The Magic of Short Wave

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Chrissy Brand shares some exciting summer schedules and looks at key radio anniversaries

 

Chrissy Brand shares some exciting summer schedules and looks at key radio anniversaries. Readers share their latest news and tips, including a decoding of the first SAQ Alexanderson transmission since 2016.

 

I enjoy trawling the broadcast bands at all times of the year but, for me, summertime listening brings its own special magic. Once the sun goes down on a day walking the hills or working in a city office, I'm happy to head home to tune along the bands.

Many decades ago, it was the long warm summer nights that first hooked me onto world band radio. Back then, part of the thrill was listening to classical music from a Conservatoire on Radio Moscow, catching the news from Down Under on Radio Australia or hearing Latin American music on Radio Bras.

In addition to this, the hunting down and identifying of low-powered stations in unfamiliar languages, particularly on the tropical bands, opened up a whole new world to me.

That excitement has not subsided and some of the stations I listen to today could be logged regularly back in the early days. TRT Voice of Turkey, The Voice of Vietnam, The Voice of Mongolia and Radio New Zealand International still form part of my staple radio listening.

Thanks to Channel 292 in Germany on 6070kHz from 1930 UTC, relatively new programmes can be heard, including From the Isles of Music and Uncle Bill's Melting Pot. Another newcomer is a free radio station called Charleston Radio International, heard on 5140 kHz. It plays 1920s and 1930s foxtrot, jazz and schlager music. Station announcements are made through a synthesised female voice.

 

Summer Schedules

Let's have look at some of the English language schedules for the stations mentioned above. You can start the day early with TRT The Voice of Turkey's hour-long broadcast to Europe, Asia and the Americas at 0300 UTC, on 6165 and 9515kHz. The station maintains its lunchtime slot, a rarity for many short wave stations these days. An hour at 1230 UTC (on 15450kHz) is a welcome opportunity to pause and hear what is happening in the world, from the Turkish state's point of view. Whether or not you agree with the views – and the slant of the news reported – there is often a good choice of cultural programmes to hear and this can transcend political and geographical borders. The two other broadcasts scheduled for Europe are at 1830 UTC on 9785kHz and 2200 UTC on 9830kHz.

From Hanoi, The Voice of Vietnam broadcasts in Cambodian, Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Lao, Russian, Spanish, Thai and, of course, Vietnamese (Fig. 1). Its English to Europe broadcasts air from 1600 to 1630 UTC on 7220, 7280 and 9730kHz and from 1900 to 1930 UTC on 7280 and 9730kHz. These are also aimed at the Middle East and Africa. English to North America is on from 0000 to 0030 UTC and 0100 to 0130 UTC on 7315kHz. The Voice of Vietnam beams its English service broadcasts across Asia from 1130 to 1200 UTC, 1230 to 1300 UTC, 1330 to 1400 UTC, 1330 to 1400 UTC and 2330 to 0000 UTC, all using 9840 and 12020kHz.

When I first started DXing, The Voice of Mongolia seemed an ‘exotic’ catch and, on the rare occasions I heard it, I listened intently, straining to hear the programme details over the mush. Today, it is easier to hear on 6005kHz from 0700 UTC, thanks to the rebroadcast from Kall Krekel in Germany. The station beams English directly to Asia from 0900 to 0930 UTC on 12085kHz and again at 1530 UTC on 12015kHz.

 

Readers' Reports

Bob Houlston decoded one of the historic SAQ CW transmissions, from 1000 to 1006 UTC on VLF 17.2kHz on May 1st. Usually scheduled to take place twice a year, this was actually the first one since 2016. The next transmission is due on July 1st from Grimeton (callsign SK6SAQ) in Sweden, to mark Alexanderson Day.

The May Day broadcast was part of the European Route of Industrial Heritage's contribution to the European Year of Cultural Heritage. It included thousands of young people simultaneously dancing at 100 ERIH sites, to the strains of Beethoven's Ode to Joy (The Fourth Movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony).

There was also a dance event entitled WORK it OUT (Figs. 2 and 3).

Bob's decoded text was as follows: "CQ CQ CQ DE SAQ SAQ SAQ SAQ = THIS IS GRIMETON RADIO/SAQ IN AN EXTRA TRANSMISSION USING THE ALEXANDERSON 200KW ALTERNATOR ON VLF 17.2KHZ. TODAY WE CELEBRATE THE RADIO STATION AS PART OF THE DAY OF INDUSTRIAL CULTURE HERITAGE. WE DO NOT REQUEST QSL REPORTS ON THIS TRANSMISSION.WE ALSO PLAN TO TRANSMIT ON ALEXANDERSON DAY JULY 1ST I I 1ST AT 09.00 I I T 9RTT UTC = SIGNED MS WORLD HERITAGE GRIMETON RADIO STATION AND THE ALEXANDER ASSOCIATION = AR DE SAQ SAQ SAQ VA".

