Tuesday, April 30, 2024

SM Radio Dessau slated for May Day broadcast


On Wednesday, May 1, 2024, SM Radio Dessau will broadcast three one-hour broadcasts, to observe the May Day Parade 2024.

The broadcast will air from the following relays: 

All times UTC

0800  6070 kHz (10 kW) via Channel 292, Rohrbach-Waal, Germany
1200  6095 kHz (100 kW) via Media Broadcast, Nauen, Germany (repeat)
1900  3955 kHz (125 kW) via Encompass, Woofferton, UK (repeat)

Additional station information: http:///www.smradio-dessau.de 

Monday, April 29, 2024

Tangier International Zone, Part 2


Special thanks to Ray Robinson and Jeff White, for sharing Part 2, from a recent edition of AWR Wavescan.

Jeff: Two weeks ago, Ray Robinson began the story of radio broadcasting in the Tangier International Zone – an area of 155 square miles around the city of Tangier in northwest Africa, that was administered jointly by France, Spain and the United Kingdom from 1925-1940, and then again after the war by those three countries plus the United States from 1945-1956.  We got up to about 1947, with the establishment by Herbert Southworth of the anti-Franco station Radio Tangier International, and by Jacques Trémoulet of the pro-Franco station Radio Africa.  Here’s Ray to continue the story.

Ray:  Thanks, Jeff.  Well as you mentioned, the United States participated in the Committee of Control that governed the Tangier International Zone after the war, and they became increasingly concerned about growing Soviet influence in the city.  Remember this was now at the start of the Cold War, and Tangier fast became a hotbed of intrigue and a base for international spies.  To counter communist propaganda in Europe, the United States set up a Voice of America relay station in Tangier in 1949.  This initially used a single 50 kW transmitter, operating on 6060 kHz and various frequencies in the 41, 31, 25 and 19 metre bands.

Also in 1949, Radio Tangier International changed shortwave frequency to 6110 kHz, just up the dial from the VOA on 6060 kHz, and in 1950 they announced that both their medium wave and shortwave transmitters would soon be upgraded to 50 kW each.

And further in 1949, yet another station first appeared, Pan-American Radio, with an address at British Post Office Box 49 in Tangier.  They had a 5kW transmitter operating on 7400 and 15050 kHz shortwave, carrying programming of economical and financial news, and American music, mostly jazz.

In 1950, Radio Africa added a medium wave transmitter with 5 kW on 332 metres (903 kHz), and also replaced their 1 kW shortwave transmitter with a new 10 kW unit on 7100 kHz.  The following year, they increased power on medium wave to 20 kW, and introduced a second medium wave transmitter on 438 meters (685 kHz).

Likewise, in 1951, Radio Tangier International introduced a second medium wave transmitter on 278 meters (1079 kHz), and not to be outdone, Pan-American Radio added a 5 kW medium wave transmitter on 522 meters (575 kHz) to supplement their shortwave transmissions.

And that same year, 1951, the Voice of America relay station was considerably upgraded, with four 100 kW and two 50 kW shortwave transmitters, now operating 24 hours/day.

In 1952, Radio Africa added a second medium wave unit, and split their programming into two commercial streams:
Radio Africa Maghreb (Maghreb being the colonial era Arabic name for coastal north Africa) on 314 meters (953 kHz) medium wave and 7193 kHz shortwave, and
Radio Africa Tangier on 439 meters (683 kHz) medium wave and 6020 kHz shortwave.

It was in 1954 that Radio Africa Tangier started carrying the daily program for Gibraltar from 4:00-4:45pm each afternoon, under the name Radio Africa Gibraltar.

Pan-American Radio moved their medium wave outlet, first to 254 meters (1175 kHz), and then to 266 meters (1128 kHz), and their shortwave outlets to 7290 and 14500 kHz.  Interestingly, they also started relaying news from both the BBC and the Voice of America, which otherwise was not heard on medium wave.

Meanwhile, the original Radio Tangier International did indeed upgrade their medium wave transmitter on 244 meters (1232 kHz) to 50 kW.  And, they went even further, also implementing a second program stream.  Radio Tangier International was on 1232 and 6110 kHz, and a new service, Radio Tangier, was on 278 meters (1079 kHz) using the old 10 kW unit, and also on 6025 kHz shortwave.

It was on this second stream of Radio Tangier in October 1954 that Dr. Ralph Freed initially bought time to launch a new Christian religious service called the Voice of Tangier, which as we will see subsequently grew into Trans World Radio.  Dr. Freed was alarmed at the anti-protestant restrictions against evangelistic activities that had been introduced by the Franco regime in Spain, and he was naturally drawn to Herbert Southworth’s station as the platform on which to launch the Voice of Tangier.  The original vision for the station was to evangelize Spain.  A 2.5 kW US Army surplus transmitter was used on 6025 kHz in the afternoons, and 7175 or 9490 kHz in the evenings, with programming in Spanish and English, and the response from listeners in Spain was indeed very encouraging.

In the summer of 1955, programs in Portuguese, French, Czech and German were added.  The expansion continued considerably over the next few years and by 1958 the Voice of Tangier had two 10 kW shortwave transmitters of its own, broadcasting evangelical Christian programming in 26 languages with curtain antennas on five different beams to various parts of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.  In English, they carried programs such as the Back to God Hour, Radio Bible Class, Billy Graham’s Hour of Decision, and Back to the Bible, primarily targeting listeners in the British Isles.

In 1955, they had been joined over on Radio Africa Tangier by IBRA Radio from Sweden, who bought the airtime each evening from when the Gibraltar program ended at 4:45pm until 10pm, for religious programming in Swedish, English, Finnish, French, Dutch, German, Danish and Norwegian.

However, the winds of change were in the air.  In 1956, Morocco gained full independence from both France and Spain, and the Protectorates came to an end, as did the Tangier International Zone.  Tangier was granted special economic status for a few more years, but eventually the commercial radio stations were required to close, and all broadcasting in the country was nationalized in 1960.  So where did Dr. Ralph Freed go next?  That will be our topic here in Wavescan next week.

Weekly Propagation Forecast Bulletins


roduct: Weekly Highlights and Forecasts
:Issued: 2024 Apr 29 0236 UTC
# Prepared by the US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center
# Product description and SWPC web contact www.swpc.noaa.gov/content/subscription-services
#                Weekly Highlights and Forecasts
Highlights of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 22 - 28 April 2024

Solar activity reached high levels on 22 Apr and 24 Apr. Moderate levels were observed on 23 Apr, 25 Apr, and 27 Apr. Finally, low levels were observed on 26 Apr and 28 Apr. In total, there were 20 low-level M-class events (R1-Minor) over the past week. The
strongest was an M3.6 flare at 23/0319 UTC from Region 3654 (S07, L=135, class/area=Ekc/310 on 28 Apr). Of the 24 numbered active regions observed on the visible disk, 6 produced M-class activity. 

Type II radio events were observed on the 22 Apr, 23 Apr, and 24 Apr. The 23 Apr event was associated with an M2.9 flare at 23/1744 UTC from Region 3645 (S09, L=226, class/area=Dki/290 on 21 Apr). The 24 Apr event was associated with a C9.4 flare at 24/1410 UTC from Region 3638 (S18, L=227, class/area=Cri/080 on 21 Apr) and was also accompanied by a Type IV radio sweep. The associated CMEs are likely to have been associated with geomagnetic activity observed at Earth over 26 Apr. The region produced numerous, small, slow-moving CMEs that were primarily directed south of the ecliptic plane over the week. 

