Wednesday 18 December 2013

Kitchen radio

A simple swirl along the dial at this time of year brings a host of wonderful variety from European stations. 

For me, baking festive treats in the kitchen and wrapping up last minute presents are made all the sweeter with an ear tuned to some of the following stations’ own festive fare:

Mayak Radio on 549kHz from Russia; Czech Radio from Prague on 639kHz; Croatian Radio on 1134kHz and Magyar Radio 4 from Hungary on 1188kHz are just a few suggestions. At the very least you will surely hear the strong signals from stations in Germany, Spain, France and the Netherlands beaming out on medium wave. They can light up a dark evening as they reach the British Isles too.

I have been tuning into medium wave a lot lately- there’s something about the winter nights that adds to the atmosphere of mw for me- as I listen I picture swathes of historical regions of Europe blanketed in snow. On Saturday nights Deutschlandfunk on 1422kHz airs a play. Even though my understanding of German is weak, I can get a feel of the programme and I can sometimes eke out some of the storyline (especially with some online research and preparation in advance). 

Recent delights from DLF have included a play called Russian Salad which was supposedly set at the BBC in London. A Russian presenter drops dead at the mike during a live broadcast. Chaos breaks out among the editors, less because of the death as how to fill, pardon the pun, dead air. It is determined the presenter was poisoned… Another play was about a trapeze artist from Bristol and another about a gambler who is kidnapped in Hollywood. It’s gripping stuff in any language.

Other medium wave frequencies that I pick up clearly on the car radio as well as on a basic kitchen set include Czech Radio on 954khz. Radio Maria from Lopik in the Netherlands on 675kHz plays a mix of folk and religious music, Dutch station NOR5 on 747kHz from Flevo has news bulletins which you can pick out odd sentences of and translate quite easily. The old Radio Sweden frequency of 1179kHz is used by various stations from Antenne Saar in Germany including Radio France International at 1700 UTC. 

For a selection of French music try France bleu on 864kHz while France Info delivers interesting programmes on 945 and 792kHz among others. BBC Radio Scotland is always an entertaining listen for me and easy to catch on medium wave from here in the north of England on its 810kHz frequency.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

A little Latin

Extracts from my Radio Websites columns, Radio User, 2013

This time we go a little Latin with some Argentinean and Brazilian radio stations, dip into some blogs to review logbooks and radios new and old, and finish off with a wide selection of readers' website tips. She finishes off in a time machine to the 1950s.

Stations and shows
I've long been a big fan of shortwave stations Radiodifusión Argentina al Exterior (RAE), the international radio and online service of Radio Nacional Argentina. But it's not always easy to hear on shortwave so the World Radio Network online option is something I turn to at Other options include the RAE website at  

and there are two sites for the wonderful Latin Jumpstart music programme; on Facebook and Soundcloud and Latin Jumpstart is presented by Fernando Farias, DJ G Mega, Melanie Henderson every Friday evening at 11.30pm on the RAE channel of Argentina's Radio Nacional.

Feeling in need of some Brazilian music as well I turned to Streema to start my journey to the land of the samba and so much more.
Brazil offered me a good choice. Radio Paqueire at and was a good start, playing as it did some Brazilian ballads and tunes to brighten the gloomiest of days.  Nova Brasil FM in Sao Paulo on 89.7 delivered me folk, samba and bossa nova

Tune In, with 70,000 global stations, unsurprisingly showed me one thousand Brazilian stations, some of which were western rock but most were offering local musical fare. I hasten to add that I am yet to work my way through all 1,000 but would gladly do so if I had time. A little project for the autumn perhaps...Start at  I enjoyed Rádio Samba dos Gêmeos at and on Facebook at I kid you not, as soon as I clicked onto the station and the music started streaming, the sun came out! The music was a little too cheesy and mainstream at times for me, but I would persevere. Likewise Rádio Planalto do Oeste AM 1490

