Although Irish pirate radio is our main interest, today we explore the lively pirate scene in the Brooklyn area of New York City. The Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map is a fascinating project established by radio producer and audio archivist David Goren and provides interactive maps and historical and contemporary recordings of the many unlicensed stations in Brooklyn.
This is a longer version of an interview by John Walsh with David Goren first featured in Wireless, a series about radio, audio and media on Flirt FM in Galway. It covers the history of pirate radio in Brooklyn and New York generally, attempts to crack down on the unlicensed stations, the role of low-powered FM, the background to the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map itself and plans for the future. Many thanks to David for taking the time to explain this fantastic project for us. [Read the full article and listen to the interview on the Irish Pirate Radio Audio Archive…]
With the advent of the 9V battery-powered transistor radio in the 1950s, the “Emergency Radio” was born.
Unlike vacuum tube receivers with heavy batteries or unpowered crystal radios, these handheld AM portables were small and simple enough to keep in a drawer. They could then be retrieved whenever man-made or natural disasters knocked out the power, providing listeners with lifeline connections to news, weather and relief information. Continue reading →
FCC Enforcement Bureau traced FM signals after receiving complaints
Continuing its efforts to fight illegal broadcasts, the Federal Communications Commission has sent notices to five property owners and managers in and around New York City.
The letters from the Enforcement Bureau inform the owners that the FCC, after receiving complaints, traced unlicensed signals to each property in April, May or June. These letters inform the owners that under federal law, anyone who allows pirate radio broadcasting on a property can face significant financial penalties — up to $2.1 million.
The recipients are given 10 business days to show that they are no longer permitting pirate radio on their properties and to identify individuals engaged in pirate radio on the property that they own or manage. [Continue reading…]
Since September 2020, ABC Radio has been quietly trialing DRM technology in Victoria
The public-service Australian Broadcasting Corp. and its transmission contractor BAI Communications Transmission Network hosted a public demonstration of Digital Radio Mondiale broadcasts on June 29, 2022. ABC highlighted the use of DRM on both AM and FM in Wagaratta, Victoria.
According to the DRM Consortium, the demonstration was the culmination of almost two years of COVID-impacted work to assess the performance of DRM services in Australia’s VHF and medium-wave bands.
Previously, the Australian Amateur Radio Experimenters Group reported that AREG member Steve Adler (VK5SFA) had been monitoring “a very un-publicized Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) trial” on 747 kHz from Wangaratta in August 2021.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority provided ABC with a license variation to conduct the DRM 30 trials from September 1, 2020, to August 31, 2022.
At the public demonstration, senior representatives from the public, commercial and community radio sectors, along with regulators and other interested parties, were able to hear and see the capabilities of DRM broadcasting on AM from Dockers Plains and on FM from Mount Baranduda. They were also able to review the transmission equipment at Wagaratta.[Continue reading…]
The James Webb Space Telescope probably needs no introduction, since it is perhaps the most important and well-known mission of the last years. It was launched on Christmas day from Kourou, French Guiana, into a direct transfer orbit to the Sun-Earth L2 Lagrange point. JWST uses S-band at 2270.5 MHz to transmit telemetry. The science data will be transmitted in K-band at 25.9 GHz, with a rate of up to 28 Mbps.
After launch, the first groundstation to pick the S-band signal from JWST was the 10 m antenna from the Italian Space Agency in Malindi, Kenya. This groundstation commanded the telemetry rate to increase from 1 kbps to 4 kbps. After this, the spacecraft’s footprint continued moving to the east, and it was tracked for a few hours by the DSN in Canberra. One of the things that Canberra did was to increase the telemetry rate to 40 kbps, which apparently is the maximum to be used in the mission.
As JWST moved away from Earth, its footprint started moving west. After Canberra, the spacecraft was tracked by Madrid. Edgar Kaiser DF2MZ, Iban Cardona EB3FRN and other amateur observers in Europe received the S-band telemetry signal. When Iban started receiving the signal, it was again using 4 kbps, but some time after, Madrid switched it to 40 kbps.
