Satellite Radio is going to happen in the US, despite opposition from the NAB. Q-FM is the new name for Radio London. There is the first of many features on the (now defunct) HAARP project. This segment is probably the most extensive feature we did on the HAARP tests in Gakona, Alaska 99573. We interview both those who are pro and against the military project. In fact, the HAARP project was discontinued in 2014. Don’t Cry for Me Arthur Cushen turned out to be a Jim Cutler joke that went further than we expected. We have new publications. Mike Bird says we got the propagation forecast wrong.
Tuesday, November 03, 2020
We start we extensive tuning tips. High Adventure Ministries Has started transmissions to Europe and opening a postbox in the US. Carl Kruger is hearing Costa Rica. Captain has heard a time signal station from Venezuela on 5 MHz while in the Dominican Republic. BBC. Austria is to resume test transmissions from Bisamberg on mediumwave 1476 kHz. Channel 5 has started up in the UK with test transmission. We test the Yacht Boy 207 and 217 portable receivers. DAB has entered a new phase of testing in the Netherlands. Radio E is also part of the mix. DAB is rolling out in Germany, with the addition of L-Band. WRN’s Jeff Cohen explains the DAB tests that have started in the UK. He explains what could happen with football communities. South Korea says their broadcast system will convert to digital by 2010. Mike Bird says the prediction was wrong this week.
Lots of calls from listeners at the start of this Media Network. David Ward tells us about a new wind-up radio from Morphy Richards. We compare it with the Baygen motor. Andy Sennitt reports a comprehensive website on AFRTS. http://afrtsarchive.blogspot.com/ . Us backed Radio Free Asia is now on the air targeting Vietnam. Victor Goonetilleke reports that the jammers are active again. Up to 5 transmitters are being used. RFA is using transmitters in Russia(!) and Palo. Esther van der Pluim helps out with the results of Media Quiz 1997. Martin Hadlow of UNESCO reports on the line from Alma Ata in Kazakhstan, Central Asia. Lack of newsprint is a problem. Internet access is 12 dollars an hour! Satellite television is important. They are trying to start Silk Road Information Radio between the countries of Central Asia. We cross to a boiling hot Mike Bird in Melbourne.
Sunday, November 01, 2020
Channel Africa will lose its funding. The future of the Meyerton. The first Ariane 5 self-destructs. There were four satellites called CLUSTER which were lost. In the end they were rebuilt and launched. Dr Richard Thompson from IPS reports we are passed the end of solar cycle 22. We visit Montreaux to understand what is happening with EuroDAB. Hans Bakhuizen says that satellite DAB receivers are expected soon. Arthur Cushen and Mike Bird have reports and so does Diana on her Italian holiday.
We often spoke with Jemstone founder Tudor Lomas. This was the first time he explains what is happening between Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. BBC World Service Arabic TV service has gone off the air because of a break with its partner ORBIT-TV. Professor Doug Boyd says he was surprised that it lasted so long. VOA is also experimenting with Arabic TV. Austria will operate a special Marconi radio station OE1M1M this weekend. CHNS in Halifax, Nova Scotia has a low power station on 6130 with an official callsign of CHNX. The CH used to stand for the Carlton Hotel. Victor Goonetilleke has news about Burma and Vietian, Laos. SLBC has joined the WWW on June 9th 1996 with a celebration including Arthur C Clarke.
We get a reaction on what we should be looking for in radios for visually disabled listeners. Sony is trying to boost its MiniDisc system and has a new SW receiver, the ICFSW40. Sky Radio is furious with the Amsterdam cable system for charging too much. The new 16 by 9 format is starting to take off. We look at some endangered sounds. Dutch VPRO programme OVT has launched a campaign. Andy Sennitt has been playing with Real Audio software. Luckily we don’t need to say http:// in URL’s any more. We look at Ni-Cd batteries Nickel Metal Hydride. We visited Nethold in Hoofddorp. There is a huge push to switch from analogue to digital broadcasting. We learn about near video on demand and plans for the pay-TV movie market. I remember seeing some VERY expensive 1TB hard drives. How times have changed. And we conclude with the sounds of very strong signals from Indonesia.
Saturday, October 24, 2020
This programme paints an interesting picture of Southern African broadcasting. Gene Reich provides a different opening to the programme which comes from Johannesburg, South Africa. We look at both the domestic and shortwave external services. We include a bandscan from 1995 as we scan the FM dial in Johannesburg. We also did an extensive scan of the shortwave dial. Joe O’Connell explains that the federal budget problems are causing problems at VOA. The purpose of the meeting in South Africa was to discuss the future of satellite television and DAB. Delegates from Channel Africa thinks that radio is still relevant to rural Africa. We recall the old Radio RSA and how Channel Africa updated it.
