Saturday, October 11, 2014

MN.02.10.1987. Europe No 1 & Citizen's Radio



We're postponing a series of features until the satellite link with Madagascar is resorted after maintenance.
Europe-1, a commercial network in France, has been heard on a Radio Caribbean on 1210 kHz 05 UTC. It seems it's the start of a major expansion plan.
We tell the story of Atlantic 252, which apparently was an idea from Luxembourg. More than 4 million pounds has been invested in the project. Radio Tara was the project name.
We explain the Stickers on the Move contest.  Radio Nacional Venezuela is being heard more regularly.
Paris KISS-FM has started a station Tahiti. We were clearly intrigued at how the signal got to the Pacific. Radio Finland has started using a new higher power transmitter on 963 kHz.
Japanese cordless phones are being monitored on shortwave radios in India because they are so poorly made. We take the situation to its illogical conclusions. Ben Kobb explains that Citizens Band radio didn't start on 27 MHz but infact began in 1947 in 460 MHz.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.02.07.1987. Iranian Clandestines



We start this programme with news of a two-in-one RS-10 and RS-11 amateur radio satellite launched by the Russians. Pat Gowan reports. Radio Moscow has started a summer programme for the tourists to the capital. Radio Danubius in Budapest is doing something similar. Poland objects to a new Israeli relay station for VOA (never built). India is upgrading its time signal station. Philips says its solved the problem of poor resolution on LCD displays. We also discuss radio broadcast radiation and it's danger to humans. Wim van Amstel explains.
We also discuss clandestine broadcasting to Iran, using transmitters in Iraq. We solve the mystery of the number station contest, and Anne Blair Gould reviews the Guide to Broadcasting Stations by Philip Darrington.
The programme concludes with Arthur Cushen's DX report including a very clear recording of Radio Luxembourg signing off in English on 49 metres.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.08.01.1987. Riyadh & Scanners



A New Year has dawned but without the expected reduction in Soviet jamming of Western broadcasters. West German television airs the wrong new year speech from Chancellor Kohl. The Dutch have been measuring devices for radio interference levels, banning two devices because of poor shielding. We also talk to the UK engineers who had to shield a football stadium in Saudi Arabia, because of a nearby 1.2 Megawatt mediumwave transmission tower. Solar specialist Mike Bird reviews 1986 from a radio reception point of view.
Out in the Iraqi desert, French transmitter manufacturer Thomson is to build 16 high power transmitters. We look at satellite radio with the BBC's Jonathan Stott.
On 6009 kHz a clandestine radio station in Libya has been making some mistakes. Radio Truth, a clandestine in South Africa targeting Zimbabwe, has made a clever frequency change. Radio West in The Hague, a station of 18 people, has just started operations. Willem Bos has been testing a special device for scanner enthusiasts.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.06.10.1987. Superconductors & Lightning



Jonathan gets a tube of "on-air" radio toothpaste. China is being relayed by Swiss Radio International, some transmissions being well heard. We started to spot strong signals from Radio Beijing but not coming from Europe. Dave Rosenthal explains Electrometeors and why lightning can make shortwave radios suddenly insensitive. Carefully tuned outdoor antennas can "blow-up" the front end of a portable radio. In fact, the Sony ICF2001D was particularly suspectible. A lightning arrestor is a bit of a misnomer.
We review the RFB40L shortwave portable from Panasonic.
We also report on superconductor research displayed at Telecom 87 in Geneva by AT&T.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Thursday, October 09, 2014

MN.25.09.1987. Guatemalan Mysteries


This programme has a strong Latin American flavour starting with the news of test transmissions from Radio For Peace International in Costa Rica. Sky Channel in the UK is not making money yet but has no intention of stopping. Some broadcasters are experimenting with AM stereo. Don Rhodes in Australia reports that Deutsche Welle is going to start testing the new 22 metre shortwave band. A special shortwave broadcast is on the air from a station in Syria during the Mediterraean Games.
We then announced the Radio Netherlands SSB Feeder Challenged. RNW has to bridge a four-week gap in the satellite feed to Madagascar. A special SSB transmitter was hired at a transmitter site at Ruislede, Belgium.
The first edition of Passport to World Band Radio is reviewed with Harry Kliphuis.
Christian Zettl from Austria is travelling in Central America and has been investigating some strange political clandestine radio stations in Guatemala, including one with a connection to a recording by Nat King Cole.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Sunday, October 05, 2014

MN.04.09.1987. The US Emergency Broadcast System



This edition of the programme discusses how the US Emergency Broadcast System works. This was a predecessor to what is now called the Emergency Alert System. Benn Kobb elaborates and Frank Lucia explains how President Truman gave the go-ahead for the CONELRAD system. Gary Burgeois also explains what could go wrong at 9.33 every Saturday morning. It sounds like stations then were better prepared than today.

