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Christmas 2016

May I wish readers of this blog (all one of you!), a very happy Christmas and peaceful 2017. Looking forward to fewer CME’s and less noise on the bands.

I am lucky in that I don’t return to work until the 3rd January, so I am hoping to get a good amount of listening and hopefully, post some good logs.

All the best, and Good DX to all.

The Mighty KBC

One of my Sunday morning ‘treats’ is to listen to the Mighty KBC on 6095 Khz. My favourite show is The Emperor Rosko, from 11 am to 3 pm (UTC). Rosko plays an eclectic mix of tracks usually from yesteryear, but not always. They encompass rock, soul jazz, the full range. And the show is of course, interspersed with Rosko’s inimitable West Coast Jock delivery! I remember listening to the Emperor back in the seventies when he did a stint on Radio Luxembourg. This was the station where I could hear music that wasn’t aired on Radio 1 in the UK, as R1 had become a format station and only played top 40 stuff. One of the tracks I remember was Steeley Dan’s ‘Do it Again’, which was the ‘Power Play’ for a week on Luxembourg. The Power Play was a record which was played every hour after the News, every hour, for a full week. These were newly released records which were giving a boost on the station. This record turned me on to Steeley Dan, and I have been a fan ever since. Now I can’t remember if at the time, Rosko was doing the slot when I heard Do it Again, or one of the other DJ’s such as Tony Prince (‘Your Royal Ruler’!). But this morning, on KBC, what should be played, by Rosko, but ‘Do it Again’ by Steeley Dan, So I would like to think that 44 years on, I heard the same record, presented by the same DJ!

Unfortunately, The Mighty KBC is due to close it’s European transmissions due to lack of sponsorship. March the 27th this year will be the last transmission if no one comes up with the goods. It will be a very great shame if this were to happen, and for me personally, a bit of a hole in my Sunday mornings. If anyone out there knows a business who would be interested in advertising on The Mighty KBC, then ask them to get in touch at: themightykbc@gmail.com. I will say now that I have no connection with KBC at all, other than an interest in a superb radio station on short wave. And it would be a great shame to see it go.

This morning I listened whilst pottering in the garden, a perfect combination!

Updated Beginners Guide to Short Wave Listening

Introduction

The following is a blog post I wrote back in 2014. I felt the time was right to update it in places as things change and further information becomes available.

The following is a distillation of my experience of being an SWL and Amateur Radio Operator over a number of years. I started shortwave listening when I was 14, having built my first short wave radio. This was a simple TRF design using one valve (or tube). Back in the early seventies, there were 1000’s of stations on the air and even a simple receiver pulled in many hundreds. So I was ‘hooked’ for life. There have been a number times when I have had to give up the hobby due to family, work etc., but I have always returned! Be aware, shortwave listening becomes a life-long passion! The following is by no means exhaustive, but it should give you a start.

Where to start

So where does one start in the hobby of shortwave listening? There are a number of ways and as in most hobbies, it can be reasonably cheap or expensive. The least expensive route is to purchase one of the many capable and inexpensive portable receivers which incorporate shortwave bands on them. There are a number to choose from, with the better ones coming from Tecsun, Sony, Eton and Grundig. In the case of the Tecsuns, these can be purchased directly from China at very reasonable cost, or you may find good second hand models on the internet. If you aren’t bothered about a portable receiver, then many of the older communications receivers can be bought at reasonable cost from Ebay or other outlets. Models from Yaesu (FRG-7, FRG-7000), Trio/Kenwood (R600, R1000) and a number of others are all worth having. But to work well, these receivers require an external antenna, so this may affect your choice.

The other part to starting out is reading. Read as much as you can about listening and logging stations, what frequency bands there are, the best times for listening etc. There are numerous websites, Facebook, and Yahoo groups which have information covering these topics and more, along with very knowledgeable people who can guide you as well. Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question! There is a list at the end of this article giving links to some of these places.

If you already have a small portable radio with shortwave bands on it, extend the telescopic antenna and get listening! The higher frequency bands tend to be better during the day, with those lower being better at night. Details of the bands will covered later in this article. Be patient, you may not hear anything straight away, or what hear may not be in a language you can understand. But after a while, it will start to make sense and you will realise that there are broadcasters with big signals on at the same time each day, which are easily logged. If your first language is English, then there are many of these to choose from such as the BBC, VOA (Voice of America), and RRI (Radio Romania International) to name a few. After a while, you will learn to hear the sounds of other languages and be able to log these too.