We started the show with some mid-season frequency changes and some reception problems. Maybe the Russian relays of RNW may work better? Hans Bakhuizen reports that 1200 have gathered in Geneva where they are trying to simplify the radio regulations. European international stations want just two schedules a year, instead of 4. Bill Gates has sent a project proposal called Teledesic for Big LEO. In 2002 it was suspended. Radio astronomers are not happy. We did a feature on the review of Radio Australia Budget. Quite a lot of money will be taken away from RA’s distribution budget. The transmitter site at Canarvon would be closed. Radio Australia’s Nigel Holmes explains the consequences. Ra’s Managing Director Derek White also has some views on replacement systems for shortwave. Listeners don’t want the snap, crackle and pop of HF broadcasting. Dave Porter reports that Bessmer Broadcasting. GG Little and Andy Sennit report that Indonesia has made a number of changes. Bhutan is having transmitter problems. Jonathan has found a weather blooper. Netherlands was the first country to start an extended weather forecast every 20 minutes.
Monday, October 05, 2020
Jan Willem Drexhage tells us about new satellite subcarriers. Listeners ask us to explain the Luxembourg Effect which turned out to be a natural phenomenon. We look at the first Boundless Sound conference in Amsterdam, with a memorable montage explaining why TV cannot deal with ideas. Chris Greenway of BBC Monitoring has heard a revived station on 8127 kHz USB Israel Defense Forces Radio. Willem Bos joins us to explain why point to point communications are still around on shortwave. Modern techniques like spread spectrum can hide military communications. Paul Ballister reports on temporary stations in North West London.
The programme starts with tuning tips from Arthur Cushen. We went to the Evoluon in Eindhoven to hear about the future of CD Interactive. With Nintendo and Sega switching to hardware cartridges the future for CD-I seemed rather bleak. Andy Sennitt reviews on a book called Tumano Confessions of a KGB agent. The author is Oleg Tumanov who worked for 20 years at Radio Liberty in Munich. Andy is rather critical of the account. There will be a special shortwave station to coincide with the EDXC meeting in Denmark this year.
This is a mainly news edition of the programme covering the news that PA6RHN from Eindhoven was a success. Radio Bloemendaal will increase its power to 500 watts. Radio Charlie is a special station in Berlin. BFBS in Germany is busy with an anniversary gala in Hamburg. HD TV in the US has hit a snag. We look at the 20th anniversary since Vietnam was reunited. We remember the Robin Williams film Good Morning Vietnam. And we tell the real story of Hanoi Hannah. Our correspondent Arthur Cushen was also involved in monitoring North Vietnam. We listen to the answerline. Brampton, Ontario has new multicultural station CIAO 530. The Signals radio programme is running on RTE. The answerline number is changing. Agostino Pendola asks about weather satellites. Is Media Network getting too elite? David Ward passes on details on Radio Austria International. Andy has frequency changes to report from the WRTH. Mike Bird explains some figures.
Sunday, September 20, 2020
- 23.03.1995. Tokyo Sarin & Dutch DAB
In previous editions of Media Network we mentioned the strange Japanese religious station Aum Shinrikyo. They had hired a huge number of transmitters in Russia, while the broadcasts came from a DAT tape in Moscow. Things changed dramatically in this week in March 1995 when the sect was connected with a sarin attack on the Tokyo subway. Chris Greenway helped us with more details from BBC Monitoring. The doomsday cult is still around, though it changed its name. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleph_(Japanese_cult). Most of this programme takes an extensive look at the setting up of DAB networks in The Netherlands. We hear about the plans from NOZEMA, but also why the US IBOC system will not be used. You will hear many familiar voices including Maggie Ayre and Bert Steinkamp.
This is a mainly news edition of the programme covering PA6RHN from Eindhoven was a success. Radio Bloemendaal will increase its power to 500 watts. Radio Charlie is a special station in Berlin. BFBS in Germany is busy with an anniversary gala in Hamburg. HD TV in the US has hit a snag. We look at the 20th anniversary since Vietnam was reunited. We remember the Robin Williams film Good Morning Vietnam. And we tell the real story of Hanoi Hannah. Our correspondent Arthur Cushen was also involved in monitoring North Vietnam. We listen to the answerline. Brampton, Ontario has new multicultural station CIAO 530. The Signals radio programme is running on RTE. The answerline number is changing. Agostino Pendola asks about weather satellites. Is Media Network getting too elite? David Ward passes on details on Radio Austria International. Andy has frequency changes to report from the WRTH. Mike Bird explains some figures.
