Tag Archives: Troy Riedel

Radio Waves: B&W to Color, Antenna Wins, Hearing Voices in the Walls, and Beached Whales

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 Ron, Paul Walker, and Troy Riedel for the following tips:


Colorizing black and white photos (Antique Radio Forum)

Ron shares this link to a discussion about vintage black and white photos that have been auto-colorized.[]

State law protects ham radio operator, frustrates neighbors in Windsor Twp. (York Dispatch)

A Windsor Township resident whose neighbors are upset over her amateur radio tower is within her rights to have the antenna on her property, township officials confirmed Monday.

An engineer went out to the site in the 400 block of White Rose Lane to inspect the 40-foot tower and ensure it didn’t pose a safety threat to neighbors, township engineer Chris Kraft told the board of supervisors at a meeting Monday.

“Based on that review, we feel the tower is structurally safe,” he said.

Lindsey Fowler is the homeowner who built the tower on her property last September. Fowler is a licensed amateur radio operator, according to Federal Communications Commission records, and her license is valid through December 2021.

[…]Marc McClure, one of the neighbors who lives near Fowler, told the board in October that he and several other neighbors were opposed to the tower and said it should be removed, according to minutes from the Oct. 21 board meeting.

McClure said the tower was an eyesore in the neighborhood and that he and others were concerned about the structural safety of the tower were it to fall, as well as the potential unknown health hazards from exposure to radio frequencies.

The neighbors were also worried about a decrease in their property values, McClure said.

[…]In Pennsylvania, amateur radio operators’ rights are protected by state statute, and municipalities are not allowed to unreasonably restrict the installation of towers fewer than 65-feet high.

And now that the township has confirmed there’s no safety risk to Fowler’s neighbors, township officials said the dispute is outside of their purview.[]

Lockport family says mysterious voices, music come from house’s walls; local radio station may be source (ABC 7)

LOCKPORT, Ill. (WLS) — A family in Lockport said strange sounds, including music and talk radio, has been coming out of their walls and keeping them up at night off and on for about six years.

“There are voices in the wall and I don’t know what it is,” said 9-year-old Brianna Smith.

It may sound like an episode of the popular Netflix show “Stranger Things,” but the mysterious sounds Brianna is hearing are real.

“It has been waking me up at night,” she said.

The sounds are coming from the bedroom walls of her home in the middle of the night.

“It kind of keeps us up at night,” explained Brianna’s father Richard.

Richard said the family doesn’t have any speakers in their walls. He captured some of the late night noise on his phone and sent it to the ABC7 I-Team. The music was faint, but the I-Team could hear it.

“It’s one of our favorite songs, but not at 10 o’clock at night,” Richard said.

Richard Smith called Lockport police, who took two detailed reports about the bizarre problem. In one, the officer noted that he could hear “voices and music” and “talking about Christ.” Then the officer said he heard a commercial for the Christian radio station AM 1160.[]

The Surprising Way Solar Storms Can Beach Whales (Spaceweater.com)

Space weather isn’t just for humans. Whales are experiencing it, too. A new study published this week in the research journal Current Biology shows that solar storms can confuse whales and cause them to strand on beaches–and the mechanism is surprising. Get the full story on Spaceweather.com.[]


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Radio Waves: RNZ Cuts Classical, Australian EmComm Plan, BBC Funding, and NHK Viewing Fees

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Broadcasting 

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 Troy Riedel and Michael Bird for the following tips:

RNZ set to cut back Concert and launch new youth service (Radio New Zealand)

In the biggest overhaul of its music services in years, RNZ is planning to cut back its classical music station RNZ Concert and replace it on FM radio with music for a younger audience as part of a new multimedia music brand. Mediawatch asks RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson and music content director Willy Macalister to explain the move.

The broadcaster is proposing to remove RNZ Concert from its FM frequencies and transform it into an automated non-stop music station which will stream online and play on AM radio.

It would be replaced on FM by a service aimed at a younger, more diverse audience as part of a new multimedia “music brand”.

RNZ Concert would be taken off FM radio on May 29 and the youth platform would be phased in ahead of its full launch on August 28.