The programme also discusses changes to the domestic shortwave service in Australia. Andy Sennitt explains that Nigeria has discontinued some of its shortwave services and the location of Radio Sovereign. Bob Tomalski (known as Roger Tate in those days) reports on DAT digital recorders.

The tape of this programme didn't survive as well as others, which explains the slightly higher level of hiss than other editions at the start of the show. Still listenable though.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.12.02.1987. Vanuatu & Telex Decoding



Vanuatu has been counting the cost of a major cyclone to hit this Pacific island chain. They’ve asked Radio Australia to help out while repairs are made to Radio Vanuatu. We also discuss progress 10 days into the WARC 1987 conference in Geneva. Jim Vastenhoud reports about the technical decisions being made. Single Sideband raises its head again. Of course SSB never happened.

Willem Bos looks at decoders to receive and decode “telex over radio”. At that time there was a large group of enthusiasts monitoring utility stations. We also review a new book about Radio Wave Propagation written by antenna specialist (the late) Fred Judd

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.27.09.1987. Mali Relays Beijing & Batteries



This news edition of the programme starts with a major raid by Amsterdam police on the four largest pirate radio stations in the Dutch capital. We solved the mystery of very strong signals from Radio Beijing (now China Radio International) beamed to North America from a new relay station in Africa. It turned out this was a new project in Mali.
There were other news headlines: Ariane launches TVSat1, which later turned out to be one of the most expensive launch failures. The D2MAC TV standard is having development challenges in Germany. Ralf Carlson of KUSW explains his plans. The Ross Revenge antenna has collapsed. We announced the results of the Radio Netherlands SSB Find-the-Feeder Challenge.
The programme also looked at the challenges of pollution from batteries. That was 100 million in 1987. (Wonder what it is now?) I talked with Lucas Reinders about what’s been agreed to reduce the amount of mercury in alkaline batteries.

Richard Dearborn of the Christian Science Monitor in Boston explains what they’re planning to do with the rock station KYOI on Saipan which they purchased. Victor Goonetilleke closes out the programme with tuning suggestions including a clandestine station targeting listeners in Iran.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

MN.06.08.1987.Recalling the Bells from Breda



I remember this edition of Media Network broadcast in August 1987. At that time digital recording was only just becoming possible, using a PCM adaptor connected to a Umatic video tape recorder. The late Joop Zuidam was a music producer at Radio Netherlands and he told me he was heading to Breda to record another in his series about carillons, the set of bells in church towers. Radio Netherlands had been using an ancient recording of the carillon in Den Bosch, but the tape had been copied so many times that it sounded awful, especially when played back on a cartridge. So I asked Joop if he could arrange for Jacque Maasens, the carillon player of the Great Church of Breda, to record a new version of the interval signal played at the start of each broadcast from Radio Netherlands on shortwave. It seems there is an interview with Jacques in Dutch on Youtube, also taken in the same tower. I will always remember the view (pictured). And we also recorded a few jokes, including Yankee Doodle, the theme used by the VOA at the time.

This edition also includes news that the BBC is to start transmitting from Hong Kong on shortwave and Pirate radio sovereign has been broadcasting again. We look at the pirate radio scene on FM in Paris. Arthur Cushen has a bumper crop of tuning suggestions from his listening post in the Pacific.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Apple Demo Day



More interested in the iPhone Plus than the Apple Watch. Yes, they have solved some interface challenges by making a digital "winder". But the battery life is something that limits its usefulness as a health device. Can't be used to monitor sleep if it is going to have enough juice during the day.



Perhaps SWatch needs to be worried. But not the analogue watch makers like IWC.


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