This programme examines the extensive floods that are threatening the Netherlands and the role played by Dutch local community radio. We also devoted a lot of time in this edition to an extensive report by Veronica Wilson from the AMARC Community gathering in Africa. It includes an interview with AMARC president Steve Buckley. We hear about plans to change the nature of VOA Europe and the launch in the UK of Talk Radio on mediumwave.
The Big Bells contest results, we announce the prize winners. Radio Delta 171 having second thoughts about longwave. NASA has been flying a Boeing plane over the VOA Greenville transmitter site to understand electromagnetic interference. DJ Wolfman Jack wants recordings of his early shows from Mexico. Blue Danube Radio is cutting back. Wolf Harranth reports on its origins as the Blue Danube Network. Having a station labelling system. We revisit the IDLogic idea from Pierre Schwab and a competing system called AMDS developed by Deutsche Welle. Also, do you remember when stations were thinking of adopting single sideband (SSB) in order to save bandwidth on the shortwave dial? A few years later it was dead. Mike Bird reports we got the propagation forecast this week. Lovely signoff jingle from Jim Cutler. (Diana Janssen’s partner is a lawyer).
This programme starts with the first extensive interview we did with broadcaster, listener and genuinely nice guy Jim Cutler. How ISDN is revolutionizing the voice acting business? Jim explains the difference between jingles and sweepers and how he makes them in the new era of digital production. Goodbye to tape and Fed-Ex. Jim also tells an amazing story about how ads need to be made on spec for a growing number of clients. We also talk with https://candacesavage.ca/ Candace Savage who lives in Canada has written a book about the Aurora – the Northern Lights. She did a wonderful job.
This programme gives a good overview of what people were tuning into on the new range of European broadcast satellite. We started with the news that BBC World DW switched off the Amsterdam cable. WDR is now back instead. Several radio stations have now switched to digital distribution. Low power stations popping up including KIWI radio in New Zealand. Voice of Vietnam now being relayed from Russia. Andy Sennit reports on cutback at Kol Israel. The SPEEDX club has closed down. Malta and Moldova are also in the media news. Leo Schenk gets a prize for a documentary about euthanasia. There is a clandestine radio contest in April. We also give a second chance to enter the Big Bells contest. Voice of Malaysia will add satellite subcarriers. SPUD is a new DX club. Thieves have stolen the shortwave antennas of a station in South America. BBC is relaying RAI Italy out of Singapore. WRTH Satellite Guide 1995 review with Bart Kuperus. Few extracts from the satellite dish in my garden. Astra 1D seems to be rather empty at the moment.
Saturday, August 29, 2020
In their heyday, radio listener clubs did a lot to create awareness about international shortwave broadcasting. In this edition of Media Network from March 1998. This edition looks at the sign-off of Radio Portugal for the last time in English. The Oscars are being streamed on the Internet for the first time. We launched a PDF version of the Receiver Shopping List (anyone still want a copy?). Greg Hammond recalls listener to MW in the mountains. We test on the Sony Active Antenna ANLP-1. The second part of the programme looks at the annual gathering of radio listeners. Dr Harold Cones explains the Winter SWLFest, ODXA in Canada, and Bryan Clark helped us to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the NZ DX league. They found a fantastic spot to listen. We listen in to what they have been hearing at there campsite spot. The trick is partly due to the longwire station. We also talked to Anker Petersen who turned up in New Zealand for the event.
We included full plans for the 50th Anniversary Open day on June 7th 1997. We also made a TV documentary called Lifelines (available on line here) Zomer-TV will resume on July 1st 1997. We look at Voice of Hope via Tbilisi which is new. International Broadcasting Corporation Tamil. There is a special ham radio station PI9RNW . Andy Sennitt has a list of almost impossible URLs! We investigate Europe by Satellite. Will it become a European CSPAN? The new Austin Powers film uses the old DXJukebox theme. Arthur Cushen reports that Radio New Zealand is moving to a new location. New Zealand is considering filling the space being left by the cuts to the Pacific Islands service from Radio Australia.