An additional CME first observed ~27/1100 UTC in SOHO/LASCO C2 imagery, which originated from the vicinity of Region 3654, was analyzed and modeled. The results suggested a component along the Sun-Earth line with effects likely to be observed around 01 May. 

No proton events were observed at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit reached high levels on 25 Apr. The remainder of the summary was at normal to moderate levels. 

Geomagnetic field activity was ranged from quiet to G1 (Minor) geomagnetic storm levels. G1 levels observed on 26 Apr are thought to be associated with transient influence from activity that occurred on the Sun several days earlier. Unsettled conditions on 27
Apr were observed the Bz component of the IMF turned northward. Active conditions were reached early on 28 Apr due to a positive polarity CH HSS. The remainder of the summary period was at quiet to unsettled levels. 

Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 29 April - 25 May 2024

Solar activity is expected to be at low levels with a chance for M-class (R1-R2/Minor-Moderate) activity over the outlook period. Primarily contributors to flare probability include Region 3654 currently in the western hemisphere and a collective of active and
adjacent regions in the southern hemisphere which are due to return to the visible disk over 08-10 May. 

No proton events are expected at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to be normal to moderate levels over the outlook period. 

Geomagnetic field activity is expected to range from quiet to active levels. Active levels on the 01-02 May are anticipated due to likely influence from combined effects of a CH HSS and transient effects of a CME that left the Sun on 27 Apr. Active levels on 23-24 May and unsettled levels on 29-30 Apr and 03-07 May are expected due to recurrent CH HSS features. The remainder of the outlook period is likely to be at mostly quiet levels. 

roduct: 27-day Space Weather Outlook Table 27DO.txt
:Issued: 2024 Apr 29 0236 UTC
# Prepared by the US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center
# Product description and SWPC web contact www.swpc.noaa.gov/content/subscription-services
#      27-day Space Weather Outlook Table
#                Issued 2024-04-29
#   UTC      Radio Flux   Planetary   Largest
#  Date       10.7 cm      A Index    Kp Index
2024 Apr 29     135          10          3
2024 Apr 30     130           8          3
2024 May 01     125          15          4
2024 May 02     120          18          4
2024 May 03     115          10          3
2024 May 04     120           8          3
2024 May 05     125           8          3
2024 May 06     125           8          3
2024 May 07     130           8          3
2024 May 08     145           5          2
2024 May 09     150           5          2
2024 May 10     155           5          2
2024 May 11     155           5          2
2024 May 12     160           5          2
2024 May 13     175           5          2
2024 May 14     180           5          2
2024 May 15     205           5          2
2024 May 16     205           5          2
2024 May 17     200           5          2
2024 May 18     195           5          2
2024 May 19     190           5          2
2024 May 20     185           5          2
2024 May 21     180           5          2
2024 May 22     165           5          2
2024 May 23     145          15          4
2024 May 24     145          12          4
2024 May 25     140          12          4

Friday, April 26, 2024

Agence France Presse: Junta-led Burkina Faso Suspends BBC, Voice Of America For Two Weeks


Ouagadougou (AFP) – Burkina Faso has suspended the BBC and Voice of America radio networks from broadcasting after they aired a rights report accusing the army of attacks on civilians in its battle against jihadists.

The British and US broadcasters are the latest international media organisations to be targeted since Captain Ibrahim Traore seized power in the West African country in a September 2022 coup.

"The programmes of these two international radio networks broadcasting from Ouagadougou have been suspended for a period of two weeks," Burkina's communications authority, the CSC, announced late on Thursday.

It said the decision had been taken because BBC Africa and the VOA had aired and also published a report on their digital platforms "accusing the Burkina army of abuses against the civilian population".

Additional story at: https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20240426-junta-led-burkina-faso-suspends-bbc-voice-of-america-for-two-weeks

FRS Holland announces upcoming broadcast

Dear FRS Friends,

At long last we can report some good news: next Sunday, April 28th FRS-Holland will be on air.

The broadcast will start in the later afternoon (16:52 CEST) because of the more favourable propagation compared with morning/ early afternoon.

Check out for more detailed info (frequencies, etc located at: https://frsholland.nl/latest-news-2/.

Following a 133-day wintersleep FRS-Holland will return on air with its first 2024 broadcast.
The longer absence doesn’t mean we’ve been idle! Our focus has primarily been on a renewed, completely revised website. 

Now that task is nearly complete (we still need to add a few years to the history), it’s high time for FRS free radio sounds to resonate on shortwave.

On Sunday, April 28th, we invite you to tune our way. FRSH will be on the air from 14:52 UTC / 16:52 CEST till 19:30 UTC/ 21:30 CEST. Our familiar team (Jan van Dijk, Dave Scott, Bert van Leer, Mike Taylor, Brian & Peter Verbruggen) will provide you with a wonderful Sunday featuring the well-known ingredients: great pop music from the last 60 years, various radio-related items, the daily calendar, DX news, and of course, space for the listeners who responded to our broadcast on December 17th.

We might not be broadcasting on all the familiar frequencies. No 6185 kHz but instead 5940 kHz. Additionally, a frequency between 9300-9345 kHz, taht will be most likely 9300 kHz (31 mb). 7700 kHz will be most likely on but: in case of absence, 7405 kHz will be the alternative.

On Sunday, May 5th, there will be testing on 13865 kHz at two different times: at 08:00 UTC / 10:00 CEST and 16:00 UTC / 18:00 CEST. Both tests will last one hour.
Hopefully, we’ll meet on April 28th and perhaps also on May 5th. All the best and hope to ‘see’ you soon and hear from you!

And that brings us to another piece of positive news: finally, we van proudly present the brand new FRS-Holland website. No expense or effort has been spared to create an informative website that tells our 40+ years of history. Read our post about the new website: https://frsholland.nl/new-website-online/.

Important: the new website (frsholland.nl) will go online in the course of next Thursday!

We are looking forward to having your company next Sunday! Until then it's goodbye.

73s  FRSH team.

WQVR(AM) Is granted CP to use HEBA antenna at night


The developer believes the antenna’s smaller footprint can help reduce the property needed for AM operators


The FCC in March granted an application for a construction permit filed by WQVR(AM) 940 in Webster, Mass., requesting licensed nighttime operation.

This is noteworthy because WQVR has been licensed to operate during daytime hours with a High-Efficiency Broadband Antenna or HEBA, developed by Worldwide Antenna Systems.

The HEBA is a dual-feed antenna designed to have a much smaller footprint than a standard guyed tower with a quarter-wavelength ground system for a medium-wave antenna. WorldWide Antenna Systems partnered with WQVR, previously WGFP, to prototype different designs of the HEBA under experimental daytime operation. The station began full-time broadcasting with the HEBA during the day in December 2016 at 1 kW, and after its RF proof was accepted by the FCC, it was granted a license to operate with it during daytime hours in July 2018.

Additional story at Radio World: 

Photo/Radio World

In Illinois, a Blast From Radio’s Golden Past


Old-Time Radio Antioch is an online network celebrating radio’s Golden Age


ABN Old Time Radio takes amateur OTR playout to a standard worthy of NBC back in radio’s Golden Days. 

The show, produced by Antioch Broadcasting Network, runs on a fully automated 24/7 schedule, with daily blocks dedicated to family comedy, frontier stories, detective stories, science fiction/spy stories, and game shows. There are also dedicated hourly slots for popular programs such as “Suspense” and “The Whistler,” which deliver chills even in this jaded Internet Age.