Thursday 24 October 2013

QRM and NZ

Extracts from my Radio Websites columns, Radio User, 2013

Two other recommendations from Ian Brothwell are this video on QRM (interference).
Thilo Kootz DL9KCE, of Deutscher Amateur-Radio-Club (DARC), demonstrates findings when they tested a range of LED lamps. In a different mood, watch a rather nice video of moon rise over Wellington, New Zealand on Mark Gee’s Vimeo channel 

Why not tune to radio from Wellington et al online as you watch, or select from other kiwi stations. A handy guide is at

Also, I found an interesting "design a radio" NZ competition (see photo above) at

Thursday 17 October 2013

Tape Recording Magazine

Extracts from my Radio Websites columns, Radio User, 2013

Ian Brothwell was going through some old magazines that came from the house of a relation and found a copy of 'Tape Recording Magazine' from April 1967. (the issue above dates from 1966).

The April 1967 cover shows a lady listening to a Van der Molen cassette recorder, which it looks a neat unit. The magazine says that the left speaker is actually removable from the unit - it is in a box inside the left side of the cabinet behind a dummy grille - for improved stereo separation.

The caption to the cover reads: "The attractive lady is none other than ballerina Amina Hanafy. Well known for her work with Covent Garden Opera, Sadler's Wells and Carla Rosa Opera, she listens with professional interest to the sound produced by one of the latest cassette machines, the Sonic 8. Designed and made in this country by Van der Molen, it is based on the Philips Compact Cassette mechanism and offers full stereo record and play-back facilities. The left-hand speaker can be stored within the cabinet when not in use, but is provided with a long extension cable to ensure adequate separation from the right-hand channel for stereo reproduction. Impressed by the smart, modern appearance of the equipment, Amina loves the simplicity of cassettes." The Sonic 8 cost 49 guineas.

So far, so good. I guessed that Amina was in her thirties and I wondered what she was doing today. I did a search and found this. Hmmm. I wasn't expecting that end to her story. Copies of Tape Recording magazine sometimes appear for sale on eBay, in fact there were half a dozen from the 1960s the week I wrote this, all starting at £2.99.

If you would like to buy copies of all Tape Recording magazine plus two other similar British journals from the same era, head to the Australian website  where you can buy electronic versions of Amateur Tape Recording, The Tape Recorder (becoming Studio Sound in late 1970) and Tape Recording Magazine. 

At 190 Australian dollars that might seem expensive but it probably isn’t, although I am always unsure about copyright issues here. Having said that I did buy some DVDs a few years back containing about 25 years worth of the satirical US Mad magazine. Maybe it’s a grey area.

Thursday 10 October 2013

Tesla tales...

Tesla in 1890
Extracts from my Radio Websites columns, Radio User, 2013

Ian Brothwell has another batch of intriguing and eccentric websites, starting with news that crowd funding has raised enough money to buy a laboratory that was used by Nikola Tesla. 

This is on Long Island in the USA and there us a really great backstory (and more ) at

 “The site became known as Wardenclyffe, after the former owner. Here, Tesla established what would become his only remaining laboratory building. Previously, after emigrating to the United States in 1884, Tesla had worked on all of his major projects at various laboratory sites. These included Pittsburgh, PA; New York City, NY; Orange, NJ; Colorado Springs, CO; and finally Wardenclyffe, NY. In April, 1901, the Wardenclyffe Post Office was established in the town; in 1906 the town became the Village of Shoreham.”

Ian adds that if readers haven't heard of Tesla (it's possible!) then these references should help. and, of course, 

Thursday 3 October 2013

A Radio Roma mystery...

Extracts from my Radio Websites columns, Radio User, 2013

Phil Dodd writes with a little mystery that perhaps readers can help unravel and solve?

