Tag Archives: Tracy Wood (K7UO)

Radio Waves: Solar Radios Help Kenyan Children, Synchronous AM’s History, FM Radio on Jupiter, and New WSJT mode Q65

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, Richard Langley, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


With schools shut by pandemic, solar radios keep Kenyan children learning (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Solar-powered radios have been distributed to the poorest homes that lack electricity access, with lessons broadcast daily during the COVID-19 crisis – and perhaps beyond

TANA RIVER, Kenya, Dec 23 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Deep in Tana River County, in southeastern Kenya, a group of pupils formed a circle around their teacher, jotting down notes as they listened to a Swahili diction lesson coming from the solar-powered radio sitting in their teacher’s lap.

The radio the children from Dida Ade primary school gathered around was one of hundreds distributed for free to the most vulnerable households in the semi-arid region east of Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

The radios allow children without internet access or electricity at home to continue studying while schools are closed to slow the spread of COVID-19, in a project that could also help children stay in education after the pandemic.

Funded by the Zizi Afrique Foundation, a Kenyan non-governmental organisation that produces research to drive education policy, the solar-powered radios also come with bulbs for household lighting and slots for phone-charging.

When schools across Kenya shut in March to slow the spread of COVID-19, Zizi Afrique did a survey in Tana Delta sub-county and found that just over one-fifth of households owned a radio and only 18% had access to electricity.[]

Synchronous AM’s Long and Tortuous History (Radio World)

AM boosters repeatedly have been proven effective, but the FCC consistently has declined to allow their wide use

With AM improvement on the radars of broadcasters and the FCC, there has been renewed talk in recent years about the subject of AM “boosters,” the carrier frequency synchronization of multiple transmitters. The commission opened a comment period on AM boosters in 2017.

It wasn’t the first time the FCC has explored this topic and failed to act on it. In fact, AM boosters have been proposed and tested dozens of times since the early days of radio. But even though the technology has repeatedly been proven effective, the commission consistently has declined to allow the operation of AM boosters on anything more than an experimental basis, for a variety of reasons.

Let’s take a moment to look back at the history of this beleaguered technology.

BOSTON REPEATER
In 1930, crystal control of transmitter frequencies was still an emerging technology, and the allowable frequency tolerance of a broadcast transmitter was +/- 500 Hz. Two stations operating on the same channel, even if widely geographically separated, could generate a heterodyne beat note of up to 1 kHz, a disconcerting annoyance to listeners.

Consequently, only a few stations were allowed to operate nationwide evenings on any one channel at the same time. Further, there were 40 clear-channel stations, each one having exclusive nationwide use of its frequency. As most of these clear-channel stations were network affiliates, many channels were wastefully duplicating the same programs.

In 1929, the respected radio engineer Frederick Terman proposed that, if all stations of the two networks (NBC and CBS) could synchronize their carrier frequencies within +/- 0.1 Hz to eliminate the heterodyne beat notes, they could all coexist on a single channel per network, freeing up dozens of channels for new stations.

Synchronization was first proved successful by the Westinghouse station WBZ in Springfield, Mass. Broadcasting from the roof of the Westinghouse factory, WBZ failed to cover Boston, so WBZA was opened as a Boston repeater. The two stations were synchronized on the same frequency beginning in 1926, using a tuning fork as a frequency reference.[]

FM Radio on Jupiter, Brought to You by Ganymede (EOS)

Another first from NASA’s Juno spacecraft: the detection of radio emissions from the Moon Ganymede, over a range of about 250 kilometers in the polar region of Jupiter.

Louis et al. [2020] present exciting new observations of radio emissions on Jupiter from the NASA Juno spacecraft – the first direct detection of decametric radio emissions originating from its Moon Ganymede. These observations were made as Juno crossed a polar region of the Giant Planet where the magnetic field lines are connected to Ganymede.

The radio emissions were produced by electrons at relativistic energy (a few thousand electron volts) in a region where the electron’s oscillation frequency (“plasma frequency”) is much lower than its gyration frequency (“cyclotron frequency”). Such electrons can amplify radio waves very close to the electron cyclotron frequency very rapidly, via a physical process called electron cyclotron maser instability (CMI). They can as well produce aurora in the far-ultraviolet – which was also observed by the camera on Juno.

Juno was traveling at a speed of approximately 50 kilometers per second, and it spent at least about 5 seconds crossing the source region of the emission, which was therefore at least about 250 kilometers in size.

The observed decametric radiation on Jupiter is clearly the “shorter cousin” (in wavelength) of the auroral kilometric radiation on both Earth and Saturn: the CMI being responsible for their production on the three planets.

