Summertime and the Listening is Easy

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Chrissy Brand offers recommendations for some reading material to make the most of your summer DXing

 

Chrissy Brand offers recommendations for some reading material to make the most of your summer DXing. She picks out a few QSL cards to try for and shares news of and from some international broadcasters.

 

Although I tend to pick and choose certain times and frequencies for my broadcast listening and DX activities, I also enjoy randomly scanning through the bands. It might be an odd ten minutes in between socialising, or a sleepless hour in the middle of the night. These moments can result in some unexpected pleasures, be it music from afar, an entertaining talk or the chance to try and identify a less frequently heard language.

However, for a more ordered and ‘scientific’ approach to your time, a plethora of publications, apart from RadioUser, are available to guide you.

The ones I use the most vary in price, format and size but are all highly professional, not to mention entertaining too.

They include the annual World Radio and TV Handbook, the biannual BDXC-UK Broadcasts in English, Gayle van Horn's International Shortwave Broadcast Guide (an e-publication) and regular reading of and listening to Glenn Hauser's The World of Radio.

Another aid comes from experienced British DXer Alan Roe, who collates information on programme content, including Music Programmes on Shortwave (Fig. 1). It is available as a free download from several websites.

https://swling.com/blog/2018/06/alan-roes-updated-a18-season-guide-to-music-on-shortwave

 

Short Wave

I covered the schedules of the English services of KBS World (South Korea) and the Voice of Korea (North Korea) in a recent issue (RadioUser, June 2018: 42) but they are mentioned again in this month's logs.

Since April, I have been monitoring both sides of the border. There's been a sea-change recently, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wanting to make peace with his enemies in the south and the west. I assume that this has to do with his own power base and the country's economic and social struggles but any move towards peace is welcome.

KBS World has been covering the changes. I heard Dr Bruce Bennett of RAND Corporation speak on how the two Koreas and the USA could make a possible declaration to formally end the Korean War. Amid rising expectations for the summit, South and North Korea held high-level talks at the truce village of Panmunjeom. The Inter-Korean summit of April 27th was also marked with a KBS World QSL card (Fig. 2).

Alongside international news, KBS World offers a good range of music and cultural programmes, such as One Fine Day with Lena Park. Features I have been enthralled by so far this summer include Ahn Jae-woo talking about the 2018 Seoul Hanok Expo (a Hanok is a traditional Korean house) and Tony Medina talking a stroll in the delightful Seoul forest. KBS doesn't neglect sport, with coverage of South Korean baseball (I enjoyed hearing about the Doosan Bears team) and South Korea's preparations for the FIFA World Cup in Russia.

SLBC, the Sri Lankan Broadcasting Corporation, can be heard in Europe at times. In 2017, it celebrated its 50th anniversary (Fig. 3). SLBC has been logged this summer, broadcasting in Sinhalese at 1630 UTC on 11750kHz and in Tamil at 1700 UTC on 11835kHz. The station issues a beautiful QSL card of the Trincomalee transmitting station, which it first sent out in 2012 (Fig. 4).

http://slbc.lk

www.facebook.com/SriLankaBroadcastingCorporation

Radio Free Asia released a fifth QSL card in the series highlighting the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) relay sites that are used for RFA programming. This one features IBB Lampertheim in Germany and will be issued for correct reception reports made between May and August this year (Fig. 5). As always, you can contact RFA online, by e-mail or snail mail.

http://techweb.rfa.org

[email protected]

Reception Reports, Radio Free Asia, 2025 M. Street NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036, USA.

The BBC World Service made a couple of frequency changes in May to broadcasts from its Kranji transmitter in Singapore. English can be heard on 9410kHz from 1000 to 1200 UTC and on 5845kHz from 2200 to 2300 UTC.

The BBC World Service headquarters these days is, of course, in New Broadcasting House, next door to Broadcasting House in London (Fig. 6).

Another BBC move concerns the live music studios, which are relocating from Maida Vale to a new creative media centre being developed at the Olympic Park site in Stratford. It will include a state-of-the-art music recording and rehearsal space for all musical genres This move will take place in the BBC's centenary year from 2022 to 2023.

The Amanda Dawn Christie film Spectres of Shortwave (about the former Radio Canada International transmitter site at Sackville) was given another screening on June 13th, this time at the Cinémathèque Québécoise in Montréal. The soundtrack was simulcast by the Shortwave Service in Germany on 3895kHz at 2300 UTC.

WBCQ The Planet in Maine, USA, will gain a boost in September when a new 500kW transmitter becomes operational on 9330kHz. It will broadcast 24 hours a day in Arabic, English, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese.

Evidently, a Christian group who broke away from the Seventh Day Adventist Church is behind the new transmitter venture. WBCQ has always carried interesting music and programmes and the increase in power and signal strength is a blessing to us all.

www.worldslastchance.com

Graham Smith wrote that there was a clash of stations until recently when Radio Romania International and Radio Martí were both using 7335kHz from 0000 to 0200 UTC. However, Radio Romania International is now on 7395kHz.

 

The Buzzer

Among his logs this month, Lionel Clyne thinks that he heard the infamous Russian Buzzer station UVB 76. He logged a station on 4650kHz at 2002 UTC with a SINPO of 34222. Was it The Buzzer or another number station?

Lionel’s reception quality was slightly improved by listening on USB but was lost completely at 2006 UTC. He heard it the next day again at 2002 UTC, broadcasting the oft-quoted five number sequence. Lionel wrote, "It is of interest that this is the first station I have logged with my Lowe 150 over twenty years, where I have not been able to peak my S-meter using my Lowe pre-selector. The selector 'band’ for this frequency on the Lowe 150 PR is 2.6 to 5.9MHz, Oddly enough, I was able to peak my meter on the band above at 5.9 to 13MHz. This is a strange finding because these bands are usually strictly band-specific with little or no overlap. I have not encountered this before. I would be most interested in other people's ideas on this, especially as this is such a mysterious station."

A day later, at 1915 UTC on 4650kHz USB, Lionel experienced the best reception so far. However, it was still somewhat variable, with a SINPO of 43333. Reception was greatly enhanced by his Datong FL3 on carrier wave, with the lower cut-off frequency set at 2 and the upper one at 1 (Datong Electronics Ltd. were formed in Leeds in 1974, specialising in the development of radio frequency technology for use by amateur radio enthusiasts).

Lionel commented that on that occasion, "Despite its nickname no buzzer was heard tonight nor, as far as I could detect, any synthesised five-group numbers being read out. Instead, there seemed to be conversational interaction in a language I could not identify. At 2021 UTC, the conversation was continuing. I am fairly confident that this is not amateur interference, due to the unique way I was able to peak the signal with my preselector that I mentioned earlier."

I wrote a blog post about The Buzzer on my DX International blog, back in January 2016. It was also being logged on 6998kHz USB at that time. I mentioned then how 4625kHz was first occupied by a repeating two-second burst in 1982. In 1990, the sound emanating changed to a strange buzzing sound, in short blasts. The Buzzer's source was a mystery for a long time, but number station experts concluded that the transmitter was located near Povarovo (Поварово) in Russia. Although not strictly a ‘number station’ (emitting a buzzing sound most of the time) it still falls into that category of strange and mysterious signals.

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Occasionally, the buzzing would stop; subsequently, some codes would then be read out. One that was noted at 2100 UTC on December 24th, 1997, transmitted the following:

"Ya UVB-76, Ya UVB-76. 180 08 BROMAL 74 27 99 14. Boris, Roman, Olga, Mikhail, Anna, Larisa. 7 4 2 7 9 9 1 4."

Self-identifying as UVB76 (УВБ-76 in Cyrillic), in 2010 things got a little spookier. Buzzing was temporarily replaced by the sounds of phone calls being made. Perhaps this was the engineers dismantling equipment?

The station then relocated to near Saint Petersburg. It added another frequency to its repertoire, very close to 7000kHz (6998kHz to be precise). Who knows what its real purpose is?

The mystery continues.

https://dxinternational.blogspot.com/2016/01/still-buzzin-after-all-these-years.html

[see also RadioUser’s mini-series on Number Stations over the last three months – Ed.]

 

Medium and Long Wave

Graham noticed that Poland on 225kHz long wave is possibly on reduced power. It is now sometimes weaker than the Czech station on 270kHz.

There is a station called Muravidéki Magyar Rádió on 558kHz, broadcasting in Hungarian. The station is actually based in Slovenia. However, the programmes are in Hungarian. The station broadcasts through the night and the programme consists of Hungarian pop music.

www.rtvslo.si/mmr

Graham also mentioned a new Dutch station on 891kHz, called Euregio Radio. He wrote, "When I listen on that frequency, I can hear nothing. It must be a low-power station". It is run on a voluntary basis by radio enthusiasts and is also available online.

www.euregioradio.eu

Tony Stickells was on Fuerteventura in the Canary Isles for a fortnight in May and sent in his medium wave logs. The hotel room allocated to him was different to the usual room that he uses there. The RFI was terrible, to the extent that, to start with, he could only hear local stations. To overcome this, he purchased a Tecsun AN-200 medium wave loop for portable use, made a long wire aerial and went walkabout.

