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  #41 (permalink)  
Old 03-09-2017, 9:27 AM
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Back in the early to mid sixties, Radio Moscow had some of the strongest, cleanest signals on short wave. I listened some to get news that you didn't get from American sources. I related, in school once about listening to Radio Moscow and my teacher and classmates were shocked. If you didn't live back then, well you just can't know the level of paranoia that existed. We actually did the duck and cover thing about getting under our desks in case of a Russian nuclear attack. Like that would have made us safe. It was propaganda, I know that, but what we hear on network news here is propaganda too. We just don't seem to realize it. Today, I read news stories from Al Jazeera sometimes. They are stories we just don't see in mainstream media. I know it is from an Islamic viewpoint and I take that into consideration. I also look at stuff from RT America. I sometimes wonder if they are told not to say bad things about Russia, but I have heard some really nasty things about Putin and Russia on there, so i kind of doubt they censor the content. And speaking of the early sixties, if you really wanted to hear bull droppings, you only had to tune to VOA.
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Old 03-09-2017, 11:27 AM
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I would also take any news from RT with a grain of salt. Having been to Moscow I know things aren't what the seem to be sometimes. Bull droppings came from both sides, bar none. But the worst of the time certainly was Radio Tirana and Radio Peking.

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Old 03-09-2017, 9:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WPXS472 View Post
Back in the early to mid sixties, Radio Moscow had some of the strongest, cleanest signals on short wave.
Yes, they sure came in strong, but I always noticed what sounded like a 25 hz. hum in the background, or maybe it was actually 50 hz. I thought at the time that it was due to the difference in their AC line current.

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If you didn't live back then, well you just can't know the level of paranoia that existed. We actually did the duck and cover thing about getting under our desks in case of a Russian nuclear attack. Like that would have made us safe.
Construction of air raid shelters was a lucrative business back then, too.

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It was propaganda, I know that, but what we hear on network news here is propaganda too. We just don't seem to realize it. Today, I read news stories from Al Jazeera sometimes. They are stories we just don't see in mainstream media.
The Guardian isn't too bad, either. Having said that, it's always best to take everything one reads online with a grain of salt, even what I'm posting at the moment.

There's an old saying, attributed to the Japanese: "If you believe everything you read, better not read."

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And speaking of the early sixties, if you really wanted to hear bull droppings, you only had to tune to VOA.
And it thundered right in where I used to live, too, because one of VOA's antenna farms was in a neighboring town. In fact a local ham used to complain of front-end overload on his receiver due to his proximity to those antennas.
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  #44 (permalink)  
Old 03-10-2017, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Coyote-Frostbyte View Post
Free to Air satellite TV.
.
From my home in Colorado I play with this all the time-- C and Ku band FTA. With it, the world comes to me over any number of unscrambled satellite transponders- everything that SWL’ing is, but on steroids (laffing.)
... Sweeping the sky on C-Band, especially, I can view hundreds of broadcast from every continent, plus radio audio from even more. Its like Short Wave Listening without the QRM, QRN, fading, big antennas- but with plenty of technical challenges so loved by SWL’ers and Hams.
Can you still tune the RF out, with an HF receiver, and pick up other audio feeds?

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  #45 (permalink)  
Old 03-10-2017, 1:17 PM
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I’m not quite sure I understand the question, Krokus . Satellite transmissions are very sophisticated, plus they require good antennas (I use a 1 metre dish for Ku band, and a separate 2.5 metre dish for C-Band.) Most of the broadcasts I watch are either MPEG-4 or DVB-S encryption (but don’t get this term confused with ‘scrambling’-- there are tonnes! of unscrambled transponder broadcast- that’s why its called “Free-to-Air.”)
.
I guess you could demodulate the signal and pull off the audio alone, but that is an impractical way to go…. this stuff is all digital. A good, high end HD MPEG-4/DVB-S receiver costs between $100-200- a price that hardly warrants “home brewing’ one.
.
http://www.sadoun.com/Sat/Order/Rece..._Satellite.htm

_______________________________________
.
If you are not familiar with the site:
.
https://www.lyngsat.com/
.
…Lyngsat lists all the satellites, their transponders, their broadcasters- the format of encryption, whether they are scrambled or not,-- updates, etc.
I like to ‘park’ my Ku dish on Galaxy 19 a lot; its located at 97 degrees West Longitude- and its full of interesting broadcasts- one’s you’ll never, ever see on conventional Dish Network, Direct TV, or any cable feed. …..(I speak Spanish, and currently I am hooked on a Telenovela on Galaxy 16, C-Band.)
…… And all this in addition to hundreds of audio only channels- music, etc.
.
For those that like a little challenge, it’s a fun thing to pull 10-12GHz signals out of the ether from ‘bird’s’ 20,000+ miles away.
.
.
……………………CF
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  #46 (permalink)  
Old 03-10-2017, 2:44 PM
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Joe Adamov, Vladimir Pozner.... Yeah, such memories. They had a way of bringing the sense of humanity to the Cold War, in a way. Perhaps it's because the two of them never engaged in much hatred against the U.S. Just pro-Soviet stories and anecdotes, for the most part.

The funnest station to listen to during the Cold War was Radio Pyongyang when "The Great Leader, Comrade Kim Il Sung" was still alive (and the comma was always in there, this pause between "Great Leader" and "Comrade Kim Il Sung" -- I think it was to make it more worshipful and dramatic). I remember hearing a newscast that spoke of The Great Leader, Comrade Kim Il Sung in such glowing terms that I realized that reports of his being more or less worshipped in North Korea could not be exaggerations.

I used to tune in to what I thought was Radio Peking when I was studying and writing term papers late mornings... All this cool Chinese classical music on 41 meters. It wasn't until a year or so ago I realized that I was listening to Firedrake, a jammer. I thought it was a domestic broadcast for Chinese people. It really was quite cool to listen to.

I miss that aspect of the Cold War. I don't miss the worry over nuclear exchanges, though. But the entertainment of listening to Radio Moscow, AFRTS (which had newscasts from every major outlet, aimed at US forces all over the place), Cuba, Pyongyang, Peking (I never heard many of the other Eastern Bloc countries) -- that I do miss.
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  #47 (permalink)  
Old 03-10-2017, 2:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coyote-Frostbyte View Post
I guess you could demodulate the signal and pull off the audio alone, but that is an impractical way to go…. this stuff is all digital. A good, high end HD MPEG-4/DVB-S receiver costs between $100-200- a price that hardly warrants “home brewing’ one.
It sounds like even the C band has gone full digital, which negates what I was curious about.

Back when I used to install TVRO C band stuff, you could connect the RF Out to a receiver, and pull out secondary audio feeds. They were running on sidebands, outside the TV signal envelope, a bit like SCA on terrestrial FM, but not dependent on the main signal. Many transponders had these additional signals.

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  #48 (permalink)  
Old 03-10-2017, 4:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Boombox View Post
The funnest station to listen to during the Cold War was Radio Pyongyang when "The Great Leader, Comrade Kim Il Sung" was still alive (and the comma was always in there, this pause between "Great Leader" and "Comrade Kim Il Sung" -- I think it was to make it more worshipful and dramatic).
Or maybe to leave a slight pause to allow for the insertion of another name after his death.

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I used to tune in to what I thought was Radio Peking when I was studying and writing term papers late mornings... All this cool Chinese classical music on 41 meters. It wasn't until a year or so ago I realized that I was listening to Firedrake, a jammer. I thought it was a domestic broadcast for Chinese people. It really was quite cool to listen to.
Firedrake is still on the air, and on literally dozens of frequencies. Where you hear them depends on the time of day and band conditions. What gives them away is that there are usually no spoken announcements -- it's all music. Their strongest signal at my location is on 9455 khz. between 1600 and 2100 UTC.

I'm not sure which station they're trying to jam, but I've noticed that U.S.-based Radio Free Asia is listed on that frequency during the same time period, which is no surprise.
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Old 03-10-2017, 8:03 PM
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"..........It sounds like even the C band has gone full digital, which negates what I was curious about."
.
That about sums it up.... There maybe one or two transponders that are still passing analog signals, but I haven't seen (or look'd for them) in years. Nothing on Ku is analog........
.
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..................................CF
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  #50 (permalink)  
Old 03-11-2017, 9:55 AM
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GB46, I hear ya.

I"ve heard Firedrake a few times over the past several years since I got back into SWLing. I used to hear them on 19 meters but when propagation went south I only have heard them now and then, probably on the frequency you mention.

Back during the Cold War they were a nightly / morningly (is there such a word? Prob. not) occurrence.

