30 September 2006

shortwave summary, sep 2006 (part 5)

september 2006 reception reports: (part 1) (part 2) (part 3) (part 4) (part 5)

All of these receptions happened with my Eton E5 receiver and DE31 active loop antenna.

Received stations:
* Radio Havana Cuba
* Deutsche Welle
* Radio Canada International
* Radio Russia
* Radio Australia
* BBC
* WHRA

* 23 Sep 2006, 0500 UTC, 6000 khz (Radio Havana Cuba): The Bush administration got cooperation from Congress for the "abuse of prisoners". The President has the right to enforce the Geneva convention. USA's interrogation program will go forward. Congress is closer to an agreement with the Bush administration regarding wiretapping when related to potential attacks. There was a story about funds seized from banks in Jordan that I didn't record in detail. The USA threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to the stone age" if they did not join the war on terror, according to Pervez Musharraf. Pakistan sided with the USA out of national interest. The Pakistani president was recently with Bush at the White House. Pakistan reportedly suppressed domestic support for attacks against the USA.

Peru's former intelligence chief was convicted in an arms scandal and faces 20 more years in prison. He still faces other charges, including involvement in forming death squads. He's eligible for release in 2023 (due to time already served). The UN general assembly is taking place in New York City. Cuba speculated on new acts of aggression planned by the USA against Cuba. A Cuban Five protest in Washington D.C. will help get the word out about their case. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez urged Americans to "wake up and fight" for new leadership. "We're not enemies of the American people," he said. He called the American lifestyle unsustainable due to consumption of oil and other natural resources. Well, 7-11 won't be consuming your Citgo gas anymore!

During his speech, Hugo Chavez referred to Bush as the devil, and acccused him of acting like the owner of the world. Chavez also called for deep UN reforms. He referred to an "immoral veto" by the USA which led to Israel's month-long assault. Chavez received a lengthy applause and many accolades following his passionate speech. Thousands demonstrated on New York City with the chant, "hey hey, ho ho, Bush has got to go." Over 1 million people protested the final results of Mexico's presidential election. "White-collar crooks stole the election," said the challenger. A parallel government will be set up by the challenger. The UN condemned Israel's use of cluster bombs. As much as 40% of the cluster bombs in Lebanon did not explode. Israel is not providing the coordinates where the bombs were dropped. 90% of the cluster bombs were dropped in the final hours of the conflict. Record numbers of anti-Muslim incidents are being reported in the USA. Almost 2000 incidents were reported last year.

As this was the weekly review show, it was entirely focused on news. Most of the news was highly political, with RHC taking the opportunity to celebrate Hugo Chavez's speech and exploit fissures in United States policies.

* 25 Sep 2006, 0007 UTC, 9695 khz (Deutsche Welle): This reception started with news about the rail accident in which 23 people died. There were protests in front of parliament in Budapest, Hungary, amid allegations of lies about the state of the economy. Elections are coming on the first of October, which will be a referendum on the government's performance. Austrians will soon vote for a chancellor. There are new laws to stop abuse of the asylum system in Switzerland. Asylum-seekers now must produce identity papers within 48 hours.

This was only a 10-minute reception. I logged it mainly to provide additional data for my Deutsche Welle reception reports, which I submitted along with a QSL request.

* 25 Sep 2006, 0101 UTC, 9755 khz (Radio Canada International): Himalayas? Kathmandu, Nepal. This is a story about the helicopter crash there. Sri Lankan navy sunk 8 Tamil Tiger boats. Hamas is serious about forming a power-sharing government with Fatah. Roads in Kentucky are submerged due to rain. Book news. Monica Ali is the author being discussed. This author interview seems more appropriate for a regional or national broadcast. She was born in Bangladesh and raised in England - how is this relevant to Canada? Maybe they do things differently on Sundays. 13710 khz is supposed to be broadcasting to the western USA but that frequency is not active now. This book talk continued for half an hour, and I was disappointed with this broadcast.

* 27 Sep 2006, 0714 UTC, 7320 khz (Radio Russia): I found this signal on my E5 while trying to find stations to test on a Kaide shortwave radio that I acquired. The language sounded like Russian, and hfradio.org listed Radio Russia for this frequency and time. There was speaking over soft, dramatic orchestral music. There was a male speaker, then I heard part of a hymn, then a female speaker.

* 29 Sep 2006, 2200 UTC, 17785 khz (Radio Australia): Thailand will have a new prime minister soon. An interim constitution has already been presented. It will be another week before a functioning government is ready. The new Soloman Islands attorney general will be extradited for a child sex offense. Russia is evacuating embassy workers and their families in Georgia following espionage charges. I wonder when Thailand's own shortwave broadcasts will be usable again.

* 29 Sep 2006, 2208 UTC, 13765 khz (BBC): Discussing the Russia/Georgia incident. Heard "BBC News" identification after a story. Now discussing NATO, Afghanistan, and the Taliban. NATO members promised more troops to battle the resurging Taliban. British defense secretary involved in requesting more troops from the NATO members. President Bush is disappointed at the lack of progress in Afghanistan. Something about Mexico and illegal immigrants.