A page on Bob's website illustrates how to receive the transmission, even if you don't have a radio (convert an old PC into a VLF receiver). He thanked Norman G8ATO of Verulam ARC for technical advice.

g4pvb.eu5.net/saq.htm

http://alexander.n.se

[see also the short article on Grimeton SAQ in last month’s issue; RadioUser, June 2018: 33 – Ed.]

Among his logs this month, Lionel Clyne had one unidentified station. He heard it from 1740 UTC on 6375kHz. At the top of the hour, there was no identification nor any continuity announcements of any kind, "just a mixed bag of fairly boring music."

This was probably Radio Harmony, a new free radio station. It plays a wide range of music including easy listening, oldies, chanson and opera (Fig. 4).

Email: [email protected]  

Graham Smith noted that WRMI is still using 7780kHz in the A18 season. He heard a programme in Italian at 2300 UTC, then Radio Slovakia International in Slovak at 0000 UTC and English at 0030UTC. Graham also heard right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, aired by WWCR from Nashville, on 4840kHz at 0200 UTC.

www.infowars.com

He noticed that Bretagne 5 on 1593kHz was off the air but returned on April 20th. However, its absence made it easier to hear the Romanian station Radio Cluj, which signs on at 0300 UTC on the same frequency.

Also, at 0300 UTC, Radio Kuwait is in Arabic on 5960kHz. Graham wrote, "You don’t hear Radio Kuwait much these days. I think it was originally intended to be a general station for the Arab world, rather like Al Jazeera Arabic today."

Graham can sometimes hear the religious station Radio Eli on 1035kHz broadcasting late at night in Russian. Reception is not very good though.

http://radioeli.ru

Listening on the short waves at 0700 UTC, Graham heard Saudi Arabia in the 19m band, the Voice of Turkey in Turkish in the 22m band, China Radio International in Chinese in the 25m band and an unidentified station broadcasting hits from the 1960s in the 49m (‘Europe’) band.

The Romanian station Antena Satelor has changed its slogan to Noi între ai noștri, which translates as 'Ourselves amongst our own'. The station can be heard broadcasting Romanian folk music through the night on 153kHz long wave from 2100 UTC. It has a programme guide in Romanian online.

www.antenasatelor.ro/grila-emisiuni.html

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Tony Stickells received Radio Caroline on 5820kHz and was surprised to hear it on a short wave frequency, since the station now has a medium wave licence. This broadcast of Caroline will have been a pirate relay, rather than the ‘official’ station because they wouldn't want to endanger the recently-won licence after all those decades of trying.

On 5895kHz, Tony received a test transmission in English of LKB/LLE on SSB, from Bergen in Norway.

Other logs of note included a clandestine broadcast to North Korea on 5917.5kHz. This was the Voice of Freedom from South Korea, which wasn't being jammed and was quite clear on a few days. On 6080kHz, Radio Marumby was logged from Brazil, playing Latino music.

On 5955kHz, a new logging for Tony was Radio Gazeta from Sao Paulo in Brazil, playing some fabulous South American music. This isn't listed on short wave in WRTH 2018 but is under FM (on 88.1MHz); the nearest to it is the 10kW station Rádio Guaíba on 6000kHz from Porto Alegre. Has anyone else heard Radio Gazeta?

Another new catch for Tony was Adygeyan Radio from Russia on 6000kHz.

Canadian station CFRX (Newstalk 1010 in Toronto) on 6070kHz was clear on many nights; it only uses 1kW. On 7140 and 7180kHz, Tony received the station Voice of the Broad Masses from Eritrea. On 7335, 9465 and 9470kHz, he heard Nippon no Kaze and Furusato No Kaze, both using the same transmitter in Taiwan. Tony concluded that, "I actually managed 1,005 different stations, my highest-ever number; but this is due to the record facility and the Cross Country Wireless pre-selector with my SDR."

 

Anniversaries

The magic of short wave – and DXing in general – is still thriving in New Zealand, The New Zealand Radio DX League celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.

www.radiodx.com

The club held a convention in Mangawhai, which included a talk by Denis 'Doc' O’Callahan, one of the original Radio Hauraki pirates. This was a famous New Zealand station that started in the 1960s.

The delegates, inevitably, discussed the future of the DX hobby and were encouraged by the slight rise in club membership over the past year. The main point was that SDR web radios have opened up DX opportunities to people, some of whom had left the hobby due to local noise and the difficulty of erecting an antenna.

 Adrian Sainsbury, frequency manager for Radio New Zealand International, also spoke about the use of remote SDRs in helping to assess the quality of RNZI’s transmissions.

Meanwhile, in Europe, two 50th anniversaries will doubtless be a reason for some commemorative programmes across the continent.

