Tag Archives: The Shortwave Radio Audio Archive

Report from the 2017 Radio Preservation Task Force meeting

SWLing Post readers might recall that, last year, I had the distinctly great honor of presenting at the 2017 Radio Preservation Task Force meeting at the Library of Congress.

Several readers have asked me to share my experiences at the conference, so I’ll note the conference highlights here.

I attended all three days of the conference. The first day (Thursday, November 2) was held at the Woodrow Wilson Center and focused on Cold War broadcasting. It goes almost without saying that this was absolutely fascinating.  I learned a great deal. One of the day’s recurrent discussion themes, for example, focused on the keen awareness of those inside the Iron Curtain that they had been regularly subjected to propaganda.  In other words, the Cold War somehow created very discerning news listeners savvy enough to separate fact from fiction quite skillfully––an ability that many fear may (unfortunately) be eroding among today’s media audiences.  

That afternoon, SWLing Post reader, Phil Ewing, took me on an amazing tour of NPR’s new headquarters [thanks SO much, Phil!].


Later that afternoon at NPR, I attended an event celebrating NPR’s founding father and mission creator, Bill Siemering.  Bill and I co-presented at the Winter SWL Fest in 2011, and I admire him greatly both as a journalist and as an individual; I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to be at this event held in his honor.

Friday and Saturday sessions were held at the Library of Congress and were equally riveting as they covered nearly every aspect of radio preservation.

Here’s our panel just a minute before the forum began.

I was on the Digital Curation panel along with Charles Hardy (West Chester University and National Council on Public History), Jonathan Hiam (New York Public Library), Matt Karush (George Mason University and Hearing the Americas), Elena Razlogova (Concordia University) and Mark Williams (Dartmouth College and Media Ecology Project).

The discussion was dynamic, and to my pleasure, our Radio Spectrum Archive was quite the hit. The sincere interest in this project was beyond encouraging.  Indeed, after my presentation, I wasn’t able to address all of the questions from those in the audience because there were so many in line to speak to me about it; eventually the LOC had to re-arrange the room for a televised event, the 50th anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act.

But there’s more.  And it’s a great ending to our story, which is really only a beginning: via Alex Stinson with the Wikimedia Foundation, I was introduced to the Internet Archive team last month, whom, to our profound delight, has wholeheartedly agreed to support the Radio Spectrum Archive by giving us nearly unlimited space to store our massive collection of spectrum files.

In a word?  This conference was brilliant. There simply couldn’t have been a better outcome for the Radio Spectrum Archive and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Many thanks to the entire RPTF team, especially Director, Josh Shepperd, for putting this spectacular event together.

I’ve been invited to a couple other archive conferences as a result of the RPTF meeting, and I’ll give these some consideration.  Regardless, I know this: I’ll make room in my schedule for the next RPTF conference. No way am I missing it!

And at the next conference I look forward to speaking to each one of those people with whom tight scheduling prevented my speaking at this one. After all, it’s this kind of enthusiasm that assures the Radio Spectrum Archive’s future.

If you’d like a more in-depth report of the RPTF conference, check out this article in Radio World (via Richard Langley). If you’d like to learn more about the Radio Preservation Task Force, check out their website by clicking here.

Many thanks to my buddy, Bennett Kobb, who also gave me a tour of the brilliant LPFM station, WERA (96.7) in Arlington, VA–what an incredibly dynamic station and staff!

Ulysses E. Campbell (left) and Bennet Kobb (right) in the studios of WERA.

I’d also like to thank my friend Kim Elliott for generously hosting me during the multi-day event. Even modest accommodation in the DC area is very expensive–no doubt, Kim’s hospitality made the conference a reality for me. Thanks again, Kim!

Space Flight: Colin’s collection of Radio Moscow recordings on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive

One of the joys of running the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive (SRAA) is that, over time, more and more people have become aware of it and submit recordings they’ve had in their private collections for decades.

Quite often, SRAA off-air recordings were originally made on reel-to-reel or cassette tapes which degrade with time. When SRAA contributors take the time to digitize these recordings, and share them via the SRAA, they put these collections in the hands of hundreds of archivists. We’re grateful each time we receive one of these shortwave or mediumwave/AM recordings.

You can imagine my excitement when I received the following message from one of our newest contributors, Colin Anderton:

“As a space flight nut, I have many recordings from the 1970s from Radio Moscow. They used to broadcast on the medium wave, and I used to record the news bulletins during some of the space flights. In particular, there was a period between December 1977 and March 1978 when Soviet cosmonauts first lived aboard the Salyut 6 space station.  I recorded each days’ news reports on the flights, and also some additional items about them.”

Colin’s recordings are amazing. Here’s a sample from December 10, 1977:

We’ve started publishing Colin’s recordings on the archive at regular intervals.

Click here to listen to Colin’s recordings on the SRAA.

Interestingly, I discovered that Colin also has a website dedicated to NASA highlight recordings from the space age.  Several months ago, he spent a considerable amount of time making the public domain series more listenable–removing voice-actuated recorder noises, tape clicks, etc.

Colin has made his collection of re-engineered NASA recordings free to download on his website. If you download and enjoy his recordings, consider dropping him a donation. If you’re into spaceflight like I am, you’ll certainly enjoy this collection:

apolloaudiohighlights.com

Colin, once again, thanks so much for adding your off-air recordings to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive!

Indeed, thanks to the many contributors who make the archive such a treasure trove of broadcast recordings! Click here to browse the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

Dan offers services to digitally preserve off-air recordings on legacy formats

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Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who writes:

Some years ago, I urged those of us survivors in the shortwave listening  community to transfer any reel or cassette tapes to digital format. In recent years we have lost many top DX’ers to illness. Collections of recordings have unfortunately also been lost because family members are not able to preserve them or have no interest in doing so.

If any SWLing Post readers have such recordings, I am able to transfer them from/to to any format — including MD, SONY Microcassette (both of these are obviously still legacy formats but many still use MD for example), and straight to solid state media such as SD, MicroSD, etc

While I realize that most people do have the knowledge and capabilities to transfer old  recordings, I know many lack the time and patience to do so. So I am offering my services here, for reasonable fees to compensate for time invested. You can reach me at: dxace1@gmail.com

Those who wish to simply donate recordings can send them to me (please get in touch first).  Anyone who does wish to have their recording collection(s) transferred in full and to have  original tapes or cassettes returned, I ask to be compensated for postage costs. If you wish  to provide solid state media for the transfers that is fine, but please make sure that thumb drives  or memory cards are of sufficient size. Otherwise I will obtain memory cards/sticks and add this to the cost.

In recent years I have transferred recordings of about a dozen DX’ers who have passed, and for a few who left the hobby. All of these recordings are valuable as they represent snapshots of the SW broadcasting era and of history — they should be preserved.

I can certainly vouch for Dan and his integrity, so if you would like to have your recordings transferred, he’s the guy to do it. Thanks, Dan!

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Radio Moscow 1984

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We’ve just posted yet another excellent recording by Jim Jordan to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive. This Cold War recording of Radio Moscow dates back to September 19, 1984.

Jim notes:

A nice Cold War piece from Radio Moscow on the double defection of the Soviet journalist Oleg Bitov. The real story behind it was revealed ten years later [click here to read article].

Also, check out this short mention in the Ukrainian Weekly:

THE UKRAINIAN WEEKLY SUNDAY. NOVEMBER 4,1984

THE UKRAINIAN WEEKLY SUNDAY. NOVEMBER 4,1984

Jim’s recording was made using a National Panasonic RF-2200 tuned to 9.5 MHz around 08:10 UTC. The location was South Shields, UK.

Click here to download as a (mono) MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

You can listen to more archived shortwave recordings at the SRAA website, or by subscribing to the audio feed via iTunes. You can also listen to the archive on TuneIn radio.

Shortwave Radio Recordings: KNLS test transmission circa 1983

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We’ve just posted yet another excellent recording by Tom Laskowski to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive. I thought a number of Post readers might appreciate this one.

Tom notes:

KNLS – Anchor Point, Alaska, from what I believe is a test transmission on August 1, 1983. According to Wikipedia, KNLS signed on the air July 23, 1983. The program consists of the sign-on ID in English and Russian then is mostly a mix of Big Band music. This recording is 31 minutes long.

Tom’s receiver was a Sony ICF-2001 and he started recording at 09:00 UTC on 11.820 MHz. His location, at the time, was South Bend, Indiana (USA).

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

You can listen to more archived shortwave recordings at the SRAA website, or by subscribing to the audio feed via iTunes. You can also listen to the archive on TuneIn radio.