I couldn't stay with this BBC transmission because of strong local interference and a weak signal.

* 30 Sep 2006, 1717 UTC, 17795 khz (World Harvest Radio / WHRA): I tuned to this frequency while testing the tuning accuracy of another radio, and happened to catch a funny moment. A woman called in to yell at the program host because her husband gives a lot of money to World Harvest Radio, and she felt like she was married to the radio. She complained about being stuck in traffic on Long Island and not having any money. It was a classic greed vs. greed moment.

29 September 2006

voice of russia's absence

I've been having a hard time receiving Voice of Russia's North American broadcasts around the 0200-0500 UTC timeframe lately. Here are the frequencies from primetimeshortwave.com:

0100-0200 UTC: 7250 / 9665 / 15555 / 15595 khz
0200-0300 UTC: 9665 / 9860 / 15555 / 15595 khz
0300-0400 UTC: 5990 / 9665 / 9860 / 15425 / 15555 / 15595 khz
0400-0500 UTC: 5990 / 9665 / 9860 / 15555 khz

Are any of you receiving Voice of Russia lately? If so, I'd be curious to know what they have been discussing. I miss it!

27 September 2006

26 September 2006

shortwave summary, sep 2006 (part 4)

september 2006 reception reports: (part 1) (part 2) (part 3) (part 4) (part 5)

I continued using my Eton E5 with the DE31 antenna. My SW7600GR is nearby but I took its batteries out and haven't charged them yet.

Folks, this is a fun one! The Pope visited Germany, the Swedes make computer games, North Korea isolates itself, a preacher urges exporting morons to China, and Thailand turns instrumental.

Stations received:
* Deutsche Welle
* Voice of Korea
* WBCQ
* Radio Sweden
* Radio Thailand

* 16 Sep 2006, 0005 UTC, 9695 khz (Deutsche Welle): Blaine posted a comment to say that from his place in Oakland (just across the bay from me), he could hear DW coming from Rwanda! That excited me, so I tried the same frequency and got excellent reception. Thanks for the tip, Blaine!

Reactions to the Pope's comments in Germany regarding Islam. Outrage came from the Muslim world over "derogatory remarks" by the Pope "linking Islam to violence". Religious leaders in Indonesia urged against violent reactions. The German chancellor said that the reaction ignored the intention of the speech. Europe and China had 200 billion euros worth of trade in 2005. Both sides have their grievances in this arrangement. Europe wants better intellectual property protection. Unionism is a difficult issue for Chinese firms setting up in the EU. EU regulations and high taxes are also barriers.

Cuba is hosting the 14th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, with representatives of 100 nations, and Kofi Annan. Press access is severely restricted. The Iran nuclear standoff, the mideast crisis, and terrorism were on the agenda. India and Pakistan planned a bilateral summit on the sidelines at the conference in Havana. Poor countries must do more to fight corruption to continue receiving aid from the World Bank, according to Paul Wolfowitz, speaking in Singapore. The World Bank seeks to make resources available to the people that make good use of them. Ivory Coast affected by a toxic waste dumping. The number of people seeking treatment for infections due to inhaling toxic fumes was still rising. Household garbage was no longer being collected.

Oktoberfest opened on Saturday in Munich. There will be plenty of buxom waitresses. Up to 14 tents will hold as many as 5000 people each. Men will be wearing lederhosen. 1-liter mugs of beer cost 7 euros. In Germany, Oktoberfest haters are mostly in the north. Heard ident: "English service of Deutsche Welle radio broadcasting from Germany."

A bionic eye has been developed to combat blindness, using technology similar to the bionic ear. The work is taking place at the University of New South Wales. A famous mountain in Switzerland is changing shape due to glacial melting. The runoff is permeating limestone, which is cracking. Global warming is the cause, and it could eliminate Europe's glaciers by the end of the century. Glacial meltwater is used for irrigation and to cool nuclear reactors. Motorists give greater leeway to cyclists if they are not wearing a helmet.

Games are fast becoming Sweden's cash cow. First-person shooters and online games are the most popular. Games are very complex now, and it requires a lot of work to keep them fun. It's reportedly more complex to make an interactive "shooter" game than a movie. Sweden got started early with the Amiga and Atari platforms, and was involved in demoing. They want to learn more about what American gamers like. Computer games are "the new TV."

That's the first time I heard Deutsche Welle in English. They had excellent news reporting, lots of stories, and it was easy to log as well. I picked up DW in 2 or 3 more receptions after this one, and I will send them my reception reports soon.

* 16 Sep 2006, 0103 UTC, 15180 khz (Voice of Korea): What does Kim Jong-Il's nation have to say for itself? The broadcast reportedly will include news and a listener mailbag. They're always sure to specify "the great leader Kim Jong-Il." Talking about medicine exports "which are the envy of all people." I think they said that Kim Jong-Il received a gift from the communist party of Great Britain, Marxist Lernst. (Anyone understand this?) Discussing the 58th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Something about the U.S. imperialists isolating and suffocating North Korea. They're hoping to improve the quality of their medical service. The Russian orchestra visited on 14 September. U.S. imperialists have reportedly divided Korea. When discussing the notable terrorist attack, they use the degrading phrase "September 11th incident." Discussing importing American beef. Then there was a boring presentation of Kim Il-Sung reminiscence from a book. There was a song with boisterous choral singing. Sounds like a march.

