Friday 23 October 2009

NHK Radio Japan (B09 schedule)

NHK Radio Japan - Interesting shortwave station, fabulous QSL cards

English to Europe from October 2009

0500-0530 UTC on 5975 KHz
1200-1230 on 9790
1400-1430 on 11280
0000-0020 on 5920

English webpages:

Learn Japanese with NHK:

Tune in on shortwave, basic guide: 

Thursday 15 October 2009


David Vaughan, the former head of the English Section writes:

It has just been announced that the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs is looking for Radio Prague to end all shortwave transmissions from the Czech Republic at the end of 2009. This would be an irreversible step. Radio Prague is the only customer at Litomysl and this would result in the closing and dismantling of that transmitter site.David has written a letter which he would like to be as widely circulated as possible:

12th October 2009

Dear Friends of Radio Prague,

You are probably not yet aware that the future of Radio Prague – the international service of Czech Radio – is under serious threat. The station began shortwave broadcasts in 1936 and, with the exception of the period of the wartime German occupation, has been broadcasting to the world ever since. Like most international public service broadcasters, Radio Prague is state financed. It is paid for through the state budget, via the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Radio Prague is facing a 20% cut in its budget for 2010.

At first glance, this figure does not seem like a mortal blow, but its impact will be devastating. The Foreign Ministry has stated explicitly that it considers shortwave to be an anachronistic means of broadcasting and has called on Radio Prague to terminate its shortwave broadcasts entirely from January 2010. As a result the transmitter in Litomysl (east of Prague), will almost certainly be dismantled. Radio Prague will continue primarily as a website. The saving to the state budget will be tiny. In order to save around half a million euro, Radio Prague will end as a shortwave broadcaster after more than 70 years.

In the course of my time as a BBC correspondent and than as editor-in-chief at Radio Prague (until 2006), when I was also active in the European Broadcasting Union, I followed developments in international broadcasting closely. During that period a number of international broadcasters abandoned their roots in radio – nearly always at the bidding of bureaucrats rather than those involved in the stations themselves. Almost without exception the outcome, sooner or later, was the demise of the station altogether. There are several reasons for this.

One helpful parallel is to compare the position with that of a newspaper with a long and rich tradition, which stops appearing in paper form, and maintains only a web presence. Although the worldwide trend towards digitalization is clear, this does not mean that it is wise to throw out overnight all the advantages of producing a "traditional" newspaper. In the case of radio, the risks are still more evident, because public service broadcasting is a very specific medium with a distinct tradition and audience, and at its core is the spoken word.

In the seven decades of its existence, Radio Prague has built up a huge base of know-how and an impressive reputation internationally: Its role in the events of 1968, when Radio Prague journalists defied the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia is legendary. Radio Prague has built on this tradition in the two decades since the fall of communism, transforming itself into a thriving modern broadcaster.

There can be little doubt that it has a far larger audience than any other Czech radio station, but unfortunately these listeners are scattered around the world and do not form a strong domestic lobby.

Shortwave broadcasts are in decline, but they have to be seen as part of a broader mosaic. Today's international broadcasters have long been aware of the need to broadcast on a number of different platforms: shortwave, medium wave, FM, satellite, internet and others. The more forward-looking among them have learned to be flexible and innovatory. In this respect, the modern transformation at Radio Prague began over fifteen years ago when it was one of the first international broadcasters to set up its own website. That was back in 1994. This was quickly followed by its daily email news service and other innovations, including its enthusiastic commitment to satellite broadcasting. At the same time it has modernized the way that radio is produced; its journalists today take it for granted that they are working in a multi-media environment, where the spoken word is reinforced by text and image.

And Radio Prague has learnt to be extremely cost effective, broadcasting around the world in six languages for the equivalent of less than three million euro a year. In order for this to continue, it is absolutely crucial for Radio Prague not to forget its core activity.

The station's current success is built on its status and tradition as a radio broadcaster. If it forgets its identity as radio, it will inevitably lose its way, desperately trying to compete in a field that is not its own. The news of the latest cuts puts the staff and management of Radio Prague in a difficult position. It will not be easy for them to launch a campaign to save the shortwave broadcasts, as they could find themselves facing the alternative of having to cut jobs instead. Given that the amount of money needed to save the shortwave broadcasts is so small, I am convinced that the cause is worth fighting for and that it does not have to be a case of pitching jobs against shortwave.

If the decision-makers in the government and at the ministry can be made to understand what is at stake, I am sure that the money can be found. That is why I am writing this letter – to encourage listeners around the world to rally behind Radio Prague at this difficult time.

With warmest regards
David Vaughan

Radio Prague needs to get listeners support at this time. Their address is:Radio PragueVinohradsk√° 12120 99 Prague 2Czech Republic

Tel: (+420) 221 552 933Fax: (+420) 221 552 903E-mail:

Listeners should also contact The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

Listeners should contact the Czech Embassies and representatives in their own country.

