Tag Archives: Tracy Wood (K7UO)

Tracy discovers a modern replacement for RDP English

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tracy Wood (K7OU), who writes:

I found a modern replacement for RDP- English. Perhaps even better!

My Portuguese knowledge remains limited to two quarters of university courses; similar Spanish cognates help bridge the Luso-English comprehension gap. Could I find an English-language radio show that would help revive my interest in Portugal, Brazil, and other Portuguese-speaking countries? Yes!

First as a backgrounder, Rádio Difusão Portuguesa International Service in English suspended programs several decades ago. RDP next completely left the shortwaves. Today, RDP Internacional continues to provide its global Portuguese-speaking audience non-stop content from Lisbon. The station broadcasts via satellite and streams via the Internet. Listeners in North America can tune in using a three-foot dish on Galaxy 19 Ku (12152 MHz, s/r 20000).

Now the good news. Fortunately, I stumbled upon a wonderful English-language broadcast that more than fills the RDP-English void. The show even resides on my daily **must-listen** list.

The “Portuguese-American Hour”, sponsored by Fresno State University’s Portuguese Beyond Borders Institute (PBBI), is the one-hour broadcast targeting anyone who is interested in the Portuguese-speaking world. The top-level focus is on the daily life of the Portuguese who settled in California (mostly from the Azores) and the following generations’ struggles to retain their rich traditions. The show has segments on music, history, food, literature, culture, etc. The topics covered the clearly go beyond California and US borders.

The brains behind the show is PBBI’s Dr. Diniz Borges who made a career as a Portuguese language high-school and college professor. He brings a wealth of knowledge and a seemingly unlimited list of radio guests. (Dr. Borges also spent some earlier years on California Portuguese-language radio; he retains a superb on-air presence.)

The show is heard Monday-Friday at 1600-1700 Pacific US Time (2300Z-2359Z currently) on KGST AM 1600 in Fresno, California. The station streams at https://www.multicultural1600am.com/ .

For the radio-hobbyist, PBBI now is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Portuguese-language radio broadcasting in the US, apparently started in the summer of 1920 by the unlicensed “Radio Vasco da Gama” in central California. There have been several segments on this unique ethnic broadcasting story and more related interviews are coming. (Check the last few show archives.)

Portuguese American Hour Archives:
https://www.multicultural1600am.com/show/the-portuguese-american-hour/

PPBI’s website:
https://fresnostatecah.com/category/portuguese-beyond-borders-institute/

RDP Internacional’s website:
https://www.rtp.pt/play/direto/rdpinternacional

Thank you so much for sharing this Tracy! To give readers a taste of the Portuguese-American Hour, I’ve embedded their latest episode (the one I’m listening to as I publish this post) below:

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Radio Waves: RIP Dame Vera Lynn, 1928 London Noises, Repoliticizing VOA, and Shortwave Trading At the Speed of Light

Dame Vera Lynn (1917-2020)

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

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Tracy Wood, Dennis Dura, David Goren, and Kim Elliott for the following tips:


Obituary: Dame Vera Lynn, a symbol of resilience and hope (BBC News)

Dame Vera Lynn, who has died at the age of 103, was Britain’s wartime Forces’ Sweetheart, and remained one of the country’s most potent symbols of resilience and hope.

With songs such as We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs of Dover, she inspired both troops abroad and civilians at home during World War Two.

As Britain’s cities came under attack, her wistful songs, with their messages of yearning and optimism, were heard in millions of British homes.

And 75 years later, the country turned to her once again as it faced another stern test.[]

Click here to read our SWLing Post tribute to Dame Vera Lynn from 2015 which includes a recording made from my Scott Marine Model SLRM.

London street noises 1928 (Sound and History)

THERE ARE NO BBC radio recordings surviving from before 1931, so the job of representing the 1920s falls to this curiosity from the Columbia Graphophone Company. It’s a 12” 78rpm disc made in 1928 in association with the Daily Mail newspaper.

It seems likely that the disc was somehow tied in with a Daily Mail campaign over urban traffic noise. The commentator on both sides of the disc is a man named Commander Daniel and he doesn’t approve of everything he hears in the city streets.

