19 August 2006

shortwave summary: aug 2006 (part 1)

    august 2006 reception reports: (part 1) (part 2) (part 3)

When I started planning my August shortwave receptions, I set two goals: try using some of my sub-$20 radios, and provide more of my own commentary in the reports. Let's see how this turns out.

Radios used: Tecsun R-9012, Sony ICF SW7600GR

Received stations:
* Radio Havana Cuba
* Radio Netherlands
* Radio Japan

* 04 Aug 2006, 0500 UTC, 11760 khz (Radio Havana Cuba): There's news about violence in Iraq. Zionist warplanes bomb Beirut. Documents show that the costs of using nuclear weapons in Vietnam were calculated and determined to be too high, given the potential benefits. Fidel Castro "needs to rest after the operation." Workers in Cuba rallied in recognition of Fidel to increase productivity and strengthen the communist party.

Since this broadcast, we have simply learned that Castro is as Castro says. The rallying in Cuba is in support of communism, whereas the rallying in south Florida is in hopes for Fidel's death.

I wanted more detail on the Vietnam story but the signal wasn't clear. The experiment of using cheap radios for indoor reception was not a success. Noise levels were high, clarity was bad, and the experiment only lasted 15 minutes! Audio clarity is of the essence.

* 15 Aug 2006, 0400 UTC, 6165 khz (Radio Netherlands): The curtain came down on the middle east conflict, ending a month of intense fighting. Residents of Lebanon are returning home (although I'm not sure where they were staying in the interim). Who won the conflict? Israeli troops are still in Lebanon, and there is still an air-and-sea blockade of Lebanon. Olmert has been criticized for not delivering on promises and for accepting the UN ceasefire proposal.

Four owls were found to be infected, possibly with H5N1. These zoo animals could be the first occurrence of bird flu in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is the most committed rich country when it comes to aiding developing countries. G7 countries are contributing a lot but not living up to their potential. Haiti is affected by gang fighting, and local police and UN security are involved. 200 bullet wounds have been treated in the past 3 weeks. 800k people are living in violent areas. The fighting broke out after recent elections, and is related to broken promises. A Dutch newspaper has a story about manipulated photos of attacks in Beirut. There's deep sympathy for jews in the Netherlands due to the holocaust.

Research file: the sense of smell. A machine that detects smells can detect tuberculosis in humans. TB bacteria have a smell similar to pineapple and daffodils. The machine incorporates an artificial neural network and is trained by receiving samples of different materials, along with the information of whether or not the sample contains TB. For the test, a person spits into a container, and this is incubated for one hour at 37C (98.6F) prior to evaluation. Examining microscopic smears for tuberculosis is more time-consuming and is too subjective. A similar scent technique can detect lung cancer through breath analysis. Dogs, rats, bees, and wasps have an excellent sense of smell. TB is treated with a drug cocktail, which needs to be taken regularly to avoid developing resistance. There was a brief interview with an NOAA employee who noted that 85% of volcanic activity is underwater.

This was a very strong signal, which originated in the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean. Radio Netherlands makes frequent use of interviews to add detail to their stories, which is highly effective. Hearing an unfamiliar voice for a few minutes also helps me pay attention. I sent a description of the tuberculosis story to some of my acquaintances in the medical industry.

* 18 Aug 2006, 0101 UTC, 11935 khz (Radio Japan): This was an unusual broadcast. First, I tried 17825 khz because primetimeshortwave.com suggested that it was a North American transmission. I could barely hear it though. But 11935 khz to Central and South America sounded great. This hour-long reception contained a brief news segment, at least three j-rock/j-pop songs, and a recording of someone underwater.

Beirut's international airport has reopened for commercial flights. France is doubling its force in Lebanon from 200 to 400. Japan's prime minister is visiting central Asia for energy talks. When the announcer mentioned the frequencies of the current broadcast, her pronunciation of megahertz sounded like "mega-hearts". By the year 2050, Japan might rank 18th in the world in terms of population; it currently ranks 10th. India is expected to have the world's largest population. Typhoon Wukong, with winds of 83 km/hr, has hit Kyushu. The Japanese yen fell against the US dollar.

Here's an upbeat song that features guitars, drums, and an older male vocalist. I don't like it. The second song has acoustic guitar, is slower than the previous song, and also has a male singer. There's slide guitar in the background. Next will be the "44 minutes" show.

In Japan, it's time for summer holidays and family reunions. A song called "dutiful dreamer" is being played. This is a slow pop song with a female vocalist. I like this one! Next is a show replay from last year called "call from the coral reef." It was produced on and near Iriomote Island, the "Galapagos of the Orient". Voices in this show were hard to understand over shortwave due to the accents and the sound of ocean waves. The island is 2100 km south of Tokyo, and 200 km from Taiwan. This island is 90% mountainous.

Something weird has happened! It sounds like the person speaking is using a snorkel or scuba gear. I hear talking, bubbling sounds, and breathing. He spotted a clownfish. A bit later, he said "okay, back to the boat." Coral reef has suffered from bleaching, which was caused by rising water temperatures. The reefs are recovering. "Blue, green, pink, a few reds, everything!" (coral description.) I like the interlude music for this show. Female announcer who stayed above-water says "I feel like I have come to another world." They're talking about El Nino, and how it caused higher water temperatures which damaged the reefs. The reef needs clear water to allow for underwater photosynthesis. The diver goes by the name Captain Mac.

I updated this report after listening to the "Call from the coral reef" program again via the NHK website. It was an unusual show, and I like finding this kind of content on shortwave.

    august 2006 reception reports: (part 1) (part 2) (part 3)



Do you often listen to the DX programme of Radio Cuba Havana? How about the signal of Radio Budapest in US?

Firestarter5 said...

You have a 7600GR for less than $20? We're shopping in two very different places it seems.

weatherall said...

I don't hear Arnie Coro's DXers Unlimited show that much anymore. When I listen to Radio Havana Cuba, it tends to be on Wednesday when they have the mailbag show.

Also I've never been able to hear Radio Budapest. I should try that one again!

weatherall said...

Heh, I guess I phrased that in a confusing way. Anyway, I wrote "The experiment of using cheap radios for indoor reception was not a success" and I switched back to my best radio! (The Sony was $159.95 from UR.)


hi weatherall, I can hear the Russian service to Asia of Radio Budapest. To Australia on 21590, 1100-1200, I can receive the signal if lucky