Most of the Chinese jammers I hear are very loud CNR1 outlets, often with a very weak second program in Chinese underneath. I heard more of them when propagation was more lively, in 2012-2013.
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Old 03-11-2017, 10:36 AM
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@Boombox: Well, those weak Chinese signals underneath the jammers could possibly be Chinese domestic stations that their government considers subversive.

Yeah, propagation on the higher bands is at its very worst lately, and is likely to stay that way for a long time. It's a shame, because the HF frequencies from 15 mHz up are much less subject to RFI at my location. I live in an urban apartment building surrounded by noise from TVs and various digital devices, and also from mercury vapor lights at a nearby shopping centre. The power lines outside don't help, either. The lower I tune, the worse it gets. Broadcasters in the tropical bands are nearly inaudible here. If they were using SSB like the utility stations I'd have a lot less trouble hearing them.
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Old 03-12-2017, 4:32 PM
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(Woops, I initially put a SW logging into this thread by accident).

On a related note, however, the Korean broadcast war is still interesting to hear... Lots of white noise jamming going on over that peninsula.

Last edited by Boombox; 03-12-2017 at 4:36 PM..
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Old 03-19-2017, 2:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Coyote-Frostbyte View Post
I don't want to cause this topic to swerve of track, but along the line of clandestine broadcasts... does anyone also remember the "Numbers" stations?...the female ( ) voices reading blocks of numbers?
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Originally Posted by GB46 View Post
Remember them? One doesn't have to; they're still active! The transmissions purportedly traced to Cuban spies are on so many frequencies it's hard to keep track. Here's a short list of the frequencies on which I've heard them, usually during daylight hours:
10.715
11.435
11.530
11.635

A female voice reads several five-digit groups in Spanish. Over the years they've added something else: Between those number groups you'll hear a stream of digital data.

There's a long article about Cuban numbers stations on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numbers_stations

I've read about number stations in other languages, but I've never actually heard them.
Yup, numbers stations are still around, though many of them have shut down over the past couple of decades. But as you mentioned a number of the remaining stations have "gotten with the times" and have digital counterparts. If you wanna learn more (and you definitely do!), Priyom.org has a fantastic database of stations past and present, including schedules, frequency listings, and even a great collection of audio samples!

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Originally Posted by PlainOldDave View Post
Anyway, Radio Havana Cuba never stopped, evidently, as within the last week they went on a 10-minute tirade about the "mercenary invasion of the Bay of Pigs".
I just got a receiver and just got into SWLing, so I missed that particular tirade. However a couple of their recent English broadcasts briefly mentioned the Bay of Pigs; like you said, they referred to it as a "mercenary invasion." But I don't know enough about that bit of history to argue with them...plus they probably wouldn't care to hear it anyway and I have better things to do than nag a foreign government over its phrasings.

(That, and nobody likes pedants, possibly excepting us fellow pedants.)
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Old 03-26-2017, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Steamed_Hams View Post
I just got a receiver and just got into SWLing, so I missed that particular tirade. However a couple of their recent English broadcasts briefly mentioned the Bay of Pigs; like you said, they referred to it as a "mercenary invasion." But I don't know enough about that bit of history to argue with them...plus they probably wouldn't care to hear it anyway and I have better things to do than nag a foreign government over its phrasings.
Writing political comments to foreign governments is really no different than writing them to your own government. If you get a reply at all, you can't expect an honest one. From past experience in writing to foreign broadcasters I've learned that comments from SWLs are filtered before they're read over the air, anyway. Mostly what you'll hear is reception reports and compliments on the station's programs. Questions, suggestions or criticisms are often omitted.

That happened to me recently when I wrote to RHC. Along with the customary reception report, I included a comment about a Cuban 19th-century composer whose music I like very much. I suggested that they do a special segment on the composer when his 170th birthday comes up in July. Not a word was spoken about that; just my reception report and their response to it. My comment and suggestion could have added some interest to their mailbag show beyond the typical "Your signal comes in loud and clear here on Mars. I listen to RHC often and really enjoy your programs."

