Tag Archives: Radio History

Radio Waves: Radio Bulgaria Online, Small Town Station is Backbone of Community, 1949 Radio Contact, and BBC World Service Performance Review

Photo by Flickt user Shirokazan via Wikimedia Commons.

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!


Hear the voice of Bulgaria – in 9 languages from Radio Bulgaria (Radio Bulgaria)

On the website of the Bulgarian National Radio – www.bnr.bg you can now listen to the new podcast of Radio Bulgaria, “Bulgaria Today” in English, German, French, Spanish, Russian, Serbian, Greek, Albanian and Turkish.

BNR has resumed its programmes in foreign languages after a 5-year pause. The change coincides with the 85th anniversary of the first foreign-language broadcasts for foreign audiences celebrated by Radio Bulgaria in 2021. Continue reading

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Sam found where genealogy and radio meet

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Sam Alcom (KB3DFJ), who shares the following guest post:


Genealogy and radio meet

by Sam Alcom (KB3DFJ)

Who knew two of my hobbies – genealogy and radio – would joyfully collide in such an unexpected way?

My grandfather died in the 1950s when I was just a few months old, so I didn’t know him, let alone have some misty recollection of him. Seemingly, our only connection was the DNA bloodline though my father.

But as I dove into my family’s history, one web search led me to William H. Alcorn and 3ADJ. What the heck was 3ADJ? I dug deeper and found Amateur Radio Stations of the United States, U.S. Department of Commerce, Radio Division from June 30, 1924. Both of us were hams!

He was licensed as amateur radio station 3ADJ in Port Norris, N.J. with authorization to operate up to 50 watts.

I found him and his 3ADJ callsign again listed in 1925 in the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Navigation, Radio Service publication. The “3” in his sign threw me for a brief loop, but I learned that in the early days of radio Southern New Jersey was part of the third call district along with Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, certain counties of Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

The worldradiohistory.com website, a goldmine for anyone delving into all aspects of broadcasting’s past, led me to more publications where I spied my grandfather in the late fall 1925 edition of Radio Listeners’ Guide and Call Book and the 1926 edition of Citizens’ Radio Call Book and Complete Radio Cyclopedia.

The last radio trace I find was in the June 30, 1927, edition of the Amateur Callbook.

It was around this time that the U.S.  began using “W” to start callsigns and I wondered if my grandfather continued with his radio hobby under the new designation. I looked up W2ADJ and found William Czak of West Brighton, N.Y., owning that sign. Likewise, W3ADJ belonged to the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. Both were from 1929.

I dug a little deeper to learn if he possibly had been an amateur prior to 1924, but I saw 3ADJ licensed to Horace Derby of Norfolk, VA., 1920 through 1923.

His amateur radio interest appears to have started sometime after 1921 and a stint in U.S. Navy as a Seaman Second Class and then seems to have waned – at least license-wise – as marriage and the first of my aunts, uncles and my dad were being born.  I wonder if my dad had known about his dad’s radio hobby. In all the years I’ve been a licensed ham and bono fide radio nerd, he never mentioned it.

Of course, learning on this radio connection to my grandfather raised a host of other questions. Did he enjoy CW as much as I do? What kind of contacts was he making with 50 watts? Would he have admired the WAS and DXCC award certificates hanging on my wall? Would my hefty binder of shortwave QSL cards impressed him?

So, I’ll keep poking, looking for more radio connections. Who knows, maybe, somewhere, there’s a 3ADJ QSL signed by my grandfather.

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1951 US Army Film: Independent Radio Station WMCA

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kris Partridge, who shares the following:

I belong to a FaceBook group “The Broadcasting Club” and [recently] there was posted a link to a YouTube video of a 70 year old 1951 US Army film called “The Independent Radio Station WMCA”. It’s worth a view to show what the thinking was 70 years ago:

From YouTube:

In 1951 the US Army made this film showing how an independent radio station operates. There was certainly a cold war propaganda motive for the US Army to produce this film, but today, when independent stations are a rarity, this film gives a detailed view of how a large market, independent radio station, WMCA New York, went about producing its programming and paying the bills in post war America.

If you enjoyed this video, consider becoming a member of the Antique Wireless Association at: https://antiquewireless.org/homepage/…

Subscribe to the Antique Wireless Museum channel and you’ll receive news of our latest video uploads.

