Archive for the 'Shortwave Radio' Category

Pirate Radio Recordings: Grizzly Bear Radio

A few weeks ago, I found a pirate I had never heard before: Grizzly Bear Radio. They quickly nullified my claim that Radio Appalachia was the only pirate I knew of that broadcasts bluegrass music. According to Grizzly Bear, they transmit from the northwest US, so the fact that I hear them at all speaks of good propagation and Grizzly Bear’s antennas.

At any rate, I did manage to capture almost their entire broadcast–nearly 5 hours!–on October 6th. Unlike many of my recordings, this one is faint at times and you’ll have to listen through the static.  Still, this is what I enjoy about pirate radio, hearing some unique audio through the static. As grandpa used to say, this “builds listening skills.”

You can download an mp3 of the full recording, or simply listen in the player embedded below.  Enjoy:

Shortwave Radio Recordings: The Mighty KBC test transmission

Last night, I listened to and recorded The Mighty KBC‘s test transmission on 9.4 MHz. The broadcast lasted 2 hours and was quite successful.

They had a little distortion in the signal for the first half-hour or so, but once that issue was resolved, audio was excellent. This was, after all, a test transmission.

Mind you, I was using the WinRadio Excalibur receiver and a rather large horizontal sky loop antenna–not a portable radio. But based on their signal level as compared with the adjacent Voice of Greece transmission (9.42 MHz), I expect they could have been easily heard on a portable radio here in eastern North America.

If you missed the broadcast, click here to download a full recording or listen below.  

Next week: another test broadcast scheduled

Update: Note that The Might KBC will broadcast another test transmission on Sunday 21 September from 00.00 – 02.00 UTC on 9,500 kHz.

Pirate Radio Recordings: Wolverine Radio

Wolverine Radio sent this SSTV image at the end of the broadcast. This one was decoded with the PC freeware, RX-SSTV.

Wolverine Radio was yet another pirate station I recorded last Saturday night (along with Radio Ronin and Radio Appalachia).

Wolverine Radio was broadcasting on 6.95 MHz in the upper side band. Their signal was very good and fidelity excellent for SSB. Lots of variety and a common “radio” theme throughout WR’s music mix.

Wolverine Radio–at least each time I’ve heard them–sends an SSTV image at the end of the broadcast. I decoded the one in their Satuday night broadcast (see image on right) using RX-SSTV, a very intuitive and simple freeware PC application.  Make sure you use the “Scottie 1″ mode.

Click here to download an MP3 of the broadcast, or stream from the embedded player below:

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Voice of Greece, Voice of Turkey and Radio Croatia

For your listening enjoyment:  Voice of Greece (9,420 kHz), Radio Croatia (9,925 kHz) and Voice of Turkey (9,830 kHz). The Voice of Greece, in particular, broadcasts an extensive mix of music. These stations were recorded simultaneously, Saturday August 25th, 2012.

In total, there are more than 8 hours of shortwave radio recordings in this set–enough to make it through your work day:

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Voice of Greece, Radio Croatia and Radio Romania International

For your listening enjoyment:  Voice of Greece (9,420 kHz), Radio Croatia (9,925 kHz) and Radio Romania International (9,700 kHz). The Voice of Greece and Radio Croatia  broadcast an extensive mix of music; while Radio Romania International offers their English and French hours.

I recorded these broadcasts simultaneously via my WinRadio Excalibur, yesterday at 00:00 UTC.

Radio Netherlands says farewell in style

Thursday night, by the light of an oil lamp, I tuned my trusty Sony portable shortwave to 6,165 kHz. At 2:00 UTC, I was rewarded with a rich, full signal from Radio Netherlands Worldwide’s transmission site in Bonaire. Here in this off-grid cabin, on sixty rural acres, I bask in the freedom from electrical noise that might otherwise interfere with my shortwave radio listening—at least in this respect, this is the perfect DXpedition cabin.