Every show has been processed to reduce hiss and clicks and maximize audio fidelity. In a bid to make the experience as realistic as possible, shows are selected to coincide with their original date, so if you are listening on April 15, shows being played will be from April 15 in previous years. 

ABN adds license-free music to fill gaps, period commercials and a three-note interval identification reminiscent of the famous NBC Radio signal. It is an immersive blast from radio’s golden past.

Additional story at: 

Propagation news update from the U.K.

GB2RS News Team

April 26, 2024
We had another week with plenty of sunspots, and HF conditions were quite good in the second half.
Earlier, the Kp index reached 3 and 4, which didn’t help maximum useable frequencies, or MUFs for short. For example, on Sunday the 21st, the Kp index rose to 4 and the MUF over a 3,000km path remained stubbornly below 21MHz until later in the morning.

This could have been due to a coronal hole on the Sun’s equator, which added to the solar wind. By Wednesday, conditions were nearly back to normal, with a Kp index below 2 and an MUF of more than 24MHz. By Thursday the improvement had continued, giving us an MUF of more than 28MHz by 0900UTC.

There have been many reports of 10m band DX being worked, including Sebastien, FK4AX and Pat, FK8HA in New Caledonia in the Pacific on SSB. Sebastien has just got his licence and is keen to work DX from the UK.

This shows that it is worth keeping an eye on the CW and SSB portions of the 10m band, which can often throw up surprises.
Next week, NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will decline to around 160. The Kp index is predicted to be around 2 to 3, but that may be wishful thinking. With 16 active regions visible on the Sun’s surface on Thursday, anything could happen. Only minor C- and M-class flares have occurred recently but, as we always say, it wouldn’t take much for those to turn into X-class events.

So, make the most of quiet geomagnetic conditions when we have them as, by the time you read or hear this, we could once again have very unsettled conditions indeed.

VHF and up:
The cold, unsettled weather will ease its grip over the last few days of this week, ending the 28 April, but only because the whole area of low pressure is moving across the country this weekend.
Low pressure remains close by for much of the following week and only a hesitant return of high pressure west of Ireland will improve things for western Britain at the end of the week.

The result is a chance of Tropo for western Britain next week, but it will probably be of limited quality since it is likely to form in cold, dry air across any temperature inversion.
The remaining option in such weather patterns is primarily rain scatter for those on the GHz bands. The many online weather radar displays can be used to highlight the areas of heaviest rain.
We are past the peak of the Lyrids meteor shower, but the Eta-Aquarids, with a Zenithal Hourly Rate of 50, peaks next Sunday 5 May around 2100UTC. Until then, rely upon random activity which tends to be better around dawn.

The Sun has been more active again recently, so monitor the clusters and Kp index for signs of geomagnetic activity and the chance of an aurora if the Kp index exceeds 5.
Sporadic-E tends to produce a few early examples in May ahead of its June peak. Check the DX clusters during late afternoon or early evening as openings can be very brief early in the season. Start on the 10m band and, if short skip within Europe is present, move up to the 6m band. Digital modes are more sensitive so check FT8 reports to give clues as to where the chances are greatest.

For EME operators, the Moon is at minimum declination today, Sunday 28 April, meaning we’ll have short Moon windows to start the coming week. Path losses are falling but perigee, when the Moon is at its closest point, is still over a week away. 144MHz sky noise is high this weekend, ending the 28 April, but falls to low by the end of the coming week.

(Mike Terry/BDXC)

Thursday, April 25, 2024

MFJ set to down size business in May


Dear Fellow Hams and Friends,
April 25, 2024
Dear Fellow Hams and Friends,

It is with a sad heart as I write this letter.

As many of you have heard by now, MFJ is ceasing its on-site production in Starkville, Mississippi on May 17, 2024. This is also the same for our sister companies’ Ameritron, Hygain, Cushcraft, Mirage and Vectronics.

Times have changed since I started this business 52 years ago. Our product line grew and grew and prospered. Covid changed everything in businesses including ours. It was the hardest hit that we have ever had and we never fully recovered.

I turned 80 this year. I had never really considered retirement but life is so short and my time with my family is so precious.

I want to thank all of our employees who have helped build this company with me over the years. We have many employees who have made MFJ their career for 10, 20, 30, 40 and more years.

We are going to continue to sell MFJ products past May 17, 2024. We have a lot of stock on hand. We will continue to offer repair service work for out-of-warranty and in-warranty units for the foreseeable future.

Finally, a special thanks to all of our customers and our dealers who have made MFJ a worldwide name and a profitable business for so many years. You all are so much appreciated.

Sincerely Yours, 73s

Martin F. Jue, K5FLU

Shortwave Radiogram, Program 351


Hello friends,

Here in Virginia, spring is moving quickly. The crocuses, daffodils, tulips, cherry blossoms, and red buds have come and gone. We are now in the azalea phase. 

Our spring has mostly been cool, and even cold at times. That's OK with me. As I say every spring: It will be hot enough, soon enough.

Spring (autumn in the southern hemisphere) shortwave propagation has been good, with mostly good results reported from Shortwave Radiogram listeners last week. This is a good time of the year to tune in and decode.

And if there is enough time, there might be a surprise mode under the closing music. Last week it was Olivia 16-2000. This week it will be another mode. 

A video of last week's Shortwave Radiogram (program 350) is provided by Scott in Ontario (Wednesday 1330 UTC). The audio archive is maintained by Mark in the UK. The analysis is provided by Roger in Germany.

Here is the lineup for Shortwave Radiogram, program 351, 25 April-1 May 2024, in MFSK modes as noted:

Here is the correct program lineup:

 1:46  MFSK32: Program preview
 2:51  MFSK32: Voyager 1 spacecraft is returning usable data
 7:12  MFSK64: How autocrats control Internet traffic
10:20  MFSK64: This week's images
27:30  MFSK32: Closing announcements

Please send reception reports to radiogram@verizon.net
Twitter: @SWRadiogram or https://twitter.com/swradiogram 
(visit during the weekend to see listeners’ results)
(Kim Elliott/SW Radiogram)

FCC Proposes Fines Totaling More Than $850,000 For Six Illegal Pirate Radio Operations


WASHINGTON, April 25, 2024—The Federal Communications Commission today proposed fines against seven pirate radio operators under the Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act (PIRATE Act) for operating six pirate radio stations. These pirate radio stations, investigated during the Enforcement Bureau’s sweep in the Boston area under the PIRATE Act, now face proposed fines totaling $857,775."

Slovakia's government pushes ahead with contested revamp of public broadcaster

 (Reuters) -Slovakia's leftist-nationalist government on Wednesday approved a proposed overhaul of public broadcaster RTVS, which it has accused of bias, raising concerns among opposition politicians, reporters and media advocacy groups.

The legislation is the latest step in what critics say is an effort by Prime Minister Robert Fico's government to tighten control over the European Union and NATO member country.

Fico, who became prime minister for a fourth time last year after several years in opposition, has long railed against critical media and his government has refused questions from some outlets.

"The situation in RTVS is unsustainable," Fico told a broadcast news conference on Wednesday.

"(It) cannot be objectively objective because it is in dispute with the Slovak government. The basic human right for citizens of Slovakia to have objective information at their disposal is being violated."

