In the vast expanse of Death Valley National Park, a remote desert in southern California, modern connectivity often falls short. On a fateful Saturday, April 6, a family’s adventure took an unexpected turn when their vehicle became trapped in mud in a hazardous area, leaving them without cell service. In this critical moment, amateur radio proved to be their saving grace.

Caleb Gustwiller, KD8TGB, a dedicated radio amateur from Ohio, sprang into action upon receiving the distress call. Monitoring the 10-meter band, Gustwiller managed to pick up the call sign and approximate location of the ham in distress. Despite losing the signal amidst the noise, he swiftly turned to the Parks on the Air® Facebook group, rallying fellow hams to lend their ears and assistance.

Thanks to the collective efforts of the amateur radio community, several hams reached out to emergency officials in southern California. This timely intervention led to the rapid rescue of the stranded family by park rangers, averting what could have been a tragic outcome. The Black Swamp Amateur Radio Club emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating, “Without Caleb hearing this distress call, it could have quickly become a very deadly situation for the operator and his family.”

This remarkable incident underscores the invaluable role of amateur radio in providing communication lifelines, especially in remote and challenging environments. It serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of community, collaboration, and the enduring spirit of ham radio operators worldwide.

 *Full credit to the source for this article  ARRL Letter (http://arrl.org/arrlletter?issue=2024-04-11)*

As a passionate enthusiast of all things radio-related, stumbling upon a thought-provoking article titled “Why Is Shortwave Only ‘the Radio of Last Resort’? Its powerful new capabilities remain largely unexplored” by Simon Keens of Radio World ignited a spark of curiosity within me. Shortwave radio, often dubbed as the ‘radio of last resort,’ has long lingered in the shadows of modern communication technologies. Yet, its potential remains vast and largely untapped.

In an age dominated by digital streaming services and satellite communication, shortwave radio might seem antiquated to some. However, delving deeper into Keens’ article revealed a different narrative – one that speaks of resilience, versatility, and the potential for innovation within the realm of shortwave broadcasting.

The article shed light on the multifaceted capabilities of shortwave radio, highlighting its ability to traverse vast distances with minimal infrastructure. Unlike its counterparts, shortwave signals can propagate over thousands of kilometres, making it an invaluable tool for global communication, especially in remote or disaster-stricken regions where traditional means of communication may falter.

What struck me the most was the notion that shortwave radio is often perceived as a ‘last resort’ rather than a primary means of communication. This begs the question: why is such a powerful medium relegated to the sidelines? Is it due to the allure of modern technology or simply a lack of awareness about its potential?

Keens’ article challenged me to reconsider my own perceptions of shortwave radio and prompted me to embark on a journey of exploration into its capabilities. As I delved deeper into the world of shortwave broadcasting, I was astonished by the wealth of content and diversity of voices that permeate the airwaves.

From international news broadcasts and cultural programs to amateur radio operators and clandestine stations, shortwave radio offers a tapestry of voices that transcend borders and ideologies. It serves as a platform for free expression and cultural exchange, fostering connections between individuals and communities across the globe.

 The resilience of shortwave radio in the face of adversity cannot be overstated. During times of crisis, when other forms of communication may fail, shortwave radio often emerges as a lifeline, providing vital information and fostering a sense of solidarity among listeners.

Yet, despite its undeniable strengths, shortwave radio continues to face challenges in an increasingly digitalised world. The proliferation of internet-based communication platforms and the decline of traditional broadcasting have posed significant obstacles to the growth of shortwave radio.

However, rather than viewing these challenges as insurmountable barriers, we should see them as opportunities for innovation and adaptation. As technology evolves, so too should our approach to shortwave broadcasting. By embracing digital advancements and exploring new modes of content delivery, we can breathe new life into this time-honoured medium.

My encounter with Simon Keens’ enlightening article on shortwave radio served as a catalyst for reevaluation and exploration. It reminded me of the enduring power and potential of this oft-overlooked medium and inspired me to advocate for its revitalisation.

