Tag Archives: RNZI

RNZ Sounds Historical: 90 years since first NZ/UK radio contact


Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Frank Holden, for sharing this episode of Sounds Historical via Radio New Zealand. In commemoration of the first radio link between New Zealand and the UK, host Jim Sullivan features a 1964 recording of New Zealand radio pioneers, Frank and Brenda Bell:

(Source: Radio New Zealand)

The first radio link between New Zealand and England took place 90 years ago yesterday and last night it was re-enacted. In 1964 at the time of the 40th anniversary Frank and Brenda Bell recalled the 1924 event which Frank Bell orchestrated from their home in Shag Valley, East Otago. His sister Brenda recalls the historic occasion from her home. The recording was made at Shag Valley to mark the 40th anniversary between Frank and Cecil Goyder of London. Allan Frame and Clive Liddell also recall the event. Then Martin Balch reports from the vents at Shag Valley Station on 18 October 2014. He talks to Mike ZL4OL from Dunedin, Dave Mulder, ZL4DK and Mike Mather ZL2CC from Gisborne. Frank Bells’ great-grandchildren Henry and Lucy re-create the 1924 event by talking to children at Mill Hill School, London.

Below, I have embedded audio players for Part 1 and Part 2 of Sounds Historical. While I would encourage you to listen to the whole show, you’ll find the anniversary recording in Part 2 beginning around 36:00. Enjoy:

Part 1

Part 2

If you’d like to read more about this historic event, check out this article on nzhistory.net.nz. The Otago Daily Times also features a photo of the transmitter the Bells used.

I’m a little surprised to discover no articles about Frank or Brenda Bell on Wikipedia (of course, their uncle, Sir Francis Henry Dillon Bell is featured).

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RNZI: Peter Fry says goodbye to Saturday Nights

full_peter-fry-014Peter Fry, host of Radio New Zealand National’s music request program, Saturday Night, said goodbye last night after fifteen years on the air. Many SWLing Post readers have written about their love of the program, having heard Fry’s voice over the shortwaves through Radio New Zealand International’s relay.

This morning, I received the following message from SWLing Post reader, Frank:

“I caught [Fry’s final Saturday Night broadcast] on my [Tecsun PL-660] while on watch last night.

For the last 2 months I have been ‘on passage’ from Antofagasta, Chile to Auckland on my wee boat and last night, having left Bora Bora 5 days ago bound Tonga, we were sailing through the ‘southern Cooks’.

Listened to his last program while sailing into the setting moon on a balmy tropical night right down to the last ‘goodbyeeee’.
To me its what SWLing is all about.”

He continues:

“Beats listening to the footy on RA. Beats DXing in Tristan da Cunha as well….”

I must admit, I agree, Frank.  I would certainly love to be in your place: on the open water, listening to distant stations…Thanks for sharing, and safe travels to you and your crew.

And fans of the show, fear not. Though we will miss Peter, and are grateful for his years on the show. Saturday Night will continue with a new host, and I’m willing to bet that it’ll still be a treat to hear.

If you missed hearing Saturday Night, yesterday, check out the audio files below, which cover the entire final broadcast:

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Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio New Zealand International

RNZI-LogoFor your listening pleasure: three hours of Radio New Zealand International, recorded on June 28, 2014 starting around 7:59 UTC on 9,700 kHz.

This recording begins with the The RNZI interval signal: the charming and unmistakable call of the New Zealand Bellbird. After top-of-the-hour news breaks, you’ll hear Peter Fry’s music request show Saturday Night (click hear to read more about Fry).

SWLing Post reader, Mike, recently informed me that Peter Fry will be retiring this week.  His last show will be next Saturday (July 5th). I will certainly miss hearing Peter Fry on the air, but wish him the best in retirement.

Click here to download this recording of RNZI as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

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Happy Summer/Winter Solstice: Listening to New Zealand and Australia


I’ve been on the road a lot lately. A lack of time resulting from this, combined with frequent afternoon and evening thunderstorms when I am home, has meant that I’ve not had the radio time I often enjoy.

This morning,  I woke up around 5:50 AM determined to get a bit of time on the radio. After all, today is the first day of summer here in the US, and a special day for me. I walked outside and hooked my antenna back up; I had been forced to disconnect it yesterday as pop-up thunderstorms persisted throughout the afternoon and evening.

I then brewed a cup of coffee and settled into my “listening lounge” for some early morning tuning.


