Tag Archives: Mike Terry

Radio Waves: Switzerland’s Move to Digital, Guyana Rejects USAGM’s Request, Ham Records China/US Encounter, and Farm Radio International Endorsement

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 Mike Terry, Dan Robinson, Ulis Fleming, and William Lee for the following tips:


Switzerland Inches Closer to FM Switch-Off (Radio World)

GENEVA — Switzerland is embarking on the next phase of its digital radio switchover strategy. In May René Wehrlin, media specialist at Switzerland’s Federal Office of Communications (Ofcom) announced the country’s next steps toward the country’s total transition to DAB+.

Ofcom officially confirmed in 2019 that the nation would say “adios” to all FM radio programs by the end of 2024 at the latest. At the time, the “Digital Migration” (DigiMig) working group, set up by the Swiss private and public radio sectors and Ofcom in 2013, stated that 68% of radio listening was digital, 37% of which was via DAB+ and 15% exclusively via FM.[]

Guyana refuses US’ request to facilitate radio broadcasts to Venezuela (Demerara Waves)

Guyana’s President David Granger late Friday said his administration rejected a request by the United States (US) to use the medium wave radio frequencies of this South American nation to broadcast Voice of America programmes to Venezuela.

Mr. Granger said Guyana turned down the request because of security, health and political risks that Guyana could expose itself to with Venezuela which is claiming the Essequibo Region that makes up about two-thirds of this former British colony.

“Given the length of an unpoliced western border, the influx of refugees, the unsettled territorial question and the public health risks, it would not be in our national interest to do anything to contribute to destabilising relations at this time,” the President said.

A US Embassy spokeswoman said the American government was no longer interested in the project. ” The U.S Agency for Global Media is not actively considering this anymore. It is important that the people of Venezuela have access to uncensored news from credible Venezuelan and international journalistic news sources. Guyana has shown leadership in the past, in defense of representative government by joining other Lima Group members from the Americas to strive for a democratic resolution to the crisis in Venezuela,” she said.[]

Close encounter between US-China militaries captured by radio amateur (South China Morning Post)

The Chinese navy has warned off a US military plane that briefly flew close to the southern coast of China, north of the Taiwan Strait, according to a Beijing-based think tank.

In a 34-second scratchy radio recording released by the South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative (SCSPI), a think tank based in Beijing, a man – purported to be a Chinese naval official – can be heard saying in English: “This is China Naval Air Force on guard, you are approaching Chinese air domain, change your course immediately or you will be intercepted.”
He then repeated the warning in Mandarin Chinese.

The institute said on its Twitter account that the recording was captured on Thursday morning by a radio amateur. It remains unclear which aircraft was involved, or if there was any face-off in the air.[]

Charity Intelligence recommends Farm Radio International (Charity Intelligence)

Charity Intelligence is recommending donors support Farm Radio International for the coronavirus pandemic. Farm Radio has a network of over 1,000 radio programs reaching more than 250 million people in 41 countries across Africa.

To donate to Farm Radio’s covid-response

Communication is critical in the early stages of a disease outbreak to give people information. Rumours swirl that Africans cannot get coronavirus. Tanzania’s president, Magufuli, said churches should stay open because the coronavirus is “satanic” and “cannot survive in the body of Christ.” As all have witnessed, fake news has harmful consequences with the quick coronavirus.

Farm Radio International is a Canadian, medium-sized charity with donations of $3.9m in 2018. Typically, a charity of this size would not be front of mind in a global response. Yet Farm Radio has the existing platform and local operations to play an effective role reaching millions quickly in a coronavirus response. Early communication is an urgent need. []


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Radio Waves: Sealand’s Caretakers, BitCoin & Ham Radio, CW Training, and 50 Years Ago Casey Kasem Started AT 40

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 Tony, Mike Terry,  and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


Sealand’s caretakers (Boing Boing)

Sealand is an unrecognized micronation off the coast of England, established in the 1960s and issuer of stamps, passports and occasional offshore business shenanigans (“BECOME A LORD“). But Sealand is also a rotting sea fortress in need of constant maintenance. Atlas Obscura met the two caretakers who spend two weeks at a time doing what they can to keep the statelet running smoothly. Dylan Taylor-Lehman’s feature article is a great introduction to the place, if you’re not familiar with it or its wild history.[]

How Bitcoin Is Like Ham Radio (Coindesk.com)

Understanding bitcoin is difficult. And so we cast around for the perfect metaphor. Bitcoin is email. Digital gold. eCash.

