Friday, February 25, 2011

Most Of The 70CM Band Up For Auction

420 to 440Mhz is up for auction in the United States, threatening to shut down a large block of 70cm Amateur Radio Operation to make way for "public safety" broadband operations. The ARRL has the story

Next Media Network Plus - February Edition

The February edition of Media Network Plus is ready to go. On this show we will have a commentary on the BBC, VOA cuts. Canada's Minister Of Industry will be on the show to talk about having more competition in the mobile sector. Wendell Minnick a US based journalist in Taiwan will join us to give us the back story of when he wrote a piece on a Taiwan numbers stations.
Also the SWL Winter Fest (formerly Klupsville Winter Fest) is about to kick off on March 4th and 5th. This time for the first in 24 years taking place in Plymouth, Meeting PA. Richard Cuff one of the organizers will join us to give us the run down of what will be happening.
You can catch the first live transmission of Media Network Plus on shortwave at 0200UTC February 26th on 9955KHZ directed to Latin America and he Caribbean. If your outside this area you can listen to the live webstream at This show will be relayed on some of PCJ partner stations and on PCJ itself.
Good listening!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shortwave radio – back to the future?

By Paulette MacQuarrie, co-host, Media Network Plus
Around the world today, there is a growing fascination with the internet amongst commercial and public broadcasters. No great surprise – there is a lot of money to be made in online advertising. In a recent Audio4cast report, last year in the UK, listening to Internet radio grew by 55% and for the first time crossed over the 3% of all radio listening share threshold.
However, this fascination with a new “toy” and the revenue stream leaves a huge audience in the lurch, because shortwave transmissions are increasingly being sacrificed on the Internet altar.
This defies common sense. For one thing, there are much more people in the developing world than in the developed world. Read: larger potential audience. However, in the developing world, relatively few people have access to the internet, and those who do often find the service sketchy to say the least. Whereas shortwave radios are very inexpensive, and the broadcasts are free, reliable and widely accessible.
So how wise is it for broadcasters to abandon a huge audience base that is starving for news and entertainment from the developed world?
JWT Intelligence in its December 27, 2010 report "100 things to watch for in 2011” puts South Africa’s growing middle class at #2. According to the report, McKinsey forecasts a 35 percent rise in African consumer spending power through 2015, and marketers are targeting high-growth countries including Nigeria, Angola, Kenya and Ghana. Also, at #95 on the JWT list wasUkraine, which has suffered drastic cuts to shortwave transmissions from Radio Canada International and, more recently, BBC. Then there are the cuts to China, of all places. Talk about a huge audience in a high-growth country!
If broadcast media moguls are abandoning large audiences in favour of a smaller (albeit more affluent, ones) then clearly they are motivated merely by dollars and cents, rather than by common sense.

However, let’s hope the big broadcasters continue to focus on short-term ROI rather than long-term audience building. Why? Because their short-sightedness leaves the field open for new visionaries in the shortwave world to fill the void with better programming and service.

People like Keith Perron of PCJ Media, whose knowledge of, and affection for, shortwave broadcasting knows no bounds. Others, like veteran Swiss broadcaster Bob Zanotti and his colleague (known as “the two Bobs”) who have been broadcasting for decades to loyal listeners. Such broadcasters have created legacies for, and formed bonds of trust with, their listeners … who are much less inclined to skip around the radio dial than online listeners with myriad choices of programming designed to attract attention to itself rather than edify its audiences. Then there’s Andy Sennitt of Radio Netherlands, and many other too numerous to mention here. But they know who they are, and so do you. J
These broadcasters recognize the huge audience potential in the developing world, not to mention overlooked revenue potential from increasingly cash-conscious advertisers who are looking to emerging markets. Like in the early days of radio advertising in North America, today there are vast opportunities for advertisers to reach listeners in countries climbing out of poverty and oppression via shortwave radio. Like in those early days, they have virtually (pardon the expression!) captive audiences to whom they can introduce their products and services.

However, I truly believe that shortwave broadcasters will be more responsible (and responsive) than the current crop of commercial and public broadcasters. I believe that the focus of shortwave broadcasters is (and always has been) on creating and nurturing audiences that are less materialistic and shallow, but rather more green, more responsible, and much more appreciative (and demanding!) of quality programming in entertainment and news.
There is an inherently interactive quality to shortwave radio that would (were they cognizant of it) make traditional broadcasters who are abandoning shortwave and flocking to the internet turn green with envy.

