Tag Archives: Vatican Radio

Carlos’ Shortwave Art and recording of Vatican Radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor and noted political cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, who shares his radio log art, this time following coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine through Vatican Radio.


Carlos notes:

Vatican Radio, 9705 kHz, special broadcasting, message from Pope Francis in Ukrainian and Russian to Kiev and Moscow due the war in Ukraine.

Broadcasting from Santa Maria di Galeria, Italy, listened in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
March 28, 2022, 04h49 and 05h14 (UTC).

Click here to view on YouTube.

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Vatican Radio insreases shortwave news broadcasts to Ukraine & Russia

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Iurescia LW4DAF, who shares a link to the following announcement from Vatican Radio:


Vatican Radio increases shortwave broadcasts to Ukraine and Russia

From next Monday the Pope’s radio station will expand its Ukrainian and Russian programmes. The increase of shortwave frequencies aims to empower the Radio’s outreach in its mission to communicate the Gospel message and to “read” current events through this perspective.

By Vatican News

From Monday, 21 March, Vatican Radio will increase its shortwave broadcasts to Ukraine and Russia. In addition to the two daily broadcasts (afternoon and evening) in the two languages, the morning programmes to Moscow and Kyiv will last twenty minutes longer.

“The decision,” Massimiliano Menichetti, head of Vatican Radio Vatican News explains, “was taken with the agreement of the entire management team of the Dicastery for Communication, at this time when war is raging, in order to better respond to our mission: to bring hope, the Pope’s words and the reading of facts through the light of the Gospel to the whole world.”

In these past weeks, he added, thanks to a network of direct contacts that support the work of our reporters, we are trying to give comfort to those who are suffering and to ensure timely information.

The frequencies of Vatican Radio, the pages and posts of Vatican News in 51 languages (including English and Italian in sign language) aim to not leave anyone alone, even in the awareness of the power of prayer”.

Vatican Radio’s new shortwave broadcasts

Until 26 March

  • Russian, CET 06:00-06:20, UTC 05:00-05:20, 7260 kHz, 9715 kHz
  • Ukrainian, CET 06:20-06:40, UTC 05:20-05:40, 7260 kHz, 9715 kHz

From Sunday, 27 March

  • Russian, CET 07:00-07:20, UTC 05:00-05:20, 7260 kHz, 9705 kHz
  • Ukrainian, CET 06:40-07:00,UTC 04:40-05:00, 7260 kHz, 9705 kHz

Click here to read this announcement at Vatican Radio.

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Radio Waves: Radio Survivor Covers Pirates Pt. 2, Radio Scatter and Theoretical WSPR, RIP Bob Fass, and Vatican Radio Celebrates Marconi Day

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 L, Pete Eaton, David Iurescia, and Troy Riedel for the following tips:


Podcast #294 – Reading the PIRATE Act / FCC & the Supremes Pt. 2

The PIRATE Act was signed into law more than a year ago, but the rules governing increased fines for unlicensed broadcasting are about to go into effect on April 26. The Act is intended to give the FCC additional tools for tamping down pirate radio activity in hot beds like Boston and Brooklyn, NY, but there are reasons to be skeptical.

Brooklyn-based writer, post-production mixer and field recordist David Goren joins to help us tease out the real-world implications. Goren is also the creator of the Brooklyn Pirate Radio Sound Map and has been monitoring and recording unlicensed radio activity in the borough for decades.

Also joining the show is Dr. Christopher Terry from the University of Minnesota. A professor of media law, he helps illuminate some of the legal and bureaucratic elements that complicate the Commission’s efforts. He also catches us up on the latest development in the battle over media ownership rules, with the Supreme Court issuing a narrow unanimous ruling in favor of the FCC’s most recent changes, but not quite addressing the decades-long gridlock in that policy area.

Click here to visit Radio Survivor.

WSPR May Hold The Key To MH370 Final Position (Hackaday)

The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 after an unexplained course change sent it flying south over the Indian Ocean in March 2014 still holds the mystery of the wreck’s final location. There have been a variety of efforts to narrow down a possible search area over the years, and now we have news of a further angle from an unexpected source. It’s possible that the aircraft’s path could show up in radio scatter detectable as anomalously long-distance contacts using the amateur radio WSPR protocol.

