Tag Archives: Sputnik

Radio Waves: New BBC Ham, Russian Propaganda, Rotators, USB Continuity, and a Moment of Silence

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio 

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors, Marty, Mike Terry, and Tracy Wood for the following tips:


BBC World Service presenter is a radio amateur (Southgate ARC)

Gareth Mitchell M7GJM is well known as presenter of the BBC World Service show Digital Planet. He got his amateur licence in 2019 thanks to help from members of Essex Ham

Since getting his licence, Gareth M7GJM has been mentioning amateur radio in his BBC World Service show, most recently, featuring how radio hams in Australia have been helping with emergency comms.

Read the Essex Ham story at
https://www.essexham.co.uk/news/online-learning-and-exam.html

Information on the free Foundation Online course that Gareth took is at
https://www.essexham.co.uk/train/foundation-online/


Russian ‘Propaganda Machine’ Selects Kansas City As Its Second Radio Broadcast Site (KCUR)

Commuters interested in conspiracy theories about George Soros, Hillary Clinton and the Republican National Committee have a new option, courtesy of the Russian government.

Early this month, a radio station based in Liberty, Missouri, signed a three-year deal to broadcast Radio Sputnik across Kansas City.

The English-language programming airs for three hours each morning and again in the evening on three frequencies controlled by KCXL: 1140 AM, 102.9 FM and 104.7 FM.

It’s produced by the U.S.-based branch of an organization created in 2013 by Russian President Vladimir Putin to promote Russian interests abroad.

The organization, Rossiya Segodnya, hopes to restore a “fair attitude to Russia in every country in the world,” according to court records.

For now, Radio Sputnik only broadcasts in two American cities: Kansas City and Washington D.C., where its programming has aired since 2017.

“We’d love to broadcast in all major U.S. markets,” a Radio Sputnik spokesperson told KCUR via email. “But unfortunately, U.S. authorities are working really hard to prevent us from doing so.”[…]


Rotators – How do you turn that thing? (Nuts and Volts)

We’ve had a few columns on antennas and propagation, and there sure is a lot of variation in the types of antennas! All the different ways signals propagate require different antenna directions and types. Hams use dinky finger-sized “rubber ducks” on handheld radios but also some ridiculously big antennas it seems. Hams can’t use as much power as some of the other communication services, so they use antennas to get through by focusing radiated power.

If the antennas can focus a signal, then they need to be able to focus it in the desired direction, right? A few antennas can do that electrically by controlling the signal’s phase or switching antenna elements on and off. Most of the “pointable” ham antennas, though, need to be pointed mechanically and held in place during a contact or to keep a communications link working. The thing that hams use to point their antennas — large and small — is called a rotator.

There are a wide range of rotators, just like antennas. You may have used a TV antenna rotator with its “chunk-chunk-chunk” stepping. At the other end of the scale, whole towers turn! We’ll cover some of the most common types and give you an idea of how they work. (If you want detailed information, including guidelines and illustrations for how to work with these unsung heroes of the antenna farm, see the sidebar, “Rotator and Tower Know-How.”)


Build a USB continuity jig (Nuts and Volts)

If you’re like me, you likely have a drawer or shoebox stuffed with assorted USB cables that are used to either charge or program a USB device. The problem often is that some cables may only be useful for charging, and which only have the +Vcc and ground wires intact with one or both data wires either broken or not connected in the first place.


Every Radio Station in Los Angeles Holds Moment of Silence for Kobe Bryant (Billboard)

Los Angeles has been rendered speechless by the shocking death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., on Sunday morning. And for one minute and eight seconds — the extra time nodding to Bryant’s original No. 8 Lakers jersey — radio stations across the city held a moment of silence Monday (Jan. 27) at noon.

The Southern California Broadcasters Association asked its members to synchronize their moment of silence, as well as continuously airing reminders about the upcoming tribute.

Before noon, the SCBA requested all local area radio stations to repeat this core introductory message for grieving Angelenos listening in: “Right now All LA radio stations are now broadcasting 1:08 minute silence for LA Sports Legend Kobe Bryant,” according to an announcement posted on the association’s website.[…]


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Court Finds RM Broadcasting Must Register as a Foreign Agent

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ed, who shares this update regarding RM Broadcasting:

(Source: Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 13, 2019

Court Finds RM Broadcasting Must Register as a Foreign Agent

U.S. District Court Judge Robin L. Rosenberg has ruled that a Florida-based company, RM Broadcasting LLC (RM Broadcasting), was acting as an agent of a foreign principal and must register as such under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA).

The Department of Justice contended in a civil counterclaim that RM Broadcasting has been acting as an agent of the the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency (Rossiya Segodnya), a Russian state-owned media enterprise created by Vladimir Putin to advance Russian interests abroad. The litigation marked the first FARA civil enforcement action since 1991. Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers and U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida made the announcement.

“The American people have a right to know if a foreign flag waves behind speech broadcast in the United States,” said Assistant Attorney General Demers. “Our concern is not the content of the speech but providing transparency about the true identity of the speaker. This case shows that the Department can and will utilize all of its tools to bring transparency to efforts by foreign entities to influence the American public and our government, and demonstrates our renewed effort to enforce FARA rigorously.”

“While the right to free speech remains paramount to our democracy,” U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan said. “FARA ensures that the American public is fully cognizant of the true source of the messages broadcast in the United States. Armed with full information, Americans may properly evaluate the value of the speech they hear. As such, FARA is a fundamental tool in our continuing efforts to defend our democracy.”

In November 2017, RM Broadcasting and Rossiya Segodnya entered into a services agreement pursuant to which RM Broadcasting would provide for the broadcast of Rossiya Segodnya’s “Sputnik” radio programs on AM radio channel 1390 WZHF in the Washington, D.C. region. Under this agreement, RM Broadcasting could not alter Rossiya Segodnya’s radio programs in any way. As the services agreement established Rossiya Segodnya’s direction and control over RM Broadcasting, the FARA Unit of the National Security Division informed RM Broadcasting that it was acting as a publicity agent and an information-service employee of Rossiya Segodnya and was required to register as an agent of a foreign principal.

RM Broadcasting initiated the proceeding in the Southern District of Florida seeking a declaratory judgment that it did not have to register as an agent of a foreign principal. The Department responded by filing a counterclaim seeking an injunction to require RM Broadcasting to register. Earlier this week, the court granted the Department’s motion for judgment on the pleadings. A final judgment directing RM Broadcasting to register under FARA is expected.

This case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Feeley and Trial Attorney Nicholas Hunter of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section.

About FARA

The purpose of FARA is to protect the national defense, internal security, and foreign relations of the United States by requiring public disclosure by persons engaging in political activities and other activities for or on behalf of foreign governments, foreign political parties and other foreign principals so that the Government and the people of the United States may be informed of the identity of such persons and may apprise their statements and actions in the light of their associations and activities.
Component(s):
National Security Division (NSD)
USAO – Florida, Southern
Press Release Number:
19-519

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DOJ wants RM Broadcasting to register as a foreign agent for broadcasting Sputnik Radio

(Source: Washington Post via Mike Hansgen)

Sputnik radio, a media organization funded by the Russian government with offices around the world, broadcasts from a studio in downtown Washington blocks from the White House. It airs talk shows hosted by, among others, Lee Stranahan, a former Breitbart News reporter, and Brian Becker of the far-left ANSWER Coalition. Its website recently featured a discussion of Russia’s “Great Society” and a chat titled “Is Doing Business in Russia Really That Difficult?” The Weekly Standard once likened the experience of listening to Sputnik to “being immersed in some menacing alternate history timeline: It’s like ‘The Man in the High Castle,’ but for Cold War kids and with real-world implications.” And it has caught the ear of federal authorities.

Since U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, the Department of Justice has tried to compel Sputnik’s associates to register as foreign agents under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA. So far, those efforts have mostly been successful: Rossiya Segodnya, the Russian news agency that funds Sputnik, has registered under FARA, as has the managing member of the company that owns 105.5 FM, one of two frequencies that Sputnik broadcasts on in Washington. (Before Sputnik, 105.5 FM played bluegrass.)

There is one holdout: Arnold Ferolito, owner of RM Broadcasting, which leases airtime to Sputnik on 1390 AM in Washington.Not only has he refused to register his company as a foreign agent, the semiretired 76-year-old Florida man is suing the Justice Department over the request. “I’m not being caught up in somebody’s agenda. I’m a business guy,” he told me. “No one gave me anything unless I fought for it. There’s a principle here. In the United States, a person should be able to do business without government interference. … It’s nuts that you have to do something like this.”

In his complaint, filed last fall in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Ferolito contends RM Broadcasting doesn’t have “any kind of joint-venture relationship whatsoever with Rossiya Segodnya,” and that the two entities are simply engaged in “an arms-length commercial business transaction.”

The Justice Department isn’t buying that. In its countersuit, it alleged that Ferolito broadcasts Sputnik news under “the direction and control of Rossiya Segodnya” and is an “information-service employee.”[…]

Click here to read full story.

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Today: Sixty year anniversary of Sputnik 1

Radio Moscow QSL Card (Credit: Richard Langley)

(Source: NASA History Archives)

Sputnik and The Dawn of the Space Age

History changed on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik I. The world’s first artificial satellite was about the size of a beach ball (58 cm.or 22.8 inches in diameter), weighed only 83.6 kg. or 183.9 pounds, and took about 98 minutes to orbit the Earth on its elliptical path. That launch ushered in new political, military, technological, and scientific developments. While the Sputnik launch was a single event, it marked the start of the space age and the U.S.-U.S.S.R space race.

The story begins in 1952, when the International Council of Scientific Unions decided to establish July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958, as the International Geophysical Year (IGY)because the scientists knew that the cycles of solar activity would be at a high point then. In October 1954, the council adopted a resolution calling for artificial satellites to be launched during the IGY to map the Earth’s surface.

In July 1955, the White House announced plans to launch an Earth-orbiting satellite for the IGY and solicited proposals from various Government research agencies to undertake development. In September 1955, the Naval Research Laboratory’s Vanguard proposal was chosen to represent the U.S. during the IGY.

The Sputnik launch changed everything. As a technical achievement, Sputnik caught the world’s attention and the American public off-guard. Its size was more impressive than Vanguard’s intended 3.5-pound payload. In addition, the public feared that the Soviets’ ability to launch satellites also translated into the capability to launch ballistic missiles that could carry nuclear weapons from Europe to the U.S. Then the Soviets struck again; on November 3, Sputnik II was launched, carrying a much heavier payload, including a dog named Laika.

Immediately after the Sputnik I launch in October, the U.S. Defense Department responded to the political furor by approving funding for another U.S. satellite project. As a simultaneous alternative to Vanguard, Wernher von Braun and his Army Redstone Arsenal team began work on the Explorer project.

On January 31, 1958, the tide changed, when the United States successfully launched Explorer I. This satellite carried a small scientific payload that eventually discovered the magnetic radiation belts around the Earth, named after principal investigator James Van Allen. The Explorer program continued as a successful ongoing series of lightweight, scientifically useful spacecraft.

The Sputnik launch also led directly to the creation of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In July 1958, Congress passed the National Aeronautics and Space Act (commonly called the “Space Act”), which created NASA as of October 1, 1958 from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and other government agencies.

Click here to read at NASA’s history website.

Source: NASA

More on Sputnik

Check out this post by SWLing Post contributor Richard Langley in our archives.

Also contributor, Colin Anderton, has posted a vintage Radio Moscow recording on his website, Apollo Audio Highlights.

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Sputnik Radio moves to the DC FM radio market

(Source: Sputnik News via Sheldon Harvey)

“Sputnik Radio begins broadcasting in Washington DC on the FM bandwidth, bringing its programming to FM listeners across the metropolitan area for the very first time.

Sputnik Radio broadcasts, ranging from news programs to talk shows and financial analysis, are now available on 105.5 FM, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Thanks for the tip, Sheldon!

This isn’t the first time Russian state media has moved to the DC market.

Does anyone remember back in 2011 when the Voice of Russia started broadcasting to the DC audience?

Click here to read about it in our archives.

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Anniversary of Sputnik I Launch & Radio Moscow

radio_moscow_sputnik_card_side1

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:

Richard's Radio Moscow QSL card (Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

Sometime in high school, I received a card from Radio Moscow celebrating the launch of Sputnik I [see above]. Perhaps it was issued in 1967 for the 10th anniversary of the launch.

Richard: You never cease to amaze me! Thank you so much for sharing all of this Sputnik I information and resources! That gorgeous QSL Card is perhaps my favorite design from Radio Moscow.

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