Friday, July 24, 2015

MN.03.05.1984 Spy Intruders & UBIX

It wasn't often that the spy number stations strayed into the part of the dial reserved for ham radio operators. But on this occasion, radio amateurs in Germany and Austria were furious when one of the espionage senders did just that. They did some direction finding and pinpointed the signal as coming from Czechoslovakia. We also look at the clandestine transmissions beaming across the straits of Florida. Robert Horvitz asked the organisers of Radio Abdala what was holding up their return to the airwaves. Dennis Powell has news about a new type of rating system to find out what motorists are listening to. It is called Audiscan.  Universal Shortwave has set up an electronic bulletin board and Dxers Directory. Fred Osterman explains. Remember this is about 10 years before the Internet was opened up to the general public. 

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.10.05.1984. Sky Channel & Laser 558

We start the programme with several reports from listeners that Laser Radio is back from the North Sea, this time on a new frequency of 558 kHz. They are advertising for DJ's from a PO Box address in Grand Central Station, New York City. Prof John Campbell has been investigating The Voice of National Resistance of Mozambique which has been closed down as part of an agreement between South Africa and Mozambique. Radio Free Suriname is still on the air on 6850 kHz. There seem to be several unofficial FM pirates operating in German from Belgium near Aachen. Bob Chaundy reports on the Philips D7456 cassette radio and 9 band shortwave receiver. There is African Media News with Richard Ginbey who reports on stations from Southern Africa. 

There are problems with a Japanese DBS satellite. Radio Japan's signal to their Gabon relay station has been interrupted for several days. Radio Sweden has changed its interval signal. Iraq has started using 13 MHz. Sky Channel's Patrick Cox explains why it has taken so long to get their signal distributed in the Netherlands.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.01.03.1984. Satellite TV Plans & Offshore News

This edition of the programme explores the state of international satellite television. At that time, a commercial company in Amsterdam called Holland on Satellite was hiring airtime in the US for Holland promotion. But the BBC's Managing Director of External Broadcasting, Douglas Muggeridge, floated an idea of a TV service of sorts - sounded to me more like "radio with pictures".  Interesting that he didn't see any future for direct- satellite delivered radio programmes. Radio France Internationale has been building a relay station in French Guyana. They are expanding their output in foreign languages, especially in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. There is also offshore radio news: Laser 730 signs off temporarily. Kas Van Iersel has been talking with the founder of Radio Paradise.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.07.06.1984 Radio Camilo Cienfuegos

We're hearing a clandestine station from Central America, targeting Cuban troops serving in Angola and Ethiopia. Called Radio Camilo Cienfuegos, it is named after the Cuban revolutionary who fought alongside Castro. But, in fact, this station has an anti-Castro message. Laser Radio 558 has started broadcasting from the North Sea. We learn some of the details about the ship being used. The crew is entirely American. The supplies come from Spain. Richard Ginbey's Mediaview looks at Equatorial Guinea. There are some rather unique off-air clips of Radio Malabo in his report. Prof John Campbell passes on some interesting anecdotes about the letters coming out from that country. We announced a computer program for propagation. Hans Bakhuizen explains how this has been developed. This is called MICROMUF has been derived, which shows the max and minimum usable frequency.  Arthur Cushen reports that DX meetings are popular in the South Pacific.  

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.11.11.1982 Clandestine Special - Radio Taiwan and China

KYOI will get its transmitter delivered to Saipan next week. We called Charles Brigg at the FCC who explained that KNLS Alaska still has to do environmental tests in Alaska before it can begin broadcasting over to the North Pole. And in Florida, a new station is preparing to go on the air. We look at the rather solemn coverage on Radio Moscow of the death of Leonid Brezhnev. There seems to be a new clandestine station in Libya. Elsewhere in this clandestine special, Professor John Campbell looks at trends in Italy and Ireland from unlicensed stations - and we look at the war of words between China and Taiwan. 

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.05.04.1984 NHK Radio Japan Plans

By the mid-eighties, many international broadcasters were locked in a power race as the shortwave broadcast bands were full with the output of some 100 different countries. We looked at the plans that NHK Radio Japan were examining to strengthen their overseas signal. Because although Japan was the main country producing shortwave radios, it's commitment to shortwave broadcasting has always been somewhat meagre. Even today (2015) Japan broadcaster NHK is not allowed by law to make extensive use of the Internet - due to some archaic law designed to protect publishers. For some reason, NHK only used phone line quality connections to its shortwave relay stations for many years. That made music sound particularly awful. 

This program also contains a rare interview with Nico Bogaart, who was Director General at Radio Netherlands for a very short period. Much liked for his kindness and approachability, he sadly took his own life a short time after taking office. 

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.28.07.1983. Inside Story Radio Blumendaal et al

This is the third and final part of one of the first sound portraits I made of Dutch broadcasting in the 1980's. It includes a profile of Radio Blumendaal, which has retained its mediumwave licence to broadcast on 1116 kHz since it was granted by the Dutch government in 1924. A lot has changed in Hilversum since this programme series was made, but Radio Blumendaal is still on the air every Sunday from 09-21 hrs local Dutch time (+1 UTC in winter, +2 in summer) and every Tuesday from 12-1330 hrs. The transmitter belongs to the Protestantse Gemeente van Bloemendaal en Overveen, formerly the Dutch reformed church of Bloemendaal. Their broadcasts also go out over the Internet

For reference, the other two parts are here.

