Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who writes:
Here’s a blast from the past that might be interesting reading for the SWLing Post.
Back in 1986, just before ending my three year tour as VOA East Africa bureau chief, I had an opportunity to visit Zanzibar, with a group of journalists. Back then, Zanzibar was still under the socialist government in charge at the time, and was still attached to Tanzania’s socialist government.
Zanzibar town was full of old structures, and clay/stucco type buildings [see photo at top of page]–it was a wonderfully exotic place, with pristine beaches. The main hotel at the time was in poor condition — this was way before any of the extensive hotel development that the island has seen in recent decades.
One day we were traveling across the island, but I made a point of stopping at what was then still Radio Tanzania/Zanzibar. This was of course years before that station would become ZBC, which remains on the air today, and that time the power was still far lower than the station we know today that serves some fairly wide sections of East Africa and up into the Gulf region.
I hadn’t remembered snapping this photo, but found it recently while going through some old prints. This is what I believe to be Radio Tanzania/Zanzibar as it looked back in 1986 [see below].
Another photo [below] shows old Zanzibar town (shot taken from just off the shore).
Two other shots [below] show a graveyard on Grave Island, off Zanzibar, with one of the stones belonging to someone named Henry Bodley Carpenter (click here for more info) who served on the H.M.S. Briton and died in 1873.
Thanks so much, Dan, for taking the time to share these photos of Zanzibar with us. I imagine your work with the Voice of America took you to many corners of our wonderful planet!
I still get a small thrill when I put Zanzibar in the logs! Thank you again.
It’s been quite a while since I posted any logs. I picked out my best ones from the last 2 months.
Equipment: Tecsun PL-880, 225 foot long wires oriented for different directions, EmTech ZM2 Antenna tuner, DX Engineering RPA-1PLUS HF PreAmp and EmTech ZM2 antenna tuner.
5040 kHz, All India Radio Jaypore from 1641UTC to 1645UTC on September 22nd in the Oriya language with some singing and/or chanting. I would give this broadcast a SINPO Rating of 33343. The signal was overall on the higher side of fair but there ewas some static and noise with a light to moderate amount of fading and some digital data/pulsing kind of noise. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvtOZFbYMxo (Walker-AK)
7295 kHz & 7345 kHz, Radio Sahka via Yauktsk 1020UTC to 1030UTC on September 11 in Russian. What sounds like contemporary russian music is being played. 7295 is a bit louder and stronger for me, sometimes by a fairly noticeable margin most days but this time, the difference is hugely noticeable between the two signals. I would give these broadcasts a SINPO rating of 45455 I am rating this good as there was almost no atmospheric noise and very little fading! 7295 kHz audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g24DkJgv0qc 7345 kHz audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ia4N62KB2gM (Walker-AK
7315 kHz, The Voice of Vietnam via Cypress Creek, South Carolina from 0100 to 0115UTC on September 22. The program begins with the incredibly recognizable and lovely VOV interval tune/intro signal. A female announcer gives a quick preview of the show and headlines then a news report begins.with a male. I would give this broadcast a SINPO of 34233. The signal was pretty fair, listenable but with lots of atmospheric noise/fading/static, but thankfully no interference. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_PH8MraW7A.
VOV also heard at 1624UTC on 7220 kHz via Hanoi with a traditional Vietnamese song and a SINPO rating of 33232. The signal itself was ok but there was a lot of noise, fading and at times, interference which resulted in my overall poor rating. The signal itself was ok but there was alot of noise, fading and at times, interference which resulted in my overall poor rating. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9Kf2AYVeDA .
