The clear and periodic pattern of fast radio bursts may originate from a distant neutron star.
Astronomers at MIT and universities across Canada and the United States have detected a strange and persistent radio signal from a far-off galaxy that appears to be flashing with surprising regularity.
The signal is classified as a fast radio burst, or FRB — an intensely strong burst of radio waves of unknown astrophysical origin, that typically lasts for a few milliseconds at most. However, this new signal persists for up to three seconds, about 1,000 times longer than the average FRB. Within this window, the team detected bursts of radio waves that repeat every 0.2 seconds in a clear periodic pattern, similar to a beating heart.
The researchers have labeled the signal FRB 20191221A, and it is currently the longest-lasting FRB, with the clearest periodic pattern, detected to date.
The source of the signal lies in a distant galaxy, several billion light-years from Earth. Exactly what that source might be remains a mystery, though astronomers suspect the signal could emanate from either a radio pulsar or a magnetar, both of which are types of neutron stars — extremely dense, rapidly spinning collapsed cores of giant stars.
“There are not many things in the universe that emit strictly periodic signals,” says Daniele Michilli, a postdoc in MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. “Examples that we know of in our own galaxy are radio pulsars and magnetars, which rotate and produce a beamed emission similar to a lighthouse. And we think this new signal could be a magnetar or pulsar on steroids.”
The team hopes to detect more periodic signals from this source, which could then be used as an astrophysical clock. For instance, the frequency of the bursts, and how they change as the source moves away from Earth, could be used to measure the rate at which the universe is expanding. [Continue reading…]
Transmission company CRA looks at possibility for reusing analog transmission facilities
Czech transmission services company ?eské Radiokomunikace (CRA) is testing the DRM medium-wave digital radio system on 954 kHz.
According to a tweet from Marcel Prochazka, director of legal and regulatory affairs for CRA, the transmissions are originating from ?eské Bud?jovice in South Bohemia and operating at a power of 3.16 kW from a 107-meter HAAT antenna. Continue reading →
Every so often, our star fires off a plasma bomb in a random direction. Our best hope the next time Earth is in the crosshairs? Capacitors.
TO A PHOTON, the sun is like a crowded nightclub. It’s 27 million degrees inside and packed with excited bodies—helium atoms fusing, nuclei colliding, positrons sneaking off with neutrinos. When the photon heads for the exit, the journey there will take, on average, 100,000 years. (There’s no quick way to jostle past 10 septillion dancers, even if you do move at the speed of light.) Once at the surface, the photon might set off solo into the night. Or, if it emerges in the wrong place at the wrong time, it might find itself stuck inside a coronal mass ejection, a mob of charged particles with the power to upend civilizations.
The cause of the ruckus is the sun’s magnetic field. Generated by the churning of particles in the core, it originates as a series of orderly north-to-south lines. But different latitudes on the molten star rotate at different rates—36 days at the poles, and only 25 days at the equator. Very quickly, those lines stretch and tangle, forming magnetic knots that can puncture the surface and trap matter beneath them. From afar, the resulting patches appear dark. They’re known as sunspots. Typically, the trapped matter cools, condenses into plasma clouds, and falls back to the surface in a fiery coronal rain. Sometimes, though, the knots untangle spontaneously, violently. The sunspot turns into the muzzle of a gun: Photons flare in every direction, and a slug of magnetized plasma fires outward like a bullet.
The sun has played this game of Russian roulette with the solar system for billions of years, sometimes shooting off several coronal mass ejections in a day. Most come nowhere near Earth. It would take centuries of human observation before someone could stare down the barrel while it happened. At 11:18 am on September 1, 1859, Richard Carrington, a 33-year-old brewery owner and amateur astronomer, was in his private observatory, sketching sunspots—an important but mundane act of record-keeping. That moment, the spots erupted into a blinding beam of light. Carrington sprinted off in search of a witness. When he returned, a minute later, the image had already gone back to normal. Carrington spent that afternoon trying to make sense of the aberration. Had his lens caught a stray reflection? Had an undiscovered comet or planet passed between his telescope and the star? While he stewed, a plasma bomb silently barreled toward Earth at several million miles per hour. [Continue reading at Wired…]
The following article is an original work published by the Information Professionals Association. Opinions expressed by authors are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.
By Tom Kent
As Vladimir Putin tightens his stranglehold on what his citizens see and hear, will radio once again become an effective way to get outside voices into Russia?