In an old engineering photo blog that he follows, there is a photo of some power supply equipment associated with a Radio Roma transmitter, in 1929. (reproduced above).Phil is wondering if the square units on the right of the equipment were water cooled, “as if you look at the base of the nearest square unit, a tap is clearly visible! If not water, it must have been oil?” He'd hoped to find a bit more information on Wikipedia about Radio Roma. It is mentioned, but as appearing at a later time. 

A further Wikipedia page suggests that Ente Italiano per le Audizioni Radiofoniche (EIAR) was in fact the user of the transmitter. Phil adds that there is further information available, but in Italian and if he really wants to know, he'll have to learn Italian. A simpler option is to use an online translator such as Google Chrome or others- I find them a great boon.

As is the way of the web, Phil found out other related information on his research journey and notes that medium wave in Italy is now being switched off, but they are getting good results from DRM+, according to on 10 May. “On that score, they're ahead of the UK!” The Portale Italradio is an interesting website in English covering news and current affairs about Italian radio and TV around the world.

Friday 6 September 2013

Reception Reports and QSL cards

Radio Denmark vintage QSL, sunflowers and apples 

Extracts from my Broadcast Matters, long, medium & shortwave  column, in Radio User, September 2013

Tony Roper received a nice commemorative 60th anniversary QSL card from Deutsche Welle which took ten days from his sending a report to receiving a QSL in the post. He logged them on 22 June at 2100 on 11800kHz from the Kigali transmitter. Tony also tuned to Radio Cuba on the nicely rounded frequency of 6000kHz, at 0105 UTC. Ed Newman was presenting the broadcast (SINPO 33333). 

Programmes included This Day in History, then a commentary on the USA which Tony says “faded enough to not quite be able to hear it properly, it mainly appeared to be about the USA and probably not good stuff.” Next up was the sports desk programme, followed by five minutes of music and a round-up of news at 0135 UTC. Tony hopes to receive a QSL card for the Cuba broadcast.

Has anyone received a QSL card from Danish station DR Kalundborg? asks Keith Rann in Essex. He sent a reception report having heard their 243kHz long wave broadcast in May, which was an annual special rebroadcast of the May 1945 BBC Danish Service liberty message. Keith is still awaiting his QSL.

Howard Barnett asks for contact details of Radio Sonder Grense (which is Afrikaans for Radio Without Borders). This has been logged recently in English at 1800 UTC on 3320kHz by Andrew Kirby and they also use 7285 and 9650 kHz (plus FM locally in South Africa where they have an estimated listenership of 1,852,000 at May 2013). The station, run by the South African Broadcasting Corporation, started with an English service in 1936, to be followed a year later with the Afrikaans service. 

The station’s postal address as in the 2013 World Radio and TV Handbook is Radio Sonder Grense, PO Box 91312, Auckland Park 2006, South Africa or you can contact them via the online form at their website. Sentech are responsible for signal distribution and I have seen QSL letters from them with the following address: Sentech, PO Box 234, Meyerton 1960, South Africa.

Denis Ironman has selected some nostalgic QSL cards again for us- he sent me one of Radio Netherlands’ The Happy Station Show, from way back in 1969 when Eddie Startz was the host. Denis also sent a photocopy of a 1969 Radio Netherlands’ calendar which celebrated 40 years since the start of the station’s forerunner, PCJ. Denis recalls listening lured by the slogan ”Keep in touch with the Dutch every Sunday via Hilversum, Holland and Bonaire, Netherland Antilles.” 

Denis felt the show was a great loss to shortwave and has fond memories of Eddie Startz tapping his tea cup with his spoon. The Happy Station does live on today of course through PCJ Media. It is run by Keith Perron with former Happy Station host Tom Meyer’s blessing. Tom often featured songs he had recorded while he on the Happy Station and these are online at

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Radio Dechovka

Extracts from my Broadcast Matters, long, medium & shortwave  column, in Radio User, August 2013

Howard Barnett has asked for the address of a station he has been trying to tune into and hopefully wishes to send a reception reports to. 

