Tag Archives: Somalia

Radio Waves: Insomnia-Fueled Pirate, Cold War & High-Tech Tactics for Russia, PL-660 Panadapter, Women-Run Radio in Somalia, and Building an SDR Transceiver

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!


Meet the 68-year-old ‘bad-boy nerd’ behind this North Side pirate radio station (WBEZ)

If you’re driving through the greater Ravenswood area and tune your radio dial to 87.9 FM, you might just enter a sort of radio twilight zone. On tap? Old timey, crime-thriller radio dramas, complete with sleuthy melodramatic music, damsels in distress and classic radio sound effects – footsteps, doors slamming, the gun going off.

There are no call letters or DJs, just “audio noir” floating out over a two-square-mile sweet spot on Chicago’s North Side.

It’s all broadcast illegally out of a nondescript two-flat on a residential block. There’s a spindly antenna on the roof, visible mainly from the alley, and a 50-watt transmitter in the upstairs apartment. And there’s Bill, a retired computer and audio engineer who’s been operating this illegal station for some 15 years. He asked us not to use his last name for fear of “FCC prison.”

“People on the lakefront up in the high rises can hear it,” said Bill. “And they used to listen at Lane Tech somewhere on an upper floor. So it gets out a little ways, but not that far.”

Bill got into noir not because it’s gripping radio, but rather because it’s not. He has insomnia, and the plot lines from Dragnet and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar help him fall asleep. [Continue reading and listen to this piece at WBEZ.]

U.S. and Ukrainian Groups Pierce Putin’s Propaganda Bubble (NY Times)

U.S.-backed news outlets and Ukrainian activists use Cold War techniques and high-tech tactics to get news about the war to Russians.

WASHINGTON — Using a mix of high-tech and Cold War tactics, Ukrainian activists and Western institutions have begun to pierce the propaganda bubble in Russia, circulating information about the Ukraine war among Russian citizens to sow doubt about the Kremlin’s accounts.

The efforts come at a particularly urgent moment: Moscow appears to be preparing for a new assault in eastern Ukraine that could prove devastatingly bloody to both sides, while mounting reports of atrocities make plain the brutality of the Kremlin’s tactics.

As Russia presents a sanitized version of the war, Ukrainian activists have been sending messages highlighting government corruption and incompetence in an effort to undermine faith in the Kremlin.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a U.S.-funded but independent news organization founded decades ago, is trying to push its broadcasts deeper into Russia. Its Russian-language articles are published on copies of its websites called “mirrors,” which Russian censors seek out in a high-stakes game of whack-a-mole. Audience numbers have surged during the war despite the censorship. Continue reading

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Treasure hunt: Seeking Somali radio recordings from 2010

Okay SWLing Post readers:  I need you to dig through your off-air recordings for something pretty obscure…

Over at the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive, I frequently receive inquiries from educators, researchers, historians, and enthusiasts looking for very specific off-air recordings, often for some worthy project or other.  It’s quite a thrill when I can lay hands on just what’s being sought in our rather deep recordings archive.

I recently received just such an inquiry from producer Meghan Keane at NPR, and though we were not able to provide immediate help, I’m quite intrigued by the subject and thus not quite ready to give up the search.  Meghan writes:

My name is Meghan Keane and I’m a producer for NPR’s Invisibilia. I’m working on a story about Somalia and music, and am currently looking for some archival sound.

Around 2010, many radio stations in Somalia broadcasted animal noises and gun shot noises to protest Al-Shabab. I am hoping to find audio of that to use in my story. Please let me know if you have any leads!

Fascinating stuff.  I do recall a news story about Somali radio broadcasts including animal and gun shot noises back in the day, but I never actually heard a broadcast on shortwave or mediumwave.

Post readers: Can you help Meghan track down such a recording? If you can, please comment and/or contact me!

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Warsan Radio 7750 kHz Baydhabo Somalia; on the Sony ICF-2001D telescopic antenna

Somalia

Hi there, great to hear this new station broadcasting from Somalia, during an early evening DX’pedition at my usual spot – a local Oxfordshire wood! Even better to hear it with just the telescopic antenna!

The ICF-2001D is renown for being extremely well ‘tuned’ to it’s own telescopic and this has been demonstrated many times over the past year or so that I’ve been using it.  This signal from Somalia was recorded on 08/08/16 at 19:15 hrs UTC using just the ‘whip’. Please click on the image below to access the reception video.

Warsan

Alternatively click here to watch the reception video on Oxford Shortwave Log

I have another video of the same signal which I will upload soon, demonstrating  reception with a 50 metre longwre and the ICF2001D. Until then, I wish you all excellent DX!

Clint Gouveia is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Clint actively publishes videos of his shortwave radio excursions on his YouTube channel: Oxford Shortwave Log. Clint is based in Oxfordshire, England.

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Shortwave plays vital roll in Somalia

I found this BBC profile on Somalia quite indicative of many countries in Africa. In light of cuts that the BBC World Service has been facing, this short article, about Somalia’s fragmented media landscape, admits that shortwave plays a vital roll in domestic news.

The TV and press sectors are weak and radio is the dominant medium. There are around 20 radio stations, but no national, domestic broadcaster. Many listeners tune to Somali-language media based abroad, in particular the BBC Somali service. The latter is available on shortwave, and via FM relays in Mogadishu (91.1), the Somaliland capital Hargeisa (89.0), and elsewhere.

They go on to say:

The Somali diaspora – in the West, the Gulf states and elsewhere – sustains a rich internet presence. But domestic web access is hampered by practicalities such as limited access to mains electricity. There were 102,000 internet users by September 2009 (Internetworldstats). In secessionist Somaliland and Puntland the authorities maintain a tight hold on broadcasting.

Shortwave listeners in Somalia, one should note, also listen to the likes of the Voice of America, Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Radio France International and many others. Most of whom are facing cuts right now as national budgets are being tightened in the economic recession. To those living in Somalia, where the media is fragmented and untrustworthy, shortwave radio represents a lifeline of information.

As we mentioned in this previous post, please consider speaking up on behalf of those without a voice. Let international broadcasters and their governing bodies know how crucial shortwave services are into impoverished regions of the world.

 

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