For the time being, U.S. broadcasting officials believe the best way to get their content to Russia’s population is still through the internet, despite all of Putin’s attempts to control it. Activists in the United States and Europe, however, are convinced that in a wartime situation, those wanting to reach Russians should be trying everything – including shortwave radio, the mainstay of Cold War broadcasting by the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
The U.S. government’s reluctance to return to shortwave has led to the odd spectacle of American volunteers taking broadcasting into their own hands. Activists have crowdfunded projects to transmit on shortwave channels programs produced by VOA and RFE/RL that the government declines to broadcast with its own transmitters.
Shortwave broadcasting uses high frequencies that can reach across continents. During Soviet rule, VOA, RFE/RL, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and other stations used shortwave to punch news, religious programs and forbidden Western music through the Iron Curtain. Soviet jamming stations tried to drown out the broadcasts, but much of the content got through.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of the internet in Russia, foreign shortwave broadcasting tapered off. Boris Yeltsin let RFE/RL open local stations in some 30 Russian cities, but under Putin they were forced to close because of Russian laws. The United States then switched its radio and video services for Russians almost entirely to the web and social networks.
Since the war began, however, Russian authorities have increasingly blocked from the internet any content that criticizes the war or Putin’s rule. Many Russians use VPNs and other software to get around the blocks, and have come to the US broadcasters’ websites and social network feeds in droves. But Russian officials are working feverishly to block these circumvention tools, and may be able to determine which citizens are using them. [Continue reading on the IPA website…]
With music consumption having long ago moved to a streaming model in many parts of the world, it sometimes feels as though, just like the rotary telephone dial, kids might not even know what a radio was, let alone own one. But there was a time when broadcasting pop music over the airwaves was a deeply subversive activity for Europeans at least, as the lumbering state monopoly broadcasters were challenged by illegal pirate stations carrying the cutting edge music they had failed to provide. [Ringway Manchester] has the story of one such pirate station which broadcast across the city for a few years in the 1970s, and it’s a fascinating tale indeed.
It takes the form of a series of six videos, the first of which we’ve embedded below the break. The next installment is placed as an embedded link at the end of each video, and it’s worth sitting down for the full set.
The action starts in early 1973 when a group of young radio enthusiast friends, left without access to a station of their taste by Government crackdowns on ship-based pirate stations, decided to try their hand with a land-based alternative. Called Radio Aquarius, it would broadcast on and off both the medium wave (or AM) and the FM broadcast bands over the next couple of years. Its story is one of improvised transmitters powered by car batteries broadcasting from hilltops, woodland, derelict houses, and even a Cold War nuclear bunker, and develops into a cat-and-mouse game between the youths and the local post office agency tasked with policing the spectrum. Finally having been caught once too many times, they disband Radio Aquarius and go on to careers in the radio business.
The tale has some tech, some social history, and plenty of excitement, but the surprise is in how innocent it all seems compared to the much more aggressively commercial pirate stations that would be a feature of later decades. We’d have listened, had we been there!
Lysychansk (Ukraine) (AFP) – The portable radio in the dark cellar of the rocket-damaged kindergarten was transmitting news in Russian over whistling airwaves about the Kremlin’s military triumphs in Ukraine.
The six frightened women and lone man cowering in the heart of the east Ukrainian war zone had no idea whether to believe the monotone voice — or who was actually patrolling the streets of the besieged city of Lysychansk above their heads.
All they knew was that their building was hit a few days earlier by a Grad volley that left the tail end of one of the unexploded rockets sticking out of the pavement at a sharp angle just steps from the back door.
Their feverish fears vacillated between the idea that their shelter’s lone entrance might get blocked by falling debris and that the Kremlin’s forces might come knocking unannounced.
“The Russians on the radio just said that they have captured Bakhmut. Is that true?” Natalia Georgiyevna anxiously asked about a city 30 miles (50 kilometres) to the southwest that remains under full Ukrainian control. [Continue reading…]
In this guest commentary, DRM’s Ruxandra Obreja dives back in to the shortwave debate
Radio World’s “Guest Commentaries” section provides a platform for industry thought leaders and other readers to share their perspective on radio news, technological trends and more. If you’d like to contribute a commentary, or reply to an already published piece, send a submission to [email protected]
Below is perspective from Ruxandra Obreja, consortium chairman of Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), in response to the commentary “Shortwave Revival a Non-Starter? The Authors Respond.” Her commentaries appear regularly at radioworld.com.
Seldom have we seen so much passion and polarizing views as in the recent articles for and against shortwave. From “it’s dead and gone” to “this is the revival,” all shades of opinion concerning this simple and all-encompassing platform have been expressed vigorously.