The recordings were made from single, static locations in Leicester Square and Beauchamp Place on Tuesday 11th and Thursday 20th September respectively. Columbia probably used a recording van equipped with a disc-cutter.[]

Repoliticizing Voice of America (The Hill)

When Michael Pack takes over as the first politically-appointed CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, his first task will be to comprehend the bewildering array of international broadcasting entities under the USAGM. This includes two government agencies: Voice of America and Office of Cuba Broadcasting (Radio and TV Martí), and four government funded corporations: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Middle East Broadcasting Networks (the Arabic-language Alhurra and Radio Sawa) and the anti-censorship Open Technology Fund. Within this structure are broadcasting outlets that straddle two entities, such as the Russian-language Current TV. All told, the entities distribute content in 61 languages.

When past that hurdle, Pack must then decide if he wants to maintain the journalistic independence of USAGM’s entities, or if he wants to move them towards advocacy of the administration’s policies.[]

Companies Pitch Shortwave Radio to Shave Milliseconds Off Trades (Bloomberg)

High-frequency traders will famously do almost anything to get the latest market data and send their buy and sell orders a few milliseconds ahead of the competition. They blasted through mountains to build the most direct fiber-optic routes possible between exchanges in a competition that transformed global markets and was made famous by Michael Lewis’s book Flash Boys. Soon, pinging light through glass fiber at more than 124,000 miles per second wasn’t fast enough—the glass slows things down—so traders moved on to microwave transmitters that send signals through the air.

But that has problems, too. Microwaves travel only roughly as far as the eye can see before they peter out and need a signal boost. Now two rival market telecommunications companies have signed a pact that they say will give traders more access to experimental wireless signals which can travel across oceans.

To do that, signals need a longer wavelength—known as a shortwave rather than microwave—that bounces between the water and atmosphere. It’s an imperfect solution. The waves can handle only a fraction of the data that fiber can, carrying about a kilobit per second vs. gigabits. And some signals can be lost.

Raft Technologies Inc., a startup based in Tel Aviv, says the trade-offs are worth it. Raft says it can send data over shortwave from Chicago to Frankfurt in 31.4 milliseconds, which it says is about 4.5 milliseconds faster than the best available fiber route. That’s an eternity in an industry that tends to measure improvements by the thousandth of a millisecond. The company says the signal is about 85% reliable, compared with 100% for fiber. Clients can use a fiber line in parallel as a fail-safe measure.[]


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Radio Waves: Radio Stations in the Movies, Opposition to ABC Budget Cuts, Numbers Stations, and Student Repairs Vintage Radios

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

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Tracy Wood, Michael Bird, and David Shannon for the following tips:


How accurately have radio stations been portrayed in TV and movies? Alan Cross rates them (Global News)

Over the last century, radio stations have been the subject and the setting for a number of TV shows and movies. This, for better or worse, is how the general public perceives how real-life radio works. I’ve rated this selection of radio-centric shows and scenes through the years.

1. WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-1982)

Authenticity Rating: 3/5

Every time people of a certain age hear that I work in radio, they inevitably ask “Is it anything like WKRP?” The answer is both yes and no.

The show’s creator, Hugh Wilson, did come from a radio background, serving time as a sales rep at WQXI, a top 40 station in Atlanta, so he was certainly well qualified. His characters were slight caricatures of the real thing: the general manager who was often clueless about what was happening with his station; the harried program director; the burnout morning man; the trippy nighttime DJ; the sleazy salesperson; the squirrely newsman; the naive copywriter; and the receptionist who secretly runs the place. I’ve worked with each of those people multiple times.

The show was groundbreaking in its use of music. Up until WKRP came along, no one used real music in the soundtrack. It was all stock stuff, soundalike material made up by studio players. But viewers of WKRP heard actual songs from bands they recognized — something that eventually created endless licensing headaches when it came to syndication and issuing the show on DVD. That remains the reason why the show isn’t streamed anywhere. (Hugh Wilson explains the music issues here.)[]

Australians overwhelmingly oppose ABC budget cuts (ABC Friends National)

According to a new survey, 76% of Australians oppose any further cuts to the ABC’s budget and 49% believe it should get more Federal Government funding

The findings of a Roy Morgan national opinion poll serve as a warning to the Government that voters have had enough of budget cuts to the national broadcaster. Successive Governments have reduced ABC funding by a total of $783 million since 2014.

Read the survey here [PDF].

The survey shows Australians overwhelmingly turn to the ABC in times of crisis, underlining the national broadcaster’s critical role in the bushfire crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. ABC Friends commissioned the opinion poll, which was carried out by the independent research group, Roy Morgan.[]

What is number station and story behind it? (US Updates)

Fictional novels about number stations have been created in the minds of most people. Many people think of the number station as a ghostly, creepy, mysterious or supernatural symbolic message. But are the messages fictional novel about numbers stations  at the number station really mysterious? In today’s discussion we will know what number station is and why somebody finds it fictional novel about number station?