Tony commented, "The loop was great with its tuning facility and direction capability. In the end, I had quite a good haul. Nowhere near as good as when I was there last September but it was enjoyable sitting by the sea. Among the 200 frequencies I logged were stations from South America, China and India. At times, All India Radio North on 1116kHz was stronger than SER Spain on the same frequency. I managed this with small adjustments to the azimuth of the loop to get the best signal. You certainly need patience though, because, with a mere 5° difference, there was not a sniff of the Indian station."

 

Finally

I am rounding things off this month with a fantastic offering from Bob Houlston, who wrote, "A while back, I enquired how do radio stations choose their music playlist? But today it's gone one stage further. While supermarket shopping, the usual wallpaper ‘muzak’ was interrupted by, 'In a white room with black curtains near the station...'. Yes, it was none other than a recording of Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton performing the track White Room as the group Cream. It got me thinking. If the internet can be considered a source of entertainment radio, then why not Morrisons superstore? SINPO 42345, frequency 20Hz to 20kHz, Wednesday and wait for it … it was AM! It's free, it's a form of radio in that it radiates and it's broadcast throughout the store. The till receipt and money-off voucher is the QSL card. You can even sit in the cafe and enjoy a cappuccino while listening. Try doing that on Caroline and see where it gets you. Could this be the future of real broadcast music radio entertainment? Or am I just too plain silly?"

It's certainly something to think about while you queue up for beer and barbeque food in your local store this summer.

 

Log Contributors

CB = Chrissy Brand, St. Leonards-On-Sea, East Sussex. Tecsun PL310ET, Grundig Satellit 800.

GS = Graham Smith, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Sony ICF-SW600 and a telescopic antenna.

LC = Lionel Clyne, Faversham, Kent. Lowe HF-150, random wire or homemade loop.

OR - Owen Rutherford, London. Lowe HF-150 and a Wellbrook loop.

TS = Tony Stickells, Fuerteventura, Canary Isles. Tecsun PL-880 with an external antenna and Tecsun AN-200 loop.

 

Short Wave Logs

 

UTC

kHz

Station

Language

SINPO

Initials

0000

7315

Voice of Vietnam

English

24233

OR

0100

7395

Radio Romania International

Romanian

55555

GS

0500

5025

Radio Rebelde, Cuba

Spanish

34443

OR

0530

17760

Radio Romania International

English

55444

CB

0530

6000

Radio Havana Cuba

English

44444

CB

1115

6005

Radio Slovakia International via Shortwave Service

English

22222

OR

1145

15360

Mashaal Radio, Udon Thani, Thailand

Pashto

42333

LC

1230

15430

TRT Voice of Turkey

English

55555

CB, OR

1330

9435

Voice of Korea, Pyongyang // 11710, 13760, 15245

English

44444

CB

1345

15825

World Wide Christian Radio

English

52333

LC

1450

12150

Trans World Radio, Kishinev-Grigoriopol

Vasavi

44444

LC

1500

9515

KBS World, Seoul

English

44444

CB

1535

11530

Voice of Welt Radyo Denge Kurdistan

Kurdish

33333

LC

1630

15565

Vatican Radio

English

44444

CB

1730

11810

Radio Romania International

English

43333

CB, OR

1730

15520

Radio Exterior de España

Spanish

33333

CB

1800

9650

Radio Guinee

French

44333

OR

1800

11735

Zanzibar Broadcasting Corporation

English

34333

OR

1830

13760

Voice of Korea, Pyongyang // 15245

English

34333

CB

1850

6070

Channel 292, Rohrbach, Germany

English

44444

LC, OR

1855

13580

Bangladesh Betar

English

35444

LC

1930

6190

BBC World Service, Meyerton

English

24322

OR

1930

9390

Radio Thailand

English

35444

CB

2000

12095

BBC World Service, Ascension Island

English

34333

CB

2015

13585

KBS World

Arabic

35534

GS

2030

7550

All India Radio

English

44444

CB, OR

2030

9420

Voice of Greece

Greek

33333

CB, LC

2130

15245

Voice of Korea, Pyongyang //13760

English

34333

CB

2130

9730

Voice of Vietnam

English

44444

CB, OR

2130

5840

World Music Radio, Denmark

English

33333

CB

2200

11810

KBS World, Seoul

English

44444

CB

2200

9830

TRT Voice of Turkey

English

55555

CB, OR

2330

6195

BBC World Service, Kranji

English

24223

CB

 

Long Medium and Wave Logs

Logs by Tony Stickells, compiled while on Fuerteventura.