Shortwave Has a Pedigree
Shortwave, currently used for large-area, regional and international coverage in the developing world, certainly registered a decline in the past two decades (but it never died, as you can see here). This loss of pre-eminence in the developed world after the Cold War is not surprising. The platforms available nowadays, in the so called “global village,” include “basic” internet connections (browsing, emails, messaging apps of any type), to the prolific social media products (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit), as well as video, radio and TV apps, satellites, mobiles give the impression that the whole world is truly connected!
At least this is the view from Washington, London, or Berlin. But there are the same proportion of people in Europe and America with everyday internet access as there are in Africa with no way to access to it. In such regions, shortwave and mediumwave radio remains essential for many, one of only a few reliable means to receive communication.
Since the arrival of AM and FM some seventy years ago, the invention of at least three largely recognized digital broadcasting systems (DRM, DAB/DAB+ and HD) is the most notable radio development. Digital Radio Mondiale — the DRM open-source global standard — is the latest and most advanced of the three systems, but the only one that can digitize radio in all frequency bands and the only digital option for shortwave.
Closing shortwave transmitters and then trying to restart them presents a huge time, effort and financial challenge. However, nowadays, broadcasters can often buy shortwave transmission hours, in digital, too, from third party distributors, and do not necessarily need to rebuild a comprehensive infrastructure. [Continue reading at Radio World…]
The closure of the public media organisation’s bureau demonstrates further curtailment of independent and free press in Russia.
CBC/Radio-Canada – the only Canadian news organisation with a permanent presence in Russia – has been ordered by the Kremlin to close its bureau. After more than 44 years of reporting from Moscow, CBC/Radio-Canada staff have been told to leave the country. However, Vladimir Proskuryakov, deputy chief of mission of the Russian Embassy to Canada, said they would not be rushed out of the country. He told the CBC News the staff would not be forced to leave in “less than three weeks.”
CBC/Radio-Canada currently has 10 employees working in Moscow, including locally hired staff.
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Intellectuals, broadcasters and cultural figures from Hungary’s Roma community are using the airwaves to reframe narratives and elevate the voices of the country’s largest minority group.
Radio Dikh — a Romani word that means “to see” — has broadcast since January on FM radio in Hungary’s capital, Budapest. Its 11 programs focus on Roma music, culture and the issues faced by their community, and aim to recast the way the often disadvantaged minority group is perceived by broader society.
“Roma people in general don’t have enough representation in mainstream media … and even if they do, it’s oftentimes not showing the right picture or the picture that is true to the Roma community,” said Bettina Pocsai, co-host of a show that focuses on social issues.
Radio Dikh, she said, aims to “give voice to Roma people and make sure that our voice is also present in the media and that it shows a picture that we are satisfied with.”
Some estimates suggest that Roma in Hungary number nearly 1 million, or around 10% of the population. Like their counterparts throughout Europe, many of Hungary’s Roma are often the subjects of social and economic exclusion, and face discrimination, segregation and poverty.
Adding to their marginalization are stereotypes about Roma roles in society, where they are often associated with their traditional occupations as musicians, dancers, traders and craftspeople that go back centuries. [Continue reading…]
The work that Rob Sherwood NC0B has contributed to the public over the past decade is unique and an amazing service to hams worldwide. I’m talking about, of course, his summary Table of receive bench tests published at this Sherwood Engineering website. He is independent so no one can think that advertising dollars could skew his assessments or how he presents them. As a CW contest operator, he is very clear that he sorts his table on the basis of what his experience and training has shown him to be the single most important measurement in his table: the narrow dynamic range.
I am not a CW operator or accomplished contester (lol) but enjoy the latter with my small team of fellow hams. But I am a statistician who likes to focus on problems where analytic tools can help foster a wider understanding of the data surrounding the problem area. So, working with Rob NC0B, I’ve created a set of “Sherwood Tools” to visualize his data as well as link them to a couple of other critical aspects of a rig purchase: market-entry price, consumer satisfaction, and the year the radio entered the market. These four vectors of data drive all of these tools, now available over at foxmikehotel.com.