We all listen to the radio more or less. There are basically two types of radio listeners, such as FM radio stations and radio stations broadcast from the Internet. There are also radio stations of other frequencies and their different names. Such as high frequency or shortwave, extra high frequency, ultra high frequency limit through which there is also satellite signal and police scanner report.

Amateur radio, pelagic and air stir are also included in these frequencies. Today we will learn about high frequency i.e. shortwave radio station which is also known as fictional about number station. This number is used to send symbolic messages to various intelligence agencies and the military. This number station has been in found since the First World War and has been the center of attraction for many years. For many years some of journalists have tried to decipher the mystery of this number station.[]

Coronavirus: Student repairs vintage radios during lockdown (BBC)

A teenager who restores and repairs old radios says he loves the “unexplained charm” and history of the wireless.

Diogo Martins, from Oadby, Leicestershire, has been able to spend more time on his hobby during the coronavirus lockdown and has added to his collection of vintage radios.

“Without a doubt many of these radios have a family history where families have gathered around to listen to music and information, and it’s that history which I find so endearing,” he said.

The 19-year-old electrical engineering student said in restoring them he is “continuing their legacy”.

Video journalist: Harris Millar


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Radio Waves: Clandestines, FCC’s New Logo, WNYC Vision, and RAC Membership Renewal Procedures

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

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Ron, Andrea Borgnino, and Tracy Wood for the following tips:


Clandestine: Under false flags (Nils Schiffhauer – DK8OK)

Non-official radio stations always attracted shortwave listeners who call them “clandestines”, follwing a mixture of mis-understanding and romanticism. The range of this class of stations is remarkably wide. Nowadays, the majority of them is renting time from major transmission centres like Nauen/Germany, Issoudun/France or Toshkent/Uzbekistan.

As all media, they are put into service to influence people and to sell something by propaganda. The difference between an official broadcaster, like Voice of America, and a “clandestine” like North Korea Reform Radio is not palpable – both are financed by the U.S. Congress.

With most broadcasters transmitting on a scale between facts (“white” – nearly only the BBC) and sheer disinformation (“black”), clandestines are placed on the darker third of this range. The separation between “clandestine” and “official” is rather artificial. There simply is no difference between e.g. the official World Harvest Radio and the clandestine Voice of Wilderness, both religious brodcasters, funded by Cornerstone Ministries International/USA – to take just two religious stations.

Today’s activity of clandestines is concentrated on Africa and Asia with especially taking countries like North Korea, China, Eritrea and Sudan into focus.[]

FCC Adopts a New Official Seal in Anticipation of Relocation (ARRL News)

In anticipation of its upcoming move, the FCC has adopted a new FCC seal. The redesigned seal is the product of an agency-wide contest that solicited proposals from employees and contractors. The winning design, submitted by Umasankar Arumugam, was selected by a vote of the agency’s employees and contractors.

The revised design incorporates several elements: communications technologies currently transforming our world; four stars on the outer seal border, drawing from the legacy of the predecessor Federal Radio Commission seal; 18 stars on the shield, recognizing the current number of bureaus and offices; and the eagle and shield, identifying the FCC as a federal government agency.[]

1937 Vision: WNYC, The Flagship Station of a Non-Commercial Cultural Network (WNYC)

The notion of WNYC becoming the flagship station of a non-commercial network of cultural stations was first publicly articulated by Mayor La Guardia at the launching of the station’s new WPA-built transmitter facility in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on October 31, 1937. La Guardia envisioned a non-commercial/educational radio network connected via shortwave rather than expensive landlines leased by AT&T, but the FCC prohibited interstation communication by means other than wire when wire is available. At the ceremony La Guardia sharply criticized the FCC prohibition: “That is just as nonsensical and as unreasonable as to say that one isn’t permitted to fly from here to Chicago because there are railroads going from here to Chicago. Of course, all this is very good for the New York Telephone Company, but it is not so hot for us.”[]

New RAC membership renewal procedures (RAC via Southgate ARC)

On behalf of Radio Amateurs of Canada, I would like to thank you for your continued support of Amateur Radio in Canada and internationally.

Your membership has helped RAC in its two primary objectives: to support and promote Amateur Radio in Canada and internationally; and to provide valuable programs and services to RAC members (see below).

As a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the RAC Head Office in Ottawa has been closed temporarily and we are no longer able to send out membership renewal notices by mail and we will be sending out email notices instead.