Here’s a new one. Bitcoin is ham radio.

Bitcoin is old-fangled. It takes days to download the Bitcoin blockchain, just like it took forever to download software back in 1994. In an age of instant email and real-time Zelle payments, a bitcoin transfer takes 60 minutes to safely settle. It’s more volatile than gold, a relic of our previous monetary system. Thousands of computers are constantly replicating each others’ work, making it vastly inefficient. And lastly, there’s no privacy. Like a medieval marketplace, everyone can see everybody’s holdings.

All of these features are anachronistic. But they do sum up to something unique. What exactly is that thing?

A ham radio allows its operator, otherwise known as an amateur radio operator, to use certain bands in the radio spectrum to communicate by voice or code. This is an old technology. Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi became the first ham radio operator in 1897 when he transmitted Morse code across Salisbury Plain in England.

It seems odd that something as archaic as ham radio continues to exist in a world with email, Snapchat, iPhone and Facebook. A ham transmission can only be used over a couple of kilometers. No emojis. No video. No gifs. Forget about privacy! Anyone can listen into your radio conversation.

Yet, ham radio is a very active niche. Associations all over the world keep the hobby going. According to the American Radio Relay League, there are some 764,000 ham radio operators in the U.S. Japan has more than a million. The International Amateur Radio Union pegs the global number of amateur radio licensees at 3 million.

Like ham radio, Bitcoin is for hobbyists. I’m not talking here about all of the frenetic speculators who keep their coins at Coinbase. I’m talking about users who can run a full node, use Lightning, securely store their own coins and make frequent transactions with the stuff. This pool of bitcoiners is tiny. It’s probably smaller than the number of active licensed ham radio operators.[]

CW Training Program (Southgate ARC)

In this video Howard WB2UZE and John K2NY of the Long Island CW Club talk to David W0DHG about their CW training program

The club started in 2017 offers over 45 hours of CW classes EACH week, and has grown to over 600 members from all 50 states and 15 countries all over the world.

HRN423 Long Island CW Club

50 Years Ago, Casey Kasem Began Counting Down The Hits On American Top 40 (NPR)

On July 4, 1970, the countdown started. Originally hosted by Casey Kasem, American Top 40 played “the best selling and most-played songs from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico,” as he stated on the first program broadcast 50 years ago as of tomorrow.

On any given week, American Top 40 could feature a ballad, next to a country song, next to a funk song, next to a rock song. The show became a national obsession but 50 years ago, it was considered a risky idea.

“You remember, at the end of the ’60s, Top 40 was not the most popular format,” Casey Kasem told NPR in 1982. “And here we were coming along with a show called American Top 40, and people said, ‘You must be nuts!’ “[]


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Radio Waves: Tallest Structure in Italy, Suggestion to Save AM, Online Radio Exams in Australia, and a Letter From Friends of ABC

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, Mike Terry, and Michael Bird for the following tips:


The tallest structure in Italy is a remote radio transmitter in Sicily. (Atlas Obscura)

WHEN TALKING ABOUT THE TALLEST structures in the world, one often thinks of skyscrapers above modern cities, but radio transmitters in remote locations also reach dizzying heights.

