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Old 03-02-2017, 11:06 PM
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Biggest cliche of them all - R Moscow sending their North American services on multiple frequencies in different timeslots. We used to call this 'shotgunning'. And of course, Habana's constant 'Free Radio in America' during their signon was always a chuckle.

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Old 03-02-2017, 11:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ka3jjz View Post
Biggest cliche of them all - R Moscow sending their North American services on multiple frequencies in different timeslots. We used to call this 'shotgunning'. And of course, Habana's constant 'Free Radio in America' during their signon was always a chuckle.
Actually, the Spanish announcement was "Territorio Libre en America" (Free Territory in America). They still use that. I think what is meant is not America, but "the Americas" (north, central and south). It still sounds a bit odd for them to be billing themselves as a territory, when in fact they are a nation.

Anyway, at least Arnie Coro's DXers Unlimited is free of political commentary. He keeps the focus on radio, and provides a lot of interesting and useful information about the hobby.
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Old 03-04-2017, 4:21 PM
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This steps back to days before I was born, though I visited the location of this island station about 10 years ago.....
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Radio Swan.
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I am curious if anyone out there actually heard it when it was in operation in the 1960's?.
.
I understand it was an AM and HF operation against the Cuban government, operated by the CIA- but I have never run across anyone that heard it on the air.
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(BTW- there is nothing left of the CIA base or the transmitter site on Swan)
.
...............................CF
.
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Old 03-04-2017, 5:46 PM
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@Coyote-Frostbyte:
Radio Swan - somehow that sounds familiar, probably from reading about it in some SWL publications, although I don't remember hearing the station. Nowadays Radio Marti, based in Florida and directed at Cuba, is probably doing the same thing; I can't be sure, because I don't understand Spanish well enough.
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Old 03-04-2017, 7:14 PM
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I was a regular listener of R. Americas in the sixties as a pre and early teen. Under the covers at night I could hear the 1160 kilocycle outlet with my GE AM transistor radio, It was easy to find because of the jammers. Later, when I had a Hallicrafters sw radio I started monitoring their 6000 KCS frequency. The sw outlet left the air for awhile, and I made the NASWA "Flash Sheet" for spotting it on 6000 upon return. That meant I had to use Airmail! Tom Kneital, a famous radio author of the day, really piqued my interest in the station. Somewhere, I have a qsl card or so from them, a letter from the station director, and a pennant. I have checked Swan and Little Swan on Earth, looks beautiful....but I suspect buggy. Please give us your impression of the island, and if the locals there had anything to say about the station. My feeling is that some Hondurans are there nowadays, it would be great to hear about it.....
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Old 03-04-2017, 11:33 PM
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Thank you, p1879 !…I have heard about Swan Island from my earliest years. But like I said, never knew anyone who had actually heard its radio signals.
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I have a family friend, of my father’s, who lived awhile on Swan in the late 60’s, though after the broadcasts had gone off the air. This was shortly before the island was relinquished back to Honduras.
Amy is her name, and she was a “contractor” doing something there with the FAA-- This said; thru out my career I know to just accept what certain people tell me they do is what they do- as I expect the same from them (smiles. )
Swan was but one of Amy’s post’s; she regaled me with tales of other tropical islands- fueling in me, no question, interests which became part of my vocation.
.
It was about ten years ago, my perchance interest in tropical isles got me my opportunity to visit Swan. My agency was looking for a Caribbean test site, possibly leasing back a piece of this island. It was then garrisoned by Honduranian defense forces, and we were their honour’d guests for several days.
We flew there in a military aircraft from Honduras; and though the aircraft’s crew was highly experienced, as the plane made its final approach- the appearance of the island’s runway gave me second thoughts about what we got ourselves into.
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Opppps..I’m getting a bit sidetracked here, sorry…. Just recalling in a stream of thoughts…
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Yes , you are right- the place is quite buggy- though mercifully with few mosquitos. The climate is, well, just by its geography- tropical, humid and hot (in the upper 80’s by day) but a good breeze blows which pseudo-cools things in the day time. The nights, though, are delightful.
The island is over run with huge land crabs( which are delicious) and giant iquanas (which I’m told are also, but I will just take their word..... )
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We did see some pieces of what might have been Radio Swan- a few boxes of old American transmitter parts- some large glass envelope amplifier tubes - but maybe they were left from the former US weather station.
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In the end, nothing came of our Swan trip- it was decided to be elsewhere - but for me it will always be a fun memory (even that airstrip )
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……………………………..CF