This is Radio Dechovka on 1233kHz medium wave from the Czech Republic. Radio Dechovka translates as Radio Brass or Radio Brass Band and the postal address is Radio Brass, U prutník 232, 250 72 Předboj, Czech Republic.  Emails can be sent to 

Interestingly their main broadcast studio is in a train station in Prague Kojetice. Radio Brass has a medium wave license for nationwide trials. It advertises itself as  the first brass-band radio you can listen around the clock.  It plays the best of Czech and Moravian brass bands and sometimes non-Czech bands as well. 

A typical summer evening's programming consists of Camp fire; Cultural Service - where Jiri Sykora provides an overview of cultural tips; a programme of the best brass band music of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia; and Pub fun which plays "bawdy songs".

Friday 16 August 2013

Radio now and then

Photo CB
Extracts from my Radio Websites column, Radio User, August 2013

Have you seen the American Forces and Television Service’s Archive website? Thomas Whetson runs this a blog which features archive audio and historical material. It includes an interview with Elvis Presley in 1960 and a 1973 Air force recruiting clip. All rather bizarre to my mind but the 285,000 visitors to the blog can't all be wrong! 

Onto another Thomas, Thomas Witherspoon at the SWLing Post, who continues to keep us all informed with daily digestible chunks of fascinating shortwave and international radio news at He is also now behind the shortwave radio archive at The Shortwave Radio Audio Archive (SRAA) is a collection of shortwave radio recordings that you can download or listen to as a podcast. The collection grows every day and includes both historic recordings and current recordings from the shortwave radio spectrum. The goal of this site is for shortwave radio enthusiast to have a place to store, archive and share their radio recordings with the world. So visit the site, enjoy the cornucopia of wonderment and think about adding your own recordings to it.

An entertaining radio show I have started listening to is The Seckerson Tapes and The Arts Desk Radio Show at the Arts Desk website. Regular podcasts of a range of intelligent arts and culture programmes. Let me know what you think when you have been to

Friday 9 August 2013

Café del Mar collective & DX Adventures

Photo: CB
Extracts from my Radio Websites column, Radio User, August 2013

The sunny sounds of the wonderful Café del Mar collective are never far from my mind at this time of year- I cannot believe they have been going since 1980. 

You are only a click away from the sounds of a Mediterranean blissed out summer at the Mixcloud channel of young Slovakian Adam Kvasnica andé-del-mar/ 

The official Café del Mar site is at and is about be relaunched.

A new blog up and running this summer has the promising title of DX Adventures. It’s the work of Roland and will contain stories about DXing over the past fifty-plus years. It starts with how he got hooked on the hobby and will build up to the current time. The posts will not necessarily be in a historical order but share the good times and things he has learned. 

Comments are welcome and will be moderated daily. 
It is at

Friday 19 July 2013

Radio in Liverpool...

Info first published in my Radio Websites column in Radio User, July 2013 (extract)

I have been listening to a variety of online radio this past month, and some of it was inspired by a few visits to Liverpool- real visits in person rather than virtual, that is. For most people the landmarks of this city are the cathedrals and the Liver Building with its famous birds on the top. 

But for me it has always been the Radio City Tower that dominates the skyline and the centre of the city. It was opened in 1969 and Radio City broadcast from it on 96.7 MHz and online. 

They have a Twitter handle of @RadioCity967 and a YouTube channel at which has promotional videos and interesting offshoots such as acoustic sessions. It’s a station that successfully juggles local sports coverage with local music. And for a fiver you can even go up the tower itself. 

City Talk 105.9 covers all the bases too, with politics and sport sandwiched between news and phone-ins, which include Dr Mike’s City Surgery, offering health and welfare advice. Planet X investigates the paranormal while there is a smattering of mainstream music such as the Top 40 and oldies shows.

Juice 107.6 is another commercial station but one which concentrates on chart and contemporary music for the young at heart.