Italy is famous for its many architectural marvels built over the millennia, but its tallest building (a sleek, modern structure in Milan) is only 758 feet tall. The title of the tallest overall structure goes to a radio transmitter on the Sant’Anna hill near the town of Caltanissetta, in Sicily. (In between the two are a number of transmitters and power plant chimneys.) This antenna has a height of 938 feet, and was built by the national public broadcasting company, RAI, between 1949 and 1951. At the time it was also the tallest structure in all of Europe, until 1965 when a transmitting station in the United Kingdom was inaugurated.[]

Here’s a suggestion for how to save AM radio (Los Angeles Daily News)

Last week, I wrote a little about streaming audio and how, with the use of smart speakers, smartphones, and plain old computer streaming, the possibility of internet radio essentially replacing traditional broadcast radio.

This week I want to travel to both the past and one of broadcast radio’s possible futures, spurred on by the ideas presented last week, my absolutely illogical love of AM radio, and a letter to the editor that I read online at radioworld.com.

AM radio broadcasting is almost a century old in the United States – numerous stations in Los Angeles, including KHJ (930 AM), KFI (640 AM) and KNX (1070 AM) will celebrate 100 years of broadcasting in two years. That’s an impressive feat, especially considering the technology is essentially the same as it was in 1922.

As I mentioned last week, digital HD Radio, considered for a time as the savior of both AM — due to higher fidelity — and FM — due to potential higher fidelity and extra stations — just hasn’t made the impact many had hoped. For various reasons, many AM stations have turned off the HD signal, even while FMs continue to use it, and consumers don’t seem all that interested in either. But as I said last week, with smart speakers, what’s the point? And a related question comes up: is broadcast AM radio just a dead technology?

Christopher Boone thinks he has the answers. No, AM is not dead. But if you really want to improve it, bring back a technology that already “failed” … AM stereo.[]

Online remote exam sessions in Australia (Southgate ARC)

VEA (Volunteer Examiners Australia) is pleased to advise we are currently able to perform online remote exam sessions for both AMC and ARRL VE Examinations.

VEA has AMC Level 3 examiners that can conduct remote online examinations.

Also, the ARRL VEC has entrusted us by extension the FCC, to be examiners for FCC-issued license via remote online examinations, a volunteer examiner, must ensure the exam conducted fairly and that there is the same level of integrity as there would be for an in-person examination.

Candidates need to be aware there are conditions and eligibility in registering to do an ARRL online remote examination, e.g. living in a remote location, or the candidate is physically impaired to attend an exam session.

VEA does run bi-monthly AMC and ARRL VE exam sessions during the year,
so if you are interested, visit our website www.vea.org.au complete the online registration form.

VEA currently have AMC and ARRL VE examiners in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia.

VEA looks forward in supporting the ham radio community in providing this valuable service to both AMC and ARRL VEC.

73 from Peter VK3FN

Wireless Institute of Australia[]

An open letter to the Prime Minister from ABC Friends and supporters (ABC Friends)

Posted in Latest news from ABC Friends on 28 June 2020

ABC Friends have written an open letter to the Prime Minister in the wake of the recent staff and funding cuts.

Dear Mr Morrison,

I write on behalf of many angry Australians who want to know why your government continues to undermine Australian public broadcasting with ongoing funding cutbacks at the same time as the commercial media sector is favoured.

Your recent statement that “there have been no cuts to the ABC” sadly reminds us of Tony Abbott’s similar bold election promise in 2013, yet this was followed by major cutbacks in his first Budget as Prime Minister. Clearly in our current media environment there are facts and ‘alternative’ facts, it all depends on the presenter and the audience.

Many of us are more inclined to rely on information from your ABC Board Chair, Ita Buttrose, who said in her 2019 Forward to the Annual Report – “our task has been made harder by the imposition of the three year indexation freeze which comes on top of a $50 million a year cut now embedded in our base.”

We see the recently announced Five Year Plan as a brave attempt by the Managing Director, David Anderson, to live within your governments funding allocation, but obviously further staff cuts and downgrading of ABC services and programs is an inevitable outcome of reduced funding.

We all appreciate that governments rely on a degree of political spin to make their decisions seem more palatable, but do you seriously expect the community to believe that an ABC Managing Director would deliberately retrench so many staff and downgrade services and programmes if the ABC Budget was adequate?

