Tag Archives: Michael Bird

Radio Waves: LPFMs Go Non-Directional, ABC Cuts Remain, WBCQ Videos, and Demolition of Hara Arena

Hara Arena during the 2016 Dayton HamventionRadio 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 Ulis (K3LU), Michael Bird, and Trevor Dailey for the following tips:


New FCC Rules Would Allow LPFMs To Use Non-Directional Antennas. (Inside Radio)

The FCC is scheduled to vote on controversial new rules that would potentially end a prohibition on low-power FM stations using directional antennas, among other things. At its April Open Commission Meeting, the agency will vote on a Report and Order to update its technical rules for LPFM stations.

Since the Local Community Radio Act of 2010 was passed nearly a decade ago, the number of LPFMs has grown to more than 2,100 stations. The LPFM service has “matured since engineering requirements were first established in 2000,” FCC Chair Ajit Pai said in a blog post announcing the April meeting agenda. “This maturation means that LPFM stations should be able to take advantage of additional engineering options to improve reception.”

In addition to improving reception, the proposed new rules would “increase flexibility while maintaining interference protection and the core LPFM goals of diversity and localism,” Pai said.

Along with expanded LPFM use of directional antennas, the proposal would allow LPFM stations to use FM booster stations.[]

The ABC is an essential service but funding cuts remain, says boss (The Age)

The ABC could have to look at closing a channel if the government remains committed to the funding cuts announced in the 2018 federal budget, according to managing director David Anderson.

“We don’t think we can bridge the gap purely from efficiency alone,” said Mr Anderson on Thursday, as the broadcaster revealed a suite of programming that it hopes will help Australians through the next three months of social isolation.

“That’s where you start to look at what it is you’re providing on what service. At the moment we have no plans to turn off a channel or a network, but I have to say that in the foreseeable future turning off a channel will happen one day. It’s just not right now.”

The ABC is in the second year of its current triennial funding round, in which the government declined to index its base funding, effectively meaning its budget has been cut by $84 million over the three years to 30 June, 2022.[]

Two WBCQ Videos

Trevor Dailey shares two videos produced by Peter Kroon and OfficialSWLchannel that focus on WBCQ and their free speech mission. Click here for the first video (18:30) and here for the second video (4:37).

Note that while all of the commentary in the first video is in Dutch, much of the content is in English.

Demolition of most of Hara Arena will start soon (Dayton Daily News)

Michael Heitz, the developer of the Hara Arena property, said Monday that sometime in the next two to three months, demolition of about two-thirds of the tornado-damaged property should begin.

Heitz said he is putting together a legal description of the recently rezoned former entertainment property, with an environmental report and surveys, for JobsOhio. He expects JobsOhio, the state’s private jobs creation arm, to put its marketing muscle behind the 130-acre site, to help him find a future user.

“This is one of their biggest tracts in the state of Ohio, under one piece of land,” Heitz said in an interview. []


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Radio Waves: Eugène Aisberg, Filter Design, ABC Workers Face Cuts, and Data via Web SDRs

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Broadcasting 

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, Marty, and Michael Bird for the following tips:

Eugène Aisberg, Radio Writer (OneTubeRadio.com)

After a wartime absence, the January 1946 issue of Radio Craft carried an article by writer Eugène Aisberg.  While that name might not be familiar to American readers, Aisberg was a prolific author in the early days of radio, and wrote some of the best treatises on radio for the popular audience.  He was fluent in French, Esperanto, German, Russian, and English.

Aisberg was born in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1905, and lived most of his life in France. He was the director of the French magazine Toute la Radio and a prolific author of a number of books. His most popular book, which is still in print, is La Radio? Mais c’est très simple (Radio? But It’s So Simple!)  The book, currently in its 29th edition, an extremely solid background covering all aspects of electronics, and is written in a popular, easy-to-read style. While the book was ultimately translated into several languages, it was apparently never published in English.[]

Filter Design Software (Nuts and Volts)

If you’ve ever lived close to an AM broadcast station, you probably experienced the phenomenon known as fundamental overload. It occurs when a receiving device is functioning entirely properly but unable to reject a strong signal. The receiver might be a wireless telephone, a scanner, or even a TV or radio receiver. The AM signal is completely legal but just too strong, disrupting the function of the receiver or overriding the desired programming.