Citation: Louis, C. K., Louarn, P., Allegrini, F., Kurth, W. S., & Szalay, J. R. [2020]. Ganymede?induced decametric radio emission: In situ observations and measurements by Juno. Geophysical Research Letters, 47, e2020GL090021. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020GL090021

Andrew Yau, Editor, Geophysical Research Letters[]

New WSJT mode Q65 (Southgate ARC)

WSJT-X 2.4.0 will introduce Q65, a digital protocol designed for minimal two-way QSOs over especially difficult propagation paths

On paths with Doppler spread more than a few Hz, the weak-signal performance of Q65 is the best among all WSJT-X modes.  Q65 is particularly effective for tropospheric scatter, ionospheric scatter, and EME on VHF and higher bands, as well as other types of fast-fading signals.

Q65 uses 65-tone frequency-shift keying and builds on the demonstrated weak-signal strengths of QRA64, a mode introduced to WSJT-X in 2016.  Q65 differs from QRA64 in the following important ways:
•A new low-rate Q-ary Repeat Accumulate code for forward error correction
•User messages and sequencing identical to those in FT4, FT8, FST4, and MSK144
•A unique tone for time and frequency synchronization.  As with JT65, this “sync tone” is readilyvisible on the waterfall spectral display.  Unlike JT65, synchronization and decoding are effective even when meteor pings or other short signal enhancements are present.
•Optional submodes with T/R sequence lengths 15, 30, 60, 120, and 300 s.
•A new, highly reliable list-decoding technique for messages that contain previously copied message fragments.

Read the new Q65 Quick Start Guide at
https://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/Q65_Quick_Start.pdf


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Radio Waves: AM TX Sites Now Prized Real Estate, New Leaders for RFE/RL, New EU Cars Will Have DAB, and North Korean Fisherman Pays Ultimate Price for Listening to Radio

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, Michael Guerin, Mike Terry and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


AM Radio Transmitter Sites Now Valuable Real Estate for Logistics Industry (Transport Topics)

The familiar real estate adage “location, location, location” rings true these days for huge tracts on the outskirts of major cities — sites that for decades housed AM radio towers but that today command top dollar as e-commerce fuels rising demand for new warehouses and logistics centers.

Look no further than the $51 million sale of a five-acre parcel in Queens, N.Y., where an AM radio station will eventually abandon its existing tower and transmitter site, and move it.

New York radio station WFME’s owner, Nashville, Tenn.-based Family Radio, sold its AM transmitter site to Prologis, a San Francisco developer that specializes in building warehouses for companies looking to expand final-mile capability.

This property is situated near the Long Island Expressway, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, and La Guardia and JFK airports. The spot’s current value as a logistics hub far outstrips its importance to a broadcast outlet that didn’t register in New York’s most recent radio ratings book.

“Long term, we see this as a strategic move that adds to our growing footprint of high-quality logistics space that offers quick and easy access to consumers.” said Jeremiah Kent, Prologis senior vice president of value added investments. “In one of the most densely populated markets in the world where demand for logistics real estate is high and land is scarce, Prologis is well-positioned to respond to the acceleration of e-commerce and consumers’ expectation for same- and next-day delivery services.”

The rising value of these locations is being driven by changing consumer habits and rapid technological evolution. Sites on the edge of town that in radio’s heyday were cheap and plentiful can now house vital links in a supply chain propelled by technology that was hard to imagine back in AM’s early days.[]

USAGM CEO Names New Leaders for RFE/RL, OCB (VOA)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Agency for Global Media announced that former VOA journalist Ted Lipien will return to run Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Jeffrey Scott Shapiro, the current acting director at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, will become director.

The appointments follow USAGM CEO Michael Pack’s December 9 announcement that former Voice of America director Robert Reilly would return to lead that network.

Lipien joined VOA in 1973 and worked as the chief of the Polish language service and later as a senior news and marketing executive until 2006. For 10 years, Lipien worked in Munich and Prague as the Eurasia regional marketing director, helping VOA and RFE/RL place programs on stations across the region. In an announcement sent to staff, he recalled listening to Radio Free Europe while growing up in communist Poland.

“I’m honored, and humbled, to be entrusted with helping this storied organization continue to break the hold of censorship and give voice to the silenced,” he wrote.

Since leaving U.S. broadcasting, Lipien has been a vocal critic of VOA’s and USAGM’s previous leaders. He has also defended Pack’s tenure as CEO, saying Pack has focused on correcting long-running issues of bias and mismanagement at the networks.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a nonprofit multimedia broadcasting organization funded by U.S. Congress grants. Based in Prague, it serves as a surrogate media source in 27 languages, mostly in places where a free press remains either banned or not fully established.

Jeffrey Scott Shapiro has been with the Office of Cuba Broadcasting since July 2017. In announcing Shapiro’s new position, Pack cited his deep connections to local communities in South Florida and his track record in producing objective news.