I have not heard the claimed VOV broadcasts in English on 5955 via Moosbrun or the 9550 broadcasts, wherever that comes from! (Walker-AK)
9445 kHz, All India Radio General Overseas Service from 1826 to 1830UTC on August 27th in English. Indian music followed by a sports program, co produced by AIR, BBC and Radio Australia.I would give this broadcast a SINPO rating of 45454. THe signal was pretty darn good and audio was good too. Only a slight bit of fading and ever so slight noise. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ka9mc7c_F8 (Walker-AK)
9650 kHz, Radio Guinea via Conarky from 2357UTC to 0035UTC in French. Lively Afro-pop type music and announcers talking in french. I would give this a SINPO Rating of 35333. The broadcast was moderately fair, the unique music made this broadcast a bit easier to pick out of the noise but it was moderately listenable. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lmG9ms3ucU (Walker-AK)
9870 kHz, All India Radio Vividh Bharati Service from 1728UTC to 1741UTC on August 27th. Stellarly awesome signal with some lovely indian music and female announcer. I would give this a SINPO Rating of 5555! Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyJAJmwoE8I (Walker-AK)
9895 kHz, Radio Rossi via (???) from 0951UTC to 1002UTC on September 11. Enjoying some Russian music on Shortwave! I would give this a SINPO rating of 44344. I rate this overall as good because of the strong signal and overall high listenability signal/audio quality wise. If it weren’t for the slight fading and noise, this would be nearly a 55555. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XcsJEAgDuc
I would give this a SINPO rating of 44343. This signal was on the lower side of good but the overall quality was the higher side of fair due to the fading, noise and slightly low modulation.
11735 kHz, Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation via Dole, Zanzibar from 2049UTC to 2059UTC on September 5th. Some music playing, maybe middle eastern-like? somewhat lively tunes. A male announcer speaking, possibly in Swahili This is far from the best I log ZBC with, but also far from the worst I give this broadcast a SINPO rating of 44434. It was a fair to good signal with a bit of fading and choppy propagation but not bad. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn7o4G2iHSU (Walker-AK)
11750 kHz, Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation via Trincomalee, Sri Lanka from 1721UTC to 1725UTC on September 24th in the Sinhalese language. Unfortunately, I do understand what is being said other then it appears this is an interview or discussion program hosted by a woman with a male guest on the phone.. A friend who listened to the recording says she gives a station ID at some point. I would give this broadcast a SINPO rating of 34444. The signal was fair and there was no interference but fading was moderate and propagation was somewhat choppy. If the signal had been a bit stronger with a little less fading and better propagation, this would’ve been a very enjoyable signal to listen to. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfqEK4caKKo (Walker-AK)
12035 kHz, Voice of Mongolia via Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia from 0859 to 0908UTC on September 25 in English. My recording starts out with the carrier but no program audio yet. The interval tune begins, a male announces the name of the radio station. A female announcer comes on, welcoming people to the radio station. Frequency and broadcast schedule information is given out along with your website information. Another female announcer comes on and welcomes people to a New Edition of The Sunday Music Program. That female announcer reads a few news stories before a Mongolian song plays. I would give this broadcast a SINPO rating of 44344. Overall this broadcast was good because the signal was strong and with no noise or interference, just moderate fading and slightly choppy propagation. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpfoLtxkr70 (Walker-AK)
15275 kHz, Deutsche Welle via Issoudun from 1835 to 1838UTC on September 24 in French. It sounds like a news discussion/interview program with one man doing the large part of the talking. I would give this broadcast a SINPO rating of 45444. It was a pretty good signal with no noise or interference and only a slight bit more fading then my 1530 kHz reception of RFI on the same date and nearly same time from the same site with nearly the same target area. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTUzBk3FjeY (Walker-AK)
15300 kHz, Radio France International via Issoudun from 1837UTC to 1841UTC on September 24 in French. What sounds like a woman possibly interviewing a man. I would give this broadsast a SINPO Rating of 45444. The signal was very good, there was no interference and very little noise. Just a bit of fading and ever so slightly choppy propagation. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1sJs9P0Qrw (Walker-AK)
