Russia has resumed Digital Radio Mondiale broadcasts on shortwave. The country originally aired the Voice of Russia via DRM a few years ago. The new service is tentatively called Radio Purga (“Radio Blizzard”). The target area is the Chukotka region of the Russian Far East. Analog shortwave transmissions once served the area, but those ended in the early 2000s when the broadcaster left analog shortwave.
Chukotka is vast and the target audience only numbers a few thousand. Thus, shortwave is the only practical way to reach the population. The transmitter site, Komsomolsk Amur, used to broadcast Voice of Russia’s analog programming and is now being used for the DRM program.
The new service is a joint project between the government in Chukotka and the Far Eastern regional center of the Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network.
Using DRM for Radio Purga has several advantages over analog shortwave. Radio Purga over DRM, for example, offers a static-free and higher fidelity signal. Studies have shown that DRM is just as reliable as analog shortwave over this distance via single-hop transmission.
The broadcaster is considering transmitting two audio programs from a single DRM transmitter. This is something analog shortwave can’t do. It’s also planning on using DRM’s ability to transmit short text message or a type of RSS feed (Journaline). DRM transmissions also use only a quarter of the power that analog transmissions do.
“We have in these remote places 2,000 residents who need to be provided with communications services … the Northern Sea Route also requires attention,” said Roman Kopin, the governor of Chukotka, last spring when the project was initiated, according to a Russian press report. In addition to mariners on the Northern Sea Route, the audience includes geologists, miners, reindeer herders and hunters.[…]
Russia will begin testing the Digital Radio Mondiale digital radio standard in the FM Band in July in St. Petersburg.
Russian firms Digiton and Triada TV are working with Fraunhofer IIS, RFmondial, chipmaker NXP and others to carry out the pilot.
The organizers will install a DRM-capable transmitter mid-July and begin regular simulcast broadcasts (DRM for FM) immediately after site acceptance checks are complete. The transmitter will reportedly be on air for six months and have an analog transmitting power of 5 kW and a digital output power of 800 W.[…]
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rob Gray, who writes:
I took this snap today while visiting in St. Petersburg Russia for a few months. Not exciting radios by any means, but given this store was something like a Best Buy, I thought it was interesting that shortwave still has a small presence.
Thanks for sharing, Rob! I can’t think of the last time I visited an electronics retailer and found as many shortwave radios on the shelf. At least, not since the days of RadioShack.
According to the broadcasting companies of the republics Adygea and Sakha, in the Russian Federation, a third broadcaster is again active on shortwave: the GTRK Kamchatka from Petropavlovsk. Sent for each two hours from 8.00 and 13.00 clock local time on the frequency 5940 kHz.[…]
The transmission to 5940 kHz compensates the omission of the long wave 180 kHz. Like all others, it had been shut down at the beginning of 2014 by long-wave and shortwave recordings that had previously been recorded on the account of the All-Russian State Broadcasting Corporation (WGTRK). Thus, the radio coverage ended outside the areas reached by the FM stations.[…]
The article also includes the following reception video from a DXer in Asia:
I wrote to them at <email@example.com> and asked why they didn’t mention the U.S. Government’s considerable state media broadcast resources in their article.
Apparently they never heard of international broadcasting.
Maybe you could link to this article in the SWLing Post and encourage readers to write to the Washington Post’s Editorial Board to enlighten them.
It amazes me that people who work at high levels in a major U.S.-based news media outlet seem so ignorant about international broadcasting.
Thanks, Ed. It is interesting that while the article notes RFE and VOA’s TV program, Current Time (which is only available online), they fail to mention the substantial resources backing RFE/Radio Liberty and VOA’s on-air audio broadcasts that are also available to stream online.
Russia has run large scale experiments to test the feasibility of cutting the country off the World Wide Web, a senior industry executive has claimed.
The tests, which come amid mounting concern about a Kremlin campaign to clamp down on internet freedoms, have been described by experts as preparations for an information blackout in the event of a domestic political crisis.
Andrei Semerikov, general director of a Russian service provider called Er Telecom, said Russia’s ministry of communications and Roskomnadzor, the national internet regulator, ordered communications hubs run by the main Russian internet providers to block traffic to foreign communications channels by using a traffic control system called DPI.
The objective was to see whether the Runet – the informal name for the Russian internet – could continue to function in isolation from the global internet.
The experiment, which took place in spring this year, failed because thousands of smaller service providers, which Roskomnadzor has little control over, continued to pass information out of the country, Mr Semerikov said.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, who writes:
Yesterday, 4 October, was the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik I, the first artificial Earth satellite. The launch heralded the beginning of the space age. Sputnik I’s Doppler-shifted radio transmissions on 20.005 and 40.002 MHz led to the development of the U.S. Navy Navigation Satellite System (Transit) and the equivalent Soviet system (Tsikada) and, eventually, to GPS and GLONASS and the other modern global navigation satellite systems.
The Sputnik I radio signals were picked up by many shortwave listeners. The 20 MHz signal was close to that of WWV and so was easy to find. And, apparently, WWV turned off its 20 MHz transmitter during some of Sputnik I’s passes over the U.S. so as not to interfere with reception.
There are several good sites on the Web with information about Sputnik I and its radio signals including: