Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Radio themed advent calendar

Last December (2010) I ran an radio themed advent calendar on this blog.

As I am a great one for re-using I'll signpost you to that so you can enjoy -or endure- it once again. Start at:
http://dxinternational.blogspot.com/2010/12/december-2010-radio-advent-blog-1.html 

I'll also try and post regular Christmas radio themed links and infotmation throughout this December too, as a Christmas gift to my loyal readers ;-)

Sunday, 27 November 2011

BDXC Broadcasts In English guide for the B-11 sw season


The British DX Club (BDXC) "Broadcasts In English" guide for the B-11 shortwave season is out now.

It covers all English broadcasts from the end of October 2011 to end of March 2012, in UTC time format, with frequencies and target areas, along with other useful information.
A handy A5 guide to take away with you on your winter travels as well as using at home. 

You can purchase a copy for £2.50 (5 Euros to Europe and US$7 to rest of world) by sending a cheque to BDXC BIE, 10 Hemdean Hill, Caversham, Reading, RG4 7SB, UK.

It is also available as a pdf version for the same cost. More details at www.bdxc.org.uk

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Texas questionnaire


Michael Nevradakis is a PhD student in Media Studies. I was one of many contacted by him for a research study being conducted by him and Joe Straubhaar of  The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Radio, Television & Film.



The goal of the study is to ascertain characteristics of DXing which its participants find appealing, the cultural and community aspects of DXing, the experiences DXers have had as part of their involvement in this hobby, and the views of DXers as to the future of DXing in light of the rapid pace of technological change and development. As part of this study, he conducted interviews with DXers about their specific involvement in the hobby and their views about DXing.  I thought I’d share my response with my blog readers, and hope that Michael and Joe get the volume and quality of questionnaires that they need, It’ll be fascinating to read a summary of the whole study.


I’m flattered as it’s the second time recently a student has asked for my input. A young German lady, Sabine, doing an MA in radio at Goldsmiths College in London interviewed me over coffee in September for her thesis on Radio Berlin International.

QUESTIONNAIRE:
 1. Describe your involvement in the hobby known as DXing.

Mostly I listen to broadcast stations on shortwave, mw and longwave. I am general editor for the British DX Club monthly journal “Communication”. I also write the “Long, Medium and shortwaves, Broadcast Matters” column for UK monthly magazine RadioUser.



2. Do you attempt to DX broadcast radio signals? Ham and amateur radio signals? Or other types of transmissions? Why did you choose this particular type of transmission to focus on as a DXer?

Just broadcast radio signals, I started decades ago in pursuit of different sources of news entertainment and music when I was a teenager. I am intrigued too by numbers stations but do not really follow them. Not actively interested in hams or utility myself.



3. What initially drew you to become a DXer? When did you first begin DXing?

I used to listen to BBC World Service on medium wave for comedy shows, then realised they were on shortwave and got a sw radio. I then stumbled upon Radio Sweden, Moscow, etc. and all the other delights of English and other language broadcasts and other languages. I started when I was very young, in the mid 1970s.



4. Were any family members also DXers and did they influence your interest in this hobby?

Not really- my father was a wireless operator in the Air Force during his national service in the 1950s but I’m not aware of that really having any impact on my radio interest. There was always a radio on in the house when I was growing up though (BBC Radio 2, Radio 4 and LBC-London Broadcasting Company) so I suppose that had a positive effect on me.


5. What appeals to you about the hobby? What aspects of DXing do you enjoy the most?
 I enjoy hearing news and views from different sources- the British mainstream media is narrow minded and does not cover many areas that interest me. I like to hearing views from Romania, Canada, Thailand etc. I enjoy the international news from shortwave stations that enlightens me, and also local and national news and culture, such as local music and travel programmes. I also enjoy just tuning to frequencies and listening to different music genres and languages.



