Tag Archives: Shortwave Radio

Radio Malaysia QSL and memories

In response to our post regarding Radio Sarawak, SWLing Post contributor, M Breyel, shares the following:

These were the shortwave frequencies RTM used in 1975. This is my QSL card for an RTM transmission originating from Penang, as received on Denver, Colorado. [Click images to enlarge.]

Most MW stations in Malaysia ceased operation after 2000. That said, a 750 kW MW station in Sabah remained operational as late as 2008, if I remember correctly. My guess is FM became more prominent thereafter.

Certainly here in peninsular Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), particularly in 1987, we had six government FM stations. Sign-off was usually at midnight or 1 am, depending on the station. An annual license (tax) was issued for each radio owned.

Note, the QSL card [above] appears to have first been printed in 1973, judging by the smaller date printed at the bottom of the card. It was one of the few folded cards I received in my DXing years from 1967 to 1980. It features three sections, folded twice and printed on both sides. The Angkasapuri studio in Kuala Lumpur, map and flag of Malaysia, caption about the country, transmitter sites and frequencies and verification data is depicted on it.

This particular card was issued for a reception report I posted on 22 November 1975, nearly 40 years ago. Unbeknownst to me then I had picked up Radio Malaysia via Penang, according to the frequency legend (4.985 kHz) stated on the card. I assumed it was Kuala Lumpur and, more importantly, I was excited to have logged a new country to my growing list of international broadcasters.

At the time I lived in Northglenn, Colorado — a suburb north of Denver. As I recall Radio Malaysia was usually received in the early morning hours between 5 and 8 am. Reception was always weak, yet music and speech was audible despite atmospheric noise.

The receiver I used was a Zenith Trans-Oceanic H-500, a 5 valve/tube radio originally manufactured in the early 1950s. The antenna was an inverted L, elevated at over 30 feet, spanning approximately 75 feet in length.

This is a photo of Angkasapuri, the RTM Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, as it appeared in 1987. The HQ as changed very little since then:

Interestingly, the Australian Armed Forces had a radio station based in Penang in the late 70s-early 80s.

For more on vintage QSLs from Malaysia, please refer to my blogsite.

Or see this video.

Wow–thank you for sharing your DXing experience with us! It sounds like the Zenith Trans-Oceanic H-500 served you quite well back then! What a classic set.

Post readers: Please check out M Breyer’s blog for more interesting DX and radio history.


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Trans World Radio to retire shortwave services to South Africa by December 31, 2019

(Source: Trans World Radio via Marcus Keulertz)

Due to changes to the media landscape and subsequent decline in demand for shortwave radio broadcasts in South Africa, TWR will be reducing our English morning broadcasts in the 49, 60 and 90 metre bands on October 27th – followed by a retirement of these broadcasts on December 31st.

We thank God for the impact these broadcasts have had over the last 45 years and wish to remind listeners that you can still enjoy listening to TWR’s English programmes on Satellite (DStv Audio Ch 855), Medium Wave (1170 AM from 8PM CAT) and via our TWR Africa App and TWR Africa Website.

For any assistance, or to request our new reduced English SW schedule, please reply to this email, and we will gladly assist you.

#wearetwr

Blessings and peace,

Anthony Barkhuizen

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Carlos questions possible Radio Denge Welat jamming

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Carlos Latuff, who writes:

Greetings from Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Yesterday I listened something unusual.

On the shortwave band of 11.520 kHz, 11.525 kHz and then 11.530 kHz, this last the frequency of Kurdish Radio Denge Welat, it was broadcasting military songs from the times of the Ottoman Empire something [typically associated with] the Turkish far-right. It happened yesterday [September 26, 2019] at 19h09 UTC. I made a video clip of this transmission:

Click here to view on YouTube.

So, if Turkish patriotic/military songs were broadcast on the same frequency of a Kurdish radio, could we assume that this is a kind of jamming from Turkey, like China do with U.S. govt “Free Asia” radio, broadcasting Chinese music on the same frequency?

Are you familiar with this kind of jamming coming from Turkey?

Please comment if you can shed some light on Carlos’ request.

