Tag Archives: Richard Langley

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Voice of Peace from Baghdad – December 29, 1990

The Sony ICF-7600D (Source: Universal Radio)

Many thanks to SWLing Post and SRAA contributor, Richard Langley, who has recently uploaded an off-air recording of the Voice of Peace to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive. This is a fascinating recording that I thought I would re-post here on the Post.

Richard notes:

Live, off-air, approximately twenty-minute recording of the Voice of Peace from Baghdad on 29 December 1990 beginning at 21:40 UTC on a shortwave frequency of 11860 kHz. This broadcast originated from a transmitter either in Iraq or Kuwait.

Iraq’s Voice of Peace was established in August 1990 to beam programs to American servicemen stationed in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait at the beginning of the month. Programming consisted of music, initially easy-listening music but subsequently changing to a “Top 40” mix, news and commentary in a failed effort to try to demoralize the American troops. Beginning in September 1990, the broadcasts used a female announcer dubbed “Baghdad Betty” by the Americans. Reportedly, Baghdad Betty was replaced by a team of announcers sometime in December 1990. The recording is an example of the news and music programming. It is not known if the female announcer is the famous Baghdad Betty or someone else.

Reception of the broadcast was poor to fair with slight interference and fading. At 21:58 UTC, there is interference splash from WYFR starting up on 11855 kHz. The initial frequency recorded may have been 21675 kHz before switching after a minute or so to 11860 kHz as the radio teletype interference abruptly stops at this point. The recording includes frequent station identifications such as “You are tuned to the Voice of Peace from Baghdad.”

The broadcast was received in Hanwell, New Brunswick, Canada, using a Sony ICF-7600D receiver and supplied wire antenna draped around the listening room.

Click here to download this recording.

Click here to listen to this recording on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.


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End of WWV weather information

Photo taken in 2014 of the sign above WWV’s primary 10 MHz transmitter.

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

As monitored here in NB on 15 MHz today (31 January), WWV ended the National Weather Service Atlantic and Pacific marine high-seas and storm warnings after 19:00 UTC. Before that time, announcements about the ending of the warnings were transmitted during minutes 4 and 7 after the hour with the Atlantic information in minutes 8 and 9 and the Pacific information in minute 10. So, the last storm warnings were during the 18:00 UTC hour. After 19:00 UTC, the announcements in minutes 4 and 7 were discontinued and the storm warnings in minutes 8, 9, and 10 were replaced with an announcement about the ending of the warnings. Presumably, there was a similar transition on WWVH.

Thanks for the report, Richard!

In terms of an overall update about WWV in the 2019 NIST budget, there has been no real news to report. It seems the funding level for the Laboratory Programs (where the radio stations reside) will be funded at the same level as it was in 2018. Of course, NIST can internally-allocate many of their funds as they wish. Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Cuff, who’s been keeping an eye on this budget process.

I must admit that I find it interesting WWV, WWVH and WWVB all continued to operate as normal during the Federal Government Shutdown.

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“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.

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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!

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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.

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