BBC Radio Merseyside offers the usual tried and tested BBC local radio fare of personalities spinning discs, and a range of sometimes offbeat phone-in topics.

Recent phone-ins have included memories of days at the seaside and how audio cassettes are making a comeback in Canada as bands prefer their vintage sound quality.

The city has a healthy history of lively free radio as well. Central Radio Liverpool is a pirate station, online at if you are out of its frequency range. The Scouse House Shout Out Show is one example of programming. Merseyside Alternative Radio at is a well-established FM and medium wave pirate and includes some welcome female pirates in the form of Jackie Frost and Kelley Collins, the latter is based in Philadelphia.

Liverpool stations that are also interest to me though are those based elsewhere in the world. County Community Radio is in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. The station started in 2008 and tries to suit all of its older listeners’ tastes by “playing music from the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, or 80's. Oldies, classic rock, big band, disco, old school R&B, country, and gospel are a few of the genres that share QCCR's airwaves. We take pride in being an eclectic station that serves the varied and discerning tastes of our Queens County audience.”

CKBW South Shore Radio on 94.5 also serves the area with a typical blend of modern pop and similar genres It also produces “That East Coast Show” which is an interesting podcast.

There are a handful of Liverpools in the USA too. Liverpool in Texas only has a population of 500 so is not large enough to sustain its own station. However, Liverpool in Illinois has about a dozen FM stations in its reach, see . These include Peoria Public Radio which has an array of interesting features and talk.

Suzanne Vega’s old song “In Liverpool” always pops into my head too- it’s a melancholic quiet Sunday wandering around deserted streets- she performed it well as part of a live set when I saw her many moons ago. The Daily Motion website includes it as does the official Suzanne Vega YouTube channel at

Wednesday 3 July 2013

On the road...

First published in my Broadcast Matters: Long, Medium and Shortwave column in Radio User, July 2013 (extract)

Over Easter I spent a fabulous family fortnight in the western USA, on a road trip.

Sightseeing quite rightly took up much of our time but I spent some late evenings and early mornings tuned to the radio. Surveying the USA radio scene is always fun. While FM offered many genres of music, in the cities at least, medium wave was more interesting to me.
This was partly because there were DX opportunities and I never quite knew what I’d hear next. I didn’t achieve any spectacular DX catches as it happens, but just listening to and identifying stations a few miles to a few hundred miles away was hugely enjoyable.

We started in Las Vegas and where I logged around 15 mw stations. Sports radio is big news in the States with KMZQ on 670kHz and KBAD Fox Sports on 920 kHz being two examples. On 1100kHz KWWN was a community sports station with live basketball commentaries. From North Las Vegas came station KXNS with plenty of sport along with other programmes. They were on a pledge drive with adverts urging listeners to donate unwanted vehicles to sell for charity. This is obviously something of a popular fund raiser at the moment as I heard a couple of National Public Radio FM stations do similar. 

Incidentally NPR was the best quality of programme content I heard anywhere in the USA: Interesting and entertaining, with quiz shows, comedy, features, news and often carrying BBC World Service overnight. I still haven’t got my head around all the variations of the regional and local NPR networks but they shine like a beacon on the US FM bands. 

KLAV on 1230 kept me up to date with hottest happenings of the Las Vegas nightlife, but you don’t need a radio to tell you about that. Simply head for the madness of the bars and casinos and see it for yourself in this 24/7 city.

Sunday 30 June 2013

Summer radio reading essentials...

The European Medium Wave Guide is celebrating its 15th year in 2013 Herman Boel is responsible for the publication which he started when getting more involved in medium wave DXing in the 1990s. It merged in the early noughties with James Niven’s African medium wave guide to become an invaluable online resource. You can also order a pdf version too for 5 Euros. The cover I also always a stunning photo which draws the eye- this year’s is of Trakai Castle in Lithuania.