Additional story at: 

Claudius Obrecht presents mixed music program on April 27


New Broadcast from Claudius Obrecht, Switzerland musican 

Broadcast of a new edition of  a mixed music show to China, Japan  and Korea in DRM digital mode only
April 27, 2024 

1200 UTC
6070, 9670, 3955 kHz  AM Europe  Rohrbach, Germany (10 kW) with mixed music program
mixed music 27. April 2024 UTC 12.00 UT
15265 kHz   on DRM mode targeted to China, and Japan via Tashkent, Uzbekistan relay

Beginning on April 27, 2024, programs will broadcast on the last Saturday of the month
CET/CEST 23.00 on 3955 kHz from Rohrbach Waal Bavaria Germany.

Monday, April 22, 2024

UK's Gold 1458 to shut off at the end of April


I got this email reply from Global concerning Gold

“Thank you for contacting Global about Gold on AM.
I can confirm that Gold will no longer be broadcasting on Manchester – 1458AM by the end of April 2024.

More listeners are migrating away from AM and listening on DAB Radio or on another connected device provides far superior sound quality and coverage. 

The broadcast in your area along with several others are all widely available on DAB, on Global Player (App and Online) and on Smart Speakers.

You can find DAB coverage in your area here and more information on the changes to AM here.
I hope you continue to enjoy the programming we provide. 
Best wishes, 
Funmi, Customer Support Agent”
Tariq Hanif (2024-04-22)
(Ydun's MW)

CNR-1 Voice of China Summer DRM test schedules


(30 kW) DRM

All times UTC

6030  0425-0205 BEI  Tu.1400-1700 off
7360  1200-1800 QIQ  
9420  0800-1200 QIQ 
9655  0600-0900 URU 
9655  1600-2000 URU
9870  1800-2000 QIQ
11695 0900-1700 DOF
13810 1200-1900 KUN
13825 0900-1700 BEI
15180 0900-1200 KUN
17770 0900-1700 DOF

BEI  Beijing Azimuth ID:3ED
DOF  Dongfang Azimuth ID:3ED
KUN  Kunming  Azimuth ID:2
QIQ  Qiqihar Azimuth ID:1
URU  Urumqi  Azimuth ID:3EC

The Zenith Story - Part 2

Special thanks to Ray Robinson and Jeff White for sharing a recent  feature from the Wavescan program from Adventist World Radio

This is a follow-up to The Zenith Story Part 1, published 16 April 2024  at:

Jeff: Three weeks ago here in Wavescan, we started the story of the Zenith Radio Corporation, taken largely from a brochure issued by the company in 1955 that had been sent to us by listener Vince Koepke.  Today Ray Robinson continues that story, picking it up now in the early 1920’s.

Ray: Thanks, Jeff.  The founders of the company, R.H.G. Mathews of Chicago and Karl Hassel of Sharpsville, PA, had been joined by E.F. McDonald Jr. of Syracuse, NY, whose financial backing and business know-how added impetus to the rapidly growing volume of business.  In 1922 the factory was moved to larger quarters at 48th and Kedzie on the north side of Chicago.

Radio Learns to Sell 
But, part of the company activities had also gone back to the old radio shack near the Edgewater Beach Hotel.  Mathews, Hassel and the engineers built a broadcast transmitter and installed it there under the call letters WJAZ.  Studios were in the hotel itself, and QSL cards began to come in from listeners all over the nation.

1923 was an exciting year.  Commander McDonald organized and became the first president of the National Association of Broadcasters.  At this time nobody had a very clear idea of how radio broadcasting could be financed, but thoughtful Americans did not relish the idea of a government monopoly such as grew up in most foreign countries.  McDonald provided and demonstrated the answer.

The publisher of a radio magazine for amateurs had greatly increased his print order one month in anticipation of absorbing another magazine.  The merger fell through, and he was left with a staggering surplus of unsold magazines.  McDonald asked him if he would donate $1,000 to the National Association of Broadcasters if they could sell these magazines over the air.  He agreed.

Magazines were distributed to the few cities which at that time had broadcasting stations, and whose owners dared try this unorthodox scheme.  Some broadcasters refused to participate.  For three nights announcers on participating stations, including Zenith's own station WJAZ, read selected articles from the magazine, and told listeners that copies could be obtained from newsstands.  The issue sold out, 100%.  The publisher was delighted and continued the arrangement.

So far as can be determined, that was the first regular merchandising program conducted over a group of stations.  It launched the system of sponsored broadcasting which gave Americans the least restrictive and most innovative broadcast service in the world. 

North With Macmillian 
It was also in 1923 that McDonald persuaded Commander Donald B.  MacMillan, the Arctic explorer, to take radio with him to the Arctic.  When MacMillan sailed that summer, his ship, the Bowdoin, was equipped with Zenith shortwave transmitting and receiving equipment.  For the benefit of the expedition, WJAZ set up special news programs, and transmitted messages from friends and families of men in the expedition.

Broadcasts from WJAZ were picked up directly by the Bowdoin.  Return messages came by shortwave, frequently relayed by cooperative youngsters from all parts of the country, who covered phenomenal distances with their low-powered shortwave equipment.  This demonstration of shortwave efficiency did not go unnoticed at Zenith, although at that time most radio interests believed that shortwave had no commercial value.

Zenith sold this WJAZ transmitter to the Edgewater Beach Hotel in 1924, but this did not mean the end of Zenith’s broadcasting activities.

The company retained the call letters WJAZ, and constructed in a truck what was probably the first mobile radio broadcasting station.  The truck was first used to locate a new station site in Mt. Prospect, IL, 20 miles northwest of downtown Chicago.  In 1925 the truck went all over the nation for the purpose of publicizing both Zenith and the new, highly efficient art of broadcasting.  One broadcast was made from the summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado.

In 1924, for the fourth time in five years, the company was compelled to find larger quarters.  This time it moved to a four-story building at 3620 South Iron Street in Chicago.  Hassel invented a new receiver with greatly simplified tuning which did not infringe on Armstrong patents.

Zenith Radio Corporation then became a manufacturer in its own right, and marketed the receiver under the name Super-Zenith.  It was an outstanding commercial success.

The same year saw introduction of the first portable radio, a suitcase-like affair with built-in loop antenna and horn-type loudspeaker that sold for $200.  Such was the measure of radio’s progress that little more than ten years later, Zenith was building and selling a better portable for just one tenth the cost – $19.95.

Shortwave for the Navy 
1925 was another exciting year in which Zenith made notable commercial progress and exerted a profound influence on the future of communications and the development of American broadcasting.

At that time radio equipment on naval and merchant vessels the world over primarily used longwave.  This covered good distance at night, but during the day even powerful stations were out of touch with other ships and with shore stations more than a few hundred miles away.  Nevertheless, the experts disdained shortwave radio, which had been assigned to amateurs as a plaything.

This was the year the U.S. Fleet had scheduled a goodwill tour to New Zealand, Tasmania and Australia.  It was also the year that Commander McDonald was scheduled to go north on the MacMillan-National Geographic Arctic Expedition.
McDonald persuaded Admiral Ridley McLean to put shortwave radio to the test by commissioning a young amateur, Fred Schnell (who later served in the US Navy during World War II as a Captain), and sending him along on the cruise aboard the U.S.S. Seattle, flagship of the fleet.  That settled, McDonald turned his attention toward the new MacMillan expedition.  He selected the S.S. Peary, a sturdy 160 foot ship, and equipped it with Zenith shortwave transmitting and receiving gear.

When the MacMillan-National Geographic Expedition headed north in the spring of 1925, McDonald was skipper of the Peary, and second in command of the expedition, in charge of the naval aviation personnel that had been assigned to the expedition by President Coolidge.