The tools include a sortable Sherwood list where you can sort on any of the nine tests he publishes as well as the composite index of them that I created and included in my two-part NCJ articles in 2021. A set of 3D data visualizations are available to simultaneously view radios on four data elements (that does make it 4D, technically). Several graphs illustrate key aspects of the data, including how to not get tripped-up in the “ranking” of radios where the bench measurements are just not appreciably different. Seeing how the past 50 years of radios appearing in Rob’s Table have made a remarkable and clear progression toward the best receiver performance that modern test equipment can detect is in another tool. In addition, how the trend in getting a receive bang-for-the-buck has progressed over this 50 year period is there, too. Finally, I’ve used the industry-standard tool by Gartner, the Magic Quadrant, to help isolate radios in Rob’s Table that perform and are rated above average at various price points. I call these the Golden Quadrant Lists.Continue reading →
In a world of mobile phones, satellites and the internet, some old school technology is making a major comeback. The shortwave radio, used by spies for decades to send encrypted messages, is being resurrected for the war in Ukraine.
According to Dr. Andrew Hammond, curator and historian at Washington, D.C.’s International Spy Museum, the shortwave radio “is a classic tool that was used for espionage.
“With a shortwave radio like this, you can transmit information over huge distances,” he told CTV National News.
In 1936 BNR, then under the name of Radio Sofia, started broadcasting on short waves via the ELZA transmitter (the abbreviation coming from the radio station’s international code – L-Z-A). The same year the radio started broadcasts to abroad.
In 1936, information about Bulgaria could only be heard in Bulgarian and in the artificially created language Esperanto. It was after 1 May 1937, when programs began to be broadcast in French, German, English and Italian.
In the spring of 1938, broadcasts for foreign audiences were further developed to include “Special Broadcasts for Some European Countries”.
What was special about these was the advance publicity which the radio made in the countries for which the broadcast is intended. Such publicity was carried out through the legations, business representatives, foreign radio stations and newspapers so as to attract the attention of listeners abroad in advance.
Authors and hosts of the first broadcasts abroad were free-lance collaborators, among whom were legendary Bulgarian journalists and intellectuals like Petar Ouvaliev, Georges Milchev, Bory Ganchev, Mikhail Hadzhimishev and others.
After 9 September 1944, when the communist regime seized power in Bulgaria, Radio Sofia’s foreign language broadcasts continued to air news bulletins and commentaries on events in Bulgaria and around the world. From 1945 to 1950, Bulgarian Radio Sofia broadcast 10-minute news bulletins in Romanian, Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian, Greek and Turkish.
The Bulgarian Radio began broadcasting in Turkish language in July 1945. The programme targets the Turkish population in this country as well as listeners from neighbouring Turkey. It was run by Chudomir Petrov, BNR Deputy Director and head of the Foreign Information Department.
There were two 10-minute broadcasts each day. Editor was Boris Pilosoff, who then also led the French-language broadcasts. The first hosts of the program in Turkish were Ulfet Sad?kova, R?za Mollov, Mustafa Bekirov, Sali Baklaciev among others.
The Greek-language emissions started in the first half of 1948. By then, democratic power had already been installed in Greece under US and Western European pressure. The Greek Communist Party’s resistance movement was destroyed and many Greek functionaries found refuge in Bulgaria. Curiously, it was with their help that the Greek editorial board was set up.
Similarly, after the political events in Yugoslavia and Albania in 1948, political immigrants seeking protection from the Bulgarian communist government created broadcasts in Serbo-Croatian and Albanian.
The first editors and speakers of Serbo-Croatian language had their quarters at 10 Danube Street in Sofia. There they prepared and translated the material for the Bulgarian radio broadcasts.
Based on historical accounts collected by Bozhidar Metodiev – founder and curator of the BNR Museum.
Russia is regarded as one of the world’s most advanced countries when it comes to anything and everything related to spying, and that includes secretive, high-tech military communications.
For Russian leader Vladimir Putin, a former intelligence officer, this is a particular point of pride. Yet Russia’s reputation has taken a major blow with the often bumbling way the military has handled communications in Ukraine.
Here’s a look at how the Ukrainians have effectively countered the Russians on multiple fronts:
Q. Ukraine keeps publicly releasing what it says are intercepted Russian communications from the battlefield. Wouldn’t Ukraine want to keep this under wraps?
Ukraine feels there are huge public relations benefits in releasing intercepted material that’s either embarrassing to Russia or points to Russian wrongdoing, possibly even atrocities.
Ukraine’s military intelligence recently put out audio on social media, saying that as two Russian military members were speaking, one called for Ukrainian prisoners of war to be killed.
“Keep the most senior among them, and let the rest go forever. Let them go forever, damn it, so that no one will ever see them again, including relatives,” a voice says on the tape. [Continue reading at NPR…]
YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia: With a soft, soothing voice, Mujianto greeted his listeners before reading out an important update from the volcanologists at Indonesia’s Center for Geological Disaster Research and Technology Development (BPPTKG).