Most of this programme was devoted to the looming threats Interview with former Radio Australia DG Peter Barnett. The station costs US10 million a year to run. Staff suspended some transmissions in protest. There are no votes in Radio Australia”. Book Review. Joerg Klingenfuss has a CD with 2 ½ hrs of various utility radio stations. Fred Osterman explains how they come up with an estimate of how much these receivers are worth. We review a new CD of Radio Atlantis, the station. Wonderful Radio London is planning to move their train carriage to Zutphen station and change the name to Q-FM.
Sunday, August 16, 2020
Where was the old theme from DXJB used in a film? The photo may be a clue. Hilversum had a serious communications problem just at the moment President Clinton arrived in the Netherlands. We looked at the Baygen Freeplay Radio which has moved on from the days (1995) when Trevor Bayliss was involved. We also look changes to liberate the FM airwaves. There are 104 million radio households. AIR doesn’t reach the rural areas. Andy Sennitt reports about Radio Antilles which has been affected by the volcano eruption on Monserrat. Lots of great Jim Cutler jingles in this edition.
We visited Nethold to find out more about digital satellite television in Africa, Diana spoke with Jock Anderson in South Africa. Stocks and Shares has had its transmissions via Meyerton terminated. We look at a new analogue portable from Sony ICF-SW12. We think it is poor value for money. The time signal station Radio VNG may close shortly due to lack of funds. It costs 50,000 dollars a year to run. Alan Weiner has put out a new book. He was best known for starting Radio New York International.
The History of Offshore Radio Jingles was a brilliant collaboration between Keith Skues (photo credit Offshore Echoes) and the Society of Jingles and Themes in Breda. We take a listen. The top end of the shortwave receiver market has slowed. So, we look review the AKD Target HF-3. We talked to the station manager of IBC, a new station aimed at Sri Lankan Tamils from London. They have hired airtime from World Radio Network. Victor Goonetilleke has other media news from South East Asia. The extensive Radio Australia budget cuts have been announced.
We follow-up on the Delta 171 Radio longwave project. They now have announced an address: P.O. Box 7065 Amsterdam has big plans. Radio Caroline may return from Ireland. Peter Moore also has plans. The DX-files. We plan to explain, We also look at Antarctica. 2020 update: The website penguincentral.com is still active. LRA36 from Antarctica. Letter from Nigeria about how Radio Netherlands is financed and the difference government and public service broadcasting. Is there a vintage market for old QSL cards. Value is limited because it is more of a personal experience. The Don’t Cry for Me Arthur Cushen jingle – Cushen explains the antenna’s he has in Invercargill. They will knock down broadcasting house in Wellington. PNG wants Radio Australia to continue to their region.
Saturday, August 01, 2020
Radio Netherlands opens a new satellite service to stations for 16 hours a day. Lee Martin has an office in New Jersey. Iran has opened a massive new shortwave site, though no-one is sure how many transmitters are ready. Radio Prague has announced possible cutbacks. Thieves have stolen a lot of copper from the Radio Mozambique. Jim Cutler explains the new RNW publication vault. All India Radio is making it into Europe on mediumwave. Radio London with 1 watt is being heard well. Radio Caroline is planning new broadcasts on 1278 KHz. Hans Knot updates us on offshore and “inshore” broadcasting. MV Communicator will be sold back to its owners. He reports 3 different ships off the coast of Israel. There’s a connection between Arthur Cushen and Peter Arnett – both born in Bluff, New Zealand. Arthur reports on a number of new stations that have been purchased. And there are developments in Bougainville. Lou Josephs has an update on Microsoft’s browser package – a huge 21MB (!) download. The Investment Channel has disappeared. They phoned the Dutch embassy to complain about our comments on the station’s owner. Turned out to be a scam.
A reportage from the International Audio and Video Electronics show in Berlin. This year was the launch for the DVD format, with a vast improvement on VHS. Philips has a rival system called MPEG-Multichannel audio. I remember Professor Doug Boyd was involved to set up the new DRM standard, which was a system designed to turn analogue shortwave broadcasting into digital. Glyn Jones of the BBC acknowledged that a lot of work still needs to be done before Walkman-style DAB radios become available. (Yes, I know, Photo is from a later Funkausstellung. I think I took slides in those days!)