[…]Hams often experience fundamental overload on the 160 meter band (1.8–2.0 MHz) which is adjacent to the AM broadcast (BC) band (550 kHz–1.7 MHz). Antennas for those frequencies pick up a lot of AM band RF, overloading the input circuits and creating distortion or false signals inside the receiver. The usual solution is to install a high-pass broadcast-reject filter at the receiver input, attenuating the unwanted AM signals below 1.6 MHz while passing the desired 160 meter signals with little attenuation.

So far, so good, but a filter that doesn’t attenuate signals very much above 1.8 MHz while attenuating them significantly in the adjacent broadcast band is not a simple thing to design. There are tables and equations, but they are tedious to work with. Practically, you’ll need to build the filter with standard-value components as well, and that will affect filter performance too. Sounds like a job for some filter design software, doesn’t it?

There are several filter design software packages ranging from simple calculators to sophisticated CAD programs. Luckily for hams and other experimenters, there are plenty of free or low-cost programs to try.[]

ABC workers face anxious wait over job, program cuts (The Age)

David Anderson did not mince words at a Senate Estimates hearing last October. “There will be job losses,” ABC’s managing director warned. “It’s not something I can quantify at this point in time. There’s still more work to be done.”

Towards the end of March, Anderson will reveal a five-year plan for the national broadcaster. To the frustration of staff, it’s unlikely to specify which parts of the organisation will bear the brunt of these cuts or how many workers they might lose.

Several senior sources spoke about the situation at ABC on the condition of anonymity, given sensitive funding negotiations are yet to be finalised.

“All these media reports claiming the redundancy numbers will be finalised in March are just wrong,” says one ABC executive. “What we need is some clarity [about long-term resourcing] from the government.”[]

Receiving Data With Web Based Shortwave Radios (Nuts and Volts)

Your computer and the Internet give you free access to over 100 web based shortwave receivers that you can use as if they were your own. Unfortunately, employing these radios to decode data transmissions can be very difficult or impossible — unless you know the secret. So, read on and we’ll guide you through the details of how to do it.

Web based shortwave radios are an amazing new implementation of software defined radios (SDR). These SDRs are free to use and widely available on the Internet. Even more remarkable is that they are located in countries all around the world.[]


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Radio Waves: RNZ Cuts Classical, Australian EmComm Plan, BBC Funding, and NHK Viewing Fees

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Broadcasting 

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 Troy Riedel and Michael Bird for the following tips:

RNZ set to cut back Concert and launch new youth service (Radio New Zealand)

In the biggest overhaul of its music services in years, RNZ is planning to cut back its classical music station RNZ Concert and replace it on FM radio with music for a younger audience as part of a new multimedia music brand. Mediawatch asks RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson and music content director Willy Macalister to explain the move.

The broadcaster is proposing to remove RNZ Concert from its FM frequencies and transform it into an automated non-stop music station which will stream online and play on AM radio.

It would be replaced on FM by a service aimed at a younger, more diverse audience as part of a new multimedia “music brand”.

RNZ Concert would be taken off FM radio on May 29 and the youth platform would be phased in ahead of its full launch on August 28.

RNZ’s music staff were informed about the proposed changes this morning in an emotional, occasionally heated meeting with the RNZ music content director Willy Macalister, head of radio and music David Allan, and chief executive Paul Thompson.[]

[Australian] Senate to vote on National Emergency Communications Plan (ABC Friends)

Today Senators can vote to recognise and support ABC Emergency Broadcasting Services and start to plan for a National Emergency Communications Plan.

[…]The motion comes after ABC Friends surveyed bushfire affected communities, with 95% of the 750 respondents indicating that they wanted to see a national plan of additional essential communications infrastructure.

More information to come once the motion has been moved.[]

UK government, at odds with media, eyes BBC funding change (AP)

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s government announced Wednesday it is considering a change in the way the BBC is funded that would severely dent the coffers of the nation’s public broadcaster.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government — which is increasingly at odds with the country’s news media — said it would hold a “public consultation” on whether to stop charging people with a criminal offense if they don’t pay the annual levy that funds the BBC.

The broadcaster gets most of its money from a license fee paid by every television-owning household in the country, which currently stands at 154.50 pounds ($201) a year. Failing to pay can result in a fine or, in rare cases, a prison sentence.

