I agree with Kim. Even though, of course, I’m committed to the idea that radios bring access to information in parts of the world that need it the most, USAID obviously did no research prior to purchasing the Kchibo KK-9803 for humanitarian use.
No doubt, the Kchibo KK-9803 is one of the poorest performing radios I’ve ever reviewed (click here to read the full review). Though I fully support the concept of what USAID is doing, almost any other receiver would have been a better choice.
At ETOW, we work on a very modest budget–indeed a micro budget by USAID standards–but we would rather invest in better equipment, even if it means sending a smaller quantity to the field. Since so many resources are used just to deliver equipment to remote areas, one hates to waste those resources on equipment that may not perform the intended task or suffer from poor longevity.
My hope is that someone at USAID will read this and, at least, consult us prior to future distributions. An efficient analog portable (even the TECSUN R-911, for example) would be a much better choice.
Last week, I received a tip from SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson: Radio Biafra, a new clandestine station, was audible on 15,560 kHz via the Universite Twente Web SDR.
Despite miserable propagation conditions, I tuned my receiver to 15,560 kHz and was surprised to hear a weak signal from Radio Biafra, here in North Carolina. I recorded a few minutes before conditions changed and Biafra’s signal began to fade.
This was the first time I had logged Radio Biafra, so I was amazed to have copy clear enough to understand.
Radio Biafra also known as Voice of Biafra, is a radio station that was originally founded by the government of the Republic of Biafra but is currently operated by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. Believed to have had its first transmission before the Nigeria-Biafra war, the radio station was instrumental in the broadcast of speeches and propaganda by Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu to the people of the Republic of Biafra.
[…]Radio Biafra currently transmits via the internet and shortwave broadcast targeted majorly around Eastern Nigeria. Radio Biafra claims to be broadcasting the ideology of Biafra –”Freedom of the Biafra people”.
[…]Radio Biafra has been met with mixed reactions. While some critics have criticized the station for “inciting war” through its programmes and “preaching hate messages” against Nigeria which it refers to as a “zoo”, an editor for Sahara Reporters wrote in defence of the radio station after he compared Radio Biafra with the British Broadcasting Corporation Hausa service.
On 14 July 2015, it was reported in the media that the radio station had been jammed because it did not have a broadcast license from the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission. However, the radio station in a swift reaction labelled such claims as “lies” and went on to release its new frequency details to the public.
Residents of Nigeria’s north-east have lived in isolation for two years. Terrorists frequently target phone lines in order to cut off communication. Traders avoid the region. Journalists live under threat.
But a new radio programme is now bringing important information to three states – Borno, Adamawa and Yobe – which have been under a state of emergency since May 2013 and turned by the army into a battleground against Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram.
[…]Most radio stations in north-eastern Nigeria are government-owned and broadcast in Hausa or English. For the tens of thousands of Kanuri-speaking people, there is no independent source of information, only state-sanctioned news and Boko Haram propaganda.
“Boko Haram controls people by inducing fear. Without alternatives, people are very much under the influence of Boko Haram’s propaganda,” says Wada. “Through Dandal Kura, we try to work against the propaganda by giving listeners objective information.”
Dandal Kura, which means “the big hall” in Kanuri, was initially set up in January as a three-month pilot project funded by United States development agency USAID. Since April, the programme is managed and run by Freedom Radio, a private broadcaster based in Kano.
[…]What is special about Dandal Kura is not only the language. The programme is transmitted by shortwave, on 9940 kHz, instead of the commonly used FM frequency band.
Shortwave is especially important in rural areas across Africa where FM waves hardly reach, but shortwave radios are easily available for an affordable price. In northern Nigeria they can be bought at any marketplace for about 600 Naira (3 dollars).
There is another key advantage: The shortwave transmission system is located hundreds of kilometres away – on the Atlantic island of Ascension – which means it cannot be destroyed by Boko Haram.
An FM transmitter, in contrast, would have to be installed on the ground in northern Nigeria.
“If we had set up FM transmitters, there would have been a high chance that Boko Haram would take them out,” says Smith, who has experience in setting up radio stations in African conflict zones, including Somalia and Central African Republic.