Tag Archives: Tracy Wood (K7UO)

Platja de Pals: Once a Cold War “front line” for Radio Liberty

(Source: CNN via Tracy Wood)

(CNN) — It’s March 23, 1959. The radio waves crackle and broadcast begins: “Govorit Radio Svoboda” (??????? ????? ??????? – “This is Radio Liberty speaking…”)
From the other side of the Iron Curtain, the radio broadcasts of US-funded Radio Liberty reached deep inside the Soviet Union. This was an opening line destined to enter Cold War folklore.

What most of those clandestinely tuning in could not possible imagine is the unlikely location those broadcasts were coming from.

This quiet beach resort of Platja de Pals, Spain, tucked between the Mediterranean Sea and the greenery of pine groves and rice paddies, makes for an unlikely Cold War front line, but this is exactly the role it played for nearly half a century.

At this spot, some 150 kilometers north of Barcelona, Catalonia’s rugged Costa Brava opens up into a large bay lined by a long sandy beach, the perfect location for what was to be one of the most powerful broadcasting stations in the world.

Strategic location

In the mid-1950s, and after nearly two decades of international isolation for Francisco Franco’s Spanish dictatorship, the increasing tensions of the Cold War provided the background for a rapprochement between Spain and the United States.

In this new Cold War context, Washington took an interest in Spain’s strategic location. General Franco, himself a staunch anti-communist, was happy to oblige. In a landmark deal, the United States was provided with a string of bases on Spanish soil, while Franco’s dictatorship would see its relations with the West restored.

The setup of Radio Liberty’s broadcast station in Pals was a side effect of this new geostrategic reality.

From 1959 to 2006, this beach was home to 13 massive antennas (the largest of them 168 meters high, or more than half the size of the Eiffel Tower). This spot was favored not only because of the availability of space — the antennas were laid out in a mile-long line parallel to the shore — but also because it provided direct, unimpeded access to the sea. A physical phenomenon called tropospheric propagation makes it possible for radio waves to travel further over water.[…]

Click here to continue reading at CNN.

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Education Secretary covers IMER shortfall

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tracy Wood, who shares the following update regarding the potential closure of Radio México Internacional’s streaming service. Tracy notes:

The Education Secretary came up with 19.3 million pesos to cover the shortfall. Article has timelines:

https://www.elsoldemexico.com.mx/mexico/sociedad/austeridad-de-la-4t-pega-a-imer-despidos-renuncias-y-cierre-de-estaciones-3816328.html

Thanks for the update, Tracy!

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Radio México Internacional to disappear

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

Radio México Internacional will disappear (again)…web stream to sadly go away.

Tracy referenced this article (in Spanish) from El Sol de México. The following excerpt was translated to English via Google Translate:

A grim picture was presented to employees and workers of the Mexican Institute of Radio (IMER), since the budget cut would technically lead to “paralysis” and a labor liability of seven million pesos before the dismissals.

In an audio, which was obtained by El Sol de México, the workers and collaborators were explained that “the IMER does not have the capacity to hire anyone. Neither in fees nor as a freelance, ” he says.

[…]But the recount of the damages that the IMER will have for the lack of resources is that “four stations will disappear in their entirety: Radio Mexico International, World Music, HD Interference and Digital Jazz. There will be no hearing advocate, which is why article 259 of the Federal Telecommunications and Broadcasting Law is not followed. “

Very sad news. While RMI hasn’t been on the shortwaves since 2004, they have maintained a web presence.

Thank you for sharing, Tracy.

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FEBC to blanket North Korea with 250,000 watt AM signal

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tracy Wood, who notes:

New construction – a 250 kw FEBC medium wave outlet coming southwest of Seoul. BTW, FEBC currently leases at least one hour of VOA-Korean on FEBC 1188 khz Seoul.

An interview with the FEBC president on CBN News:

(Source: CBN NewsCBN News)

Communist North Korea is about to get hit with a massive new radio signal carrying the message of Christ’s love like never before.

“It’s an AM station, 250,000 watts, which will clearly cover North Korea,” said Ed Cannon, president of Far East Broadcasting Company, also known as FEBC.

For over 75 years, FEBC has been using radio signals to send the message of Jesus Christ around the world.

Cannon says this new “super station” will be erected close to the border of North and South Korea.

“We’ve secured a location on the western coast of South Korea just a few miles south of the Demilitarized Zone,” Cannon told CBN News. “It’s a perfect location because the signal goes across the ocean for a few miles and then goes right into North Korea.”

FEBC’s president says the radio signal will launch in a few months and will carry gospel programs produced from neighboring South Korea.

“The strategy of our organization is to use indigenous people in their native language to produce programming,” Cannon said. “We have a large segment of South Korean people broadcasting and we also have a number of escapees, refugees from North Korea, who’ve come to our organization.”

Cannon claims the signal will be “unblockable” by North Korea’s regime and will “reach far past the northern boundary of North Korea covering the entire country with the message of Jesus Christ.”

According to its website, FEBC’s broadcasts can be heard in 107 languages and 49 countries from 149 stations and transmitters.

“Our goal in North Korea is the same as it is in all of our other countries: to share the gospel through radio so that people will be inspired to follow Jesus Christ as their Savior,” Cannon told CBN News in an earlier interview.

North Korea is the most dangerous country in the world for Christians. Cannon says anyone caught listening to FEBC programs faces severe consequences.

“The {North Korean} refugees themselves say ‘pray for courage, pray for perseverance’ because the Christians are reaching out in ways to gather together in the Name of Christ, to pray together, to listen to the radio together, and they are willing to endure severe persecution,” Cannon told CBN News.

Each year, Open Doors USA releases their World Watch List, a ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution.

North Korea has taken the top spot for 18 years in a row.

“If Christians are discovered, not only are they deported to labor camps as political criminals or even killed on the spot, their families will share their fate as well,” Open Doors asserted on their website. “Christians do not even have the slightest space in society, on the contrary, they are publicly warned against.”

Click here to read the full article art CBN News.

Thank you for sharing this, Tracy!

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Guest Post: Bolivian Miners’ Radio Station Documentaries

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tracy Wood (K7UO), who shares the following guest post:


Bolivian Miners’ Radio Station Documentaries

Bolivian mine workers’ radio stations have long held an affinity among these Altiplano communities. Many were stations were targeted for shootings, bombings, etc. by forces loyal to earlier dictatorships. Today, few stations remain as the mining sector has declined in importance and newer generations migrate to the larger cities and lowland farming regions.

Radio Nacional de Huanuni and the Catholic church’s Radio Pio XII are two of the remaining miners’ stations with some long-standing shortwave presence; others like Chocaya’s Radio Ánimas permanently signed off with the mining center’s closing.

Two documentaries have been made about this earlier Bolivian miners’ broadcasting movement. The first one is a 30-minute 1983 UNESCO documentary entitled “La Voz del Minero” (“The Voice of the Miner”). This grainy 16-mm Spanish-language documentary fortunately has been ported to YouTube. The film features audio and video clips from several stations including Radio Nacional de Huanuni, Radio Pio XII, Radio Ánimas and Radio Vanguardia. Sharp eyes will notice at the 26-minute point a console-mounted Hammarlund HQ receiver in Radio Pio XII’s studios.

The second documentary is from 2017 but remains in limited release. It includes many interviews/images. The film is called “Las Voces del Socavón” (“Voices of the Tunnels) by Argentine filmmakers Magalí Vela Vázquez and Julia Delfini.

“La Voz del Minero”:

Click here to view on YouTube.

“Las Voces del Socavón” (trailer)

Click here to view on YouTube.

(interview on ATB TV)

Click here to view on YouTube.

Here are some mining station URLs:
http://www.radiofedecomin.com/
http://www.radionacionaldehuanuni.com/
http://radiopio12.com.bo/

Listening to the Huanuni station you will hear 1970’s-era taped IDs listing the shortwave channel. Evenings and Sundays are the best times for those flashback moments.

For further backgrounder Don Moore published a 2004 Monitoring Times piece which can be found here: http://www.pateplumaradio.com/south/bolivia/miners.html

A larger complex topic read is the 2004 book by Alan O’Connor titled “Community Radio in Bolivia: The Miners’ Radio Station.” (Edwin Mellen Press Ltd, ISBN-13 978-0773463929).

As an aside, perhaps the most esoteric cinematic reference to shortwave can be found in Kiro Russo’s 2016 Bolivian mining-themed movie “Viejo Calavera” (Dark Skull). In one nighttime scene, Radio Pio XII (Siglo XX) plays in the background with announcer mentioning Pio XII is broadcasting their shortwave call-in show and getting DX reports from Sweden. (Sorry, this cool background banter is not subtitled to English.)

Finally, both documentaries feature the haunting song “El Minero” by Savia Andina sung in Spanish and Quechua. The best YouTube video of the song with Quechua-to-Spanish translation is found here:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Musica.com has the lyrics.

Celebrating UNESCO’s International Year of indigenous Languages with shortwave radio!

– Tracy Wood (K7UO)

Thank you so much, Tracy, for sharing these fascinating documentaries!


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Radio Exterior de España: Shortwave expansion to include English language service

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tracy Wood (K7UO), who

I just listened to REE’s 30-minute English broadcast for this Friday with Alison Hughes and Justin Coe…! (REE is relayed on Hispasat so audio quality is superb.)

Big news! Engliish is coming back to shortwave starting 29 October along with the other foreign languages..

The podcast of Friday’s show with the formal announcement (and frequencies) has yet to be posted but it will be here: http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/audios/emision-en-ingles/

Tonight’s show was very celebratory with lots of old shortwave audio clips, well worth a listen in its own right.

Many thanks for the tip, Tracy!  These are exciting times for REE shortwave listeners. Click here to read our previous post about the REE shortwave expansion.

Listen to this show via the embedded player below:


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