A List of Czech Embassies can be found at:

Sunday 11 October 2009


first published in Radio User October 2009, PW Publishing
by Chrissy Brand

It never ceases to amaze me how the quantity of radio related websites is ever increasing. Even more surprising perhaps is that the quality of information and material out there is so high as well. Many broadcasters, radio clubs and individual enthusiasts around the world do a great job in maintaining standards and delivering ever more fascinating content: photos, audio and written. So there is no shortage of websites to share with you here each month.

European educators and entertainers
Radio Tatras International was a station that aired on shortwave from 2005 to earlier this year, having been created a few years before that. This Slovakian station, named after the Tatras mountain range that straddles the south of Poland and north of Slovakia, also had the aim of helping Europeans practice their English:

The closure of the station didn’t stop RTI programme content. However as you will hear and read in the blog at the website. Eric Wilshere’s often entertaining Postcard from Poprad podcast is a case in point. You can also link to the station via the usual social networking tools of Twitter, Facebook, My Space etc. Contact them directly via email:

Presenters Rob, Peter and Elizabeth have an enviable job, being the on-air team at 106.5 Riviera Radio in the south of France. For over 20 years, English broadcasts have entertained and informed people on 106.3 MHz in Monaco and 106.5 MHz in France. Local news and traffic, weather, BBC World Service news, music from the 1970s to today can be heard online at:, a website which evidently receives two million hits per month.

Radio Caroline has also introduced English on the continent, with Radio Caroline Spain across the Costa Blanc on 102.7 FM and online at:

A Dutch ham with a blog in English is where we turn to next. PA1JIM gained a novice licence in 2003, and broadcasts from Bilthoven (a village east of Utrecht). His website contains reviews such as a Kenwood TS-450SAT and TS-850SAT. Also various projects such as building a voice lever, condition updates, DXing in the French High Alps and links. A posting in January 2009 about the status of QSL cards these days is interesting, as is the QSL card accompanying it. It is a spoof, featuring a semi-naked lady stating it is of an HCJB announcer called Mildred Reed:

My suspicions were confirmed when I tracked Mildred down to Don Moore’s Bland DX site, which I have mentioned here before, but is so humorous that it deserves a mention every month. See: but especially the Naughty QSLs from Ecuador at the “Dead DXers’ Stuff” section:

North American narrators
A more believable blog is that of Ted Landphair. The Voice of America broadcaster and author writes on many aspects of American life. Readers will be most interested in his blog of 30 July this year on the Voice of America Park:

You can visit it in West Chester, Ohio and see the site where “VOA transmitters once sent the mightiest signals in international radio into the heart of occupied Europe and elsewhere during World War II; a three-in-one museum that chronicles VOA’s story, the saga of wireless communication going back to Marconi, and local broadcasting history in rich detail; a large and beautiful park named for the Voice of America where you can hike, fish in a 14-hectare lake, sled down a long hill, get a match going on one of 24 soccer fields or a cricket pitch, bird-watch in meadow that’s an official wildlife preserve, and even get married!...a university learning centre that also carries the name of the Voice of America and even a good-sized VOA shopping centre.”

Doing their bit for the Food bank charity in Canada are Colin Newell, Ian McFarland, Bob Zanotti, Kim Elliot, John Figliozzi et al. The long awaited CD Series 3, Yesterday and Today is a 20 year retrospective of SW broadcasting covering the past, present and future of International broadcasting. At a running time of about 155 minutes, the two CD set features a little of the old and a lot of the new, and a bright look into the future of radio. Available to buy at $17 via It took about a week for my CDs to arrive and highly stimulating they are too.

Amongst the many US radio stations that I enjoy hearing online is 88.5 FM WFCR, which broadcasts National Public Radio news and music for the western New England region. As well as good features such as The Liar in your Life and What Dogs can and can’t do, they run an annual coffee mug painting contest. There have been some excellent winners in previous years. Release the artist in you and submit an entry to by 1 October, or hold on until 2010. Details at:

New technology
The Q2 Cube internet radio is new this autumn, being launched at IFA in Berlin in September and aiming for the Christmas market. This is an annual consumer electronics event: The Q2 Cube is an innovative way to hear internet radio “with a twist”. It has no controls as such, with each side of the cube playing a different station and a fifth face is dedicated to the speaker. You tilt it forward to turn the volume up and backwards to turn it down.
It is developed by Cambridge Consultants: and

It is also featured at the Infoniac website: This useful site also has all sorts of information and news from the most dangerous computer viruses in history to Cartier filing a lawsuit against Apple after it discovered that several iPhone applications involving fake Cartier watches were available. Worth dipping a toe into, as is Radio Banter, which brings together all kinds of internet forums discussing many aspects of radio:

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