Tag Archives: Ulis Fleming (K3LU)

Video: 1954 Inauguration of REE/RNE Shortwave Radio Transmitters

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ulis Fleming (K3LU), who shares the following video via Twitter and notes:

Spain: Must see newsreel video of the 1954 inauguration of REE/RNE shortwave radio transmitters:

Click here to watch video at the RTVE archives.

Many thanks for sharing this excellent bit of radio history, Ulis. I was just telling a friend that Radio Exterior de España still has one of the biggest signals out of Europe into North America these days on 9690 kHz.

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Radio Waves: Free Foundation License Course, More Titanic Radio, CQD, and ARRL Field Day Waivers

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 Trevor, Mark Hist and Ulis Fleming for the following tips:


Register now for free Amateur Radio Foundation Online training course (Southgate ARC)

The next free amateur radio Foundation Online training course run by volunteers from Essex Ham starts on Sunday, June 7

The Coronavirus outbreak and the RSGB’s introduction of online exams that can be taken at home has led to a surge in demand for free online amateur radio training courses such as that run by Essex Ham.

These courses have been very popular and early registration is advised. 313 people took the course that started on May 3 and a further 235 are on the course that started on May 17.

You can find out more about online training and register to join a course at
https://www.essexham.co.uk/train/foundation-online/

Essex Ham
https://www.essexham.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/EssexHam

US court grants permission to recover Marconi telegraph from Titanic wreckage (ARS Technica)

But NOAA is fiercely opposed to the controversial salvage mission.

When RMS Titanic struck an iceberg on April 14, 1912, crew members sent out numerous distress signals to any other ships in the vicinity using what was then a relatively new technology: a Marconi wireless telegraph system. More than 1,500 passengers and crew perished when the ship sank a few hours later. Now, in what is likely to be a controversial decision, a federal judge has approved a salvage operation to retrieve the telegraph from the deteriorating wreckage, The Boston Globe has reported.

Lawyers for the company RMS Titanic Inc.—which owns more than 5,000 artifacts salvaged from the wreck—filed a request in US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, arguing that the wireless telegraph should be salvaged because the ship’s remains are likely to collapse sometime in the next several years, rendering “the world’s most famous radio” inaccessible. US District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith concurred in her ruling, noting that salvaging the telegraph “will contribute to the legacy left by the indelible loss of the Titanic, those who survived, and those who gave their lives in the sinking.”

However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is fiercely opposed to the salvage mission. The agency argues in court documents that the telegraph should be left undisturbed, since it is likely to be surrounded “by the mortal remains of more than 1500 people.” Judge Smith countered in her decision that the proposed expedition meets international requirements: for instance, it is justified on scientific and cultural grounds and has taken into account any potential damage to the wreck.[]

Why Titanic’s first call for help wasn’t an SOS signal (National Geographic)

When RMS Titanic set sail in 1912, it was blessed and cursed with the latest in communication technology—the wireless telegraph. In the last hours after Titanic hit an iceberg, radio messages sent from the storied sinking ship summoned a rescue vessel that saved hundreds of people, but also sowed confusion with competing distress calls and signal interference. More than 1,500 people died that fateful night.

Now, a recent court ruling may pave the way to the recovery of Titanic’s telegraph, designed by Guglielmo Marconi, a telecommunications pioneer and 1909 Nobel Prize winner in physics who invented the first device to facilitate wireless communications using radio waves.

[…]Despite the limitations of the Marconi telegraph—and the fact that it wasn’t intended to be used as an emergency device—Titanic was outfitted with a radio room and a Marconi-leased telegraph machine. Two young Marconi-employed operators, chief telegraphist Jack Phillips and his assistant Harold Bride, sent Morse code “Marconigrams” on behalf of Titanic’s well-heeled customers 24 hours a day during its maiden voyage in April 1912.

Both Marconi’s technology monopoly and the torrent of personal messages conveyed through Titanic’s telegraph proved fatal on that April night. Phillips was so overwhelmed by a queue of incoming and outgoing guest telegrams —one Titanic passenger wanted to “notify all interested” about an upcoming poker game in Los Angeles—that he didn’t pass on messages about the ice threatening Titanic’s ocean environs. When a nearby vessel, SS Californian, telegraphed that it was already surrounded by ice, Phillips testily responded “Shut up! I am busy.”

Once Titanic hit the iceberg, Phillips tone shifted and he used the Marconi distress signal: “CQD.”[]

Temporary Rule Waivers Announced for 2020 ARRL Field Day (ARRL News)

With one month to go before 2020 ARRL Field Day, June 27 – 28, the ARRL Programs and Services Committee (PSC) has adopted two temporary rule waivers for the event:

1)      For Field Day 2020 only, Class D stations may work all other Field Day stations, including other Class D stations, for points.

Field Day rule 4.6 defines Class D stations as “Home stations,” including stations operating from permanent or licensed station locations using commercial power. Class D stations ordinarily may only count contacts made with Class A, B, C, E, and F Field Day stations, but the temporary rule waiver for 2020 allows Class D stations to count contacts with other Class D stations for QSO credit.