I’ve just received my copy of “Tales From Bush House” which was published last year. This is the result of the BBC World Service writer in residence Hamid Ismailov’s work (who I mentioned last year). He is now head of the BBC Central Asian service. The paperback is available online and also as an e-book from many sources.

“The book is a collection of narratives about working lives, mostly real and comic, sometimes poignant or apocryphal by former and current BBC World Service employees. They are tales from inside Bush House escaping through its marble-clad walls at a time when its staff began their departure to new premises in Portland Place. It shows how the extraordinary people who worked there, and the magnificent, chaotic building they shared, shaped one another. “

Hamid Ismailov is an Uzbek novelist and poet whose spell as writer in residence took the form of blog posts which are now collected together at There is a video and audio show too at

The summer schedules from the World Radio TV Handbook are available free of charge at The 80 page file gives broadcast schedules for international and clandestine broadcasters, international broadcasts in DRM, frequency listings, certain language broadcasts and transmitter site and target area codes.

Saturday 22 June 2013

A radio read

Kerrie Wood Thomson’s book “Diary of a Public Radio Slave” is a short but entertaining read. A romp through a radio station in the Us building up to an annual pledge week to raise fund, and the visit of a giant of Public Radio. A jolly good read that you can download for under £1 at

Another Kerrie is Kerrie Miller at Minnesota Public Radio with a book review programme and always a good list of book choices on her page at  

Follow her on Twitter at She co-hosts the Daily Circuit Radio Show which you can follow on Twitter at and listen online at

If you are into National Public Radio then you may wish to read The Sound and the Story: NPR and the Art of Radio. This 1995 book is available from £2 on Amazon. It’s “An inside look at a popular radio network analyzes its size in relation to its following, introduces the personalities behind such programs as Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and weighs the effects of television on radio broadcasting”.

I seem to be stuck in an all-American mode today and we head next to the Smithsonian magazine, always a good read .

The story of how a family were found in 1978 in Siberia with no idea that World War II had ended, was both fascinating and disturbing You can watch the television documentary footage, in Russian, of “Lost in the Taiga” at the You Tube channel 

The 2010 article on 100 years of Public Radio is worth your time too. 

Friday 21 June 2013

BBC World Service to British Antarctic Survey team

The annual BBC Winter Solstice Broadcast to the British Antarctic Survey team is on today June 21 from 2130 to 2200 UTC. (The link above is to the 2012 broadcast).

5965 kHz via Dhabayya transmitter, beaming 203
7350 kHz via Ascension Island 
transmitter beaming 207°
9890 kHz via Woofferton txer, 
transmitter beaming 182°

Thanks to the British DX Club, Dan Ferguson and Glenn Hauser's DX Listening Digest for updates.

Thursday 6 June 2013

June Radio Websites...

Extracts from my latest column in Radio User

I have mentioned the Radio Heritage Net website when it first launched a few short years ago. It specialises in radio news from the Far East and Australasian Pacific region but is looking to expand its coverage worldwide in the next year or so. That expansion is already starting to happen with their amusing Retro Radio Dial feature with looks back at the radio scene in US states such as Texas and Idaho 50 years ago. and on Facebook too.

Radio User reader Graham Smith would like to share two radio related websites. The first is the Solar Terrestrial Activity Report ( ), which is compiled by Jan Alvestad in Norway. At the top of the page is a daily graph showing the sunspot number, A index and so on. If short wave reception is bad there is usually a spike in the A index. Further down the page are photos of sunspots, and at the bottom is a chart of the sunspot numbers (apparently we are past the peak of the current cycle). 

The second site is Ydun’s Medium Wave Info (, compiled by Ms Ydun M. Ritz in Denmark. According to the News page for 12 April China Radio International has launched a frequency in the South China Sea. The Voice of the South China Sea broadcasts in six languages, including Mandarin, English, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Filipino as well as Indonesian. You can hear the English programmes of the voice of the South China Sea at AM 1008, 1400-1500 (local time).