We expected more of your leadership because you have a responsibility to act on our behalf, as ABC shareholders to enable the ABC to fulfil parliamentary approved obligations under its Charter. The Federal Government acts as caretaker of all our national institutions and in this regard the ABC ranks highly with the Parliament and the High Court in protecting the interests of all Australians.

Chair of the ABC Board, Ita Buttrose has consistently tried to work with you and your Communications Minister, Paul Fletcher, to get a realistic re-assessment of the ABC Budget to meet the demands of a changing media environment and national emergencies. Yet these genuine efforts by both Board and Management have been repeatedly ignored. Furthermore, there has been a quite calculated misrepresentation of budgetary analysis since 2014 assuming that official promotion of fake news will provide an effective distraction from the reality of past and current government decision making, which has resulted in an ongoing 10% budget reduction.

Over the past six years the ABC has been the target of funding cuts, various enquiries, political attack and even a police raid. You can not be surprised that Australians are outraged about the latest announcement this week which will culminate in further job losses, valued services and Australian content. You regularly advocate protection of jobs and your COVID-19 employment protection initiatives are admirable. Yet successive Coalition administrations have caused the loss of 1250 ABC professional staff.

Can you explain to us why you are so determined to downgrade the ABC, which is a valued national treasure supported by over 80% of Australians? We understand that you are regularly lobbied by the Murdoch American News Empire and other commercial media interests, which are ideologically opposed to public broadcasting. Furthermore, we know that some members of your cabinet are members of the Institute of Public Affairs, which advocates privatisation of the ABC. However, ABC Friends would respectfully remind you that, as Prime Minister, your first loyalty is to the Australian people and our public institutions.

As a national organisation we have been overwhelmed by expressions of public concern about the way the ABC is being treated. So many comments express ongoing frustration that many of our elected representatives seem incapable of recognising the ABC as an essential public service on which Australians depend. We have received hundreds of letters and comments which we will be collating for public release, but here is just one example to offer you some insight into how Australians feel about the continued assault on the ABC.

“I am shocked, then saddened, then disgusted, then outraged by the governments attack on the ABC. The Federal Government should be creating jobs instead of destroying high quality ‘clever country’ jobs. Prime Minister Morrison led a government that was unique in bringing together differing interests across Australia to benefit the nation and lead us out of disaster. But now? The attack on the ABC is a fundamental attack by the Morrison Government on its claim to govern in the national interest.”

We urge you to reconsider your government’s responsibilities to the ABC by conducting immediate meaningful negotiations with the Ms Buttrose and Mr Anderson to plan a way forward to restore ABC funding. This discussion should include a commitment in the October Budget to recognise ABC staff and services as essential in post COVID-19 planning .

We look forward to a fresh approach to public broadcasting policy and can assure you such commitment will be very much welcomed by the Australian public.

Yours sincerely,

Margaret Reynolds
National President
ABC Friends

P.O.Box 3620
Manuka ACT 2603[]


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Grimeton Radio / SAQ Transmission on Sunday, July 5, 2020

(Source: SAQ via Mike Terry)

The annual transmission on Alexanderson Day with the Alexanderson Alternator on VLF 17.2 kHz with the call sign SAQ will take place Sunday, July 5th, 2020.

Two transmissions are scheduled as follows:

Startup and tuning at 10:30 (08:30 UTC) with a transmission of a message at 11:00 (09:00 UTC).

Startup and tuning at 13:30 (11:30 UTC) with a transmission of a message at 14:00 (12:00 UTC)

Watch both transmission events live on our YouTube Channel.

