Black Clandestine stations go back decades with many appearing during the Second World War. Media Network documented many stations like Soldatensender Calais run from Crowborough in the UK. But in 1985 (yes this is time travel stuff) we reviewed a Japanese publication which told the story of a fake Radio Bandung set up by the Japanese in Vietnam. John Campbell explains that many DX clubs are giving up their subscriptions to the BBC Monitoring Services World Broadcasting Information because of a major price hike. In other news, there has been an earthquake in Mexico. Victor Goonetilleke has spotted a new clandestine station Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front. Germany is switching off its chain of time stations like 12763.5 kHz. A nice escape from lockdown don't you think?
Sunday, May 31, 2020
Sunday, May 03, 2020
BBC Turkish service is being jammed. Dennis Thompson explains. DW and VOA are also affected. The audio on the Radio Netherlands Flevo transmitters are being tweaked. We have an in-depth review of the FRG-8800 shortwave receiver from Yaesu. UN Radio is expanding its broadcasts for an hour in English and French to Africa.
This early edition of Media Network reports that there have been reception problems. Reports on Radio Marti for Cuba has resurfaced. We hear the voice of Rudy Espinal who is now hosting The World on Radio Earth. We interviewed Peter Bradley about the difficulty in predicting shortwave propagation. I also looked at the BBC’s experiments to measure the state of the oceans. This is not the Russian Woodpecker but it is a radar system. Dick Klees looks at the growth of home computer club. The programme concludes with a feature on Blue Danube Radio, on 102.2 MHz. I recall one of the DJ’s on BDR was the now-famous presenter from New Zealand Paul Holmes. I interviewed John Wilde, who I knew from my days at the ORF shortwave service.
The end of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. Radio Australia is in danger of grinding to a halt. Radio Thailand is planning to expand its English language programmes. I went out to the new Flevoland shortwave transmitter site. Some of the masts are up. Henk ter Loo of the Dutch PTT explained what they have installed. In equipment news, we looked at the Grundig Yacht Boy 700 together with Wolfgang Scheunemann of WeltWeit Hoeren magazine. There is a new shortwave receiver from Bearcat which is made in Japan. President Reagan has appeared in a James Bond promotion for the new film Octopussy. Roger Tidy has news about Brazil.
There was a postal strike in the Netherlands which gave us a lot of headaches both in terms of taped contributions to Media Network but also a vast drop off in listeners letters. Dennis Powell reports on an ELF system for communicating with submarines. We announced plans for ham radio communications on the Space Shuttle STS-9 from astronaut Owen Garriott W5LFL. We call Bill Whitacre who reports on new stations from Costa Rica. Radio Impacto is targeting Nicaragua. It seems that people in New Zealand who will not be prosecuted for watching satellite television feeds. We look at what can be received with a 6 metre dish! There is a souvenir issue of Monitor Magazine from Benfleet. We also interviewed Larry Magne on his forthcoming Radio Database International publication.
Not sure of the exact date of this early Media Network but I am guessing 10.01.1985
We started with a visit to the Sunspot Index Data Centre in Brussels. I remember assuming that with a name like Koekelenberg, the head of the centre would speak Dutch, but discovered he would only speak French and a smattering of English. Belgium remains a mystery to me with the language divide. We then looked at a proposal for a new Radio Free Europe programme called Radio Maccabee. The programme concludes with reports about various strange stations coming out of the northern part of South Africa. Irish music has been heard, but no station announcements. Reporter Roger Tidy went down to Stockbridge Post Office to investigate a letterbox announced by the South African political clandestine station Radio Truth which is beaming to Zimbabwe. We included several off-air clips from the station. The British Foreign Office wasn’t all that interested. Richard Ginbey has been noting some strong signals from Burundi, Kenya and Mauritius.
A newsy edition of the show. Good Morning Britain launches with David Frost. TVAM has some challenges with the unions. Quality Media said they were planning to expand their Caribbean Beacon station to include shortwave. They were planning 2 100 kw transmitters. Guyana is being heard in the European mornings on 5950 kHz. Radio Mediterranean in Malta is also been heard. We broadcast another short feature on spy number stations, this time a feature from a Swedish newspaper. This edition also included Part 2 of Forces Radio, where we featured the Canadians in Europe. I found some interesting post-war recordings and that prompted a visit to Brunssum to find out about the 5 Canadian radio outlets for their troops in Europe. Arthur Cushen has been hearing 7355 kHz is a new outofband channel for WYFR as well as several mediumwave stations from North America. KYOI in Saipan is also QSLing.
Monday, April 13, 2020
Tony Barratt in the UK reports on the VOA Bethany Closedown transmission. There are updates on KHBI, the Christian Science Monitor Station which took over KYOI in the Mariana Islands. There are changes going on at Radio Berlin International. In PUBSPOT we look at new Fine-Tuning Group's Proceedings 1989 which contains 27 articles from real specialists. John Bryant is one of the editors and explains why they went into so much detail. This edition is both for beginners and advanced alike. Bryant wrote a very practical article on the Beverage antenna. John Fisher has an excellent article on broadcasting in Brazil and Hans Johnson on broadcasting in the Middle East. A lot of information may be “dated” in 2020, but for someone who travels and wants to kill some time reading about SWL, they are a great resource. It’s like sitting down with a veteran DXer and picking his/her brain. The authors were “giants” of the hobby back in the day. All the books were available on a single CD-ROM for US$10 from Harold Sellers of the Ontario DX Association.. (http://www.odxa.on.ca)
There are earlier interviews with John Bryant of Fine tuning in these editions of Media Network:
plus two other programmes with John Bryant which we did:
http://jonathanmarks.libsyn.com/mn-11-09-1995-turkish-police-radio-and-zenith-sw-radios covered the Zenith Transoceanic
http://jonathanmarks.libsyn.com/mn19091991-drake-r8 which went into some depth about the Drake R-8.