As we navigate an increasingly interconnected yet fragmented world, the role of shortwave radio as a beacon of communication and cultural exchange has never been more vital. It is my hope that through continued innovation and collaboration, we can unlock the full potential of shortwave radio and usher in a new era of global connectivity and understanding.

As we eagerly anticipate the upcoming solar eclipse on April 9, it’s essential to understand how this celestial event can influence HF signal propagation. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, momentarily blocking the sun’s rays. This interruption in solar radiation can have significant effects on the Earth’s ionosphere, particularly in the altitude range of 60 to 90kms.

During a solar eclipse, the reduction in solar radiation leads to a corresponding decrease in ionization in the ionosphere. This reduction in ionization can disrupt HF signal propagation, affecting radio signals, GSP navigation systems, and shortwave communications. The sudden change in ionospheric conditions can create challenges for radio operators and listeners alike.

However, despite the potential disruptions, the solar eclipse also presents a unique opportunity for amateur radio operators and shortwave listeners. It offers a firsthand opportunity to observe and study the effects of a solar eclipse on radio wave propagation. In particular, shortwave listeners may notice improved reception of LW signals, including time signals, as discussed in our recent blog post.

We encourage listeners to share any signal reports logged during this period, as it will contribute to our collective understanding of solar eclipse effects on radio communication.

This blog post is brought to you by Garry from Tecsun Radios Australia.

With years of experience as a dedicated hobbyist, Garry is passionate about exploring the fascinating world of radio communication and sharing his insights with fellow enthusiasts.

Stay tuned for more updates and insights from Tecsun Radios Australia. Happy listening!

Best regards,

Garry from Tecsun Radios Australia

Hey there fellow shortwave enthusiasts!

I’m Garry from Tecson, and I’m thrilled to share with you the latest schedule for Radio New Zealand International (RNZI). Thanks to a fellow enthusiast who passed this along, we’re excited to dive into what RNZI has to offer our community.

RNZI has long been a cornerstone for those of us passionate about shortwave radio, providing in-depth news coverage, current affairs insights, and captivating audio features. Now, with their updated schedule effective March 31st, there’s even more to look forward to.

New Schedule Highlights:

Maintenance Day: Keep in mind, folks, that RNZI observes Maintenance Day on the first Wednesday of every month. From 2230 to 0600 UTC (Thursdays 1030 to 1800 NZST), there might be some interruptions to our regular programming. But hey, it’s all in the name of keeping those airwaves clear and crisp!

Satellite Availability: For those who prefer satellite access, RNZI has got you covered, thanks to TVNZ Pacific Service. Now you can tune in with ease, no matter where you are.

Frequency Details for RNZI:

– Satellite Slot: IS19/23 C Slot A

– Downlink Frequency:** 4146.5 V

– FEC:** 3/4

– Symbol Rate:** 5.6320

So there you have it, folks! With RNZI’s new schedule and these handy frequency details, we’re all set for some top-notch shortwave listening. Let’s keep those radios tuned and those ears open for the incredible stories and insights RNZI has in store for us.

 

Happy listening.

If you’re captivated by unique radio facilities, then you’re in for a treat. Join us on a journey to discover one of the most picturesque shortwave transmitter sites nestled in the heart of the tropics. Today, we’re delving into the story of KTWR, a beacon of broadcasting excellence stationed on the tranquil shores of Guam. Inspired by a captivating article on RadioWorld.com, we invite you to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of shortwave broadcasting with us.

 

Unveiling KTWR

 

Since its inception in 1954, Trans World Radio (TWR) has been on a mission to spread the gospel far and wide through the airwaves. Broadcasting in over 200 languages across 190 countries, TWR’s legacy of connectivity and outreach is truly awe-inspiring. Among its illustrious portfolio of transmitter sites, one gem stands out—the serene locale of KTWR on the idyllic island of Guam.

