Tag Archives: Radio Recordings

Recordings of WI2XLQ: 2021 Commemorative Fessenden Broadcast on 486 kHz

WA1ZMS’ 600 meter transmitter

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Brian Smith (W9IND), who shares the following recordings and notes:

Since 2012, experimental radio station WI2XLQ in Forest, Virginia, has presented an annual Christmas Eve/Christmas Day transmission in honor of Canadian radio pioneer Reginald Fessenden. Operated by Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, the station transmits on 486 kHz, just below the American AM broadcast band.

Here are two short recordings of the 2021 broadcast that I made around 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve (Indianapolis time) or 0200 UTC Christmas Day.

No DXing feat on my part: Unable to receive the station in the Indianapolis area, I listened via the online SDR of K1RA in Warrenton, Virginia, about 120 miles northeast of WI2XLQ.

My recording equipment? Again, nothing to brag about — just my trusty Android cell phone, which captured 4- and 6-minute snippets of the broadcast.

Signal strength varied widely from inaudible to excellent — mostly in between — and not surprisingly there’s plenty of QRN (static). The repeating program consisted of two songs, including a violin rendition of “O Holy Night,” followed by a station ID.

For those who’ve never managed to hear WI2XLQ’s annual transmissions, I hope you’ll enjoy this sampling of what you missed.

NOTE: As even Justin acknowledges, these broadcasts commemorate a reputed 1906 event that may not actually have taken place. Despite Fessenden’s claim of achieving the first voice (and music) transmission, substantiation is lacking. Whatever the truth, Fessenden was unquestionably one of the foremost radio experimenters of his era.

Recordings:

Many thanks for sharing this, Brian!

Note that if you missed the WI2XLQ on Christmas, note than Brian Justin plans to repeat the Fessenden broadcast on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day!

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Guest Post: An Introduction to DXing the MF Marine Bands

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Don Moore–author of  Following Ghosts in Northern Peru–for the following guest post:


Monitoring the MF Marine Bands

By Don Moore

For me, DXing has always been about the challenge of receiving difficult-to-hear radio stations, regardless of the type of station or frequency range. In my five decades in the radio hobby I’ve logged a lot of different kinds of stations – shortwave broadcast, medium wave, shortwave utility, longwave beacons, etc. But some of my favorite catches have been in the upper end of the medium frequency range.

Technically speaking, medium frequency (MF) is the range from 300 to 3000 kHz and includes the standard medium wave (AM) broadcast band. The upper end of the MF band, from 1600 to 3000 kHz (except for a small portion reserved for amateur radio),  has always been assigned to various types of utility uses including broadcasts and other voice communications from regional maritime stations. And while digital modes and satellites have done a lot to change the nature of communication with ships at sea, there is still a lot of good human-voice DX to be heard.

Several dozen stations, mostly in Europe and North America, broadcast regularly scheduled marine information broadcasts in the MF range. These broadcasts are usually between five to ten minutes in length and include weather forecasts, navigational warnings, and other notices to keep ships at sea safe. On occasion it’s possible to hear two-way voice communication here between ships and shore stations, although that’s much less common today.

The Equipment

Nothing special is needed to DX the marine MF band other than a receiver that covers the frequency range and can receive USB mode (which all these broadcasts are in). However, for reasons explained below, I highly recommend using an SDR to make spectrum recordings of the entire band to go through later. Continue reading

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Yet another mystery utility signal to solve–!

Back by popular demand!

On our quest to solve UNID utility signals, SWLing Post contributor David Crawford, is asking for help again to ID yet another interval signal. David writes:

Here’s yet another memorable utili-tune from the deep archives here, again not my recording, origin uncertain.

This one has a date, time and frequency on the filename [19670811-2347-15910-VM unID] and therefore would have been 1967. I heard this one myself occasionally also, which would have been sometime during the mid-to-late 1970s. It would have overlapped with the same time period during which CTNE was using the 14985 kHz tune previously provided, so despite the broad similarity I would assume it wasn’t them. Unless of course they used different tunes for different circuits:

Readers: Can you positively ID this interval signal? If so, please comment!

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Dean solves second interval signal mystery

(Image source: Madrid.org)

In response to our second mystery interval signal challenge, SWLing Post contributor, Dean Bianco replies:

Mystery solved!