RNZ’s music staff were informed about the proposed changes this morning in an emotional, occasionally heated meeting with the RNZ music content director Willy Macalister, head of radio and music David Allan, and chief executive Paul Thompson.[]

[Australian] Senate to vote on National Emergency Communications Plan (ABC Friends)

Today Senators can vote to recognise and support ABC Emergency Broadcasting Services and start to plan for a National Emergency Communications Plan.

[…]The motion comes after ABC Friends surveyed bushfire affected communities, with 95% of the 750 respondents indicating that they wanted to see a national plan of additional essential communications infrastructure.

More information to come once the motion has been moved.[]

UK government, at odds with media, eyes BBC funding change (AP)

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s government announced Wednesday it is considering a change in the way the BBC is funded that would severely dent the coffers of the nation’s public broadcaster.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government — which is increasingly at odds with the country’s news media — said it would hold a “public consultation” on whether to stop charging people with a criminal offense if they don’t pay the annual levy that funds the BBC.

The broadcaster gets most of its money from a license fee paid by every television-owning household in the country, which currently stands at 154.50 pounds ($201) a year. Failing to pay can result in a fine or, in rare cases, a prison sentence.

In 2018, more than 121,000 people were convicted and fined for license fee evasion. Five people were imprisoned for not paying their fines.

The BBC is Britain’s largest media organization, producing news, sports and entertainment across multiple TV, radio and digital outlets. The BBC’s size and public funding annoy private-sector rivals, who argue the broadcaster has an unfair advantage.[]

NHK Asked to Cut Viewing Fees Further (Jiji Press)

Tokyo, Feb. 5 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Sanae Takaichi asked Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK) on Wednesday to cut television-viewing fees further.
The request was included in a set of proposals compiled by Takaichi. The proposals were approved the same day at a meeting of the Radio Regulatory Council, which advises the minister.

After expected cabinet approval, the proposals will be submitted to the ongoing session of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, together with NHK’s fiscal 2020 draft budget.

The public broadcaster has already decided to cut viewing fees and expand the scope of fee exemptions by the end of fiscal 2020, in order to reduce viewers’ burdens by the equivalent of 6 pct of its fiscal 2018 fee revenue.[]

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Radio Waves: Sun Up-Close, Super NZ Public Broadcaster, One SDR, and ABC Emergency Broadcasting

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, Paul Evans, Troy Riedel, Michael Bird, and Marty for the following tips:

Sun’s surface seen in remarkable new detail (BBC News)

Source: Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope

Behold the Sun’s convulsing surface at a level of detail never seen before.

The Daniel K Inouye Solar Telescope on Hawaii has released pictures that show features as small as 30km across.

This is remarkable when set against the scale of our star, which has a diameter of about 1.4 million km (870,000 miles) and is 149 million km from Earth.

The cell-like structures are roughly the size of the US state of Texas. They are convecting masses of hot, excited gas, or plasma.

The bright centres are where this solar material is rising; the surrounding dark lanes are where plasma is cooling and sinking.[]

The New Zealand Cabinet plans to create a new, super-sized public broadcaster (Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union)

It is understood the NZ cabinet has signed off on a high-level decision to proceed and to commission a business case, after the Minister for Broadcasting, Kris Faafoi, presented a revised paper on Monday.

There was pushback from some senior Labour and New Zealand First ministers about the way the preferred option was landed on, the implications for public broadcasting if RNZ ceased to be a standalone company, and the speed at which it had been progressing.

The plan was to work towards having the new media company in place by about 2023 and that appears to still be the goal.

RNZ was told the amended proposal puts a specific emphasis on the fact the new company will be primarily a public service media outlet, and to ensure that is made crystal clear in any legislation, and through a charter.[]

One SDR: A new website focusing on the basics of software defined radio

Good morning. I have been following SWLing over the years and it’s an amazing resource.

I’m writing from https://onesdr.com which is an Education website with articles that simplify Software-defined Radio. I write about practical aspects of SDR including associated components such as Low Noise Amplifiers, Filters, Bias Tees, etc. My goal is to demystify RF technology and make it more accessible to the growing community of SDR enthusiasts.

As well I have been contributing to several RF-related Wikipedia pages* to popularize RF and Wireless in general.

Interim Report of Survey of ABC Emergency Broadcasting in Bushfire Affected Communities (ABC Friends)

95% of respondents to ABC Friends’ Survey of ABC emergency broadcasting in bushfire affected communities believe there is a need for a national plan of additional essential communications infrastructure.

This devastating bushfire season attests to the ABC’s position as Australia’s pre-eminent emergency broadcaster. The number of ABC emergency broadcasts has risen from 256 in 2017-2018 to 371 in 2018-2019 to 673 to date this year (4 Jan). The ABC’s emergency broadcasts continue in the face of ongoing funding cuts and with no additional funding to cover the resources which have been poured into the effort.

On 3 January, via Facebook, ABC Friends National asked for feedback about the ABC’s emergency broadcasts from those affected by the bushfires. Whilst highly praised, there were reports that access to ABC broadcasts was sometimes a problem.

ABC Friends subsequent media release made an urgent call for the Federal Government to restore funding that guarantees infrastructure and transmission that is vital for emergency services broadcasting. It also advised of the launch of a survey (see appendix 1) to obtain more formal feedback about access to emergency broadcasts. This survey was delivered on 13 January via Facebook and via email through our membership and supporter base.

750 people responded to the survey.

91.1% of those surveyed said that the ABC local emergency broadcasts were important to them during the crisis.

96.1% of those surveyed said that ABC staff with local knowledge was important to them.

98.5% of those surveyed said that it was important to them that their local ABC outlet remain open and well-staffed.[]


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Troy finds Tenergy Centura low self-discharge batteries a great value

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Troy Riedel, who recently shared his observations about low self-discharge batteries with me. He has kindly allowed me to post his message here on the SWLing Post. Troy notes:

I’ve lauded Tenergy rechargeable NiMH batteries and I wanted to share something with you.

Mighty Bright Navigation Light

I have a box of Mighty Bright combination Red & White LEDs that I use for astronomy (they’re a clip-on light used by pilots and also marketed for use in the automobile – they hold three AAAs).

Approx. 18-months ago I put fully charged Rayovac, Energizer, Eneloop & Tenergy Centura Low Self-Discharge batteries in them.

Last night I pulled them out.

Rayovac: 0% charge.
Energizer: 0% charge
Tenergy Centura LSD & Eneloop: both averaged ~ 70% of a charge … (6 batteries in two lights) … though some of the Eneloops had a slightly higher charge (maybe 2 – 5% higher), most of the batteries were virtually indistinguishable.

You can buy 8 Tenergy for $9.99 while 8 Eneloop cost $17.99.

If cost were not an issue I’d still go with Eneloop (a longer track record), but the Tenergy is a worthy – no, very worthy – value vs. performance choice.

Panasonic Eneloop batteries

Thanks for sharing your real-world feedback, Troy.

I’m a big believer in low self-discharge rechargeable batteries. Indeed, I’ve almost replaced all of our “legacy” (meaning not low self-discarge) NiMH AA and AAA batteries with Eneloop cells.

Eneloops are pretty pricey, though, and the costs add up if you have a lot of devices that require batteries. As you might imagine, portable radios demand a steady supply of AA batteries at SWLing Post HQ.

I’ve been very pleased with my Eneloop batteries and, frankly, haven’t switched brands because of the terrible luck I’ve had with “legacy” rechargeables in the past. I’ve purchased so many that worked wonderfully for a few months then began to lose their capacity even though I employ an intelligent charger that properly breaks-in and cycles them.

I do believe I’ll add some Tenergy AA and AAA batteries in the mix now–especially for non-radio applications like lighting, remotes, clocks, and other consumer electronics.

Click here to check out Tenergy batteries and click here to check out Eneloop batteries at Amazon.com (affiliate links support the SWLing Post).

What are your observations?

Have you used Tenergy and Eneloop batteries? What about other brands?  Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment on this post.