At 00:50 UTC on December 26, the spacecraft made its first correction burn, which lasted an impressive 65 minutes. Edgar caught this manoeuvre in the Doppler track.
Later on, between 7:30 and 11:30 UTC, I have been receiving the signal with one of the 6.1 metre dishes at Allen Telescope Array. The telemetry rate was 40 kbps and the spacecraft was presumably in lock with Goldstone, though it didn’t appear in DSN now. I will publish the recording in Zenodo as usual, but since the files are rather large I will probably reduce the sample rate, so publishing the files will take some time.
In the rest of this post I give a description of the telemetry of JWST and do a first look at the telemetry data. [Continue reading…]
The average person’s perception of a ham radio operator, assuming they even know what that means, is more than likely some graybeard huddled over the knobs of a war-surplus transmitter in the wee small hours of the morning. It’s a mental image that, admittedly, isn’t entirely off the mark in some cases. But it’s also a gross over-simplification, and a generalization that isn’t doing the hobby any favors when it comes to bringing in new blood.
In reality, a modern ham’s toolkit includes a wide array of technologies that are about as far away from your grandfather’s kit-built rig as could be — and there’s exciting new protocols and tools on the horizon. To ensure a bright future for amateur radio, these technologies need to be nurtured the word needs to be spread about what they can do. Along the way, we’ll also need to push back against stereotypes that can hinder younger operators from signing on.
On the forefront of these efforts is Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC), a private foundation dedicated to supporting amateur radio and digital communication by providing grants to scholarships, educational programs, and promising open source technical projects. For this week’s Hack Chat, ARDC Executive Director Rosy Schechter (KJ7RYV) and Staff Lead John Hays (K7VE) dropped by to talk about the future of radio and digital communications. [Continue reading…]
Radio World reports the Electromagnetic Interference generated by Electric Vehicles is causing some EV automakers to drop AM (medium wave) radio
The article says:
Some EV automakers are dropping AM altogether due to audio quality concerns, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle as radio continues to fight for space on the dash.
“As carmakers increase electric vehicle offerings throughout their lineups, the availability of AM radio to consumers is declining,” said Pooja Nair, communications systems engineer with Xperi Corp., in a Radio World guest commentary. “This is because the effects of electromagnetic interference are more pronounced in EVs than in vehicles with internal-combustion engines.”
In other words, electromagnetic frequencies generated by EV motors occupy the same wavelength as AM radio signals. The competing signals clash, effectively cancelling each other out. As EV motors grow more powerful, AM static tends to increase.
I’ll never forget the excitement I felt as I bought my first transistor radio with a hard-saved pile of silver coins. I was 9, and I wasn’t just getting a piece of shiny kit, I was gaining access to a whole world of music and chat and cool that might somehow magically bind me to the other kids in my neighbourhood and at my school.
That thrill was only topped when, in my teens, I discovered the seditious sounds of student radio on the FM band, and realised there really were other people like me in the world. Like Jenny in the Velvet Underground song, I turned on a radio station and my life was saved by rock and roll.
It’s doubtful, though, that young listeners feel the same way about the medium today. While they consume vast quantities of music, much of it is via streaming platforms like Spotify, YouTube and TikTok. The radio isn’t the principal conduit to a world and identity – it’s just one channel among many. And when they do listen to radio, young people are increasingly shunning the stations targeting them in favour of golden oldies.
The latest Australian radio survey results saw Smooth FM pick up considerable market share in the younger demographics – 10-17, 18-24 and 25-39 – and much of it came at the expense of the ABC’s youth-focused network Triple J.
In the survey, which covered the period of February 27 to May 21, Triple J clocked an average audience of just 78,000 listeners in the five mainland capital cities across the full listening week (from a total of 1.56 million average radio listeners). In Sydney, it held a 3.9 per cent share of the listening audience, in Melbourne 4.5 per cent. It did better in Brisbane, where it has a 6.7 per cent share of listening, Perth (6.8 per cent) and Adelaide (5.1 per cent). [Continue reading at The Age…]
Much is made of Radio’s digital future in Australia. The publicly listed broadcasters and the industry body CRA are obsessed with digital. And so they should be as the content equation continues to fragment and the battle for your attention increases. The buzzword is AUDIO.