The Shortwave Bands – where are they and what are they

The High Frequency (HF) extend between 1800 khz and 30000 Khz. Within this range of frequencies there are allocations, or ranges of frequencies, for various services. So if we look at the International Broadcast allocations these are as follows:

120m band – 2300 – 2495 Khz

90m band – 3200 – 3400 Khz

75m band – 3900 -4000 Khz

60m band – 4750 – 5060 Khz

These four bands are known as the Tropical Bands are they are used by a number of low-power stations within the Tropical regions, including South America and Africa. Reception on these bands is best at night time and during the winter. Most of the stations on these bands do not use English but will be in the local language as they serve a relatively small area near the transmitters. Some listeners dedicate their listening to logging these stations. One of the ‘marker’ stations on these bands is ABC at Alice Springs, Northern Territories  or Tennent Creek. The frequencies they use are 2325 Khz, 2485 Khz, 4835 Khz and 5025 Khz. I call these ‘marker’ stations as they only have a 50 Kw signal, but can be very good to show band conditions on these frequencies. It is also interesting to log them during the Grey Line.

49m band – 5900 – 6200 Khz

41m band – 7200 – 7450 Khz

31m band – 9300 – 9900 Khz

25m band – 11600 – 12100 Khz

On these 4 bands between day and night time you will be able to log stations from the major broadcasters from all over the world. 31M is the most heavily used especially during the day. The 49 and 41m band tend to be better at night. I have found that 25m is also very well used and it is a band that can often through up surprises. Australia on 12065 or 12085 Khz is usually a very readable signal through most times of the day on this band.

22m band – 13570 – 13870 Khz

19m band – 15100 – 15800 Khz

16m band – 17480 – 17900 Khz

15m band – 18900 – 19020 Khz

13m band – 21450 – 21850 Khz

11m band – 25600 – 26100 Khz

All this set of bands gives better listening during the day, and for the last four, especially in summer. The 11m band, unfortunately, is seldom used, which is a shame as it could give world-wide listening during certain times.

Interspersed with these broadcast bands are a whole host of other allocations for Governments, Aircraft Communications and Amateur Radio. Amateur radio consists of enthusiasts who buy or build their own equipment and, after passing a test and being issued with a unique callsign, can use their equipment to chat to each other. Most Amateurs (or Hams) use SSB or CW rather than AM. It is possible, to hear hams from all over the world, even though relative to the commercial broadcast stations, their power output is low. Amateurs are allocated a dedicated set of bands as follows:

160m band – 1800 – 2000 Khz – not heavily used within the UK and communications are restricted to local mainly. During certain conditions world-wide communications are possible.

80m band – In the UK this is 3500 – 3800 Khz, in the US it is 3500 – 4000 Khz. Again used mainly for inter-country contacts but can give world-wide communications under the right conditions.

60m band – 5258 – 5403 Khz in the UK. Other countries have slightly different allocations.

40m band – 7000 – 7200 Khz in the UK, in other countries this extends to 7300 Khz

30m band – 10100 – 10150. This is restricted to CW (Morse) only. Can provide world-wide communications

20m band – 14000 – 14350 Khz. This is known as the ‘DX’ band as it supports world-wide communications both day and night. (DX is a short-hand for long distance or unusual contacts).

17m band – 18068 – 18168 Khz

15m band – 21000 – 21450 Khz Again another good DX band when conditions allow

12m band – 24890 – 24990 Khz

10m band – 28000 – 29700 – The largest Amateur band allocation at nearly 2000 Khz. This is an interesting band as it is on the edge of the HF spectrum and therefore can exhibit all sorts of conditions. Sometimes this band operates more like a VHF (i.e. local) band, at other times it supports world-wide communications.

Radio amateurs can use a plethora of operating modes which include CW (Morse), SSB, Data, Television and many more. They also frequently operate contests, which enables the listener to log new callsigns and countries much easier than during normal listening. The big contests during the year are CW WW, the International DX Contest and Field Day.

