Radio Websites August 2011

First published in Radio User PW Publishing: www.radiouser.co.uk

Chrissy Brand looks at a wide range of websites with a radio connection. Amongst the websites this month she investigates Family Radio’s end of the world proclamation, shudders at the thought of climbing a transmitter tower and prepares for some summer radio reading, e-book style.



Oddities
You will doubtless have heard about the end of the world predictions from Family Radio in May. The BBC World Service interviewed the man behind the claim, Harold Camping, who stuck to his guns and said who he had taken five years of intense study of the bible to reach this prophetic claim. To watch video footage of this elderly man in action, along with other items including two fascinating informal 20 minute home video tours of their California studios and offices, go to http://www.bibleandscience.com/otherviews/camping.htm  You can read about and hear WYFR, who have been on shortwave since 1973, but on the US radio dial for longer, at http://www.familyradio.com/


The Online Engineer is a long running website that I have only just stumbled upon at http://www.theonlineengineer.org/  Another Californian based operation, they host video tutorials, applications, basic to expert information and a blog, to name but a few parts of the website. The reassuring strap line of “We Know Broadcasting” and “Nuts and bolts” give confidence even to someone with very little engineering knowledge like myself. Their blog will be of interest to some readers http://www.theonlineengineer.org/TheOLEBLOG/  Of course they also have links to their social media pages, including Twitter, Facebook and a You Tube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/TheOnLineEngineer  


Their You Tube channel used to host the most terrifying video I have ever seen, that of an engineer climbing an 1800 ft tall transmitter tower, but for some reason (copyright?) it is not there anymore. Mark Palmer of the British DX club managed to track it down however at the Merwix channel http://www.youtube.com/user/merwix  where it is hosted, or click the following to get there directly.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2A_h2AjJaMw&feature=share  Called “Tower climbers working” watch it if you dare. It is not for the fainthearted.


Perhaps also not for the fainthearted are the English programmes of Radio Ukraine International. They are now only available online, with an audio stream at http://89.187.1.165/NRCU4 Or you can listen via the website in several languages at http://www.nrcu.gov.ua/  


More mainstream perhaps, but not to be forgotten about are the following three BBC World Service podcasts, which between them offer entertainment, education and even enlightenment: The Strand, Discovery and Science in Action. Many more excellent podcasts free for you at http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/worldservice  


Blogs and podcasts
Radio User reader and Air Traffic controller Tony Roper writes a good blog which includes some of his radio listening habits and technical information, at http://atcmanch.blogspot.com/  Tony also has a website celebrating his aviation photos http://www.rogdabbit.co.uk/  


Robin Emery is another Radio User reader who posted the following information to the Radio User Yahoo group. You can click to join the group at the foot of the Radio User home page. http://www.radiouser.co.uk/  “Today I discovered a new video podcast on the TWiT network called "Ham Nation", a programme dedicated to ham radio. It's hosted by Bob Heli and is aired live each Tuesday at 2300 BST / 2200 UTC. The programme is available after transmission via the TWiT website if you are unable to catch the live show. Here is the link to the show: http://twit.tv/hn/  You can watch TWiT live 24/7 at http://live.twit.tv/ . An enjoyable view or listen.”


I certainly second that. TWiT Tv is a channel with many interesting podcasts and netcasts all with a solid identity and a robust feel to the site. “You'll find over 15 different shows here, all covering some aspect of technology. As the network expands new hosts and participants are added all the time. You can learn more about a show by clicking its name on the left side of this page. You can listen to any show by pressing play on the player built into each show's page. If you like a show you can subscribe to it using iTunes or other netcast/podcast programs.”


Robin also has his own website at http://www.radiorobin.com/  and its an internet radio station that pays tribute to the music and television shows of the of the 1980s. Robin also has a YouTube channel which includes a review of the free BBC News smartphone app. http://www.youtube.com/user/robinjuste76  


Helmuth W Kump had a great world band blog at http://worldbandblog.blogspot.com/  Although not having any entries for some time there is plenty of archive material that deserves to be read and enjoyed. Also the 21 February 2010 entry has a good set of links to websites that cover the contents of Passport to World Band Radio, which sadly ceased with the 2009 edition. http://worldbandblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/ replacing-passport.html Helmut is also an amateur radio operator KT3L, It would be nice to see his blog spring back to life soon.


Books
German DX club ADDX (Assoziation Deutschsprachiger Kurzwellenhörer) based in Mönchengladbach has its website at http://www.addx.de/  Although in German, you can navigate easily enough to the sections. For instance the QSL card gallery, which has dozens of examples new and old from around the world. They have also instigated a very useful service, that of reproducing radio publications on CD. A few years back, in collaboration with the World Radio TV Handbook, they digitised all editions of the WRTH from 1947 to 1970. These cover two CDs and more details are at the following link http://www.addx.de/Service/CDreprint.php  


Talking with the WRTH publisher Nicholas Hardyman recently, I understand the ADDX and WRTH are hoping to digitise editions from the past 40 years to bring the collection up to date. I will keep you updated on this exciting development. As well at the WRTH website they have a Facebook page. They have also started to produce their own CDs with frequency bar graphs which are useful as a supplement to the WRTH which can only print the winter schedules of international broadcasters. Other schedule downloads and updates are also available. http://www.wrth.com/  


Just think of the room you could save on your bookshelves with a three CD set of every WRTH since 1947, although personally I feel there is nothing to beat thumbing through a book in its paper format. It’s one of the reasons why I have been slow to buy Amazon’s Kindle or other e-book reading device. Sony, Samsung and Google are amongst other well known names manufacturing such devices. Wikipedia has an interesting review and comparison of these, including many I had not heard of. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_readers  


Cost and environmental reasons and the guilt of having yet another electronic piece of kit also play their parts in my hesitancy to buy. But having borrowed a Kindle I can see the attraction, and the ability to carry 250 books at once and download many classics free of charge is a definite plus.

The e-book readers are certainly to be seen everywhere this summer. While on the tube to Wimbledon this past week I saw a man with a Kindle in each of his combat trouser side pockets- his and his girlfriend’s. I just wonder how e-book devices cope with a summer on the beach and by the swimming pool?

If the price comes down to around the £40 mark I would be tempted but in the meantime I am content enough to read publications in pdf or other formats on my laptop. I have just noticed too that Amazon offer a free version of Kindle for your laptop or desktop computers, and presumably tablets too. I have downloaded this and will have some fun over the next few weeks, doubtless reporting back here.


If you are looking to download some free reading material though I recommend this Australian website. The University of Adelaide enables you to download by title, author or subjects, which cover literature, travel and exploration, philosophy, science, history and cookery Most of the publications are classics that are out of copyright but there is bound to be something that you will relish reading. http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/  and you can also interact via their Facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/ebooks.adelaide  Another good website for this kind of material is the Open Archive http://www.archive.org/  The search facility enables you to look by media type, be it video or text, or audio, I have found a few interesting volumes of a US publication Broadcasting Stations of the World , from the 1960s and 1970s, which downloaded as a pdf are something to peruse on my laptop. The first quarter century of broadcasting the in the USA by Edward PJ Shurrick was another good find. http://www.archive.org/details/firstquartercent00shurrich  


The website titled 22 words is packed full of weird and wonderful technology with a twist. It is at http://twentytwowords.com/  It includes videos of a robot able to play pool and a new i-phone app which tells you if you are dominating a conversation (the talk o meter) http://www.talk-o-meter.de/e/  Other great robot technology is at the Bot Junkie Gerbil God You Tube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/GerbilGod7  

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