However, this appears to me at the significant risk of over-looking the goose that lays the golden eggs – FM and AM radio. The audience numbers and revenue this “traditional” medium continues to generate are staggering and dwarf many “digital audio” businesses.
This from radiotoday.com.au: “Commercial radio ad revenue in May was up 11.2% compared to May 2021, continuing months of sustained growth in the sector. (April was up 8.8%) That’s according to data released today by industry body Commercial Radio Australia. Ad revenue for the five major Australian capital city markets totalled $66.273 million during the month compared to $59.605 million a year ago. Commercial Radio is currently flying on all fronts with record audience listening levels in the most recent GFK survey and now an 11.2% year on year increase in commercial revenue for May.”
I would have thought that’s something for Radio to be very proud of, especially in the light of declining television viewership and publishing readership trends? But the word Radio is in danger of extinction.
This from SCA’s Annual report: “The four pillars of our refreshed corporate strategy are to entertain, inform and inspire our audiences; to establish LiSTNR as Australia’s ultimate audio destination; to use our assets to help our clients succeed; and drive and embed a digital audio first operating model.” Where’s Radio? [Continue reading at Radio Today…]
The author is a retired broadcast engineer who has been involved with advancing radio and television throughout his career, including for Qualcomm/MediaFLO, Harris, Nautel and ONEMedia LLC/Sinclair.
There are days when I feel like Ira Wilner, who wrote a piece here in reply to my commentary about NextGen TV.
Why bother with OTA broadcast? That is the question, isn’t it? But then, several explanations come to mind.
OTA is free. It’s hard to beat free. Streaming delivery requires an ISP or wireless data payment. Subscription satellite is needed when one drives through nowhere. Admittedly, many of us have connectivity in all the places we want it for other reasons; thus, sometimes it is a “sunk cost” for listeners, but always an additional, buy-it-by-the-bit, per-listener CDN cost for broadcasters.
OTA is low-friction. It’s hard to be smoother than navigating on-off/volume/tune.
OTA doesn’t buffer. It does not (and should not on NextGen) require searching with a browser. Done well, there isn’t even a “channel change” delay.
Try surfing through the dial on IP. Try scanning for local stations when travelling. I like local. On Sunday nights, I could stream “The Big Broadcast,” WAMU’s longest-running program, which I became addicted to when I commuted east; but I dial up KCFR or KUNC here in Denver instead. I am that lazy. I hate friction.
And if we don’t have an FCC license, just exactly what are we? Pause and contemplate what we’d be without a signal and those magic call letters. [Continue reading at Radio World…]
Cape Town – This Youth Month, award-winning RX Radio, run by and for children and based at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, are appealing to the public for help to keep the groundbreaking initiative going.
RX Radio celebrate their fifth birthday this year, with a studio based at Red Cross Hospital and their broadcast feed reaching the paediatric wards at Brooklyn Chest and Paarl Hospital.
With a vision of reaching every hospital with a paediatric ward in South Africa, RX Radio has trained over 135 young reporters from ages 4 and up.
A team of five staff, one intern, one mentor, volunteers and former reporters work behind the scenes to train, co-ordinate, and support the reporters – but the children are always behind the microphones and are active participants in the production; they design their own shows, choose the music, invite guests, write interviews, questions, and even plan fundraising events.
RX Radio founder, Dr Gabriel Urgoiti said: “Children make up 34% of people in South Africa; you see them everywhere, but at the same time you don’t see them, children are quite invisible. What RX radio continues trying to do is provide a platform where children can be heard and children can be engaged on things that are important to them. We provide them with an opportunity to talk, and working at hospitals has helped children with chronic conditions tell their stories and improve healthcare delivery.” [Continue reading at IOL…]
NATE, in collaboration with Storybuilt Media, has created a feature-length documentary titled “Vertical Freedom,” which highlights the professional and personal lives of six communications infrastructure workers in the United States.
