Tag Archives: RFI

Radio Taboo: An amazing community radio station in rural Cameroon

Radio Taboo (Source: Issa Nyaphaga)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Alan Roe, who shares this Radio France International article and interview with Issa Nyaphaga, the tour de force behind Radio Taboo.

Here’s a video of the interview:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Thank you so much for sharing this, Alan.

Some of our initial radios received by Radio Taboo.

Readers: what Alan didn’t know is that I’ve been working with Issa via Ears To Our World and can confirm that this station is having a most positive impact on its community!

I was originally introduced to Issa via one of ETOW’s long-time supporters and friends a couple years ago.

At ETOW, we wanted to help establish more Radio Taboo listener groups, so we sent an initial batch of radios to be used in this very rural and remote part of Cameroon.

The radio we sent to Radio Taboo is the Tecsun GR-88 (or “Green-88”). This radio used to be branded by Grundig as the FR200, but Grundig no longer markets this model so we purchase them from Tecsun.

In fact, in a recent email to friends and supporters of Radio Taboo, Issa shared the following photo and noted:

“This man next to me is one of the first beneficiaries of the crank radios donated by Thomas Witherspoon, the founder of “Ears To Our World” a U.S. non-profit. They donated a dozen of these radios to some Radio Taboo’s listers. Radios made it in the Cameroon this week.”

I should mention it’s a logistical challenge to get radios to this part of the world (especially in the summer when the roads are nearly impassable due to rains) but we’re looking into a service that might be able to help in the future with a much larger donation of radios.

Alan, thanks again for sharing this story and giving me an opportunity to tell about our first-hand experience working with Radio Taboo!

Check out the full article about Radio Taboo at Radio France International by clicking here.

Click here to check out the Radio Taboo website.

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Due to RFI budget cuts “The Sound Kitchen” leaves shortwave

Many thanks to Mike Terry on the WRTH Facebook page, who notes that RFI’s “The Sound Kitchen” will no longer broadcast on shortwave.

From The Sound Kitchen‘s latest post:

For our DX enthusiast and shortwave listener friends: I am sad to announce we no longer have a shortwave frequency; we have severe budget constraints which no longer permit us to broadcast via shortwave.

But you can still hear us on World Radio Network. As you know, we now broadcast only 1 hour per day, Monday – Friday, from 14:00 to 15:00 UTC/GMT.

For North America: WRN broadcasts the quotidian RFI English programme three times a day from Monday to Friday, from 06:00 to 06:59, from 10:00 to 10:59 and from 16:00 to 16h59 UTC/GMT.

http://babcock.media/world-radio-network/networks/english-north-america/

For Africa and Asia: WRN broadcasts the quotidian RFI English programme three times a day from Monday to Friday, from 06:00 to 06:59, from 10:00 to 10:59 and from 16:00 to 16h59 UTC/GMT.

http://babcock.media/world-radio-network/networks/english-africa-asia/

For Europe: WRN broadcasts the quotidian RFI English programme three times a day from Monday to Friday, from 07:00 to 07:50, from 12:00 to 12:59 and from 20:00 to 20:59 UTC/GMT.

http://babcock.media/world-radio-network/networks/english-europe/

In Paris, you can hear us on World Radio Paris (http://www.worldradioparis.fr/) on DAB+, Monday to Friday from 15:00 to 15:59 UTC/GMT as well as Tuesday through Saturday from 07:00 to 07:59 UTC/GMT.

Click here to read the full post.

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Arcing can produce nasty broadband radio interference

On this trip to Québec, indoor listening has been more productive than listening from our balcony.

I mentioned in a previous post that, this year, QRM levels here at the condo in Québec are higher on our balcony than they are inside the building.

I think I found the source.

A couple weeks ago, on my morning walk, I passed underneath some high voltage power lines about 1 km from the condo. I noticed the sound of arcing coming from a pole nearby. No doubt, something metal–a staple, a cable, a pin, etc.–is the culprit.

I pulled out my smart phone and made this short video. If you turn up the volume, you might hear the noise especially at the end of the clip.:

I took a portable radio back to the site later and heard the same broadband noise I heard from the condo.

Although we only rent this condo a couple months a year, I’ll try to report the noise to the Hydro Québec. I know that our utility company in the States must follow up with requests like this and do their best to eliminate unintentional sources of RFI. These issues can also be an indication of something in the system failing, so power companies can actually be quite grateful for the feedback.

If you have persistent broadband noise at home, check out some of the trouble shooting tutorials at K3RFI’s website for a little guidance.

Despite all of this noise, I’m pleased I can still receive a few of my favorite shortwave stations. And, of course, escape to the KiwiSDR network and hit the field from time to time!

No worries, though, I’ll be back at my home station soon and can once again enjoy a relatively RFI-free radio space!

