Sunday, August 02, 2015

MN.08.03.1984: Propagation & Radio Truth


This is a news edition of the show. The Catholic church is increasing its power in the light of the success of HCJB in Quito Ecuador. There is a new transmitter site being built in Sveio, Norway. (Note there is video on YouTube of the antenna being dismantled in 2012). Jim Vastenhoud talks about the possible move to Single Sideband. There's a promo for the Receiver Shopping List Edition 7 because 18 new receivers have come onto the world market. African Media Network reporter Richard Ginbey has noted Angola is now operating 24 hours a day. A lot of stations are drifting down the dial. We look at Radio Truth, a station beaming from South Africa towards Zimbabwe. We ask what's happened to Radio Database International and talk to Larry Magne.  


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.23.03.1984 SW Commercial Radio & Philips AC739


This edition of the programme involved phoning more than 9 different shortwave stations in the USA as non-government licences to broadcast internationally were dished out by the FCC, following the lead of WRNO in New Orleans. We also tested the Philips AC739, one of the few car radio shortwave receivers with more than the 49 metre band on them. I guess there are probably no surviving examples for this set left on the planet. I remember using it for a couple of years, but it was incredibly fiddly to change stations. Not recommended while driving.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.19.04.1984. ICOM ICR71E


These days it would be daft to broadcast long technical reviews of radio receivers over the radio. But in 1984, there were few sources of independent information about the performance of shortwave radios. So we used to send out lots of copies of our on-air reviews. This edition contains our summary of the ICOM-ICR71E, a communications receiver which was around until the mid-90's. 


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.15.11.1984. WMLK & Gordon Bennett


This edition of the programme looked at WMLK, a religious radio station in Bethel, PA USA. YouTube now has video from the transmission site we're talking about in the programme. We also talked to UK listener Gordon Bennett about receiver specifications and the lack of standards in measuring radio sets. Pete Myers reports on the FRG-8800 from Yaesu. It can be controlled by a home computer. The ICOM ICR-71 interface has disappointed some. We review the book Harrier at War by Alfred Price about the radio side to the Falklands Conflict in 1982. This book looks at electronic warfare and the huge amount of money spent on deliberate interference. Richard Ginbey has a Mediaview feature on broadcasting in Rwanda. As usual it has some rather unique off-air recordings. We talk with Nevil Gray, who used to work with Deutsche Welle about the "Publicity in Africa project" which turned out to be a tax dodge. Andy Sennitt has news about King of Hope in Lebanon. Radio Netherlands new transmitters on the Flevo polder are testing on 9895 kHz next week.  


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.14.06.1984.EDXC Stockholm


I remember this trip to Stockholm as though it were yesterday. I tried to cover this DX convention at Radio Sweden by editing interviews in my hotel room and then rushing back to Swedish radio to feed the result down a line to Hilversum so it could be cut into the broadcast tape of Media Network. I underestimated the complexity of the process, especially as I was used to fine editing with a razor blade and the UHER reel to reel tape was so thin it curled on the splicing block.

The European DX Council meetings were mainly social gatherings - I rather enjoyed them. This was the first time I met Media Network contributor Victor Goonetilleke from Sri Lanka. I remember him shivering as we all waited for the boat trip on a summer evening. The programme also contains contributions from Professor John Campbell and Richard Ginbey has some unique recordings from Radio Cameroon. 


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.16.02.1984 Australia


This programme includes news of the rebuild of Radio Australia's Darwin transmission facility, following damage by Cyclone Tracy in 1974. Barry Seeber reports that 3 250 kW are being tested. The English language broadcasts will be relayed by Darwin once the station is fully operational.

We also had news of shortwave tests from KFBS Saipan. They were using a 100 kW transmitter. Both Arthur Cushen and Victor Goonetilleke report good reception. The BBC has announced plans for a satellite TV service. Sinclair computing is interested in producing receivers for the home. We review the ICR-71 communications receiver - and the fact that the radio has 32 memories!

Bill Whitacre reports from Washington DC that stations in Honduras are being heard well on the US East Coast. Following a tip from Roger Tidy, we picked up Laser 729 kHz in Hilversum is back on the air.  


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.15.03.1984.CFRB Toronto


From time to time we mentioned the low-power Canadian shortwave relays on the Media Network programme. These transmissions were originally intended for listeners in the far North of Canada as a way of hearing some of the commercial stations. But when part of the antenna came down in the storm, the owners decided to switch to an omnidirectional pattern. CFRB/CFRX in Toronto was featured in this 1984 edition of Media Network. The photo is of Harold Sellers, one of the founders of the Ontario DX Association, who still responds to reception reports for those lucky enough to hear the station. In the end, these stations lasted longer than Radio Canada International.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.21.07.1984 200th show including RNTC


In July 2004 I decided it was time to use the summer to reorganise the Media Network archive. By that time, there were around 180 shows which I had made, plus several DX Juke Box specials from previous presenters. We were also getting correspondence from listeners in North America asking us to cover home computers and do less on antennas and build-your-own equipment like aerial preselectors. We decided to revamp the consumer guides like the Receiver Shopping List. Looking back on it, these were probably some of the most comprehensive publications of their day.  

This edition was also the first time we profiled the Radio Netherlands Training Centre. Started in 1969 in combination with Philips, the training centre became very important to Radio Netherlands strategy in Africa and Latin America. I find it fascinating to listen to the philosophy of Jaap Swart, the centre's first managing director because I think it still applies more than 30 years later. 


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

Friday, July 24, 2015

MN.03.05.1984 Spy Intruders & UBIX


It wasn't often that the spy number stations strayed into the part of the dial reserved for ham radio operators. But on this occasion, radio amateurs in Germany and Austria were furious when one of the espionage senders did just that. They did some direction finding and pinpointed the signal as coming from Czechoslovakia. We also look at the clandestine transmissions beaming across the straits of Florida. Robert Horvitz asked the organisers of Radio Abdala what was holding up their return to the airwaves. Dennis Powell has news about a new type of rating system to find out what motorists are listening to. It is called Audiscan.  Universal Shortwave has set up an electronic bulletin board and Dxers Directory. Fred Osterman explains. Remember this is about 10 years before the Internet was opened up to the general public. 


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

MN.10.05.1984. Sky Channel & Laser 558


We start the programme with several reports from listeners that Laser Radio is back from the North Sea, this time on a new frequency of 558 kHz. They are advertising for DJ's from a PO Box address in Grand Central Station, New York City. Prof John Campbell has been investigating The Voice of National Resistance of Mozambique which has been closed down as part of an agreement between South Africa and Mozambique. Radio Free Suriname is still on the air on 6850 kHz. There seem to be several unofficial FM pirates operating in German from Belgium near Aachen. Bob Chaundy reports on the Philips D7456 cassette radio and 9 band shortwave receiver. There is African Media News with Richard Ginbey who reports on stations from Southern Africa. 

There are problems with a Japanese DBS satellite. Radio Japan's signal to their Gabon relay station has been interrupted for several days. Radio Sweden has changed its interval signal. Iraq has started using 13 MHz. Sky Channel's Patrick Cox explains why it has taken so long to get their signal distributed in the Netherlands.


This episode is hosted on the Media Network vintage vault

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