Contempt. (I didn't stay for the mailbag.)

* 20 Sep 2006, 0107 UTC, 7415 khz (WBCQ): Religious. Excellent signal quality! The web schedule lists "Christian Media Network." Talking about the idea of people being killed by plagues. "We're gonna lose half the population of earth here in the very near future." Uhhh! This guy talked about idiots, morons, and dunderheads. "Let's sell morons to China!" ... "If you're a real moron, you can be exported. Then you can reproduce elsewhere." ... "You lose those meanings when you lose your bible and read from your New Lesbian version." A new bible supplanted the King James version, "and the world goes to hell." New candidates for the UN secretary general are gathering in New York City. Discussing politics and military. "Chaos is coming to town, folks." Calls for donations with background music, "New world man" by Rush. Mailing address is in Jacksonville, Oregon. Talking about the spirit of antichrist. At this point, I added the man's name to my dinner guest list and changed the channel.

* 20 Sep 2006, 0137 UTC, 6010 khz (Radio Sweden): This broadcast focused on the recent elections and the structure of Swedish government. Election was lost at a time when the economy was growing; the people's trust was lost. A victory for the right in the parliament. New York Times and Washington Post covered Sweden's elections. Radio Sweden podcasts are at www.radiosweden.org. Podcasts are no substitute for shortwave, buddy. The Swedish parliament is the supreme decision-making power in the country. It first formed in the 1400s, then power shifted to the King in the 1800s. The bicameral system was abolished in 1971. The current parliament comprises 7 parties. All 349 members of parliament are elected by the people every 4 years. Parliamentary decisions are now impacted by Sweden's EU membership. Around much of the country, the morning fog cleared, leaving partly cloudy skies. 17C (62F) in Stockholm.

* 20 Sep 2006, 0201 UTC, 5890 khz (...): This should be Radio Thailand. Static is coming in and out. Wondering what's happening there following the coup. Seems like there will be no broadcast. Oops, at 0204 UTC, I'm hearing music! Brief pause in the transmission there. Music continued at 0207 UTC. Instrumental piano music. The same song is repeating! This continued until 0229 UTC. No voices, just looping music.

21 September 2006

shortwave summary, sep 2006 (part 3)

september 2006 reception reports: (part 1) (part 2) (part 3) (part 4) (part 5)

This report covers two shortwave scanning sessions that I did with a lot of slow turning of my Eton E5's tuning knob. I had the DE31 active loop antenna connected, which helped amplify lots of weak signals. I identified the stations primarily with primetimeshortwave.com and hfradio.org as I didn't listen long enough to collect identifications.

Next time I scan, I will try to write more interesting logs!

On 09 Sep 2006, during 0109-0215 UTC, I scanned from 5000 khz to 9400 khz.

* 0109 UTC, 5050 khz (WWRB - Manchester, Tennessee, USA): Commercials about protecting investments, and satellite radio with no subscription fees. Talk radio.
* 0116 UTC, 5755 khz (KAIJ - Frisco, Texas, USA): Strong signal there.
* 0118 UTC, 5765 khz (WWCR - Nashville, Tennessee, USA): Religious; talking about war. Heard the URL www.scripturesforamerica.com.
* 0126 UTC: 5810 khz (WEWN - part of EWTN, Alabama, USA): Good signal there also. No logs.
* 0128 UTC, 5850 khz (WHRA - Greenbush, Maine, USA): This is World Harvest Radio. Hmm, no logs for this one either.
* 0132 UTC, 5935 khz (WWCR2 - Nashville, Tennessee, USA): Excellent signal.
* 0134 UTC, 5965 khz (Something in Spanish): This one was in Spanish.
* 0136 UTC, 6010 khz (Radio Sweden): Oh yeah, these folks! I haven't heard them in a while.
* 0137 UTC, 6030 khz (Radio Marti): Moderate signal, strong interference from the Cuban "running water" jammer.
* 0139 UTC, 6065 khz (WYFR - Okeechobee, Florida, USA): This was a very weak signal.
* 0140 UTC, 6090 khz (University Network, Anguilla): Here's Dr. Gene Scott! Some interference.
* 0141 UTC, 6100 khz (Deutsche Welle - Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada): Good signal, in German.
* 0142 UTC, 6110 khz (Radio Televisione Italiana - Ascension Island, Atlantic Ocean): Hey, that's a new one! In Italian. Moderately strong signal.
* 0144 UTC, 6175 khz (Voice of Vietnam - Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada): This is a guess, and I couldn't identify the language.
* 0149 UTC, 6890 khz (WWRB - Manchester, Tennessee, USA): Nothing logged.
* 0150 UTC, 7025 khz SSB: morse code. Very strong signal.
* 0151 UTC, 7125 khz (?): Unknown language.
* 0153 UTC, 7145 khz (?): Unknown language.
* 0154 UTC, 7205 khz (Radio Republica): In Spanish, jammed by Cuba's running water noise.
* 0155 UTC, 7335 khz (CHU - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada): Strong signal!
* 0156 UTC, 7365 khz (?): Unknown language.
* 0157 UTC, 7405 khz (Voice of America): Moderate signal.
* 0158 UTC, 7415 khz (WBCQ - Monticello, Maine, USA): "Christian media", talking aabout the Assyrian conquest, ancient Egypt, new Babylonian empire. Two hours each weekday (0100-0300 UTC). This broadcast is a recording from 04 January 2006.
* 0200 UTC, 7490 khz (LeSea broadcasting - Furman, South Carolina, USA): There's some noise and beeps over the signal. Is it ham activity? I don't know anything about LeSea yet.
* 0202 UTC, 7505 khz (KTBN - Salt Lake City, Utah, USA): A preacher/evangelist was in the process of getting his audience hyped up. "Show your teeth... even if they're not your teeth, just show 'em."
* 0204 UTC, 7540 khz (EWTN - Alabama): Moderate signal.
* 0205 UTC, 7555 khz (KJES - Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA): Weak; major fading.
* 0212 UTC, 9265 khz (WINB - Red Lion, Pennsylvania, USA): Is there a shortwave transmitter in Pennsylvania? That's news to me! Clear but totally faint signal.