QSL-reports to SAQ (please no E-mails) are kindly received via:

  • Reception report form
  • or via: SM bureau
  • or direct by postal mail to:

Alexander Association
Radiostationen
Grimeton 72
SE-432 98 GRIMETON
S W E D E N

The Amateur Radio Station with the call “SK6SAQ” will be QRV on the following frequencies:

  • 7.035 kHz CW or
  • 14.035 kHz CW or
  • 3.755 kHz SSB

QSL-reports to SK6SAQ are kindly received via:

  • Email to info@alexander.n.se
  • or via: SM bureau
  • or direct by postal mail (see address above)

Two stations will be on the air most of the time.

Due to the Corona pandemic, there will be no visitors to the radio station and there will be no visitor activities. Instead you can watch both transmission events live on our YouTube Channel. The association will try to carry out the two broadcasts to the world from the old Alexanderson alternator SAQ with minimal staffing in place.

World Heritage Grimeton Radio station and The Alexander Association

For further details, se grimeton.org or alexander.n.se

Alexanderson Day 2020

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Radio Waves: Free Magazine from URE, C-19 Effect on Listening, Ampegon Focuses on Transmitters, and EU Directive for Car Digital Radio

(Source: Ampegon)

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 Mike, Paul Evans,  Josh Shepperd, and Mike Terry for the following tips:


Spain’s URE makes June magazine PDF available (Southgate ARC)

In response to the ongoing Coronvirus situation Spain’s national amateur radio society URE is allowing everyone to download the PDF of the June edition of their magazine Radioaficionados

A translation of the announcement on the URE site says:

One more month, and we have already been three, with the aim of accompanying its readers in the exceptional situation caused by the spread of COVID-19, the URE in its commitment to collaborate and help to cope with the complicated situation we are currently experiencing in our country, has decided to offer free access to the magazine of the month of June and we remind you that magazines prior to December 2019 are also available to you. In this way, citizens who wish to can read these publications for free.

A small gesture so that nobody feels alone at home in the face of this global challenge.

Access is through the website download area, click on “Descargas” under “Junio 2020 – Revista” at:
https://www.ure.es/descargas/

URE in Google English
https://tinyurl.com/SpainURE

Ampegon Puts Focus on Shortwave Transmitters (Radio World)

Ampegon Power Electronics highlights progress on the company’s third-generation solid-state shortwave transmitters, which it says will offer “significant advances in efficiency.”

The company says this work will pave the way toward higher-power broadcast outputs and meet current expectations of a shortwave equivalent to medium-wave and FM transmitters. “Combined, these two developments will bring FM-quality broadcasts with all the benefits of shortwave,” said Simon Keens, Ampegon sales and business development manager.

Ampegon has also developed a retrofit upgrade to current UCS generation control systems for previous generation 100 kW, 250 kW, 300 kW and 500 kW transmitter systems.[]

Listening together, listening alone: A music professor sounds off on his shifting industries (CBC)

Brian Fauteux reflects on the way COVID-19 is affecting his two passions: music and teaching

A lot of great songs effectively reflect the feelings that accompany isolation. The experience of being alone, however, is often constructed in opposition to a longing for togetherness. Heart’s “Alone” (1987) — maybe the greatest power ballad ever recorded — confidently asserts, “‘Til now I always got by on my own.” But this is no longer the case when the song’s protagonist meets and develops undeniable feelings for another: “And now it chills me to the bone.” In another iconic 80s anthem, “Dancing in the Dark,” Springsteen grows tired and bored with himself against the desperate urge to join up with “something happening somewhere.” The act of dancing in the dark can be fun, sure, but it’s much more fun with others. Inspiration in isolation is insubstantial.

I’m an Assistant Professor of Popular Music and Media Studies, and I teach and write about the role of music in society. I’m interested in how our listening practices shape, and are shaped by, issues of sustainability in the music industries — that is, how artists make (or struggle to make) a living in this day and age.[]

EU directive on digital radio in cars (Times of Malta)

Directive (EU) 2018/1972 of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 11, 2018, establishing the European Electronic Communications Code (‘EECC’) entered into force on December 20, 2018. Member states have two years to incorporate it into national law, except where specifically mentioned.