The signal coming out of Bonaire, however, would have overcome any interference: Radio Netherlands, my dear friend of some 32 years, had opened a special frequency for those of us in eastern North America…in order to say their good-byes to the airwaves.

I can only describe the experience of listening as radio bliss…pure radio bliss…marred only by the bittersweet realization that these were RNW’s final days on the air. The experience harkened back to the day when the big broadcasters had booming signals directed toward us.

But, alas. All too brief.

The broadcast was simply entitled Farewell and Thank You. You can hear it just as I heard it—through my recording–here (actual broadcast starts at 1:15):

Then, all day Friday, for nearly 24 hours straight, RNW bid good-bye and farewell to various parts of the world via shortwave, satellite and the internet. I was lucky enough to catch two more broadcasts.

This time of day (19:00 UTC), however, I needed bigger ears than the Sony could provide. I was listening to broadcasts targeting west and east Africa, not North America. Having already charged my laptop battery, I plugged in the Bonito Radiojet (an SDR that I’m currently reviewing) and, just before 1900 UTC, directed her towards 17,605 kHz. Though my Sony found the signal barely audible, the RadioJet produced beautiful fidelity.

This RNW broadcast, entitled The First 50 Years, took listeners through the highlights and history of the Dutch radio service. Here’s the recording I made with the RadioJet:

A final sign-off

RNW headquarters in Hilversum, Netherlands (photo coutesty: RNW)

At 20:00 UTC, RNW broadcast their very final show—a repeat of Farewell and Thank You (above) appropriately targeting Africa once more. I tuned the dial to 11615 kHz and listened again to the full broadcast. This time, however, as the program drew to its close, the broadcast crew added a personal message.

Jonathan Groubert, the talented host of The State We’re In, broadcasted live from Hilversum’s Studio 4 for a deeply touching adieu. Tears were shed, and I’m not ashamed to confess that I, too, listened through a haze of them as these capable and dedicated journalists, whom I’ve grown to trust, signed off the RNW airwaves for the last time.

But listen for yourself:

Jonathan Marks, RNW’s host of MediaNetwork, also featured in the farewell broadcast, recorded the final sign-off from within Studio 4. You can listen to this and read the description on his excellent website.

Dank je wel, Radio Nederland

RNW–my dear radio friends—I’m going to miss you. Your personalities–and the collective personality of RNW itself–your award-winning content, news, reporting, and your integrity stood out amongst all those Cold War broadcasters I listened to growing up—who, as you so well put it, were merely mouthpieces for their respective governments.

Radio Nederland, I loved your broadcasting because you were fearless: you marched to the beat of your own drummer, were not afraid to turn a critical eye even upon yourself, and as a result–in a world of sham journalism, of compromise and hypocrisy—you earned my trust. You had nothing to hide, and you had so many stories to tell.

RNW: I listened.

I wish you (and your intrepid creators) the very best in all that you do. I trust your new incarnation(s), whatever form they take, will do much good in this world which so sorely needs it, and sincerely believe that your integrity will live on.

Final episode of the final Maple Leaf Mailbag now online

On Facebook, Wojtek Gwiazda kindly shared the following message from Terry Haig (who has been subbing for Ian Jones on the MLMB):

Dear Friends,
I am distraught that the final edition of the MLMB did not go out properly this past weekend because of technical glitches. The show can be heard on line by clicking on the search button on the RCI website and writing in “Maple Leaf Mailbag.” Then hit “programs” and click “listen.”

My apologies that we could not spend our final hour together as planned. Once again, I thank you all for your undying love, support, insight, graciousness and generosity. You are wonderful and magical.

I shall never forget you. Be well, everyone. Au Revoir and peace!
Terry H.

———————————————————
To hear the programme just click here:
http://www.rcinet.ca/english/archives/program/the-maple-leaf-mailbag/home/

I should note that, the Maple Leaf Mailbag was one of my favorite RCI shows to catch on shortwave. It was informal, quirky, interactive and always fun. It also had a very strong international listenership. Terry has been an excellent sub, but admittedly, I’ve really missed hearing my good friend Ian Jones on the show.