On 15 Sep 2006, during 1906-2024 UTC, I scanned from 13000 khz to 20000 khz. In this case I didn't log the time that I picked up each frequency.

* 13580 khz SSB: Fast morse code; moderate signal.
* 13625 khz (Firedrake - China): Music. Strong fading, sounds like the so-called Chinese orchestra.
* 13710 khz (WHRA - Greenbush, Maine, USA): Very faint music.
* 13730 khz (Radio Canada International): Foreign language. I thought this was New Zealand, but then I recognized French, so it's probably Radio Canada International.
* 13780 khz (Deutsche Welle): Very faint.
* 13800 khz (WYFR - Okeechobee, Florida, USA): Religious show with call-ins.
* 13815 khz (KAIJ - Frisco, Texas, USA):
* 13845 khz (WWCR - Nashville, Tennessee, USA): Religious - the speaker said something about his microphone failing.
* 13970 khz (Firedrake - China): Music; very good signal. Chinese orchestra.
* 14030 khz SSB: moderately-paced morse code; excellent signal.
* 14195 khz SSB: Very faint ham reception.
* 14600 khz (Firedrake - China): Same music content as on 13970 and 13625 khz.
* 15000 khz: Excellent signal from WWV; moderate signal from WWVH.
* 15110 khz (Radio Exterior de Espana): Spanish broadcast, good signal.
* 15130 khz (WYFR - Okeechobee, Florida, USA): Spanish?
* 15220 khz (WEWN - Alabama, USA):
* 15235 khz (Radio Canada International - Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada): French; excellent signal.
* 15250 khz (WWRB - Manchester, Tennessee, USA):
* 15275 khz (Deutsche Welle): German.
* 15325 khz (Radio Canada International - Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada): French.
* 15445 khz (Voice of America - Greenville, North Carolina, USA): Discussing pretexting, and the board member spying at HP. "HP is based in Palo Alto, California." Great signal with a tiny bit of interference. Very careful speaking - is this Special English that I've heard so much about? Yes - this is the Special English economics report. Neat! Slow, precise speaking - very dull broadcast!
* 15510 khz (Firedrake - China): Chinese orchestra music again; moderate signal.
* 15565 khz (Deutsche Telekom): German.
* 15580 khz (Voice of America): Moderate signal.
* 15620 khz (Deutsche Welle): English to Africa. Singing. Female announcer has a deep, hollow voice. More music. Announcer has a very heavy accent. Staying on this signal, which is at the end of the hour, in hopes of hearing the identification. "Thanks for listening!" The broadcast stopped during music.
* 15665 khz (LeSea broadcasting - Furman, South Carolina, USA): "Politics and religion."
* 15695 khz (WYFR - Okeechobee, Florida, USA): Weak signal there.
* 15825 khz (WNQM - Nashville, Tennessee, USA): Excellent signal.
* 17705 khz (Voice of Greece - Delano, California, USA): Weird helicopter-like sound over the signal.
* 17795 khz (WYFR - Okeechobee, Florida, USA): Helicopter interference sound is here too.
* 17845 khz (WYFR - Okeechobee, Florida, USA): Moderate signal.
(The helicopter-sound interference is from 17679 to 17807 khz).
* 17830 khz (BBC - Ascension Island, Atlantic Ocean): Moderate signal with strong interference. Talking about 9/11 and the Iraq war.
* 18100 khz SSB: Fast morse code.
* 18930 khz (WYFR - Okeechobee, Florida, USA): Are they really on this many frequencies?!
* 18980 khz (WYFR - Okeechobee, Florida, USA): Sheesh!

Any corrections or insights for my logs would be appreciated. Sorry that some of the receptions lack detail. I was surprised to find so many stations in the 41-meter band, which I typically avoid!