 

Journey to Micronesia

 

Located in Micronesia, Guam serves as the home base for KTWR, reaching listeners across Asia with its powerful shortwave transmissions. From the icy expanses of Siberia to the sun-kissed shores of Indonesia, KTWR’s signal resonates far and wide, carrying messages of hope and faith to diverse communities.

 

Engineering Marvels

 

At the heart of KTWR’s broadcasting prowess lies its impressive infrastructure. With three transmitters and a suite of TCI curtain antennas, KTWR’s technological arsenal is a testament to human ingenuity and dedication. Installed and maintained by a team of skilled personnel and volunteers, these cutting-edge facilities ensure uninterrupted transmission of TWR’s life-changing programs.

 

Nature’s Resilience

 

However, life on Guam isn’t without its challenges. As a territory prone to natural disasters, Guam has weathered its fair share of storms, including the formidable Typhoon Mawar in 2023. Despite the devastation wrought by Mawar’s fury, KTWR emerged resilient, its towers standing tall amidst the chaos. With a spirit of perseverance, the team at KTWR swiftly embarked on the path to recovery, reinforcing their commitment to serve communities in times of adversity.

 

A lesson learned

 

The aftermath of Typhoon Mawar serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of preparedness in the face of uncertainty. As KTWR resumed its broadcast after a brief hiatus, the incident underscored the resilience of human spirit and the indomitable power of radio to transcend barriers and unite communities.

 

As we reflect on the tale of KTWR, we’re reminded of the enduring allure of shortwave broadcasting and its ability to weave together the fabric of humanity. From the tranquil shores of Guam to the farthest reaches of Asia, KTWR’s signal serves as a beacon of hope, lighting the way for those in need. So, the next time you tune into the airwaves, remember the remarkable journey of KTWR—a testament to the indomitable spirit of radio in the modern age.

 

*Note: This blog has been reimagined from a captivating article on RadioWorld.com, showcasing the extraordinary story of KTWR’s transmitter site in the tropics.*

In a significant move to modernise its broadcasting infrastructure, Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) has breathed new life into its iconic shortwave transmitter site located in Kajang, just south of Kuala Lumpur. Established in the early 1970s, the site has played a pivotal role in RTM’s history, even as the broadcaster scaled back its shortwave offerings over the years.

The need for rejuvenation arose when an aging Transradio DMOD3 exciter, responsible for feeding the site’s Continental Electronics shortwave transmitter, faced technical issues. Responding to the challenge, RTM made the decision to usher in a new era by installing the RFmondial LVe digital broadcast exciter.

While RTM’s current plans focus on analog broadcasts, the LVe introduces a forward-looking capability, supporting the potential for simulcasting both analog and DRM digital signals. This strategic upgrade positions RTM to adapt to evolving broadcasting standards and audience preferences.

RFmondial’s Dr. Albert Waal (right) with RTM engineer Yusuf Azizi. (Photo Courtesy of RFmondial)

Dr. Albert Waal, head of hardware development for RFmondial, expressed his enthusiasm for the project, stating, “It was a great honor to upgrade this famous Malaysian transmitter site and to work with the very professional and kind staff of station engineer Yusuf Azizi and his team.”

This transformative initiative not only safeguards the operational continuity of the RTM site but also underscores the broadcaster’s commitment to staying at the forefront of broadcasting technology. As RTM embraces the future, the LVe exciter stands as a symbol of innovation, ensuring the site’s continued significance in the broadcasting landscape.

Source: Radioworld – https://www.radioworld.com/

WBCQ is a shortwave station operating from Monticelle in Northern Maine, North America that transmits a wide (perhaps the widest) variety of programs on legal shortwave

The high-power antenna offers different radiation patterns and an antenna gain of up to 23 dB and uses a technology characterized by a single-shaft structural design,” according to Cestron International the installer of the antenna in a project summary.

