In accordance with the provisions of Article 26 of the amended Freedom of Communication Act of September 30, 1986 and at the request of the Government, the CSA decided to withdraw from Radio France the use of the 162 kHz frequency for broadcasting of France Inter.

In order to determine whether the Commission should initiate the procedures necessary to appeal the 162 kHz frequency, it decided to issue a call for expressions of interest for the broadcast of a radio service on the 162 kHz frequency.

Responses are expected no later than January 16, 2017.

Announcement in French
http://www.csa.fr/Espace-juridique/Decisions-du-CSA/Frequence-radio-162-kHz-appel-a-manifestation-d-interet

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Now’s the time to grab longwave DX!

If you’ve been wanting to log France Inter as longwave DX, you’re running out of time. France Inter is shutting down their 162 kHz longwave service on December 31, 2016.

I’m grateful to SWLing Post contributor, Ron, who has persistently reminded me that these are some of the last days to catch France Inter as LW DX here in North America.  Indeed, he shared a bit of interesting and encouraging news a couple weeks ago:

On the Radiodiscussions DX forum, Jim Farmer over in San Antonio got and recorded France Inter on 162 khz using a PK loop and Sony 7600GR.

The PK Loop he’s referring to is this one and, of course, the Sony ICF-SW7600GR is one of my staple portables.

While I’d love to try to grab France Inter with my Sony, my schedule makes it very difficult to arrange. Fortunately, I have SDRs which allow me to record spectrum throughout the night, then review the recordings in the morning.

Throughout the month of December, I’ve been recording a small chunk of longwave spectrum–with my WinRadio Excalibur–during the night and reviewing it in the morning in hopes that I could grab an opening from France Inter.

I was rewarded on December 19, 2016 around 0300 UTC. Though there was atmospheric noise that night in the form of static crashes, I snagged France Inter on 162 kHz.

My spectrum display from the Excalibur.

The 162 kHz carrier was barely above the noise floor (see above), so it was certainly weak signal DX. Here’s an audio sample:

Click here to download the mp3 file.

When that short LW opening happened, I was also able to snag Medi 1 from Morocco on 171 kHz. Again, not fantastic copy, but I’m happy:

Click here to download the mp3.

Mind you, both France Inter and Medi 1 only transmit at 2,000 watts–that’s flea power compared to our shortwave broadcasters. It’s amazing those signals can even hop the Atlantic.

Correction…an SWLing Post reader, qwerty.am, comments:

Actually, the power of France Inter and Medi1 is 2000 kW and 1600 kW respectively. So the power of most SW broadcasters should be called a “flea power” in comparison to what is used on longwave. The smallest output on LW band in Europe is 50 kW, it’s used by Denmark and Czech Rep. The 162 kHz transmitter is closing on Dec 26th, according to the latest news.

Wow!

Again, if you’d like to grab  longwave stations before they disappear, now is the time! Our LW broadcasters are disappearing rapidly. Fortunately, winter (here in the northern hemisphere) is the best time to chase LW DX.

Thanks, again, Ron for your encouragement! I’ll keep listening and recording!

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Update: RTÉ RADIO plans to axe longwave service in 2017

SX-99-Dial-Nar

Contrary to a news item we recently shared from The Independent, SWLing Post contributor, Mike Barraclough, notes the following news from the Irish Post:

RTÉ RADIO will proceed with plans to axe its longwave 252 service next year, it has been confirmed.

[…]RTÉ has consistently argued that better use could be made of the money and that listeners should consider other options, such as internet and satellite receivers, to tune in to their favourite shows.

Despite undertaking a survey of almost 3,000 longwave 252 listeners in Britain last year, in conjunction with Middlesex University London and the Irish in Britain charity, the broadcaster will now go ahead with the move.

The survey had revealed that the service was a vital “lifeline” for many elderly listeners, and an important link to their homeland.

[…]The Irish in Britain organisation, which helped facilitate the RTÉ survey, today said that they would be meeting with the consultative steering group in the next few weeks to discuss the next steps for the campaign to save longwave.

Chief Executive Peter McNulty told The Irish Post: “We will be sitting down with the consultative group to review the situation and discuss the research to see how we can move forward.

“The research is very clear that there is a demand for this type of service from the Irish community here in Britain. That link with home is very important.”

RTÉ would not reveal when in 2017 they plan to close the longwave service.

Read the full news item on the Irish Post.

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RTE to keep 252 longwave radio service (for now)

Crosley-Dial-BlackAndWhite

(Source: Independent.ie via London Shortwave)

RTE is set to scrap controversial plans to axe its longwave radio service, aimed at saving the cash-strapped broadcaster €250,000 a year, the Sunday Independent has learned.

As the station grapples with an unprecedented financial crisis, it was announced two years ago that it planned to wind down longwave 252 broadcasts before full shutdown in May 2017.

But the plan caused widespread anger, particularly among the Irish community in Britain, where the service is seen as a crucial lifeline for thousands of older emigrants who cannot access digital broadcasts.