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Radio Waves: Podcast Preservation, Art Bell Plaque, BBC News Cuts, Space Storms, and DK7IH’s Homebrew Transceiver

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, Troy Riedel, and Jeff Murray for the following tips:


Radio Survivor Podcast #230 – The Library of Congress Launches Podcast Preservation Project (Radio Survivor)

On this week’s episode we learn about a brand new project at the Library of Congress that is focused entirely on archiving podcasts. Ted Westervelt, Manager of the Podcast Preservation Project at Library of Congress, joins us to share early details from this new initiative. He explains that the hope is that a wide variety of all types of podcasts will be part of the collection, including the Radio Survivor Podcast.[]


Memorial Plaque Honoring Art Bell Unveiled at Park in Pahrump, Nevada (Coast to Coast)

Coast to Coast AM founder Art Bell has been honored with a memorial plaque at a park in the Nevada city of Pahrump. The beloved radio personality, who passed away in April of 2018, was a longtime resident of the community and famously broadcast from his home there. The marker, which was unveiled by Nye County on their Facebook page this past Friday and is located at Calvada Eye park, was funded by a group known as the ‘Friends and Fans of Art Bell’ with additional financial support and installation provided by the county.[]


BBC News to close 450 posts as part of £80m savings drive (BBC News)

Around 450 jobs will be cut from BBC News under plans to complete its £80m savings target by 2022.

Outlets to be hit by job closures include BBC Two’s Newsnight, BBC Radio 5 Live and the World Update programme on the World Service.

BBC News boss Fran Unsworth said there had to be a move away from traditional broadcasting and towards digital.

But broadcasting union Bectu said the changes mean staff will be “under even more pressure to deliver”.


How likely are space super-storms? (EarthSky)

A new analysis shows that “severe” space super-storms happened 42 years out of the last 150, and “great” super-storms happened 6 years out of 150. These storms can disrupt modern electronics, aviation and satellite systems and communications.

A new joint study by the University of Warwick and the British Antarctic Survey used historical data to extend scientists’ previous estimates of the likelihood of space super-storms. These storms may originate with solar flares, seen to erupt explosively on the sun during years of high solar activity. Space super-storms aren’t harmful to humans, because our atmosphere protects us, but they can be hugely disruptive to our modern technologies. They can cause power blackouts, take out satellites, disrupt aviation and cause temporary loss of GPS signals and radio communications, scientists say. The new work shows that what the scientists called “severe” space super-storms occurred 42 years out of the last 150 years. What they called “great” super-storms occurred in 6 years out of 150. The new work also sheds light on what’s called the Carrington event of 1859, the largest super-storm in recorded history.[]

Also check out: Are Solar Storms Dangerous To Us?


DK7IH’s New HOMEBREW Transceiver Raises the Bar for All of Us (Soldersmoke Podcast)

And that, my friends, is a HOMEBREW transceiver. Wow, amazingly well done. After I showed this to Pete N6QW (no slouch in the homebrew packaging department), in frustration with his self-perceived shortcomings he threatened to give up on homebrewing and to throw away all his rigs. Don’t do it Pete!

Peter Rachow, DK7IH has carefully documented his project through as series of blog posts:
Here is Part 1. Part 9 deals with mechanical construction, packaging and what George Dobbs used to call “socketry.”[]


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Radio Waves: WBCN, Reactions to AM Digital, More KPH, and Cereal Box Telescopes

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, Troy Riedel, andGrant Porter for the following tips:


WBCN history reveals revolutionary power in local radio (Boston University News Service)

SOMERVILLE – What started as a midnight to 6 a.m. slot on a failing classical music station, became the voice of a generation in 1970s Boston. Now, more than 50 years after WBCN sparked a “revolutionary new experiment in radio,” the bygone rock station is still making waves.

The 2018 documentary, “WBCN and The American Revolution,” tells the origin story of Boston’s first rock and roll station through a combination of rock hits. Never-before-seen photos, videos and interviews with some of Boston’s most beloved radio hosts, were greeted with cheers at the Somerville Theatre screening Thursday night.

Bill Lichtenstein, who began volunteering with WBCN at 14, directed and produced the film. After crowdfunding and a decade in the making, it has been touring independent theaters and festivals across the U.S. for the last year and a half.