Throughout the film, these cellular and broadcast tower climbers share what compels and excites them about their line of work. Plus, how to overcome every-day danger in order to connect us all.
Ky Nguyen is just one of the climbers featured in the film. He has worked with RIO Steel and Tower out of Alvarado, Texas for the last 10 years.
After the Great Recession, Nguyen wanted to move away from his job in construction and — while he is skilled at his craft now — he was initially hired onto the tower communication service’s team with zero experience.
“I started as a climber and then just kept working my way up,” he said. “Then I became foreman and began project managing. I’m one of those types of guys where, if you want it done a certain way, you have to be with them, showing them, leading by example – so I’m climbing every day.” [Continue reading…]
Ten years ago, my friend John gave me this tiny Sony receiver. It wasn’t working. I tried to fix it but quickly discovered that the tiny size of the device made repair difficult. All you needed to do was to swap out some leaking electrolytics, but they are surface mount electrolytics — replacing them is not for the faint of heart. Kits are available, but again, this is not easy.
In 2020 I got one of the kits, but didn’t try to use it until yesterday. It only supplied six of the electrolytics. In the video above, they discuss replacing seven electrolytics, including the one that seems to be placed in the round black holder. C-625. Why didn’t my kit include a replacement for that one? Could it be that this capacitor was not one of the leaky SMD caps?
Replacing these caps really wasn’t easy. At one point I inadvertently removed not just the bad cap, but also a nearby surface mount resistor. Luckily the schematic showed it to be 0 ohms. That was easily replaced. I lifted one of the pads on one of the other caps — I just slid it back into place and hoped for the best. [Continue reading at Soldersmoke…]
The FCC has introduced a proposal for rulemaking to determine whether to permanently approve the use the spectrum of television channel 6 for analog radio service on 87.75 MHz and will vote on whether to proceed with it at its June meeting.
In July 2021, all of the remaining analog low-power television stations were required to convert to digital, which would then lead to thirteen of them resuming analog audio transmission within their ATSC 3 broadcasts on an experimental basis. The rulemaking proposal seeks comments whether FM on channel 6 operations server the public interest and should be authorized to continue, whether they should be authorized as ancillary or supplementary services and if so subject to a new rule that permits their operation subject the certain technical and operational requirements, whether they can limit future channel 6 FM operations to those stations with active STAs, whether to consider a proposal to license additional non-commercials FMs on 82-88 MHz in areas where no television stations are operating, and whether to eliminate or revise the distance separation rules between television stations on channel 6 and radio licenses in the non-commercial band.
The petition by Educational Media Foundation and antenna manufacturers Dielectric, Jampro Antennas, Radio Frequency Systems, and Shively Labs to allow FM antenna directional pattern verification by computer modeling was approved at the FCC’s monthly open meeting. [Click here to read the full article at Radio Insight…]
The Marconi Van exhibition tells the story of Marconi’s pioneering work and its scientific legacy in radio and microwave physics. The exhibition combines:
Engaging exhibits and interactive activities exploring the past, present, and future of radio and communications physics.
An exploration of historical objects from the History of Science Museum’s Marconi collection.
Virtual experiments you can try yourself. As restrictions ease we shall be inviting you to have a go in the laboratory!
The exhibition is housed inside a 1968 Morris Motor Traveller van built at the iconic Morris Motors plant in Cowley, Oxford. The objects an information available inside the van will evolve as the exhibition progresses… so just because you’ve seen it once doesn’t mean there isn’t more to see.
During Led Zeppelin’s 12 years together, the group released eight studio albums, each composed of tracks Jimmy Page and company believed to be the best representation of the group at that specific moment in time. When amassed, these albums trace the evolution of Zeppelin’s style, approach to production, individual musical skills, and songwriting habits. And while we might have assumed this rendering of Zeppelin’s musical life to be complete, it would seem that we’ve not been given the full picture. Indeed, there are certain Led Zeppelin songs that even some of the group’s most die-hard fans never knew existed.