When the expedition sailed, it left behind the heavy, longwave transmitting and receiving equipment that had been supplied by the Navy, for the simple reason that this gear could not provide long distance communication during the continuous daylight of the Arctic summer.

But as they neared Nova Scotia they were overhauled by a fast destroyer.  They pulled into Sydney, and ordered to install the useless equipment as protection for the naval personnel on the expedition.  This longwave radio gear did not send or receive a single message while in the Arctic.  It couldn’t span the long distances involved during the 24-hour Arctic daylight.

Shortwave, however, soon gave dramatic proof of its value.  Putting in at Disko Island to refuel, McDonald was told by the local Danish governor that permission would have to be received from the Danish Minister in Washington.  He regretted that their longwave radio transmitter could not get a message out in daylight, and so could do nothing about it until night fell.  This was in June, and night would not come until September.

McDonald needed coal, so he turned to his shortwave rig, and enlisted the services of an amateur radio operator near Washington.  Four hours later he had his permission from the Danish Minister.

In the meantime the U.S. Navy Fleet was on its way across the Pacific.  With his shortwave “pin box radio” Schnell kept direct contact with American amateurs long after the Fleet’s high-powered, longwave equipment had lost daytime contact.  He also communicated directly with the Peary, as it sailed north toward Greenland.

The MacMillan expedition reached Etah, Greenland, only eleven degrees from the North Pole, while the U.S.S. Seattle was off the coast of Tasmania, 12,000 miles away.  The Fleet’s longwave equipment couldn’t even maintain direct contact with the American continent at that great distance.  But Schnell communicated directly by shortwave, not only with American amateurs, but with the MacMillan Expedition as well.  McDonald clinched the demonstration by putting a group of Eskimo singers before the mike, and sending their voices to Admiral Coontz on the Seattle, almost exactly half the world away.  That was the start of practical use of shortwave radio by the U.S. Navy.  The navies and merchant marines of the world soon followed.

And, it’s interesting to note that ALL of radio’s expansion into new channels since that date — international communications, ship to shore, VHF and UHF television, radar, satellite communications, cell phones, etc.— has been in this once “useless” wave band of 200 meters and less.

So, that’s the end of part 2 of the Zenith Radio story.  When we pick it up again next time, we’ll look at the development of the company from the mid-1920’s up through the depression era years of the early 1930’s.  Back to you, Jeff.

AM Radio Gets House Hearing


NAB welcomes the planned subcommittee hearing


The House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee is hearing about AM radio on April 30. Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) announced that the Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, & Commerce will hold a legislative hearing that day titled “Draft Legislation to Preserve Americans’ Access to AM Radio.”

Additional story at Radio World: 

Special Report: AI Case Studies in Radio


“But in the end, it’s a sauce to the steak. It’s not the steak.”


Applications of generative artificial intelligence-based tools are spreading throughout radio while other types of AI are already well ensconced. In a recently released ebook, Radio World sought comments from a sampling of companies about how they’re deploying AI. 

I’ve already shared the experience of four managers at NRG Media; you can read that here. Below are more case studies that shine a light on how AI is being used in our business.

Additional story at:
Radio World
Tiny URL: https://tinyurl.com/ycvmj8yv

Weekly Propagation Forecast Bulletins


Product: Weekly Highlights and Forecasts
:Issued: 2024 Apr 22 0200 UTC
# Prepared by the US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center
# Product description and SWPC web contact www.swpc.noaa.gov/content/subscription-services
#                Weekly Highlights and Forecasts
Highlights of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 15 - 21 April 2024

Solar activity reached moderate levels on 15 Apr, 16-19 Apr and 21 Apr and was at low levels on 20 Apr. A large amount of numbered regions were recorded on the visible disk, with 26 in total. Region 3639 (N26, L=222, class/area=Eki/320 on 17 Apr) produced the highest flare of the period, an M4.0/1n (R1-Minor) at 15/1932 UTC. 17 other M-class (R1) flares were observed this period from multiple other regions. An complex area of sunspot groups was observed in the southern hemisphere. Region 3638 (S17, L=226, Cai/beta) was far from the most magnetically complex of the group but was very active in its production of eruptions associated with numerous CMEs over the past week. Most of the ejecta was thought to move south of the ecliptic but some of the activity may have produced CMEs whose periphery may be on the Sun-Earth line. 

Other activity included an eruption N of Region 3636 (S21, L=251, Class/area=Cso/100 on 13 Apr) around 15/0557 UTC. A faint CME thought to be associated with the event was observed in SOHO/LASCO C2 imagery beginning after 15/0648 UTC. Modeling of the CME
suggested arrival on 18 Apr but the most pronounced portion of the CME was observed passing Earth over 19 Apr. 

No proton events were observed at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit ranged from normal background to moderate levels. 

Geomagnetic field activity was ranged from quiet to G3 (Strong) geomagnetic storm levels this period. Quiet to unsettled conditions on 15 Apr increased to G1 (Minor) geomagnetic storm levels due to transient influence from a CME activity on the Sun over 12 Apr.
Quiet to unsettled conditions on 17 Apr were associated with a weak passing CME that left the Sun on 14 Apr. Quiet conditions were then observed on 18 Apr as solar wind conditions trended towards nominal levels. An increase to G3 (Strong) geomagnetic storm conditions were observed with the passage of CME associated with activity on the Sun over 15 Apr. Total magnetic field strength (Bt) reached a peak of 18 nT at 19/1425 UTC. The Bz component was sustained in a far southward orientation with a maximum deflection of -17 nT observed at 19/1421 UTC. Solar wind speeds steadily increased from the low 300's to ~500 km/s by the end of 19 Apr. Bt returned to near 5 nT on 20 Apr and the geomagnetic field responded with quiet to unsettled conditions. Active conditions were again observed on 21 Apr following additional periods of sustained Bz south. 

Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 22 April - 18 May 2024

Solar activity is expected to be moderate levels (R1-R2/Minor-Moderate), with a chance for X-class flare R3 (Strong), over 22-27 Apr due to a plethora of productive sunspots rotating towards the W limb. As those spots groups rotate off, solar activity is
likely to be a low levels with a chance for M-class (R1-R2), through the remainder of the outlook period due to both developing spots in the E hemisphere and the return of productive spot groups on the farside of the Sun. There is a chance for the greater than 10 MeV proton flux at geosynchronous orbit to reach above the S1 (Minor) levels over 22-27 Apr due to the plethora of sunspots in the W hemisphere. 

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit may reach high levels on 22-25 Apr in response to geomagnetic activity observed on 19 Apr. 

Geomagnetic field activity is like to reach active levels over 22-24 Apr and 26-27 Apr in response to multiple coronal hole high speed streams (CH HSSs). There is potential for combined influence of coronal hole activity and multiple weak transients over 22-24 Apr. Unsettled levels are likely on 25 Apr, 01-03 May, and 05-07 May due to the anticipated return of multiple other weak CH HSSs. The remainder of the outlook period is likely to be at mostly quiet levels. 