In 2018, more than 121,000 people were convicted and fined for license fee evasion. Five people were imprisoned for not paying their fines.

The BBC is Britain’s largest media organization, producing news, sports and entertainment across multiple TV, radio and digital outlets. The BBC’s size and public funding annoy private-sector rivals, who argue the broadcaster has an unfair advantage.[]

NHK Asked to Cut Viewing Fees Further (Jiji Press)

Tokyo, Feb. 5 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi asked Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) on Wednesday to cut television-viewing fees further.
The request was included in a set of proposals compiled by Takaichi. The proposals were approved the same day at a meeting of the Radio Regulatory Council, which advises the minister.

After expected cabinet approval, the proposals will be submitted to the ongoing session of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, together with NHK’s fiscal 2020 draft budget.

The public broadcaster has already decided to cut viewing fees and expand the scope of fee exemptions by the end of fiscal 2020, in order to reduce viewers’ burdens by the equivalent of 6 pct of its fiscal 2018 fee revenue.[]

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Radio Waves: Sun Up-Close, Super NZ Public Broadcaster, One SDR, and ABC Emergency Broadcasting

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 Evans, Troy Riedel, Michael Bird, and Marty for the following tips:

Sun’s surface seen in remarkable new detail (BBC News)

Source: Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope

Behold the Sun’s convulsing surface at a level of detail never seen before.

The Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope on Hawaii has released pictures that show features as small as 30km across.

This is remarkable when set against the scale of our star, which has a diameter of about 1.4 million km (870,000 miles) and is 149 million km from Earth.

The cell-like structures are roughly the size of the US state of Texas. They are convecting masses of hot, excited gas, or plasma.

The bright centres are where this solar material is rising; the surrounding dark lanes are where plasma is cooling and sinking.[]

The New Zealand Cabinet plans to create a new, super-sized public broadcaster (Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union)

It is understood the NZ cabinet has signed off on a high-level decision to proceed and to commission a business case, after the Minister for Broadcasting, Kris Faafoi, presented a revised paper on Monday.

There was pushback from some senior Labour and New Zealand First ministers about the way the preferred option was landed on, the implications for public broadcasting if RNZ ceased to be a standalone company, and the speed at which it had been progressing.

The plan was to work towards having the new media company in place by about 2023 and that appears to still be the goal.

RNZ was told the amended proposal puts a specific emphasis on the fact the new company will be primarily a public service media outlet, and to ensure that is made crystal clear in any legislation, and through a charter.[]

One SDR: A new website focusing on the basics of software defined radio

Good morning. I have been following SWLing over the years and it’s an amazing resource.

I’m writing from https://onesdr.com which is an Education website with articles that simplify Software-defined Radio. I write about practical aspects of SDR including associated components such as Low Noise Amplifiers, Filters, Bias Tees, etc. My goal is to demystify RF technology and make it more accessible to the growing community of SDR enthusiasts.

As well I have been contributing to several RF-related Wikipedia pages* to popularize RF and Wireless in general.

Interim Report of Survey of ABC Emergency Broadcasting in Bushfire Affected Communities (ABC Friends)

95% of respondents to ABC Friends’ Survey of ABC emergency broadcasting in bushfire affected communities believe there is a need for a national plan of additional essential communications infrastructure.

This devastating bushfire season attests to the ABC’s position as Australia’s pre-eminent emergency broadcaster. The number of ABC emergency broadcasts has risen from 256 in 2017-2018 to 371 in 2018-2019 to 673 to date this year (4 Jan). The ABC’s emergency broadcasts continue in the face of ongoing funding cuts and with no additional funding to cover the resources which have been poured into the effort.

On 3 January, via Facebook, ABC Friends National asked for feedback about the ABC’s emergency broadcasts from those affected by the bushfires. Whilst highly praised, there were reports that access to ABC broadcasts was sometimes a problem.

ABC Friends subsequent media release made an urgent call for the Federal Government to restore funding that guarantees infrastructure and transmission that is vital for emergency services broadcasting. It also advised of the launch of a survey (see appendix 1) to obtain more formal feedback about access to emergency broadcasts. This survey was delivered on 13 January via Facebook and via email through our membership and supporter base.

750 people responded to the survey.

91.1% of those surveyed said that the ABC local emergency broadcasts were important to them during the crisis.

