Tag Archives: Radio

Radio Waves: Future of Radio is Relevant, Hams Commemorate KDKA, Listen to the Globe, and Sangean EU Pre-Order for ATS-909X2

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 Troy Riedel, Dennis Dura, Mike Hansgen, and Eckhard Hensel for the following tips:


The future of radio is real, relevant and multi-platform (Biz Community)

Exciting new technologies promise to make radio more accessible and engaging than it has ever been. This includes app-based platforms that enable broadcasters to engage with listeners like never before, software that lets producers edit sound as easily as a text document, and a ‘radio station in a bucket’ that turns a mobile phone onto a broadcast hub.
That’s according to radio futurologist James Cridland, who believes that while innovations like these point to a bright future for the over 100-year-old medium, it’ll take more than adopting cool new tech to succeed in the increasingly splintered and diverse arena that radio is evolving into.

“Radio is more than just AM and shortwave, more than big, old fashioned transmitters. Radio is a shared experience with a human connection,” he said during a recent webinar on the future of radio hosted by Fabrik, a South African-developed software platform for broadcasters and community groups.

“That shared experience is something that [streaming music service] Spotify can’t offer. It’s something that somebody’s CD player can’t offer,” he said, adding that this also applied to radio stations who just play non-stop music. “There’s no human connection there. There’s no real shared experience.”[…]

 

Radio Amateurs in Western Pennsylvania to Commemorate KDKA Broadcasting Centennial (ARRL News)

Pittsburgh radio station KDKA will celebrate 100 years of radio broadcasting in November, and Pennsylvania radio amateurs will honor that milestone in a multi-station special event. KDKA dates its broadcasting history to the airing of the Harding-Cox presidential results on November 2, 1920, and the station has been on the air ever since. The special event, which will involve the operation of four stations, will run through the entire month of November.

“More than 100 years ago, many experimenters started delving into a new technology known as wireless, or radio,” said Bob Bastone, WC3O, Radio Officer for the Skyview Radio Society in New Kensington, Pennsylvania. Bastone explained that many of those early pioneers were radio amateurs. “One hundred plus years later, many amateur radio operators are still contributing to wireless technology, while also serving their communities and enhancing international goodwill. Congratulations to KDKA Radio, also known in the early years as amateur radio stations 8XK, 8ZZ, and W8XK.”

Special event stations K3K, K3D, K3A, and W8XK will set up and operate at several locations in Pennsylvania during November. Stations will determine their own modes and schedules. Visit the W8XK profile on QRZ.com for information on certificates and QSLs.

What became KDKA initially began broadcasting in 1916 as amateur radio station 8XK, licensed by the Federal Radio Commission (FRC), the predecessor to the FCC. At the time, amateurs were not prohibited from broadcasting. The small station was operated by Dr. Frank Conrad, who was Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company assistant chief engineer. The transmitter ran 75 W, and the broadcasts gained some popularity in Pittsburgh.

During World War I, amateur radio operation was suspended due to national security concerns. After the war, 8XK was reorganized as a commercial AM radio station, KDKA. The first transmissions of KDKA originated in a makeshift studio on the roof of Westinghouse K Building in East Pittsburgh.

Ham radio clubs participating in the centennial special event include the North Hills Amateur Radio Club in Pittsburgh — which is planning to operate from KDKA’s 1930s’ transmitter site, where an original tower pier still stands. A 1920s’ transmitter site, in Forest Hills, will serve as another operating location. In addition to the North Hills ARC and Skyview Radio Society, other clubs taking part include the Panther Amateur Radio Club, Steel City Amateur Radio Club, the Wireless Association of South Hills, the Butler County Amateur Radio Public Service Group, and the Washington Amateur Communications Radio Club.

Individual radio amateurs will operate from their own stations, and a small group of hams is planning a portable operation from South Park in suburban Pittsburgh.

Stations will invite the public to visit, while observing the required social distancing protocols.

“We amateur radio operators look forward to contacting thousands of other hams around the world to celebrate this huge milestone in the commercial broadcasting industry,” said Bastone. Contact him for more information. — Thanks to ARRL Public Information Officer and Allegheny County ARES Emergency Coordinator Bob Mente, NU3Q, for providing the information for this story.[]

Listen to the Globe (NY Times)

Radio programming from around the world is available on the internet or through apps.

Americans may not be able to travel the world because of the pandemic, but thousands of foreign radio stations are easily accessible online to bring the world to you.