Help us record shortwave history: Radio Canada International’s final day of broadcasts

RCI's Sackville Transmission Site

As many SWLing Post listeners know, today marks the end of an era. Radio Canada International is being forced to conclude many decades of shortwave radio services in a short-sighted attempt to cut costs. In lieu of exploring numerous cost-cutting solutions, such as implementing the newly-installed remote operations of the Sackville, NB transmission site, they have decided to cut all shortwave broadcasting and all content creation for the medium, essentially throwing out the baby with the bath water.

I have written extensively about the potential harm this will cause to those who rely upon shortwave radio as a lifeline of information, not to mention to Canadian diplomacy as a whole.

We want your RCI broadcast recordings

Nonetheless, for archive purposes, I will attempt to record as many final broadcasts today as possible. We invite listeners from around the world to participate in this process: please send us your recordings of any RCI broadcasts today–any language, any frequency.

Thanks to Glenn Hauser, here is a schedule of broadcasts today:

1500-1559 UTC: Maple Leaf Mailbag (MLMB) Finale–11,675 and 15,125 kHz

1800-1859 UTC: MLMB Finale–11,765, 9,530 and (best for N America) 17, 810 kHz

2000-2059 UTC: MLMB Finale 2–17,735, 15,330, 15235 kHz

RCI Chinese, French, Arabic, Spanish and Portugese final broadcasts should end at 2330 UTC today on 11,990, 13,760 and 15,455

As for our friends with RCI, we wish you well! Many thanks for your years of dedicated service.

Numbers Stations: The English Man came back

Two weeks ago this Friday, I caught and recorded the numbers station often referred to as the English Man. He was found in the pirate radio watering hole (of 6,925-6,990 kHz) on 6,949 kHz.

After sifting through more spectrum recordings taken the following evening by the Microtelecom Perseus, I realized that I caught him once again at the exact same time and frequency. I have his full transmission in the recording below.

Note: The English Man was broadcast in AM, but I had to dig the signal out of the noise. I used a tuning technique I referred to last year in a post–click here for more info.

Recording Radio History: The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee via BBC World Service

Diamond Jubilee at Buckingham Palace (photo: BBC)

Ten years ago, my wife–then fiancée–and I lived in the UK, and were fortunate enough to attend The Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebration on the vast lawn at Buckingham Palace. It was without doubt the largest party I’ve ever attended, packed to the gills with the British public–a thoroughly amazing event, featuring a who’s who of past-and-present British musicians and personalities, encouraging attendees to join them in their bit of fun–and, of course, God save the Queen.

Yesterday, I re-lived the energy of that party as I heard (and recorded) the follow-up event these ten years later–The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, on the BBC World Service–as heard from remote Ascension Island.

When hearing live events like this on shortwave–especially ones like this that celebrate national heritage–I know I’m listening to history in the making. The crowds applauding and cheering in a live broadcast over shortwave reminds me of a former era when British Expats across the globe relied on the BBC World Service to connect them with ol’ Blighty.

Ascension Island, marked with an "A" (image: Google Maps)

I recorded these broadcasts from my home in the southeastern US, hearing the BBC World Service relay station on the tiny, isolated Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. The broadcast was heard at first on 15,400 kHz, then moved to 9,915 kHz coinciding with their normal broadcast schedule. The broadcast, while completely intelligible, is weak in the beginning, but gains considerable strength by the end. There are summer static crashes heard as storms moved through the southeast US. I divided the broadcast into two parts, coinciding with my shift from one frequency to the other.

I also included a BBC WS news broadcast in Part 2 which followed the end of the show.

Either use the embedded Archive.org audio player below, or simply click here to download the mp3 files for Part 1 and Part 2.

I used the WinRadio Excalibur to record both of these segments. Its synchronous detection helped deal with fading (QSB) present at the beginning of the recording.

Once again, history is made…and archived on shortwave radio.  Enjoy!