19 September 2006

radio sweden qsl

I emailed Radio Sweden twice this year with reception reports. In the first email on 26 February, I noted that I got poor reception of their broadcast on 7230 khz. My second email on 12 March 2006 had two reception reports of 6010 khz, on dates about a week apart.

I told them that their reporting on the Indian Ocean tsunami story was mostly old news, but that I enjoyed their Headset music program.

They sent me a QSL card and an old program schedule, but a few days after that, I got another envelope with the current schedule. Sorry, but I didn't keep track of when these items arrived. I really like the images!





16 September 2006

shortwave summary, sep 2006 (part 2)

september 2006 reception reports: (part 1) (part 2) (part 3) (part 4) (part 5)

Cuba, Taiwan, and Japan are featured here. I used the Eton E5 along with a Degen DE31 active loop antenna.

Stations received:
* Radio Havana Cuba
* Radio Japan
* Radio Taiwan International

* 07 Sep 2006, 0500 UTC, 6000 khz (Radio Havana Cuba): Resistance fighters executed coordinated strikes in Iraq. Two bombs exploded north of Baghdad. One was a car bomb parked in front of a tire repair shop. Iraqi leaders predict a decline in violence by the end of 2007, even though violence is still increasing. Criminals behind mass killings in Argentina during a military dictatorship were eventually allowed to walk free. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank create wealth for some at the expense of others. I think that story was the result of the IMF/WB meeting taking place in Singapore. Climate change reportedly exascerbates the spread of deadly diseases. That was the news from Ed Newman. It was kind of all over the place this time, and I didn't log details for the stories.

On 23 September in Washington D.C., a protest will demand the immediate release of the Cuban Five. It will mark the 8th anniversary of their imprisonment. They mention San Francisco, my home, as a city that provides support in the Free the Five effort. They also mentioned Buffalo but pronounced it strangely (like "boof-a-low"). The editorial viewpoint was about Puerto Rico and its relation with the United States. I liked the voice of the editorial viewpoint reporter; it sounded drawling and slurred but I understood clearly. She rolls "r" sounds like most Spanish speakers. I guess it is typical English pronunciation for a Cuban. Her first name is Olga.

The signal went silent for about 5 seconds at 0525 UTC. Oil companies are pocketing big profits due to wars and record oil prices. A recent article in a Cuban newspaper suggested that the United States and Cuba could work together for a safer hurricane season. The United States recently thanked Cuba for granting access to Cuban airspace for tracking Hurricane Ernesto with a weather airplane. Arnie Coro then gave the news updates at 0530 UTC.

During the mailbag show, the station received good wishes for Hurricane Ernesto. The hurricane mostly affected eastern Cuba near Guantanamo; Havana barely got any rain. (I wish I could hear Arnie say hurricane again; he says it like "hyur-a-cane".) Someone sent best wishes for Fidel Castro's speedy recovery, and Ed Newman responded with "we get a lot of those." That was the only mention of Castro during this broadcast. There's a new film about Beny More, a famous Cuban musician. The film has been showing in Cuba for a couple months. It is called El Beny; both of the mailbag presenters (Ed Newman and Yolanda Fisher) want to see it. Me too! I wonder what it's like to see a movie in Havana. Occasionally in San Francisco, the audience gets boisterous during movies, and it's a really fun experience.

* 11 Sep 2006, 0500 UTC, 6110 khz (Radio Japan): Here's the news from Tokyo. US President Bush says he will never forget the lessons of the September 11 attacks. Bush visited ground zero on Sunday (the 10th) and laid a wreath. He said "there's still an enemy out there." The international community has made significant progress in preventing terrorist attacks. Japan launched its third surveillance satellite, which is capable of 1-meter resolution at a height of 500 kilometers. One more surveillance satellite launch is planned for 2007. The King of Tonga died at the age of 88 on Sunday. He was in a New Zealand hospital. He was known as the "world's heaviest monarch." The yen fell against the US dollar. United Nations troop levels in Lebanon are rising, and will soon reach 15,000.

This broadcast included a couple Japanese songs. When they started a scientific story about methane gas around 0540 UTC, I decided to stop listening. This reception was full of world news, with not so much local Japanese color.

* 15 Sep 2006, 0301 UTC, 5950 khz (Radio Taiwan International): "Coming to you from Taipei, Taiwan." Taiwanese labor unions plan to create chaos on highways surrounding Taiwan's largest airport. The purpose is to let the international community hear calls for the president to step down.

The president is urging the use of the name Taiwan in the upcoming bid to rejoin the United Nations. Its official name now is the Republic of China. Taiwan withdrew from the UN when China joined. Taiwan is reportedly committed to peace and will not develop a nuclear program.

The Chinese Petroleum Corporation cut prices in response to consumer requests for cheaper oil. The city of Kaohsiung will convert 306 of its 390 garbage trucks to biodiesel. A typhoon is approaching Taiwan, which is not expected to make landfall, but will bring torrential rains. Taipei: mostly cloudy, showers, 25-30C (77-86F).

This is how to run an international broadcast. Fortunately for international listeners curious about Taiwan itself, Taiwan has plenty of things going on at the moment. They don't have to fill their precious broadcast hour with easily-accessible world news. Unfortunately, the presidential scandals now have the potential to hurt the economy there.

Taiwan is the leading bike maker in the world, but lacks sufficient bike trails. A new government project seeks to create 1000 kilometers of bike trails, although limited land is available in urban areas.

Mandopop 101 is a new music show on RTI featuring Chinese pop music. Lily, the hostess, gave biographical information about the musicians as she introduced the songs. One song I liked was "Love me more" by Coco Lee, who has recently started releasing English-language albums. The song I didn't like featured a male singer and a piano. I felt that the song required lyrical comprehension to get anything out of it, and he was singing in Chinese which I don't know. It was a good variety of music, old and new, and a great way to introduce listeners to pop music from the region. The hostess gave her email address and asked for comments, which I sent immediately after the show. At the end of the hour, a male announcer gave the current shortwave frequency schedule.

13 September 2006

methods for qsl success

QSLs have been a topic of interest in the past few weeks. I have asked some questions about QSLing on the rec.radio.shortwave newsgroup, and comments have appeared here to request QSL pointers. This article aims to help you submit reception reports and request QSL cards. I pulled together some useful links and some of my experiences.

Here are three articles to get you started:

* Dxing.com's Reporting and QSLs article is an excellent introduction for beginners
* Radio Netherlands provides Writing Useful Reception Reports, a comprehensive guide to reception reporting
* Bob Wilson (N6HB) wrote An International Reply Coupon primer so you can learn about providing return postage

Now I'll discuss some of my QSL experiences and suggestions:

* The best way to obtain the address for reception report submissions is to listen to the broadcast. Many stations provide an email address and/or a postal address on the air. Some stations mention that they send QSL cards for verified reception reports. If contact information wasn't available during a broadcast, or it wasn't clear enough, try to locate the station's website. Websites regularly have contact information, and sometimes provide reception reporting instructions as well. You can also search the web or newsgroups to identify people who have received a QSL from the same station.

* Begin your letter or email by stating that you are submitting one or more shortwave reception reports, and that you would like to receive a QSL card. This helps the recipient route your letter to the correct person.

* QSL programs exist so that stations can find out who their listeners are, where they are, what the signal quality is like, and whether or not the station's program contents are useful and enjoyable. In my report to Radio Exterior de Espana, I told them that I heard a Tangerine Dream song during their broadcast. I know that Tangerine Dream comes from Germany, so I encouraged the station to try to include music from Spain in their broadcasts. In their response letter, they agreed and said that they would try to do this.

* Whenever you request something (a QSL, program schedule, or souvenir), remember to include your postal address (which should include your country). I lucked out in one instance. I sent a reception report to Radio Slovakia and did not include my postal address. They contacted me via email to ask for my address, and after I gave it to them, they sent me a QSL card. I was fortunate that they went to the effort, because they discontinued their shortwave broadcasts a few weeks later.

* If you have a special interest in the station or its host country, you can try asking politely for specific information about the country, or for station souvenirs. Sometimes, stations send items like bookmarks (Radio Havana Cuba often does this), postcards (I got some from Radio Taiwan International), calendars (both VOA and Radio Havana Cuba have sent these to me), or stickers (Radio Exterior de Espana sent me one). WWV also sent me a large, informative booklet about the NIST time signal broadcasts after I inquired about the station's history and operations.

* Stations sometimes include reception report forms with QSL cards, which is a way to encourage you to continue submitting reception reports. In general, I think one QSL request per station per year is a reasonable limit, but you can submit reception reports as often as you like.

* If you plan to listen to a particular shortwave station on a regular basis (several times per month), you can ask the station if they will let you become an official broadcast monitor. Each station handles broadcast monitoring differently, and I do not have any experience with it. As a monitor, you will submit regular reception reports, and may be entitled to postage reimbursement as well as special gifts.

* Some stations expect you to reimburse them for the return postage. Radio New Zealand International is an example of a station that requests international reply coupons in exchange for a printed QSL card. Otherwise, they will send you a graphical QSL via email. Be sure to see the international reply coupon link at the top of this post.

* On the other hand, embargoes (such as the one imposed by the United States on Cuba) suggest that you do not send any money or postage reimbursement to Radio Havana Cuba. They have never requested it, and I have always submitted my requests for QSLs or give-aways to RHC via email. They have always been excellent responders for me.

* Something I realized recently is that I need to keep better records of my QSL activities. The details that should be recorded are: the station where the request was sent, the method and the address used, the date it was sent, and also the response that was received. Having all of this information will allow you to share it with others who are trying to accomplish the same thing.

I hope this helps you get involved in receiving QSLs. Let me know how it goes!

10 September 2006

shortwave summary, sep 2006 (part 1)

september 2006 reception reports: (part 1) (part 2) (part 3) (part 4) (part 5)

Here's my first set of shortwave reception reports for September 2006. It includes a couple very brief logs of Radio Australia, which I'm continuing to follow so that I can request a QSL card from them soon.

My Eton E5 was generous enough to provide these receptions uninterrupted!