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Radio Vanuatu: New shortwave and mediumwave service through infrastructure upgrade

(Source: Vanuatu Broadcasting & Television Corporation via Peter Marks)

RADIO VANUATU CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT WORK BEGINS

With the support of the Government of Vanuatu, the Vanuatu Broadcasting & Television
Corporation (VBTC) has begun work this month on a 942 million vatu (US$8.1m)
infrastructure upgrade to improve radio and free-to-air television service throughout
Vanuatu.

The first phase involves the design, installation and commissioning of a new shortwave (HF)
and medium wave (MF) service for Radio Vanuatu, the country’s public radio service. Costing
for phase one will be in excess of 242 million vatu (US$2.2m) and is funded by the
Government of Vanuatu. Following the improvements to shortwave and medium wave
services, VBTC will also undertake technical work to strengthen the coverage and reliability
of its FM services.

A 10kw MF Nautel transmitter imported out of Canada and a 10kw HF transmitter
manufactured by Hanjin Electronics of South Korea will be installed at VBTC’s major public
service transmission site at Emten Lagoon on Efate. Both transmitters will be commissioned
before the end of 2019.

The second phase, beginning early 2020, will reopen Radio Vanuatu’s medium wave radio
transmission facilities at St Michelle in Luganville on the island of Santo. This will provide AM
service to provinces in the top half of Vanuatu at a cost in excess of 300 million vatu
(US$2.5m).

The third phase will expand the national television free-to-air service, Television Blong
Vanuatu, along with a new digital television service. This final phase will cost an estimated
400 million vatu (US$3.5m).

Prime Minister Charlot Salwai Tabimasmas launched the capital development upgrade at a
special function attended by cabinet ministers, senior members of the public service,
members of the diplomatic corps and members of Vanuatu’s business and non-profit
communities on Friday September 20 in Port Vila before he departed the country to attend
the UN General Assembly in New York.

In his address, the Prime Ministerspoke atlength about the importance to Vanuatu of having
a strong national public radio and television broadcasting service and announced assistance
from Vanuatu’s development partners to help achieve this objective.

The Government of Australia funded the scoping study for the radio upgrade project and is
providing funding support to implement the strategic reform programme of VBTC which the
Prime Minister said is making good progress.

“I’m also happy to announce that the New Zealand Government is keen to support the
second stage of the Radio Vanuatu technical infrastructure upgrade while China is
considering my request to support the upgrade of Television Blong Vanuatu’s technical
infrastructure.”

Meanwhile Kordia New Zealand Limited has been awarded the contract to project manage,
design, install and commission the new radio transmission facilities beginning with the
facilities at Emten Lagoon outside Port Vila.

VBTC Chief Executive Officer, Francis Herman said that “Kordia has extensive experience in
the broadcasting and telecommunications industry in the Pacific, and recently completed a
major project in Samoa for State-owned Radio 2AP funded by the Australian Government”.
“We’ve worked hard with Kordia and a number of other technical experts to investigate the
most efficient and sustainable transmission solution for Vanuatu taking into account the
inclement weather, and the need to keep operating costs affordable.”

The shortwave service, which will be commissioned before the end of this year, will provide
national radio coverage to the 82 islands spread spanning 1,300 kilometres between the
most northern and southern islands.

“Our role as Vanuatu’s national broadcasting service is centered on helping create an
informed public opinion so our people can contribute more effectively to national
development”, Herman added.

“VBTC has struggled to remain relevant over the past decade because its technical
infrastructure was obsolete and badly neglected making it challenging for us to provide an
efficient, reliable, and responsive national radio and television service.”

Alongside the infrastructure upgrade, is an extensive programme to strengthen the technical
capacity of Vanuatu’s broadcast technicians along with a long-term maintenance regime to
expand the life of the equipment.

September 23, 2019

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2019 Huntsville Hamfest photos: Flea Market

Yesterday (Saturday, August 17), was the first day of the Huntsville Hamfest in Alabama.

Over the years, I’ve heard from a number of friends that Huntsville is a must-see hamfest. And, boy, were they right! Turns out the Huntsville Hamfest is one of the largest hamfests in North America.

The entire event is held in the amazing Von Braun Center and is fully air conditioned–a good thing as temperatures were pushing 100F/37.8C yesterday!