Diana Janssen and Jonathan Marks arrived in Atlanta at the weekend. That was a big mistake – the centre of downtown Atlanta was deserted, except for people queuing to visit the Coca Cola museum on the Sunday afternoon. We talked to Ted Turner to discover his philosophy for international broadcasting. As we visited, CNN had hit some very low ratings. We compared the output with VOA and RFE. CNN Interactive is now one of the 9 networks. 150 people work for the Internet department. 3100 people work for all the networks put together. In those days Radio Netherlands would contribute weekly to the World Report programme. Andy Sennitt reports that Bloomberg TV has started distribution in Europe. Radio London is back on the air with a power of 1 watt. Jim Cutler wraps up the show in his extra special way
We report from the Cable and Satellite congress in London. Analogue is still alive in Holland and Germany. Digital is still very expensive. Rupert Murdoch has not announced which receivers he will chose for his BSKYB service. Increasingly satellite signals are scrambled. We explain the conditional access module which has considerably complicated the market for individual satellite enthusiasts. Professor John Campbell can’t imagine that viewers will want to edit their own programmes. He thinks that traditional radio is trouble. Remember that CBS started by importing Cuban Cigars. He also sums up exactly what happened to a lot of shortwave radio. Andy Sennit has also news about ASTRA. There is also news about Radio For Peace International in Costa Rica. Joseph M Costello has passed away on April 23rd at 56 so the future of WRNO. We looked at into the archives. Mike Bird has the propagation review. Radio Australia is having its budget cuts, with 80 staff to lose their jobs.
A salesman calls: It seems more than 800 people are building the new satellite service. It is getting ready for launch in July 1998. We also look at the work of AMARC in Africa. It seems the so-called Francophone countries are well ahead of other countries. Nigeria is well behind. The Catholic church is very active in arranging FM airtime. There are differing views from Sierra Leone and Prof. Kwame Karikari based in Accra in Ghana.
This programme was broadcast on the station’s 50th anniversary. We learned that World Service of the Christian Science Monitor is getting out of shortwave. Monitor Radio is going away on June 30th 1997. WCSN has already been sold. It cost them US$6 million dollars to run the service. TWR has expanded their facilities on Bonaire. The future of Radio Australia is in doubt and the domestic services of the ABC takes priority. Radio Austria International is running a special station OE1M. Lou Josephs explains that IE4 has been launched by Microsoft. Microsoft has announced their answer to Real Audio. It’s called Netshow. Radio Netherlands Latin American service is organising a special conference for its 500 partners. We present a quick overview of what it sounds like.
The main feature this week was on public radio in Alaska. In the news, it seems NHK is cutting some of its radio programmes. However, in Australia the situation is the opposite. Although cuts need to be made it seems Radio Australia is favoured by the government instead of the Australian external television. We did a bit of digging to find out more about Jerry Hoffman. “Stocks and Funds” is a mystery SW radio station run by someone with a rather shady past. Our series on Radio in remote locations in Alaska, continues with Bert Oosterfeld visiting KHNS in Haines. Andy Sennit of the WRTH has news about low power stations in Kyoto. Irish Radio Ireland is in trouble before it even goes on the air. Radio Bayrak in Northern Cyprus is in the news again. North Korea appears to be having power problems.
Saturday, June 20, 2020
This edition of programme was subtitled “Crime Time”, a tongue in cheek look at the offshore pirate radio ship Laser 558, later sold to East Anglian Productions. I spoke with Ray Anderson, who said that Laser was going to Gibraltar. The UK Customs authorities have been very active in trying to prevent the ship leaving the UK. Ray Anderson says he has made a profit on the sale of the vessel. In InfoDutch, we talk about the HCC Hobby Club and the new CD-ROM player which can store a massive 600MB of data (remember this was the era of data on compact cassettes). We discuss the use of modems and the FIDO computer network. Victor Goonetilleke and Sarath Weerakoon report on new stations being launched in Sri Lanka. TWR is going on shortwave. RAE Argentina is being heard in South Asia on 15345 kHz at 1745 UTC.
An early edition of the show. We were more reliant on off-air recordings because the phone was poor quality and very expensive. Radio Monique, from the Ross Revenge ship in the North Sea has appeared on-air as expected. All the usual discussions about where the programmes are being made. The FM bands are full. A WARC has been held to tackle the overfull FM – there are 51,000 FM transmitters in the world in 1984. Nic Newman and I test out the new Panasonic RFB600L . We conclude it represents fair value, with some strange tuning quirks. Michael Murray updates on plans for the EDXC meeting in Madrid. The theme will be satellite communication. Richard Ginbey reports that a number of new transmitters are coming on the air in Botswana. Angola has launched an international service. We concluded this edition with Pubspot. Larry Miller has revamped his shortwave programme guide by turning it into a newspaper. We concluded with our own version of propagation – before Mike Bird appeared on the scene.