This is the “interval signal” (more accurately, a placeholder with a musical station identifier) for the Compañía Telefónica Nacional de España (CTNW) from Madrid, Spain.

They were a point-to-point HF radiotelephone terminal that provided overseas telephone and telegraph services in the days before satellites became common.

As a young SWL, I would receive all manner of strange musical identifiers for these utility stations. Most of these HF telecommunication services had gone to satellite by the early 1980’s. The HF bands were chock-a-block with signals, whether they be broadcast or utility services.

Glad to help!

To verify his claim, Dean shares the following embedded audio file made by Willi Passmann in the mid 1970s (via the excellent UtilityRadio.com website):

Well done, Dean! Thank you once again for coming to the rescue!

In case you didn’t know, dear readers, Dean Bianco is a force to be reckoned with in the shortwave radio world. 🙂 This year, he won the 3rd Annual Fest Trivia Quiz at the 2020 Winter SWL Fest! An impressive accomplishment, indeed. Not only that, but Dean’s an incredibly nice guy, great friend, and always willing to help out those new to the hobby!

Thank you, Dean!

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Let’s solve another interval signal mystery!

Last month, we published a post asking SWLing Readers to help Brian (W9IND) identify an elusive interval signal. Turns out, the interval signal belonged to the Voice Mirror of the PTT Habana, Cuba station.

This month, SWLing Post contributor, David Crawford is asking for help to ID another interval signal which likely belongs to a utility station. David writes:

In follow-up to the La Habana utility mystery, here’s another one from the same era, 14985 kHz or thereabouts. Somewhere along the line I came to the conclusion that it might be El Salvador, but I don’t remember what led to that. The [recording embedded below] isn’t my own recording of it.

The tune is composed of individual DTMF tones, and when I was a bored youth I discovered that it could be played on an AT&T desk touch tone phone by pressing two keys at a time to remove the second tone. This one would repeat for hours at a time, interrupted by manually patched telephone calls.

Readers: Can you positively ID this interval signal? If so, please comment!

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Glenn Hauser’s World of Radio extra program from September 08, 1984

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who writes:

Rosebud Reservation location in South Dakota

One of Glenn Hauser’s more interesting “extra” programs to me over the years was his radio 1981 summer vacation recordings to South Dakota (near the Nebraska border).

Attached is the entire WRNO recording of that program (which aired on Sep 8, 1984). This was before he “air numbered” the programs.

Station KINI web site (station active today) : https://www.rosebudmedianetwork.com/
Stream : http://listen.streamon.fm/kini

Click here to download the audio.

Amazing, Dave! Thank you for sharing this recording.

Post Readers: Keep in mind that you can still comment on this WOR post for a chance to win an Eton Mini receiver! This giveaway will close on Friday, September 27, 2019.

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Shortwave Radio Recordings: Ham radio contacts between W2PVF (SK) and two Antarctic Stations, circa 1974

Palmer Station (Photo Credit: Ryan Wallace and the USAP)

Many thanks to Bill Hemphill (WD9EQD) who is one of our newest contributors at the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive (SRAA). Bill approached me at the Winter SWL Fest this year noting that he has a wide variety of radio-related audio recordings to share with the SRAA and the SWLing Post.

This week, Bill shared two fascinating tape recordings he originally acquired from an estate sale box.  These recordings were originally made in 1974 by the late Jim Hayward (W2PVF) in Absecon, New Jersey (USA) with two different ham radio stations in Antarctica.

This first recording is between W2PVF and KC4AAC of Palmer Station. The audio starts mid conversation:

Click here to download.

The second recording is between W2PVF and LU1ZE of the Argentine Antarctica Station. The operator at the microphone is W1PV. The recording even includes a phone patch:

Click here to download.

Bill, thanks so much for sharing these recordings–I thoroughly enjoyed them!

I’m so impressed with the audio and signal quality of the Antarctic stations.  In 1974, we were approaching a solar minimum in Solar Cycle 20. Still, I bet conditions were better than anything we’ve seen in over a decade!

I’m curious if any Post readers have ever made contact with either of these stations or even know the operators in the recordings? Bill notes that  Jim (W2PVF) was president of the local Atlantic City Electric Company for many years. Would be fun to share these recordings with the some of the original operators, if they’re around!

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