Following the release of the Led Zeppelin compilation album BBC Sessions in 1997, Jimmy Page began hearing a bootleg version of a song he hadn’t heard in just under 30 years. The band had never attempted it during an album session, and it never appeared on any of their records. After a bit of digging, Page realised that the track had come from a BBC performance Led Zeppelin made in the first months of 1969. Unfortuantely, it transpired that the BBC had managed to lose the tape from that day, meaning that Page was forced to track down a copy of the song a fan had recorded off the radio back in ’69. [Continue reading…]
(By Tom Langmeyer) The unfortunate conventional wisdom that has prevailed in radio during the last 20 years is “We are a music station. We don’t do news.” Unfortunately, this sentiment represents many people who set the tone for the industry and make these proclamations proudly, as the radio business becomes more and more irrelevant.
There is some truth to the statement that a “music station should not be covering news” by those who think completely linearly. However that culturally process-driven approach that has zero to do with results.
A music-intensive radio station is not expected to do news in the traditional sense, nor should be competing with news stations. It’s not a music station’s role.
However, all radio stations must have a component of “news. Now, before folding your arms across your chest, think about it this way.
“News” is really what your listeners need and want in the radio experience. What does “news” mean for your station? What is it? How is it delivered? How much? How do we activate our listener? That’s where things are different and need to be defined.
Think about a great country station that’s talking about a concert that’s happening in town and building an experience around it. That’s NEWS.
No one is saying a music station should be WINS, WBBM, KNX or KCBS.
No matter the music format is, there needs to be a playbook for how and what information (relevant “news”) gets presented.
On the advising side of Great Lakes Media’s business, we create customized plans for stations committed to localism and winning on the revenue hill. Sure it’s different – and that’s why it works.
Agents traced signals in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Oregon
The Federal Communications Commission has sent notices to several property owners of alleged pirate radio activities on their properties.
The letters from the Enforcement Bureau are headlined “Notice of Illegal Pirate Radio Broadcasting.” They remind the owners that federal law now provides for fines of up to $2 million “if we determine that you have continued to permit any individual or entity to engage in pirate radio broadcasting from the property that you own or manage.”
The bureau said its agents used direction finding techniques to source these FM signals. It mailed letters to Richard Manson for broadcasts on 103.5 MHz in Philadelphia in January; to Maria V. Hernandez of Kissimmee, Fla., for signals on 87.9 MHz in Hazleton, Pa., in January; to Edwin and Joyce Pitt of Baltimore, Md., for signals on 91.3 in February; and to Kent and Deanna Coppinger for signals on 100.5 MHz in La Grande, Ore., in March. [Continue reading…]
The convention is the world’s largest amateur radio gathering at Greene County Expo Center, according to the event’s website.
Around 30,000 visitors are expected to come to the event from all over the world.
Michael Kalter, the spokesperson for Hamvention, said that based on numbers from the Greene County Convention Visitors Bureau, Hamvention adds $30 million to the local economy.
He said amateur radio, also known as ham radio, is something people of all ages and backgrounds can be a part of, which is why he thinks the convention draws such a large crowd.
Kalter shared how it feels to bring so many people from around the world together. “That makes me feel really good,” Kalter told News Center 7?s Kayla McDermott. “I’m glad that the hobby seems to be really growing and flourishing,” he added.
There are no COVID-19 restrictions in place for this year’s convention. With thousands of people expected to attend, safety is a top priority. Before entering the convention center, people must have their bags checked. The Greene County Sheriff’s Department said they have prepared for the event.
