Tag Archives: Shortwave Radio

CTV: “How shortwave radio is resurfacing as a tool in Ukraine”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, William Lee, who shares this story from CTV which focuses on the resurgence of interest in shortwave radio following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

This item features our good friend, John Figliozzi; author of the Worldwide Listening Guide:

How shortwave radio is resurfacing as a tool in Ukraine (CTV)

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.

But now, decades later, shortwave is coming back into use. [Continue reading…]

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Radio Waves: DRM Part of BBC Story, Antennas and Smith Charts, Shortwave “Hot Debate,” Carrington Event, and “Deep Freeze”

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!


DRM Is Part of the BBC World Service Story (Radio World)

The iconic broadcaster has been supportive of the standard for over 20 years

The author is chairman of the DRM Consortium. Her commentaries appear regularly at radioworld.com.

Our old friend James Careless studiously ignores DRM once more in his well-researched, but to our minds incomplete article “BBC World Service Turns 90” in the March 30 issue.

As an ex-BBC senior manager, I would like to complete the story now that the hectic NAB Show is over.

Having lived through and experienced at close quarters the decision to reduce the BBC shortwave about 20 years ago, I can confirm that the BBC World Service decision to cut back on its shortwave footprint — especially in North America, where reliable, easy-to-receive daily broadcasts ceased — has generated much listener unhappiness over the years.

In hindsight, the decision was probably right, especially in view of the many rebroadcasting deals with public FM and medium-wave stations in the U.S. (and later other parts of the world like Africa and Europe) that would carry news and programs of interest to the wide public.

But BBC World Service in its long history never underestimated the great advantages of shortwave: wide coverage, excellent audio in some important and populous key BBC markets (like Nigeria) and the anonymity of shortwave, an essential attribute in countries with undemocratic regimes.

BBC World Service still enjoys today about 40 million listeners worldwide nowadays. [Continue reading…]

The Magic of Antennas (Nuts & Volts)

If you really want to know what makes any wireless application work, it is the antenna. Most people working with wireless — radio to those of you who prefer that term — tend to take antennas for granted. It is just something you have to add on to a wireless application at the last minute. Well, boy, do I have news for you. Without a good antenna, radio just doesn’t work too well. In this age of store/online-bought shortwave receivers, scanners, and amateur radio transceivers, your main job in getting your money’s worth out of these high-ticket purchases is to invest a little bit more and put up a really good antenna. In this article, I want to summarize some of the most common types and make you aware of what an antenna really is and how it works.

TRANSDUCER TO THE ETHER
In every wireless application, there is a transmitter and a receiver. They communicate via free space or what is often called the ether. At the transmitter, a radio signal is developed and then amplified to a specific power level. Then it is connected to an antenna. The antenna is the physical “thing” that converts the voltage from the transmitter into a radio signal. The radio signal is launched from the antenna toward the receiver.

A radio signal is the combination of a magnetic field and an electric field. Recall that a magnetic field is generated any time a current flows in a conductor. It is that invisible force field that can attract metal objects and cause compass needles to move. An electric field is another type of invisible force field that appears between conductors across which a voltage is applied. You have experienced an electric field if you have ever built up a charge by shuffling your feet across a carpet then touching something metal … zaaapp. A charged capacitor encloses an electric field between its plates.

Anyway, a radio wave is just a combination of the electric and magnetic fields at a right angle to one another. We call this an electromagnetic wave. This is what the antenna produces. It translates the voltage of the signal to be transmitted into these fields. The pair of fields are launched into space by the antenna, at which time they propagate at the speed of light through space (300,000,000 meters per second or about 186,000 miles per second). The two fields hang together and in effect, support and regenerate one another along the way. [Continue reading…]

Smith Chart Fundamentals (Nuts & Volts)

The Smith Chart is one of the most useful tools in radio communications, but it is often misunderstood. The purpose of this article is to introduce you to the basics of the Smith Chart. After reading this, you will have a better understanding of impedance matching and VSWR — common parameters in a radio station.

THE INVENTOR
The Smith Chart was invented by Phillip Smith, who was born in Lexington, MA on April 29, 1905. Smith attended Tufts College and was an active amateur radio operator with the callsign 1ANB. In 1928, he joined Bell Labs, where he became involved in the design of antennas for commercial AM broadcasting. Although Smith did a great deal of work with antennas, his expertise and passion focused on transmission lines. He relished the problem of matching the transmission line to the antenna; a component he considered matched the line to space. Continue reading

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Carlos’ Shortwave Art and recording of the Voice of Korea (April 17, 2022)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, who shares his radio log art of a recent Voice of Korea broadcast.


Carlos notes:

Voice of Korea, 15245 kHz, broadcasting in English, listened in Porto Alegre, Brazil, April 17, 2022, 21h08 (UTC).

Part of news bulletin: Kim Jong-un observes new missile test.

Click here to view on YouTube.

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Stations that accept reception reports and QSL?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Hyun Woo P., who writes:

I’m interested in SWLing and I have collected some station QSLs and confirmation (RFA, VOA, NHK, RTI, and time stations such as BPM, and HLA).

I would like to know of other stations that I can listen to and send reception reports.

Please let me know.

My receiver is Tecsun PL-680 and my location is a city in South Korea.

Best Regards, Hyun Woo P.

Thank you for your question.

There are a number of shortwave stations that still appreciate reception reports and acknowledge them with a QSL or letter. I know that you can add Radio Romania International, Radio Prague, and WRMI to your list, but it’s been a while since I’ve requested a QSL from a shortwave station.

Readers: if you’ve recently received a QSL or acknowledgement after sharing a reception report, please comment with the station name. Thank you!

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Alan Roe’s A22 season guide to music on shortwave (version 1)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Alan Roe, who shares his A-22 (version 1) season guide to music on shortwave. Alan provides this amazing resource as a free PDF download:

Click here to download Music on Shortwave A-22 v1 (PDF)

Thank you for sharing your excellent guide, Alan!

This dedicated page will always have the latest version of Alan’s guide available for download.

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Carlos’ Shortwave Art and recording of China Radio International

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, who shares his radio log art of a recent China Radio International broadcast.


Carlos notes:

China Radio International, 9525 kHz, broadcasting in Russian from Beijing, China.
Listened in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
April 9, 2022, 20h (UTC).

Part of news bulletin, war in Ukraine.

    • Report from Borodiyanka
    • Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dept. Maria Zakharova: Bucha is provocation to end negotiations, impose more sanctions.
    • China, Israel: dialogue is the solution for Ukraine war
    • China and the US bioweapons

Click here to listen via YouTube.

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Carlos’ Shortwave Art and recording of Voice of Korea

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, who shares his radio log art of a recent Voice of Korea broadcast.


Carlos notes:

Voice of Korea, 11910 kHz, broadcasting in English from Kujang, North Korea, listened in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

April 5, 2022, 19h10 (UTC).

News bulletin (excerpt):

“…In case South Korea adopts military confrontation against us, our nuclear combat forces are inevitably obliged to carry out its mission…”

Click  here to view on YouTube.

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