“Transmitting objective news and information to the island plays a critical role in moving toward a free Cuba, and it is a privilege to be a part of such an important mission,” Shapiro wrote in a published statement.

The Office of Cuba Broadcasting oversees Radio and Television Marti, based in Miami, Florida. The network provides news, information and analysis to the people of Cuba via satellite television and shortwave radio, as well as flash drives, DVDs and text messages.

Pack was confirmed by the Senate as CEO in June with a three-year term and fired several news executives upon his arrival. He later declined to testify before a House of Representatives panel examining his decisions at the agency, including his decision to fire the heads of RFE/RL, Radio Free Asia and OCB, and replace their boards. The then-director of VOA, Amanda Bennett, resigned two days before Pack joined the agency.

Last month a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting Pack and other USAGM officials from interfering with the editorial independence and First Amendment rights of journalists at VOA and other networks they oversee. The ruling still allows Pack to appoint leaders of those news networks to oversee them.

The November 20 court order prohibits the CEO and other defendants from communicating directly with journalists at the networks without the consent of their directors. The order is part of a lawsuit filed by five USAGM officials whom Pack placed on administrative leave in August. The suit accuses Pack and his political appointees of unlawful actions and of violating the First Amendment and a statutory firewall set up to ensure editorial independence. Pack has said the lawsuit is “without merit” and that all of his and his team’s decisions and actions are “correct and lawful.”

Earlier this month, a federal office set up to protect whistleblowers ordered USAGM to investigate allegations of wrongdoing by its own top officials.[]

All new car radios to have digital terrestrial radio (Southgate ARC)

From today, people purchasing new passenger vehicles across Europe will be able to benefit from the advantages of digital radio – greater choice, clearer audio and enhanced data services.

Article 113, Annex XI in the EECC states that “Any car radio receiver integrated in a new vehicle of category M* which is made available on the market for sale or rent in the Union from 21 December 2020 shall comprise a receiver capable of receiving and reproducing at least radio services provided via digital terrestrial radio broadcasting”.

The regulation applies to all EU member states – regardless of the status of DAB in each country.

Despite the impact of Covid-19, Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Denmark have already introduced laws mandating digital terrestrial radio in cars and other countries are expected to follow shortly.

In the first half of 2020, over 50% of new cars sold in Europe included DAB+ as standard – a number that is expected to reach 100% by the end of 2021 as DAB+ adoption continues to grow across Europe.

More information and regular updates on the EECC directive and its implementation across Europe is available on the WorldDAB EECC factsheet.

*Motor vehicles with at least four wheels designed and constructed for the carriage of passengers

https://www.worlddab.org/news

North Korean fisherman publicly executed for listening to foreign radio (The New Daily)

A North Korean fishing boat captain has been publicly executed for listening to banned foreign radio stations while at sea.

The man, only known by his surname Choi and said to have been in his 40s, was killed by firing squad in front of 100 boat captains and fisheries executives, according to a Radio Free Asia report.

Choi, who owned a fleet of more than 50 ships, is thought to have been turned in by a crew member after they turned against him.

According to the RFA report, Choi ultimately confessed to authorities and was charged with “subversion against the party”.

“In mid-October, a captain of a fishing boat from Chongjin was executed by firing squad, on charges of listening to Radio Free Asia regularly over a long period of time,” a North Korean law enforcement official told RFA.

“They publicly shot him at the base in front of 100 other captains and managers of the facility’s fish processing plants. They also dismissed or discharged party officials, the base’s administration and the security officers who allowed Choi to work at sea.”

The network said the fishing boat captain began his habit of tuning into foreign radio stations, including RFA, while serving as a radio operator in the military. He had listened to RFA – a US-government funded network that broadcasts in Korean – for 15 years.

“The security authorities decided then that the time to re-educate him had long past, so they executed him by firing squad,” the source said.

“It seems that the authorities made an example out of Choi to imprint on the residents that listening to outside radio stations means death.”[]


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Radio Waves: New SiriusXM Satellite, Tour of CHU, Icom ID-52 Delay, and Grant’s Prototype Broadcast Receiver

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 Mike Terry, Tracy Wood, John Palmer, and Greg Jasionek for the following tips:


SpaceX Launches Latest Satellite For SiriusXM Radio (Spaceflight Insider)

On Sunday December 13, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully lifted off from SLC-40 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, carrying the SXM-7 satellite to a geostationary transfer orbit. The flight came two days after SpaceX’s first launch attempt on Friday, which was aborted at t-minus 30 seconds. The company tweeted the reason for the scrub, “Standing down from today’s launch attempt to perform additional ground system checkouts.” While SpaceX did not point to a specific reason for the hold call, it can be assumed that either the onboard computers or ground controllers found something off-nominal in the final seconds before liftoff.

