Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Helvetia Post 50th Anniversary of Swiss Radio International

 

HELVETIA POST in 1985 released an FDC marking the 50th anniversary of Swiss Radio International (SRI).

Nineteen years later, on 30 October 2004, Swiss Radio International ceased to broadcast its shortwave and satellite radio programmes -- after nearly 70 years! Swiss Radio International first broadcast to the world on shortwave in 1935. The station made a name for itself as a neutral voice of authority during  World War II and throughout the Cold War. Programmes were broadcast in nine languages (German, French, Italian, Romansh, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic and Esperanto). During this time, SRI established itself as one of the most high-profile and popular international radio broadcasters. The end of the Cold War, coupled with the advent of satellite technology and the internet revolution, spelled the end of the shortwave era for SRI.

I was one of many worldwide listeners who caught the broadcasts of SRI, first in the United States, back in the 1960s. Later, in  the 1980s and up until their last transmission, I listened in Malaysia where their transmissions were regularly heard, loud and clear. Since the end of SRI's shortwave service I have not bothered to catch any of their web-based content.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Ascension Island Inauguration of BBC Relay Station on Ascension

ASCENSION ISLAND on 1 December 1966 issued four first day cover stamps marking the opening of BBC Relay Station on Ascension. The images of Queen Elizabeth II and Lion With BBC emblem are gold embossed against four different colours (blue, green, red and purple) and corresponding to the individual monetary denominations - 1D, 3D, 6D and 1,6. The cachet depicts an illustration of Ascension Island with radio waves radiating from the island. Above the island is the heraldic crest of BBC Ascension Island. 
 
In the mid-1960s, the BBC built the relay station at English Bay on the northern tip of the island to transmit shortwave radio broadcasts to Africa and South America, plus a power station to provide the electricity.

Four of the towers supporting HF curtain arrays on easterly bearings to Africa. The towers vary from 60 to 125 meters in height. For more than 50 years, the Atlantic Relay Station has transmitted critical radio broadcasts to millions of listeners in some of the remotest parts of Africa.

The shortwave transmitters include two 250 kW Marconi BD272 transmitters originally installed in 1966 (and still in daily use) and four 250 kW RIZ K01 transmitters, which are also capable of transmitting in Digital Radio Mondiale mode.

Each transmitter can be switched to one of more than 20 antennas, which consist of HF curtain arrays beaming toward target areas in Africa and South America. Programming from London is delivered via satellite, with resilience and backup feeds.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Republique du Niger "Promotion Humaine - Radio Clubs of Niger" Stamps

Although these four stamps were issued in 1965, they literally illustrate the vital role that radio communication still plays in society wherever one may be in the world, not just this developing nation in Africa.

In many parts of the world, radio is still a more accessible and affordable medium than the alternative, i.e. computers, internet, cellphones. Additionally, the infrastructure for these devices we take for granted in more developed countries just does not exist or is limited to those who have the money and/or social/political position.

This was highlighted to me a few years back when communicating with the station director at a radio station on the South Pacific island of New Ireland (Papua New Guinea). Only a few folks had a cellphone, internet was down most of the time, roads could be impassable due to flooding, tropical heat and humidity was corrosive to electric devices, but radio was available and cheaply replaced if necessary to almost everyone on the island.

More importantly, radio had the  reach to inform and entertain the people on this island. And mind you, it was radio with short-wave and medium-wave radio bands, not FM, as radio signals radiate further on these frequencies and over obstacles like hills/mountains, so much so that a listener like me, thousands of miles away, in Malaysia was able to receive their broadcasts.

That said, I often find postage stamps such as these historically interesting, and in some cases still relevant in promoting/disseminating a message to a nation's population. In 1965, these stamps  certainly would have been informative to the people in Niger. The social settings, the  clothing, etc would have been things they could relate to. And, these four stamps dedicated to "Promotion Humaine - Radio Clubs of Niger", i.e. recording music/songs, listening to radio transmissions, public debates and interviews intended for radio broadcasts, would have been topical in the day.

Anyway, that's how the old advertising/marketing guy in me looks at it and occasionally skews the world at large.

Voice of Turkey

Voice of Turkey, transmitting from Emirler (Turkey), was observed on 4 September 2021, from 15.30 till 15.52 UTC. Station IDs between traditional music and cultural programmes in the Malay language was noted during this time period. heard Reception on the short-wave frequency of 17.720 kHz was initially good, but gradually weakened due to atmospheric noise, rating an overall SINPO of 55444. At 04.20 UTC transmission began to gradually weaken due to increased atmospheric noise, but signal remained audible till sign-off at 04.54 UTC.

Reception report was submitted on the same day. QSL card arrived in the mail on 7 October 2021.

RX: Grundig YB 500 EXT ANT: 3 meter random wire QTH: Malaysia

Friday, October 1, 2021

Radio Taiwan International (via Paochung)

Radio Taiwan International via Paochung (Taiwan) was logged on 7 September 2021. An English language broadcast of News, "Here in Taiwan" and "Jukebox Republic''was noted from 03.00 to 04.00 UTC. Reception on 15.320 kHz rated a SINPO of 55454 -- some atmospheric noise, otherwise a strong and clear signal.

Reception report was submitted 9 September 2021. QSL card arrived on 1 October 2021.

RX: Grundig YB 500 EXT ANT: random 3 meter wire QTH: Malaysia

Radio Taiwan International (via Paochung)

Radio Taiwan International via Paochung (Taiwan) was logged on 4 September 2021. An English language broadcast of News, "Here in Taiwan", "Taiwan Insider", "Taiwan Today" and "The Download"  was noted from 03.00 to 04.00 UTC. Reception on 15.320 kHz rated a SINPO of 55555 -- excellent!

Reception report was submitted 9 September 2021. QSL card arrived on 1 October 2021.


RX: Grundig YB 500 EXT ANT: random 3 meter wire QTH: Malaysia

Radio Taiwan International (via Paochung)

Radio Taiwan International via Paochung (Taiwan) was logged on 1 September 2021. An English language broadcast of News, "Here in Taiwan", "Hashtag Taiwan" and "Status Update"  was noted from 03.00 to 04.00 UTC. Reception on 15.320 kHz rated a SINPO of 55444 -- slightly noisy with moderate fading. Despite this signal was strong and clear.

Reception report was submitted 9 September 2021. QSL card arrived on 1 October 2021.

RX: Grundig YB 500 EXT ANT: random 3 meter wire QTH: Malaysia