6. How would you characterize the act of listening to and tracking down distant signals?

I think it is a fascinating thing to do- you feel part of a privileged group of people, hearing sounds and information that the mass population are not really aware of. Sometimes you feel as if the broadcaster is speaking almost solely for your benefit.


7. How do you keep track of the distant signals which you have received?

I tend to write them down in a logbook (This is nothing fancy-I reuse incomplete school exercise books or buy recycled note books). Although I do have periods of time when I don’t do this methodically.


8. Describe the cultural and community aspects of DXing. Do you feel that DXers together comprise a community? Do you interact with other DXers?

There is definitely a large and active DX community, yes. I interact with many other DXers by email with some of those in other countries, websites, blogs, through internet forums such as Yahoo groups and World of Radio DX Listening Digest, Social Media (FaceBook and Twitter) and also through my own radio blog.

More importantly to me I socialise with other members of the British DX Club and am in regular contact with many members through my club activities. Likewise through my writing for Radio User magazine and interacting with readers.



9. Would you describe DXing as a form of “social networking” because of your interaction with individuals from other locations and cultures or because of your ties with other DXers?

Yes, it has been a form of social networking for many decades, before the term was ever thought of. However, Facebook and other forums do enable me to make contacts with DXers in other countries and in my own country that I previously would not have been able to do.
I would be interested to know what percentage of DXers belong to a DX club though, and how many DXers operate in isolation. The advent of the internet certainly enabled anyone to get in contact and be part of the DX community at no cost. Belonging to a club requires an annual subscription, but these are cheap and well worth the camaraderie, information and pleasure that it brings.



10. How would you describe the intercultural communication that you have been exposed to as a result of your involvement with DXing?
Very positive, just gaining a glimpse of other people’s lives in other cultures, as well as their DXing.



11. Does the DXing community have any events or gatherings where you meet other DXers face-to-face? If so, have you attended any such events?

There are regular meetings in the UK. The Reading International Radio Group meets every two months and there are British DX Club Meetings too. There are others around the UK on a more informal basis that I also attend when I can. As a busy woman, in a full time job and with a family it is difficult to make the time I would like to get to these events as most are 200+ miles/kms from where I live.

12. In your estimation, is DXing a “gendered” hobby—in other words, do you feel that DXing is a male-dominated activity? If so, why do you believe this is the case.
Speaking as a woman I am aware of others women in the hobby, although we are in the minority. Sadly it is very much a male-dominated hobby. But many hobbies are. I think this is rooted in gender stereotypes when growing up- which hopefully have changed for current generations of children.


Boys were perhaps encouraged to have “technical” hobbies and play sport whilst girls were encouraged to do more practical activities such as cooking, and fashion. Music is the one area that united us, but there were many overlaps even in the 1970s, with some girls enjoying DXing and cycle maintenance and some boys enjoying cooking and craftwork.



13. How is DXing responding to the growth and rapid pace of technological development, such as internet broadcasting/webcasting and digital over-the-air broadcasting?
I don’t like to generalise but DXing is reacting well in the main- it has to. DXing has always been in a state of evolution, like all technology. From cats whiskers, to the advent of FM, transistor radios, digital readout receivers etc. Broadcasters and policy makers are not always aware of what they are doing though and those that eschew shortwave for internet only are shortsighted, losing listeners as a result. Broadcast stations need to use shortwave and the internet in tandem.

14. Has new technology, such as the Internet, aided your efforts as a DXer in any way?
Yes, the internet offers wonderful ways of communicating and sharing DX tips, QSL card collections etc.

15. What do you foresee for the future of DXing? Is it a hobby that is, in your view, dying off?

There is still a sizeable and active DX community around the world. Some are leaving the hobby because of electrical interference, for instance in the UK the British Telecom (BT) broadband home hub has been proven to interfere with shortwave signals but the regulatory body Ofcom appears to not take it seriously enough.



DXers themselves die and unless younger people get into the hobby it will be gone in another 50 years. It has always been a minority interest- which surprises me as radio is such a fundamental mainstream activity that most people listen to daily, They just need to witch away from the dull local FM station and hear the other wonderful signals that are still out there.



