Farewell to Radio Belarus

1
Thursday, March 31, 2016
As reported by the SWLing Post and other shortwave radio news outlets, Radio Belarus will cease broadcasting from midnight tonight (April 1, 2016). Their announcement reads as follows:
Due to the fact that National Government Broadcasting Company of Belarus Republic refused services of the Belarus Radio and TV Transmitting Center, since April, 01 transmission of radio programs of “1 National Channel of Belarus Radio” and “Radiostation Belarus” on LW, MW and SW bands will stop: 
– by transmitting center in Kolodishci:
– “1 National Channel of Belarus Radio” on 7255 KHz, 250 KW
– “Radiostation Belarus” on 11930 KHz, 250 KW
– “Radiostation Belarus” on 11730 KHz, 150 KW
– “1 National Channel of Belarus Radio” on 6080 KHz, 150 KW
– by Osipovich transmitting center in Sosnovy:
– “1 National Channel of Belarus Radio” on 279 KHz, 500 KW
– “Radiostation Belarus” on 1170 KHz, 800 KW
(Translation courtesy of Igor at SWLing Post, read the original announcement in Russian here).


I can't say that I had been a regular listener of Radio Belarus in the past but I was sad to see yet another national station leave shortwave. I headed to my local park and tuned into 11730 kHz using my Tecsun PL-680 (actually slightly off frequency, to 11726 kHz, so as to cope with co-channel interference; synchronous single sideband wasn't an option — using it exacerbated the station's trademark hum for some unknown reason). Below are my recordings:

Radio Belarus (Belorussian)


Radio Belarus in Belorussian recorded outdoors in London, UK on March 31, 2016 at 1256 UTC, on the frequency of 11730 kHz using a Tecsun PL-680 radio and the supplied external antenna. The transmitter has a power rating of 150 kW and is located in Minsk, Belarus. The characteristic hum and low modulation typical of Radio Belarus are present in this recording. At 1330 UTC, BBC Bangla started broadcasting on the same frequency.



Click here to download the recording // Link to the original SRAA submission

Radio Belarus (Russian)


Radio Belarus in Russian recorded outdoors in London, UK on March 31, 2016 at 1439 UTC, on the frequency of 11730 kHz using a Tecsun PL-680 radio and the supplied external antenna. The transmitter has a power rating of 150 kW and is located in Minsk, Belarus. The characteristic hum and low modulation typical of Radio Belarus are present in this recording.



Click here to download the recording // Link to the original SRAA submission

I wanted to record the station's final English language broadcast at 2200 UTC but my tests from yesterday indicate that by the time it is aired there will no longer be a good enough propagation path to hear it here in London. I hope someone else can record it!

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Unusual Music on DPRK Radio

0
Thursday, March 03, 2016
Juche Tower, Pyongyang by groucho
Today, while listening to DPRK's Voice of Korea Russian Service, I heard what sounded like traditional Korean music. I found this rather unusual, since their playlist typically consists of military choir recordings, marches, solemn patriotic songs and the occasional bit of light pop music (none of which sound particularly Korean). Below is my recording of this piece, made outdoors using a Tecsun PL-680 radio and the supplied external antenna (15245 kHz on 03/03/2016 at 0918 UTC):



Indeed, my friends on Twitter, Mark Fahey of Behind The Curtain and Thomas Witherspoon of SWLing.com — both experts on North Korean radio — were equally surprised:
Below is the full recording from which the above audio clip was taken (15245 kHz on 03/03/2016 at 0903 UTC):



Click here to download the recording.

Another interesting thing about this broadcast was a song in Russian by Sultan Karimov, a popular Kyrgyz singer. The song, titled "Love!" (imperative verb),  is in praise of one's wife, whom one must love very much and recognise her role in the functioning of the revolutionary socialist society. Introducing it, the presenter goes as far as to say that "the song is dedicated to beloved wives, who are not only responsible for family life but are also one of the wheels in the cart of communal life". I have not been able to find a trace of it anywhere else, which probably means that it was specially commissioned by North Korea. You can find it at 11 minutes 58 seconds into the full recording.

It appears that Voice of Korea are diversifying their playlist somewhat, though perhaps not in the way one might have expected.

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