We would appreciate it if you would please watch for these messages in your inbox and also in your junk folders – this is especially true if you have Outlook or Hotmail email addresses.

In addition, you can assist us by checking to see when your membership will expire by logging on to the RAC website and going to the “My Membership” webpage (https://www.rac.ca/my-membership/). You can also find it on the mailing label of the paper version of The Canadian Amateur magazine or by calling the RAC office as described below.

If you need to renew your membership you can do so by using one of the following options:

  • Online:  by completing the online renewal form (or by clicking on the “Join Radio Amateurs of Canada” logo on the top right of the RAC website). Payments must be made by credit card or by PayPal.
  • By phone:  by calling 877-273-8304 from 10 am to 4 pm EST/EDT, Monday through Friday (except statutory holidays). You may pay by credit card or you may send a cheque for the appropriate amount to the RAC head office.
  • By mail:  if you prefer to have your renewal form processed via standard mail, you can download an application for your region from the Membership Renewals webpage and mail it to the RAC Office.

73, Glenn MacDonell, VE3XRA
RAC President


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Former KGEI transmitter building sports callsign once more

1941: KGEI’s reinforced concrete transmitter building near Belmont. Built to withstand bomb or earthquake. (Source: TheRadioHistorian.org)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tracy Wood (K7UO), for sharing the following article from The Daily Journal. Tracy’s notes follow this excerpt:

KGEI, a shortwave radio station in Redwood Shores that was the only voice from home for GIs in the Pacific during World War II, has its call letters back.

The letters on the front of the building located off Radio Road were covered up decades ago by a church that took over the station’s transmitter building, now part of Silicon Valley Clean Water.

“I am happy to report that we have uncovered the letters on the building,” said Teresa Herrera, manager of the wastewater treatment facility. “I think it looks great!”

Herrera said she had no idea of the building’s history until the Rear View Mirror brought it to SVCW’s attention. No extra money was needed for the restoration because the building was due to be painted.

“The letters were just as they were when the concrete forms had been originally removed in the 1930s,” said construction manager William Tanner.

Still, there is no plaque to remind the few visitors to the area that KGEI, the GEI standing for General Electric International, played an important role in World War II. Among other accomplishments, the station broadcast Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s “I have returned” speech that fulfilled his promise to return with victorious American troops to the Philippines, occupied by Japanese forces since 1942.

“The First 24 Hours of War in the Pacific,” a book written by Donald Young, underlines the importance of KGEI. It also reminds readers how successful Japanese forces were during those 24 hours in attacking Malaysia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Wake Island and Guam, as well as Hawaii.[…]

Read the full article at The Daily Journal.

Tracy also shared the following notes:

During my youth I often listened to KGEI, both in Oregon and Bolivia. I got to visit the station in the 80s. I remember their teletype spewing paper for the long-form newscasts… The old 50kw GE hummed away.

The parasitic oscillations would actually form audio that you could hear in the studio/transmitter room. The 250 kw unit was tucked away… kind of hard to see.

KGEI was an important part of LATAM radio history.. the Cuban Missile Crisis, earthquake outreach to Nicaragua, etc.

Cheap clock radios could receive KGEI in Oregon when the 250kw unit was blasting to Asia.

“Mission Engineering” 250kw beamed to Asia on 5980 could often be heard with Chinese and Russian slow-dictation programming… trying to overcome the Cold War ban of Bibles in the Communist countries.

If you can find a copy of the book “Sky Waves” that has a complete history of FEBC and some more details about “La Voz de la Amistad,” the Voice of Friendship KGEI.

Thank you so much, Tracy, for your notes and insights!

I just found a copy of the 1963 book Sky Waves by Gleason H. Ledyard as a free download via the American Radio History website. Click here to download the PDF.

I imagine other SWLing Post readers remember KGEI as well. If so, please comment!

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High-Latitude listening: Radio Navarino, Cape Horn

Location of Cabo de Hornos, Puerto Williams, Chile

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tracy Woods, who recently contributed information about Radio Arcángel San Gabriel’s special January broadcasts and added:

The next southernly-most radio station that is available on the Internet would probably be FM 89.5 Radio Navarino from Puerto Williams, Chile.

They’re at www.radionavarino.cl.

Thanks for sharing this, Tracy! I’ve been listening to this station the past few weeks as they do stream online. Puerto Williams/Cape Horn would certainly be a fascinating part of the world to visit and one that’s on my bucket list! For now, I’ll enjoy their community station!

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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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