Monthly Archives: July 2013

Interval Signals Online

Remember the days when the top of the hour would be met with interval signals gracing the bands? The hauntingly beautiful “Love Ambon” from Indonesia, the jarring trumpets of KOL Israel and the chiming “What A Friend We Have in Jesus” from FEBA Seychelles?.  The “Interval Signals Online” website has literally recorded them for posterity.

You’ll also find other audio clips of IDs and theme music.

WLW Cincinatti 500,000 Watts



That’s not a mis-print… WLW had a 500kW transmitter on the MW band in 1934.

For many of us, WLW was the first Ohio station we ever heard. Here, thanks to K7AGE, is a Youtube presentation on the history of this iconic US broadcaster.

The following comment comes Barry W9UCW from the Topband reflector:

The Ultimate Compact MW DX Antenna?


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Whether you’re a ham, MW or SW DXer, there are times when a receive antenna will be very handy. I’ve experimented with EWEs, K9AYs and coax loops. Just recently, Shared Apex Loop Arrays have received a lot of publicity and this excellent Youtube presentation certainly caught my interest.

Here is a good PDF article from the designer, Mark Baumann.

And now Array Solutions are selling them.

Very compact and as for performance, we’ll let the Youtube video provide the answer.

Hot Rod Your Ultralight For MW DX!

John Bryant at Grayland DXpedition (credit:

John Bryant (sadly no longer with us) penned many useful and practical technical articles for DXers looking to eke the extra out of their radios and antennas.

Here is an article showing how to add an external MW antenna to your Tecsun/Degen radio.

Luckily for us, John’s articles live on thanks to the internet.

John’s obituary on web site.




African Shortwave Website


Here’s a great up-to-date site;  “Welcome to Africa” details transmissions from Africa available for download as PDF to have beside you when you’re DXing. The Dark Continent has always been the hardest to hear in NZ so has become  a favoured target for Kiwi DXers.

And for more detail, the British DX Club’s “Africa On Shortwave” website provides all the specific and other info you’ll need.


Pirate Radio Thrives In The Internet Age


Just read an interesting article on Radio World discussing pirate radio although the theme equally applies to clandestine broadcasts.

With countless establishment broadcasters ceasing or cutting back on shortwave broadcasts, pirate and clandestine stations offer good opportunities for the die-hard DXer.

Related articles

Radio Oddities Roundup

Remember those numbers and phonetics stations with their coded broadcasts, like the famous Lincolnshire Poacher from Akrotiri RAF base in Cyprus, etc? This You Tube clip will bring back some memories.

And there is more info on Wikipedia.

HAARP Shuts Down

“HAARP” the Alaskan-based High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project in Alaska has closed. The program was quite controversial, pumping huge amounts of RF energy into the ether and there was wild speculation that it was a form of weapon masquerading as scientific research.

When the project first commenced back in 1997, they offered QSL cards for the first transmissions.

English: HAARP antenna arrayEnglish: HAARP antenna array (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Related articles

New Clandestine Station On Air

There is a new clandestine targeting Ethiopia on the bands, DimTsachin Yisema. Their political motivation is to support Ethiopian Muslims. An item on the ECADF Forum explains something of political situation regarding Muslims in Ethiopia.

You can hear and announcement in Amharic with identification and frequencies on this audio page.

Here is their sked via SW DX Bulgaria.

Montoring Times Signs Off

Alike international broadcasters, support services for the once-bouyant international broadcasting scene are also suffering in the death throes of shortwave.

This from Bob Groves, founder of Monitoring Times and Grove Enterprises:

“After 33 years of publishing the most informative and lauded
magazine on monitoring the radio spectrum, Judy and I are finally going
to retire. We are grateful for the dedicated efforts of our fine staff
of writers for the excellent work which has kept MT alive for all these
years. While we know the discontinuation of MT, with our December issue,
will be a disappointment to our readers and writers alike, we realize
that a combination of a down-turned economy, as well as the ready
availability of free listening and technical information on the
Internet, has reduced sales and subscriptions throughout the market
place. I would like to thank you personally for your knowledge, your
dependability, and your professionalism in making MT the publication
that is most often referred to in the radio monitoring hobby. It is a
legacy that we have all inherited.”

Taking Down A Radio Tower…

…don’t get these guys to do it!

Arthur Cushen Audio Tribute


I have been combing through the Media Network archive at Radio Netherlands, trying to rescue as much as possible before a lot of the station history is thrown out.

You’ll be pleased to know that I found the studio copy of our tribute programme to Arthur Cushen broadcast on Sept 25 1997, 15 years ago. I’ve put it back on the web for others to listen to.

Media Network Vintage Vault 

Access to the archives is free. I believe that the stories that we shared in the 80’s and 90’s are definitely relevant in broadcasting circles today, even though the distribution channels have changed.

Navtex DX

David Headland of Maheno (near Oamaru) has been dabbling in receiving Navtex signals. So, what are are they?

Navtex stations exist to provide shipping with weather and navigational information. They operate on 490kHz and 518kHz. Its a digital mode transmission and you’ll need some software. David recommends a program called “YAND” – Yet Another Navtex Decoder.

You’ll also need a receiver capable of picking up 490 & 518kHz and a cable from your receiver’s Line Out or headphone jack plugged into your PC’s sound card.

Comprehensive Solar Radio Site


If there was one site to go to for all matter of solar material for radio DX, SolarHam is it. You’ll see tabs and links along with plenty of real-time images letting you just what Ol Sol is up to.



KVTK Bites the ah.. Grass

Listeners to KVTK-AM of Yankton, South Dakota,
were recently without the station for a few
days. This is because an accident caused the
stations broadcast tower to fall to the ground.

The tower, which was 309 feet tall, was situated
in the middle of what was described as a small,
grassy field located about five miles west of the
town of Vermillion. Reportedly, a man cutting
the grass Monday afternoon June 10th clipped one
of the tower’s guy-wires, causing it to collapse
shortly after 4 p.m. local time.

Happy Birthday WWVB


Then: Engineer David Andrews and technician Robert Oase are shown by the WWVB transmitter in 1963. Oase is relaying instructions to an engineer in a different location tuning the antenna.
Credit: NIST

Every day, electronic gear across the world locks on to a radio signal  beamed from Fort Collins, Coloradio at the base of the Rocky Mountains in the USA. The signal contains  a message that keeps the devices on time, helping to make sure their owners  keep to their schedules and aren’t late for work the next day. 

The Curious Case of the Jamming of Uncle Scrim

Colin “Uncle Scrim” Scrimgeour

When we think of the jamming of broadcasts we would normally associate such practices with cold-war politics and despot nations. So it may surprise you to know that politically-motivated jamming has occurred in New Zealand.

The year is 1935, Colin “Uncle Scrim” Scrimgeour a well-known broadcaster and Methodist minister implored the masses to vote for the opposition Labour party in the upcoming election.  The jamming was carried out at the behest of the then Minister of Broadcasting in the governing National Party and rumour has it an amateur radio operator and civil servant provided the necessary skill to do so.