Radio is an important medium through which citizens access a diverse range of information news and entertainment services. The EECC leverages on the ever-increasing connectivity of new generation cars as well as on the digital platforms of radio broadcasters to guarantee a more robust radio experience to all drivers, ensuring good coverage, a wider choice of radio stations and more effective access to information at all times. The EECC ensures that car drivers have access to the benefits of digital terrestrial radio wherever in the EU they have bought their new car.

On April 21, the minister responsible for communications, in consultation with the Malta Communications Authority, published Legal Notice 151 of 2020 amending the Electronic Communications Network and Services (General) Regulations, implementing the provision of the EECC dealing with the interoperability of car radio devices. In line with the regulation, any car radio receiver integrated in a new vehicle of category M which is made available on the market for sale or rent in Malta from December 21, 2020, shall comprise a receiver capable of receiving and reproducing at least radio services provided by digital terrestrial radio broadcasting of type DAB+. Radio programmes in Malta are broadcast terrestrially on DAB+.

The car radio requirement only applies to new cars.[]


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Radio Waves: Radio Garden, BBC Budget, Legacy of Ronan O’Rahilly, and ARISS to Begin Experimental Demonstrations

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 Dennis Dura, Mike Terry and the International Radio Report for the following tips:


A trip around the world through local radio stations (The Guardian)

Streaming means we can tune into breakfast shows, travel bulletins and local gossip on every continent – and revel in radio’s ability to create a sense of community

I’d missed the joke about the three-legged chicken. It was causing a stir.

“That one about the chicken with three legs you told yesterday,” said a presenter on Ireland’s Midwest Radio’s afternoon show, “apparently Ronald Reagan told it first.”

“Did he, now?” the co-host replied.

“Yes. You stole a joke from Ronald Reagan.”

Jeez, I’m going as red as a tomato here.”

The conjunction of tripedal fowl, the 40th president of the United States and two men in a studio in Ballyhaunis, County Mayo, will never make a list of great radio moments but it was enough to coax me from between my four walls, even if it was via the imagination.

Radio has never been more popular: it’s seen off challenges, from television to the internet, to become stronger than ever. In 2017, according to industry ratings body Rajar, nine out of 10 people in the UK listened to the radio every week. Perhaps it succeeds because we have to conjure up our own pictures of events and places beyond our immediate surroundings. As a bored, lonely boy growing up in an anonymous south-east London suburb, I’d spend most evenings in my bedroom jamming a coathanger into the back of an old radio and scanning the airwaves, awestruck by the range of languages and music bursting out of the night through skirling static; each voice sending tantalising reassurance of a world beyond the dispiriting confines of my own.[]

Coronavirus: BBC ‘needs to make £125m savings this year’ (BBC News)

The BBC has said it will have to “think hard about every pound” it spends on new programmes because of financial pressures during the current lockdown.

Delays to a new licence fee regime for people over 75 and problems collecting fees are among the challenges cited.

Staff have been told the BBC will have to find £125m savings this year.

Senior leaders will take a pay freeze until August 2021 and all non-essential recruitment will be put on hold as part of the cost-cutting measures.

Staff will also be invited to work part time or take unpaid leave if they find it “helpful” during the lockdown.

In a briefing on Wednesday, director general Tony Hall said other reasons behind the cash shortfall were a delay to a plan to cut 450 jobs, and uncertainty around commercial revenues.

Other broadcasters have been badly hit during the crisis, with ITV last month cutting its programme budget by £100m and Channel 4 cutting £150m from its programming.

On Wednesday, Channel 4’s director of programmes Ian Katz said the broadcaster would have to cut back on drama and produce “lower tariff” shows.[]

The Irish Legacy of Ronan O’Rahilly and Radio Caroline (The Irish Broadcasting Hall of Fame)

With the passing of Ronan O’Rahilly in April 2020, a colossus of radio broadcasting has left a legacy that will stand the test of time and has made a massive impression on radio broadcasting in Ireland. While his beloved Radio Caroline was a familiar sight off the South East of England, its influence on both radio and music in 1960’s Britain cannot be underestimated. It forced the British Government to enact new legislation outlawing the almost a dozen pirate radio ships that blasted pop music into Britain and it forced the BBC to reorganise and compete with the opening of a dedicated pop channel in 1967, BBC Radio One. In the month when Ronan passed onto the afterlife, both BBC Radio One and Radio Caroline still broadcast today. But while Caroline’s history focusses mainly on its influence on Britain, Ireland has played a key role in that colourful history and this is that story.