[…]The payload, the SXM-7 satellite, is the latest addition to Sirius XM’s constellation of satellites aimed at delivering an extensive library of music and entertainment to most parts of the world. SXM-7, along with its sister satellite SXM-8 launching in 2021, are aiming to replace the company’s aging XM-3 and XM-4 satellites. Contracted and built by Maxar for Sirius XM, the 7,000 Kilogram satellite is based on the SSL-1300 Bus and utilizes a host of S band transponders to provide satellite radio to customers in North America.

“Maxar and SiriusXM have worked together for more than two decades to build world-class digital audio radio satellites that bring entertainment to almost every new car in America,” said Megan Fitzgerald, Maxar’s Senior Vice President of Space Programs Delivery. “We are proud to have built the latest addition to the SiriusXM constellation and look forward to the launch of their next Maxar-built satellite, SXM-8, next year.”[]

CHU, Canada’s Time Station (Radio World)

Look inside the facility that broadcasts voice time signals in two languages

It is nestled in a farmer’s field in southwestern Ottawa, Canada, in a protected area known as the Greenbelt, surrounded by miles of sprawling suburbia.

It is CHU, Canada’s own automated time station.

Operating from a 1940s-era transmitter building and three vertical antenna towers, CHU broadcasts automated voice time signals in both English and French 24/7.

Its broadcasts are transmitted on 3.33, 7.85 and 14.67 MHz, and are heard through central/eastern Canada and the eastern United States, plus many other areas of the planet on a regular basis.

CHU’s time service is operated by Canada’s National Research Council, with the station being remotely controlled from the NRC’s Montreal Road headquarters central Ottawa some 12 miles away. The time signals are based on CHU’s trio of atomic clocks on-site, which are constantly checked against the atomic clocks at NRC headquarters.

“We are equipped with 1960s-era 10 kW transmitters that have been highly modified over the years,” said Bill Hoger. He is the Research Council officer who maintains the unmanned station as part of his overall duties along with two other off-site technicians.[]

ID-52 Apology and Notice of Production Delay (Icom)

Thank you for your continued patronage of Icom products.

Regarding the 144 / 430MHz dual band 5W digital transceiver “ID-52” released in October 2020, there is a delay in the supply of parts from external partner companies, and additional production is significantly delayed. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to customers and retailers who are waiting for ID-52.

We will inform you about the timing of resuming production as soon as it is confirmed.

We are doing our utmost to resume production as soon as possible, and we appreciate your understanding.

New Type of Broadcast Receiver (LinkedIn Post)

There has been a lot of testing over last few month, with the new working prototype AM receiver. It has taking almost two years to get to this point with a lot of testing to find out what works and what does not.

The performance on Long wave and Medium wave is outstanding with the external loop configuration, this has many advantages over a ferrite rod antenna design. The Short wave performance is OK, where the front end RF transformers need to be improved with more testing. It out performs my Tecsun PL-398 that uses Digital Signal Processing (DSP), and comes close to what is possible within the high noise floor that you get in buildup areas.

The adaptive processing works very well, where you can set in software to work based on the signal level and if there is a pilot tone been detected (stereo indicator), this works for both the AM bands and for FM. As with the adaptive processing the noise reduction also works with both AM and FM bands, that has been use with Short wave and Long wave stations. The de-emphasis cave is design for 50 ?s, to pass a wider modulation bandwidth through up to 12.5 kHz.

The Denon TU-680NAB has been the reference receiver throughout all the testing to get to this test point. As this was designed for the high end audio market in the 1990’s, to provide the best possible performance for HiFi systems of the day.

[…]This will be marketed as a high end broadcast receiver, the aim is to stay well clear of low cost products from China, that are all too common these days. This is a Canadian product, showing that there are many new ideas and what possible in this area of development. With all these advancement it possible to provide a high quality music programming using AM radio that sounds as good as FM, with the advantages of larger coverage areas.[…]

Click here to read the full post with specifications.


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Radio Waves: United Biscuit’s Radio Station, WMAL Towers Demolished, Canada’s First Off-Grid Station, and St. Helena Gets Fiber

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 Todd R, Skip Arey and Tracy Wood  for the following tips:


Cracker factory records: the surprising story of United Biscuits’ radio station (The Guardian)

Playing Bollywood soundtracks and songs about safety shoes, this shopfloor station made stars out of Dale Winton and Nicky Horne, and paved the way for UK commercial radio

nless you spent your summers packing Jaffa Cakes into boxes in the 70s, you are unlikely to have heard of the United Biscuits Network (UBN). It was a radio station for biscuit-makers, broadcasting around the clock to factories in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow. One part industrial psychology, another part community radio, UBN was intended to make factory life more bearable, but over its nine-year lifespan, it emerged as one of the most daring, anarchic and pioneering stations to hit the UK airwaves.