For Dorothy Parvaz, a radio editor in Washington, D.C., foreign radio was her first introduction to the world beyond Tehran, where she lived until 12. “Listening to radio signals coming in from other countries was just like seeing the world in a way we couldn’t on TV, ” she said. “If I wanted to find music, I went to the apartment downstairs, where one of the kids always got a good signal somehow. We heard Pink Floyd for the first time together.”

Click here to continue reading noting that the NY Times might require a login to read the fll article.

Sangean ATS-909X2 once again available for preorder

Many thanks to Eckhard Hensel who notes that the ATS-909X2 is once again on the Sangean EU retailer site for pre-order. The price is €329.00 and they expect the product to ship in the first quarter of 2021.

Click here for details.

 


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Radio Waves: Research on Gen Z Listenership, Early Women in Radio, Carlos Latuff Interview, and “Your Next Tech Purchase Should Be a Radio”

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 Jeb, Dennis Dura, and Dan Van Hoy for the following tips:


Edison Research: 55% Of Gen Z Listen to AM/FM Radio Every Day But… (Radio Insight)

n their latest Share Of Ear study, Edison Research notes that over 55% of 13-24 year-olds listen to AM/FM radio daily.

However the study notes that these Gen Z listeners spend 50% less of their total share of time listening to AM/FM radio than the average 13+ population meaning they spend less time with radio than older generations. They also mostly listen to AM/FM in the car with 50% of their listening coming in vehicles. The study also notes that these 13-24 year-olds use a radio receiver 50% less than the average 13+ population, and they use their phones for listening 75% more than the average 13+ population with 58% more of their total share of time listening to streaming audio than the average 13+ population. Their share of YouTube listening, which is surveyed only for music and music videos, is 98% higher than the average 13+ population.

The study also notes that 89% of their listening to AM/FM is done through a traditional radio and only eleven percent coming from streaming of broadcast brands.[]

The Women Who Overcame Radio’s Earliest Glass Ceilings (Radio World)

Before the dawn of broadcasting, women were frequently hired as wireless operators, and so it was not a surprise that women’s voices were heard as announcers and program hosts in the early days of broadcast radio.

Sybil Herrold was perhaps the world’s first disc jockey; she played Victrola records on her husband Charles Herrold’s experimental station, which broadcast in San Jose from 1912 to 1917.

In Boston, Eunice Randall’s voice was heard on a variety of programs over AMRAD station 1XE (which became WGI in 1922). In New York City, WOR audiences regularly heard Jesse Koewing, who was identified on the air only as “J.E.K.” while Betty Lutz was the popular “hostess” heard on WEAF.

At WAHG (now WCBS), 16-year-old Nancy Clancy was billed as the country’s youngest announcer.[]

Coffee and Radio Listen – Episode 2 Carlos Latuff (Coffee and Listen)

Carlos Henrique Latuff de Sousa or simply “Carlos Latuff”, for friends, (born in Rio de Janeiro, November 30, 1968) is a famous Brazilian cartoonist and political activist. Latuff began his career as an illustrator in 1989 at a small advertising agency in downtown Rio de Janeiro. He became a cartoonist after publishing his first cartoon in a newsletter of the Stevadores Union in 1990 and continues to work for the trade union press to this day.

With the advent of the Internet, Latuff began his artistic activism, producing copyleft designs for the Zapatista movement. After a trip to the occupied territories of the West Bank in 1999, he became a sympathizer for the Palestinian cause in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and devoted much of his work to it. He became an anti-Zionist during this trip and today helps spread anti-Zionist ideals.

His page of Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/carloslatuff/) currently has more than 50 thousand followers, where of course, you can see his work as a cartoonist and also shows his passion on the radio.[]

Your Next Tech Purchase Should Be a Radio (PC Mag)

As the pandemic drags on, it’s time to return to a slower, older technology, one that frees you from the unending sameness served up by algorithms.

Quarantine has slowed everything down so much that it almost feels like we’re going back in time. The first few weeks were measured in sourdough starter, then in seeds sprouting from patches planted in backyards or squeezed into space on windowsills. Things are quieter now, but maybe too quiet.

Commutes used to be accompanied by music and podcasts piped in through earphones or car speakers. This casual sensory stimulation seems disposable, but it’s one of many small pleasures that have slipped away nearly—but not quite—unnoticed.

That’s why it’s time to return to a slower, older technology that can provide auditory companionship and match the new pace of your days: the radio.