In another publication “Latin America by Radio” Swedish DXer Henrik Klemitz has made a study of Latin American broadcasting. We report on the Ulysees mission from the European Space Agency. Roy Neal reports that in the wake Hurricane Hugo, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands have asked amateur radio operators for help.
Sunday, April 12, 2020
Offshore station Laser Hots Hits is back with a new formula of hot hits on 576 kHz. Barry Johnson of Anoraks UK has more details. For some reason, Laser were running several Public service announcements, with an address in New York. Another project from the ship the Nanelle will come later. Europa TV has closed down. It seems viewers in Portugal miss it most.
We speak with Jonathan Hill, author of the excellent reference book Radio, Radio. He thinks that that radios of the 1930’s are the most interesting. He also tells the story of why the Pye Rising Sun radios were withdrawn. Jonathan also explains that some of the international collectors are getting together. We hear a complaint about shortwave books review. We look at the mystery alphabet Morse stations. Arthur Cushen reports KSDA, Guam is asking for reports. BBC Monitoring reports a new mainland Chinese station targeting Taiwan.
Radio Canada International has announced a possible deal with South Korea to relay programmes into China. Next edition of RN's booklist is out. Jeff White reports on Radio Clarin in the Dominican republic. The crystal for 9950 kHz has just arrived! Dr John Campbell explains why reception in the Pacific seems to be better. Indonesian stations are also disappearing from shortwave. Victor Goonetilleke has been observing test transmissions All India Radio Bangalore. We also hear about the rise of local radio in Finland from Kauto Houpio. Dr Kim Andrew Elliott reports on TV Marti which will be part of VOA. VOA Tibetan has also been announced as a new language. We conclude with a piece of direction-finding Asian Broadcasting Institute who tracked down a couple of clandestines beaming into North Korea.
The programme starts with an international radio film review. That includes the parody Top Secret. Paul Hunter of KVOH in Van Nuys, CA says that testing has started at his station. Radio Station Peace and Progress seems to have inherited staff from an Iranian clandestine. Andy Sennitt reports that some Florida stations like WQVA are asking US government for compensation. Radio Antilles is now on 5955 kHz. AWR Forli has suspended operations. INFODUTCH feature on the FIDO bulletin board. Dr.John Campbell explained how Prolog works. A new station BBC Essex is testing on mediumwave. Dynamic Carrier Control is being adopted by the BBC to save money on transmission power. Mark Warner has left the Voice of Peace. Late-night pornographic TV broadcasts may be coming from a mining site in Australia.
The programme starts with some of the furthest contacts made during the PA6FLD event the previous weekend from the Flevo transmitting site. The new facility is nearly ready for full operation. Hans Bakhuizen has written a computer program to help people tune in to the broadcasts. It is written BASICODE. Richard Ginbey reports changes from Angola in the African Media News. Lusaka is back on the air. Nic Newman reports from London on the development of community radio stations. The idea is to license some of the pirates. We review the World Radio TV Handbook for 1985. There may be more offshore stations in the North Sea shortly. Radio Time from Italy is being heard.
We may have passed the sunspot minimum as cycle 21 comes to an end. Charles Z. Wick head of the USIA reports that the Soviets have offered to stop jamming. The US wants mediumwave access is the Soviet Union. The soviets have also stopped jamming Radio Tirana and Radio Peking. Rudi Hill of Radio New Zealand International is annoyed that the country’s external service only gets one page in a very expensive Royal Commission report. A Dutch group is trying to raise money for clandestine radio stations. Media for Resistance movements, including EPLF, Eritrea, as well as El Salvador, Philippines, and East Timor. Victor Goonetilleke reports a strange pre-echo on BBC transmissions at his location in Sri Lanka. Arthur Cushen visited us in the studio to discuss work on his new book called The World in My Ears. Trevor Brook of Surrey Electronics announces plans for his own shortwave radio station. We close with propagation news.
A travelogue to the 1988 Dayton Hamvention in Ohio. Some 30,000 ham radio enthusiasts head for the disused airfield on the outskirts of the city. Grove Enterprises showed off the SR-1000 prototype. Fred Osterman of Universal Radio explained his new book about shortwave receivers past and present. We also learned that the VOA is to mothball its transmitter site in Dixon, California. There are alarming reports of DOD laboratories in the US are doing tests with Electro-Magnetic Pulses. We also look at early experiments with Packet Radio with Ben Kobb.
Friday, March 13, 2020
This programme focuses on the mysterious world of spy number stations, a topic which frequently came up in the early Media Network programmes. One of the most interesting editions included an extensive interview with the author "Havana Moon" who we were able to contact on condition we didn't reveal his location or name.
"Spy Numbers Transmissions" are a shortwave oddity which have been around for the last 70+ years. In 1989 they were commonly heard in English, German, Spanish and the Slavic languages and took the form of four and five-digit groups of numbers which were preceded by a three-digit "identifier" and a "group count" which corresponds to the number of number groups transmitted in the crypt. They are generally broadcast by a mechanical-sounding female announcer, although Morse code (CW) "cut number" transmissions are also frequently reported. The "who" and "why" aspects of these transmissions are, for the most part, unknown. Their mysterious nature has resulted in their common characterization as 'spy' transmissions. The spy theory has been enhanced over the years by the FCC's inconsistent position in response to numerous inquiries by the Shortwave Listening community. In regards the "where" - a number of sites have been identified in recent years, notably in Warrenton and Remington, VA and Miami, FL. In addition, with the aid of sophisticated (radio direction finding) equipment and the invaluable assistance of highly authoritative and professional resources, several new transmission sites have been positively identified, including sites in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Cuba and Cozumel.