Tag Archives: Tracy Wood (K7UO)

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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Arcángel San Gabriel (LRA36) special broadcasts and LU1ZV activation

Source: Base Esperanza – Antártida

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

I listened to LRA36 streaming this past Friday with their special show, including callouts to other Argentine scientific stations via satphone and lots of greetings by ham radio enthusiasts, both recorded and via live call-in.

Source: Base Esperanza – Antártida

…At the conclusion the announcer said they would be back this Monday at 1800 Buenos Aires time or 2100 UTC.

Details about last Friday’s broadcast:

http://www.radionacional.com.ar/continuan-las-emisiones-especiales-en-lra-36-arcangel-san-gabriel/

Source: Base Esperanza – Antártida

The audio stream is only up when LRA36 is on the air apparently but is at the Radio Nacional website under the audio streams listing:”

http://vmf.edge-apps.net/embed/live.php?streamname=sc_rad32-100131&autoplay=true

Thank you so much for sharing this, Tracy! It’s incredibly difficult for me to snag LRA36 broadcasts off the air, so it’ll be nice to have this stream link as well.

I also recently received a note about LU1ZV: the amateur radio station at the Esperanza Antarctic Base.  What follows is a rough English translation of the press release. Click here to download the original press release in Spanish (MS Word Doc).

Source: Base Esperanza – Antártida

THE HAM RADIO ACTIVATION OF ESPERANZA ANTARCTIC BASE

Started on December 8, the activation of the LU1ZV amateur radio station of the Antarctic Base Esperanza, after years of being inactive.

The radio activity of LU1ZV has as primary objective to remember the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the transmission of the radio station LRA 36 “Arcángel San Gabriel” of the Esperanza Base, the first shortwave station in AM across Antarctica, which began broadcasting on October 20,1979. In addition, this activity seeks to maintain the continuity of emission of stations of radio amateurs from Antarctica.

The LU1ZV activation has registered more than 900 contacts with amateur radio stations
nationally and abroad, and in addition to covering all regions of the country, they have already

Source: Base Esperanza – Antártida

contacted twenty-two Argentine provinces.

Among the most relevant data that LU1ZV activity exhibits so far are the distant radio contacts  (despite the low emission power) as in the case of Japan, Canada, Latvia, Ukraine and Finland among others. They have contacted most South American countries, several of Central American countries and all from North America.

Another outstanding contact was made with VP8HAL, the Halley VI scientific station of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), located in the Brunt Ice Barrier, about 1,700 km SE of Hope.

The operation of LU1ZV is carried out from the study of LRA 36 and the rhombic antenna of the station, while the station isn’t operating. The amateur radio station activity adapts to the general schedule of the base and of LRA36, so activation times are reduced to a few hours during the evening – night.

The Head of Hope Base, Lieutenant Colonel Norman Walter Nahueltripay was present during some contacts and received greetings from radio correspondents.

This special activation also includes the project “Uniendo Voces” of the National University of Quilmes (UNQ) of the province of Buenos Aires, an initiative that included areas of interest to amateur radio and Antarctic activations, and which was presented to the
Antarctic Joint Command (COCOANTAR).

“Uniendo Voces” has participated in these radio activations since 2013 (in Marambio Base and Matienzo) to which the historical emission from Base Esperanza is now added, within the framework of a special initiative called “DX Radial Expedition Uniting Voices”.

The amateur Radio Claudio García (LU1VC) member of the LRA 57 Radio Nacional de El
Bolsón (province of Chubut) and Juan C. Benavente (LU8DBS) of COCOANTAR and UNQ, perform the activation for which they had to move equipment to that Antarctic base.
The radio activation of Esperanza has the support and collaboration of Adrián Korol,
director of the Argentine Broadcasting Abroad (RAE) who expressed his emotion and
satisfaction for “this joint achievement with the Antarctic Command and the National University of Quilmes. “

Antarctic bases are licensed by amateur radio stations, and like all the activity, is regulated by the National Communications Agency (ENACOM). These radio activations have a “high symbolic and real value”, as Korol says, and they contribute, in addition to remembering ephemeris, to the promotion of sovereignty in the Antarctic region from the radio spectrum.

Likewise, the amateur radio activity contributes to the study of communications – such as
radio wave propagation conditions- and keeps an alternative communication service active and effective.

Many Argentine radio amateurs from different parts of the country are attentive to the
calls from LU1ZV and collaborate with the initiative.”

Along with the photos and LU1ZV press release above, I also received press releases from two special broadcasts that happened earlier. Click here and here to download the MS Word documents in Spanish.

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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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