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.*

Garry stumbled upon an intriguing discovery during his online perusal: a fascinating blog post that sheds light on the enigmatic world of amateur radio activity. We’re thrilled to share this valuable information with you, sourced from EI7GL’s “A Diary of Amateur Radio Activity” Blogspot.

In the heart of Alaska lies the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), a pioneering initiative delving into the mysteries of the ionosphere. HAARP boasts a formidable high-power, high-frequency (HF) transmitter designed explicitly for ionospheric studies. At its core lies a sophisticated array of 180 HF crossed-dipole antennas, capable of emitting a staggering 3.6 megawatts into the upper atmosphere and ionosphere. This advanced system allows for flexible transmission frequencies ranging from 2.7 to 10 MHz.

Exciting news awaits as the research team at HAARP announces upcoming tests scheduled from February 28th to March 3rd, 2024. During this period, the program will conduct a comprehensive research campaign, with operating frequencies meticulously detailed. While the precise transmit days and times remain contingent upon real-time ionospheric and geomagnetic conditions, the team has outlined a series of experiments slated for exploration.

These experiments encompass a diverse range of objectives, including the production of Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) and Very Low Frequency (VLF) emissions, along with investigations into the impact of ionospheric plasma waves on orbiting satellites.

The findings from these endeavors promise to deepen our understanding of ELF/VLF wave dynamics and pave the way for future explorations into satellite interactions within space plasma.

For enthusiasts keen on delving deeper into HAARP’s research initiatives, the program’s FAQ page provides invaluable insights. Additionally, numerous experiments will operate at frequencies aligned with the f0F2 frequency derived from Gakona ionograms. Those interested in contributing reception reports are encouraged to reach out to HAARP via the provided contact information.

For real-time updates on ionospheric conditions in Gakona, individuals can consult ionograms from the HAARP Diagnostic Suite. Furthermore, for a comprehensive understanding of HF propagation and ionogram analysis, Bootstrap Workbench offers a helpful video resource.

With these resources at our disposal, lets explore this fascinating world!!

*Source for images and information (information has been re written fro this blog) https://ei7gl.blogspot.com/2024/02/notice-upcoming-haarp-ionospheric-tests.html

 

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.

Shortwave radio listening, or SWLing, is a unique hobby that holds a special allure for enthusiasts. It’s a bit like finding hidden treasures in a vast, mysterious landscape, akin to discovering Easter eggs in video games. The enjoyment of SWLing stems from uncovering something that has always been there, waiting to be found, yet often overlooked or dismissed.

If you’re a dedicated shortwave radio enthusiast, you know that a significant part of the enjoyment comes from DXing. DXing, or long-distance listening, is the practice of tuning into distant radio stations, often from other countries or continents. It’s the equivalent of embarking on a grand adventure, where the reward is the joy of discovering elusive signals amidst the cacophony of static and interference. However, DXing is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to maximizing your SWLing experience. Here, we explore additional tips to help you get the best out of your shortwave radio journey.

 

  1. Understand the Basics: The 25-30-20-25 Rule

To fully appreciate the magic of shortwave radio, it’s essential to grasp the fundamentals. SWLing is not just about the radio itself; it’s a synergy of factors that contribute to the overall experience. Imagine it like this: 25% of the magic lies in the radio you use, 30% is in your outdoor antenna setup, 20% depends on your knowledge of the right time and frequencies for listening, and the remaining 25% revolves around your location. For optimal results, invest in a good radio, set up an efficient antenna, master the art of timing, and seek out quiet places for listening.

 

  1. Dive into the Metaphorical World of SWLing

There’s a beautiful metaphorical world that can be associated with SWLing, allowing you to look beyond the surface and appreciate the deeper meaning of this hobby. Consider some of these associations:

Tuning into Enjoyable Frequencies: Just as in SWLing, in life, you can choose to tune into the enjoyable frequencies. Identify the things that bring you joy, fulfillment, satisfaction, and make a conscious effort to incorporate them into your daily routine.

Reducing Noise and Adjusting the Tuning: Life often presents noise in the form of irritations, annoyances, and distractions. Like adjusting the tuning on your radio, you can reduce this noise by addressing these irritations and finding ways to enhance your comfort and enjoyment.

The Tuning Is Off: Sometimes, the outcomes in life may not align with your desired goals. Just as in SWLing, where the tuning can be slightly off, in life, you may need to recalibrate your efforts and strategies to get closer to your desired outcomes.

Incorporating these metaphorical perspectives into your SWLing experience can add depth and meaning to your hobby, helping you draw parallels between the art of listening to shortwave radio and the art of living a fulfilling life.

SWLing is a journey of exploration, both in terms of uncovering hidden radio signals and discovering the subtle, metaphorical messages it holds for our lives. By understanding the 25-30-20-25 rule, investing in quality equipment, and embracing the metaphorical aspects, you can truly unlock the magic of shortwave radio and enjoy the profound rewards it offers. So, keep tuning in, and let the hidden secrets of the shortwave world continue to captivate your imagination and enrich your life.

 

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/