Tecsun sessions in a London park: Radio Fana, Voice of America, AIR National Channel

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Thursday, August 16, 2018


On August 6th, 2018, while recording the 22 and the 19 meter bands outdoors using my ultra-portable spectrum capture set-up, I decided to dust off my trusty Tecsun PL-680, hook it up to a simple long wire external antenna and use this rather sensitive radio to venture out to the opposite end of the shortwave spectrum: the 49 meter band. After tuning around for a few minutes I came across Radio Fana on 6110 kHz, which is one of Ethiopia's national stations broadcasting in the Oromo language. Below is my recording of it, starting at 1800 UTC, which I have also shared on the Shortwave Archive.


Radio Fana's transmitter is located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The transmission is non-directional and typically has a power rating of 100 kW. Reception improves markedly around the 30 minute mark in the recording.

At 1900 UTC China Radio International's blowtorch signal eclipsed Radio Fana's transmission, so I continued exploring the nearby frequencies. By chance, I stumbled across an English news bulletin from the Voice of America on 6080 kHz that alluded to what Radio Fana had just been reporting in Oromo (namely, the unrest in the Somali province of Ethiopia that resulted in the resignation its regional leader):


After listening to this news bulletin I decided to jump across to the 31 meter band and quickly found myself listening to this rather nice song on All India Radio's National Channel on 9380 kHz:


After spending the past few months mostly recording portions of the shortwave spectrum outdoors with my various software defined radios I had forgotten how much fun it is to use the Tecsun PL-680 radio, the sensitivity of which easily rivals that of most of the SDRs I have used so far. I'll be sure to use it more often to discover what's happening on the bands while I'm making outdoor spectrum recordings. Continue reading →

Shortwave gems: July – August 2018

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

All India Radio, recorded outdoors on 11560 kHz in London, UK on 31/07/18 at 1658 UTC with GPDWin, AirSpy R2, SpyVerter 2 and Bonito GI300 and Bonito MA305 portable active antenna. Audio only:





Radio Japan, recorded outdoors on 15445 kHz in London, UK on 06/08/18 at 1833 UTC with GPDWin, AirSpy R2, SpyVerter 2 and Bonito GI300 and Bonito MA305 portable active antenna. Audio only:





Radio Oromiya (Ethiopia), recorded outdoors on 6030 kHz in London, UK on 11/08/18 at 1856 UTC with Gole1, AirSpy HF+ and Sony AN-LP1 portable active loop antenna. Audio only:





The Ghoul (UK pirate station), recorded outdoors on 6316 kHz in London, UK on 11/08/18 at 1902 UTC with Gole1, AirSpy HF+ and Sony AN-LP1 portable active loop antenna. Audio only:

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Submission to the Shortwave Archive: Channel Africa

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Thursday, August 02, 2018

Channel Africa recorded outdoors in London, UK on July 31, 2018 at 1700 UTC, on the frequency of 11885 kHz using GPDWin, AirSpy R2, SpyVerter 2, Bonito GI300 isolator and Bonito MA305 active antenna. The transmitter is located in Meyerton, South Africa. This transmission had a power rating of 500 kW and was directed towards Central and West Africa. The recording contains a news bulletin discussing contested election results in Zimbabwe and Mali.

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Submission to the Shortwave Archive: Radio Japan (English)

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Thursday, August 02, 2018

Radio Japan in English recorded in London, UK on July 26, 2018 at 0500 UTC, on the frequency of 9860 kHz using, SDR#, AirSpy Mini, SpyVerter and DX Engineering NCC-1 phaser connected to two Wellbrook ALA1530S+ antennas (positioned indoors) to mitigate severe local man-made interference. The transmitter is located in Santa Maria di Galeria, Italy. This transmission had a power rating of 250 kW and was directed towards West Africa.

The recording contains the news bulletin announcing the execution of the six members of a Japanese doomsday cult, Aum Shinrikyo (including its leader, Shoko Asahara -- real name Chizuo Matsumoto), who were held responsible for the deaths of dozens of people.

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Radio Kuwait's DRM transmission in English

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Saturday, July 21, 2018
Kuwait City
Below is a 30 minute recording of a Digital Radio Mondiale transmission from Radio Kuwait. Roughly speaking, DRM broadcasts are the shortwave (long distance) equivalent of DAB radio, where the audio is encoded digitally to save bandwidth, and — in the case of DRM — improve audio quality. This DRM stream was decoded from an outdoor spectrum recording made on 20/07/18 at 1830 UTC using my ultra-portable spectrum capture set-up. The program starts with the news, followed by western pop music. The video contains diagnostic information in the form of the DRM signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and dropped audio frames. Although DRM broadcasts are usually more challenging to pick up than their analogue counterparts, I would classify this reception as excellent.

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Shortwave gems: June 2018

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Three very interesting tracks I found in my spectrum recordings this month:



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From nuclear tests to a summit with the USA: monitoring North Korea-related news on shortwave

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Friday, June 15, 2018

This post breaks with tradition in that the news events it mentions are listed backwards in time. The post is a collection of recordings I made off shortwave, reflecting significant milestones in the North Korean nuclear crisis to date. The recordings were made between September 3, 2017, when the DPRK conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date, and June 13, 2018, when the North Korean state media reported the meeting between Kim Jong Un and the 45th US President, Donald Trump, one day after the event.

13/06/18: North Korea finally reports the meeting between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump


Voice of Korea on 15245 kHz, recorded outdoors in London, UK on 13/06/18 at 1308 UTC using my portable spectrum capture set-up.


Voice of America's news bulletin, captured immediately following the above broadcast. 15580 kHz recorded outdoors in London, UK on 13/06/18 at 1400 UTC using a Tecsun PL-310 radio and a clip-on long wire antenna.



12/06/18: the North Korea summit in Singapore — the world media react (apart from North Korea)


All recordings were made outdoors in London, UK using my portable spectrum capture set-up.








28/04/18: Kim Jong Un crosses the demarcation line between North and South Korea in Panmunjom


The recording was made outdoors in London, UK using my portable spectrum capture set-up.


September 2017: North Korea conducts its sixth nuclear test


07/09/17: North Korea issues a list of demands to the international community


03/09/17: North Korea announces its sixth nuclear test


As above, the recordings were made outdoors in London, UK using my portable spectrum capture set-up. Continue reading →