On the other hand, one reception report I had directed to Arnie Coro, who hosts their DX program, brought me a very nice e-mail reply written by him, instead of a canned response. He even went into detail about the antenna they had been using at the time, and mentioned that one of the receivers I had heard him on, an ICF-2002, was one he had used in the past, and that his hadn't survived Cuba's high humidity.
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Old 04-18-2017, 10:33 PM
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Writing political comments to foreign governments is really no different than writing them to your own government. If you get a reply at all, you can't expect an honest one. From past experience in writing to foreign broadcasters I've learned that comments from SWLs are filtered before they're read over the air, anyway. Mostly what you'll hear is reception reports and compliments on the station's programs. Questions, suggestions or criticisms are often omitted.
Oh, definitely! Even as an American citizen writing to VOA, for example, I wouldn't imagine them responding to my concerns/criticisms of any American policy in writing, let alone reading them on air. Plus, like you said, a station can't spend too much time reading one person's letter.

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On the other hand, one reception report I had directed to Arnie Coro, who hosts their DX program, brought me a very nice e-mail reply written by him, instead of a canned response. He even went into detail about the antenna they had been using at the time, and mentioned that one of the receivers I had heard him on, an ICF-2002, was one he had used in the past, and that his hadn't survived Cuba's high humidity.
Let me just say I absolutely love listening to his programs! It's great they give airtime to such an experienced ham. I'm looking into getting my license in the near future and I'm very impressed by how positive and how eager he is to help out other hams. There's nothing better in a hobby than someone who's so "for the love of the game" like that.
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:05 AM
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Let me just say I absolutely love listening to his programs! It's great they give airtime to such an experienced ham. I'm looking into getting my license in the near future and I'm very impressed by how positive and how eager he is to help out other hams. There's nothing better in a hobby than someone who's so "for the love of the game" like that.
I remember Arnie Coro's interesting programs from way back. Last year I returned to shortwave listening after having stored my receivers in the closet for more than 10 years. I was pleasantly surprised to find DXers Unlimited still on the air. Meanwhile, Joe Adamov and his Moscow Mailbag had become history, along with most of my favorite stations. I really miss all those musical interval signals preceding the broadcasts. The WRTH used to print sample bars of the music with their station listings, which was very helpful, since I can read music.

Some of Arnie's technical content is a bit over my head. I left ham radio in 1968. I had only a technical class ticket at that time, and the only theory I could handle involved basic vacuum tube circuits, along with a few even more basic transistor circuits. I have no technical understanding of today's digital circuitry, and even most of the vacuum tube stuff I learned in the past has been forgotten. I wasn't too bad at code back then, but I never used it, since I spent all my time in AM mode on 2 meters.

Yes, his shows are exceptional, and have continued a tradition of DX programming that other international broadcasters have dropped. The only other program content I listen to on RHC is the music, especially if it's Cuban folk or popular music. Modern jazz, however, leaves me cold, whether it's from Cuba or anywhere else in the world.
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Old 04-25-2017, 6:33 PM
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I've just discovered this thread, and you have all brought back memories from my teen years SWLing in the 60's. and early 70's.

SKYKING broadcasts, jamming stations everywhere, Radio Moscow & Joe Adamov, Radio Peking and in particular, Radio Hanoi, with their tirades e.g. "Imperialist capitalist President Nixon and his Running Dog lackeys .....".

I didn't have the courage to send SWL reports to any of them, but I recall a buddy did.

I remember he sent one to Radio Hanoi via Peking, just a simple SINPO report and the usual general comment about the quality of the signal. However some weeks later they read his report on air giving his name and city here in Australia, adding that he commented about "being sympathetic to cause of the poor people of Vietnam suffering under the American aggressors" etc.

Suffice to say he was a tad shocked, and expected a knock on the door
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Old 04-26-2017, 12:03 AM
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Those were the years in which I was most active in shortwave listening, although I started in the late 50s. As nasty as the rhetoric and propaganda was back then, at least it made the shortwave bands lively and interesting.
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Old 04-26-2017, 1:27 AM
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There are some clips from the Cold War at this great website.
https://shortwavearchive.com/
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Old 05-03-2017, 6:57 PM
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I didn't have the courage to send SWL reports to any of them, but I recall a buddy did.

I remember he sent one to Radio Hanoi via Peking, just a simple SINPO report and the usual general comment about the quality of the signal. However some weeks later they read his report on air giving his name and city here in Australia, adding that he commented about "being sympathetic to cause of the poor people of Vietnam suffering under the American aggressors" etc.

Suffice to say he was a tad shocked, and expected a knock on the door
Oh my.

Well, all's fair in love, war, and radio, I guess!
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