The 1968 Paris uprisings came close to causing a revolution to take place at the time. Christian Ghibaudo brought to my attention that French station RTL celebrated the 50th anniversary of the events of May 1968, with a web radio station called RTL Radio 68. It was audible online for 24 hours from May 3rd at 1600 UTC. It was also broadcast from 2300 to 0230 UTC (May 3rd and 4th) on 234kHz long wave and locally on FM.

https://tinyurl.com/y9uz9xyx

www.rtl.fr/emission/rtl-mai-68-50-ans-apres

www.rtl.fr

Back to 2018; with national strikes and public unrest at President Macron's attacks on services and workers' rights, many people feel a repeat performance could be on the cards. Tune to Radio France International's English service once a day at 0600 UTC for an hour-long broadcast on 11830kHz.

The year of 1968 also witnessed the Prague Spring and a Soviet military intervention on the streets of Prague to suppress a people's movement. Both Radio Prague and Radio Slovakia International have covered these events from many angles in the past. I look forward to this year's offerings. I hope to visit both stations in the summer, as part of a trip which will take in the EDXC Conference in Bratislava and Vienna, to be held from August 31st to September 3rd.

Radio Prague is on at 0230 UTC on 7780kHz to Europe and the Americas, at 0300 UTC on 9395kHz to the Americas and at 1200 UTC on 9955kHz to the Americas. Radio Slovakia International (Fig. 5) can be heard in English on short wave this summer, with 30-minute broadcasts from 0030 UTC on 5850 and 7780kHz, then on 6005kHz at 1100, 1430 and 1530 UTC. In the evenings, it is on from 1900 UTC on 3985kHz.

 

Finally

The annual survey of what can be heard on the tropical bands and from other domestic short wave broadcasters was published in April by Anker Petersen. The Domestic Broadcasting Survey covers 2850 to 17900kHz and includes the Tropical Bands Survey (Fig. 6). It lists – in order of frequency – all active domestic short wave stations, based on loggings from DXers around the world during the past year. It can be downloaded, free of charge, at this URL:

www.dswci.org

 

Log Contributors

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, Wrexham. SDRplay RSP2, AOR AR7030 and a 500ft long wire.

 

Short Wave Logs

 

UTC

kHz

Station

Language

SINPO

Initials

0001

5965

China National Radio 1

Chinese

45545

GS

0005

5920

WHRI, USA // 9955

English

55555

OR, TS

0009

7315

Voice of Vietnam

English

43323

OR, TS

0032

5850

Radio Slovakia International, Okeechobee FL, USA

English

35333

TS

0117

6000

Radio Habana Cuba // 6165

English

44444

OR, TS

0121

6080

Radio Marumby, Curitiba, Brazil

Portuguese

35343

TS

0127

6185

Radio Educación, Mexico City

Spanish

35433

TS

0140

5850

Radio Canada International, Okeechobee FL, USA

English

45434

TS

0213

7780

Radio Ukraine International Okeechobee FL, USA

English

45544

TS

0233

5130

WBQC The Planet, Monticello MN, USA

English

45444

TS

0312

4875.3

Radio Difusora Roraima, Boa Vista RR, Brazil

Portuguese

35333

TS

0332

7140

Voice of Broad Masses // 7180, Eritrea

Vietnamese

35433

TS

0400

5925

Voice of America

English

45545

GS

0504

5975

NHK Radio Japan, Moosbrunn, Austria

English

55555

OR, TS

0508

6060

Radio Habana Cuba

English

55444

OR, TS

0533

9700

Radio Romania International

English

55555

TS

0548

6155

Radio Ö1, Moosbrunn, Austria

German

55555

OR, TS

0606

7505

WRNO, New Orleans LA, USA

English

45434

TS

0639

9650

Radio Nationale Guinéenne

French

35312

TS

0709

7425

Radio New Zealand International

English

45324

OR, TS

0711

6005

Voice of Mongolia, Kall Krekel, Germany

English

45344

TS

0808

9635

RTVM, Bamako, Mali

Bambara

34223

TS

0935

9395

WRMI Tru News, Okeechobee FL, USA

English

35222

TS

1003

9330

WBCQ The Planet, Monticello MN, USA

English

45423

TS

1005

6005

Radio Argentina Exterior, Kall Krekel, Germany

German

45444

TS

1006

9900

BBC WS, Kranji, Singapore, // 11695

English

45334

TS

1106

15130

Radio Romania International // 15320, 13750

English

55545

OR, TS

1115

13695

All India Radio GOS

English

45323

TS

1122

15575

Reach Beyond Australia

English

35232

TS

1217

15630

Radio Free North Korea, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Korean