Summary

This guide has by no means been exhaustive but I wished to give some basic introductory information to get the user started. Shortwave listening is a fascinating hobby with a multitude of facets. No ‘Beginners Guide’ can ever hope to cover every aspect but I hope this has given a start and a flavour of what can be heard. There is no substitute for listening, listening and more listening. Soon you will get used to how the bands operate, what is best for day-time or night-time listenign etc. You will probably find some favourite stations you listen to regularly and build up a rapor with that station.

Alternatively, you may find your interests are more for the Amateur radio side, and all the fascinating aspects of that form of communication.

Links to information

If you prefer getting data and information from a book, the you can do no better than the World Radio and TV Handbook. This is available from a number of outlets including WRTH themselves. It gives full listings of all the International Broadcasters from around the world, along with schedules, contact details etc. It really is the ‘Bible’ of Shortwave listening.

There are a number of Facebook and Yahoo groups as mentioned earlier:

Facebook –

ODXA – The Ontario DX Association. Although Canadian based, they have members world-wide. Some very experienced and knowledgeable people on here and you will always get a friendly reception.

Shortwave Listeners Global

CumbreDX

On Yahoo there is SWSKEDS which has schedules for world-wide broadcast bands. This is updated on at least a daily basis and a downloadable excel list is available. This is an extremely useful document which I use all the time.

Other information links:

HCDX – Hard Core DX. They have a weekly newsletter with logs. – http://www.hard-core-dx.com/

SWLing Post – for news and information – http://swling.com/blog/

There are of course many number of forums etc on the internet devoted to Shortwave Listening. Google is your friend!

Clubs and Societies

RSGB – UK organisation for Amateur Radio

ARRL – Ditto for the US

ISWL – International Shortwave League – the only society which embraces Broadcast Band listening as well as Amateur.

BDXC – The British DX Club. Only covers broadcast stations, but covers MW, LW and FM as well as Short Wave.

Have great fun with your shortwave listening. With everything that goes on on the bands there is always something to listen to. Good Luck!!

Thoughts for 2016

As 2015 closes, thoughts turn to what 2016 may hold radio-wise. I hope that no more of the international broadcasters decide to pull any more of their broadcast outlets. The last few years has seen VOA, the BBC, DW and others reduce their output and this to me is a mistake in a very uncertain world. As conflict and despotism increases in parts of the world, ordinary people need up to date, uncensored information. And this can only be provided by shortwave as many cannot afford the internet, and the means for censoring is not as easy. As we have learnt about China, millions of people have access to the internet but the government blocks a lot of available information. Yes China does employ jamming on short wave, but this is much more expensive.

I also can see more regional short wave stations starting up, either funded by external organisations or the countries themselves. Although many short wave stations in South America since the hey days of the ’70’s, they are still numerous, serving their local communities with up to date news, sport and other programs of interest. Many of them are religious based and supported by external religious groups. I can see this model of getting information to ordinary people being extended to Africa and S.E. Asia. This will not only improve the lives of people in these areas by providing cheap-to-get information and education, but make the short wave bands much more interesting for us listeners.

Whilst on the subject of providing cheap access to information and education via radio, it’s worth mentioning the charity Ears To Our World, run by Tomas Witherspoon of SWLing Post fame. The charity provides radios (usually of the wind up variety) to poor communities around the world. It’s worth having a read on what they are about and if you feel so moved, send ’em a donation. I have no connection with ETOW but I do think they are a really worthwhile organisation.

Finally, I should like to extend a very Happy New Year to all who have happened upon this blog over the last year and hope that 2016 is good for you both personally and on the radio. On my part, I shall try and make more time for posting articles and items of interest. That’s as far as I go for resolutions!

See you all on the other side. 73’s and Good Listening!

A few logs from today, 26th July 2015

After a break from SWL due to work, garden and other things I finally managed today to get some listening time. Although much of what I heard is fairly standard fare, R. Zanzibar was a new one for me.

I usually do most of my listening in the evening, so being able to hear The Mighty KBC this morning was nice. I also noticed just how noisy a lot of the bands are during the day, especially 31m. I don’t know if the QRM/QRN is locally produced (i.e. man-made) or was caused by the current weather.

All stations heard, as usual, using a Tecsun PL-600, 15m longwire antenna fed to the Tecsun via a 9:1 balun, thence to a home brew pre-selector, and on to the Tecsun. The pre-selector peaks signals nicely, and removes some of the image frequencies the ‘600 can be plagued with.