Friday 31 May 2013

Not a happy Bradley...

Bradley Allen asks about Glenn Hauser. Host of World of Radio ( ) and writer of DX Listening Digest for many decades Glenn is a giant in the DX world. From his home in Enid Oklahoma he collates and monitors a wealth of information. There is always much of interest to be read at 

Bradley would also like information on the Radio World programme that was aired on Belgian broadcaster Radio Vlaanderen International and hosted by Frans Vossen. The station broadcasts in Dutch /Flemish at and is due to move into an impressive new building in Brussels in 2019 (see translated article at

Fans of the station can hear a programme made around the time of their 50th anniversary at Jonathan Mark's Media Vault (it's also at Marks' Critical Distance blog

When did Radio World start? asks Bradley- he has tracked versions in German, Spanish and French as far back in time as the 1988 World Radio TV Handbook. Jerry Berg's Listening On The Shortwaves 1945 to today book comes up with a definitive answer on page 254. (Berg's opus magnum is available from many online booksellers). A twice monthly DX Corner programme started in 1970 with Frans Vossen introducing DX tips and listeners' letters. It became weekly in 1980 and focused more on features, as well as changing its title to DX World, which lasted until foreign language services were closed in 2005.

The station's mailbag programme Brussels 1043 is also missed by Bradley and he says the demise of the station is "clearly ridiculous".

Sunday 19 May 2013

60 years of Deutsche Welle

Deutsche Welle is celebrating its 60th anniversary this month. 

There is plenty of interesting information on the past and present at their anniversary website.

Behind the Scenes, Lost and Found and 60 years of Journalism are three examples of this. 

You can upload photos and enter competitions. Their Facebook page continues the celebratory theme  This page is about Deutsche Welle’s QSL card policy and includes a reception report form.

What a  different world it is from when Deutsche Welle became the voice of West Germany back in 1953...

Saturday 11 May 2013

Radio Prague on shortwave Saturday 18 May, one day only

There is to be a one-off day of Radio Prague on shortwave on 18 May. This is to celebrate their 90th anniversary. The rest of the time you can hear them online.

There will be a commemorative QSL card as well. 

The schedule is:

1200 to 1230 UTC  in German on 7310 kHz to Europe
1230 to 1300 in Czech on 7310 kHz to Europe
1300 to 1330 in English on 7310 kHz to Europe
1330 to 1400 in French on 7310 kHz to Europe
1400 to 1430 in Spanish on 7310 kHz to Europe
1430 to 1500 in Russian on 7310 kHz to Europe
1400 to 1430 in Spanish on 6005 kHz to Europe
1430 to 1500 in Russian on 6005 kHz to Europe
1500 to 1530 in German on 6005 kHz to Europe
1530 to 1600 in Czech on 6005 kHz to Europe
1600 to 1630 in English on 6005 kHz to Europe
1630 to 1700 in French on 6005 kHz to Europe
1900 to 1930 in English on 3985 kHz to Europe & Asia
1930 to 2000 in French on 3985 kHz to Europe & Asia
2000 to 2030 in Spanish on 3985 kHz to Europe & Asia
2030 to 2100 in Russian on 3985 kHz to Europe & Asia
2100 to 2130 in German on 3985 kHz to Europe & Asia
2130 to 2200 in Czech on 3985 kHz to Europe & Asia

Wednesday 1 May 2013

My Lanzarote listening

Extract from my column on from Radio User, Broadcast Matters, May 2013

I enjoyed some sunshine and the lunar lava landscapes of Lanzarote back in February 2013. The African island was a good place to listen to some radio signals when I got the chance between sightseeing and relaxing. 

Medium wave seemed to be mostly the domain of strong Spanish speaking stations, such as Radio Nacional de Espana Cinco on 576, 621 and 720kHz, playing a variety of music including Lilli Marlene and others from that era.