Many international broadcasters are leaving shortwave- mistakenly, but many remain, and there are so many other exotic an interesting signals to be heard when the bands are less crowded. Middle Eastern and African music for instance.

16. Are young people still being attracted to DXing?

I am not sure that they are- as I stated before. I believe all DXers have a responsibility to try to pass the hobby on- to young family members and local youth organisations (such as scouts and guide movements in the UK.).



17. Please share any final comments and thoughts about DXing or your involvement in the hobby.

It has given me decades of pleasure. I have been enlightened, educated and entertained by so many diverse radio stations. Sharing my interest with fellow DXers has been rewarding and being able to write about the hobby too has been a great privilege. To paraphrase the John Miles’ song “Music”, “Radio was my first love, and it will be my last.”

Friday, 25 November 2011

Canada choice of champions


Today to Canada, and if you are looking to discover some entertaining podcasts you should head straight for the CBC. The website http://www.cbc.ca/podcasting/ has what seems an endless choice of quality programmes to choose from.

From Alberta at Noon to Quirks and Quarks, White Boat Black Art to Sportology and Zukerman on Brahms. Other great shows include Thunder Bay -the Great North West, Stranger than Fiction and the Age of Persuasion.

I have been a long time fan of Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe which is amongst the dozens of shows on offer too.

“CBC Radio presents the stories and misadventures of Dave, the owner of the Vinyl Cafe, the world's smallest record store, where the motto is ‘We may not be big, but we're small.’ The show also features Dave's wife, Morley, their two children, Sam and Stephanie.”

It's all enough to convince me that had I ever emigrated then it would have been to Canada!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

VoA for Thanksgiving

The Voice of America website is often worth digging around in, with some interesting features aside from the current affairs you would expect to find http://www.voanews.com

The programme Africa Beat is one I enjoy and can be heard on shortwave, but there is an online option as well. David Vandy is your host and "African Beat is Voice of America’s hottest African music show which showcases the best in African music from the continent. From Benga to Juju, Hip Life to Bongo Flava, Afro Beat to Ndombolo, Bubu to Soukous and Makossa to Kwaito, African Beat has it all from across the continent – the show that brings happiness into your homes.” http://www.voanews.com/english/programs/radio/65173007.html

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Mozambique Radio

 

I have been listening to a country via the internet that I don’t hear on shortwave- Mozambique Radio, which is in English online at http://lmradio.net/  

Mozambique's English language “Happy Music Station” began a year ago and I have really enjoyed some of the music and chat. LM Radio broadcasts 24 hours a day on FM to listeners in Maputo, Matola and their surrounding areas, surrounding areas which cover the world if you are online. They are looking for English guest presenters at the time of writing, so if I am not here next month you know where to find me! The site also links to a wonderful radio museum at http://www.lmradio.org/  

LM used to stand for Lourenco Marques Radio , which was the first commercial radio station in Africa, back in 1936, but these days LM is for Lifetime Music.

First published in my monthly Radio Websites column in Radio User    http://www.pwpublishing.co.uk 

Monday, 21 November 2011

Radio Romania International’s schedule for western Europe

Radio Romania International’s schedule for western Europe is as follows:

0630 to 0700 UTC on 7310kHz
1200 to 1300 UTC on both 15460 and 17530kHz
1800 to 1900 UTC on 11955kHz
2130 to 2200 UTC on 7305kHz
2300 to 0000 UTC on 6015 and 7220kHz.


Programmes worth listening out for are the Cooking Show, Travellers Guide, Romanian Without Tears and Inside Romania.


As well as English, Radio Romania International (RRI) broadcast in ten other languages, including Romanian, and also in the Macedo-Romanian dialect. You can contact the station at their website which includes an online reception report from. http://www.rri.ro  

Their 2011 monthly QSL card series feature buildings by Romanian artist Vitalie Butesc (see photo above).