45444

TS

1240

15450

TRT Voice of Turkey

English

55555

TS

1307

15575

KBS World Radio, South Korea

English

45433

TS

1413

7625

Voice of the Wilderness, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Korean

35323

TS

1416

15140

Radio Sultanate Oman

English

55555

LC, TS

1423

15520

Radio Exterior de España

Spanish

55444

TS

1425

15580

Voice of America

English

55544

TS

1440

6005

Radio Slovakia International, Kall Krekel, Germany

English

55344

TS

1445

9330

TWR, Yerevan, Armenia

English

45444

TS

1446

13680

Voice of Hope Africa, Lusaka, Zambia

English

33223

TS

1450

9885

National Unity Radio, Tajikistan

Korean

45433

TS

1505

7280

Living Water Ministry, Philippines

Korean

35323

TS

1510

17530

Voice of America, Sao Tome

English

45444

TS

1514

9515

KBS World Radio // 9785

English

44444

OR, TS

1520

11735

ZBC, Radio Zanzibar

Swahili

45434

TS

1523

11775

Caribbean Beacon, Anguilla

English

35343

TS

1541

9425

Voice of Korea // 9435

English

45444

OR, TS

1556

9625

Channel Africa, Meyerton, South Africa

English

33223

TS

1607

9405

Radio Taiwan International

English

35343

TS

1617

6025

PBS Xinjiang, Lhasa, Tibet // 6130

English

45434

TS

1637

11645

Voice of Korea // 11710

English

34344

TS

1643

7445

BBC WS, Madagascar

English

45434

TS

1643

15520

TRT Voice of Turkey

English

45544

TS

1644

15565

Vatican Radio

English

35222

TS

1709

13590

Voice of America, Woofferton, UK

English

35334

TS

1709

15400

BBC WS, Ascension Island // 17780

English

45444

OR, TS

1710

11810

Radio Romania International

English

55555

TS

1710

15420

Voice of Oromo Liberation, Nauen, Germany

Oromo

45223

TS

1718

6155

Furusato No Kaze, Paochung, South Korea

Japanese

43333

TS

1751

7550

All India Radio // 9445

English

45544

OR, TS

1803

13580

Radio Bangladesh Betar

English

35333

TS

1818

7255

Voice of Nigeria

English

45333

TS

1842

5915

ZNBC Radio 1

English

24233

TS

1845

5950

Dimtsi Woyane Tigray

Tigrinya

45233

TS

1851

6030

Radio Oromiya

Oromo

34343

TS

1854

6065

Voice of Hope Africa

English

43343

TS

1903

6070

From the Isle of Music, Channel 292

English

45444

TS

1903

9390

Radio Thailand

English

55545

TS

1912

9730

Voice of Vietnam // 7280

English

52543

OR, TS

1938

11635

Voice of Korea

English

35313

TS

1943

11815

Radio Brasil Central

Portuguese

44123

TS

1945

15315

Radio Sawtu Linjilia Voice of the Gospel, France

Fulfulde

44233

LC

2002

5905

DWD Pinneberg

German

45555

TS

2004

7205

Radio France International

French

55555

TS

2008

11910

Voice of Korea, Pyongyang

English

45312

TS

2010

7360

Vatican Radio // 9670

English

45444

LC, TS

2018

9810

IRIB WS

English

45444

TS

2038

9620

TRT Voice of Turkey

English

44534

TS

2043

7220.1

Voice of Vietnam

English

45333

TS

2047

6135.2

Radio Aparecida

Portuguese

34333

TS

2048

6170

Radio Romania International

English

55555

OR, TS

2051

7490

WBCQ The Planet, MA, USA

English

35333

TS

2113

5939.8

Radio Paz No Vale, Camboriú SC, Brazil

Portuguese

25343

TS

2116

6040.7

Radio RB2, Curitiba, Brazil // 9725.4

Portuguese

33222

TS

2138

5955

Radio Gazeta, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Portuguese

35333

TS

2148

5840

World Music Radio, Denmark

English

45544

OR, TS

2156

5995

RTVM, Mali

French

44223

TS

2158

6015

KBS Hanminjok Bangsong 1

Korean

35223

TS

2210

11880

Radio Habana // 5040

English

45222

OR, TS

2213

7315

Radio Romania International // 7325

English

55455

OR, TS

2215

6134.8

Radio Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Brazil

Spanish

33223

TS

2311

5910.3

Alcaravan Radio, Puerto Lleras, Colombia

Spanish

33223

TS

2320

9630.6

Radio Aparecida, Brazil

Portuguese

35343

TS

2324

9720

Radio Habana

English

45434

TS

2325

6070

CFRX (CFRB), Toronto ON, Canada

English

33333

TS

2343

4845

Rádio Cultura, Manaus, Brazil

Portuguese

35323

TS

2343

7410

Athmeeya Yatra Radio

Burmese

35323

TS

 

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