Radios, more affordable and portable than TVs, used to be household staples and a more intimate part of people’s days—a companion in the bath or during a solitary drive or walk. Now they’re mostly found in go bags and as vehicle infotainment center afterthoughts.[]


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The book that took David down the path of SWLing and ham radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David (G4EDR), who writes:

I enjoyed reading about the vintage shortwave radio book memories from Bob W6ACU and it prompted me dig out the book which got me started in SWLing back in 1970. It was in a series of illustrated teach yourself books and the title was ‘Radio’ written by David Gibson G3JDG [see cover above].

I borrowed it from the school library and renewed the loan so many times the librarian suggested I should buy my own copy so that someone else could have the chance to borrow it! I still have my own copy of the book bought with my saved pocket money for the sum of 15 shillings. That was before the UK changed to decimal currency (15 shillings is 75p in decimal).

The book covered basic radio theory and several construction projects including a crystal set and an atu which I made and I also learned all about amateur radio and QSL cards.

That was the start of my life long obsession with radio. How things have changed over 50 years! Thank you for allowing me to rekindle those happy early days of this fantastic hobby of ours.

73, David – G4EDR.

Thank you, David, for sharing your memories with us. It’s amazing, isn’t it, the impact one book or one radio can have on one’s life!

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Guest Post: “Radio. Now is your time to shine.”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Fred Waterer, who shares this message from his friend, Jarrad Brooke:


Radio. Now is your time to shine.

As more and more mass gatherings are cancelled and outdoor entertainment is cancelled – more and more people will turn to other forms of media for entertainment. Netflix and streaming are the obvious choices – but I believe even Free to Air TV and yes -radio will get a free kick as well.

I’m not talking about those in isolation or quarantine – as that is obviously an extremely small portion (or hopefully!) a small portion of our potential audience. I’m talking just the general population who feel they need somewhere to go, tune out, escape and be entertained… seeing as they have no where in groups outdoors to do it anymore.

Radio – now more than ever, needs to make sure they use this free kick of audience to their advantage to make sure they become loyal and stay. Everything that goes to air right now needs to be to the highest quality – every song, announcer break, commercial and element needs to fit now more than ever.

Radio did such a great job in the bush fire emergency. Now build on that and maximise it even more. You never know, you could be a listeners emergency today in needing them needing an escape from reality for a while.

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Radio Waves: Keeping Car Radios, Moon Bounce, Voyager 2, and ABC Delays Plan

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’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Benn, Tony, and Michael Bird for the following tips:

Opinion: Automakers, don’t remove radios from the dashboard (The Detroit News)

Make no mistake about it: The renaissance of electric vehicle manufacturing has been one of the most significant blessings of innovation in the 21st century. The continued production and voluntary adoption of electric vehicles have made the United States a greener and cleaner nation. However, while EV makers continue working to bring the U.S. forward environmentally, they need to ensure their design methods do not have a negative impact on one of the country’s most crucial national security apparatuses.

As the former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that oversaw the operations of over 220 declared disasters, I am concerned about what I’ve seen from automakers removing AM radios from vehicles — an action that will make Americans less safe in emergency situations.

Interference between the broadcast reception and the electric motors of certain cars, principally electric vehicles, is the reasoning behind some companies’ decision to eliminate the radio from car dashboards. However, scrapping radio rather than making the signals compatible can severely harm the federal government’s disaster relief efforts.

Federal law mandates that FEMA always possess the capabilities to deliver messages to the American people. To this end, FEMA has spent tens of million dollars and counting perfecting the Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations — consisting mostly of AM stations, but some FM ones as well — that connect to The National Public Warning System.[]

Australia’s first ever moon bounce remembered as a feat that shocked industry experts (ABC News)

You probably haven’t heard of Ray Naughton’s feat of science — not many people have. But 55 years ago, the quiet electronics store owner from Birchip, in western Victoria, successfully completed Australia’s first ever moon bounce.

The amateur radio fanatic had spent most of his time alone in a paddock, tinkering away on a 250-metre wide, 30-metre tall antenna capable of bouncing a radio signal off the moon and back again.

Mr Naughton was driven by news that astronauts would soon be walking across its surface.

When that day came, on July 20 1969, Mr Naughton used his antenna to tune into conversations between astronauts and NASA.

A small group of locals watched on in wonder, realising for the first time what their private neighbour had been working on.[]

When Voyager 2 Calls Home, Earth Soon Won’t Be Able to Answer (NY Times)

NASA will spend 11 months upgrading the only piece of its Deep Space Network that can send commands to the probe, which has crossed into interstellar space.