So in a strange twist of irony, the internet has actually created an unprecedented opportunity in the world of shortwave. I fervently believe without a doubt that exciting times are just around the corner in shortwave radio … for broadcasters and listeners alike.

Monday, February 21, 2011

New shortwave service to be launched from PCJ

February 21, 2011

New shortwave service to be launched

For Immediate Release

PCJ Media announces the creation of a new international shortwave radio service with targeted programming to Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific.

PCJ sees an opportunity to fill a void being left by large publicly funded broadcasters. In the last few months a number of well-respected international broadcasters have dropped their shortwave transmissions to these regions in favor of internet and podcasts. Most notably are the significant cuts to the BBC World Service and the Voice Of America transmissions.

To fill this void, PCJ’s new service would broadcast in five languages, with programming targeted to the audiences of those specific languages. New distribution platforms such as the internet will also be used.

The five language groups which PCJ Radio would target are:

Farsi – Middle East

Mandarin – China

Spanish – Latin America

Ukrainian/Russian – Eastern Europe

English - to regions mentioned above

Launch date TBA.

For more information please contact Keith Perron of PCJ Media.


Tel: +886 938 408 592

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Odd Number Station just popped up

Many SWL's over the years have been fascinated by the mysterious number stations that have popped up going back to WW2. In the last few days I have monitored one that I have never heard before coming from Taiwan. Some of you have heard of New New Star Broadcasting which is a number station from Taiwan, but this one is very different. I should mention that New New Star has not been on for a while. A few months ago two high up officials from the Ministry Of Defense were arrested for spying for China and passing along classified information. Just around this time a few days later New New Star went silent. They were normally using frequencies between 10.400mhz and 10.550mhz USB. And was broadcast at 0400UTC, 0500UTC, 0600UTC. There were other broadcasts as well. I should mention these ones were the clearest in Taiwan to pick up.
In the last few days a new station has appeared. This time with some major differences. The first thing I noticed was there was no interval signal. Second was the voice was not computer generated, and finally third it was a mans voice not a woman.
Time to check: 0300UTC to 0330UTC
Frequency: 10.774mhz (USB)

Monday, February 14, 2011

WRN Newsletter Delay

Those who are wondering about the WRN Newsletter here at the site will be interested in knowing that it will be posted as soon as possible as a double edition to catch up with the two newsletters that have been published since they were due here. Blogger does not like how this newsletter is constructed, and the time spent so far on editing and production has been intensive.

The best option will be to post it here as a word document or a PDF.

Thanks for your patience everyone.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Shortwave America Web Store Opens It's Doors!

This morning marks a great day at Shortwave America, because the Official Shortwave America Store has opened for business! Now you can enjoy t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, mouse pads, coffee mugs, thermos bottles, wall clocks, and all sorts of other items!

One request for the store was to have electronic / radio kits. That is an item still being researched at this time, and will happen once everything can be organized so as to make sure there is enough stock available to prevent back-orders and prevent customer service issues.

When you buy an item from the Shortwave America store, you support the time and work it takes to put Shortwave America together. When you support Shortwave America, you support an uncensored, balanced voice for shortwave and amateur radio. New products will be added to the store on the basis of demand and other factors.

Thank you for reading Shortwave America! Feedback about the store is always welcome.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Anti-Jamming Antenna (and it really works)

If anyone can access this blog and are in an area where jamming is focused against broadcasters like the Voice Of America, BBC World Service and others there is a quick and easy way to get around this and improve your reception. These plans come from the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the Voice Of America.

Last summer I built it myself to see the results and I was amazed. It really works and does improve stations being jammed by the Chinese. Of course it does depend on propagation, but it does work. It took me less than an hour to build and I used stuff that I had around the house. Above you will find a diagram and picture how it should look. I came across these plans on the BBG website.


A compact portable receiver radio with its telescoping whip antenna

An additional telescoping whip antenna similar to the one used with the receiver radio or a stiff wire

Two pieces of aluminum foil having same width and length as those of the portable radio receiver

A clean piece of plywood or equivalent, non conducting of electricity, big enough for overall support

Two short pieces of connecting wire with screws for connection as required

A block of wood or equivalent to support the additional antenna


On the piece of plywood used as overall support, lay the radio receiver on the first aluminum foil pad. Use a rubber band or string to secure the receiver if desired.