They also pumped out much Spanish pop with a 55555 SINPO most of the time. COPE was another Spanish powerhouse with an all 5 SINPO on 1269kHz with plenty of music. 1269kHz specialised in some interesting Spanish songs while what I assumed was Jil FM from Algeria played a mix of North African music on 531 and 549kHz, as did RT Morocco on 540kHz. I listened in vain for any stations playing music of the kora, a stringed instrument from western Africa, but made do with the Lanzarote timple (a five stringed banjo), heard live in some bars and on the local FM radio.

There was a healthy smattering of Spanish FM stations to be heard. I logged about 20 in all, covering genres of classical, pop and rock, religion, ballads and talk. Power FM on 99.2 MHz is an English speaking station but not one that I could bear for too long. What I heard of the news bulletins were very American in both focus and accent (maybe it is relayed from a US station?). The music output was an insipid blend of forgettable pop and middle of the road music dating from the 1980s to today.

Shortwave, as ever, was my main radio interest. The usual stations were to be found along with some specialist African services. The big boys included BBC World Service booming in all many frequencies(9740, 9915, 15400, 17640 and 21660kHz) and TRT The Voice of Turkey with consistently good features and some exotic sounding music (the 0400 to 0500 UTC broadcast on 9655kHz gave a 55555 SINPO). 

The Voice of America was a good breakfast time listen, from 0500 to 0630 UTC on 9885kHz. Hearing Larry London’s music programme along with the usual economic news and terrorist updates was a pleasure, on a transmission that was relayed from Meyerton in South Africa. (SIO 454).  

All India Radio’s 7550Khz in the evenings was as strong as it is in the UK. Deutsche Welle from its Rwandan relay on 12070, 11800 and 9655kHz at 2100 UTC is always an informative and intellectual broadcast to tune to whether I am in Europe or off the coast of Africa. It specialises in African news and features, be they referendum views from Harare, solar-diesel plants on the continent or Kenyan elections fallout. Radio France Internationale in French on 15300kHz at 1730 UTC was another example of a voice positively shouting into the African continent.

It was a joy to hear Radio Cairo coming in loud and clear on 15345kHz at 1700 UTC in English with a 433 SIO, with Egyptian music and an amusing aside when the female presenter stumbled several times over a news broadcast. Radio Africa from Bata in Guinea is a US-backed religious station and, as is their ilk, full of American gentlemen drawling over “the word of god and the scriptures”. It proved an easy catch in the early evenings at 1700 UTC on 15190 with a 444 SIO.  It was wonderful to experience a very relaxed evening drive time, sitting by the swimming pool in the late afternoon sun, turning that dial to stations from Radio Taiwan International (1600 to 1700 UTC on 15485kHz)to the Voice of America’s Sudan in Focus transmissions from 1630 to 1700 UTC on 13625kHz. 

Also VOA’s Special English on 15470kHz via Germany at 1600 UTC, which is always a novelty to me. Channel Africa from the south on 15235kHz at 1700 UTC with its dramatic drums and music punctuating the programme pauses contrasted with Zimbabwe’s community station Radio Dialogue in English and local languages. It too comes in clearly (SIO 555 to 544) on 12105kHz at 1600 UTC for an hour.

It was a pleasant surprise to hear Russia so well, what with its ailing shortwave commitment this year. Radio Rossii in Russian was a great sound to wake up to at 0500 UTC on 9835kHz, trailing music from many eras, and I can listen to the Russian accent for hours (given the opportunity) even though I understand next to nothing. The Voice of Russia in English soon became part of my late afternoon listening, from 1630 UTC on 9880kHz via the transmitter site at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy. Media Scan with Charlene Jones covered a range of issues but I seem unable to track that programme or presenter down on the internet. Did I just imagine it?

Once upon a time: to smartphones and podcast apps

Once upon a time, many years ago, when I was a child, I used to dream of owning a magic book that would contain every comic strip, poe...