Post readers: Have you ever been plagued with power line noise? What did you do about it? Any tips? Please comment!

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Can’t escape the noise? Take an impromptu DXpedition via the KiwiSDR network!

While I love the Panasonic RF-B65, the Voice of Greece and a St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout: this combo can’t fight the persistent radio interference here at the condo.

Some of you might recall that I’m spending the months of August and September in a condo near Québec City, Canada. We love it here, though it does present some radio challenges. Unlike our rural/remote mountain home in the States, I’ve always had to cope with QRM (manmade radio interference) here at the condo. Not surprising.

I typically bring my PK Loop antenna–it helps lower the noise a tad and is easy to take out on our balcony for optimal reception. Lately, though, the QRM has been even worse on the balcony than inside the condo (more on that in a future post).

Some North American and European stations punch through the noise when propagation is favorable (especially the Voice of Greece and Radio Romania International) but there have been evenings where nothing could penetrate the wall of noise.

One way I escape the noise, of course, is to take my radio to a picturesque remote location for the afternoon or evening. It’s amazing the number of signals you can pull out of the ether when the noise floor is so low.

Back at the condo, though, there’s no easy way to escape the noise.

Or is there?

Impromptu DXpeditions

Perhaps 21st century problems require 21st century solutions.

This year–especially here at the condo–I’ve spent a great deal of time exploring the KiwiSDR network.

For those of you not familiar, the KiwiSDR is a self-hosted WebSDR which operates much like a mini U Twente WebSDR. KiwiSDR owners install their SDRs at home–or in other favorable locations–then share control of their SDR with the world via the the Internet.

Like the U Twente WebSDR, KiwiSDRs allow multiple simultaneous users to control the SDR independently of each other. Each KiwiSDR can allow up to four simultaneous guests (the U Twente WebSDR can allow hundreds of simultaneous users, but it’s also a university-supported bespoke SDR with fantastic bandwidth!).

Over the past few years, the KiwiSDR network has grown almost exponentially. There are Kiwi SDRs on every continent save Antarctica (someone remedy that, please!).

Each red pin represents a KiwiSDR installation.

Other than the fact that the SDR audio is piped through the Internet–and you can’t walk outside and adjust the antenna–there is no difference between using a KiwiSDR remotely or locally.

In fact, the KiwiSDR only has a web browser-based application, there is no downloadable application for local use. So quite literally, the experience of controlling and using a KiwiSDR locally or globally is identical.

And it’s so much fun! I browse the KiwiSDR network via the map above, select an interesting location, and virtually travel there for an impromptu DXpedition. I can travel to India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, or Hawaii via the network and be back in time for dinner here in Canada without breaking a sweat or even using frequent flyer miles!

I’ve found that the combo above makes for an immersive experience. I use Bose Quiet Comfort noise-cancelling headphones paired with my iPad Air (which I have enclosed in a Zagg Rugged Book). With a reasonable Internet connection, it truly feels like I’m there.

Of course, you don’t need an iPad, or any special equipment. The KiwiSDR application works with pretty much any computer, tablet or smart phone that has a web browser. For the best experience, however, I would suggest connecting a good external speaker, bluetooth speaker or headphones.

I know many of you are thinking, “But Thomas! This isn’t real radio!”

But I would argue that it is real radio! It’s a real radio, connected to a real antenna that you’re simply controlling via the Internet with a web-based SDR application. Instead of the audio going through a sound card into your headphones, it’s going into a soundcard, piped through the Internet, then into your headphones.

Give it a try! You might find an impromptu DXpedition is the perfect remedy to your QRM and RFI blues!

Post readers: Any heavy KiwiSDR users out there?  Or do you oppose using WebSDRs? What are your thoughts? Please comment!

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“Burundi to suspend BBC and VOA radio broadcasts”

(Source: The Independent via Mike Hansgen)

Nairobi, Kenya | AFP | Burundi’s press regulator on Friday said it was suspending broadcasts by the BBC and Voice of America (VOA) by local radio stations ahead of a constitutional referendum on May 17.

The head of Burundi’s National Communications Council told journalists in the capital Bujumbura that a six-month ban would come into force on Monday.

Karenga Ramadhani accused the BBC and VOA of “breaches of the law governing the press and ethics”.

The BBC, he said, “damaged the reputation” of President Pierre Nkurunziza during a discussion programme and had “ignored” previous warnings.

Burundi’s government earlier this week urged the regulator to “take action” against the BBC which it accused of spreading “incendiary statements… hatred and subversion”.

VOA is accused of spreading “very tendentious” information and hiring a journalist “sought by Burundian justice”.

French broadcaster RFI also received a warning for disseminating “tendentious and misleading” information.[…]

Click here to read the full article at The Independent.

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