29 August 2007

shortwave summary, aug 2007 (part 1)

Since I moved almost 2 years ago, a majority of my shortwave reception has been from the comfort of my living room. I can sit at a table, with a loop antenna hanging in the window, and write in a notebook with ease. When I'm out on a walk, however, I'm carefully holding both my radio and notebook with one hand, and a pen with the other. I'm writing while I'm walking, which produces results that challenge the eye. Here's what I can relay to you from my recent radio walks in northern California with my Kaito KA1102.

Received stations:
* China Radio International
* Radio Havana Cuba
* Voice of America
* Voice of Russia

* 15 Aug 2007, 0340 UTC, 13635 khz (Voice of Russia): Discussing the life of a music composer. Strong signal.

* 0400 UTC, 6080 khz (China Radio International): There's an upcoming summit between North and South Korea. China is enhancing its relations with Kyrgyzstan. A bridge collapse in China killed 29 people. Terrorism is suspected in the Russian train derailment. China praised Kyrgyzstan for its stance on "the Taiwan question." Investigators were working to determine the cause of the bridge collapse. During that segment, the announcer pronounced the word debris as "DEB-ree". The Korean summit will be Aug 28-30. The Russian train bomb attack injured 60 people, and the explosion was caused by an improvised explosive device. Heavy fighting continued in Tripoli. (Really? That's the first I've heard of it.)

Young people in Shanghai with incomplete education and lack of funds can now seek vocational training. Increased wealth in China has created demand for financial planners. Transportation and logistics problems for the Beijing olympics opening ceremonies were discussed. Olympic equestrian events will be held in Hong Kong. Beijing weather: 23-32C (73-90F), cloudy but clearing later.

* 0430 UTC: I took the opportunity to check several time station frequencies: 5 mhz: WWVH faint; WWV medium. 10 mhz: WWVH faint; WWV faint. 15 mhz: WWVH faint. 3330 khz: CHU faint. 7335 khz: CHU medium.

* 23 Aug 2007, 0315 UTC, 8400 khz ssb: I heard some conversation in a foreign language (my memory suggests it could have been Spanish). I couldn't zero-beat the signal, and wasn't sure of the correct frequency.

* 0400 UTC, 6020 / 6080 khz (China Radio International): Chinese music. "From Beijing, this is CRI." Water safety for urban areas. (How about plane safety?) Mine flooding was a natural disaster. Illegal gambling rackets have reappeared in rural areas. A suicide truck bomber struck north of Baghdad. Four crew and 10 soldiers died in a Black Hawk crash. Security has been tightened in Manila due to terrorist attack fears. Special CRI events are coming in September.

I couldn't stick with this signal on either of the two frequencies due to signal weakness and fading. It seemed to be a tough evening for shortwave reception in general.

* 0409 UTC, 9575 khz (Voice of America): "Daybreak Africa" show. Talks to end the 4-year conflict in Darfur could begin in October. The talks would have to cover wealth (from oil production), power sharing, and humanitarian concerns. "Voice of America" identification heard. Sexual minorities in Uganda have suffered abuse and want to be left alone. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and can result in life imprisonment. Kenya rejected a law that would have required journalists to reveal their sources. Kenya's president was lauded for the decision to not sign the law. The law was referred to as a threat to Kenya's democracy.

Cabinet changes were made in Liberia. The moves were intended to improve the government's performance. Daybreak Africa sports (no details were logged). Toys from China containing lead-based paint are resulting in massive recalls. A USA-based toy train maker is enjoying a boost in orders. "The number of inspectors is so few... you can't physically do it." Someone gave the advice to not boycott everything from China, but to address the holes in the system. Factory inspections have increased in China.

One of India's car makers will roll out the world's cheapest car next year at a price around 100,000 rupees (approximately US$2400). The car will feature 4-5 seats and a mostly plastic body. It does not yet have a name. (Feel free to reply here with suggestions!) The manufacturer is counting on huge sales volume. Increased car ownership would worsen air quality.

Hurricane Dean reached central Mexico; it is now classified as a tropical depression. One hundred Mexican oil rigs were evacuated. "VOA Washington D.C. signing off."

* 0500 UTC, 6000 / 9550 khz (Radio Havana Cuba): Mailbag show tonight. 14 people killed in downed helicopter, Bush warns of "another Vietnam", Hurricane Dean. President Bush said that withdrawal from Iraq could trigger a bloodbath.

I couldn't continue listening to Radio Havana Cuba due to weak signals.

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