P..S- In its day, it was ham callsign prefix KS4 - about as rare a location because of its location, and what went on there, as any ever in the world

Last edited by Coyote-Frostbyte; 03-04-2017 at 11:38 PM..
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Old 03-05-2017, 8:38 PM
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I knew a FAA Radio Tech in the sixties, he told me the FAA was always looking for people for assignment to Swan to maintain the SWA NDB operating there for navaid back then. When I asked him about the other stuff there he grew a bit cagey...
According to Tom Kneital, who visited the island and saw R. Americas, during the Radio Swan incarnation the station transmitted code phrases repetitively on some occasions--one wonders if they were for a real resistance, or psywar to make the Castro regime more paranoid....
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Old 03-05-2017, 9:53 PM
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For those who received mail from the former Soviet Union and other not-so-friendly-to-the-USA countries back during the Cold War, you can request a copy of your FBI file to see if you were, indeed, on some "watch list"


https://www.fbi.gov/services/records...ng-fbi-records

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Old 03-05-2017, 9:54 PM
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Here's a WikiHow article on requesting your FBI file, as well.


3 Ways to Obtain Your FBI File - wikiHow

John
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Old 03-06-2017, 5:17 PM
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" .............during the Radio Swan incarnation the station transmitted code phrases repetitively on some occasions--one wonders if they were for a real resistance, or psywar........" p1879
( a smile to you ,1879....
'
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? - 4Mhz band............
.
.................CF

Last edited by Coyote-Frostbyte; 03-06-2017 at 5:22 PM..
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Old 03-06-2017, 9:24 PM
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Quote:
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? - 4Mhz band............
.
.................CF
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.
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Old 03-06-2017, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
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I've read about number stations in other languages, but I've never actually heard them.
I have heard a few. I really got to hear some stuff, when I worked in a HF receive site, and had access to really nice antennas and receivers.

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Old 03-07-2017, 5:53 PM
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I remember listening to all the biggies back then - Radio Moscow and Radio Peace and Progress from the USSR. Radio Habana of course as it was hard to miss them! Radio Hanoi, Radio Pyongyang, Radio Tirana, and Radio Peking with their interval signal of "The East is Red". The various stations of the Eastern Bloc - Radio Bucharest, Radio Berlin International, Radio Warsaw, Radio Budapest, Radio Belgrade, Radio Prague, etc. While the phrasing may vary from one to the next, the general gist remained consistent. The airwaves were flooded with communist views and derogatory remarks about the west.

With the number of international, regional and local shortwave services on the air, it was a true SWL paradise back then.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/d...00/4537605.stm
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Old 03-07-2017, 10:33 PM
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It's ironic how nostalgic I can get about shortwave listening during the Cold War, when so much of the content back then was garbage from both the communist and anti-communist sides. I guess because I cut my teeth on the hobby back then I still scan the bands expecting to hear lots of that diatribe, when even Radio Havana Cuba's political commentary has softened a bit.

Does anyone remember the English sign-off of Radio Portugal (aka The Voice of the West)? "Goodnight and thank you. The West can and will win."

During the 1980s I bought a little radioteletype reader, and the first RTTY text I managed to decode turned out to be a bulletin from KCNA, the Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang. R. Moscow and R. Beijing were no match for those guys when it came to vitriolic propaganda. That agency, at least their RTTY service, seems to be off the air now.

What I enjoyed the most, however, was hearing the local music of foreign countries. Also, since I've always been interested in languages, it was fun listening to the language lessons, such as Radio Moscow's "Russian by Radio", and Radio Exterior de España's "Spanish Without Tears".
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Old 03-08-2017, 5:40 AM
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Agreed. For as much of the propaganda stuff as was floating around the airwaves, there was also a lot of good stuff. Plenty of musical variety, shows about local culture, DXing programs. I especially liked the music coming out of Peru and Bolivia. The Andean flute music is haunting and beautiful. For a few decades SW was alive with a variety of languages and music from 120 to 13 meters. Though I understand the allure of moving to FM for many small countries, its a shame that the majority have now fallen silent on the shortwave frequencies.
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Old 03-08-2017, 10:30 AM
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Though I understand the allure of moving to FM for many small countries, its a shame that the majority have now fallen silent on the shortwave frequencies.
You can also blame the internet for a lot of that. I guess broadcasting over the web is far less expensive and much more reliable than maintaining all those antenna farms and powerful transmitters.

