Friday, July 31, 2015

QSLs for July 2015

NBC Radio New Ireland - Singaut Bilong Drongo (eQSL) transmitting from Kavieng, New Ireland, Papua New Guinea

International Radio Serbia (QSL Card) transmitting  from Bijeljina (Bosnia-Herzegovina)

Radio Bahrain relay of Shabab FM (eQSL) transmitting Abu Hayan, Kingdom of Bahrain

 Radio Romania International (QSL Card) transmitting from Tiganesti, Romania

Voice of Vietnam (QSL Card) transmitting from Moosbrunn, Austria

 Voice of Vietnam (QSL Card) transmitting from Woofferton, UK

Voice of Vietnam / Die Stimme Vietnams (QSL Card) transmitting from Dhabbaya, UAE

 Radio Brasil Central* (QSL Card) transmitting from Goiania, Brazil
Trans World Radio (eQSL) transmitting from Moosbrunn, Austria

*Remote SDR receiver at the University of Twente (The Netherlands)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

About Radio New Ireland SW Transmitter

Recently I learned the 10 kW shortwave transmitter of NBC Radio New Ireland in Kavieng, PNG would be phased out.

For many years the station operated on 3.905 kHz, and could be heard occasionally outside New Ireland in regions as far flung as North America, South America, Asia and Europe. I noticed a few months back that  their signal had disappeared, here in South East Asia, and I had thought it was perhaps a seasonal anomaly.

When I received a QSL from Radio New Ireland, just a few days ago, it was the first news I had heard of their imminent closure. On learning this I contacted Michael Samuga, NBC Provincial Radio Network Manager, to enquire about NBC's future plans for Radio New Ireland.

He had this to say about the SW transmitter at Radio New Ireland, "Unfortunately our SW Tx in Kavieng has finally succumbed to age and lack of parts. NBC already has plans to bring back our SW service both on National and Provincial front, but the cost is pretty much a challenge which we will furnish to government for funding on a phased basis. The new SW Tx we are looking at are DRM compatible. As I've said, it's still in plan and I am in no position to give you a timeline".

Hopefully, Radio New Ireland will indeed return to shortwave in the near future, with not only a much stronger signal but for many more years to come.

Radio Brasil Central* QSL, Postcards & Stamps

Radio Brasil Central*, transmitting from Goiania (Brazil), followed up with a paper QSL of their previous confirmation. It and three postcards representative of Brazil arrived in an envelope covered with colourful Brazilian stamps. If you are into philately -- and I am, more or less -- then this is another reason why communication abroad is so fascinating. While the practice is not so common nowadays, on the rare occasion some truly exotic stamps appear on QSLs and letters from international broadcasters.  

*Logged using remote SDR receiver at the University of Twente (The Netherlands)

Die Stimme Vietnams

Voice of Vietnam (Die Stimme Vietnams), transmitting from Dhabbaya (UAE), sent along this QSL card, postcard and German language programme schedule. VoV is among a select few stations whose foreign language departments still send out distinctly different QSLs and materials. This is one of the benefits of listening to their various language services. Do give them a listen. Happy DXing!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Farewell QSL from International Serbia Radio

Here's another 'Farewell QSL'. This one comes from International Radio Serbia. A letter postmarked with a couple of lovely Serbian postage stamps arrived today, 29 July 2015. Enclosed with the letter was their QSL card for a May 2014 reception report and -- here's the disturbing part -- a note stating, "By decision of Serbian government, International Radio Serbia - Radio Yugoslavia, ceases to exist on 31 July 2015".

So, once again I have mixed feelings. I have great memories of listening to and verifying both Radio Belgrade and International Radio Serbia in past years. And now, it is disheartening news to see another shortwave broadcaster leave the airwaves.

THANK YOU International Radio Serbia for one last QSL and 79 years of service.

Farewell QSL from Radio New Ireland

SWEET SUCCESS, FINALLY!!! This fantastic QSL from NBC Radio New Ireland (Singaut Bilong Drongo), transmitting from Kavieng, New Ireland, Papua New Guinea. After first hearing the station in 2012 and attempting numerous times to obtain their verification NBC Radio New Ireland replied on 29 July 2015. At the same time -- on the reverse side of the card --  I was informed the station's shortwave service was recently phased out. So, while I am deeply disheartened on the one hand, I am doubly delighted on the other hand to receive this long awaited QSL.

