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

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.

About the author

This blog is written by a shortwave radio enthusiast based in London, UK. You can follow him on Twitter at @LondonShortwave