 

kHz

UTC

Station

Transmitter site

Country

SINPO

153

1237

Chaîne 1

Kénadsa

Algeria

33333

153

0110

Antena Satelor

Brasov

Romania

53552

162

1237

France Inter

Allouis

France

35555

171

1238

Médi 1

Nador

Morocco

55555

183

1955

Europe 1

Feldberg

Germany

45344

225

0111

Polskie Radio

Kabat

Poland

44242

234

1957

RTL

Beidweiler

Luxembourg

35444

252

1240

Chaîne 3

Tipaza

Algeria

45555

252

0112

RTÉ Radio 1

Clarkestown

Republic of Ireland

42551

540

2309

Radio Kuwait

Kabd

Kuwait

53543

549

0114

Radio Slovenia

Beli križ

Slovenia

52442

567

2000

FRCN Radio Nigeria

Alaho

Nigeria

32333

576

0116

Chaîne 1

Kénadsa

Algeria

52552

594

0118

SBC Radio Riyadh

Duba

Saudi Arabia

44444

595

1247

SNRT Al Idaâ Al-Watania

Oujda

Morocco

33223

600

0118

Radio Gaucha

Porto Alegre

Brazil

44233

621

0102

ERTU Sawt-al-Arab

Batrah

Egypt

52552

640

0602

CBC Radio 1

St. John's, NL

Canada

32222

640

0103

Guadeloupe Premiere

Pointe-à-Pitre

Guadeloupe

42243

670

0106

Radio Rumbos

Caracas

Venezuela

34334

675

0107

QMC Radio Qatar

 Al-Arish

Qatar

32333

680

0109

Radio Continente Cumaná

Cumaná

Venezuela

44444

693

0111

Radio Adrar

Reggane

Algeria

42233

711

1300

SNRT Al Idaâ Al Amazighia

Laâyoune

Morocco

55555

729

2015

Kano State BC

Kano

Nigeria

41442

738

0113

Radio Illizi

In Amensas

Algeria

42333

740

0120

Rádio Sociedade da Bahia

Salvador

Brazil

43243

747

2018

GRTS Radio

Basse Santa Su

Gambia

51552

765

0123

SRTC Al-Banrameg

Khartoum

Sudan

43433

783

2021

Radio Mauritanie

Nouakchott

Mauritania

44354

810

0125

BBC Radio Scotland

Westerglen

Scotland

43444

828

2025

FRCN Radio Nigeria

Enugu

Nigeria

44444

860

0125

CBN Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

Brazil

44433

917

2033

Radio Gotel Yola

Jabura

Nigeria

42233

945

2330

Rádio Nacional de São Tomé e Principe

Pinheira

Sao Tome

34223

945

2038

Radio Kebbi

Bernin Kebbi

Nigeria

33323

972

2040

Katsina Radio

Dutsinma

Nigeria

42432

990

0140

Radio Sawa

Cape Greco

Cyprus

43443

999

0140

SBC Al-Qur’an Al-Karim

Duba

Saudi Arabia

42433

1010

0144

Rádio CBN

Fortaleza

Brazil

43233

1026

0145

IRIB Radio Iran

Azarshahr

Iran

43333

1030

0148

Rádio Capital

Rio de Janeiro

Brazil

44433

1035

0150

JRTV Radio Jordan

Amman

Jordan

42432

1040

0151

Rádio Capital

Sao Paulo

Brazil

43433

1062

0155

AIR Northeast

Pasighat

India

43333

1098

0105

Bayrak Radyosu

Yeni

Cyprus

43322

1100

0106

Rádio Globo

Sao Paulo

Brazil

43333

1116

0107

AIR North

Srinagar

India

42443

1134

2346

IRIB Radio Tabriz

Kalibar

Iran

42232

1170

0111

Radio Capodistria

Beli križ

Slovenia

43333

1200

0118

Ceará Rádio Clube

Fotaleza

Brazil

34343

1210

0120

VOAR

St. John's, NL

Canada

34343

1269

0142

Radio Asia

Ras al-Khaimah

UAE

43433

1278

0144

IRIB Radio Kermanshah

Kermanshah

Iran

43433

1332

0146

IRIB Radio Tehran

Tehran

Iran

43323

1370

0149

WQLL

Pikesville

USA

32343

1413

2120

Vesti FM

Grigoriopol

Moldova

43333

1440

2121

Adamawa BC

Yola

Nigeria

44454

1449

2122

BSKSA Radio Riyadh

Jeddah

Saudi Arabia

44434

1530

1356

PEF-Posto Emissor do Funchal

Funchal

Madeira

35555

1530

2129

VOA

Pinheira

Sao Tome

42443

1610

0211

Caribbean Beacon

The Valley

Anguilla

45233

 

 

This article was featured in the August 2018 issue of Radio User