AND, it was not an easy QSL to acquire, unlike other Papua New Guinea stations. Countless emails, letters, registered letters and Facebook messages to NBC and Radio New Ireland were sent over the years. Always, just when it seemed a QSL was imminent, the key person (usually the station manager) failed to follow-up and verify.

At long last with the help of Allen Arifeae (NBC Executive Director), Michael Samuga (NBC Provincial Radio Network), Alwin Anetul (NBC Radio New Ireland Provincial Station Manager) and Roline Likas (New Ireland Journalist), this prized QSL has now been added to my collection.  

THANK YOU VERY MUCH for this exceptional QSL and your many years of shortwave service. You will be missed.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Radio Progreso* (Cuba)

Radio Progreso*, transmitting from  Quivicán (Cuba), was logged on 26 July 2015. A Spanish language broadcast with uninterrupted Cuban music and occasional station IDs was observed from 02.20 till 03.00 UTC. Reception on the shortwave frequency of 4.765 kHz was (SINPO): 25342 -- weak but clear and audible signal, despite atmospheric noise and light fading.

Audio excerpts of this transmission may be heard HERE and HERE
An attempt to email a reception has bounced at a couple of accounts, and not certain the one I have is actually directed to the station.


*Remote SDR receiver at the University of Twente (The Netherlands)


Reach Beyond Australia

Reach Beyond Australia was logged on 25 July 2015. An English language broadcast to Myanmar, featuring the programme "Spotlight", was heard from 23.00 till 23.15 UTC, followed by a broadcast in Burmese. Reception on 11.765 kHz was (SINPO) 34343 -- fair signal, slight transmitter hum, slight fading and prominent atmospheric noise was present initially, otherwise transmission was audible and clear. Reception improved around 23.10 UTC to 44444 -- transmitter droning persisted along with atmospheric noise.

Reception report was emailed the following day. An eQSL arrived from veri-signer Shelley Martin on 12 August 2015.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Willis Conover: The Radio Broadcaster Who Fought the Cold War Abroad but Remained Unheard at Home

(Source: Wall Street Journal via Any Sennitt)
Willis Conover spread American culture and values across Europe and the U.S.S.R. with his radio program, but almost no one in the U.S. knew about his show.

During the Cold War, listeners in captive nations behind the Iron Curtain huddled around radios in basements and attics listening to the imposing bass-baritone voice of the man who sent them American music. His greeting — “Good evening, Willis Conover in Washington, D.C., with Music U.S.A.” — was familiar to millions around the world. At home, relatively few people knew him or his work. A proposal for a postage stamp honoring Conover may give hope to those who want the late Voice of America broadcaster to be awarded a larger mark of distinction.

For 40 years, until shortly before his death in 1996, Conover’s shortwave broadcasts on the Voice of America constituted one of his country’s most effective instruments of cultural diplomacy. Never a government employee, to maintain his independence he worked as a freelance contractor. With knowledge, taste, dignity and no tinge of politics, he introduced his listeners to jazz and American popular music. He interviewed virtually every prominent jazz figure of the second half of the 20th century. His use of the VOA’s “special English”—simple vocabulary and structures spoken at a slow tempo—made him, in effect, a teacher of the language to his listeners.

Countless musicians from former Iron Curtain countries have credited Conover with attracting them to jazz, among them the Czech bassists George Mraz and Miroslav Vitous, the Cuban saxophonist and clarinetist Paquito D’Rivera and the Russian trumpeter Valery Ponomarev. On the Conover Facebook page established in 2010, Ponomarev wrote that Conover had done as much for jazz “as Art Blakey, Duke Ellington, Horace Silver, Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie.” Conover’s New York Times obituary said, “In the long struggle between the forces of Communism and democracy, Mr. Conover, who went on the air in 1955 . . . proved more effective than a fleet of B-29’s.” In his publication Gene Lees Jazzletter, the influential critic wrote, “Willis Conover did more to crumble the Berlin Wall and bring about the collapse of the Soviet Empire than all the Cold War presidents put together.”

In its Dec. 9, 1966, issue, Time magazine quoted Conover on the importance of the music he championed. “Jazz tells more about America than any American can realize. It bespeaks vitality, strength, social mobility; it’s a free music with its own discipline, but not an imposed, inhibiting discipline.”