Received stations:
* Radio Australia
* Radio Havana Cuba
* China Radio International
* Radio Netherlands

* 03 Sep 2006, 0350 UTC, 15240 khz (Radio Australia): I got a strong signal here with just some slight fading, but it was all about sports. As I wrote in my log book, "I'm outta here!"

* 03 Sep 2006, 0354 UTC, 9820 khz (Radio Havana Cuba): This was a short reception, but I logged it because I almost never pick up Cuba on 9820 khz. Also, listening to Cuba before 0500 UTC is extremely rare for me, because the signals tend to be much weaker until the 0500-0700 UTC timeframe.

Two Latin songs with spanish vocals filled out the hour. Radio Havana Cuba identification. "Broadcasting from liberated territory." This signal was not very strong and had significant fading, but it is typically unusable for me at this time of day. Washington leads the way in war profiteering. Vicente Fox forced to cancel a speech following a protest over the elections. Fox submitted a written form of his speech. Fox started out as a president but ended up as a dictator.

I was using a wire antenna, which gave me stronger reception. Having an antenna connected to the radio is definitely something I need to do if I plan to try more band-scanning.

* 04 Sep 2006, 0700 UTC, 15240 khz (Radio Australia): Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, died in a diving accident. Australia might sell uranium to China. "You're listening to Radio Australia." I had my Degen DE31 active loop antenna connected to the E5's telescopic antenna during this reception. Then I switched to 13630 khz, which was the same broadcast, and I had much stronger reception so I was able to disconnect the loop antenna. The campaign to oust the Taiwanese president has gained pace. I hope to hear about this on Radio Taiwan International soon.

* 05 Sep 2006, 0300 UTC, 9790 khz (China Radio International): The China-Russia friendship tour has concluded. The tour lasted 40 days and ended in Moscow's Red Square. The Chinese ambassador to Zambia has challenged a presidential candidate of that country regarding establishing diplomatic relations with Taiwan. China is investing in ocean exploration technology. China will also build a third research center on Antarctica. Its first two stations in Antarctica are on the edge; the third center will be inland. The broadcaster said something about the "first inland research station in Antarctica," but didn't provide the context that other countries are already doing this!

In 2005, China's population of persons 65 years and older reached 100 million. Steve Irwin was killed while filming on the great barrier reef. The "Crocodile Hunter" was 44 years old, and was killed by a sting ray. Australia's John Howard said: "Australia has lost...a colorful son." Europe's first lunar mission ended with a controlled crash on the moon in the Lake of Excellence. It's the beginning of lunar research in the 21st century. This is a long story - the Chinese love the moon! (And in return, I'm a fan of their moon cakes.) The moon has many natural resources, including silicon, iron, aluminum, and helium. Whoops; maybe that should have been kept a secret.

During the sports update while discussing tennis, the female announcer said "Martina Navratilova" very slowly.

80% of students that drop out of university are heavy Internet users. China is considering a possible curbing of computer usage for first-year university students. Weather forecast for Beijing: sunny early, becoming cloudy later, 17-28C (62-82F).

China passed new bankruptcy laws that are more in line with international standards. The laws took 12 years to develop, and will go into effect on 01 June 2007. "Overseas Chinese returnees" are somewhat unusual now, but will become the norm within 10 years. This story is discussing students and workers overseas. Some may be concerned about returning to China due to the competitive job market and lower salaries. Only "elites" could go abroad in the 1980s. It's difficult to adapt to local cultures and business practices after returning from abroad. Japanese imports from China rose 6%, marking a growth slowdown.

* 05 Sep 2006, 0400 UTC, 6165 khz (Radio Netherlands): The transmission started with the end of a Research File recording. Do they use tapes? "From Hilversum in Holland, this is Radio Netherlands." There's a NATO offensive against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan. Hundreds of Taliban fighters were killed in Operation Medusa. It's difficult to wipe them out; they have an endless supply of recruits. East Timor wants Australia to maintain its troop commitment due to security problems. 100 Dutch troops were sent to Kandahar in order to relieve Canadian troops. Children held by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have been forced into the military, manual labor, and sex slavery. The European Union is trying to improve relations with Russia over issues of energy supplies. Finnish people don't seem to trust Russians. Counterfeit items from Russia often cross the border into Finland. Much of the second half hour of this broadcast was about the recent AIDS conference and the development of an HIV vaccine.

Once again, Radio Netherlands came through with a very strong signal. The contents weren't as interesting to me this time though.

08 September 2006

about the pro-bpl fcc

I've been meaning to post updates on the broadband over power lines story, so I found a news article that does just that.

BPL Doubts Remain: Skeptics question FCC's ability to control interference.

07 September 2006

gene scott's contributions to shortwave

I heard televangelist Dr. Gene Scott over shortwave last month, but decided to write a separate article rather than include it with my other reception reports.

I can't give the late man a proper introduction. Instead, follow the wikipedia link above for the biographical angle. My interest in Gene Scott was sparked by The Professor from WFMU, via his Adventures in Amplitude Modulation series of weblog articles. I'm not religious, so I find Gene Scott interesting primarily because of his antics.

