A seasonal selection from my December 2009 and January 2010 columns: Radio Websites and Broadcast Matters: Long Medium and Shortwave, published in Radio User PW Publishing, December 2009 and January 2010: http://www.pwpublishing.ltd.uk/
Family festive internet fun
A fine selection of Christmas cards you can send by email from Radio Prague is at: http://old.radio.cz/en/html/christmas_greeting.html
To send Deutsche Welle’s simple but beautiful multi-lingual, audio, animated Christmas e-card, type the following url into an e-mail:
Jump aboard my virtual sleigh and off we go with a selection of internet radio stations and music to entertain you over the Christmas and New Year period.
My album of the year has a strong radio thread running through it. Dave Dark and the Sharks are a band I discovered a couple of years back through Myspace. The band say they are based in Aberystwyth and Scarborough. Their style is upbeat yet chilled, and includes samples from BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the old BBC 2 closedown and 1960s cult television series The Prisoner. The CD is hard to obtain but you can pay for an mp3 download of it. Details and many of their tracks, which have to be heard to be believed, are at: www.myspace.com/davedarkandthesharks
A favourite internet radio website of mine is the Soma FM Christmas lounge channel, along with other Soma channels. Whilst the Christmas channel may be familiar, the space shuttle mixed with electronic ambient channel is really something else: http://somafm.com/
Altogether there are 18 unique channels of listener-supported, commercial-free, underground and alternative radio broadcasting from San Francisco. There are also i-phone and mobile phone applications you can use to hear them whilst you are on the move. And many of the channels have a Twitter page so you can see what is being played: http://twitter.com/somafm/
Amongst the many internet radio stations with Christmas themes are Smooth Christmas, All Christmas, North Pole Radio and Radio Time. Tunes familiar and lesser known are yours for the taking at these websites:
The Christmas FM station returned to Dublin and Cork this year, raising money for charity, as in 2008: http://www.christmasfm.ie/
A blog post on it (from October) is at the excellent Airchecker, which states it is the Voice of the Canadian Radio Industry and usually sticks to interesting information on radio above the 49th parallel:
Radio Rudolph is a funny old station, playing as it does non-stop versions of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: From Gene Autry to Jewel via the Golden Gate Quartet and the Brady Bunch!: http://www.radiorudolph.com/
Probably as good a place as any to start a search for all manner of Christmas radio stations is at the Radio Directory, where you can click to German and French carols, children’s, eclectic, novelty and country Christmas as well as the usual festive fare: http://www.radio-directory.com/christmas/
The rest of the year Radio Directory can point you to stations and genres of music all over the world. Radio 42 in Germany is a regular of mine, one of thousands to choose from: http://www.radio42.com/ for the “finest electronica chilled with soul and downtempo, mixed with house and latin, stirred with nujazz and blended with soulful funky beats.”
DXpeditions for a cold winter’s night
Two recent DXpeditions that took place and have been published online. Just the thing to whet your appetite on a cold winter’s night. Canadian Brent Taylor reports on the 2009 Priest Pond DXpedition that took place on Prince Edward Island. Photos and more at: http://www.vy2hf.com/priestpond2009.html
There are over 60 mp3 clips uploaded as well of stations heard form the Canadian coast, including Greenland 570, Japan, Tadjikistan, Manx Radio, Estonia, Greenland, Israel, BBC Merseyside, a possible Greek pirate on 1720 KHz, KOMO Seattle and KNX Los Angeles: http://www.vy2hf.com/ppaudiofiles.html
From Finland, Mika Makelainen has published a report on the recent LEM278 DXpedition to Lemmenjoki in Finland's Arctic North. He states there were lots of reindeer, but even more radio stations. Conditions on the AM band were pretty good, with many interesting catches especially from the Americas. Listening took place in blizzard conditions with 20 cm of snow in 24 hours, and this was early October. Imagine how deep and crisp the snow is laying there as you read this!
It is also interesting, and contentious, to note that “For us, LEM278 marked the end of a transition phase in receiver technology. For the first time we used exclusively software-defined receivers, so there was more room on the table, and the listening experience was more relaxed.” Check out the details at the ever excellent DXing Info website: http://www.dxing.info/dxpeditions/lem278rep.dx “A log will follow some time next year, as listening with a Perseus takes time.”
The Perseus, if you are wondering, “is a software defined VLF-LF-MF-HF receiver based on an outstanding direct sampling digital architecture.” Details at the Italian website: http://www.microtelecom.it/perseus/ A thriving user group for this intriguing kit which is growing in popularity can be found at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/perseus_sdr/
Logs from DXpeditions going back to 1996 can be found at the simple but effective website on the Parkalompolo expeditions in Sweden: http://www.furuogrund.se/pax/PAX/pax.htm
Another Canadian’s website I recommend is Sylvain Naud’s Quebec DX. It’s a place I can always spend a fascinating evening. Packed with details of Sylvain’s listening days, from growing up with radio in Canada in the 1960s, to DXing in Ecuador, where he worked as a volunteer in a radio station, and also met his future wife. Some magnificent antenna arrays and photos, plus audio clips. The latter are in sections by continent with an extra DX curiosities section: http://www.quebecdx.com/
Ydun Ritz is in Denmark and her website is another inspirational source. “News, Reports and Loggings from the Long and Medium Wave bands”. There is plenty of background and other information and even a photo gallery which includes Ydun’s visit to the studios of China Radio International: http://mediumwave.info/index.html
Mulling it over
I am just back from enjoying a mulled wine at one of the many Christmas market stalls in the centre of Manchester. For ten years, traders from all over the continent, but mostly from Holland, France and Germany have driven to north-west England to set up festive fare and crafts. The music and languages you can hear from the stall holders make you realise what a European city Manchester has become. Manchester University station Fuse FM states that there are students from over 180 nations currently studying in Manchester.
Back home wrapping Christmas gifts from the markets, the festive music from all across Europe lives on by a tune around the bands. Some of the many options are Deutsche Welle (on 6170 and 9585 KHz at 1600 UTC, 11865 at 2100 UTC and 6180 KHz at many times in different languages). Radio Netherlands is on, amongst others, 11835 at 1430 UTC, 15185 at 1530, 7425, 11655 and 21525 at 2000 UTC.Finally a whole host of French stations on medium wave and long wave (Radio France on 702 KHz, France Bleu 711 KHz, 945 KHz, France Inter on 162 KHz and Radio Monte Carlo on 216 KHz) all offering midwinter merriment in neighbouring lands. The joys of radio!
My compliments of the season to all readers.