The Radio Romania International Listeners club is a great way to keep up with the station and to hear about fellow listeners in a traditional way. Diplomas and prizes are often on offer from this free to join club. Facebook and Twitter are also available.

For the RRI full schedule see their website or the wonderful Monitoring Times blog:
http://mt-shortwave.blogspot.com/2011/10/radio-romania-international-b11-winter.html


A vintage QSL card from RRI's previous incarnation, which I adore.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Austria Calling


A signal usually very easy to pick up is from the Moosbrunn transmitter on 6155kHz. Radio Austria 1 International (ORF) only carry the news in English for a few minutes a day around 0600 UTC but even if you miss that they can play a wide selection of musical genres, especially classical and jazz which creates a good vibe.



Let the station know how you get on by emailing them at roi.service@orf.at  
Current QSL cards being sent out included one depicting the beautiful city of Salzburg, somewhere I have happy memories of visiting a few times, and once even camping on the outskirts of in my youth. That was the only time we were forced to pitch our tent n a steep slope, so busy was the campsite. By morning I had slid down to the bottom of the hill but luckily I was still in my sleeping bag, as was my trusty little Panasonic radio...

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Polish Radio Warsaw B11


I tracked Polish Radio down on 3955kHz on Sunday 13 November at 1800 UTC. This is their only broadcast on shortwave at present. I prefer to listen on shortwave as that is more convenient than via the internet. I am working at a computer most days so do not wish to spend much leisure time at a computer too.



I disagreed with the Multitouch programme listeners who sing the praises of DRM. DRM is never going to take off- there are no receivers. Stick to analogue shortwave please.

Hoping they remain on shortwave so I can hear what Poland thinks about the world and plan my future trips there... I tried contacting the station via their website form but it would not send ...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Modern Mechanix blog



The Modern Mechanix blog will keep you amused for hours, (or I will want to know why!). Full of “yesterday’s tomorrows today” it features old magazine adverts and articles for gadgets and inventions. Some came to fruition, many didn’t, but all will raise an eyebrow. The options on the left of the home page enable you to search the back catalogue by subject, “radio” includes a 1962 Sony, an article from 1958 on “What the sputniks said” and a 1929 guide to taking your radio on a camping trip. Al l in all it provides some perfect reading for a damp autumnal evening: http://blog.modernmechanix.com/ 

From Radio User's Radio Websites column Nov 2011  www.radiouser.co.uk/

Friday, 4 November 2011

Radio Canada International B11


The new frequencies and times for Radio Canada International in English are:


1800 to 1859 UTC on 9740kHz, 9770, 11845, 15365 and 17790kHz.
These are aimed at Africa but hopefully can be heard in Europe.

The station also broadcasts English to Asia, which you are less likely be able to hear, at:
0000 UTC for one hour on 9880kHz
1500 UTC for one hour on 9635 and 11975kHz.

If you are a Francophile then try their French broadcasts to Africa as well, which are:
1900 to 1959 UTC on 9510, 9770, 11845, 13650, 15365 and 17790kHz
2100 to 2159 UTC on 11845 and13650kHz
and
2300 to 2329 UTC to Asia on 6160kHz.

I've not had the chance to try out these new frequencies yet but hope to do so at the weekend.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Amsterdam radio day 12th November

Photo from: http://mrjoz.com/showcase/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/wpid1020-amsterdam-80.jpg  

The annual Radio Day takes place in Amsterdam on Saturday 12th November. This year it includes presentations and speaks on the forgotten stations from former wartime defence forts, the enticing sounding session called “Get your kicks on 266 - Radio London memories”, and top of the bill for me, the story of Radio Netherlands’ Media Network with Jonathan Marks and Andy Sennitt. Read more about it at
www.radioday.nl
The very first Radio Day of this kind started decades ago, way back in 1978: http://www.radioday.nl/1978/index.htm