WBCN was grounded in good music. Founded by Ray Riepen, owner of South End music venue The Boston Tea Party, WBCN introduced voices like The Velvet Underground, The Who, Bruce Springsteen and Led Zeppelin to the city, and quickly found a home in Boston’s huge student population. Within three months, the station, run by amateur hosts and young volunteers during classroom breaks, was playing 24 hours per day.[…]


“It Will Make Millions of Receivers Obsolete … This Is Needless” (Radio World)

What people are saying to the FCC about all-digital on the AM band

Radio World is providing an ongoing sampler of comments of what people are telling the FCC about its proposal to allow U.S. stations on the AM band to switch voluntarily to all-digital transmission. Here are more in the series:

Kirk Mazurek told the FCC that he is an avid AM listener who has “invested time and money in equipment towards my hobby as many others have. If this proposal goes through it will make the millions of receivers obsolete requiring the purchase of new equipment. This is needless, there are a lot of people who have vintage radios and a lot of them have been restored. This proposal would make them useless. I urge you not to ratify this proposal.”

Mark Wells raised concern about interference from digital to analog signals on the same channel. “This is especially applicable at night when one is listening to distant stations in out-of-state markets, he wrote. “For example, clear channel stations WBT in Charlotte and KFAB in Omaha are both on both on 1110 kHz. Let’s say one switches to digital, and one does not. As it is they both may fade in and out as the atmosphere does its nightly tricks, but the signals remain mostly useable. But, if one is digital and the other analog would it not ‘blank out’ the analog station?”[…]


Podcast features Coastal Radio Station KPH (DitDit.fm)

There was a time when the airways bristled with Morse Code. There were commercial radio stations all around the world whose business was sending and receiving Morse Code messages to ships at sea. Coast station KPH, located at Point Reyes National Seashore near San Francisco, is one of those stations. Richard Dillman was there in 1997 when KPH sent it’s last message and closed it’s doors. It was the end of the line for the men and women who had spent their careers sending Morse Code to ships at sea. There was nowhere else for them to go…

Two years later, Richard Dillman with a group of volunteers returned to KPH and put it back on the air. Listen as Richard tells us about the future of Maritime Morse Code Coastal Station KPH!


A hydrogen line telescope made from cereal boxes and an RTL-SDR (RTL-SDR.com)

SpaceAustralia.com have recently been hosting a community science project that involves encouraging teams to build backyard radio telescopes that can detect the arms of our Milky Way Galaxy by receiving the Hydrogen line frequency of 1420 MHz.

This can be achieved at home by building a horn antenna out of cardboard and aluminum foil, and a feed from a tin can. Then the Hydrogen line and galactic plane can be detected by using an RTL-SDR, LNA, and software capable of averaging an FFT spectrum over a long period of time.

While most horn antennas are typically made from four walls, one participant, Vanessa Chapman, has shown that even trash can be used to observe the galaxy. Vanessa’s horn antenna is made from multiple cereal boxes lined with aluminum foil and an old tin fuel can. The boxes are held together by some string and propped up by some sticks.

With her cereal box horn antenna combined with an RTL-SDR Blog V3, and an RTL-SDR Blog Wideband LNA, Vanessa was able to use software to average the spectrum over time as the galactic plane passed overhead, revealing the Hydrogen line peak and corresponding doppler shift from the galactic plane.[…]


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Lack of Sunspots Breaks a Space Age Record

Another [sun] spotless day on the sun.

Spaceweather.com reports that today we surpassed the largest number of spotless days (270) of the previous 2008 Solar Minimum cycle. The current spotless streak stands at 33 days and is quite possibly on its way to surpass the previous longest streak of this minimum at 36 days.  And you have to go back to 1913 to find a year that had more spotless days (311)!

Above: The blank sun on Dec. 8, 2019. Credit: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory

The bad news: the Solar Minimum could deepen as many scientists have calculated minimum may not occur until April 2020.  You might be wondering: when is the next Solar Maximum?  That’s forecast to be July 2025.  Both the minimum & maximum forecasts have a +/- 6-month error.

How has the historic Solar Minimum impacted your radio listening?  I know it’s impacted my motivation to set-up my solar telescope for solar observation.

Guest Post by Troy Riedel

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