15320 kHz, Radio Taiwan International via Paochung, Taiwan from 0356UTC to 0359TC on September 8th. There is ALOT of static/atmospheric noise on the channel and the signal is very weak. I recorded 5 minutes worth and took the 3 best segments of the reception and put them together. If I didn’t know what to look for, this would be impossible to have nailed down In the first part of this one clip which is 11 seconds, a male gives out a frequency and time schedule. In the second part of this clip which is 9 seconds, the same man gives out what I assume is the PO Box mailing address for RTI. In the 3rd and final part of this clip, that same man says simply “Radio Taiwan International” I would give it a SINPO rating of 12112. Audio here: https://app.box.com/s/kkcoe959r5iphbjvvnjoz2n0qxslhevz. I have also heard RTI’s 9465 kHz and 11685 kHz english broadcasts in the 1500 to 1600UTC time frame usually at barely fair levels, but occasionally at fair to good levels. (Walker-AK)
15520 kHz, Voice Of Turkey via Emirler, Turkey from 1628UTC to 1650UTC on September 24th in English. The lovely Voice of Turkey interval tune played for about 2 minutes before time pips played followed by a male announcing the start of the english service and the frequencies and times to listen. A Female announcer then came on and read news stories for about 10 minutes before the letter box program came on with a male announcer reading listener letters and reception report. I give this broadcast SINPO rating of 44333. This broadcast was teetering between fair and good. If it wasn’t for the choppy propagation, this signal would’ve been alot more listenable. Audio here of 15520 kHz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6F0ktPTDuc I caught 9830 the next day and they played their interval tune for about 9 minutes before signing off about 10 minutes early!! 9830 kHz audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3o7_LINGYMA . I’ve heard the 9515 kHz Turkey broadcast in English in early September as well at fair signal levels with somewhat choppy propagation. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anc_8jznz_k (Walker-AK)
15590 kHz, Radio Thailand via Udon Thani from 02359 to 0015UTC on August 19. Superb signal with interval tune, station introduction and a news segment of national headlines.An ad or two was heard for local/regional businesses along with promotional announcement inviting advertising inquires and giving an email address. I would give this a SINPO rating of 55455. This broadcast is near perfect! Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPQaA_RM74I. 9390 kHz heard in English on September 24th at 1937UTC with business and financial report information in english. SINPO of 54444 Almost as good as 15590 kHz and it should be noted that 9390 isn’t usually this good. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQnEexGUBoE (Walker-AK)
As is my typical style, I’ll do some DX’ing for weeks, if not a month or more before I sit down and write out logs. I focus on logging and recording first, then writing reports later as I’m worried i’ll miss something on the dials.
I have a few good ones this time around, like usual. Lets get on with the logs!
There are a few good ones here, including The Voice of Mongolia 12035 kHz, Vivdh Bharati on 9870 kHz and others along with some usuals.
2850 kHz, 3250 kHz & 3320 kHz, The Voice of Korea via Pyongyang to North Korea and the Far East in Korean on August 2, 2016 from 1623 to 1627UTC. The tropical band signals of VoK are somewhat rare and kind of weak during the summer but much more regular and stronger in the winter. This time around, 2850 kHz is the strongest with a woman singing in Korean. The signal is weak but easy to understand despite the noise. 3250 kHz and 3320 kHz both featured a man talking, 3250 had a song shortly after my recording began. 3560 kHz wasn’t heard on this date, but it was heard back on July 23, 2016 at 1502UTC with a pretty weak signal, full of noise, yet music was definately heard above the buzzing!
4885 kHz, Echo of Hope to North Korea in Korean on July 28, 2016 at 1623UTC. Their other frequencies always seem to be jammed but I’ve not heard this Anti North Korean station have it’s 4885 kHz signal jammed. It’s a pretty good signal, clean, clear, fairly steady with only some light fading. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgZUOjZaQPE
5020 kHz, Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation via Honiara to the Solomon Islands on August 1, 2016 at 0953UTC. The SIBC is here just about nightly and at least very poor levels. The signal on this night with local music is fair but with a good amount of fading and noise. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A67vQd04Uj0
5857 kHz “HLL Seoul” on July 28, 2016 at 1634UTC. A weather broadcasting station from Seoul, South Korea often with digital data but does have voice from time to time, I’ve heard both but never this clear. The voice isn’t usually this clear or loud. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5eICMqMCaQ