Major Shawn Prall, with the sheriff’s office, said they have a plan in place to make sure traffic moves along smoothly as there are only two lanes to get to the grounds. Crews will also keep an eye on the weather, in case there is a chance for it to turn severe. Prall said this will be his fourth Hamvention and he has never had an incident. “We’re taking precautions, both that the public will see in uniform presence and also things that they can’t see. Just trying to keep everybody safe and be ready for any kind of incident, whether it be weather or manmade or anything like that,” Prall said.
The convention runs this weekend 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.
The iconic broadcaster has been supportive of the standard for over 20 years
The author is chairman of the DRM Consortium. Her commentaries appear regularly at radioworld.com.
Our old friend James Careless studiously ignores DRM once more in his well-researched, but to our minds incomplete article “BBC World Service Turns 90” in the March 30 issue.
As an ex-BBC senior manager, I would like to complete the story now that the hectic NAB Show is over.
Having lived through and experienced at close quarters the decision to reduce the BBC shortwave about 20 years ago, I can confirm that the BBC World Service decision to cut back on its shortwave footprint — especially in North America, where reliable, easy-to-receive daily broadcasts ceased — has generated much listener unhappiness over the years.
In hindsight, the decision was probably right, especially in view of the many rebroadcasting deals with public FM and medium-wave stations in the U.S. (and later other parts of the world like Africa and Europe) that would carry news and programs of interest to the wide public.
But BBC World Service in its long history never underestimated the great advantages of shortwave: wide coverage, excellent audio in some important and populous key BBC markets (like Nigeria) and the anonymity of shortwave, an essential attribute in countries with undemocratic regimes.
BBC World Service still enjoys today about 40 million listeners worldwide nowadays. [Continue reading…]
If you really want to know what makes any wireless application work, it is the antenna. Most people working with wireless — radio to those of you who prefer that term — tend to take antennas for granted. It is just something you have to add on to a wireless application at the last minute. Well, boy, do I have news for you. Without a good antenna, radio just doesn’t work too well. In this age of store/online-bought shortwave receivers, scanners, and amateur radio transceivers, your main job in getting your money’s worth out of these high-ticket purchases is to invest a little bit more and put up a really good antenna. In this article, I want to summarize some of the most common types and make you aware of what an antenna really is and how it works.
TRANSDUCER TO THE ETHER
In every wireless application, there is a transmitter and a receiver. They communicate via free space or what is often called the ether. At the transmitter, a radio signal is developed and then amplified to a specific power level. Then it is connected to an antenna. The antenna is the physical “thing” that converts the voltage from the transmitter into a radio signal. The radio signal is launched from the antenna toward the receiver.
A radio signal is the combination of a magnetic field and an electric field. Recall that a magnetic field is generated any time a current flows in a conductor. It is that invisible force field that can attract metal objects and cause compass needles to move. An electric field is another type of invisible force field that appears between conductors across which a voltage is applied. You have experienced an electric field if you have ever built up a charge by shuffling your feet across a carpet then touching something metal … zaaapp. A charged capacitor encloses an electric field between its plates.
Anyway, a radio wave is just a combination of the electric and magnetic fields at a right angle to one another. We call this an electromagnetic wave. This is what the antenna produces. It translates the voltage of the signal to be transmitted into these fields. The pair of fields are launched into space by the antenna, at which time they propagate at the speed of light through space (300,000,000 meters per second or about 186,000 miles per second). The two fields hang together and in effect, support and regenerate one another along the way. [Continue reading…]
The Smith Chart is one of the most useful tools in radio communications, but it is often misunderstood. The purpose of this article is to introduce you to the basics of the Smith Chart. After reading this, you will have a better understanding of impedance matching and VSWR — common parameters in a radio station.
The Smith Chart was invented by Phillip Smith, who was born in Lexington, MA on April 29, 1905. Smith attended Tufts College and was an active amateur radio operator with the callsign 1ANB. In 1928, he joined Bell Labs, where he became involved in the design of antennas for commercial AM broadcasting. Although Smith did a great deal of work with antennas, his expertise and passion focused on transmission lines. He relished the problem of matching the transmission line to the antenna; a component he considered matched the line to space. Continue reading →
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