I found a weblog post from former child actor and current cool guy Wil Wheaton. He was listening when Gene Scott's death was announced on the University Network. (Sounds like Wil's kitchen is much bigger than mine, and that's not a euphemism.)

My reception of Gene Scott on 6090 khz was on 25 August 2006 starting at 0702 UTC. I used my Eton FR250, powered by the hand crank, and connected to a DE31 active loop antenna to increase the shortwave signal strength.

When I joined the broadcast, Gene Scott was preaching in a tame tone of voice. It was a recording, as he has been dead for about 18 months. After he said "call me", a slow blues guitar song was played. A voiceover gave the 1-800 number several times during the song. The toll-free number can be used to make reservations for Sunday's service. (A reservation? Is it like dinner theater?) Then he started talking about horses. "If a horse gets caught in barbed wire, it'll tear itself to pieces." I forgot what point he was trying to make, but the topic was churches and fundraising. Churches used to ask him how they could raise more money. In particular, he mentioned a bad experience with some guy in Seattle. "Maybe he's listening tonight... what a jerk."

Then, "I did my doctorate at Stanford." This broadcast is full of Gene Scott's modus operandi. Only a video shot of his outrageous glasses and expensive cigars was missing. He offered a bible for those who call in and contribute $100 or more. Then he mocked churches for apologizing when they ask for contributions. He uses indirect methods to get people on his side and donate money to him. Part intellect, part religion, part showmanship, and part ridicule. At 0800 UTC, "Stir it up" by Patti LaBelle was played, which is from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack.

If you have a shortwave radio and you haven't heard Gene Scott yet, you should make the effort!

I decided to submit a reception report to the Caribbean Beacon via postal mail, along with an international reply coupon. I visited two post offices near the end of August before learning that new IRCs were being issued on the first of September. Tonight, I went to a third post office to get IRCs, but that station didn't have any either. My solution was to include a dollar bill in the envelope as reimbursement for return postage. It'll be sent tomorrow and I'll let you know if I receive a reply.

05 September 2006

eton and porsche design

In recent weeks, I have seen an online retailer or two selling the Eton P7131 for between $200-300, while the list price is $349. The P7131 is not on Eton's website anymore.

What's the future of this radio? When it came out, it was heralded as the first product to combine AM, FM, shortwave, and satellite radio reception. The Eton E1 then came along and stole the trophy in that category. And although the blue screen on the P7131 cube radio is beautiful, the E1 is a whole lot more radio for not very much more money.

The Porsche Design products were announced on January 5, 2006, in a press release titled "Etón launches the new Porsche Design luxury radio line".

The Grundig G2000, another product designed by Porsche, is also gone from Eton's website. Has the Eton/Porsche relationship ended? Or have the Eton/Porsche products disappeared, only to reappear later like the E5 once did?

04 September 2006

inside the redsun rf1210

Yesterday, I disassembled my Redsun RF1210 to find out if I could correct its sloppy tuning problem. I mentioned this issue in my redsun rf-1210 first look article.

The radio was easy to get apart. Here are observations and issues I encountered on the inside:
* There were several strands of dried glue coming off the circuit board.
* I confirmed that the tuning needle is not attached on the right side, which causes the annoying ticking noise when the radio is shaken.
* I couldn't figure out how to get the tuning faceplate off the circuit board, and that is where the problem likely exists, so I couldn't even diagnose it.
* It appears that removing the tuning faceplate would disconnect the tuning string, which would make things more difficult.
* The speaker did not have any markings to indicate wattage, ohms, or frequency response.
* During reassembly, the trickiest part was reattaching the band slider with its switch. I used a piece of plastic to push the switch all the way to the left, and from there it was easy.

I was disappointed that I couldn't poke at the tuning problem, because when the radio was back together, I rediscovered my fondness for the radio's speaker. I also got good results on shortwave frequencies when I clipped the RF1210's antenna to my DE31 active loop antenna. If the tuner was more reliable, I would use this radio more often.

Next, I decided to try its built-in battery charger even though I don't have any instructions for this radio. The power switch has an "off/charge" position, so I just plugged in the radio and turned it off. The charge light blinked faintly for a few hours. When the blinking stopped, I incorrectly decided to pull the plug and use the radio. In an email reply from Redsun that came later, they advised me to let the batteries charge for 12 hours.

When I measured the batteries with my multimeter, three of them were around the 0.8 volt level, and one was almost fully depleted. I decided to finish the recharging job with my external charger. Next time I have some depleted batteries, I will try charging them for 12 hours in the RF1210.

03 September 2006

another poke at mediumwave

Say what you will about Coast to Coast AM; I consider it an asset in the game of mediumwave DXing*. During the past week, I used my Tecsun BCL-2000 and my Eton E5 on a few occasions to receive WWL on 870 khz. But a peculiar thing happens before I can hear a positive identification from the broadcast. As a half-hour mark approaches, the signal weakens considerably, and I am lost in a world of static.

Now, I appreciate the fact that this signal travels a great distance, and continuous reception would be a fluke. But it seems odd that the signal regularly fails at these intervals. Is there any way that this is intentional?

*(I'm not working on a new mediumwave DX initiative at this time.)