I took a number of. photos in the flea market area of the hamfest. In truth, though, this is only a small sampling of what was there. I told a friend that–in terms of selection and radio density–this was one of the best hamfest flea markets I’ve ever seen. If you were looking for ways to rid yourself of your hard-earned cash, this was the place to do it!

Click on the photos in the gallery below to enlarge each image. Note that I plan to take photos of the vendor/club areas today and hopefully post them tomorrow:


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Radio World: “The Internet’s Impact on International Radio”

The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station Control Room

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors, Dennis, Eric, and Michael who share the following story from Radio World. Please note my comments below following a short excerpt from this piece:

OTTAWA — During the height of the Cold War (1947–1991), the shortwave radio bands were alive with international state-run broadcasters; transmitting their respective views in multiple languages to listeners around the globe.

The western bloc’s advocates were led by the BBC World Service, and included Voice of America, Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe, Radio Canada International and a host of influential European broadcasters. The eastern bloc’s de facto team captain was the USSR’s Radio Moscow (with its unique hollow, echoing sound), supplemented by broadcasters in Soviet satellite countries (like East Germany’s Radio Berlin International) and allies like Fidel Castro’s Radio Havana Cuba.

Then 1991 arrived, and the Cold War apparently ended with the fall of the Soviet Union and the destruction of the Berlin Wall.

In the seeming peace that followed, many governments no longer saw the sense in spending millions on multi-megawatt transmitters and vast antenna farms to keep broadcasting their messages globally.

The leader among them, the BBC World Service (BBCWS), trumpeted the web and webcasting as modern, cost-effective alternatives to expensive shortwave broadcasting (along with satellite radio and leasing local FM airtime in the countries they used to broadcast to). This is why the BBCWS ceased shortwave transmissions to North America and Australia in 2001 and Europe in 2008, while retaining SW broadcasts in less-developed parts of the globe.[…]

The full article is available here and quite a good piece exploring how the Internet has had an impact on shortwave radio broadcasting.

I, along with a number of fiends in the shortwave community–Bob Zanotti, Jeff White, Colin Newell, and Ian McFarland to name a few–we’re quoted in this piece.

As with most any published piece, quotes and statements are trimmed and edited to fit the print space. If you read the full article, you will have noticed some quotes from me. Here’s a larger portion of my full statement for this piece:

Most audience analysts agree that the number of shortwave listeners has been on the decline at the same time Internet access has been on the rise. Moreover, shortwave listener numbers are hard to quantify due to the very nature of anonymous listening; no one can truly “track” a shortwave radio listener. On the other hand, there is nothing anonymous about those who listen to or watch Internet content–not only can the audience be measured by numbers, but a much deeper and more invasive set of data can be gleaned from an online audience. Thus the decline in shortwave also denotes a loss of anonymity on the part of the listener.

This is not to say there aren’t shortwave listeners. A significant number of listeners are radio enthusiasts/DXers who appreciate the shortwave medium. But perhaps more meaningfully, shortwave listeners are those living in rural and remote parts of the world who benefit from the instant, free, and anonymous information shortwave provides.

At Ears To Our World, we received this photo from a school in rural Tanzania in June 2019. The teacher has been using one of our self-powered shortwave radios to listen to news and improve language skills.

Some broadcasters effectively target both of these audiences. Large government broadcasters, however, have always tried to reach the “influencers” in a country–those who might eventually help guide a country’s policy and international relationships. And the great majority of these influencers, according to audience research, have moved to social media and the Internet as a source of information.

Note that I received the photo above in June. At Ears To Our World, we still work with communities that appreciate the accessibility of radio. Perhaps our partners are more the exception than the rule, but there are still those who benefit from radio–especially those living in rural and remote areas. Where large government shortwave broadcasters are pulling out of the scene, often community-driven stations are taking their place. We’ve been working with Radio Taboo in Cameroon, for example, and they are an amazing case in point.

As a radio enthusiast, I’ll also add that I love the homegrown nature of shortwave broadcasting these days. As private broadcasters have a larger market share of the airwaves, individuals have an opportunity to buy their own broadcast time and produce amazing, unique shows like VORW, Free Radio Skybird, Encore, From the Isle of Music and Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot. These are just a few examples–if you’d like more, just check out the latest edition of Alan Roe’s guide to music over shortwave.


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