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 →
Yaesu is introducing a new 100 watt SDR transceiver to their product line: the Yaesu FT-170.
The Yaesu FT-710 will cover 160-6 meters with 100 watts output. There are two other Japanese market versions: the FT-710M and FT-710S which are 50 and 10 watt respectively.
This general coverage rig will feature “AESS”–Yaesu’s ‘Acoustic Enhanced Speaker System’ which “creates the high-fidelity audio output.” Yaesu notes that the FT-710 utilizes, “the advanced digital RF technology introduced in the FTDX101 and FTDX10 series.”
KYIV, Ukraine — During the early morning hours of Feb. 24, as Russian missiles struck targets across Ukraine in the opening hours of the full-scale war, the Ukrainian military’s Army FM radio station went underground.
The team of seven army officers and about 10 civilian personnel abandoned their studio on the top floor of a downtown Kyiv building and relocated into a nearby basement. Inside the dank and dark underground space, they connected a mixing board and a couple of laptops to a mobile radio system, which the station’s reporters had previously used to report from the Donbas trenches.
“I just grabbed my Kalashnikov and went to work,” said Oleksandr Yurchenko, 32, a Ukrainian army second lieutenant assigned to Army FM.
While a Russian invasion force advanced to the outskirts of Kyiv in the war’s perilous first few days, the Army FM team stayed at their posts and worked in six-hour shifts to keep their programs running 24/7. They constructed makeshift beds from shipping pallets and stocked the basement studio with food and water. Body armor vests and Kalashnikovs occupied all available shelves and empty corners.
From this jury-rigged basement studio, Army FM continued to transmit information and entertainment programs to listeners across Ukraine — including into territories Russian forces invaded and occupied. [Continue reading…]
On Hackaday Chris Lott WD4OLP writes about DL1DN’s aluminum foil 20cm antenna for 28 MHz (10m) operation
David DL1DN, is an Amateur Radio enthusiast with a penchant for low-power (QRP) portable operations. Recently he was out and about, and found that 10 m propagation was wide open. Not discouraged by having forgotten his antenna, he kludges up a makeshift one using a 20 cm length of aluminum foil.
ATS-25 with Binns 4.1 firmware Review Now Posted. […] There were 7 different versions in the beta stage. New audio file added as well (Sync when it does not work so well, which is NOT all the time). Might be one more update before release (not sure right now).
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!
RNZ Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief Paul Thompson has welcomed the budget investment in RNZ Pacific shortwave transmitters.
In Budget 2022 the Government announced $4.4 million dollars capital funding for a new transmitter for RNZ Pacific.
RNZ Pacific broadcasts into the wider Pacific on shortwave 24 hours a day, collaborating with 22 broadcasting partners across the region. Its current primary transmitter is nearing end of life, and its other transmitter has in effect already been retired.
“The value of the RNZ Pacific service can’t be underestimated. Our voice reaches all parts of the Pacific, at times with critical information such as cyclone warnings. During the Tonga eruption, when the undersea cable was cut, RNZ Pacific short wave was a lifeline source of information,” said Thompson.
This investment secures a productive future for our unique voice. The attraction of the shortwave service is its robustness, and the ability to have the signal travel great distances, and achieve good audiences,” he said.
RNZ Pacific broadcasts enhance the Government’s Pacific strategy as we share our history, culture, politics and demographics. The strategy is underpinned by the building of deeper, more mature partnerships with Pacific Island countries, and by supporting their independence and sustainable social and economic resilience.
Since the ABC ceased its shortwave broadcasting the only other shortwave broadcaster in the region is Radio China. Thompson says RNZ can now start work on its infrastructure development with a new transmitter likely to take approximately 12 months to get in place depending subject to further project planning.
More than 14 million people have fled their homes since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the war shows no sign of ending. For World Refugee Day on 20 June, we are highlighting some of the issues faced by displaced Ukrainian people – and reaffirming that the support from the EBU and its Members will continue.
That support has manifested across a range of projects:
Air strikes on the TV towers in Kyiv and Rivne underlined the vulnerability of broadcast communications in a war zone. Together with our Members, we have coordinated the supply and delivery of critical equipment such as IP connectivity solutions, satellite phones, AM transmitters, and studio support to enable the uninterrupted transmission of vital news and information.
In these circumstances, being able to rely on accurate news sources is key. Many EBU Members have launched dedicated news services specifically for refugees in their own language, so that they can tap into vital updates from home, wherever in the world they are. Rai News in Italy has a daily news bulletin in Ukrainian; RTBF UKRAINE is a new web-based radio station for Ukrainian refugees in Belgium, with 100% of its content in Ukrainian; and Yle in Finland has a Ukrainian-language news service for providing the latest news bulletins in Ukrainian. Many public media outlets are also re-transmitting content directly from Ukrainian public broadcaster, UA/PBC for Ukrainian refugees.
Providing practical information to help people navigate the uncertainties of settling into new homes has also been a priority and has seen the launch of many dedicated programming and channels: GPB has a hotline for Ukrainians in Georgia; Czech Radio and Radio Prague have launched a podcast, ‘News for Ukrainians in Czech Republic’, that offers practical information for incomers. While ARD in Germany presents How To Deutschland Insta; Swedish Radio’s Ukrainian service for new arrivals includes practical advice on how to access medical care or education facilities for kids and RTP’s online service helps with learning a new language.
For children, displacement through war is particularly traumatic. TVP in Poland has developed a site for kids from Ukraine which, as well as showing selected content in Ukrainian, also presents lessons in learning Polish; ARD and ZDF in Germany have included content in Ukrainian for children, including German-language learning programmes, and Czech Radio has recorded fairytales in Ukrainian.
Noel Curran, Director General, EBU, said “Few of us can understand the trauma of being forced to leave our homes, not knowing when or if we will return. I’m proud to belong to a community that has mobilized a wide range of practical support so quickly while ensuring trusted news and information continues to reach those who need it, wherever in the world they are. World Refugee Day is a moment to reflect on a situation that continues to need targeted support. And to reaffirm our commitment to giving it for as long as it takes.”
Projected cost reductions cited as reason for Germany to accelerate the migration to DAB+
As energy costs rise, Deutschlandradio Director Sefan Raue sees a further reason to hasten an FM switch-off for Germany.
“We will not be able to afford two terrestrial distribution channels in the long run. The signs are clearer than two or three years ago,” Raue told German press agency dpa, according to Hadelsblatt. “FM is an energy guzzler.”
A public broadcaster, Deutschlandradio is based in Cologne and Berlin and operates several national channels on DAB+ and FM. The channel been steadily replacing its remaining FM transmitters with DAB+; six of its short-range analog transmitters are going dark at the end of June 2022. The broadcaster expects to have at total of 161 locations broadcasting its DAB+ channels nationwide by year-end, reaching some 90% of the German populace. [Continue reading at Radio World…]
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…]
A farm in central Florida has become one of the largest shortwave radio operations in the world. Using Cold War era radio technology called shortwave, Jeff White and his team are broadcasting unbiased information on the status of the Russian war on Ukraine to listeners in Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. Miguel Amaya has more.
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.