Voyager 2 has been traveling through space for 43 years, and is now 13 billion miles from Earth. But every so often, something goes wrong.

At the end of January, for instance, the robotic probe executed a routine somersault to beam scientific data back to Earth when an error triggered a shutdown of some of its functions.

“Everybody was extremely worried about recovering the spacecraft,” said Suzanne Dodd, who is the Voyager project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

The mission’s managers on our planet know what to do when such a fault occurs. Although it takes about a day and a half to talk to Voyager 2 at its current distance, they sent commands to restore its normal operations.

But starting on Monday for the next 11 months, they won’t be able to get word to the spry spacecraft in case something again goes wrong (although the probe can still stream data back to Earth). Upgrades and repairs are prompting NASA to take offline a key piece of space age equipment used to beam messages all around the solar system.[]

ABC forced to delay five-year plan and job cuts announcement (The Age)

The ABC has been forced to delay the release of its five-year blueprint – including job cuts – to prioritise its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The national broadcaster was due to announce its long-term plan at the end of this month. A three-year funding freeze that took effect last July, stripping $84 million from ABC’s budget, will result in an estimated 200 redundancies.

In an email to staff, managing director David Anderson said, “I think you will agree with me when I say that the current situation with COVID-19 means our focus must be on the welfare of all of you and our role as a public broadcaster in providing the community with timely and credible information in this challenging time for our country.

“For this reason, I’m sure you will understand my decision to postpone the announcement until we are through this period … your patience and professionalism are, as always, greatly appreciated.”

Anderson told employees he would reveal his plan “as soon as we have returned to normal levels of activity”.[]


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Amazon Price Drop: Eton Elite Executive Portable Now $129.99

The relatively new Eton Elite Executive, formerly Eton Executive Satellit, has dropped $50 USD on its Amazon page to $129.99:

This rather major price drop lowers the cost to just $20 more than Amazon’s price for the older, silver-cased Eton Executive Satellit. According to Jay Allen’s review the new radio has identical performance to the older model; only the color is updated.

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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Free Advice: Stop worrying about solar minimums and just play radio!

Lately we’ve been getting some pretty dismal news about the upcoming solar cycles and the potential for a pretty dismal trend according to some researchers.

We report this news on the SWLing Post because the sun and space weather play an important role in radio signal propagation and one’s ability to snag elusive DX.

After publishing news items like this, though, I always receive a number of emails and comments stating that these trends surely marks the end of all radio fun. After all, if there are no sun spots whatsoever, why bother!?!

Truth is, it’s sort of like saying, “the weather looks lousy, I don’t think I’ll be able to have fun.”

I lived in the UK for several years. If I let the potential for lousy weather stop me from having fun, I’d have never gotten anything done!

The same goes for space weather in our radio world.

A couple weeks ago, I made a Parks On The Air (POTA) activation running 15 watts with the Elecraft KX3 into a simple 20 meter vertical in SSB mode.  Even though propagation was poor, I logged a new contact, on average, once per minute over the course of 30 minutes! It was non-stop!

The GE 7-2990A (left) and Panasonic RF-B65 (right)

I also listened to the Midwinter Broadcast to Antarctica with two portable radios. Propagation was poor and I didn’t even use an external antenna…but I caught the broadcast and had a load of fun hanging out on the Blue Ridge Parkway!

My advice?

As I said in a post last year, use the sunspot low as an excuse to explore frequencies and modes you’ve never used before. Use this as an opportunity to improve your listening skills and the most important part of your listening post or ham station–your antenna system!

I often receive email from people who’ve found the SWLing Post and take the time to write a message to me complaining about the death of shortwave radio: the lack of broadcasters, the prevalence of radio interference and the crummy propagation. They wonder, “is it all worth it?”

My reply?

“Hey…sounds like radio’s not your thing!”

While this same person is moaning and complaining, I’ll be on the radio logging South American, Asian and African broadcast stations.

I’ll be working DX with QRP power, even though everyone tells me that’s not possible right now.

I’ll be improving my skill set and trying new aspects of our vast radio world.

You see: I’ve learned that the complainers aren’t actually on the air. They gave up many moons ago because someone told them it wasn’t worth it, or they simply lost interest. That’s okay…seriously…but why waste time complaining? Go find something else that lights your fire!

While these folks are complaining, I’ll be on the air doing all of the things they tell me I can’t do.

In the words of Admiral David Farragut: “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

Go out there and play radio!

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