When Conover visited Eastern Europe and the U.S.S.R. — Poland for the first time in 1959, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia in 1965 — huge crowds gathered to greet him as a hero. But thanks to the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which forbids the VOA from broadcasting within the U.S., only Americans who snagged VOA shortwave signals directed overseas knew Conover’s programs. Attempts to persuade Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama to posthumously award Conover a Presidential Medal of Freedom have yielded no result.

There have been official recognitions, however slight. News articles about Conover were read into the Congressional Record in 1985 and 1993. In 2009, on a resolution introduced by Rep. John Larson of Connecticut, Congress declared a Willis Conover Day, and he was mentioned during celebrations on the National Mall. But the greatest appreciation has come from members of the public who set up the Conover Facebook page, just as a new campaign to have Conover recognized by way of a postage stamp grew out of a citizen petition. The petitioners’ goal was to collect a thousand signatures. As of July 18, the total was 7,757.

The Voice of America broadcast most of the early Newport Jazz Festivals, with Conover as master of ceremonies for many of the concerts. That increased his fame abroad and also made him known to festival audiences who, because of the Smith-Mundt Act, couldn’t listen to his broadcasts. He produced concerts at other festivals, notably the 1969 New Orleans Jazz Festival, remembered as one of the greatest of all such events. Its Stars included Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan, Paul Desmond, Eubie Blake and a host of Crescent City luminaries headed by Pete Fountain.

Conover’s VOA theme music was Duke Ellington’s “Take The ‘A’ Train.” Early in the first term of President Richard Nixon, he suggested that the president give Ellington a 70th birthday party at the White House. Nixon advisers Leonard Garment and Charles McWhorter got the president’s approval. In April 1969, Conover assembled an all-star band that included Clark Terry, Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan, with guest pianists Dave Brubeck, Earl Hines, Billy Taylor and Willie “The Lion” Smith. The all-stars serenaded Ellington with new arrangements of his music. Guests included an array of Washington dignitaries, and celebrities as various as film director Otto Preminger, composers Harold Arlen and Richard Rodgers, pianist Marian McPartland, and Oklahoma football coach Bud Wilkinson. Mr. Nixon played the piano and led the guests in singing “Happy Birthday.” Then he awarded Ellington the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In the New Yorker, Whitney Balliett wrote that Ellington “was finally given his due by his country.”

That is an honor that eluded Conover while he was alive. If the 13 members of the Postal Services Stamp Advisory Committee approve a Conover stamp, perhaps the posthumous medal won’t be far behind.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2015.

Mr. Ramsey writes about jazz for the Journal. He blogs about jazz and other matters at Rifftides,


New QSL Country from the Middle East

Surprise! Surprise! After nearly four years of trying to obtain a confirmation from Radio Bahrain, today I received an eQSL from the General Directorate of Technical and Technology Affairs, Fatima Amin. Needless to say, I am head-over-heels, on-the-moon elated to finally secure this QSL.

Over the past four years, Radio Bahrain has generally been a difficult station to hear in South East Asia due to propagation, poor reception and QRM from a broadcaster in China. And, when it has been received, it has been logged only on 9.745 kHz. So, on 11 April 2015 when I managed to catch the station I  was also able to record a few decent audio clips of their transmission. I am almost certain these files helped secure their verification, and it was the reception report submitted by snail-mail, not email, that did the trick. 

In any event, this makes not only a new QSL, but a new country confirmed from the Middle East. Shukran, Radio Bahrain!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

NHK World - Radio Japan (via Nauen)

NHK World - Radio Japan, transmitting from Nauen (Germany), was received on 21 July 2015. Old Japanese pop songs, possibly from the 1960s, were heard from 18.30 till 19.00 UTC (broadcast time 17.00 till 19.00 UTC). Reception on 15.445 kHz was (SINPO) 35433 -- fair signal, no interference and clear speech with slight atmospheric noise and fading

Reception report was submitted on-line to Radio Japan on the following day. QSL card arrived on 18 August 2015.

Armenian National Radio (via Yerevan)

Armenian National Radio, transmitting from Yerevan (Armenia), was logged on 21 July 2015. Commentary from a male announcer speaking in Arabic and a lengthy classical or solemn patriotic song was observed from 19.15 till 19.30 UTC (broadcast time 19.00 till 19.30 UTC). Reception on 4.810 kHz (SINPO): 34343 -- weak to fair signal with atmospheric noise, otherwise audible and occasionally discernible content.