WSPR is a low-power amateur radio mode designed to probe and record the radio propagation capabilities of the atmosphere. Transmit beacons and receiving stations run continuously, and all contacts however fleeting are recorded to an online database. This can be mined by researchers with an interest in the atmosphere, but in this case it might also provide clues to the missing airliner’s flightpath. By searching for anomalously long-distance WSPR contacts whose path crosses the expected position of MH370 it’s possible to spot moments when the aircraft formed a reflector for the radio waves.[…]

Click here to read the full article at Hackaday.

Bob Fass, Pioneer of Underground Radio, Dies at 87 (NY Times)

His provocative “Radio Unnameable,” long a staple of the New York station WBAI, offered a home on the FM dial to everyone from Abbie Hoffman to Tiny Tim.

Bob Fass, who for more than 50 years hosted an anarchic and influential radio show on New York’s countercultural FM station WBAI that mixed political conversation, avant-garde music, serendipitous encounters and outright agitation, died on Saturday in Monroe, N.C., where he lived in recent years. He was 87.

His wife, Lynnie Tofte, said he had been hospitalized with Covid 19 earlier in the month, but he died of congestive heart failure.

Continue reading at the NY Times.

Vatican Radio celebrates 30th International Marconi Day

The Dicastery for Communication marks the 30th International Marconi Day with a celebration at Vatican Radio’s historic broadcast station outside Rome.

International Marconi Day is held every year on the Saturday closest to the birthday of the inventor of the radio, Guglielmo Marconi, on 25 April 1874.

This year’s commemoration fell a day earlier, and saw dozens of radio stations exchange messages, including Vatican Radio, which Marconi himself helped found in 1931.

The 30th iteration of Marconi Day was celebrated at Vatican Radio’s broadcast center at Santa Maria di Galeria, outside Rome.

Day for those who love radio

According to Dr. Paolo Ruffini, the Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, it was “a day spent in a family spirit” for those who love the Radio and the man who invented it.

He noted that the broadcast station forms both the center and periphery of Vatican Radio, since it is the place where radio waves are emitted which carry the Gospel and the words of the Popes throughout the world.

Marconi’s favorite Radio

The 30th Marconi Day falls within the 90th anniversary year of the founding of Vatican Radio.

The great Italian inventor’s daughter, Princess Elettra Marconi, who was present for the celebration, recalled that the station was her father’s favorite, though he had founded several others.[]


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Radio Waves: Radio Tirana’s Global Communist Voice, Sounds of Community Radio, Morse Code Phishing, and the Mission of Vatican 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 David Shannon, Dennis Dura, and David Iurescia for the following tips:


Sources on Cold War Radio, Paradoxes, Maoism, and Noise (Wilson Center)

Radio Tirana emerged as a global Communist voice in the 1970s, reaching Brazilian guerillas in Araguaia, Maoist factions across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and many other listeners around the world. Elidor Mëhilli explains how this came to be.

“Dear Radio Tirana,” the letter begins, “here in the Alps we can hear you well, and we are especially fond of your propaganda directed at the Italian Communist Party.” The letter is dated April 12, 1976 but its Italian authors are not named. After a final greeting “Viva Mao e Viva Stalin,” they have simply signed off “a group of true Communists.”[i]

Two months earlier, in Entroncamento, Portugal, someone has penned a letter to the same station. “Camaradas,” his note begins, “I am a worker (a porter) who listens regularly to your Portuguese-language broadcasts.” The letter then proceeds with complaints about the fate of Communism in Portugal, with questions about Albania’s foreign policy, about why Radio Tirana spoke so infrequently about Portugal, about sports, about whether a trip to the Balkans might be possible.[ii]

By March, in Arequipa, Peru, a thirty-year-old places the recipient’s address on a small envelope: Señor Director, Radio Tirana, Albania.

He is among early Peruvian intellectuals who have been drawn to Mao Zedong’s ideas. Having completed a thesis on the topic, he is on his way to becoming a professor within a few years. “Unfortunately, I have to tell you that it’s been over a year that I do not receive your broadcasts,” he writes, “I think that it might due to the interference of the imperialist Yankees or perhaps the Soviet social-imperialists.”[iii]

Once a modest station, Radio Tirana had become a global Communist voice by the 1970s, reaching Brazilian guerillas in Araguaia, teeny-tiny Maoist factions across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, far-flung dots scattered across oceans and seas. This turned the station into a kind “of superpower of its kind” as author Ardian Vehbiu has put it. Officials embraced this role, broadcasting in numerous languages—English, Arabic, French, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, German, Indonesian—and beaming anti-capitalist and anti-Soviet messages day after day.[]

World Wide Waves: The Sounds of Community Radio (BBC World Service)

We think we live in a digital age, but only half the world is currently online. Across the globe, small radio stations bind remote communities, play a dazzling array of music, educate, entertain and empower people to make change. Cameroon’s Radio Taboo, in a remote rainforest village 100 miles off the grid, relies on solar power; its journalists and engineers are all local men and women, and some of its audience listen on wind-up radios. In Tamil Nadu, Kadal Osai (“the sound of the ocean”) broadcasts to the local fishing community about weather, fishing techniques—and climate change. In Bolivia, Radio Nacional de Huanuni is one of the last remaining stations founded in the 1950s to organise mostly indigenous tin miners against successive dictatorships; its transmitters are still protected by fortified walls.

For World Radio Day, we visit community stations around the globe and celebrate the enduring power, possibilities and pleasures of the airwaves.

This program will be available shortly after broadcast on Feb 14, 2021. Click here for details.

New phishing attack uses Morse code to hide malicious URLs (Bleeping Computer)

A new targeted phishing campaign includes the novel obfuscation technique of using Morse code to hide malicious URLs in an email attachment.

Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail invented morse code as a way of transmitting messages across telegraph wire. When using Morse code, each letter and number is encoded as a series of dots (short sound) and dashes (long sound).

Starting last week, a threat actor began utilizing Morse code to hide malicious URLs in their phishing form to bypass secure mail gateways and mail filters.

BleepingComputer could not find any references to Morse code being used in phishing attacks in the past, making this a novel obfuscation technique

The novel Morse code phishing attack
After first learning of this attack from a post on Reddit, BleepingComputer was able to find numerous samples of the targeted attack uploaded to VirusTotal since February 2nd, 2021.

The phishing attack starts with an email pretending to be an invoice for the company with a mail subject like ‘Revenue_payment_invoice February_Wednesday 02/03/2021.'[]

Father Lombardi: Mission of Vatican Radio in service of the Pope (Vatican News)

We reproduce excerpts from an article written on the 90th anniversary by the former Director of Vatican Radio, which were published in the latest issue of La Civiltà Cattolica.

By Fr Federico Lombardi, SJ

On 12 February 2021 it will be exactly 90 years since Pope Pius XI inaugurated the new Vatican Radio Station – built at his request by Guglielmo Marconi and entrusted to the care of Jesuit Father Giuseppe Gianfranceschi as its first director. The “mission of Vatican Radio was clear from the beginning: to be an instrument at the service of the Pope for his ministry of proclaiming the Gospel in the world and guiding the universal community of the Catholic Church. This mission has been preserved over time and has been reaffirmed several times by the Popes, guaranteeing a strong identity of the institution. […]

The voice of the Pope
Vatican Radio […] was founded in 1931, in the context of the rapid establishment of the new Vatican City State […]. The radio station built by Marconi was at the forefront of the technology of the time, and was able to provide telegraphic and radio service completely independently from Italy. Thanks to short-wave technology, in an “ether” not yet overcrowded with countless transmissions, it was possible to be heard on other continents with a rather low power. At the beginning of its existence, Vatican Radio was the instrument thanks to which the Catholics of the world could hear the voice of the Pope directly for the first time. […]

The 1930s were years of the power of totalitarianism. Pius XI’s positions were courageous and, in the thickening of the storm, he looked to the Church with confidence. The demand for broadcasts in different languages to guide and support the faithful in European countries grew rapidly. Father Filippo Soccorsi, appointed to lead the Radio in 1934 (at 34 years old!), after the untimely death of Fr. Gianfranceschi, not only dedicated himself to improving the technical structures — such as the new antenna towering over the Vatican gardens, known as “The Pope’s Finger” — but promptly grasped the expectation to make the Radio grow also in the content of its programming. Thus, in 1936, the Vatican Broadcasting Corporation was accepted into the International Broadcasting Union with a recognition of its special nature, which authorised it to carry out radio activities without any geographical limitations. Because of the limited means available, Fr Soccorsi asked for the collaboration of Jesuit brethren from various countries for the editing and presentation of the texts. The German-language broadcasts were particularly important.

In the tragedy of war: for peace and solidarity with the suffering
[…] On the eve of the war, in 1939, there were regular broadcasts in Italian, French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Ukrainian, and Lithuanian, and the station was able to be a point of reference for the Church in the immense tragedy, playing its role of denouncing violence, supporting victims and members of the resistance, and encouraging hope. The “Radio-messages” of Pius XII in wartime, eagerly awaited and listened to with great attention throughout Europe, remain famous. His was the loudest and most authoritative voice rising above the warring parties in those terrible years, calling for justice and peace.

During the war, however, Vatican Radio became famous for another service: it was in fact a fundamental instrument of the great commitment desired by Pius XII with the “Information Office of the Secretariat of State,” set up in 1939 to track down missing civilians and soldiers and prisoners; to provide information to their families and, if possible, to re-establish among them at least a link of greeting and remembrance. […]

Vatican Radio devoted specific broadcasts to requesting news about the missing and broadcasting short messages from the families to the prisoners, whose names were slowly spelled out by the “metallic” voice of the speakers. These broadcasts reached 70 hours per week, with peaks of 12-13 hours per day. Between 1940 and 1946, a total of 1,240,728 messages were broadcast in 12,105 hours of actual transmission time. In some cases, the transmissions were broadcast over loudspeakers in prison camps. The testimonies of gratitude for this service were numerous and moving. This is one of the most beautiful pages in the history of Vatican Radio.

A voice for the “Church of Silence”
With the end of the war, Vatican Radio accompanied with its broadcasts the climate of moral and spiritual reconstruction of the countries devastated by the conflict, while preparations were in full swing for the great Holy Year of 1950, a time of renewed vitality of the Church.

But in the meantime, most of Eastern Europe fell under the oppression of the communist regimes, and the Catholic Church became the object of harsh persecution in many countries. This was an historic challenge for Vatican Radio, which was practically the only way through which the faithful could nurture their bond with the Pope and the universal Church and receive support for their faith. Even with limited resources, programmes in the languages of Eastern European countries became more numerous and were given more airtime. At the end of the 1940s, the programme in Polish — which together with Italian, English, French, Spanish and German had always been one of the main languages of transmission — was joined by those in Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Russian, Croatian, Slovenian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Belarusian and, shortly afterwards, Albanian. For decades, throughout the time of oppression, the broadcasts of Vatican Radio offered a regular and sure appointment for the faithful, religious, priests and bishops deprived of the freedom to express and live their faith.

There would be countless stories to tell about those years. In certain countries and in certain periods of the harshest persecution, listening to Vatican Radio was absolutely forbidden and seriously dangerous: it could be the cause of serious penalties, up to imprisonment and even — in some cases — the death sentence. For some languages, such as Polish or Slovak, the audience was high, while for others, where Catholics were a minority, there were not many listeners. But the principle that guided the fathers of the Radio, according to the Pope’s intention, was not the vastness of the audience, but the situation of need of the listeners. That is why the languages of broadcasting to Eastern countries have always represented more than half of the languages used by Vatican Radio. When, after many years, the walls fell, the gratitude of the faithful and the people could finally express itself in moving forms, such as the more than 40,000 letters that arrived at the Ukrainian Section in the first year after the fall of the Soviet regime, or the bestowal of the award of the Albanian State for the work of Vatican Radio. […]

Communication for communion
In 1970 the editorial offices and studios of Vatican Radio moved to Palazzo Pio, in front of Castel Sant’Angelo, providing adequate space in what would become the main headquarters of the station for decades. In 1973 Father Roberto Tucci […] succeeded Father Martegani in the general direction. We were on the eve of the Holy Year 1975 and the Radio was completely mobilised. It was not only a matter of broadcasting live the great papal celebrations, audiences and events, and of giving adequate information in all languages so that the universal Church felt involved, but also of providing a service for pilgrims arriving in Rome from all over the world. […]

Pasquale Borgomeo, who would become a dynamic and creative director of programmes; and Father Félix Juan Cabasés, in charge of the “Central Editorial Office,” later the “Documentation Service”: The former would greatly cultivate the valuable international relations of the station, in particular with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU); the latter would leave a lasting mark in the organisation of documentation and editorial programming. […]

Vatican Radio thus reached maturity, with increasing professional and journalistic quality, which makes it not only the beating heart of daily communication in the universal Church — “communication for communion”, as the Council hoped — but also an active protagonist in the wider world of Catholic and lay communication in the life of the Church.[]


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Vatican Radio’s Brazilian Portuguese language programming returns

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Iurescia (LW4DAF), who shares the following news via Zenit.org:

“The Brazilian program of Vatican Radio-Vatican News resumes its short-wave transmissions in the Amazon region,” announced the portal of Vatican News in Brazilian today, Monday, July 15, 2019, given the proximity of the holding of the Synod for Amazonia (October 6-27, on the theme: “New Ways for the Church and For An Integral Ecology.”