2)      In addition, for 2020 only, an aggregate club score will be published, which will be the sum of all individual entries indicating a specific club (similar to the aggregate score totals used in ARRL affiliated club competitions).

Ordinarily, club names are only published in the results for Class A and Class F entries, but the temporary rule waiver for 2020 allows participants from any Class to optionally include a single club name with their submitted results following Field Day.

For example, if Podunk Hollow Radio Club members Becky, W1BXY, and Hiram, W1AW, both participate in 2020 Field Day — Hiram from his Class D home station, and Becky from her Class C mobile station — both can include the radio club’s name when reporting their individual results. The published results listing will include individual scores for Hiram and Becky, plus a combined score for all entries identified as Podunk Hollow Radio Club.

The temporary rule waivers were adopted by the PSC on May 27, 2020.

ARRL Field Day is one of the biggest events on the amateur radio calendar, with over 36,000 participants in 2019, including entries from 3,113 radio clubs and emergency operations centers. In most years, Field Day is also the largest annual demonstration of ham radio, because many radio clubs organize their participation in public places such as parks and schools.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many radio clubs have made decisions to cancel their group participation in ARRL Field Day this year due to public health recommendations and/or requirements, or to significantly modify their participation for safe social distancing practices. The temporary rule waivers allow greater flexibility in recognizing the value of individual and club participation regardless of entry class.

ARRL is contacting logging program developers about the temporary rule waivers so developers can release updated versions of their software prior to Field Day weekend. Participants are reminded that the preferred method of submitting entries after Field Day is via the web applet. The ARRL Field Day rules include instructions for submitting entries after the event. Entries must be submitted or postmarked by Tuesday, July 28, 2020.

The ARRL Field Day web page includes a series of articles with ideas and advice for adapting participation this year.[]


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The story of a 1970s CB Radio QSL card print house

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ulis (K3LU), who shares the following story of a popular CB Radio QSL Card design and print house:

73s and 88s :: The Ballad of Runnin Bare and Lil White Dove

We set a custom screensaver on Our AppleTV. Told it to pull images from Flickr tagged with “British Columbia.” After my wife and kids and I spent a few weeks in Vancouver and in various places on Vancouver Island, it had become one of our favorite places. We missed it.

And so, at night, after a show or movie ended and the AppleTV sat idle for a few minutes, a slideshow would automatically begin. The Parliamentary Buildings in Victoria, the Inner Harbor, the wild, rocky, tidepool-rich shores of Tofino, the murals of Chemainus.

Then, every once in a while, an illustration of some sort. I couldn’t tell what. A one-panel comic? Some kind of advertisement or flyer? It would be gone from the screen before I could really get a good look. Weeks would go by and I wouldn’t see it until, once again, there it was. It looked old, like something from the 60s or 70s. And it had numbers on it, like a code or a message: 73s and 88s.

It was the numbers that got me. Like the park rangers in The Shining calling for Wendy Torrance on the radio: “This is KDK-1 calling KDK-12. KDK-1 calling KDK-12. Are you receiving me?” They seemed to be saying something. But what? I had to find out. So, I took to Google, and began my search.[…]

Click here to continue reading the full article.

FYI: Although the CB Radio landscape is quite different than it was in the 70s, most modern shortwave radio receivers can tune to CB channels. Here’s a quick tutorial from our archives.

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Radio Waves: LPFMs Go Non-Directional, ABC Cuts Remain, WBCQ Videos, and Demolition of Hara Arena

Hara Arena during the 2016 Dayton HamventionRadio 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 Ulis (K3LU), Michael Bird, and Trevor Dailey for the following tips:


New FCC Rules Would Allow LPFMs To Use Non-Directional Antennas. (Inside Radio)

The FCC is scheduled to vote on controversial new rules that would potentially end a prohibition on low-power FM stations using directional antennas, among other things. At its April Open Commission Meeting, the agency will vote on a Report and Order to update its technical rules for LPFM stations.

Since the Local Community Radio Act of 2010 was passed nearly a decade ago, the number of LPFMs has grown to more than 2,100 stations. The LPFM service has “matured since engineering requirements were first established in 2000,” FCC Chair Ajit Pai said in a blog post announcing the April meeting agenda. “This maturation means that LPFM stations should be able to take advantage of additional engineering options to improve reception.”

In addition to improving reception, the proposed new rules would “increase flexibility while maintaining interference protection and the core LPFM goals of diversity and localism,” Pai said.

Along with expanded LPFM use of directional antennas, the proposal would allow LPFM stations to use FM booster stations.[]

The ABC is an essential service but funding cuts remain, says boss (The Age)

The ABC could have to look at closing a channel if the government remains committed to the funding cuts announced in the 2018 federal budget, according to managing director David Anderson.

“We don’t think we can bridge the gap purely from efficiency alone,” said Mr Anderson on Thursday, as the broadcaster revealed a suite of programming that it hopes will help Australians through the next three months of social isolation.

