Tag Archives: Richard Langley

“The Forgotten Firsts–Remembering Radio Netherlands”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who shares this excellent article by our friend Jonathan Marks in Medium:

Jonathan Marks, Director of Programmes, Radio Netherlands, Hilversum, June 1995 (Source: Medium.com)

Every country claims to have invented radio. In the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision in Hilversum they have so far focused on the radio pioneer Hanso Idzerda. He set up a business to make and sell his radios. And he realised that no-one would buy his radios if there was nothing to listen to. I think the evidence shows that he was one of the first, if not the first person to make regular broadcasts following a pre-announced schedule. But I would like to suggest he started off a chain of Dutch “firsts”, many of which are now in danger of being forgotten.

First, Idzerda started international broadcasting. From a rooftop antenna in the Hague, his low power mediumwave signal could be heard in the Southern part of the UK. And he capitalised on that by broadcasting an hour of concert music between 4 and 5 on a Sunday afternoon, responding to listeners correspondence. And he managed to get the programme paid for by the Daily Mail newspaper in London. So, the first international broadcasts were commercial. They were also the world’s first broadcasts using what today we would call narrow band frequency modulation. It wasn’t until 1933 that American engineer Edwin Armstrong, discovered this technique was capable of transmitting much better audio fidelity if you used much higher frequencies and more sensitive receivers.

In 1920’s, no-one understood radio propagation

But in 1919 no-one really understood how radio waves worked and the influence the sun has on the way they propagate. I’m guessing that Idzerda would have had most of his UK listeners in mid-winter when it was starting to get dark.

By 1925, various things were happening in parallel. Physicists like Edward Appelton were showing that there was a layer in the earth’s atmosphere which they later called the ionosphere. It acted like a mirror to radio waves. And the path of the signal followed was dependent on frequency.

So while Radio Kootwijk was using a high-power long-wave transmitter to try and send Morse code messages to the Dutch colony of the East Indies, now Indonesia, engineers at Philips in Eindhoven realised that shorter wavelengths were best suited to long distance communication using much less power than the 400kW being used in Kootwijk. They ran experiments in 1925 which were received in Malabar Indonesia. A certain Dr de Groot is listed is some accounts as a radio enthusiast. It’s just that he happened to be the head of the Dutch telegraph station in Sitoebondo, East Java and had been busy since 1916 trying to establish a reliable, direct connection between The Netherlands and its colonies. The Dutch were making use of long-distance phone cables owned by the British who were listening in to all the communications.[…]

Click here to continue reading the full article in Medium.

Spread the radio love

WWV & WWVH marine storm warning announcements continue

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who notes that WWV & WWVH marine storm warning announcements continue despite a recent announcement that they would end.

Richard has been monitoring WWV/WWVH broadcasts and shared the following note earlier this month:

The weather broadcasts (storm information) were still there at 8, 9, and 10 minutes past 0:00 UTC on 1 November on WWV as monitored here in NB. Haven’t had a chance to check them since. Are they actually gone? If so, when were the last ones broadcast. The warning at the 4-minute mark hadn’t been heard for days. I’m wondering if the decision to terminate the broadcasts was reversed.

Yesterday, Richard added the following:

[…]And still there on WWV (and presumably WWVH) on 16 November at 03:08 UTC on 10 MHz. So I guess this conclusively means that the proposal to cancel the broadcasts has been rescinded at least for the time being.

Thanks for sharing this, Richard.

Your observation prompted me to check the NOAA Marine Forecast page. I discovered that it has been updated it since the notice to stop marine forecasts was first announced last month.

Before, it stated that the “end of the high seas warnings [is] scheduled for October 31, 2017.” Either NOAA made the decision to end the the forecasts in 2017 and never followed through, else the individual who posted the announcement mistakenly noted 2017 instead of 2018.

NOAA does not note edit dates on this page, so there’s no way of knowing when the page was updated. Regardless, there is no longer a firm termination date mentioned on the page. Now the National Weather Service simply states:

“the NWS is considering a proposal to discontinue this service.”

So I believe, Richard, you are correct: the NWS has at least temporarily rescinded cancellation of the service.

Thanks for following this development, Richard!

Spread the radio love

Radio Exterior de España: More details about shortwave expansion

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who writes with an update to our previous post regarding the Radio Exterior de España shortwave expansion:

Listening to [Monday] night’s recording, I note that during the English program, they mentioned that the foreign language programs in English, Arabic, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Sephardic (Ladino or Judeo-Spanish, I presume) all will be returning to shortwave. They gave the English schedule as Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 23:00 UTC with a repeat on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 03:00 UTC.

Thank you for sharing this, Richard. I’m impressed that REE has added so many language programs back to their shortwave services.

Spread the radio love

Hobart Radio International’s three part interval signals specials

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who writes:

While listening to my recording of yesterday’s Unique Radio broadcast over WINB, I noticed that the Radio Hobart International segment featured the second of a three-part interval signals special. Brought back many nice memories of long-gone shortwave stations. All three segments in studio quality can be found on the Radio Hobart International website:

 

http://www.hriradio.org/

Thank you for the tip, Richard! Kudos to HRI for putting these specials together. I’ve also embedded the audio from each episode below (email digest subscribers will need to view this on our site, or HRI):

HRI Interval Signals Special: Part 1

HRI Interval Signals Special: Part 2

HRI Interval Signals Special: Part 3

Spread the radio love

AFRTS: Thousands of hours of Roger Carroll shows now online

Roger Carroll

(Source: Radio World via Richard Langley)

Beginning in the early 1940s and for more than 50 years, the U.S. armed services produced long-form radio programs on vinyl disc to broadcast to troops overseas.

These were usually recorded by the top voice talents in Los Angeles and were heard over the American Forces Radio TV Service. Many of the same talent later created other shows specifically to aid the military with recruitment. The latter programs were then distributed to American radio stations for free on-air use.

Until recently, this trove of historical programming had been M.I.A., but now thousands of hours are available for online streaming, thanks to Army veteran Thom Whetston, who served in Panama and Korea.

“For years, AFRTS recorded many hours a week of personality-oriented music shows, and these were sent all over the world,” Whetston said. “The guys that hosted them got complimentary copies, and luckily one air talent in particular, Roger Carroll, saved most of his albums in his garage. For the last 10 years I had been writing a blog about AFRTS, and about a year ago, with Roger’s help, I began building a website where people can hear these shows again.”[…]

Continue reading the full article at Radio World…

Click here to visit Roger Carroll’s Best Sounds In Town and listen to the archive.

Spread the radio love