At the helm of Radio Caroline was Ronan O’Rahilly. He was born in Clondalkin, Dublin in 1940, his father Aodogan was a well-known and wealthy businessman, regarded as an influential ally of Eamon DeValera, while his grandfather Michael O’Rahilly was better known as The O’Rahilly, sacrificed his life during the 1916 Easter Rising having been shot dead while leading a charge on a British position at the end of Moore Street.[]

During the COVID-19 Pandemic, ARISS to Begin Experimental Demonstrations of School Contacts using a Multipoint Telebridge Amateur Radio Approach (ARISS)

ARISS News Release                                                                             No. 20-03          
April 28, 2020 —Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is pleased to announce the first use of a concept called Multipoint Telebridge Contact via Amateur Radio, allowing school contacts for Stay-At-Home students and simultaneous reception by families, school faculty and the public.

During the last several weeks, efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus have resulted in massive school closures worldwide. In addition, the Stay-At-Home policies invoked by authorities, initially shut down opportunities for ARISS school contacts for the near future.

To circumvent these challenges and keep students and the public safe, ARISS is introducing the Multipoint Telebridge Contact via Amateur Radio concept. First operation of this experimental system will occur during a contact scheduled with a group of Northern Virginia Students located in Woodbridge, VA on Thursday, April 30 at 13:35 UTC (9:35 EDT). During this event, an ARISS telebridge radio ground station will link to the astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) ham radio station and each Stay-At-Home student and their teacher will be individually linked to the telebridge station. Under the teacher’s direction, each student, from their home, takes a turn asking their question of the astronaut.

Quoting ARISS Chair Frank Bauer, “This approach is a huge pivot for ARISS, but we feel it is a great strategic move for ARISS. In these times of isolation due to the virus, these ARISS connections provide a fantastic psychological boost to students, families, educators and the public. And they continue our long-standing efforts to inspire, engage and educate student in STEAM subjects and encourage them to pursue STEAM careers.”

ARISS is inviting the public to view a live stream of the upcoming contact at its new ARISS YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/Cu8I9ose4Vo.

During the contact, participants will ask as many of the following questions as time allows:
1. What does the sun look like from outer space?
2. How comfortable is it to sleep in space?
3. What is one thing you want to eat when you get back to earth?
4. I’ve heard that stars are red, yellow and blue. Can you see those colors in space when you look at the stars?
5. Besides your family, what do you miss most while being in space?
6. What are your thoughts on our Covid-19 situation right now? Does the Earth look differently over the last 3 months now that many people are inside and not creating pollution?
7. How often do you get to go out of the ISS? Have you been on any space walks?
8. Who makes the rocket that takes you to the ISS?
9. What does it feel like to float all the time?
10. Do you use flashlights on space walks?
11. How do you exercise in space?
12. How do you get out for space walks safely without the air from the ISS coming out into space? How does it feel to walk in space?
13. What do you wear in the space station?
14. How did it feel when you first got to space?
15. How is space different from Earth?
16. What do you study in school to become an astronaut?
17. What do you like the most about being in space?
18. Were you nervous when you launched into space?
19. How do you communicate with loved ones while you are in space?


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Radio Waves: WBCN, Reactions to AM Digital, More KPH, and Cereal Box Telescopes

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, Mike Terry, Troy Riedel, andGrant Porter for the following tips:


WBCN history reveals revolutionary power in local radio (Boston University News Service)

SOMERVILLE – What started as a midnight to 6 a.m. slot on a failing classical music station, became the voice of a generation in 1970s Boston. Now, more than 50 years after WBCN sparked a “revolutionary new experiment in radio,” the bygone rock station is still making waves.