RTE sources say the service was targeted for shutdown because it is considered outdated, and is an ongoing and unnecessary cost, during a time of increasing financial pressures.
However, as a result of a public backlash, the broadcaster was forced to temporarily postpone the closure until 2017, giving listeners more time to move over to digital platforms.

But the station has confirmed it is now carrying out a “review” of its previous announcement.
A spokesperson added that there is now no specific date for the termination of the service. However, it is understood there remains an ongoing risk as regards its long-term viability.

[…]Many of the older emigrants left Ireland in the 1950s – with only basic education – as Ireland grappled with widespread unemployment.

They are now elderly and a significant number are in difficult financial circumstances, according to social services.

This radio service is still a crucial ‘link with home’ for many thousands of older Irish in Britain, according to various immigrant groups working with social services.

Continue reading the full article via Independent.ie…

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Radio connection: English city named after Maine relay station

RCA-Dial

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Cuff, who writes:

“Thought the blog might enjoy this…it’s actually longwave related more than SW, but I know you often include historical items in blog posts.”

Indeed I do, Richard! Thanks for sharing. Here’s an excerpt from the Bangor Daily News:

Former radio relay station in Houlton may lead to new connection to England

HOULTON, Maine — Rugby Radio Station, a radio transmission site in the United Kingdom that once had ties to this Aroostook County community as part of a transoceanic communications network in the 1930s, is being re-imagined as a new city in England that will be aptly named: Houlton.

Rugby Radio Station was a radio transmission facility near the town of Rugby, Warwickshire in England. From 1927 to 1957, Houlton served as a relay station for long-wave transoceanic transmissions between New York and London.

Located on the County Road, the Houlton site was decommissioned on Oct. 1, 1957. That property is home to Roger and Carol Hand.

James Scott, who is the director of planning and communication for Urban and Civic, a property development and investment company based in London, was in Houlton on April 29 to meet with town officials and local historians to get a better feel for the American community that will bear the namesake of the new development.

[…]The Rugby site, which will be renamed Houlton, is 1,100 acres and over the next 20 years it will be developed into 6,000 homes, three primary schools, one secondary school and 1 million square feet of commercial floor space.

“The radio station [in England] was in operation from 1926 until 2005,” Scott said. “The site is really interesting in that it is mainly open fields, with some very large buildings and 12 800-foot masts. It was a very emotive site for a lot of people, but it was not very well developed.”

The masts have all been torn down, but some of the buildings were preserved for historical purposes.

[…]In the early days of transoceanic transmissions, a crew of five individuals worked at the Houlton station from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to a November 1957 article in Long Lines, a company magazine produced by employees of American Telephone and Telegraph. As demand for service increased, coverage was extended from 4 a.m. to midnight.

Houlton was chosen as the relay station because the signal could not reach all the way from England to New York directly. The local site did not have massive antennae reaching upward such as the location in England. Instead, the transmission lines here were placed horizontally and stretched for many miles.

By the mid-1930s, long-wave transmissions declined because of technological improvements in short-wave radios. The Houlton site was also used in the 1940s as a ship-to-shore service.

Read the full article, at the Bangor Daily News site.

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Fessenden Christmas Eve Commemorative Transmissions

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This  was reported in the ARRL Newsletter:

Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, will again put his 600 meter Experimental Station WG2XFQ on the air on for a Christmas Eve commemorative transmission. WG2XFQ will transmit on 486 kHz from Forest, Virginia, to mark the 109th anniversary of Reginald Fessenden’s first audio transmission. Historic accounts say Fessenden played the violin — or a recording — and read a brief Bible verse. It’s been reported that other radio experimenters and shipboard operators who heard Fessenden’s broadcast were astounded.

Justin will conduct a run-up to this year’s event starting at around mid-day Eastern Time on December 23. The “official” Christmas event will begin on December 24 at 0001 UTC (the evening of December 23 in US time zones) and will continue for at least 24 hours. Justin said he plans to repeat the commemorative transmissions on New Year’s Eve and on New Year’s Day.

Fessenden’s transmitter was an ac alternator, modulated by placing carbon microphones in series with the antenna feed line. Justin’s homebuilt station is slightly more modern, based on a 1921 vacuum tube master oscillator power amplifier (MOPA) design. Listener reports are appreciated and may be sent directly to Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, at his QRZ.com address. (Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, built this replica circa-1920 transmitter, capable of CW and Heising modulated AM.      Photo by Brian Justin)

While I have not heard Brian’s transmission before, I have actually heard a transmission on the experimental frequencies between 465 – 515 kHz. I never expected to be able to hear anything due to extremely high local noise, but one night the propagation gods smiled upon me and the evening was exceptionally quiet. I listened on my Elad SDR receiver over and over to the Morse Code signal which was extremely weak, but mostly readable. I confirmed with Multipsk software, verifying I was indeed hearing one of the experimental stations out of Connecticut.

For information regarding the 500 KC experimental project you can follow this link.

Why not give a listen? You just might be surprised like I was to hear something on this band, and you could add a little Christmas Eve radio memory to your collection!!             73, Robert

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

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