Fix second antenna into wood block so it stays vertical.

Connect the additional telescoping whip or stiff wire to the foil pad on which the radio lays. A small screw can be used to attach the first connecting wire to the aluminum foil.

Wrap the other bare end of the wire around the whip and twist the wire to assure that a good electrical contact with the whip is established.

Use the second wire to connect the remaining aluminum foil to the telescopic whip of the receiver as described above.


The interference reducing antenna should be operated in a relatively clear area. It works best when people are not near the antenna.

The interference reducing antenna is operated by rotating the whole system, receiver and the two whip antennas together with the plywood support, until the interfering signal is minimized and the desired program is as clear as possible.

If the desired program cannot be received clearly by rotating the plywood support when the interference reducing antenna is level, then try slanting each of the antenna whips or both, and then rotating the system again. Keep experimenting with different slants and rotations combinations until the desired program clears.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Well known music on shortwave

A few weeks ago I went out to dinner to a popular restaurant in Taipei. This 5 star restaurant serves very traditional Chinese food and is one of the most popular places around the time of the Chinese New Year. I've been to this place a number of times, but this time was different. We walked in, the waiter showed us to our table, we order a bottle of wine and the rest. All during this time my mind was else where. My friends kept asking me if something was wrong, and yes there was something wrong. The background music caught my interest.
The whole time I kept thinking I've heard it before, but was unable to place it. Until! Then I remembered where I heard it before. It was the music used by the Chinese on a number of frequencies to jam foreign broadcasters. Yes! The infamous FIREDRAKE being played in a restaurant in Taipei. The following day I contacted a friend who teaches in the traditional music department of Taiwan National University and played for him a recording of FIREDRAKE. And well he had heard the piece. What he told me was the following. The piece we know as Firedrake goes back to the time of Kong Qiu (孔丘) or as you might know him Confusius (551BC to 479BC) and the Zhou Dynasty (周朝) (1046BC to 256BC). The piece was traditionally played during the Chinese New Year, but through the years has changed. Beginning around the time of the Qin Dynasty (221BC to 206BC) to the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1911) each of the Emperors influenced the piece as we know it today. As for a name? This has also changed multiply times.
I should mention this is only a short history. But I'm in the middle of working on a piece which will be used on Media Network Plus to look at it's history.
If you have never heard the full FIREDRAKE before click here for the full unedited version.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Shortwave America Partners With WRN

Shortwave America has officially partnered with WRN (World Radio Network) to bring you their newsletter in full. WRN happily granted copyright permission today, 03 February 2011. Shortwave America will be bringing you this newsletter the next time WRN publishes.

Everyone, please give a warm welcome to WRN!

This is the second major partnership for Shortwave America in 2011.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

BBC World Service Cuts

Today February 2nd at 1145UTC I was invited as a guest on the BBC World Service program Over To You to discuss the cuts to the BBC WS Chinese Section. Raymond Li the Head of the Chinese Service of the BBC WS will also take part. The cuts pushed onto the BBCWS by the Foreign Office mean a cut of services including shortwave to China. The rational of the Foreign Office is the Chinese jam the radio signal so no one can listen. But in a very logical move they decided to focus on the internet as a way to reach the audience. It seems they have not heard of the Great Firewall. Yes it's true that in large centers like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Dalian people don't listen to shortwave. But these areas only account for 15% of the total population of 1.3 billion people. In many remote areas people still do listen to shortwave from domestic radio stations including the VOA, RFA and BBC.
The Foreign Office said that around half a million people from a survey conducted in China listen to shortwave. I wonder how they got this figure, because if you go to areas like Tibet or Xinjang and other areas of China where protests have taken place people will not admit listening. In Tibet just after the protests took place against the Han Chinese the local office of the Public Security Bureau was checking homes for shortwave radios and confiscating them.
Officials with the Chinese Ministry Of Informational Technology ( January 28, 2011) told me off the record on the condition I don't publish there names, they estimate the audience of the BBC in China to be around 3 to 4 million a week. But added that most people in rural areas would not admit to listening. He said if the BBC only had half a million listeners they government would not even bother to jam them.