The 2018 documentary, “WBCN and The American Revolution,” tells the origin story of Boston’s first rock and roll station through a combination of rock hits. Never-before-seen photos, videos and interviews with some of Boston’s most beloved radio hosts, were greeted with cheers at the Somerville Theatre screening Thursday night.

Bill Lichtenstein, who began volunteering with WBCN at 14, directed and produced the film. After crowdfunding and a decade in the making, it has been touring independent theaters and festivals across the U.S. for the last year and a half.

WBCN was grounded in good music. Founded by Ray Riepen, owner of South End music venue The Boston Tea Party, WBCN introduced voices like The Velvet Underground, The Who, Bruce Springsteen and Led Zeppelin to the city, and quickly found a home in Boston’s huge student population. Within three months, the station, run by amateur hosts and young volunteers during classroom breaks, was playing 24 hours per day.[…]


“It Will Make Millions of Receivers Obsolete … This Is Needless” (Radio World)

What people are saying to the FCC about all-digital on the AM band

Radio World is providing an ongoing sampler of comments of what people are telling the FCC about its proposal to allow U.S. stations on the AM band to switch voluntarily to all-digital transmission. Here are more in the series:

Kirk Mazurek told the FCC that he is an avid AM listener who has “invested time and money in equipment towards my hobby as many others have. If this proposal goes through it will make the millions of receivers obsolete requiring the purchase of new equipment. This is needless, there are a lot of people who have vintage radios and a lot of them have been restored. This proposal would make them useless. I urge you not to ratify this proposal.”

Mark Wells raised concern about interference from digital to analog signals on the same channel. “This is especially applicable at night when one is listening to distant stations in out-of-state markets, he wrote. “For example, clear channel stations WBT in Charlotte and KFAB in Omaha are both on both on 1110 kHz. Let’s say one switches to digital, and one does not. As it is they both may fade in and out as the atmosphere does its nightly tricks, but the signals remain mostly useable. But, if one is digital and the other analog would it not ‘blank out’ the analog station?”[…]


Podcast features Coastal Radio Station KPH (DitDit.fm)

There was a time when the airways bristled with Morse Code. There were commercial radio stations all around the world whose business was sending and receiving Morse Code messages to ships at sea. Coast station KPH, located at Point Reyes National Seashore near San Francisco, is one of those stations. Richard Dillman was there in 1997 when KPH sent it’s last message and closed it’s doors. It was the end of the line for the men and women who had spent their careers sending Morse Code to ships at sea. There was nowhere else for them to go…

Two years later, Richard Dillman with a group of volunteers returned to KPH and put it back on the air. Listen as Richard tells us about the future of Maritime Morse Code Coastal Station KPH!


A hydrogen line telescope made from cereal boxes and an RTL-SDR (RTL-SDR.com)

SpaceAustralia.com have recently been hosting a community science project that involves encouraging teams to build backyard radio telescopes that can detect the arms of our Milky Way Galaxy by receiving the Hydrogen line frequency of 1420 MHz.

This can be achieved at home by building a horn antenna out of cardboard and aluminum foil, and a feed from a tin can. Then the Hydrogen line and galactic plane can be detected by using an RTL-SDR, LNA, and software capable of averaging an FFT spectrum over a long period of time.

While most horn antennas are typically made from four walls, one participant, Vanessa Chapman, has shown that even trash can be used to observe the galaxy. Vanessa’s horn antenna is made from multiple cereal boxes lined with aluminum foil and an old tin fuel can. The boxes are held together by some string and propped up by some sticks.

With her cereal box horn antenna combined with an RTL-SDR Blog V3, and an RTL-SDR Blog Wideband LNA, Vanessa was able to use software to average the spectrum over time as the galactic plane passed overhead, revealing the Hydrogen line peak and corresponding doppler shift from the galactic plane.[…]


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