7280 kHz, The Voice of Vietnam in Russian via Hanoi to Europe on July 26, 2016 at 1639UTC. A poor signal with lots of fading, static and noise and possibly some interference as well. A man was heard talking in Russian. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7nt1J0QGWQ
9390 kHz, Radio Thailand World Service in English via Udon Thani on July 23, 2016 at 1955UTC. Radio Thailand is here from time to time and while it may be strong sometimes, it’s usually a pretty fade-y signal. This signal would be on the high side of fair if it wasn’t for all the noise and fading. The recording starts off with what sounds like ad’s for a business marketed to english speaking ex pats and tourists. A sign off message then airs but the carrier doesn’t drop as far as I can tell before the German service starts at 2000UTC. Audio here: https://soundcloud.com/onairdjpaulwalker/radio-thailand-9390-july-23
9420 kHz, The Voice of Greece via Avlis to Europe. on August 1, 2016 at 2326UTC. The Voice of Greece is not heard here too often and when it is, it’s often a noise, static and fade-y ridden signal like this is with a woman talking, but about what, I don’t know. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ul6kf5cdvho
9635 kHz, The Voice of Turkey in French via Emirler to Western Europe on July 23, 2016 at 2021UTC. The Voice of Turkey is pretty rare here, I can’t recall it paying a visit very often. The is about as good as I can recall hearing them here Despite the extreme noise, It is still a steady signal with a musical selection, a man talking and then a musical selection before the carrier is turned off. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMXlIHiDl7U
9735 kHz, Radio Taiwan International in Japanese via Paochung/Baujong to Japan on July 31, 2016 at 2258UTC. A man in Japanese mentioning Tapei, a short musical selection plays before a few beep tones and a carrier being cut. The signal is pretty steady and strong with some light fading, but still a listenable signal. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-K6NVvrriwY
9790 kHz, Radio Romania International in English via Tiganesti to the Far East. The English service broadcast with a lady talking about a contest with the giveaway being a CD. Details are given how to enter the contest. The signal was somewhat weak but there was a moderate amount of nosie with some fading on the channel. I detected the 9760 kHz in english to Western Europe and I could hear audio, but nothing worthy of recording or logging it “officially”. 9790 kHz audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGiD1OHVWKw
9870 kHz, All India Radio Vividh Bharati Service in Hindi via Bangalore to South Asia on July 27, 2016 at 1700UTC. They are here just about everyday, sometimes at poor levels but usually at least fair. However, some days like this time, they are good to excellent with great audio, steady signal and no real noise or fading. I love hearing the music they play! Audio here: https://soundcloud.com/onairdjpaulwalker/air-9870-july-27-2016-8-59-1
9997 kHz LSB, RWM Moscow Russia on July 27, 2016 at 1643UTC. Every source I’ve seen places them on 3 frequencies, including 9996 kHz. I swear each time I’ve heard them, it is clearer on LSB and 9997 kHz then 9996 kHz! They are a fairly regular visitor here, not every day, but at least weekly but usually, they are buried in the noise between slop from WWV/H and atmospheric crud. Well, this today the beep from RWM was very very much in the clear. Audio here: https://soundcloud.com/onairdjpaulwalker/rwm-9997lsb-july-27-2016-8
11800 kHz, Radio Romania International in Romanian via Tiganesti to the Middle East on July 27, 2016 at 1647UTC. The signal was fair with a moderate amount of fading and atmospheric noise. I heard a romanian language tune followed by a man then a woman talking. Later on, I heard what may have sounded like feature report of some kind, I don’t think it was a news broadcast. Audio here: https://soundcloud.com/onairdjpaulwalker/rri-11800-july-27-2016-8-47-16
11735 kHz, Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation in Swahili via Dole, Zanzibar on July 28 at 1659UTC. They are only 50KW and while some sites list them as non directional, they aren’t. A directional curtain antenna has been spotted on Google maps, but I don’t know what their beam is. That being said, I can count on them being here daily. Somedays it’s poor, some days it’s fair and other days it’s somewhat good like this. There are even days when it’s near excellent with a clear, steady signal and good audio. In this clip, the audio sounds like a cross between being full of digital artifacts and some propagation issues. The audio is not as good as usual, but still pretty listenable with not much fading and little noise or interference. There was a song, followed by a little dead air then a station promotional announcement and another song. ZBC, when playing music, is an enjoyable listen! Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSvyT-Do1cE
11950 kHz, Radio Romania International in French via Galbeni to Southern Europe on August 1, 2016 at 1640UTC. The signal was fair but with a moderate amount of fading. Thankfully, no interference or too much atmospheric noise. A woman talking in french, presumably reading the news. Audio is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PioNenuF358