The tubular shaft has a diameter of four meters. Its support design will absorb static and dynamic forces originating from the antenna components, allowing the system to function even under extreme weather conditions, according to Cestron.

The antenna consists of low- and high-band array antennas, positioned back to back, each equipped with a reflector screen, allowing WBCQ to access all shortwave frequency bands between 6 MHz and 26 MHz.

A computer-controlled and -monitored system manages rotation and turns toward the coverage area using the shortest possible path. “Intelligent drive control ensures the large rotating part of the structure is jolt-free, starting and braking to standstill with a high rotation speed of 1.2 degrees per second and a positioning accuracy of < 1 degree,” according to Cestron.

At 500 kW with an ERP of 20 MW, it is one of the most powerful shortwave stations in the USA.

See below QSL card Garry received from them.

In a strategic move towards enhancing broadcasting capabilities in the Pacific region, Radio New Zealand (RNZ) has bid farewell to its long-serving 34-year-old shortwave Thompson transmitter, colloquially known as “Transmitter 1.” This transmitter, one of two facilitating analogue and digital radio broadcasts to the Pacific, has been powered down for the last time in preparation for the installation of a cutting-edge Swiss-made Ampegon shortwave transmitter at RNZ’s Rangitaiki site.

This undertaking represents a significant milestone for RNZ, which has relied on shortwave radio for the past 75 years to disseminate broadcasts across the vast Pacific. The replacement of the aging Transmitter 1 signifies a pivotal step in the futureproofing of RNZ’s service.

Installed just outside of Taupō in 1989, Transmitter 1, a 100-kilowatt Thompson unit, played a crucial role during the Commonwealth Games in Auckland in 1990. However, with the challenges posed by obsolete parts and the transmitter’s exclusive capability for analogue transmission, its replacement became imperative.

The forthcoming Ampegon shortwave transmitter, capable of both digital and analogue transmission, is en route to New Zealand after being meticulously crafted at Ampegon’s factory in Switzerland. Yet, before the new transmitter can be operational, Transmitter 1 must undergo decommissioning, with salvageable parts reserved for future use.

RNZ’s Transmission Engineer Specialist, Steve White, acknowledged the complexities of the switchover, highlighting the need to dismantle Transmitter 1 integrated into the existing building. White explained, “It will take around four weeks to completely dismantle Transmitter 1… We need to isolate the transmitter from the main switchboard, as well as drain the fluids that help cool the transmitter before breaking it into parts.”

The installation of the Ampegon transmitter is anticipated to commence in January, with an estimated six weeks for installation, six weeks for commissioning, and additional time for training. The operational date for the new transmitter is projected to be 1 May 2024.

Once Transmitter 1 is replaced, RNZ will boast two transmitters capable of both analogue and digital transmissions, ensuring a robust backup system in case of technical issues.

In the interim, RNZ Pacific Manager Moera Tuilaepa-Taylor assured that alternative means of accessing RNZ content would be communicated to all Pacific partners. While the analogue service experiences a reduction during the transition period, RNZ content can still be accessed via satellite, downloads, or livestreaming through the official website.

RNZ Chief Executive and Editor in Chief, Paul Thompson, emphasized the indispensable role RNZ plays in the Pacific region, providing critical information during events such as the Tonga eruption when undersea cables were severed. Recognizing its significance, the Government allocated $4.4 million in capital funding for a new transmitter for RNZ Pacific as part of Budget 2022, reaffirming its commitment to the international service provided by RNZ in both English and Pacific languages.

In a momentous stride toward enhancing its broadcasting capabilities, on July 30, 2023, Radio Pakistan embarked on the groundbreaking ceremony for an expansive transmission facility, poised to connect the diverse tapestry of nations spanning from the Mediterranean to the Pacific.

The heart of this transformative endeavor revolves around the installation of a cutting-edge 1,000 kW Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) transmitter at the eminent Radio Pakistan high-power transmission complex, strategically situated near the capital city of Islamabad. This monumental project comes with a price tag of approximately 4 billion rupees (nearly US$14 million) and is slated for completion by the year 2025.