Product: 27-day Space Weather Outlook Table 27DO.txt
:Issued: 2024 Apr 22 0200 UTC
# Prepared by the US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center
# Product description and SWPC web contact www.swpc.noaa.gov/content/subscription-services
#      27-day Space Weather Outlook Table
#                Issued 2024-04-22
#   UTC      Radio Flux   Planetary   Largest
#  Date       10.7 cm      A Index    Kp Index
2024 Apr 22     215          10          4
2024 Apr 23     215          15          4
2024 Apr 24     200          10          4
2024 Apr 25     190          12          3
2024 Apr 26     170          15          4
2024 Apr 27     170          15          4
2024 Apr 28     165          12          3
2024 Apr 29     160           8          3
2024 Apr 30     155           7          2
2024 May 01     155          10          3
2024 May 02     160          10          3
2024 May 03     160          10          3
2024 May 04     160           5          2
2024 May 05     160           8          3
2024 May 06     160           8          3
2024 May 07     165           8          3
2024 May 08     170           5          2
2024 May 09     180           5          2
2024 May 10     185           5          2
2024 May 11     190           5          2
2024 May 12     195           5          2
2024 May 13     200           5          2
2024 May 14     210           5          2
2024 May 15     215           5          2
2024 May 16     215           5          2
2024 May 17     212           5          2
2024 May 18     212           5          2

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Music on Shortwave update


Version 1.0 of my Music Programmes on Shortwave PDF file for the new A-24 broadcast season is now available to download from this permanent link:
(or for short: https://bit.ly/3LgKNJ2 ).
I hope that you find it of interest.
As always, I appreciate any updates or corrections.
Alan Roe, Teddington, UK 

Marconi Day on April 27


This year, International Marconi Day (IMD) is on April 27. Italian inventor and electrical engineer Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi was born on April 25, 1874, and is credited for inventing the radiotelegraph system, creating Marconi's law, and sending the first wireless transmission over the open sea.

IMD was created to honor Marconi and is hosted annually by the Cornish Radio Amateur Club http://gx4crc.com/, GX4CRC. The purpose of the day is for amateur radio enthusiasts around the world to contact historic Marconi sites using communication techniques similar to those that he would have used.

The 24-hour event will operate from 0000 UTC to 2359 UTC, and registration is required. Participants can register at GX4CRC's registration web page https://gx4crc.com/imd/imd-registration/.

Stations in the United States, including Marconi Cape Cod Radio Club, KM1CC, in Massachusetts, are already registering for the event. KM1CC hosts several on-air events each year to keep the accomplishments and story of Marconi and his wireless station site in South Wellfleet alive. 

In 1975, the Wellfleet station was listed as a National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places and is now part of Cape Cod National Seashore, a unit of the National Park Service. When possible, KM1CC sets up a temporary radio station inside the park. More information about KM1CC is available on their Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KM1CC/ 

Libya, Part 3 – Mebo II & Angela


Special thanks to Ray Robinson and Jeff White for sharing a recent edition of Wavescan on AWR

Jeff:  The last two weeks here in Wavescan, Ray Robinson has presented the history of radio broadcasting in the North African country of Libya.  But, there’s one more aspect to broadcasting in Libya that we haven’t covered yet, that’s hinted at by the country entry for Libya in the 1978 edition of the WRTH, which lists two shortwave transmitters on the radio ship Mebo II.  There’s a bizarre story behind that entry, which deserves digging into.  So, here once again is Ray to explain what happened.

Ray: Thanks, Jeff.  Probably the most successful of the 1970’s offshore stations was Radio Northsea International, which broadcast from off the coast of Holland from early 1970 until the Dutch anti-offshore radio law went into effect on 31st August 1974.  The station operated from a ship called the ‘Mebo II’, owned by Mebo Telecommunications Ltd., based in Zurich, Switzerland.  The men behind the company were two Swiss engineers, Erwin Meister and Edwin Bollier, and using the first two letters of each of their last names, they formed the acronym ‘Mebo’.  They purchased two Norwegian ships in 1969.  The first was the Bjarkoy, which they re-registered as the Mebo, but when they realized it was too small to use as a broadcasting base, they bought a second vessel, the coaster Silvretta, which had been built in 1952.  This they re-registered as the Mebo II, and the smaller Mebo they retained as a tender for the Mebo II while it was anchored at sea.

After the station’s broadcast life in the North Sea came to an end, there was much speculation and legal wrangling as to what would happen to the ships next.  That in itself is a long story, but eventually the ships left Dutch waters on 16th January 1977.  During this period, the smaller ship, the Mebo, had been re-registered as the Angela.

The Mebo II had its original full complement of broadcast equipment on board:
two fully equipped studios,
a 100 kW RCA medium wave transmitter,
2 x 10 kW shortwave transmitters,
a 1.2 kW mono FM transmitter, and
a 140’ antenna mast.

It also had another medium wave transmitter, a 10 kW Continental Electronics unit, that had been transferred from the Radio Veronica ship, the MV Norderney.
The ships had Dutch captains, and crews from the Cape Verde Islands, but with them also went former Caroline and RNI transmitter engineer and DJ, Robin Adcroft (who also used the name Robin Banks on air).

Their departure was shrouded in mystery as they sailed south towards a new destination and a new role in the Mediterranean which was to be unlike anything ever experienced by an offshore radio station before or since.  On 1st February they called at Ceuta – the Spanish enclave in Morocco – to take on fresh supplies of food, fuel and water.  They then eventually arrived off the port of Tripoli on 9th February, and five days later, dropped anchor side-by-side in the harbor, 150 meters out.  The crew were all paid off, and only radio engineer Robin Adcroft remained on board.  The ships had apparently been leased to the government of Libya.

During February and March 1977, a number of non-stop music test transmissions were made by Robin from Tripoli Harbor.  These transmissions, on 1232 kHz (244m) using a power of about 40 kW, took place generally between 8 and 11pm local time (1800-2100 UTC) and consisted of records and announcements, but without any station identifications.  Later some tests were also made on 773 kHz (388m) using the old Radio Veronica 10 kW transmitter which had been installed on the Mebo II.

These test transmissions had to be halted after a few weeks because it was discovered that they were causing interference to local communications facilities in the Tripoli area.  A further widely-heard series of tests from the Mebo II began on 2nd May 1977 on 773 kHz medium wave, 6210 kHz shortwave, and 90 MHz FM.  Again the tests were presented by Robin Adcroft and consisted largely of music and announcements, but this time knowing that some European offshore radio enthusiasts would probably be listening on shortwave, the occasional RNI jingle was inserted between records.  At the top and bottom of each hour, the former RNI theme, "Man of Action" was also played.

On 19th May 1977 test transmissions also started in the 31m shortwave band on 9810 kHz, making a total of four transmitters broadcasting simultaneously from the Mebo II - the first time that had happened in over three years.

< Audio Clip – Mebo II test, Mon 23 May 1977 >

Unfortunately because of interference from the Russian Home Service on the same 31 meter band frequency, use of 9810 kHz had to be dropped in June, and the 49 meter band transmitter was switched from 6210 to 6205 kHz.

On 29th June 1977 an afternoon relay began on 773 kHz, 6205 kHz and 90 MHz of the English language programs of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Broadcasting Corporation (SPLAJBC), itself transmitting from Tripoli on 1406 kHz (214m).  These relays, heard from 1600-1740 UTC, had been arranged by Robin Adcroft on instructions from Mebo Director Edwin Bollier in Switzerland, and were thought to have been for the benefit of Libyan Embassies throughout the world.  However, no feedback was received from this potential audience and the relays ended on 16th July, although the evening music programs continued.

On 8th August both the Mebo II and the Angela raised their anchors and sailed east from Tripoli Harbor calling first at Benghazi three days later, and then on to Derna Harbor – some 600 miles from Tripoli and about as close to the Egyptian border as they could get.  Relations between Libya and Egypt had become strained and the main reason for the move was to jam Egyptian Radio’s transmissions on 773 kHz.  This was effective in the local area, but not much further afield as Egypt used 1000 kW on 773 kHz.