I started off this morning off by tuning the Elad FDM-S2 to Radio New Zealand International on 9,890 kHz in DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale). I was treated to one full hour of Peter Fry’s Saturday Night music; the DRM lock was completely stable.  Though I prefer the sonic characteristics of AM over digital modes, I’m most impressed with the audio quality DRM affords coming from a 50 kW signal being broadcast on the other side of the planet. The quality is so exceptional that, if you listen carefully, you can even hear the news reader shifting papers at the top of the hour.

That got me thinking: I’m flawlessly receiving and decoding a wireless digital audio signal from 13,500 kM away. Amazing. Especially considering that my laptop struggles to receive Wi-Fi in many hotels.

RNZI signed off after an hour, so I switched modes to AM and tuned to Radio Australia on 9,580 kHz.

BombersAs I had hoped, RA was broadcasting the second half of the AFL match featuring the Essendon Bombers who ultimately held a nine-point win over the Adelaide Crows. Alas, Radio Australia dropped the signal before the end of the final quarter, but I was able to watch the results roll in on my iPhone while making waffles in the kitchen. If this had been a World Cup match, I would have scoured the shortwaves for another Radio Australia frequency.

Immediately after tuning in RNZI, I hit the record button on the FDM-S2 (around 5:55 EDT/9:55 UTC) and didn’t stop the recording until after Radio Australia signed off, so there is a 30 second silence in the middle while I tuned and switched modes from DRM to AM.

Click here to download my full 2+ hour morning recording, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Depending on which hemisphere you live in, I hope you enjoy this summer–or winter– solstice.

As for me, I’m looking forward to a happy birthday with my family.  Cheers!

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Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio New Zealand International (DRM)

This morning, while scanning the 31 meter band, I noticed a DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) signal on 9,890 kHz. Normally, I ignore most DRM signals because the amount of signal strength needed to properly decode the mode (here in the US) is simply too low for pleasant, artifact-free copy.

Still, I thought I’d give the new Elad FDM-S2 a try, so I changed mode from AM to DRM.

RNZI-DRM-003To my amazement, the FDM-S2 quickly decoded the signal and produced excellent audio from Radio New Zealand International.

I assumed the decoding lock would not hold, but I was wrong; indeed, I believe there were only one or two significant drops in the 40+ minutes I listened. This may be a very good sign from the FDM-S2, even if propagation was above average.

I’m not a big DRM listener, but that’s mainly because there is so little to hear on the bands. The real test will be All India Radio in DRM–I’ve never managed to get a consistent lock on them from here in eastern North America.

Still, I’m pleased as punch that I can so easily copy RNZI–one of my favorite international broadcasters–in DRM.

Here’s a recording of the broadcast starting at 11:18 UTC on June 14, 2014. Click here to download the the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

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Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio New Zealand International

450px-New_Zealand_23_October_2002For your listening pleasure: three hours of Radio New Zealand International.

This broadcast was recorded on 9,700 kHz, starting at 07:59 UTC on April 5, 2014. This weekend RNZI broadcast includes Peter Fry’s Saturday Night music request show–always a treat to hear.

Click here to download this recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below. Of course, you will automatically receive this recording if you are subscribed to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

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Radio New Zealand’s Peter Fry will take you on a musical journey

Peter Fry, host of Saturday Night on Radio New Zealand

Peter Fry, host of Saturday Night on Radio New Zealand

If you’ve ever had the distinct pleasure of tuning to Radio New Zealand International when their musical request show, Saturday Night, is on the air, chances are that you’ve become, like I have, addicted to this show.

The show’s inimitable host, Peter Fry, has one of the best radio presences in the business. His warm personality and penchant for playing absolutely anything back-to-back will captivate you. You’ll hear songs and genres (including comedy skits) spanning the decades, and Fry offers his excellent commentary between sets.

What amazes me, too, (when I stop to think about it) is the relatively robust audio fidelity from RNZI’s shortwave signal here in eastern North America, especially considering that this broadcast originates in Rangitaiki, on the north island of New Zealand, and is powered by only 50 kilowatts, a modest signal by international broadcasting standards.  RNZI’s signal crosses the Pacific at the speed of light–and at 6 watts per mile, by my calculations–delivers my Saturday Night as clearly as if it originated…well, locally.

The RNZI signal travels a full 8,249 miles (13,276 kilometers) to reach my home.

The RNZI signal travels a full 8,249 miles (13,276 kilometers) to reach my radio.

Yes, shortwave radio is magic.  And so is Peter Fry’s show:  Enjoy.

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

This broadcast was recorded on February 8, 2014 on 9,765 kHz, starting at 07:59 UTC.

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