Music has long been a point of contention in the workplace. Prof Marek Korczynski, who co-authored Rhythms of Labour (2013), describes the history of British working life as “a battle over soundscapes”. Bosses first wanted silent factories, but during the second world war, Korczynski says, “industrial psychologists – the forerunners to HR departments – started looking at playing cheerful music in factories, at the times of day when productivity would dip”. After the war, as Britain rebuilt itself, this strategy was maintained with muzak: inoffensive background tunes, played to lighten the monotony of factory work.

There was one issue, according to Korczynski: “Workers grew to hate muzak.” As jobs on the production line were deskilled and made ever more monotonous, muzak’s effectiveness weakened and staff turnover soared. For Sir Hector Laing, the chairman of United Biscuits in the 1960s, stemming the flow – and its cost – was desperately necessary. Drawing on the success of commercial pirate stations such as Radio Caroline, Laing put adverts in Melody Maker, bought state-of-the-art broadcasting equipment and set up his very own station from UB’s headquarters in Osterley, west London (where Sky’s HQ sits today).[]

Demolition of Bethesda radio towers takes a piece of history, rare open space (Washington Post)

When the four orange and white steel towers first soared over Bethesda in 1941, they stood in a field surrounded by sparse suburbs emerging just north of where the Capital Beltway didn’t yet exist. Reaching 400 feet, they beamed the voices of WMAL 630 AM talk radio across the nation’s capital for 77 years.[]

Manitoulin boasts Canada’s first off-grid radio stations (Manitoulin Expositor)

LITTLE CURRENT – Great Lakes Country 103 FM and Hits100 FM have opened a new broadcasting studio and office space at the Flat Rock Entertainment Centre, home of Manitoulin Countryfest and Rockin’ the Rock, becoming the first off-grid commercial radio stations in Canada, according to CEO Craig Timmermans.

“It’s super nice to not have an electricity bill anymore,” says Mr. Timmermans as he leads The Expositor on a tour through his company’s new headquarters at 1 Radio Road on the southeastern edge of Little Current.

Through the front doors of the building lies a reception area floating in the centre of a large, open rectangular space. All of the central furniture is moveable so the team can empty the space for special events and small live concerts.

To the right is a small seating area featuring a wood and epoxy tabletop made by Kelly ‘KT’ Timmermans, president of the company. She has also built the live-edge wooden shelving and a table inside the adjacent boardroom.

“This is what I did with my quarantine,” she says with a laugh. “It’s nice to have our own space and to be in charge of our own destiny. We loved being downtown but it didn’t help our business like we had hoped.”[]

Telecom Egypt signs agreement with St Helena Government to provide it with its first subsea solution (Capacity)

02 November 2020: Telecom Egypt and St Helena Government (SHG) have signed an agreement to connect the Island to Telecom Egypt’s subsea system over the Equiano submarine cable system.

Telecom Egypt will be the first to provide St Helena with a fibre optic connection to the rest of the world, which is a crucial step towards the Island’s economic growth. The cable, along with the associated high-speed internet, is planned to be delivered to the Island by early 2022.

The branch that connects Telecom Egypt’s system to St Helena will be 1,140km long. The cable itself will run from the West Coast of Africa and provide St Helena with access to both Lisbon, Portugal and Melkbosstrand, South Africa with scalable connectivity ranging from a few hundred gigabits up to multiple terabits, as demand varies. It, therefore, provides the most cost effective solution to the growth in the Island’s bandwidth needs.

In light of its vast experience in the subsea connectivity business, Telecom Egypt, in conjunction with SHG, will provide a Dynamic Circuit Network functionality, which will ensure that SHG’s communication partners have access to fixed bandwidth.?Telecom Egypt will also support SHG in the design, installation, and configuration of the submarine and network equipment.[]


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Radio Waves: Free Download of Equinox E-book, Pop Shop Radio, Hamcation Postponed, and “Radio Ga Ga” Salutes Radio Pioneers

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 DM Barrett, Tracy Wood, Mike Terry, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


EQUINOX – Free Download (D.M. Barrett)

EQUINOX, DM Barrett’s best seller that blends science fiction with amateur radio and shortwave, can be downloaded FREE in eBook format from Amazon on the following dates:

Thursday, October 22, 2020;
Thursday, November 5, 2020;
Thursday, November 12, 2020;
Thursday, November 26, 2020; and,
Thursday, December 10, 2020.

N4ECW’s EQUINOX, as well as his other novels, can be obtained at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The audiobook versions are available at audible.com and iTunes.

Broadcasting from Hope, on shortwave radio (Hope Standard)

Tony Pavick combines love for music and radio in weekly show, Pop Shop Radio

While he may not be jumping up and down in a radio booth throwing records on turntables, Tony Pavick is once again pumping out radio in the form of a weekly hour-long show from his home in Hope.