Central to this project’s significance is its alignment with the Digital Radio Mondiale standard, which is a monumental leap into the digital age for Radio Pakistan. This groundbreaking move underscores Radio Pakistan’s commitment to modernization, leveraging state-of-the-art technology to usher in a new era of broadcasting excellence.

Image via https://www.radioworld.com/

Guiding this landmark occasion was the honorable Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Marriyum Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb highlighted the pivotal role that this initiative would play in expanding Radio Pakistan’s reach, resonating across 52 nations spanning South Asia, Central Asia, the Far East, Middle East, and even Eastern Europe.

Quoting her words:

It’s worth noting that Radio Pakistan, since its inception in 1947, has primarily relied on analog medium, and shortwave transmitters. However, this transformational project acknowledges the changing tides of technology. Out of its current inventory of 20 transmitters, 14 have outlived their utility. This forward-thinking initiative is set to redefine broadcasting norms by empowering Radio Pakistan to transmit up to four distinct signals concurrently with remarkable efficiency. Moreover, the energy-efficient design of the 1,000 kW DRM transmitter is expected to reduce energy consumption by an impressive 33%, subsequently leading to substantial savings in operating costs.

Beyond the transmitter’s exceptional capabilities, Marriyum Aurangzeb revealed another ambitious plan that aligns seamlessly with the government’s vision. A new media city is poised to take shape in Rawat, complementing Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visionary commitment to bolstering investment in information technology and media technologies. This holistic approach aims not only to cultivate enhanced employment opportunities but also to actively engage the youth with the captivating world of radio.

As the groundbreaking ceremony set the wheels in motion for this transformative endeavor, Pakistan takes a bold step toward shaping the future of broadcasting. With the fusion of tradition and modernity, the country’s rich tapestry of culture, identity, and communication is set to resonate across borders, reaffirming the enduring power of the airwaves to unite, inform, and inspire.

This article was reproduced by Tecsun Radios Australia from the original article posted on https://www.radioworld.com/

International broadcaster DW Arabic, has introduced a new radio program called “Sudan Now.” This 30-minute daily program is broadcast in Arabic and can be accessed through various platforms such as shortwave radio, Hotbird, SES-5 satellites, and the DW Arabic website.

“Sudan Now” aims to deliver unbiased coverage of current issues in the region, fostering political, social, and cultural dialogue through engaging interviews, talk shows, and reports. 

This program fills a critical information gap in Sudan, where independent sources are scarce, and established media face challenges broadcasting due to internet outages and ongoing conflicts. To overcome these obstacles, “Sudan Now” has been strategically designed for transmission via shortwave radio and the Hotbird- and SES-5 satellites, enabling listeners in the target region to receive the program on their TV sets.

Dr. Nadja Scholz, the Managing Director of Programming at DW, emphasised the necessity of providing the people in Sudan with dedicated programming that offers independent, current, and in-depth information. By utilising shortwave radio, DW expands its reach and ensures access to a wide audience.

Manuela Kasper-Claridge, DW’s editor-in-chief, underlined the urgency of the situation in Sudan, where the humanitarian crisis persists and access to free and independent information is severely limited. The introduction of this Arabic-language radio program is a significant step towards addressing this critical need.

Starting from Monday, June 26, 2023, “Sudan Now” will air every weekday at 2:30 pm (local time, GMT+2), with a repeat broadcast at 8:30 pm. Listeners can tune in to the program on shortwave frequencies 15275 kHz/17800 kHz in the afternoon and 15275 kHz/17840 kHz in the evening.

The launch of “Sudan Now” reflects DW Arabic’s commitment to providing vital information and facilitating dialogue in a region grappling with ongoing conflicts and limited access to independent media.

Information from this article was sourced from :https://corporate.dw.com/en/sudan-now-dw-arabic-launches-new-radio-program-for-sudan/a-66036734