“For over 61 years, Brazil has been listening to the Pope’s voice through Vatican Radio. On August 1, after a period of absence, the Brazilian program of the papal station will return to Amazonia in short wave,” announced the same source.

And it adds: “Thus Vatican Radio-Vatican News shows its attention to an important region of Brazil, for which the radio is its main means of communication. The Pope’s voice will be listened to again on radio by more than 25 million people, who live in this lung of the planet. The decision to broadcast in short wave responds to the geographic reality of Amazonia.”

Vatican News recalls: “Created in March of 1958, twenty-seven years after the foundation of Vatican Radio, on February 12, 1931, the Brazilian program has followed seven pontificates, from Pius XII to Francis. At present, the Brazilians of Vatican Radio-Vatican News offer a wide gamut of daily programs in a multi-media style through different platforms: radio, Web and social networks.”

It also recalled: “On the occasion of the 50th anniversary, in March 2008, Benedict XVI expressed his gratitude to the said program for the inestimable service of proclaiming the Gospel and promoting communion between the Church and the people of Brazil.”

Click here to read the full article at Zenit.org.

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Vatican Radio launches Latin news program

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, David Iurescia (LW4DAF), who shares this piece from the Vatican News:

‘Hebdomada Papae’: News in Latin on Vatican Radio

Saturday, 8 June, sees the launch of “Hebdomada Papae, notitiae vaticanae latine redditae” (The Pope’s week in review: Vatican news bulletin in Latin), on Vatican Radio.
By Linda Bordoni

Starting on Saturday, 8 June, a 5-minute weekly news bulletin in Latin will be broadcast to the world on Vatican Radio frequencies through the Italian language audio channels. Of course you will also be able to follow it on our web portal and listen to it on podcast, and it will soon be available on the English-language audio frequencies as well.

The bulletin goes to air thanks to the collaboration of the Vatican’s Latin Letters Office, a department of the Secretariat of State where Church documents are written in or translated into Latin. The bulletin will be edited by veteran Vatican Radio journalist Alessandro De Carolis.

A challenge for the future

Vatican Radio’s Editorial Director, Andrea Tornielli, describes ‘Hebdomada Papae’ as a real, informative news bulletin.

“We did not conceive it with a nostalgic look to the past, but as a challenge for the future,” he said.

Noting that Latin is the official language of the Catholic Church, he said Latin already “resonates daily on the frequencies of Vatican Radio, which every morning broadcasts Mass in Latin.”

This weekly initiative, he explained, aims to breathe new life into the language.

‘Anima Latina’

Straight after the news bulletin, Vatican Radio Italy, whcih broadcasts news and other programmes on the frequencies dedicated to the Italian language, will also provide an in-depth programme entitled “Anima Latina, radio colloquia de lingua ecclesiae.”

“Anima Latina”, dedicated to the rediscovery of the value and beauty of the Latin language, will feature Father Waldemar Turek, Director of the Latin Letters Office.

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Vatican Radio notes shortwave frequency changes

Vintage Vatican Radio QSL

(Source: Vatican Radio via Mike Hansgen)

Shortwave Frequency Changes for the English Africa Service starting on 28 October 2018 to March/April 2019

Daylight saving time in Rome
We wish to inform listeners that with the end of Daylight Saving Time in Rome on Sunday 28th October, there will be changes in the time and broadcast frequencies of the English Africa Service.

The programme will be going on air one hour earlier at 16.30 UTC (GMT) on the following shortwave frequencies: 11625 kHz (25mb) and 13830 kHz (21mb)

It will be repeated at 20.00 hours UTC on 6010 kHz (49mb) and the 7365 kHz (40 mb).

Listeners in Rome
For listeners in Rome and the Vatican who have a digital radio receiver, the ‘English Africa Programme’ can be heard on Vatican News’ World Channel on digital radio DAB+ at 17.30 Rome time and the repeat broadcast at 21.00 hours Rome time.

Listen to and download our daily Podcast from anywhere in the world
To listen to the Podcast of our programme throughout the day, just log on to our websitewww.vaticannews.va, click on English and then from right hand side of the page; click on “listen to our podcasts” and choose ‘English for Africa’.

Catholic Radio Stations in Africa retransmit our daily programme
On the continent, the main outlet for our daily English Africa programmes will continue to be through the re-transmission of our daily broadcasts by several Catholic radio stations.

Most of these radio stations are owned by various African Catholic dioceses, parishes, religious congregations and some by the Radio Maria network.

We thank you all for this important collaboration.

For further information kindly contact the English Africa Service through email: [email protected] or by phone: (+39) 06 69883892.

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