Another news edition of the programme. We reported that VOA Europe has been saved. Director Frank Scott in Munich explains how they plan to save money. Plans in French and German have been shelved. A reporter from Radio Marti has been asked not to ask any more questions at US presidential press conferences. Dutch TROS public broadcaster announces a plan to go commercial. Laos is being heard in Europe via transmitters in the USSR. 11852 kHz is being heard from Caracas. Jeff White reports that Radio Discovery is back on the air. Also on 6245 kHz. Europa TV is in financial trouble. We did a feature on Radio Truth, a South African based clandestine. Rob Horvitz went to investigate a new US address being announced by the station on the air. It turned out to be home Ndabaningi Sithole (photo), former leader of ZANU, who was living in exile in Silver Spring, Maryland. We also did a feature on STAD Radio Amsterdam, interviewing Director Leo Jacobs, At that time the stations broadcast 3 hours a day from a converted house in the capital city. They had a curious way of doing bilingual programmes. They are waiting for the green light to becoming a provincial station. We can also hear a bandscan of some of the pirates on the FM bands heard in Amsterdam.
Sunday, June 14, 2020
Analogue satellite stations are scrambling as a result of the HBO Captain Midnight incident. Now the mystery has been solved. John Campbell reports that there are still pirate radio stations operating from Ireland, including Radio Rainbow. Richard Ginbey has new recordings of Voice of the Black Cockerel. Media Network’s research file looks at the Woodpecker Project. We discuss this in some detail with ANARC’s Robert Horvitz. There is a lot of publicly available now becoming available. It is amazing now to see how accurate Robert's research turned out to be. Youtube contains many videos too. of the abandoned site in Ukraine.
A news edition of the programme. This year (1989) we’re starting to see the spectrum analysers on radio, ten years after frequency readouts appeared in 1980. The Italian Radio Relay Service is expanding with PLAY DX with Dario Monferini. There’s news of a clandestine Radio Venceremos from El Salvador. CHU Canada has a new voice. Tim Hendl in Miami reports has suddenly identified as La Voz de Nicaragua. We did an interview with Tom Fikkert and Dr Kim Andrew Elliott (pictured) about international broadcast research. We discuss the challenges of measuring the size of international broadcast audiences in a pre-Internet era. There was also a strong rise in satellite-delivered relays, plus poor frequency management on shortwave. We review a shortwave radio that is made in Poland made by Sabena. And we call Kaz Matsuda who is leaving Radio Japan after 18 years and heading for Australia. We were sad to learn that Kaz passed away in 2010
We always had fun with openings on Media Network in an era when programmes had signature tunes, ours included. So we had the BeeGees and Diana Ross open this edition. Radio Netherlands launched a European Press Review – a project which was doomed to failure. Marcel Rommerts reports on new relays via Moscow. Julius Hermans has an update on his recent trip to Radio Vilnius. He gives great insights on how they recovered from Russian occupation in 1991 as well as some idea of the size of station – 20 journalists in 1993. There is also a report on the satellite service Euronet and its link with Radio Caroline. Correspondent Heddy Lubberdinck takes us on a visit to rebel radio station in Iraqi Kurdistan. The report contains some unique off the air recordings.
Sunday, May 31, 2020
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 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.
Sunday, March 08, 2020
I remember recording this edition of the programme very late at night in the hotel room. I made the recordings on a UHER 4000 and spent about 3 hours cutting tape with a razor blade and splicing block. I recall that EDXC didn't get too much support from Radio France that year, so they resorted to holding it in a rather dodgy hotel. When I got back to my car, all four tyres had been spiked and we had to pay a local garage a small fortune to tow the car and repair things.
The programme starts with progress on France's first direct broadcast satellite TDF-1. In the end, the whole project was eclipsed by the Astra satellite. We were at the very beginning of connecting a computer to control a shortwave radio. I spoke with the late Kjell Stroem of Yaesu who was clear that this was the future. Roger Ellis of Japan Radio Company said the 1985 turnover of the company was 450 million dollars. We spoke to Larry Magne in PA, USA who had published a series of test reviews. They had the RDI NRD-525 and an overview of how to judge specifications. Jeff White had news to report about Radio Discovery. George Wood of Radio Sweden explained about the DXers Guide to Computing and why they had to charge $3 for it. Andy Sennitt updates us on the WRTH 40th anniversary. He reports hearing the clandestine Radio Iran on 9400 kHz. Roland Paget the conference organiser said there were 170 participants. Mike Bird concludes with the propagation report.
This is an early Media Network in which John Campbell reports that Radio Liberation, the voice of Chilean Resistance, has been trying some guerrilla broadcasting by breaking into the audio of several sports networks during football matches. Radio Delmare in Belgium has become more audible. There was a promo for PA6PCJ, with a special ham radio station operating from the station building. I remember co-hosting some of the broadcasts on April 30th together with Grant Coburn. We review the Moscow Muffler, designed to improve reception when the Russian Over the Horizon station in Ukraine was active. We talk to Mike Lamb on a rather ropey line to Lynwood, WA to ask him how it works. There was a fascinating interview with David Harris who was technical director of Radio Botswana in Gabarone. In 1985, shortwave was the only viable way to serve such a huge country. VOA has also benefitted. David was quite critical of DXers who were sending in useless reports and therefore decided NOT to QSL foreign reports. The programme concludes with Richard Ginbey who reports Voice of the Gospel via Moyabi, Gabon. Stations are opening in Nigeria. Paris Calling Africa from RFI is expanding its English output. We concluded with an interview with Henri Remmers who claimed this new satellite programme called Holland on Satellite was reaching 6 Million viewers. This marketing exercise didn’t last long, despite a contest to win a trip to the Netherlands. Feedback on this programme or the collection welcome to email@example.com
Saturday, March 07, 2020
As we enter Media Network's 19 years on the wireless, and 5 years on the Internet, it's time to share a few anecdotes on how the programme is made. Diana asked Jonathan whether production of Media Network was a full-time job, we solve the mystery when Radio Netherlands and Radio Sweden were swapped around, we remember PA6FLD in February 1985, how did Jonathan build on the heritage of DX Juke Box, How Victor Goonetilleke discovered a new station from Baghdad before the official monitoring stations and the philosophy behind the jingles. We also reviewed a new Worldspace Sanyo DSB-WS1000 after a visit to a mall in South Africa. We encountered some challenges with this radio. We concluded this was a rather expensive way to pick up the BBC Radio, Kaya FM. But the 4-inch satellite dish is not weather-proof. We predicted that Worldspace will be the next Iridium.
Monday, March 02, 2020
A report on The Antwerp EDXC Conference organised by (the late) David Monson. This was an unusual meeting. We learned about the danger of solar flares on satellite communication. The BBC World Service had a rather boastful promo and an interesting speech from Andrew Popperwell. Brian Flowers of the Eurovision explains how their system works. Radio Moscow has started broadcasting its English programmes via the SatCOM satellite to North America. Radio Sweden announces it is on ASTRA. Page 496 has the schedule plus extracts of Sweden Calling DXers. We talk to Wolf Harranth about the QSL Card collection and what they are doing in Vienna to preserve the past. The DSWCI Tropical Band Survey is just out. There is news about Caroline on 558 KHz. Tom Walters explained that the BBC’s Hong Kong relay is performing well. Seychelles will also be used to serve East Africa. Radio Antilles is also important for the Caribbean. The launch of Newshour is announced. Wolfgang Pleines reports that DW Trincomalee is being reactivated.
Driving back from a visit to the VOA Greenville transmitter site, we passed through Fredericksburg https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fredericksburg That reminded me that Mike Bird has started referring to the Fredericksburg Index in his solar forecasts. It turns out there is a connection.
On the last Monday in the month Radio Glasnost, a new programme on a West German FM station is airing messages from East German (religious and environmentalist) groups. The show airs via Radio 100. But conservative groups object to the programmes and attempts have been made to silence the broadcasts. There has also been talk of jamming of recent broadcasts. The programme also talks to Pat Gowen who explains what the Phase 3C satellite will do for Amateur Radio. Pat explains the problems with earlier launches including Oscar 10. The memory has gone because of the Van Allen Belt. The Transatlantic Traveloge reports from the Dayton Hamvention. We talk to Joseph Fell, who explains why NiCD batteries fail earlier than expected. He has developed a solution called the GMS-403. Bob Horvitz reports on a new Interactive radio system called TV Answer so you can broadcast answers to the cable head end on 218.5 MHz. But in fact, it only being used for music videos. The programme concludes with a propagation forecast from Mike Bird.
This edition covered the history of US Offshore broadcasting. The good ship Sarah fitted out in Boston harbour has just taken to the high seas to broadcast as Radio New York International. Lou Josephs and Dennis Powell helped tell the story of various stations like Carl Macintyre’s 1973 Radio Free America and KPF941. MTV Europe is coming to Europe spending 25 million dollars in the launch. We find out why. And some people are questioning the need for USIA WORLDNET with a budget of 30 million. They claim reach to 81 cable systems. Victor Goonetilleke has been recovering from the tropical flu but thanks to a new receiver he has been hearing a new transmitter in Burma. Thailand is also booming. Voice of Kenya is also an easy catch at 0200 hrs. Iran’s Flag of Freedom clandestine station is being heard at 1630. Christian Science Monitor station. I'm pleased at the sound of this recording taken from the 15 ips master. Agree?
Saturday, February 22, 2020
There was a lot going on the shortwave bands in April 1991.
Radio Afghanistan has been taken over and they have suspended all their external broadcasts. The Message of Freedom Radio has also been heard on 7090 kHz. Radio Georgia has been heard in English. Radio 16th of December has appeared targeting Haiti. We re-tested the Sony ICF-SW-77. We bought a new one to see whether it has really been improved. Bob Grove reports that the SR-1000 receiver has been cancelled and replaced by the SW-100 project at 800 dollars. Radio Netherlands your official information station. World Radio Network has started up on the Astra satellite. Tim Ashburner spoke to us from Wimbledon. The programme concludes with a call to Vasily Strelnikov in Moscow who notes that radio stations are sprouting like mushrooms in the rainfall from Chernobyl.
This programme was made a couple of weeks after Operation Desert Storm had started. After an item about Kashmir, we contacted Victor Goonetilleke to catch up on Operation Desert Storm. I think we underestimate just how up to date our monitors were.
From Wikipedia: The Gulf War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991), codenamed Operation Desert Shield (2 August 1990 – 17 January 1991) for operations leading to the buildup of troops and defense of Saudi Arabia and Operation Desert Storm (17 January 1991 – 28 February 1991) in its combat phase, was a war waged by coalition forces from 35 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait arising from oil pricing and production disputes.
Well, I believe that listening to a shortwave radio in the 80’s and 90’s was far more exciting then than now when over 120 countries had stations active on the bands. Thanks to support from a global network of listeners and monitors we were able to make weekly updates on what was being heard on the wireless. And will never forget the programme we made about the Russian invasion of Lithuania on 17th of January 1991. While the world was focusing on an invasion in the Gulf, our listening antennas we turned towards Vilnius. Towards the end of the programme, we also had a short update from the Gulf. The photo shows a Russian jamming station in Vilnius designed to block shortwave broadcasts coming from the West.
Jonathan Marks here with another dip into the Media Network vintage vault. I think, listening to shortwave radio in the 80’s and 90’s was far more exciting then than now when over 120 countries had stations active on the bands. Thanks to support from a global network of listeners and monitors we were able to make weekly updates on what was being heard on the wireless. And on anniversaries, like 10 years after the Falklands conflict in 1982, we were able to give the story much more context. I’ve been looking for this programme from 1992 for some time, but now here it is. We also asked Dr Kim Andrew Elliott to report on a meeting of International broadcast bureaucrats. We can see that the broadcasters were having problems defining their mission. And when it comes to frequencies, Jan Willem Drexhage said that at a conference in Budapest 1180 incompatibilities.
Sunday, February 16, 2020
In February 1985, I helped to organise a rather special event over the weekend of 16th February. We broadcast live from the new Flevo transmitter site and invited ham radio operators from around the world to contact us. We were using some of the largest HF antennas in the world - 120 metres high. Today nothing remains of those giant beacons to the world having been demolished in 2019. But I like to think that for several decades more people came to know that Flevoland was the source of some very interesting programmes. This was the edition broadcast at 0930 UTC to Europe.
35 years ago on Feb 16th 1985, a small group of radio enthusiasts "misused" the giant shortwave broadcast antennas on the new Flevo transmitting station near Zeewolde. At the weekends, the new station was off the air, the old shortwave broadcast site in Lopik being still operational. So we made a series of regular broadcasts from the Flevo station, using the transmitters at Lopik. And the engineers lashed up a special plug so we could connect ham radio gear to the new antenna masts to see how far we could be heard. It was a fantastic success, to a point where the official launch of the station a few months later was a bit of an anticlimax. This was the first transmission at 0730 UTC directed to the Pacific.