96.1% of those surveyed said that ABC staff with local knowledge was important to them.

98.5% of those surveyed said that it was important to them that their local ABC outlet remain open and well-staffed.[]


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Community radio stations help inform those affected by fires in Australia

(Source Radio.info via Michael Bird)

Nearly 80 community radio stations are broadcasting in fire affected areas of Australia.

With around 450 stations in the sector, community broadcasters are represented in most larger towns in Australia. Many of them are staffed by small handfuls of volunteers who keep the station on air in normal circumstances, but during the current bush fire situation, many of those stations are facing severe pressure on their people and resources.

The Community Broadcasting Association (CBAA) has been in contact with many of the stations in affected areas and tells radioinfo that, thankfully, most don’t have a lot of damage to their property or equipment, but they are struggling with exhaustion and reduced volunteers to broadcast live shows from the stations.

Many community stations are located in protected areas at the centre of their town and often have their transmitters atop their building, so the infrastructure threat has not been as serious as might be expected. However the cost to people has been high.[…]

Click here to continue reading the full article at Radio.info.

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RadioInfo: “Fires hit ABC Radio’s Batemans Bay transmitter”

Photo by Benjamin Lizardo

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Michael Bird, who shares the following story from RadioInfo.com.au:

In an example of radio industry cooperation during adversity, commercial network Grant Broadcasters is working with the ABC on the South Coast of NSW to keep transmissions on air during the fires in that area.

As fires raged through the area last week, the ABC’s Mt Wandera transmission site at Bateman’s Bay was disabled by flames (see pictures below) and is expected to take some time to repair.

The ABC, through its transmission provider Broadcast Australia (recently renamed BAI Communications) asked if it could share Grant Broadcasters’ nearby transmission mast and infrastructure, and has now combined its transmissions onto the Grant Broadcasters antenna.

Local radio services, including ABC South Coast, are now back on air, but operating at reduced power. The ABC’s television transmitter on the site is also off air.

BAI has also established additional temporary low power facilities at Batemans Hill for ABC Local Radio (operating on 101.9 MHz) and ABC television (operating on Channel 41).  As this facility operates from a lower altitude and at lower power than those at Mt Wandera, its coverage will be largely limited within the town of Batemans Bay.

On the South Coast, the Grant Broadcasters stations 2EC and Power FM  had “no issues with transmission coverage” and have so far remained on full power. Diesel generators have 4-5 days capacity and are being refuelled continuously.

[…]Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has commended media and transmission providers for their efforts to keep services operating:

“I commend the network operators’ efforts in responding, which has included deploying temporary facilities to restore communications services for impacted communities, particularly those that are isolated. Many of the outages are due to power supplies being cut off, and in some cases are the direct impact of fire on network infrastructure. The current fire situations across Australia have made access difficult and unsafe at some sites to assess and restore services…

“In many cases, a portable transistor radio with a spare set of batteries is a vital way to receive emergency information, in the event there is a loss of mains power or mobile coverage.

“The ABC and other local radio stations are doing an excellent job transmitting vital emergency information to Australian communities. Telstra and Optus are offering targeted relief packages in affected regions in NSW and Victoria, including free use of payphones, call diversions from affected lines and other financial assistance.”[…]

Read the full article and view photos at RadioInfo.com.au.

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A new sunspot emerges, breaking 40 day spotless streak

(Source: Spaceweather.com via Michael Bird)

A SUNSPOT FROM THE NEXT SOLAR CYCLE: Breaking a string of 40 spotless days, a new sunspot is emerging in the sun’s southern hemisphere. It comes from the next solar cycle. The unnumbered spot is inset in this map of solar magnetic fields from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:

How do we know this is a new-cycle sunspot? Its magnetic polarity tells us so. Southern sunspots from old Solar Cycle 24 have a -/+ polarity. This sunspot is the opposite: +/-. According to Hale’s Law, sunspots switch polarities from one solar cycle to the next. This sunspot is therefore a member of new Solar Cycle 25.

Recently we reported that Solar Minimum has reached a century-class low. This sunspot, plus a few others like it earlier this year, affirm that Solar Minimum won’t last forever. Solar Cycle 25 is showing signs of life. Forecasters expect the next solar cycle to slowly gain strength in the years ahead and reach a peak in July 2025.

www.spaceweather.com

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