12019 kHz, The Voice of Vietnam in Chinese(?) via Hanoi to Indonesia on July 31, 2016 at 2236UTC. I can usually hear the Voice of Vietnam shortwave broadcasts in multiple languages from their Vietnam based transmitter sites across very frequencies. This signal is fairly weak with some nooise and fading. It sounds like a news broadcast or feature report to me. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5GRlWGQbBg
12035 kHz, Voice of Mongolia via Ulaanbatar with 180 degree beam south from Mongolia On August 1, 2016 at 0900UTC, I had the best signal ever from time. If it wasn’t for all the atmospheric noise and fading present, the signal would’ve been an incredibly pleasant listen. During this time, I happened to catch the DX’ers mailbox program in which they read out a letter from me. However, this is the second time the July 4th broadcast has been replayed. Still great to get them so well here, usually they are weak and barely above the noise floor. My Wellbrook ALA1530LNP was used here instead of the 225 foot longwire. The loop provided noise reduction and nulling/directional capabilities that really helped out! Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqTox0j8P3k (Here’s a tip when looking for VOM on 12035 and trying to log in: I think the carrier is turned on several minutes before the 0900UTC broadcast in english. The interval tune starts just a little before 0859UTC and I think the program runs the entire 30 minutes till 0930UTC, unlike what I think some sites suggest)
12060 kHz, Radio Algerienne via Issoudun to West Africa in French on July 26, 2016 at 2038UTC. none of Radio Algerienne’s signals are regular visitors and pretty weak as I recall, like this one with lots of noise and buzzing. Music and chat barely detectable above the noise floor. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pqdQKRrG0E
13660 kHz, Radio Romania International in Romanian via Tiganesti to the Middle East on July 28, 2016 at 1655UTC. This was a GOOD signal with only a light amount of fading and very little noise. There was a woman talking for a bit then a man came on and mentioned the name of the station. A song played and the carrier was cut mid song without their usual interval tune. Audio is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WR7p0537mbc
15170 kHz, Radio Romania International in Spanish via Tiganesti to South America on August 1st, 2016 at 2101UTC. This signal was pretty weak with only a light amount of fading but plenty of atmospheric noise. It was hard to understand the woman talking, but you could clear make out the RRI news sounder noise part of the way through my recording. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzYQ3l4iPWE
15235 kHz, Channel Africa in English via Meyerton to Western South Africa on August 2, 2016 at 1708UTC. Channel Africa is somewhat of a regular visitor up here as of late when conditions are good. They broadcast an hour long news segment in French from 1600 to 1700UTC followed by an hour long english broadcast. The signal this time around is fair but there’s alot of fading. The signal can be weak at times, but is usually steadier then this. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k0-lx8aLXM
15275 kHz & 11740 kHz, Deutsche Welle via Issoudun in French to Africa (17740 kHz) and West Africa (15275 kHz)on July 31, 2016 and August 2, 2016 bewteen 1700 and 1730UTC. 15275 kHz french service to Africa was heard on July 31 and August 1st. July 31st produced a fair to good signal with moderate fading but still very listenable. The August 1st broadcast proved a bit harder, it was weaker and with a fairly high amount of fading and noise. The 17740 kHz was heard on July 31st and was fair but with LOTS of noise and fading which made it hard to understand. 15275 kHz audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNBfkK4-UT4 (July 31) and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhcZ6ZLLDP8 (August 2). 17740 kHz audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fdirw8RxKs
15400 kHz, Radio Romania International in Spanish via Tiganesti to South America on August 1, 2016 at 2259UTC. There is a fair amount of noise in the signal and it’s somewhat weak, but still fairly listenable. The signal starts off with the usual and easily identified interval signal followed the opening of the broadcast, introducing it in spanish and continuing on with the news. Audio here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzYQ3l4iPWE
15770 kHz, DigiDX via WRMI Okeechobee, Florida on July 31, 2016 at 2149UTC. It is a very weak signal plagued with lots of noise and fading but I did get plenty of MFSK32 text to decode and a picture to come through on FLDigi. It wasn’t error free, but it was pretty good considering what the signal sounded like. Audio is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFMxYTrGA6Q (Bring up FLDigi on your computer and play this video in the background, and you’ll see, stuff DOES decode!)