Mount Merapi, located just 4km from Mujianto’s village in Boyolali Regency, Central Java province, continued to show signs of heightened activity, he warned.
Since 2019, the mountain has been hurling glowing hot rocks from deep inside its magma chamber. Occasionally, Merapi erupted, spewing a column of smouldering ash high into the air and blanketing nearby villages in black and grey soot.
“People are advised not to conduct any activity in potentially hazardous areas,” Mujianto, who like many Indonesians goes with one name, told his listeners, concluding his announcement.
A farmer by day and an amateur radio DJ by night, Mujianto and six others at MMC FM have been providing residents of Samiran village with information about the dangers posed by Merapi, Indonesia’s most active volcano, as well as educating them on disaster mitigation since 2002.
MMC stands for Merapi Merbabu Community, with Merbabu being another volcano north of Merapi. Mujianto’s MMC FM is one of eight community radios run by people living on the slopes of Merapi, which straddles along the border of the Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces. [Continue reading…]
It is thought to be the fourth oldest radio station in Canada, and it is the oldest radio station in Saskatchewan. This weekend, Moose Jaw’s CHAB is celebrating 100 years on the air.
The story started in 1922 – April 23rd, 1922 when, after many meetings, planning and anticipation, 10-AB began broadcasting. According to Broadcasting-History.com, the Moose Jaw Amateur Radio Association “had planned originally to operate the station, but found they couldn’t afford to run it, so handed it over to the Kiwanis Club. 10-AB was licensed as a non-commercial station at 1200 kHz with 50 watts of power.”
One hundred years later in 2022 the signal at 800 on the AM radio dial booms across the province and into the northern United States with 10,000 watts of power with studios located atop Main Street in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, broadcasting through a transmitter located near Pasqua, just southeast of Canada’s “Most Notorious City”.
It was in the fall of 1922 that the Kiwanis Club turned 10-AB back to the re-organized Moose Jaw Radio Association and in 1924 the studio was moved from the old YMCA building to the top floor of the Bellamy Furniture Store, a building which still stands to this day, having been turned into an apartment block on Main Street, downtown.
In 1931 there was another move to new studios at The Grant Hall Hotel, a lovely, historic building that has been completely refurbished.
Financial struggles in 1933 would lead to 10-AB leaving the air on November 11th. The history books tell us that Rudy Vallee “provided the background to the sign-off singing I’m Heading for the Last Round-Up”. It was just a few weeks later when 10-AB returned to the air as CHAB after being issued a commercial broadcasting license by the federal government. Carson Buchanan, the secretary of the Amateur Radio Association, would own the radio station with partners and become the general manager at CHAB.
It was in 1937 that one of the first true radio stars to come out of Moose Jaw would begin his career. Elwood Glover got his start at CHAB, working for $5.00 a week. Glover would later move on to become CBC Radio’s Chief Announcer.
In fact, CHAB was an affiliate of the CBC from 1933 through 1962 when CBC’s Dominion Network folded and they became an independent station. [Continue reading…]
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Andrea Borgnino, who notes on Twitter that there’s a new “uncensored” shortwave program targeting Russia. Andrea links to this crowdfunding site which describes the initiative and asks for support:
We are going to broadcast an uncensored program in Russian for people in Russia. The technical possibilities have already been clarified.
The internet is becoming more and more restricted and sometimes at risk for the Russian people.
Right now, uncensored news in Russia is absolutely essential. We draw our motivation from these experiences and see it as a social responsibility to act. The programs will be broadcast on shortwave. Ir is possible to receive that programm with the simplest Radio and the listener is not exposed to the risk of being tracked.
Technically everything is ready for the start, and it could start immediately.
In addition we have some journalistic partners with us to create a daily program of around 60 minutes in length. The program will be broadcast twice a day. Everyone works for free and even the studios will not earn any fee. The only thing we have to pay is the powerful transmitter. every fund is welcome [sic]
This new station is Radio Truth for Russia (Radio Pravda dlya Rossii). It is hiring airtime on SW transmitters in Germany & Austria:
0500 GMT on 9670 kHz (Mon/Wed/Fri)
1500 GMT on 13600 (Tue/Thu/Sat)
1900 GMT on 6070 & 9670 (Tue/Thu/Sat/Sun)
Times/freqs probably subject to change
Many thanks Andrea and Chris for the information.
Please note that none of us are involved in this initiative. It’s for this reason I can’t vouch for the information being broadcast; indeed, I don’t believe I even know the organizers. I’m simply sharing what we’ve learned about the initiative and schedule.
Please feel free to comment if you can provide further insight and background. Thank you!