Inside Story Part 1

Inside Story Part 2

Thanks to 80'sTimeTunnel on Twitter for pointing out that this edition was missing. Fixed now. More suggestions welcome.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Clever idea from Samsung

Personally I don't think Samsung is going to win the battle with their mobile phones division. Their profits have fallen consistently for the last 7 quarters. They could be the next Nokia if they carry on like this. I believe they have a much brighter future if they focus instead on smart machines and robotics. And use clever ideas like this to reduce the deaths on our roads.

Samsung Safety Truck (English Version) (1) from HulskampAV on Vimeo.

I guess it was filmed by a Dutch AV company even though it refers to Samsung Argentina. Good idea for use in the narrow roads of Europe.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

More Personal mid-winter greetings for Antarctica (update)

The longest night is nearly upon us. No that is not a mistake, providing you live in Antarctica that is.

Not many people know that each year, on this longest day for us, the BBC World Service fires up four shortwave transmitters for a special 30 minute broadcast specifically for those on Halley VI, the British Antarctic Survey's movable base down there.

How many potential listeners to the broadcast? About 44 if we can trust Wikipedia and the British Antarctic own site.

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Commissioner for the British Antarctic Territory, Dr Peter Hayes, have sent messages of support.

In her own message to staff BAS Director, Jane Francis, said:

“I’d like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to every one of you for all your hard work down south. You are all vital to the science that helps understand that amazing continent. You are part of an exceptional team of scientists and logistics people that make work in Antarctica a great adventure – and a safe one too.”

BAS has four stations which it operates over the winter months; Bird Island, Kind Edward Point, Rothera and Halley VI. There are currently 44 staff based at these stations. They include scientists, electricians, plumbers, chefs and doctors.  
The show consists of music requests and special messages to the team recorded in Cambridge by the RAS team back home. Reminds me of Two Way Family Favorites on Radio 2. My son would probably describe it as narrated spotify. 

If you still have a shortwave receiver that works, here are the details you are going to need.

From us to 44 of you, via BBC World Service
After a test on Friday 19th June, the frequencies have been finalised. The special broadcast goes out once on Sunday June 21st 2015 from 21:30-21:45 UTC on the following frequencies:
  • 5,905 kHz, from a transmitter site at Dhabayya, UAE, beam: 203 degrees
  • 5,985 kHz, from a transmitter site at Woofferton, UK beam: 184 degrees
  • 9,590 kHz, from a transmitter site at Woofferton, UK beam: 182 degrees
If you don't have a shortwave radio, you can access one on line which has been set up by the University of Twente in Enschede.

the shortwave radio in Twente

What to look for

This is what the broadcast sounded like in 2014 via Ascension Island, as recorded by Domenik for Note that the first couple of sentences were missing from the broadcast.

Halley VI Research Station is the first fully re-locatable research station in the world. It was commissioned in 2006 and its unique and innovative structure was the result of an international design competition in collaboration with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). The state-of-the-art research facility is segmented into eight modules, each sitting atop ski-fitted, hydraulic legs. These can be individually raised to overcome snow accumulation and each module towed independently to a new location.

The station took four years to build and delivered its first scientific data in 2012. Its iconic design houses a cutting-edge science platform and modern, comfortable accommodation.

The central red module contains the communal areas for dining, relaxation etc., while the blue modules provide accommodation, laboratories, offices, generators, an observation platform and many other facilities. Remote scientific equipment, set up for long-term monitoring, is housed in a number of cabooses around the perimeter of the site, which also contains numerous aerials and arrays for studying atmospheric conditions and space weather (i.e. the ionosphere and plasma physics)

Approximately 1.2 m of snow accumulate each year on the Brunt Ice Shelf and buildings on the surface become covered and eventually crushed by snow. This part of the ice shelf is also moving westward by approximately 700m per year.

There have been six Halley bases built so far. The first four were all buried by snow accumulation and crushed until they were uninhabitable. Various construction methods were tried, from unprotected wooden huts to steel tunnels. Halley V had the main buildings built on steel platforms that were raised annually to keep them above the snow surface. However, as the station’s legs were fixed in the ice it could not be moved and its occupation became precarious, having flowed too far from the mainland to a position at risk of calving as in iceberg.

View from inside the Halley VI research station

One of the reasons for the location of Halley is that it is under the auroral oval, resulting in frequent displays of the Aurora Australis overhead. These are easiest to see during the 105 days when the sun does not rise above the horizon. Thanks to Thomas Witherspoon for the schedule details.

Monday, June 01, 2015

MN.05.01.1995 News Update

This news edition of the programme kicks off the new year 1995 with a range of new items. This was a good example of a news show without a particular theme, based on a "crowd sourced" pile of news items. Victor Goonetilleke is hearing a new station from Ethiopia Radio Fanaa,  DW has announced the old Radio Berlin International transmitter site in Nauen is to be upgraded. Voice of America announces major expansion and record audiences. Pete Costello has launched a catalogue of hypertext links. All the mediumwave stations in Austria have signed off for the last time.

This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault