Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Tropical Bands Part 3

FROM THE ARCHIVES:
Tropical Bands Part 3
-Chrissy Brand
The interviews: IN FULL
Part of these interviews were first published in Radio Active 2001.
copyright Radio Active / PWP Publications 2001

For this final article on the Tropical Bands I have assembled an international panel of experts who are eager to share their thoughts and advice on Tropical Band listening with Radio Active readers.

1) Name, your role in radio, radio interests, affiliations and your website(s)

Harold Buggins (England) All round radio.

Duane Fischer (USA) W8DBF (WPE8CXO). In addition to being an avid four decade short-wave and medium wave listener, I am also a Ham radio operator holding an Extra class license (highest in the USA). I am the Net Controller for the (HCI) Hallicrafters Collectors International Amateur Radio Nets, http://www.w9wze.org/ I am also the Trustee for W9WZE, the call sign of the late William Halligan, Sr., the founder of the Hallicrafters Company.

Marie Lamb (USA) I am the host and producer of the "DXing with Cumbre" radio programme on World Harvest Radio. I am a contributor to "Passport to World Band Radio" and to the Hallicrafters Collectors International website. I am a member of the Cumbre DX editorial team. I am a member of the North American Shortwave Association, and I produce the "News from NASWA and ANARC" reports heard periodically on HCJB and World Harvest Radio. I am a professional broadcaster employed at WAER Jazz 88, a National Public Radio station on 88.3 MHz in Syracuse, New York owned by Syracuse University. I am the 2001 recipient of the Don Jensen Award from the Association of North American Radio Clubs, which is given each year for significant contributions to the radio listening hobby; I am the first woman to receive the award. Websites: WAER Jazz 88: http://waer.org/
Association of North American Radio Clubs: http://www.anarc.org/

Dario Monferini (Italy) Editor and founder of the Italian weekly bulletin Play-DX, since 1975. Main Interests are Latin American Tropical Bands and non-European Medium wave DXing. Affiliations: running contacts and bulletins exchange with 60 DX clubs or bulletins in all continents. http://listen.to/playdx Producer of Italian Radio Data Base (on disc with details of private radio and television stations in Italy, £10).

Paul Ormandy (New Zealand) I have been DXing since 1974. I'm a DXer first and an SWL second, my focus is on domestic DX primarily MW & tropical bands, in particular signals from Latin America and Africa. Have been a member of the New Zealand Radio DX League for 27 years and had two editorial posts for the "DX Times" magazine... MW Mailbag and MW DX News, and have contributed many articles on a wide range of topics over the years. Also am webmaster for the League website, http://radiodx.com/ 150 pages of DX-related information including a large section "The Radio Heritage Collection", focusing on the history of broadcasting and numerous technical articles. I also provide listening tips over the South Pacific DX Report which airs every 2 weeks on Radio New Zealand International, and monthly via HCJB, AWR and several NZ stations. Schedule is at http://radiodx.com/spdxr/South_Pacifc_dx_Report_Schedules.html

Bob Padula (Australia) Professional Engineer (Communications). Recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), for "Service to Shortwave Radio" (an Honour from the Australian Government and approved by HM QEII). At the hobby level, since 1964 involved with development, management and administration of DX groups in Australia Life (1972) and Foundation Member(1965) - Australian Radio DX Club Convenor - Shortwave Australia (The Australian Shortwave Club), Mediumwave Australia (The Australan Mediumwave Club), Electronic DX Press Staff Writer - "Broadcast Monitor" - "Radiomag Magazine" (Australia) Compiler: DX Reports over several international broadcasters Member of North American SW Association. Website http://members.tripod.com/~bpadula/edxp.html

Willi Passmann (Germany) Publisher of the Tropical Band List (TBL) since 1992 and the Tropical Band Manager (TBM) software since 1997. Editor of the Radio Kurier, published by the ADDX in Dusseldorf, Germany. Manufacturer of loop antennas and other antennas. Operator of http://www.radio-portal.org the most selective search engine for radio amateurs and short wave listeners. Ham callsign DJ6JZ. Main interest: Tropical Band DXing.

Sheryl Paszkiewicz (USA) Tropical Band Logbook editor for North American Short Wave Association (NASWA) and CIDX. Also belongs to ODXA. Primarily SWBC DXer.

Graham Powell (Wales) Dedicated Tropical Band & Shortwave DXer. Main interest is Tropical Band DXing, secondly Shortwave and taking part in DXpeditions to Sheigra. Webmaster for the Online DX Logbook http://www.odxl.org.uk Tropical Band Editor for Communication Magazine, the monthly journal of the BDXC-UK. http://www.bdxc.org.uk/

Walt Salmaniw (Canada) DXer and SWL since the late '60s. Especially interested in hard to hear Europeans, former Soviet Union, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Member of the ODXA, friend of Numero Uno, Cumbre-DX, and HCDX, amongst others. Also subscribe to Monitoring Times.

Nicholas Vaughan-Baker (England) Member of British DX Club and World DX Club. http://www.bdxc.org.uk/ and http://www.worlddxclub.org.uk/


2) What is your location, receiver and antennae set up for Tropical Band listening?

Harold Buggins
, Witney, Oxfordshire, England. Receiver: Yaesu FRG 7700, normal 20 ft high whip antenna

Duane Fischer Flint, Michigan, USA. Hallicrafters SX-117 with HA-10 vlf converter and R-46b speaker. Circa 1963 Hallicrafters SX-100 with R-42 Reproducer speaker. Circa 1962 Minerva Tropic Master WW2 morale receiver circa 1945. Icom R-75 with UT-102 speech module and UT-106 dsp filter. Icom 765 with speech module, narrow filters and SP-20 external speaker with audio filters. Drake R8b with vhf converter. Sangean 818cs The antennas used are selectable by means of an impedence matching switch system. They include: 150 foot 12 gauge solid Copper long wire elevated at 25 feet with an orientation of northeast/southwest. 5 band inverted vee covering 31, 41, 60, 75 and 90 meters. GAP Titan 8 band vertical IAC 80 meter Double Bazooka.

Marie Lamb Near Syracuse, New York. My main receiver is a Drake R8B, and I also use a Zenith G-500 Trans-Oceanic from 1950 and a Radio Shack DX-392. My main antenna is a 75-foot longwire feeding into an MFJ-16010 antenna tuner. I also sometimes used a tuned indoor loop antenna that a friend of mine built for shortwave frequencies below 15 MHz.

Dario Monferini My location is Milan, my receiver a JRC 525 with 3 kHz filter, very good for shortwave. SANGEAN ATS 909 for FM DXing with filters 110 kHz modified to get better reception. I use a 30m outdoor longwire on the 7th floor. No additional special filters or audio equipments. For medium wave reception I use a 90cm loop.

Paul Ormandy Oamaru on the East Coast of New Zealand's South Island, between Christchurch and Dunedin. I use a Drake SPR-4 and 2 x 30 metre slopers and a 40 metre V as primary antennas. I have the advantage of a Beverage listening site only 20 minutes drive South of here. QRN is negligible and I can chose from 6 Beverages.
Bob Padula Surrey Hills, Victoria, Australia (suburb of Melbourne) Receivers: National DR49, Yaesu FRG8800, Sangean 808A antenna: 60 mb dipole (10 m high).

Willi Passmann Muelheim-Ruhr, Germany. ICOM IC 751A (modified) transceiver, Lowe HF-150 (modified), Sony ICF IC-2001 D, MEA 65 loop antenna, plus Wellbrook ALA electronics in combination with a rotable 1.7 m loop. On DXpeditions I prefer my homebrew dipole for 60/90 m, Beverage antennas and K9AY.

Sheryl Paszkiewicz Manitowoc, Wisconsin, USA. Icom R-8500 with internal random wire antenna.

Graham Powell South Wales. AOR 7030+, Icom R-75, Icom PCR1000, 15 metre longwire. For mobile DXing in the Brecon Beacons: AOR 7030+ and an 80 metre band Ham radio whip antenna.

Walt Salmaniw Victoria, BC, Canada. Numerous communications receivers including Rockwell-Collins HF-2050 DSP receiver, Racal 8772 and 6772, AOR 7030+, JRC NRD 535D, Kenwood R5000, and Collins R-390A with outboard SE-3. 6 antennae packed in an average urban lot: T2FD for 3 to 30 MHz, commercial eavesdropper antenna, horizontal loop for 60 meters, random wire, vertical, and 25 meter dipole. Not much room for anything else, though I want to erect a K9AY when I have the time. This should help with the tropical bands, which at present is not ideal here.

Nicholas Vaughan-Baker Leigh on Sea, Essex, England. Receivers are an AOR 7030 and a Sony ICF 2001D. Antennas are a long wire and ALA Active Magnetic Loop.

3) When did you first listen to the Tropical Bands, and what started your interest?

Harold Buggins (England) 1960

Duane Fischer (USA) I first listened in 1959 on a 1940 Zenith console with long wire antenna. An elderly farmer next door gave me the radio, I repaired it and became fascinated with all the far away places that I could hear. I was thirteen at this time. Another neighbour loaned me a Minerva Tropic Master receiver from WW2. I logged and verified by QSL all of my original short-wave stations on this receiver in 1961. I previously logged Sputnik and have the QSL issued by Radio Moscow. Other than the Radio Bogota, Colombia pennant, I still have the other QSL cards.

Marie Lamb (USA) I first started listening to the tropical bands as a new shortwave listener in 1991, and I did so because I am interested in all forms of shortwave broadcast listening.
Dario Monferini (Italy) I started listening in 1969, receiving signals from Latin American radios as the Spanish Language is quite similar to Italian, in the 1970s I received many nice replies and pennants which furthered my Tropical band interest.

Paul Ormandy (New Zealand) Pretty much started tuning the Tropical Bands when I started DXing and discovered an amazing world of cultures and languages, it was a real hook and has kept me fascinated ever since. I'd rather listen to a 5kW Brazilian in Portuguese (that I barely understand) suffering fading and QRN than VOA in English!

Bob Padula (Australia) First started 1954. Interest derived from building SW radios as a schoolboy.

Willi Passmann (Germany) Started SW listening in October 1973 when I caught a German language broadcast of RCI Montreal and sent a reception report to the given address. Well, in the answer they were so kind to explain the SINFO code and other essentials of a reception report...I tuned to the Tropical Bands about 3 years later and was immediately fascinated by domestic broadcasts in general and the music especially.

Sheryl Paszkiewicz (USA) 1982; being able to hear Third world countries and programmes directed to a local audience

Graham Powell (Wales) Late 1970s when I purchased my first portable shortwave radio. Interest started thanks to listening to the lovely local music of the Chinese and African local stations.

Walt Salmaniw (Canada) Became very interested when introduced to Beverage antennae during DXpeditions led initially by Nick Hall-Patch, and John Bryant. Amazed by the remarkable reception allowed. I now enjoy attending DXpeditions in Grayland, WA along with the above DXers, and others including Guy Atkins, and Don Nelson. This has been necessitated by losing our local Beverage site not far from Victoria (now a national park).

Nicholas Vaughan-Baker (England) In 1983. A clear reception from Radio Uganda of an international boxing match. Their QSL gave considerable details of this event.

4) What are your regular listening habits? Do you have any favourite stations or programmes?

Harold Buggins (England) Now semi-retired at the radio shack but still tune around on the 60 and 90 metre band during the winter months, to the Far East, India etc. around 1330 to 1700 UTC, and sometimes from around 0500 UTC to Latin America. My favourite stations are Radio Rejol 4930 kHz, now off air, R Tezalatlan 4935 kHz with marimba music.

Duane Fischer (USA) I have no fixed listening habits. Time constraints force me to listen when I can. This may be on different days and at different times. The advantage to this is a wide variety of stations. When I have it my way, I prefer to listen in the early to late evening. About 0000-0400 UTC. When I get an opportunity to do so, I also like to listen for grayline stations, those just before and just after sunrise. I like many stations, I think they are all my favorites in one way or another. I especially enjoy Polynesian music and English language programs about native culture. I do speak Espanol, so I also enjoy music with a Spanish flavour and newscasts.

Marie Lamb (USA) I listen for DXing purposes to both the tropical and international bands on shortwave several times a week. Among stations I like are the BBC, Radio Australia, Radio Netherlands and HCJB. Stations I like in the tropical bands include many of the Brazilians because I like the music from that country; others include Ecos del Torbes from Venezuela, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Botswana, and the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation, to name a few.

Dario Monferini (Italy) I listen usually 2200-0100 UTC, if conditions are good, I first look at solar conditions from Internet sources. Peruvian and Bolivian stations in the 49-40 meters band. La Voz del Campesion, Peru, on 6956 kHz.

Paul Ormandy (New Zealand) Best tropical band reception here is seasonal, between March and September, and best times for Latins are around 2 hours before sunset until an hour after they experience sunrise, i.e. 1200z. for the west coast regions. In mid-winter, Latins are audible, albeit weakly, at mid-day. Africans are best from about an hour before our sunset till their sunrise, and an hour either side of our sunrise. So, good tropical band reception in NZ occurs at times of the day when you are usually awake!

Bob Padula Preferred times 5am to 9am, 6pm to 10pm

Willi Passmann (Germany) I like music from West Africa. No particular favourite station or programme.

Sheryl Paszkiewicz (USA) DX late at night or early morning. Favourite stations include HCJB, Radio Austria, Radio Canada. Particularly enjoy mailbag and DX programmes.

Graham Powell (Wales) I tune the sixty metre at least five nights a week to monitor any changes. Recently Radio Uganda for example on 4976 kHz appears for a few nights and then disappears to the 41 metre band for the next couple of nights before returning again to 4976 kHz. Some of the other African stations appear some nights and then disappear for a while due to transmitter problems. Favourites at the current time are probably Radio Uganda on 4976 kHz as they broadcast in English, and also Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) Jambi on 4925 kHz.
Walt Salmaniw (Canada) As with many other DXers, I tend to listen in fits and starts. Being a physician, and having two teens limits my times, so I do try to get the most out of holidays, weekends, etc. If conditions are good, I'll try to listen in the evening when I get home from work. Used to love media network on Radio Netherlands, but this excellent programme is now lost. I do enjoy Arnie Coro's DXers Unlimited on Radio Havana Cuba, as well as the BBC, Voice of Russia World Service, Radio Ukraine International (when the vagaries of propogation permits), and HCJB.

Nicholas Vaughan-Baker (England) No regular listening times. As many of the South American stations are heard after midnight, several programmes have been recorded for later listening. One of my favourite Tropical band stations has been the Venezuelan station Ecos del Torbes with their varied musical programmes.


5) What is your rarest catch? If you QSL stations, what proportion of stations respond?

Harold Buggins (England) Radio Malaysia Kota Kinabalu, on the west coast of Sabah, heard and QSLed on 2nd February 1992 on 4970 kHz.

Duane Fischer (USA) I think the most difficult catch I had was a station on Tahiti using 1 Kw of transmitter power. Another favourite was Radio St. Helena, who never did QSL. A real challenge are fishing boats off the coast of South America, the Solomon Islands, Guam and Hawaii. I have a QSL return rate over the years of at least 95%.

Marie Lamb (USA) On the tropical bands, probably the Solomon Islands and Radio Andahuaylas from Peru. I would say that about 50% of the stations on the tropical bands I have reported to have sent QSLs.

Dario Monferini (Italy) It is difficult to say, maybe La Voz de Cali 900 kHz in the 1970s when local RAI Milan (899 kHz, now 900 kHz, was off the air for antenna maintenance one night each month). I've reported on around 700 stations from Latin America in 30 years with replies from only 45% of the stations.

Paul Ormandy (New Zealand) That's tough! It's hard to rate catches as conditions vary so much. I have heard many sub-100 watt stations and a large number of 90 metre-band Africans. I guess Falkland Islands 2370 kHz would rate pretty highly. The QSL percentage varies too... with domestic Latin broadcasters it is around 65%.

Bob Padula (Australia)
Rarest stations heard and QSLed: Greenland Radio, 5980 kHz, Martinique 3315 kHz. QSL responses: since 1954 I have sent out 10,323 SW reception reports (no duplicate frequencies), QSLs received 7830 (=76% overall!).

Willi Passmann (Germany) Just got my country number 200 verified, so it's hard .... maybe RTV Sahara from 1975. Not more than 25% of the stations reply, but I rarely send any follow-up reports.

Sheryl Paszkiewicz (USA) 75% respond. The rarest catch is hard to say, maybe ZLXA, RRI Gorontalo, Radio Candip.

Graham Powell (Wales) Three stations that stand out in memory are: 3935 kHz ZXLA Radio Nevin, New Zealand with a relay of NZ National Radio, 3945 kHz Radio Vanuatu heard after local sunrise mixing with Radio Tampa from Japan, 5020 kHz SIBC Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation heard one morning with music, adverts, pops, Time Check, ID, news and local announcements.

Other interesting reception was while on a DXpedition to Sheigra (north west of Scotland), due to the Northern position of Sheigra, the short daylight in winter and the large antennas it was possible to hear stations on the sixty metre tropical band 24 hours a day. I was able to hear Bolivian and Venezuelan stations when they signed on at 1000 UTC, Russian and Indian Stations during the day, and everywhere after sunset. I recall one time on a DXpedition being able to hear all the continents simultaneously on tropical bands.

Although I no longer collect QSL verifications, when I did in the 1980's I had a return rate of over 85% for Tropical band stations. I always made sure that the reports were clearly written in simple English, or French for some of the African stations or Spanish for the South American stations. I always use to include lots of colourful British stamps and a Welsh flag. With the decline in stations willingness to respond today, I would not expect that sort of percentage return today.

Walt Salmaniw (Canada) Rarest catch was Radio Free Bougainville about 10 years ago from a DXpedition at Sombrio Beach, near Victoria. I QSLed them as well. I was only the second DXer in North America to have done so. A very difficult catch on around 3850 kHz as I recall, running less than 40 watts on AM. Otherwise I rarely send away for QSLs, unless there is something extraordinary.

Nicholas Vaughan-Baker (England) My rarest catch was from Ecos del Torbes when their broadcast was exceptionally strong and clear, just like a local AM station. I have found that some 50% have QSLed my reports.

6) The future of Tropical Bands looks bleak, in that the numbers of stations broadcasting in the 60, 75, 90 and 120 metre bands are in rapid decline. How do you view the future yourself?

Duane Fischer (USA) The future of tropical band broadcasting is facing the same fate as the other commercial bands are. This is mostly true of international stations using government funded transmitter sites. There is this mistaken impression that all humans will throw their radio receivers in the land fill and use a computer to 'hear' radio stations. I am probably old school, or just plain dull, but real radio is not ever going to be heard on a telephone line or modem connection! The reason radio was used in the first place, was to reach the places where news was sparse, printed communications were difficult and people had no good way of remaining in contact with others in the outside world.

For the most part, the Internet is not available in most places where the current radio transmitters can reach. Additionally, many people can gather around one radio, but most cannot afford food, let alone a computer and Internet connection! If big business is permitted to have its way, short-wave radio transmissions will vanish to near extinction by 2025. I believe that government funded radio as we have known it is going to go away for the most part. What will remain will be a few VOA transmitters, perhaps some BBC transmitters and maybe a few others like CRI and NHK. The majority of the stations will be privately funded, mostly religious or political in content.

Marie Lamb (USA) I would say it is mixed. There are stations departing, it's true, but it also leaves some extra room to hear the ones that are on.

Dario Monferini (Italy) I don't agree with the opinion the Tropical Bands will become silent in 5 years as suggested by other people, as little stations in Bolivia, Peru and Brazil will continue to exist and make colours in the Tropical bands.

Paul Ormandy (New Zealand) Very bleakly... the shrinking number of Latins is a serious concern. Not that long ago, it was possible to hear numerous Colombians on the tropical bands with ease... now it's hard to hear one!

Bob Padula (Australia) Domestic HF broadcasting will continue to decline; regional broadcasting will move further towards replacement of obsolescent and inefficient HF facilities with cost-effective, reliable, minimal maintenance state-of-the-art VHF services, particularly in the Asian and African regions.

Willi Passmann (Germany) It is obvious that Tropical Band DXing will be possible for only a limited time, but I do not want to speculate about the number of years. Anyway, it is still fun, and a lot of utility-interference disappeared also during the last years.
Sheryl Paszkiewicz (USA) More time has to be devoted by myself to the early morning hours. Tropical bands are basically dead in my local evenings.

Graham Powell (Wales) I see the situation on the Tropical Bands becoming more and more frustrating for the dedicated DXer. A lot of African stations are using more and more FM transmitters and less and less Tropical transmitters. The possible introduction of Digital Broadcasting on these frequencies for semi local use, along with the rapidly changing technologies of today seem to suggest that the days of Tropical band stations are numbered.

Walt Salmaniw (Canada) Two ways to look at things. On a positive note, there's less clutter, and so a better chance to hear what's on. On the other hand, it is distressing to see many of our favourites rapidly declining. I, however, enjoy the entire SW spectrum, and there's plenty of challenges remaining.

Nicholas Vaughan-Baker (England) The future does not look very promising for Tropical band listening.

7) Do you have anything else to add? Any tips for newcomers to Tropical Band listening?

Duane Fischer (USA) While I am not naive enough to believe that a letter writing campaign will change the eventual outcome, I do believe that it can save some stations. I think all listeners would write to the stations that they listen to, be they MW, SW, FM, TV etc. Letting stations know that we are listening is the food they need to feed the minds of those who pay the rent. If we sit quietly by and complain to each other, why should we expect change? Some have said that "the masses are asses", which is not necessarily the truth.

However, if we sit on our hands and do nothing and then complain about things being taken away, we do qualify for that description. This is a choice, not a mandate! I personally think that 'tropical bands' should be stations within the geographical boundaries that determine the longitude and latitude of the real Tropics. The Tropics have a rainforest!

Marie Lamb (USA) Although I certainly suggest getting the best receiver you can, you do not necessarily need the most expensive one when you're starting out. Make sure to have as good an antenna as your circumstances allow. Most of all, get lots of experience tuning the dials, so that you'll quickly learn what you can hear, when it is on, and how the bands behave.

Dario Monferini (Italy) I suggest you send personal letters rather than reception report forms. Add a photo of yourself and family, pictures of your town, stamps, stickers, postcards. Don't be too technical, but show an interest in the music, culture and tourism news of the country you have listened to. Finally, if the station did not reply at the first attempt, try a new report. Don't send follow ups like they do in USA. Good hobby listening to all.

Paul Ormandy (New Zealand) The Tropical bands are very much in their decline and newcomers should seize the chance to listen in now. They will find music styles and propagation events they won't encounter on the international bands, and the opportunity to hear relatively low-powered stations.

Bob Padula (Australia) Monitoring targets for DXers in the Tropical Bands are reducing quickly, as more and more stations move to VHF. QSLs should be sought from the stations which remain on the air, as they may not be there this time next year! All HF monitoring shoud be based on regular study of the spectrum, whether tropical or international, and for suitable records to be maintained (eg: charts) of stations audible at your listening post throughout the year.

An efficient dipole antenna is worthwhile; for 60mb, the total length will be 30 m. However, good results can be obtained from a single-wire antenna if space is limited, but kept as far away as possible from power lines and household wiring.

Balanced feeders are recommended for dipoles, where interference effects are reduced; best results are with feeders of about 50-100 ohms, either using cheap plastic-covered twin power flex, or 75 ohm coaxial cable. I do not suggest that you use 300 ohm TV feeder ribbon.
If possible, use a Pi-section coupler/tuning unit; some surprising noise reduction can be achieved with these simple passive devices.

Many computer-type equipments will radiate strong interference across the RF spectrum, and its important for your radio and antenna to be sited as far away as possible. Beware of "sensor" and "hand capacity dimmer" lighting. Beware also of devices which are on "standby" mode, which radiate intereference even though some circuit elements are switched off.

Willi Passmann (Germany) Take your time to be sure what station you really were listening to.

Sheryl Paszkiewicz (USA) Definitely stick to the hours of darkness, especially sunrise/sunset. Local mornings seem to have less manmade interference. New stations DO crop up.

Graham Powell (Wales) The main point that seems to be missed by both newcomers and seasoned DXers is the tremendous influence that the Grey-line has on Tropical Band DXing. A good computer program such as Geoclock is a must for the avid Tropical Band DXer. As signals travel so much better along the greyline, it is possible to hear stations for a few weeks of the year that cannot be heard at any other time of the year. If you are prepared in advance then you are able to hear a lot more than just tuning around hoping to catch that exotic station.

Another thing that the newcomer overlooks is that he/she usually thinks that the Tropical Bands are only good for DX during the dark winter evenings. This is definitely not the case. During the month of June the path of the greyline moves extremely rapidly here in the UK, but lasts for substantially longer; in fact on June 21st for example there is a great greyline to Hanoi in Vietnam at 2140 UTC which then moves around until it reaches Malawi at 0300 UTC. Stations that appear on the greyline are boosted in strength, giving some remarkable reception.

Walt Salmaniw (Canada) Antenna, antenna, antenna.....by far the most important. At least in western North America, a random wire rarely is sufficient. One really needs more gain, and the best, if you have the room, is the Beverage. A phenomenal antenna with amazing directivity and low noise characteristics. Noise is the other enemy of the tropical band DXer. It helps to have a choice of several antennae to choose the quietest one. I use a rotary switch fed to a multicoupler, and then on my receivers. Works fine at home.

Of course on DXpeditions, I usually take a couple of receivers, usually the 2050 and the 7030+. To catch those difficult to copy IDs, I use the minidisc system which is always totally hiss-free and my recorder has a 10 second cache which allows me to never miss that unexpected ID. By all means, get out and join a DXpedition! What a fantastic way to meet others in the hobby, and learn from those who've been involved in the hobby for a lot of years. I'm always amazed at what I learn from others at these get togethers!

Nicholas Vaughan-Baker (England) No particular tips for listening to the Tropical bands but I will be pleased to see what other Tropical band DXers have to say.



The panel also recommend the following references:
World Radio TV Handbook http://www.wrth.com/
Passport to World Band Radio http://www.passband.com/
Weekly Cumbre DX newsletter http://www.cumbredx.org/
High Frequency Coordination Conference (HFCC) Master Schedule at http://www.hfcc.org/
Willi Passmann Tropical Band List (TBL) http://www.radio-portal.org/
Klingenfuss Shortwave Guide, Klingenfuss Super Freq List on CD-ROM, http://www.klingenfuss.org/
Tropical Band Latest section on the Online DX Logbook http://www.odxl.org.uk/
Tropical Band Survey edited by Danish Shortwave Club International (DSWCI) http://www.dswci.dk/

Internet user groups:
Conexion DX condiglist@yahoogroups.com
Cumbre DX http://www.cumbredx.org/
Hard Core DX http://www.hard-core-dx.com/

Tropical Bands Part 2

Tropical Bands Part 2 - Chrissy Brand

First published in Radio Active Nov 2001 / copyright PWP Publications 2001



In order to get the most out of Tropical Band listening you need the latest documentation on frequencies and schedules. Although publications like the WRTH have information on times, addresses and other station information, any annual publication is liable to date quickly, so turning to the Internet will give you more up to date information. In this second part of a look at the Tropical Bands we'll guide you to some of the leading websites and other resources, enabling you to delve further into this fascinating world of radio listening.

A Totally Tropical Taste
There are many good lists of frequencies available, all of which cover several pages when printed out. A good website to commence is at Raimo Mäkelä's website http://194.252.88.3/rswebpri.nsf/sivut/tropical.html

This lists all current stations by frequency, covering the 60, 90, 75 and 120 metre bands.
The Tropical Frequency List is a useful tool with a searchable list at http://raven.cybercomm.net/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/~slapshot/troplist.sh

Willi Passmann's Tropical Band List (TBL) can be found at Willi's world leading radio portal; http://www.radio-portal.org

The TBL comes in two versions and formats: as well as the original version which lists Home Services and Clandestine stations up to 7 MHz, there is a new expanded TBL, covering the whole spectrum up to 30 MHz.

This version also offers two different sorting options (by frequency or country), as well as a list of inactive stations. The times for sunrise and sunset are given for all known transmitter sites, to make greyline reception easier. Both lists are also offered as pdf-documents, which can be sent to you as an email attachment upon request.

Another useful facility of the radio portal website is the ability to do a combined search. For instance if you go to the "Search in broad" option and combine the categories "Tropical Bands" with "Domestic Broadcasting", you can create an overview on all tropical band stations with a known web site. This search engine is of course a great tool for all aspects of searching for Internet resources regarding shortwave.

Although you can listen to a number of Tropical Bands stations on a fairly basic short wave receiver, even with just a telescopic aerial, the better your antennae system then the more exotic the DX that you can hope to pull in. The Radio Active bookshelf contains a couple of useful guides to get you started. 25 Simple Tropical and MW Band Aerials by EM Noll is a bargain at £1.95. 25 Simple Indoor and Window Aerials by the same author is another useful book if you are unable to rig up an outdoor antenna.

An indispensable email discussion group is run by the Hard Core DX Group. You can subscribe via their website at: http://www.hard-core-dx.com You can receive the email messages as they are submitted or, as I prefer, all messages together in a daily digest. The down side to receiving a daily bulletin is that any hot tips on good openings or signals might be past their best. Many of the messages submitted by individuals are related to latest DX catches in the Tropical Bands and details of QSL cards received. If you have any questions or unidentified catches you can post your query to the group and the chances are you'll soon receive a considered and accurate answer to your problem.

The Cumbre DX website has stacks of information, with latest listening tips. The extensive audio selection will give you a good idea of the kind of material to be found. and is a way of cross checking what you think you have just heard on the radio is actually what you have heard. Stations such as Radio Brazil Central, Goiania, 4985 khz (excerpt from a Brazil versus Barcelona football match, which is an unlikely sounding fixture to me, it must be said) Houa Phan Broadcasting from Laos on 4691 kHz and Guatemala's Radio K'ekchi' on 4845 kHz http://www.cumbredx.org

Addresses and other station details
The Danish Shortwave Club International regularly publish a Domestic Broadcasting Survey. The most recent, third edition, includes the 29th edition of the Tropical Bands Survey. It is completely updated and sold worldwide in printed or digital (PDF) versions. This 44 page booklet covers all active stations broadcasting to a domestic audience or relaying such broadcasts to compatriots abroad in the shortwave spectrum of 2200 - 30000 kHz. Active Clandestine stations are also included The Survey is based upon many official sources and DX-bulletins and is checked by monitors. Samples are at http://www.dswci.dk It costs £6 from DSWCI, c/o Bent Nielsen, Egekrogen 14, DK 3500 Vaerloese, Denmark

To read more on the type of receivers people were using in Latin America decades ago there are interesting web pages to be found that feature vintage receivers, for instance that of Radio Fides, in Bolivia, http://www.radiofides.com
Look under "Fotocolleccion".

Another interesting page is that of Brazilian collector João Mello, editor of "Antique Radio News". See http://www.bn.com.br/radios-antigos/evento.htm under "Radio Antiqos no Brasil".

Hackmohr's Latin American SW Logs is at http://www.sover.net/~hackmohr/sw.htm
with the latest Latin American logs, as provided by numerous DX clubs worldwide including the World DX Club, DX Clube do Brasil and DX Club Montevideo. Examples of logs follow:

@4732.2 BOLIVIA R (for Radio) La Palabra, Santa Ana de Yacuma [2200-0200](.18-.7) Jul 01
4750.14 PERU R S Fran. Solana, Sondor [0600-1130/2240-0331](.05-.16) Mar 01
4751.9 PERU R Huanta 2000, Huanta [0930-1155/2000-0100](46.4-56.58) Jul 01 B 0100->0138 300 watts
(4754.70 BRAZIL R Educação Rural, Cmp Grande [2205-0920](54.70-55.3) Jun 01
4767.88 ECUADOR R Panamericana, Quero [1100-1145/0130](.79-.88) May 01
4774.94 BRAZIL R Liberal, Belem [2145-0935] Mar 01 B 0302
4775 BRAZIL R Congonhas, Congonhas [0808-1040/2051-0327] May 01 B 0038->0100"


A well known and top quality U.K based site is that of Dave Kernick's Interval Signals. This contains plenty of station updates and audio files including tropical domestics as well as clandestine stations. http://www.intervalsignals.com

QSL Cards
QSLing Tropical Band stations is quite an art form. Some DXers have a high success rate, others less so. With the decline in the stations broadcasting there is also a decline in those willing to verify. Tips for achieving a high hit rate include writing a report in the appropriate language (e.g. Spanish for Latin American stations) and describing reception in words rather than using the SINPO code (although I use both). Use the local times as well as UTC.
Sending International Reply Coupons (IRCs), mint picture stamps, postcards of your home town, photos of you and your receiver are other suggestions. Don't get disheartened if your first report to a station is not acknowledged, as a follow up report (sometimes several) can bring the desired result.

Translation software is available on the web, such as Babel or via the http://www.altavista.co.uk site which will translate from English to most other major languages. Radio Netherlands also have useful tips on writing reception reports in foreign languages at their website http://www.rnw.nl/realradio/practical/html/receptionreports.html

A useful article on QSLing Brazilian radio stations by Marcelo Toniolo dos Anjos and a list of the each stations current QSL policy is at http://radiodx.com/qsl-bra.php3

Marcelo divides the stations into three groups, from those that he considers easiest to obtain QSL cards from to those that are more difficult. So for instance amongst the easy to QSL are: 4925 kHz Radio Difusora, 4975 Radio Super Tupí, 4985 Radio Brasil Central, 5035 Radio Aparecida, 5955 Radio Gazeta, 6000 Radio Guaíba, 6010 R Inconfidência, 6020 Radio Gaúcha and 6030 Radio Globo.

His Portuguese Glossary has radio terms as well as more standard words that you would expect to use, such as dates. "Special announcement" translates as "anúncio especial", "Unknown Station" as "estação desconhecida", "My receiver is a…" becomes "meu receptor é um..", "I also use..." is "também uso..." a " Very weak signal" is "sinal muito fraco", "Fade" is "queda", "Weather forecast" is a "previsão de tempo".

Most useful of all is a part-prepared reception report letter in Portuguese with appropriate gaps for you to insert times, dates reception and programme details etc.
Winter Monges has operated a QSL Help Service for those seeking information and QSLs from Venezuelan radio stations for the past 4 years. Full details at his website: http://members.tripod.com/~wintermonges/

For a fine collection of Tropical Band QSL cards, and other shortwave QSLs visit the website at: http://www.antique-corner.com/SWLQSL/
There are a number of historical cards from the heyday of Tropical band broadcasting with some from countries that no longer exist. More recent cards can also be viewed there. If you have any from your own collection that you wish to donate, (by scanning in and sending via email, rather than submitting a prized card that you may wish to keep), details can be found at the website.

From some of the email discussion groups, here are some recent examples of successful QSL reports to give a flavour. Vasily Kuznetsov in Moscow received a QSL card from Sauti Ya Tanzania Zanzibar, designed by Belgian DXer Guido Schotmans. He stated it was a clear example of a specialist's artwork containing all sorts of data including the transmitting power is included.

An interesting discussion arose between Max van Arnhem in the Netherlands and Dave Onley in Melbourne on Indonesian station RRI Denpasar. Dave recently received a QSL letter for a report submitted over 11 years earlier (verification signer Gusti Ngurah Oka, Kepala Seksi Teknik). Sometimes stations have a change of personnel and with it comes the clearing of a backlog of reports or a change in QSL policy, so this is a good example of how perseverance pays off. Max writes that QSLing is difficult with Indonesian stations, and even after visiting station RRI Kupang in person, it still required a couple of follow up letters to secure that elusive QSL card.

A visit to RRI Denpasar in Bali can be seen at http://www.swl.net/radiochina/cooking/bali/bali-rridenpasar.html
Hans van den Boogert has put together a nice set of photos and text from a visit he made there in 1998.

Tropical sounds; some station profiles

Africa
A good station for starters is Radio Congo from Brazzaville, heard on 4765 and 5985 kHz. Predominantly French speaking, it has news in English around 1900 UTC.

The Sierra Leone Broadcasting Service from Freetown in Sierra Leone, can be heard on 3316 kHz (0600-0830 and 1700-2000 UTC). It broadcasts in English and vernacular languages. At the basic but user friendly website you can find transcriptions of historical news bulletins including those following the 1998 restoration of the country's civilian government. http://www.sierra-leone.org/slbs.html

Radio Uganda can be heard on 4976 kHz. Their website lists all stations in the country and states "Uganda has a liberalised communication policy which has allowed the opening of many private FM radio stations in addition to the State Radio - Radio Uganda. Although most of the radio stations that have been opened are in the central region around Kampala, a number are being opened in the rural areas. For example Radio Voice of Toro is based in the western part of Uganda, while Radio Paidha is in the North Western part of the country". http://www.uganda.co.ug/radios.htm

Latin America
The Amazon DX Club has a number of recordings of Tropical radio stations with recordings including Radio Mosoj Chaski, Cochabamba, Bolivia (3310 kHz) and RadioTampa-Japão (9595 kHz).
http://www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/6731/gravacoes.htm

Radio Caracol, in Colombia used to be heard on 5076 kHz. If you can't pick it up on shortwave, it and the FM outlet can be heard on the Internet, with a variety of news, sport and local music, at: http://www.caracol.com.co/

They broadcast within Colombia in the major metropolises of Bogotá and Medellín on 97.9 and 90.9 FM respectively.

For a good read and some overall background information, Henrik Klemetz has a series of articles entitled Dateline Bogotá Library. This website contains a lot of first hand information on Tropical Band DXing near the Equator http://www.algonet.se/~ahk/Dateline.htm

Asia
The Indonesian DX club lists all the Tropical radio stations that emanate from that part of south-east Asia. With over 13,000 islands making up Indonesia you would expect plenty of radio stations to operate.
http://www.geocities.com/Eureka/Enterprises/4311/English2/indosw.htm

2490 kHz RRI Makassar, 2580 RPD Timor Tengah Selatan (Soe), 2695 RPD Ende, 2899 RPD Ngada (Bajawa), 2960 RPD Manggarai (Ruteng), 3204 RRI Bandung, 3214.8 RRI Manado, 3223 RRI Mataram, 3224.8 RRI Tanjung Pinang, 3232 RRI Bukittinggi, 3250 RRI Banjarmasin, 3264.7 RRI Gorontalo, 3265 RRI Bengkulu, 3325 RRI Palangkaraya, 3345 RRI Ternate, 3355 RRI Jambi, 3380 RRI Malang , 3385 RRI Kupang, 3395 RRI Tanjung Karang, 3582 RPD Poso, 3636 RPD Buol, 3904.8 RRI Banda Aceh, 3905 RRI Merauke, 3934 RRI Semarang , 3960 RRI Padang, 3960 RRI Palu, 3976 RRI Pontianak, 3985.7 RRI Surabaya, 3996 RRI Pontianak, 3999.96 RRI Padang, 4000.2 RRI Kendari, 4003.2 RRI Padang, 4606.4 RRI Serui, 4696.9 RKIP Surabaya, 4753.4 RRI Makassar, 4766 RRI Medan, 4777 RRI Jakarta, 4789 RRI Fak-Fak, 4845 RRI Ambon, 4874 RRI Sorong, 4925 RRI Jambi, 4931.6 RRI Surakarta, and 5040 RRI Pekanbaru.

Voice of the Strait Broadcasting is based in China and has a website at http://www.radiohx.com/ It's mostly in Chinese but there are audio clips available. They broadcast on 4900 kHz and any musical programmes always sound exotic.


With thanks to : BDXC, HCDX, Signal DX, BBC Monitoring Service, Henrik Klemetz, Willi Passmann, Graham Powell, Vasily Kuznetsov, Max van Arnhem , Dave Onley

Tropical Bands Part 1


Tropical Bands - Part One, by Chrissy Brand
Published in Radio Active Oct 2001, copyright PWPublishers




When I started short wave listening in the 1970s, I soon started hearing about `the Tropical Bands'. Alongside the main International broadcasters, the morse code and the atmospheric bleeps and rumbles, I was fascinated to discover the existence of domestic radio stations emanating from the tropical countries.

To this day you can still hear some exotic programming using a basic short wave receiver. The stations broadcasting are usually small powered set ups, hence the challenge for experienced DXers as well as interested newcomers. If you look closely at a list of the regular International Broadcasters on the short wave bands you will realise that the majority of the developing world have no presence, no opportunity to report their opinions in the way that the Voice of America of Voice of Russia have. The only way to hear the voice and culture of these less affluent but significant countries is to tune to their domestic stations.

The better the receiver, and even more importantly, the aerial set up, then of course the more signals you will be able to pick up. But this short series of articles aims to illustrate how anyone can tune in with a fairly standard short wave radio, along with a set of references to books and Internet resources, as well as details on radio stations, frequencies and programming, QSL policies, and interviews with some Tropical Bands listening experts.

You haven't heard anything on radio quite like the sounds of RTV Malienne, from Bamako in Mali, Africa, with its 20 minute string musical pieces that to the untrained ear can sound like a singer accompanied by the plucking of rubber bands. The so called `World Music' scene has been popular in the west for over a decade now, but with your faithful short wave receiver you can dip straight into the original sounds yourself rather than purchasing a watered down version of a World Music compilation CD on the High Street.

What the Tropical Bands are
So what exactly are the Tropical Bands and what do they consist of? Many frequencies in the 120, 90, 75 and 60 metre bands are used by countries broadcasting from the tropics, defined as those countries located between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer. These were allocated by international agreement many years ago, but it is popularly believed that Colombia was responsible for instigating what is called in Spanish the "banda internacional de los 60 metros". Short wave was considered a cheaper and more practical method of transmitting local domestic radio signals across distances in tropical countries. At the time it was simply too expensive for many economies in the area to erect the required FM transmitter sites, particularly in more remote regions, and so shortwave became the king of the airwaves for countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia...

Regular surveys of stations using the Tropical Bands shows a marked decline in the past 30 years, (the Danish Shortwave Club Domestic Broadcasting survey), with an increase in FM networks in the developing world replacing shortwave transmitters. It now tends to only be countries with vast expanses of land that cannot justify the expense of a nationwide FM network who broadcast in the Tropical bands.

A consequence of domestic short wave broadcasts is of course a need for appropriate receivers to be on sale. I would have expected there to be far more choice or at least access to such short wave receivers in the tropical countries. However on visits to countries such as Brazil, Malaysia and Singapore, I have been disappointed not to come across an array of exciting and cheap receivers unknown to us in the UK. It appears that although the standard digital short wave receivers that we know and love in the UK are available, most people make do with ghetto-blaster type receivers, with a short wave band. It is increasingly more difficult to find such machines in the UK , (i.e. ghetto-blasters with adequate short wave) and I still cling on to my large and ugly silver Hitachi short wave cassette radio circa 1981 which can pull in the DX, However there is still a necessary demand for receivers with coverage including frequencies from 2300 kHz to 4995 kHz in the tropics.

Henrik Klemetz who wrote the now out of print "Latin America by Radio" (Espoo, Finland: Tietoteos Publishing Company, 1989; ISBN 951-9035-95-1) also comments that a few decades ago there were plenty of portables around in most of Latin America. Many of the receivers which covered the 60 and 90 metre bands were not on sale in Europe. In Ecuador, you would often see Quichua Indians carrying king size portables, "the poorer the Indian, the bigger his portable". But even modest family homes could afford a decent table top receiver.

Programmes are very different from those heard elsewhere on short wave. Whereas the International broadcasters all have a set agenda, whatever language and target area they are broadcasting to, the Tropical Band stations tend to be low powered domestic stations, so transmit mostly in local languages, although the effect of Empire remains, with for example, Latin American being predominantly Spanish speaking.

The programme content on International stations tends to be more formulaic, often consisting of a 30 minute broadcast of world news, national news, a political opinion or press review, local music or arts, sport, frequency details and sign off. Domestic stations in the tropics may well have news and features, sports commentaries and weather, but each include their own unique sounds, although it is difficult to generalise about 400 radio stations covering dozens of countries; a sprinkling of local music, small orchestras with strange and wonderful instruments, wailing vocals, jade bells or Andean flutes. There is far more variety and even if you are unable to understand the language, the sound and lilt of different speech styles can itself be of great interest, and is useful practice for when the station identification is given. It is a good idea to have a mini disc or tape recorder to hand, to be able to record such details should you not catch them the first time around.

There are also a number of Clandestine stations that use the tropical bands, which are again very different from the regular domestics with a definite political agenda. Some of the current tropical clandestines will be covered in a future article.

What's to be heard on the Tropical Bands
The times where the signal path is in the dark are the times to listen, so during the UK evening, night, wee small hours and dawn will produce best results. Even better is when either the listener or station is at sunrise or sunset, (known to Tropical Band aficionados as Greyline enhancement) This is due to the ionospheric conditions at such times. With a regular digital receiver and a standard telescopic aerial you should be able to hear some of the stations listed here. Even if you have a receiver without the Tropical bands, some stations have parallel frequencies elsewhere on shortwave, which I have included where available. The languages used are the vernacular or the ex-colonial, so the pattern is predominantly Spanish or Portuguese for Latin America, and French or English in Asia and Africa.

A few examples of what you might hear (as of 2001) are included here:

ORTM (also known as RTV Malienne) broadcasts from Bamako in Mali, on 4835, 4784, 5995, 9635 and 11960 kHz, 0600 to 0800 and 1800 to 0000 UTC. The programmes are in French and local languages, although there is occasional news in English. They play a lot of local music and reception is usually fair to good.

Ecos del Torbes in San Christobal, Venezuela, on 4980 kHz, night times. Plenty of Latin American music from love songs to dance, and a wonderful identification announcement and jingle, with the announcers voice vibrating with echo and drama.

With a good outdoor aerial you can even sometimes pick up the Tropical Band countries on medium wave, such as The Kenyan Broadcasting Company, KBC, from Nairobi on 1386 kHz in the small hours of the morning.

The Voice of Tanzania from the spice island of Zanzibar is on 6105 and 11735 kHz daytimes and evenings, in Swahili. This station should not be confused with Radio Tanzania, on the African mainland in Dar es Salaam and heard on 5050, 5985 and 7280 kHz, also in Swahili, from 1600 to 2100 UTC.

With more sophisticated equipment and a long wire or other antennae system you have a choice of the world, if the atmospheric conditions are right and you tune in at the right place and time.

For instance Radio Union in Lima, the capital of Peru, is on 6314 kHz, (ex 6115 kHz) around 0530 UTC. This has been reported from Hannu Romppainen in Finland, on a recent DX-pedition to Hyrynsalmi, Northeastern Finland. The station issues QSL cards for correct reception reports, something that is not commonplace amongst domestic broadcasters. Write to Radio Union, Apartado Postal 833, Lima 27, Peru. Email: runion@amauta.rcp.net.pe. Send an IRC with any reception reports. They also accept tape recordings if you provide details of when the recording was made.

Another Peruvian station that is keen to receive reception reports of their new 2kw transmitter was recently mentioned by Daniele Canonica in Switzerland on the Hard Core DX email discussion group. Radio La Hora, Cusco on 4855 kHz confirm with a QSL card and pennant. Av. Garcilaso N° 411, Wanchaq, Cusco, Peru.

A fuller listing of stations to be heard and guides to complete frequency lists will be given in the next article. The ones given above are just examples.

You will also hear more familiar sounds on the Tropical Bands from countries that definitely are not in the tropics, such as the Voice of America on 4950kHz, Radio Taipei (via the Skelton transmitter in Cumbria) on 3955 kHz, Radio Korea (via Skelton) and Radio Budapest on 3975 kHz. The American Forces Network can also be heard, broadcasting from Sicily in English on 4995 kHz with some interesting feature programmes alongside sport, pop and classical music.

Other stations that can come in clearly and are not in the tropics by a long way, but could count as exotic DX are some domestic Chinese stations. Other examples are the Voice of Armenia from Yerevan on 4810 kHz and Radio Tashkent on 5025, 5030, 5050 and 5060 kHz, with an English speaking broadcast at 2030 UTC.

A major international broadcaster making use of the Tropical bands is All India Radio on 4840 and 4850 kHz. Testing the conditions to see if you can pick up any of these more familiar sounding stations is a good way of starting an evening of Tropical DX, in order to ascertain what reception conditions may be like. Subscribing to an email service specialising in such things, such as that run by the Hard Core DX group, is another good idea. More details of such opportunities and services will be discussed in more detail next month.

Rise and Fall
The best research conducted on the use of the Tropical Bands is that of the Danish Short Wave Club's Domestic Broadcasting Survey, edited by Anker Peterson. Their calculations suggest there are currently 389 domestic radio stations using the Tropical Bands.

This gives newcomers to this aspect of the listening hobby plenty to aim for, as well as old time listeners. Sadly though, there is a sharp decline in Tropical Band broadcasters as a 1972-1973 survey showed over 1100 domestic radio stations in operation. Over 452 stations left the Tropical bands at a rate of 19 a year between 1973 and 1997.

The disappearance rate has increased even more dramatically since 1997 with a further 212 stations leaving, mostly for pastures new on the FM bands. The move to FM may provide clarity and better quality reception for the target audiences, but it is a frustrating loss for the poor DXer. Being able to receive a faint, distant signal from say RRI Jambi Indonesia on 4925 kHz is better than having no chance at all of a station that has deserted the Tropical Bands in favour of FM.

To summarise, the Tropical bands consist of the following frequency and metre bands:

120 metre band; Stations from 2310.0 kHz Northern Territory Shortwave Service, Alice Springs, Australia to 2490.2 kHz Radio Oito de Setembro, Descavalo, Brazil.

90 metre band: Stations from 3200 kHz Trans World Radio, Swaziland to 3492 kHz Radio Padilla, Padilla Bolivia.

75 metre band: Stations from 3900 kHz Nei Menggu People's Broadcasting Station, China to 4000 kHz RRI Kendari, Indonesia.

60 metre band: Stations from 4750 kHz Mongol Radio and Television, Mongolia to 5075 kHz Voice of Pujiang, China

References:
The British DX Club, Hard Core DX, Anker Peterson and the Danish Shortwave Club, YLE Finland, Karel Honzik, Willi Passmann, Henrik Klemetz, Hannu Romppainen, Marie Lamb, Daniele Canonica

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Wembley: Stadium of Legends


Hey, I co-wrote a book! It's out this week. See photos and read all about it at: http://www.myspace.com/wembleystadiumoflegends

Or just read the blurb here:

Wembley: Stadium of Legends. by Pete Tomsett and Chris Brand, Hardback book, Dewi Lewis Media, March 2007. www.dewilewismedia.com RRP £12.99

WILL BE IN BOOKSHOPS THE FIRST WEEK OF APRIL, 2007. Also available to buy through Amazon.co.uk and other online bookstores. Or simply google 'Tomsett Brand Wembley stadium' This book is independent of the F.A and WNSL.

"In a world so devoted to sport there is no arena that can compare with Wembley." It may sound like publicity for the new Wembley but this is a quote from the 1924 guide to the British Empire Exhibition, tempting visitors to the original stadium. And with good reason - it was, at the time, the biggest and best in the world. Football is a truly global game. Everywhere in the world people know of Wembley. Pele called it the 'Church of Football', and for decades Wembley held pride of place amongst the world's top venues - home to over 200 England internationals, including England's 1966 World Cup victory, 72 F.A. Cup Finals, Euro '96, and the 1948 Olympic Games, as well as countless major concerts, most notably Live Aid in 1985.

By the 1990s, the stadium of legends had begun to show its age, and as the new millennium began, Wembley embarked on a major transformation. A magnificent new stadium has risen from the rubble of the old. With its spectacular arch, the new building is already a dramatic addition to the London skyline. Naturally, "Wembley: Stadium Of Legends" is a book of two halves. It begins with Wembley's extraordinary history - not just the football but every aspect - combining fascinating information with remarkable archive images: tales of enigmatic entrepreneurs and entertainers, courageous athletes and odds-defying sportsmen.

Through unique photographs, the second half tells the story of the transition from old to new, from the faded grandeur of the old stadium, through its demolition, especially the heartbreaking destruction of the twin-towers, to the construction of the new building and its dramatic arch. The book finishes with a full listing of all the football matches, rugby league and world speedway finals that have ever been played at Wembley.

Wembley: Stadium of Legends. As featured on: BBC Radio 5 Live's "Up All Night" with Dotun Adebayo; BBC Radio London. Number One in Amazon's "Hot Future Sports Releases" Feb 2007.

All Aboard! Or, Welcome back my friend to the show that never ends...

Hello there! And a big welcome to my radio blog.

A bit of background to start with- At the turn of the century, I had a website called 'Chris Brand's DX International' up and running. It was mostly a place to store the articles I had written in the radio and satellite press. However, late in 2006 the powers that be (Lycos.co.uk) removed it from the cyberspace it was happily parked in, took it off to the cyber-crusher, and it was no more. My howls of protest and anguish went unanswered...

So the way forward is perhaps through a blog, where I hope to re-post some of my many articles. When time allows. As well as a full time job, and being a freelance writer on the side, (more anon.), I also edit the British DX Club monthly Journal 'Communication' - the latter which I shall keep entirely separate from this blog. But those committments, plus those of a family, mean this will not be the snappiest or most regularly updated blog you will ever read...