The Mebo II’s transmissions on 773 kHz were made using the 10 kW former Radio Veronica transmitter, and they were identified with the call sign ‘LBJ’, meaning Libyan Post-Revolution Broadcasting.  The main 100 kW transmitter on the Mebo II was ready to be used, but at the last moment the Libyan authorities, perhaps wary of escalating the tension with Egypt still further, instructed the radio engineers not to retune the transmitter or turn it on.

At this stage programs consisted of music, with no propaganda or information, and continued for about five hours each night, half of that time being live programs presented by Robin Adcroft and the remainder pre-recorded taped programs.  The Mebo II left Derna on 30th October 1977 for a new anchorage off Benghazi.

After arriving off Benghazi test transmissions were resumed on all three wavebands, but after two days engineers were instructed to turn off the medium wave and shortwave outlets, leaving only FM to carry the five hours of nightly programs. The engineers were told to keep the transmitters silent until arrangements had been made for Libyan frequencies to be allocated to them.

Despite this instruction a number of relays of the FM test transmissions were broadcast on 6205 kHz shortwave in December 1977 and early January 1978.  They were announced simply as "a program of international music on 90 MHz FM."

Interestingly, the station is listed in the 1978 WRTH, showing the frequencies of 773 kHz medium wave, 6205 and 9810 kHz shortwave, and 90 MHz FM.  Apparently at that time, it was the only FM transmitter in the country.

On 15th January 1978 the, by now regular, program didn’t start as usual at 7.00pm local time and an announcement broadcast later in the evening indicated that the Mebo II was actually sailing away from Benghazi harbor.  The radio ship eventually arrived off Tripoli once again on 19th January and broadcasts, consisting of a relay of the SPLAJBC in English, were made until 8.30pm local time.  These programs were mainly news bulletins, music, and talks about international affairs.

In February 1978, the Mebo II and the Angela both went into dry dock in Tripoli.  Some damage on the Angela was repaired, and both ships were repainted, the Mebo II in red with cream flashes, and the Angela in blue, white and black.  Whilst in dry dock both vessels were manned by between six and twelve armed guards at all times.  Coming out of dry dock, the vessels initially tied up against the quay opposite the British Embassy in Tripoli.

Broadcasts resumed on 12th March on medium wave and shortwave only, and on 27th March, the 10 kW medium wave transmitter was retuned to 1610 kHz (186 m).  Reception reports were requested to Mebo’s address in Zurich.

< Audio Clip - Mebo II test, Mon 27 Mar 1978 >

On 5th April 1978 the Mebo II and the Angela became the official property of the Libyan Government and were re-named Al Fateh and Almasira respectively.  

A foreign language service of the SPLAJBC started from Al Fateh on 11th June 1978.  Each day six Arab announcers, three French speaking and three English speaking, travelled out to the ship in Tripoli Harbor to present live programs.  The announcers relied on radio engineers Robin Adcroft and Printz Holman to operate the technical equipment for them, and they were the only two Europeans allowed on board the radio ship.  Foreign announcers hired to broadcast on the European Service of SPLAJBC were required to pre-record their programs in landbased studios.

This broadcasting arrangement lasted only until the end of the month, when plans were announced for a new daily service, consisting of readings from the Holy Koran, to be broadcast using the 10 kW medium wave transmitter on 1610 kHz, and also on 6206 kHz shortwave, between 0600 and 1800 UTC.

On 14th August 1978 Robin Adcroft and Printz Holman decided to make a clandestine broadcast on shortwave to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the British Marine Offences Act in 1967.  This transmission took place between 0500 and 0600 UTC, before the broadcasts of Holy Koran readings started, and was the last English language program made from the former ’Mebo II’.

By September 1978, all the European radio staff had left Al Fateh, and the ship was fully under the control of the Libyan technicians.  In November 1978, they adjusted the medium wave frequency from 1610 to 1611 kHz, in line with the new 9 kHz channel spacing plan.

Al Fateh was dry docked again in Valetta, Malta during June 1979, where she was once more repainted, this time in the Libyan national color, green, and with the name Al Fateh now on her bow.  She returned to Libya in the first week of September 1979, and recommenced transmissions of SPLAJBC shortly afterwards.  Shortwave programming was logged on 7165 kHz in the 41 meter band, with the 1980 WRTH listing transmissions on 1611 and 7165 kHz.

Al Fateh continued to be used to relay Holy Koran readings from the SPLAJBC until mid-1980, with the last logging by international radio monitors being on July 20th (1980).  The ships were expensive to maintain, and with new transmitting stations then available on land, the ships were no longer needed.  Robin Adcroft said he went back to Libya in the second half of 1980 to supervise the de-commissioning of equipment from Al Fateh in Tripoli harbor.  It was put in storage with the intention of later installation on land, although it is believed that never happened.  Finally, both ships were unceremoniously towed into the Mediterranean and sunk as the result of being used as target practice by the Libyan Air Force.

Back to you, Jeff.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Shortwave Radiogram, Program 350

Hello friends,

An active sun has resulted in some recent disruptions to shortwave propagation. Generally Shortwave Radiogram has been lucky in sidestepping these events, so let's hope this pattern holds up. And while solar activity can cause brief dropouts on shortwave, in the longer term the ionosphere is fortified.

From space weather to terrestrial weather, here in northern Virginia we recently experienced the proverbial quarter-sized hail. The thuds on our roof were very noticeable. But it all melted quickly, given that the temperature was 80F/27C. An image of our area hailstones will be transmitted on this week's show.

A video of last week's Shortwave Radiogram (program 349) is provided by Scott in Ontario (Wednesday 1330 UTC). The audio archive is maintained by Mark in the UK. Analysis is provided by Roger in Germany.

Here is the lineup for Shortwave Radiogram, program 350, 18-24 April 2024, in MFSK modes as noted:

 1:45  MFSK32: Program preview
 2:54  MFSK32: Taiwan using satellites to reach strategic island*
 7:18  MFSK64: Polar forests provide clues about 1859 solar event
11:56  MFSK64: This week's images*
27:24  MFSK32: Closing announcements

* with images

Please send reception reports to radiogram@verizon.net
And visit http://swradiogram.net 
Twitter: @SWRadiogram or https://twitter.com/swradiogram 
(visit during the weekend to see listeners’ results)
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/567099476753304
Shortwave Radiogram Gateway Wiki: https://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Shortwave_Radiogram_Gateway
Other Shortwave broadcast programs that include digital text and images include The Mighty KBC, Pop Shop Radio and Radio North Europe International (RNEI). Links to these fine broadcasts, with schedules, are posted here.
Thanks for your reception reports!