13635 Khz Turkey V.O. Turkey 09:06 UTC Music. Traditional and rock. SINPO: 54455 2015-07-26

17690 Khz Kuwait R. Free Afghanistan 09:24 UTC Vernacular. Discussion program with male announcer. SINPO: 22222 2015-07-26

9510 Khz Romania IRRS 09:43 UTC English. Religious broadcast SINPO: 43333 2015-07-26

6095 Khz Germany The Mighty KBC 09:50 UTC English. Music and chat. SINPO: 54444 2015-07-26

9310 Khz Sri Lanka VOA Deewa Radio 15:54 UTC Pashto. ID at 15:55 followed by news ofr some sort. Quite noisy with QSB SINPO: 43333 2015-07-26

9605 Khz Singapore BBCWS 16:02 UTC Hindu. News SINPO: 43333 2015-07-26

15140 Khz India A.I.R 16:28 UTC Russian. Pop music. ID at 16:30. Transmitter appears to have hum problems SINPO: 43344 2015-07-26

7245 Khz Tajikistan V. Tajik 17:54 UTC Persian. Male and female ann. Music and chat. SINPO: 32233 2015-07-26

7280 Khz Vietnam V. Vietnam 18:05 UTC Spanish. Male announcer. ACI from CRI on 7275 SINPO: 32233 2015-07-26

7425 Khz Thailand BBCWS 18:12 UTC Dari. Male announcer SINPO: 44444 2015-07-26

7445 Khz Madagascar BBCWS 18:16 UTC English. World news. Covering the Saudi Prince visit to France and closing a beach. SINPO: 43333 2015-07-26

11735 Khz Zanzibar ZBC 18:24 UTC Swahili. Male announcer. SINPO: 33333 2015-07-26

7480 Khz Pridnestrovie R.Payam e-Doost 18:29 UTC Farsi. male and female announcers. Music and chat. Some distortion on the signal SINPO: 43333 2015-07-26

Domestic Broadcasting Survey 17

PRESS RELEASE FROM

THE DANISH SHORTWAVE CLUB INTERNATIONAL (DSWCI)

http://www.dswci.org

NEW SURVEY AVAILABLE:

The DOMESTIC BROADCASTING SURVEY 17 (DBS-17), April 2015

edited by DSWCI Chairman, Anker Petersen.

ISSN 1399-8218

The 58 years old DSWCI which counts experienced DX-ers in 34 countries all over the world as members, has just issued

the 17th Edition of its annual Domestic Broadcasting Survey. This survey is divided into three parts:

Part 1: The 43rd edition of the Tropical Bands Survey covering all ACTIVE broadcasting stations on 2300 – 5700 kHz, including clandestines.

Part 2: Domestic stations on international shortwave bands above 5700 kHz broadcasting to a domestic audience.

Part 3: Deleted frequencies between 2 and 30 MHz which have not been reported heard during the past five years, but may reappear.

This new Survey is based upon monitoring by our members, many official sources and DX-bulletins. A15 schedules…

EDXC News

PRESS RELEASE FROM

THE DANISH SHORTWAVE CLUB INTERNATIONAL (DSWCI)

www.dswci.org

NEW SURVEY AVAILABLE:

The DOMESTIC BROADCASTING SURVEY 17 (DBS-17), April 2015

edited by DSWCI Chairman, Anker Petersen.

ISSN 1399-8218

The 58 years old DSWCI which counts experienced DX-ers in 34 countries all over the world as members, has just issued

the 17th Edition of its annual Domestic Broadcasting Survey. This survey is divided into three parts:

Part 1: The 43rd edition of the Tropical Bands Survey covering all ACTIVE broadcasting stations on 2300 – 5700 kHz, including clandestines.

Part 2: Domestic stations on international shortwave bands above 5700 kHz broadcasting to a domestic audience.

Part 3: Deleted frequencies between 2 and 30 MHz which have not been reported heard during the past five years, but may reappear.

This new Survey is based upon monitoring by our members, many official sources and DX-bulletins. A15 schedules…

View original post 431 more words

A big thanks to all who have looked at this blog

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Wow, thats a lot of people! Thanks to everyone.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 950 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 16 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.