It’s been 20 years since radio was broadcast from Hope – former radio personality and now fire chief Tom DeSorcy confirmed that CKGO, Hope’s AM radio station, closed its doors in 2000. And while Pavick isn’t starting a new radio station, he’s broadcasting for an hour each week from Hope to the world via shortwave radio.

Shortwave, a band in between the AM and FM band, Pavick explained, was utilized right up until the 1990s by countries wanting to spread their news, propaganda and cultural content. Living in the U.S., Pavick got his first taste of Canada while listening to Radio Canada International on a shortwave radio his parents bought him in the late 1960s.

Since the end of the Cold War, Pavick explains, countries have turned their radio equipment over to different groups. One of those is Channel 292 at the University of Twente, where he broadcasts at a rate of 15 Euro for an hour of radio time. Those without the ability to pick up shortwave can listen to Pavick’s show online at websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/?tune=6070am.

The show starts with radio static, followed by the sound of a pop being opened and poured. Then Pavick comes in with “from the town of Hope in super natural British Columbia, in Canada, I’m Tony and this is Pop Shop Radio.”

Pavick plays a wide range of pop music, for example his first show included a Czech language version of Heart of Glass recorded when Czechoslovakia was still a nation, and a 2006 Groovefinder remix of Nina Simone’s Ain’t Got No.

He draws inspiration from a time when you could hear, on a top 40 station, a line-up featuring Jefferson Airplane, followed by Johnny Cash and then the The Beatles. “There was a great variety of music played on the same station,” he said. “Popular music wasn’t just rock n’ roll, it was rock and pop and country and just a whole variety of things. So that’s where the idea for it being called the Pop Shop came about.”

Pavick doesn’t keep it a secret where he finds some of the more obscure plays. He uses music website 45cat.com, an extensive online music archive.[]

Orlando HamCation postponed (Southgate ARC)

As the world’s second largest hamfest, we pride ourselves on delivering a high-quality event to our attendees and would not want to put on a show that is anything less than what the ham radio community deserves.

After much deliberation, the difficult decision to postpone the 75th Orlando HamCation was made. It is with heavy hearts that we must make this decision. We had wished to see all of you next year in person, but the situation we face globally has made this challenging. Instead, HamCation will be moved to February 11-13th, 2022. We are looking to host some unique Webinars, a QSO Party and possibly Prize Drawings for 2021.

More information to come on our website soon.
For those who have already purchased tickets and spaces, we will be in contact with you shortly and will reach out to you directly. You will have the option to use your ticket for HamCation 2022, receive a refund or donate the funds to the Orlando Amateur Radio Club.

We thank all of you for your patience and understanding during these times and are excited to see you all again in 2022…

73, Michael Cauley, W4MCA
General Chairman
Orlando HamCation

For more details see: https://www.hamcation.com
http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-national-convention-and-orlando-hamcation-postponed-to-february-2022
Also, check the ARRL Letter for October 8th, 2020:
http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter?issue=2020-10-08

Radio Ga Ga: Aberdeen author creates new work to salute the pioneers of the airwaves (The Press and Journal)

Gordon Bathgate can barely recall a time when he wasn’t in thrall to the radio and marvelling at all the different sounds which came out of a magic box in his living room when he was growing up in the north-east of Scotland.

A lot of snap, crackle and pop music has come and gone since these early days, but he is still Radio Ga Ga about an invention which has shaped all our lives and is celebrating its centenary in 2020.

This follows the innovation and imagination of so many pioneering figures, including his compatriot James Clerk Maxwell, Heinrich Hertz and Guglielmo Marconi, whose name has become inextricably linked with the device.

In so many different ways, Mr Bathgate, who has written a new book, Radio Broadcasting: A History of the Airwaves, has devoted decades to boosting its profile in many guises.

He was a founding member of Grampian Hospital Radio at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary – a service which does invaluable work and particularly in the current Covid-induced social isolation.

He also presented shows for North East Community Radio at Kintore and presents music programmes as far afield as Peterhead, The Netherlands and the fabled Radio Caroline.

He has created a series of witty little films, imparting his love for the Doric language, including pastiches of Star Trek and Dallas.

But it’s his passion for radio which shines through the pages of his new production.[]


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Guest Post: Spanish TV series “El Ministerio del Tiempo” prominently features Arganda del Rey transmitter site

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Tracy Wood (K7OU), who shares the following guest post:


Arganda del Rey Transmitter Building

SWLing.com now takes “Spot the shortwave radio set in the movie or show” to new heights –

“Spot the shortwave radio station in the TV series”

The former Radio Exterior de España (REE) shortwave transmitter site at Arganda del Rey forms the backdrop for the fourth season of the hit Spanish TV series “El Ministerio del Tiempo” (the Ministry of Time).  The show’s premise – unlike today’s superpowers with their high-tech kinetic weaponry, Spain’s 21st century advantage lies in the nation’s time-traveling skills.

Grand Entrance looking down on actor

The show’s producers tip their hat to the “Centro Emisor de Onda Corta” facility as the Ministry of Time’s “headquarters” relocates this season to this historic broadcast complex.  The large engineering library, old shortwave transmitters, electric rectification hardware and even antenna field form a ready-made stage.

Power rectification units

Up into the early 1990’s Arganda del Rey served as a shortwave and medium wave site.  When all the shortwave services finally migrated over to Noblejas (40 km SE) the Arganda del Rey center continued as the long-standing medium wave location for Radio Nacional de España’s Radio 1 (585 kHz 600kw) and Radio 5 (657 kHz 50kw).  Arganda is now completely inactive with the last transmissions being DRM tests on 1359 kHz with 10 kilowatts. The facility was replaced by Madrid’s Majadahonda site.

Ministerio de Tiempo viewers first get a hint of the radio connection as the character “Alonso de Entrerríos“ (played by José Ignacio “Nacho” Fresneda García) drives towards the new headquarters.  In the background we see the old Radio 5 antenna array.    As the character Alonso approaches the building he looks up and sees the historic “Radio Nacional de España” lettering above the building entrance thus confirming the “Headquarters” original purpose.

Cross Dipole Antenna

A DXer might mistake the Radio 5 array for a shortwave NVIS antenna but instead it is a rare medium-wave cross-dipole arrangement; it was also this antenna that RTVE used for the DRM tests.  The only remaining shortwave antennae at Arganda del Rey are some abandoned log-periodics which support a growing stork colony.

Satellite TVRO hobbyists also may recognize the “Arganda del Rey” municipality.   HISPASAT has established its main uplink facility in a nearby industrial park in this same Madrid suburb.

Radio textbooks and HF transmitter in background…

Many thanks to DXer Pedro Sedano, General Coordinator of the Asociación Española de Radioescuchas (aer.org.es), for confirming the complete abandonment of Arganda del Rey from an RF-perspective.  Also contributing is Ulis Fleming, K3LU, who several months earlier identified a NO-DO newsreel that helped tie the pieces together.

Links

An English-language description of the facility is here:

https://www.esmadrid.com/en/tourist-information/centro-emisor-onda-corta-rne-arganda-rey

“ Located on the Chinchón road, alongside the Arganda Bridge, this former  Radio Nacional de España building, opened in 1954, is today popular for being the new headquarters of The Ministry of Time in its fourth season, the successful TVE series, as well as having appeared in other productions, such as a post office in Velvet Collection (Movistar +), and as the Medical Research Centre in La Valla (Antena 3).”

“The building, now abandoned, forms part of a set of buildings located on both sides of the road  in which RNE had the headquarters of the medium and short-wave radio stations, houses and warehouses, whereby the most representative is this monumental property that was home to the short-wave radio station. “

“The building was designed by the architect, Diego Méndez, following the guidelines of classic architecture from the Franco era. Inside, the entrance hall stands out, a square room decorated with polychromatic marbles, presided by an impressive staircase with two flights of stairs, which is also in marble.  On the first floor, there is all of the machinery for generating the necessary voltage and current for the short-wave transmitters, and the third floor has a library with important telecommunications books and articles.”

LAT-LON:    40°18’47.09″N     3°30’34.95″W

Show Wikipedia URL (in English):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_ministerio_del_tiempo

Additional URLs  (all in Spanish)

  1. Series Website:  https://www.rtve.es/television/ministerio-del-tiempo/
  2. A “NO-DO” newsreel showing the 1954 inauguration of two 100-kw shortwave transmitters and the building interior in context. https://www.rtve.es/filmoteca/no-do/not-604/1481595/
  3. Site overview with links to a four-part video tour. https://historiatelefonia.com/2019/07/12/centro-emisor-de-onda-corta-radio-nacional-de-espana-en-arganda-del-rey/
  4. RTVE publicity photos showing building and interior set (with shortwave transmitter in background) https://www.panoramaaudiovisual.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/MdT_EdificioRNE_DavidHerranz.jpg https://www.panoramaaudiovisual.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/MdT_RNE-archivo1_DavidHerranz.jpg
  5. RTVE press release about the Centro Emisor https://www.rtve.es/rtve/20200401/ministerio-del-tiempo-rueda-integramente-escenarios-naturales-su-cuarta-temporada/2010843.shtml
  6. Site Description (Historic) with Interior/Exterior Views http://archivo.ayto-arganda.es/patrimonio/fp.aspx?id=23
    http://archivo.ayto-arganda.es/patrimonio/BusquedaPatrimonio.aspx?id=23#

— Tracy Wood (K7OU)


Thank you so much, Tracy, for putting this post together!