Even before the internet it was disappointing to learn that some of the really distant stations weren't being received directly anyway, but via relay stations -- Radio Nederland, for instance, with its Caribbean relay station on the island of Bonaire. No challenge in hearing that!

The excitement of shortwave listening is nearly gone, but it doesn't affect the younger generations as much as it does old-timers like myself.
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Old 03-08-2017, 5:26 PM
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There is no doubt that SWL’ing has been a staple of radio since radio’s earliest days. I venture that countless tech’s, engineers, scientists and Hams began their interests as listeners…
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I did
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Unfortunately, I think SWL’ing has fallen, at least in the Western countries, to the ever expanding technologies that have shrunk the world to a single key stroke. Today, its only the rare duck that will navigate the myriad of frequencies, propagation varieties, changing program schedules, technical challenges, ___________(fill in the blank) to listen to the shortwaves….
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Present company, -here,- of course- excluded!.....
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Okay, maybe this is an over generalization; for, after all, plenty of countries out there still spend lots of money on their SW broadcasts- but I dare say most fall on deaf ears in North America.*
.

This will swerve the topic, but I’ll pose it anyway… SWL’ing, in a different form…. as in the very, very! short wavelengths. ….FTA
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Free to Air satellite TV.
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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.

This is where I do my SWL’ing - on very short waves--- the microwaves….. have you others out there done this transition too?


.
…………………………….CF
.
.
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** I still listen, occasionally, to conventional SW, though its usually because bloody country has now chosen one of our HF Com channels as one of their new broadcast frequencies (listening, are we, BBC?.... )

Last edited by Coyote-Frostbyte; 03-08-2017 at 5:34 PM..
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Old 03-08-2017, 11:09 PM
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Today, its only the rare duck that will navigate the myriad of frequencies, propagation varieties, changing program schedules, technical challenges, ___________(fill in the blank) to listen to the shortwaves….
.
Present company, -here,- of course- excluded!.....
Guess I'm one of those rare ducks, too. As for the program schedules, I can get lots of info on them online these days, but when I started out I didn't use any at all. I just tuned around and took my chances. It was far more fun, because there was always a sense of discovery.

The BBC World Service was the first foreign broadcaster I heard as a kid. This was on a big old console radio. Our family's friends and neighbors knew about my fascination with radio, so when they were trying to clear their basements or attics of old radios, they gave them to me to tinker with.

Today, of course, my current digital communications receiver gives me the advantage of reading and keying in exact frequencies instead of trying to guess them on one of those old slide rule or rotary dials, and I no longer have to keep adjusting the tuning to compensate for the drift. However, that was part of what made the hobby so intriguing. Also, the audio quality in those old consoles was much more pleasant.

The last analog radio I owned was a reconditioned Hammarlund SP-600 that I bought at a local radio shop during the 1970s. It had twenty tubes and worked very well, but it was such a boat anchor that when I eventually sold it, I needed help getting it into my car for delivery, because with its 65 pounds it felt heavy enough to sink a battleship (which is where it had probably been used, as it was designed for the military).
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Old 03-09-2017, 8:42 AM
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Some of my favorite propaganda was Radio Moscow Mailbag where Joe Adamov read listeners letters from "the workers paradise". I remember Joe saying he was educated in the US, which explains why his English was so good. He always said he was never a member of the Communist Party. Many considered that a flimsy pretext of credibility but he maintained that after the collapse of the USSR on the Voice of Russia. Does anyone remember when Adamov attended the NASWA Winter SWL Fest? If I remember right that was 1996.

As I recall, the most vile anti-US propaganda was from Radio Tirana. And the endless babble about their fearless thug Enver Hoxha.
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Old 03-09-2017, 9:40 AM
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Some of my favorite propaganda was Radio Moscow Mailbag where Joe Adamov read listeners letters from "the workers paradise". I remember Joe saying he was educated in the US, which explains why his English was so good.
I think he also worked in the U.S. as a foreign correspondent for Soviet media. On Moscow Mailbag he had an amusing habit of following many of his statements with "and that's a fact!"

Many of the other R. Moscow announcers had a good command of English, too; judging by their accents, they were either educated in the U.K. or had been taught in the U.S.S.R by teachers from the U.K.

I once wrote to Moscow Mailbag. When Joe read my letter over the air he not only mispronounced the name of the town I lived in, apparently substituting an A for a U, but also got my last name wrong by substituting an O for a U.
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