Reception report was emailed the following day. although I am skeptical a  reply will be forthcoming. This station has been logged and contacted in previous years, and always with no response. I expect no less this time around. I may attempt to contact by mail

Postal address:
Public Radio of Armenia
Alex Manoocian 5
Yerevan 25,
Republic of Armenia

Monday, July 20, 2015

Voice of Turkey

Voice of Turkey, transmitting from Emirler, was logged on 20 July 2015. News, special report on "Cyprus Peace Operation", Turkish pop music and cultural programmes were heard from 16.30 till 17.20 UTC under good conditions. Reception on 15.520 kHz was (SINPO) 55455 -- strong signal, no interference and clear speech with slight atmospheric noise.

Reception report was emailed to Voice of Turkey the following day. QSL card along with a coaster was received on 2 September 2015.

VOA Radio Aap ki Dunyaa (via Sulaibiyah)

VOA Radio Aap ki Dunyaa, transmitting from Sulaibiyah (Kuwait), was logged on 19 July 2015. Current event reports with snippets of music in Urdu was monitored from 12.20 till 13.00 UTC (broadcast time 06.00 till 13.00 UTC). Reception on 12.130 kHz was (SINPO) 24322 -- weak signal with severe atmospheric noise and fading. Despite the less than favourable reception, the broadcast was audible and occasionally discernible.

Reception report was emailed to VOA on the following day.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

No DXIng News, Just A Grandfatherly Reflection

Those of you who follow South East Asia DXing may have noticed very few entries have been posted in recent months. There's a good reason. My wife and I became the proud grandparents of an adorable baby boy a few months ago, and we have been terribly busy getting acquainted with him.  He is our first grandson, and he is without question very precious to us.

From the time of his birth we have documented every imaginable photo of him, sleeping and waking.  His parents and we can't seem to get enough of him. We dot after him constantly. We attend to his every whimper, cry and coo. We carry and play with him. And all except for changing his diapers -- you guessed it -- we have captured his daily activities on our handy-dandy digital cameras.  One cannot help but want to photograph each moment.  So, in short, no time for DXing.

Why the compulsion? Do we sense the moment will never be the same? Is it testimony of a love we wish to share with him when he is older? Well, yes, it is all of the above. It's what parents and grandparents do, providing they have the interest and means to do so.

There is such an overwhelming sense of joy and pride. We feel compelled to love him even more. But why the heightened interest? The attention and satisfaction should be no different than what was experienced with my younger siblings and our own daughter. Yet, this time around it somehow seems different. Maybe, with siblings it was a task; with a daughter it was a responsibility; with a grandchild it is these and more. It is the desire to pass on and ensure our legacy, knowing for certain our own years are numbered.

While we know not his future anymore than we know our own, we have only high hopes, good wishes and considerable prayers for him. Among these, that his parents may be forever together to protect, guide and nurture him; that he may respect his parents and bring honour and happiness to them; that he may practice tolerance and respect for all, exercise good judgement and uphold proper moral decorum; that his life may be selfless and dedicated to the greater betterment of humanity; that he may have the forbearance to rise above adversity; that he may have a keen sense of humour, without malice towards his peers; that he may respect and marvel in the creations of this world, great and small; that he will believe and remember his Creator; and above all, that  God may hear and grant our supplications.

So, please excuse me, fellow DXers. I need to look in on the baby. There's no time for DXing at the moment. Meanwhile, 73s to you all!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Two QSLs from Voice of Vietnam Relay Sites

Two QSL cards from the Voice of Vietnam arrived in the letterbox over the past week. These verifications were for reception reports of their broadcasts originating from transmitter sites in Woofferton (UK), and Moosbrunn (Austria). While these transmissions were intended primarily for Europe, they are occasionally heard in South East Asia (Malaysia). While I have logged these sites before, the interest here are the different QSL cards -- one in Russian, another in English, together with bookmark depicting one of the Vietnamese ethnicities. Thank you, Voice of Vietnam!

Radio Romania International QSL Series on Romanian Caves

Radio Romania International has issued a series of QSL cards depicting the caves in Romania. So far this year (2015) the cards have featured the magnificent formations of Movile Cave and Women's Cave, among the collection. Along with the verification cards I have received Winter and Summer programme schedules and pocket calendars, all posted within an envelope marked with colourful postage stamps. It is especially nice to see broadcasters like Radio Romania International still send out their cards with their nation's stamps. I for one treasure their stamps as much as the cards. Thank you, Radio Romania International!