Thank you so much for sharing this, Kris!

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Free online lecture: “Aspidistra and the Broadcast Group of the Diplomatic Wireless Service”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kris Partridge, who shares the following information about a free online lecture hosted by the The Institute of Engineering and Technology. This presentation will take place tomorrow (September 8, 2021 staring at 19:00 BST/18:00 UTC). You must register online to attend this lecture.

Here are the details from the IET website:


Aspidistra and the Broadcast Group of the Diplomatic Wireless Service including the wartime transmission of black propaganda.

The History of the Broadcast Group of the Diplomatic Wireless Service. The event starts at 19:00 BST on 8th September 2021

This is the story of Broadcast Group of the Diplomatic Wireless Service (DWS) which had its origins in the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) at the beginning of WW2. In 1972 it was amalgamated into the administrative structure of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and was renamed Communications Engineering Department (CED). The latter had two groups, Broadcast Group which was responsible for transmitters carrying many of the BBC’s World and Vernacular services, and Communications group which provided radio communications to embassies for diplomatic traffic. In 1986 CED’s Broadcast Group was taken over by the BBC.

In this illustrated talk we will learn first about the transmission of black propaganda and associated activities during WWII. Also such activities as trying to interfere with enemy rocket guidance systems. Then about the various Medium-Wave and Short-Wave transmitting stations of Broadcast Group with transmitter stations at Crowborough, Orfordness, Cyprus and the island of Masirah, a part of Oman. Transmitters ranged from 1?kW carrier power to 600 kW. Several of these were designed and manufactured in house. There will be many pictures and descriptions of the equipment and aerials used at these stations. Also covered will be an introduction to the progress of amplitude modulation techniques which enabled transmitters to become more compact.

So, what is Aspidistra? Please register to hear the story of Aspidistra and the Broadcast Group of the DWS with the engineering used to build and operate these stations.

About the Speaker

Roger Castle-Smith FIET

Mr Roger Castle-Smith FIET. Roger first became interested in radio when he joined the signals section of his school’s Combined Cadet force. This led to him gaining an amateur’s radio license at the age of 15, callsign G3IOT. Then on to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, where he started an amateur station for the academy. Graduated into Royal Signals. Achieved a BSc(Eng) degree as an external degree from the University of London whilst at the Royal Military College of Science. Many of his army postings were of a technical nature. On retirement at the age of 37 he was made a MBE. Joined the Diplomatic Wireless Service then worked his way up to becoming Head of Broadcast Group in 1979 leading to Chief Engineer and Head of Communications Engineering Department (CED) in 1981. During his service a CBE followed his MBE. Retired age 66.


Click here to read more and to register for this event.

Kris also suggested this article and this article as a little background and worth reading prior to the lecture.

Thank you for the tip, Kris!

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Bob Colegrove on “The Joys and Challenges of Tuning Analog Radios”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bob Colegrove, who recently shared this excellent article and has kindly allowed me to share it here in the the Post. Bob prefaced it by saying, “Being a retired technical writer, I started the attached article some time ago for my own amusement, but it quickly got out of hand.

“Got out of hand” in a very good way, Bob!

An excerpt from Bob’s article.

I love how this piece takes us through receiver history and explains, in detail, the mechanics and innovations. It’s also a very accessible piece that both the beginner and seasoned radio enthusiast can appreciate.

But don’t take my word for it, download it and enjoy!

Click here to download The Joys and Challenges of Tuning Analog Radios as a PDF.

Thank you again, Bob. This is a most enjoyable and informative read! This was obviously a labor of love. Thanks for sharing it with our radio community!

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Lithuania: 95th anniversary of first radio transmission

Photo credit: Lietuvos centrinis valstyb?s archyvas.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Giedrius Blagnys, who notes:

The first national radio broadcast in Lithuania started on 1926-06-12 d. Photo above: the mic used for the first broadcast. 

Recording of the first transmission:

Many thanks for sharing this interesting bit of history with us, Giedrius!

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Don recommends Radio Boulevard for a deep dive into radio history!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Don (W7SSB), who writes:

Hi Thomas,

One of my friends has probably the best museum in the history of radio !

https://www.radioblvd.com/

Your readers can spend days looking at all the information from the early days to present ! Plenty of pictures!

Don W7SSB

Thank you for the tip, Don! What a deep treasure trove of radio nostalgia!

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