26 April 2007

shortwave summary, apr 2007 (part 1)

I've had a hard time tracking down shortwave signals this month. When I find something that I want to hear on a schedule, I tune in at the designated time, but hear nothing. So I've been relying on my more reliable broadcasters recently. I've been using my Eton E5 along with a Degen DE31 active loop antenna.

Received stations:

* Radio Taiwan International
* Radio Havana Cuba
* Radio Netherlands

* 05 Apr 2007, 0300 UTC, 5950 khz (Radio Taiwan International): "Coming to you from Taipei, Taiwan, the Republic of China." All eight army officers aboard a helicopter were killed in a crash. The helicopter crashed into a radio tower in southern Taiwan. Taiwan wants a free trade agreement with the USA. President Bian is renewing a push for the agreement. Taiwan is the USA's eighth-larget trading partner. Taiwan has a new envoy to the USA. China is Taiwan's largest obstacle to foreign relations.

Chiang Kai-Shek fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing to the communists. He hoped to be buried in the China mainland after China/Taiwan unification, which seems increasingly unlikely. "Chiang Kai-Shek has done so many inhuman things." Financial market update (no details logged). Taipei: 15-22C (59-72F).

Chinese girls and women like to make themselves beautiful. Fake eyelashes can look "so real". They attract attention to the eyes. Most fake eyelashes are made in Japan and Korea. When applied carefully, they can last 1-2 months without being removed. "People" biography show (no details logged).

* 08 Apr 2007, 0302 UTC, 6180 khz (Radio Havana Cuba): USA VP Dick Cheney refuses to admit that there was no connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda. Zarqawi was not part of Al-Qaeda. A chlorine gas bomb killed 27 people in Iraq. A top aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has resigned; she refuses to testify or answer questions about her involvement in the federal prosecutor firings. A global warming report was "watered down" due to the demands of politicians. Cuba news: immigration fraud, unjust prison sentences for the Cuban Five, Posada Carriles, World Health Day, Holy Week. Spain's foreign affairs minister visited Cuba, and met with VP Raul Castro.

* 15 Apr 2007, 1900 UTC, 15315 khz (Radio Netherlands): "Time now is 1900 hours UTC... Radio Netherlands worldwide." Vox Humana show about the Abraham Lincoln assassination. April 14, 1865 was Good Friday, and right after the Civil War ended. The play in the theater was "Our American Cousin." During this segment, audio from the play was combined with narration of the shooting. After committing the crime, John Wilkes Booth jumped over the rail onto the stage. He exited through the back of the theater. President Lincoln died the next morning. Was the assassination modeled after the killing of Julius Caesar? There are dozens of books about Lincoln assassination conspiracies, and they sell well. Where did Booth cross the Potomac River after the shooting? Booth was caught by the Union around April 26th. The barn in which he hid was set on fire, and he was shot as he exited. Some believe they got the wrong guy.

Kudos to Radio Netherlands for covering this part of American history.

Booth was a successful and popular actor before the assassination. Vox Humana ended at 1930 UTC. The news will be followed by weekend connection. The Israeli PM and the Palestinian leader met in Jerusalem to discuss middle east peace. Iran wants to build two new nuclear power plants. At least 35 people were killed in a string of attacks in Baghdad. Two British helicopters collided and crashed. 100 people were detained in Russia during a demonstration against Putin. 21 were killed in Nigeria in voting booths. Ecuador is voting on whether to draw up a new constitution.

Weekend connection. Belarus--Europe's last dictatorship. Is Mugabe being mistreated by the media? Radio Netherlands is celebrating 60 years of broadcasting.

* 19 Apr 2007, 0300 UTC, 5950 khz (Radio Taiwan International): Today's headlines: campus safety in Taiwan, USA/Taiwan free trade could benefit China, medical-grade cosmetics. A review of campus security standards for Taiwan schools was prompted by the killings at Virginia Tech. South Korea expressed grief and shame at the killings, as the perpetrator was a South Korean. A free trade agreement between the USA and Taiwan would also benefit China. China currently opposes such an agreement. Taiwan's representative to the EU said, "treat Taiwan according to its traditional values."

Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, a Taiwanese firm, is no longer being pursued by the Carlyle Group because the final offer was declined. Taiwan is working on a new health center in the Marshall Islands to study and combat diabetes. Taiwan and India have a memorandum of understanding to exchange technologies; including nanotech, biotech, and satellite technology. Taiwan will help fund an IT park in the Dominican Republic with a US$50 million investment. There's a prediction of a slowdown in Taiwan's economic growth. Rain and cold air is expected over Mongolia. Hong Kong will reach the high 20s C (29C is approximately 84F).

"Trends" segment, discussing medical-grade cosmetics. Last year, Taiwan spent US$1.3 billion on skin products. Why are some people switching to medical-grade cosmetics? Skin is like soil and needs to be nourished. Medical-grade cosmetics are usually developed by doctors. No artificial fragrance additives. Packaging is not at all flashy.

Today in history: Republic of Ireland declared, Albert Einstein died, royals from Monaco visited Taiwan. Topic: effects of Taiwan's high-tech industry on the environment. The high-tech industry is the most popular industry in the world. Lots of dangerous chemicals are used during manufacturing. Computer manufacturing needs to be made safer. Greenpeace publishes corporate rankings as a way of enforcing social responsibility. Consumers can choose a company that acts responsibly. Taiwan's companies are manufacturers and suppliers, not brand names, with the exception of Acer. These manufacturers and suppliers have worked to reduce toxic emissions. Acer has a large market share in Europe, and they must work within EU regulations. The industry should try to be more environmentally sustainable. Employers need to provide proper training. Hon Hai was recently exposed for having sweatshop conditions. A higher than anticipated cancer rate was discovered among IBM workers.

I was glad to hear Radio Taiwan International discuss the issue of environmental impact by the high-tech industry. It's interesting to think about Acer in the context of being a Taiwanese company that has to cooperate with EU regulations in order to continue doing business there. Companies in the USA also try to ensure reasonable labor practices for their contract manufacturers and suppliers in Asia.


hungry mike said...

I really like your more narrative style of logging- it makes for interesting reading. I'm also not finding much of what I am looking for lately, though I'm occasionally surprised by an Eastern European service. It certainly helps to read what other SWLs are managing to hear.

Ironic, isn't it, that Radio Netherlands is surely the only place Americans can hear in-depth analysis of their own history on the radio nowdays. Maybe the BBC carried by an FM affiliate. But not on some Clear Channel station or even the VOA. Although if you need to be reminded to boil water in bad times, they are right there to let you know that.

Keep up the nice work.

weatherall said...

Thanks for the comments, Mike! I wish the public at large could get regular exposure to the unfiltered news and commentaries that shortwave offers. Maybe someone will find this page in a Google search and be delighted to learn that for less than the cost of a cheap iPod, one can get a soundmaking device that engages a brain instead of catering to it.