Kim Andrew Elliott, KD9XB
Producer and Presenter
Shortwave Radiogram
Reporting on international broadcasting at https://twitter.com/kaedotcom

Encore classical music from Radio Tumbril


Regular Broadcast times of Encore By WRMI and Channel 292 are:
02:00 - 03:00 UTC Friday 5850 kHz WRMI to US
20:00 - 21:00 UTC Friday 15770 kHz WRMI to Europe
10:00 - 11:00 UTC Saturday 9670 kHz Channel 292 to Europe
01:00 - 02:00 UTC Sunday 5850 kHz WRMI to US and Canada
19:00 - 20:00 UTC Sunday 3955 kHz Channel 292 to Europe
02:00 - 03:00 UTC Monday 5950 kHz WRMI to the US and Canada
13:00 - 14:00 UTC Tuesday 15770 kHz WRMI to Europe, east coast of US and Iceland. (Sometimes RTTY on the lower sideband. Suggest notch out or use USB.)
Some Things to see on The Encore Website:
The Encore website is www.tumbril.co.uk where you will find:
Important information about funding of Encore - Radio Tumbril.
Up to date transmission times and frequencies.
The playlists for the most recent programmes.
An email link.
Informal reception reports as well as those requesting eQSL cards are welcome.
WRMI and Channel 292 are very generous with their air-time but Encore still costs around 100 Dollars/Euros a month to broadcast.
If you can - please send a small contribution to help Encore keep going.
THE DONATION BUTTON AND 'BUY ME A COFFEE' BUTTON are on the homepage of the website - www.tumbril.co.uk - which folks can use if they would like to support Encore.
(Please don't be put off by the POWR security wall when using the PAYPAL button - it is a harmless requirement of WIX the website hosting service.)
THIS FORTNIGHT'S PROGRAMME - (First broadcast this FRIDAY 19th April) by WRMI at 0200 UTC on 5850, (and 2000 UTC on 15770) and then Channel 292 on SATURDAY (20th April) at 10:00 UTC on 9670 kHz):
Starts with the SteamBoat Whistle Blues by John Hartford, part of Bruckner's 9th Symphony (his last), and then two different but related pieces for the harpsichord.
The programme finishes with the 2nd movement from Symphony No.1 by Florence Price.
A very good site for online SDR receivers all over the world is: http://kiwisdr.com/public/  Click the 'Map' button in the top left of the screen.
Thank you for spreading the word about Encore - Classical Music on Shortwave on Radio Tumbril - and thank you for your support.
Brice Avery - Encore - Radio Tumbril - www.tumbril.co.uk 

Libya, Part 2 – MW & SW


Special thanks Ray Robinson and jeff White for sharing a recent edition of Wavescan on AWR

Jeff: Last week here in Wavescan, we presented the first part of our profile of radio broadcasting in the North African country of Libya, which covered the early Morse Code wireless stations, and also the program broadcasting stations that were established after the Second World War by the British and American Forces.  Today, Ray Robinson presents part 2 in the story of radio broadcasting in Libya; looking now at the government radio services, on both medium wave and shortwave.

Ray: Thanks, Jeff.  Actually, radio broadcasting on the part of the Libyan government was quite late getting started, as compared to similar events in other countries.  As far as we can determine, the first government-operated radio broadcasting station in Libya was on the air for a brief period of time in Cyrenaica in 1947.  One isolated monitoring report informs us that the station was operating in the 19 metre shortwave band on 15320 kHz. 

It appears this station was primarily a communication station located in the eastern city of Benghazi, but that it was also on the air temporarily with program broadcasting.  From what we can glean from listings in the early editions of the WRTH, the first permanent broadcasting station in Libya was installed in the capital city, Tripoli, probably in 1953.  It was quite a small facility, operating with just 250 watts on 1552 kHz.  This was likely an interim facility while a larger station was under construction.  That larger medium wave station was inaugurated five years later, with 50 kW on 1052 kHz, in the outskirts of suburban Tripoli.  Around the same time, a shortwave transmitter was installed at El Beida, the most northerly point in eastern Libya, and this was listed with 3 kW on 6140 kHz. 

Over the years, at least two additional shortwave transmitters rated at 100 kW were installed at El Beida, and also a 500 kW medium wave unit for wide area night-time coverage in Africa, as well as nearby Mediterranean areas.  The shortwave usage at El Beida was closed out around the year 2000.  Work commenced at another shortwave station listed as Benghazi in 1958.  Over the years, several transmitters were installed at this location, including 3 kW, 7½ kW, 10 kW and at least one at 100 kW. 

In 1998, Muammar Gaddafi declared that Africans and not Arabs are Libya's real supporters.  The Libyan state-owned radio 'Voice of the Arab World' was then renamed 'Voice of Africa'.

These days, no shortwave unit is active at the Benghazi location, and the last 100 kW medium wave unit there, that had been operating on 675 kHz, went silent in 2018.  

In the early 1970’s, work commenced on the construction of another shortwave station located at Sabratha in the northwest corner of Libya.  At the time, it was stated that this would become the largest shortwave station in all of Africa, with four Thomson transmitters rated at 500 kW each and a total of 48 curtain antennas.  For many years, test transmissions were noted from this supposedly large station, and ultimately, in 2002, program broadcasting began under the title, “Voice of Africa”. 

It seems that the Libyan authorities would often prefer to build a new radio station instead of maintaining and repairing an existing one.  Another shortwave station was constructed at Al Assah, again in northwest Libya, near the border with Tunisia. This facility was first inaugurated on August 28, 1996; and then it was re-inaugurated on December 8, 2001 with four shortwave transmitters.  This station is no longer listed as active on shortwave, and neither is a 500 kW medium wave unit there which used to be on 1449 kHz.

As if they didn’t have enough transmitter locations, at least two more are known to have been constructed, both at inland oasis locations.  One was at Sebha in the middle of the country, with two 100 kW Harris transmitters; and the other at Ghat in the bottom south west corner of the country, also with two 100 kW transmitters.  The Sebha station was used to broadcast radio programming from 1985 to 2002; and the Ghat station was heard in Bulgaria with test transmissions in 2007, although apparently it was never taken into full time broadcast usage.  To make things more complicated in the radio scene in Libya, the Transmitter Documentation Project, published by Ludo Maes in Belgium, lists a total of two dozen additional shortwave transmitters that were installed at unknown locations in Libya from the mid-1970’s to around 2005. 

No doubt many of these units were installed at already existing locations, but perhaps new locations were also involved.  These additional units were procured from Siemens-RIZ in Zagreb, Croatia.  It would appear also, that various transmitters at various locations in Libya were used for varying time periods for general government communications, in addition to program broadcasting.

We should also mention that Libya took out a relay from four shortwave transmitters at 500 kW located at Issoudun in France, beginning in 2003.  
Programming from Libya to France was provided by at least one communication transmitter, located at either Sabratha or Sebha.  This program service was presented under the same title, “Voice of Africa”, and it was on the air for a period of some five years.

So, what can you hear from Libya these days?  In short, nothing.  The shortwave transmitters are long gone, and the high-powered medium wave transmitters were progressively closed down, with the last two, in Tripoli and Benghazi, being listed as active for the final time in the 2018 edition of the WRTH.

All radio broadcasting in Libya now is on FM only, although since the end of the civil war a few years ago, privately owned stations are now allowed, and there is even a Voice of America Africa station along the coast east of Tripoli at Misratah with 1 kW on 91.1 FM, and BBC Arabic stations in Benghazi, Tripoli and two other locations, all on 91.5 FM, again with 1 kW.

In what might be described as better times, Libya issued large colorful oversized QSL cards for their broadcasts on both medium wave and shortwave.  These cards identified the shortwave broadcasting service from Libya as “Radio Jamahiriya”, and they were obtainable from two different addresses, one in Libya and the other in Malta.  The QSL card, printed in English and Arabic, depicted a large ornate rainbow. Other QSL cards from Libya showed current rural scenes and ancient historic scenes throughout the country.

Next week, I plan to bring you the strange story of the relocation of the offshore radio ship Mebo II from The Netherlands to Libya, its broadcasting history there, and its ultimate demise in the Mediterranean after being used for target practice by the Libyan Air Force.

Back to you, Jeff.