Monday 25 February 2013

BBC Top of the Pops alive and well on shortwave...

I hear and read of people bemoaning the BBC World Service’s lack of entertainment programmes these days, but if you tune to their service for Central Africa on Saturday nights you will hear the BBC Top of the Pops programme, presented by Kim Robson. It is strange to hear an old format with the names and sounds of today's pop music scene, but lovely to hear on shortwave. My favourite feature of the show by far is when they look at the charts in another country, such as Brazil or Ecuador. Try their 12095kHz frequency from 2130 UTC.

Saturday 16 February 2013

Pacific Isles to Mongolia at the turn of a dial...

“Amid all the gloomy news about shortwave cuts there is some good news for us as regards to the Pacific Isles region.” writes Andrew Kirby from Bournemouth. 

He says that Vanuatu is expecting some new powerful shortwave transmitters to arrive soon and that Tahiti is now back on 15170kHz. New Caledonia can be heard on 7170kHz and also Kiribati is on 9825kHz with a more powerful transmitter. Andrew comments that the Pacific Islands are an ideal area of the world for shortwave with one frequency reaching across hundreds of miles of blue sea. “Nothing fancy, just turning on your radio while relaxing on a beautiful desert isle.”

Andrew has picked up Rangoon in Myanmar (or Burma) on 5985.85kHz at 1600 UTC with a sign off at 1630 UTC and a signal strength of two. Equally exotic is Ulaan Baator in Mongolia heard on 12085khz (a frequency it has used for decades) at 0900 UTC. A signal strength of three and a sign on with “chimes like Radio Beijing used to have 15 years ago.”

Extract from my monthly column in Radio User

Thursday 14 February 2013

QSLing the World - A How to Guide

Extracts from Radio Websites column by C Brand, First published in Radio User Jan 2013

Another useful book out in 2012 was “QSLing the World - A How to Guide” by Gayle Van Horn of the Monitoring Times.  

Check the Shortwave Central blog for 16th November 2012 for details or order through an online bookstore. She is an engaging author who has written what is a valuable e-book for hobbyists. “a comprehensive resource and reference e-book for any radio hobbyist who is interested in acquiring a verification of reception from almost any type of radio station, whether it is broadcast, utility, amateur radio, satellites, or clandestine! 

Along with QSLs, some radio hobbyists also collect station memorabilia that may include such items as frisbees, bumper stickers, pennants, decals, T-shirts, or anything associated with the station logo, slogan or call sign.” 

Wednesday 6 February 2013

UNESCO World Radio Day, Wednesday 13 February

UNESCO have declared Wednesday 13 February each year as World Radio Day. Listen for stations around the world who will be marking the day or taking part from grass roots community stations to international broadcasters.

There will be a Wavescan special   from Adventist World Radio  recorded at the High Frequency Coordination Conference hosted by the Arab States Broadcasting Union in Tunis, Tunisia, with news about World Radio Day, international broadcasting in Africa, and more. 

It will be broadcast on Wednesday, February 13 at 0100 UTC and 1200 UTC on 9955 kHz and simulcast at WRMI-Radio Miami International in Miami, Florida; and at 2000 UTC on 13570 kHz from WINB in Pennsylvania.

The Spanish Academy of Radio are holding an event in Madrid, Radio Romania Interational will broadcast programmes from Bucharest (send them an audio message), there is a seminar from Kerala in India, BBC World Service have a programme in the your World Series called Tuning In (available online until February 2014), and there is much more.

Amazing tales of radio online include UNESCO Artist for Peace Vladimir Spivakov recounting his mother’s stories of listening to the radio during the siege of Leningrad; Radiohead bassist Colin Greenwood who is actively engaged in promoting youth radio and talks about empowering them through the airwaves; Elena Batinova, Russian radio host on Radio Mayak speaks about radio as a centre for humanitarian aid during emergency situations; and Desmond Tutu urges broadcasters to give youth a voice on radio. 

See Soundcloud's World Radio Day offerings too!

Sunday 3 February 2013

Outlook on John Tidmarsh book....

Photo adapted from one from London Calling on Random Radio Jottings

Extracts from Radio Websites column by C Brand, First published in Radio User Jan 2013

John Tidmarsh (above) spent 40 years working in radio and television, including 30 years as a presenter of the BBC World Service weekday magazine programme “Outlook”. His autobiography “Horrid go-ahead boy, a life in broadcasting” was published in 2010 and is a good read. (Noel Coward called him a horrid, go-ahead boy).  

A World War II evacuee, John became a junior reporter on the Western Daily Press, then a sports reporter before joining the BBC’s The Week in the West programme. His next career move was to Broadcasting House in London form where he became a globally respected voice.

You can buy new or second hand copies at online sites such as Abe books: and Albris I noticed many Australian and New Zealand online booksellers stock it too, as well as many booksellers selling through the ubiquitous Amazon. I even found a few copies for sale on eBay. You can also swap for it on the US website

Friday 1 February 2013

A little light reading

Extracts from Radio Websites column by C Brand, First published in Radio User Jan 2013

Don Keith is a widely published American author of fact and fiction who has also written Riding the shortwaves: Exploring the magic of amateur radio. 

You can order at I have two of his novels lined up on my e-Reader: one is called The Spin, set in Las Vegas, and the other is titled Wizard of the Wind, which is:

“an allegory of what has happened to radio broadcasting over the last 20 years...where power and greed have replaced the creativity and talent of the disc jockeys who virtually re-invented radio on the fly when television threatened to kill it. The book is dedicated to over 300 radio personalities who will be familiar to many who read it. After all, those readers likely grew up listening to some of these air talents, and allowed the legendary DJs to provide the soundtrack of their lives.”

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...