“That’s where you start to look at what it is you’re providing on what service. At the moment we have no plans to turn off a channel or a network, but I have to say that in the foreseeable future turning off a channel will happen one day. It’s just not right now.”

The ABC is in the second year of its current triennial funding round, in which the government declined to index its base funding, effectively meaning its budget has been cut by $84 million over the three years to 30 June, 2022.[]

Two WBCQ Videos

Trevor Dailey shares two videos produced by Peter Kroon and OfficialSWLchannel that focus on WBCQ and their free speech mission. Click here for the first video (18:30) and here for the second video (4:37).

Note that while all of the commentary in the first video is in Dutch, much of the content is in English.

Demolition of most of Hara Arena will start soon (Dayton Daily News)

Michael Heitz, the developer of the Hara Arena property, said Monday that sometime in the next two to three months, demolition of about two-thirds of the tornado-damaged property should begin.

Heitz said he is putting together a legal description of the recently rezoned former entertainment property, with an environmental report and surveys, for JobsOhio. He expects JobsOhio, the state’s private jobs creation arm, to put its marketing muscle behind the 130-acre site, to help him find a future user.

“This is one of their biggest tracts in the state of Ohio, under one piece of land,” Heitz said in an interview. []


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One amazing SWL QSL card from 1995

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ulis (K3LU), who shares the following note:

I have one of the most detailed SWL QSL cards that was given to me by Fred Laun, K3ZO who is a very well known Contester and DXer. A retired USIA officer, Fred had an amazing career.

Fred runs the ARRL Third Area QSL Bureau and I am one of his sorters. We have long shared many common interests and one day he surprised me with this QSL card (see below). [L]ike you and I, Fred started out SWLing as a kid.

I suspect the SWL who wrote this card is now QRT. But it’s spectacular that he wrote all of this and with a real typewriter:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Wow, Ulis! What a treasure of a QSL card! Thank you so much for taking the time to share it with us.

I can’t imagine using a typewriter to pack so much information onto a QSL card. I struggled using a typewriter for letter sized pages!

I am curious if anyone knows the SWL who created this card: Mr. Hank Holbrook. If so, please comment!

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Washington Post features WWV and WWVB

A WWV Time Code Generator

(Source: Washington Post via Ulis K3LU)

If you tune a shortwave radio to 2.5, 5, 10 or 15 MHz, you can hear a little part of radio history — and the output of some of the most accurate time devices on Earth.

Depending on where you are in the United States, those frequencies will bring you to WWV and WWVH, two extremely accurate time signal stations.

Developed before commercial radio existed, WWV recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. It’s the oldest continually operating radio station in the United States.

Both stations are overseen by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the federal agency that governs standards for weights and measures and helps define the world’s official time.

That time can be heard on shortwave radio 24/7.[…]

Click here to read the full article.

If you’d like to hear why I believe WWV/WWVH and WWVB are important services, check out this interview I did with Scott Simon for NPR Weekend Edition.

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All-digital AM HD: WWFD’s experiment is attracting attention

(Source: InsideRadio via Ulis K3LU)

All-Digital AM Grabs Automakers’ Interest.

The fate of AM radio in the car dashboard may pass through Frederick, MD. That’s where the latest experiment on an all-digital AM signal is taking place, on Hubbard Radio’s adult alternative “The Gamut” WWFD (820). The project, in conjunction with digital radio developer Xperi and the National Association of Broadcasters’ PILOT program, is already generating interest from carmakers in the U.S and around the world.

The Federal Communications Commission in July approved a proposal to allow WWFD to turn off its analog signal for the next year while remaining an all-digital operation. The aim is to use the real-world environment to conduct experiments designed to improve the all-digital AM service.

WWFD has 4,300-watts day (non-directional) and 430-watts night (directional) and the company proposes to operate with roughly the same output when it goes digital-only, 24-hours a day. Dave Kolesar, Hubbard’s senior engineer overseeing the project, said it’s an ideal station to use for a test case since it’s non-directional by day and directional at night.[…]

The switch has already been flipped and Xperi senior manager of broadcast technologies Mike Raide said preliminary results are encouraging. “We haven’t had any problems with OEM receivers,” he said, noting he drove 70 miles from the transmitter site and still picked up WWFD without any problem. In fact, one DX listener in the Pittsburgh area, roughly 300 miles away, said they were able to hear the station during the daytime. “That’s a testament to how robust all-digital is,” Raide said.[…]

“At a time when we’re all hearing rumors about car manufacturers cutting AM from their factory offerings, something like this could come along and show the auto manufacturers that AM still matters and AM has a digital solution as well,” Kolesar said.[…]

Click here to view the full article at InsideRadio.

In August, I received a strong lock on WWFD in neighboring West Virginia via my car’s built-in HD receiver. The next day, I made this short video of my reception on the Sangean HDR-14 (read review here) in neighboring Germantown, Maryland:

I found that WWFD covered the DC metro area quite well.

Post readers: Do you believe, as this article implies, that AM HD could revitalize the band?

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