Now I wish my Spanish comprehension was better as I’d love to watch this show–sounds like a fascinating story line! And the transmitter site is pure radio eye candy! Brilliant!

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Radio Waves: GatesAir Invests in Equatorial Guinea, Community Radio Champion Lorenzo Wilson Milam SK, and GQRP Online Convention

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, John Figliozzi, Heath Hall and Gérard Koopal for the following tips:


Investment project by North American company GatesAir in digitalisation of Equatorial Guinea (Equatorial Guinea Press and Information Office)

The company GatesAir could invest in a digitalisation project for audiovisual media in Equatorial Guinea in the near future. The information was revealed at the audience that the Vice-President of the Republic, H. E. Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, granted on Friday 7th August, at the People’s palace in Malabo, to the accredited North American Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea, Susan Stevenson.

The willingness of the United States Government was expressed at a bilateral meeting that the Vice-President held with the Ambassador, Susan Stevenson, who came to report to H. E. Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue about the interest of the North American company GatesAir in investing in a digitalisation project in the country.

The initiative was well received by Nguema Obiang Mangue, who declared to his interlocutor that Equatorial Guinea has its doors open to any foreign investment.

The Coronavirus pandemic which is currently affecting the whole world also occupied a page on the menu of discussions between Nguema Obiang Mangue and Susan Stevenson.

In addition to this project, Equatorial Guinea and the United States continue to form closer ties in other sectors such as Defence, Education, the Economy and Culture, among others.[]

Lorenzo Wilson Milam, Guru of Community Radio, Is Dead at 86 (NY times)

He helped start noncommercial stations in the 1960s and ’70s, offering an eclectic mix of music and talk. His goal: to change the world.

Lorenzo Wilson Milam, who devoted much of his life to building noncommercial radio stations with eclectic fusions of music, talk and public affairs, died on July 19 at his home in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. He was 86.

[…]Mr. Milam loathed commercial radio stations, which he saw as purveyors of mindless junk. With KRAB and about a dozen other stations that he helped start in the 1960s and ’70s, he created a freewheeling, esoteric vision of commercial-free community radio as the voice of the people it served.

He wanted his stations to have inexperienced contributors, both on and off the air. He encouraged locals to help him program the stations and contribute a few dollars to keep these shoestring operations open.[]

RAE 100 year anniversary specials (Gérard Koopal)

I heard on RAE German that Argentina celebrates 100 years radio in Argentina on august 27th of this year.

This was announced by Rayén Braun the 4th of august on her broadcast show in German.

German listeners are asked to send in a personal message as video or mp3 to this event which will be incorporated in the special broadcast show on this matter.

She points out that more information will be found on the website of RAE. (www.rae.com.ar)

GQRP Club releases agenda for its Online Convention 2020 (Southgate ARC)

The GQRP Club has released a detailed agenda for its Online Convention 2020, taking place on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th September.

The online event, which replaces the club’s annual GQRP convention at Telford due to current Covid-19 restrictions, is open to existing members. There is a special rate for non-members which will include GQRP Club membership until January 2022.

The two-day event comprises a series of online presentations and knowledge-sharing meetings where people can share ideas.

The packed presentation list includes:

• “Building QRP transceivers” with Hans Summers G0UPL, designer and manufacturer of the QCX QRP transceiver.

• “HF propagation and QRP” with Steve Nichols G0KYA, author and chairman of the RSGB’s Propagation Studies Committee

• “Homebrew SSB Transceivers” with Pete Juliano N6QW, co-presenter of the Soldersmoke podcast and a prolific home brewer.

• “Vector Network analysers explained and the NanoVNA” with Alan Wolke W2AEW, a professional electrical engineer who works for Tektronix.

• “Antennas for QRP” with Callum McCormick M0MCX, YouTube star and inventor and manufacturer of the DX Commander vertical antenna.

• “FT8/FT4 for the QRPer” with Anthony Luscre K8ZT, who will take a detailed look at this the fastest-growing mode in amateur radio.

There will also be range of knowledge-sharing sessions, including “Using Antenna analysers” with Heather M0HMO, “Running a QRP DxPedition” with Dom M1KTA, “Battery technology for QRP portable” with Bill G4ERV, “Omni Directional antennas” with John G8SEQ and many more.

The event costs £4 for GQRP club members. Non-members can also sign up for the event and join the GQRP club for just £10 (or £17 for international participants).

To sign up for the event just go to the Eventbrite sign-up page at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/gqrp-club-2020-online-convention-tickets-115417887007

For more information and to view the full event schedule see http://www.gqrp.com/convention.htm


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