Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Australian Shortwave Callsigns VLM

(via shortwavearchive.com)
The Australian shortwave callsign VLM was initially applied to a passenger/cargo ship in service with the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand.  The ship was the Moeraki and it was launched in Scotland on July 9, 1902.
 The Moeraki plied across the Tasman Sea between New Zealand and Australia, and it also served as a troop carrier for New Zealand army personnel who were taken to Samoa for their attack against the German colony there in 1914.  The ship was ultimately sold to Japan in 1932, and it was broken up in Osaka during the following year.
 A shipping list in 1914 shows the callsign VLM with the Moeraki, which call they retained until 1927 when the official radio prefix for New Zealand was changed from V to Z.  That was the first usage of the callsign VLM.
 The second usage of the callsign VLM began on July 5, 1931 when a new 20 kW shortwave transmitter at the AWA center near Pennant Hills in Sydney Australia was taken into service.  When Australia Calling, the forerunner for Radio Australia, was inaugurated on December 20, 1939, transmitter VLM was taken into service under a new callsign VLQ2.  However, when in use for international communication, the old call VLM was still retained.  That station was closed in 1956.
 When plans were laid for a major new shortwave station for Radio Australia at Shepparton in Victoria, three transmitters were envisaged, two at 100 kW and one at 50 kW.  It is suggested that originally the projected 50 kW transmitter would be designated as VLM.  However, when the lone RCA 50 kW transmitter from the United States was installed in 1944, the call was instead.VLC.
 Beginning in 1949 and over a period of almost 20 years, four different shortwave transmitters were installed at the Bald Hills radio station, a few miles north of Brisbane in Queensland.  The first transmitter installed was a temporary 200 watt and it was taken into service under the callsign VLM, the third usage of this call.  
 Subsequently, when the first of three additional STC transmitters at 10 kW each were installed, the 200 watt unit was removed and the new unit took the call VLM.  Ultimately, the three 10 kW transmitters were each on the air in rotation for the ABC’s VLQ and VLM regional shortwave service.  This station VLM, along with VLQ also, was closed on December 17, 1993.
 The next usage of the callsign VLM occurred down in the Antarctic.  The American base at Wilkes in Antarctica was abandoned in 1958 and some of the structures and equipment were taken over for a new Australian base at nearby Casey.  The Casey Base is directly south of Perth in Western Australia.
  A radio station hut at American Wilkes was completed three years later (1961)  and then it was transferred to Australian Casey three years later again (1964).  Subsequently, radio telex equipment was installed, and a communication service was opened with Sydney in Australia.
 However in the meantime, a new Casey Base was under construction less than a mile distant and a new 1 kW Dansk transmitter from Denmark was installed into a new building.  The allotted callsign for this communication transmitter was VLM, and again it was in use for telex communication with Sydney. 
 International radio monitors noted this VLM transmitter on 7470 kHz at night and on 11455 kHz during the day.  However, Casey Base was closed in 2006 and that was the end of the Antarctic usage of the callsign VLM.
 And finally regarding the Australian shortwave callsign VLM, we note that the Radio Australia shortwave station at Cox Peninsula, across the bay from Darwin, was officially opened on September 5, 1971.  Three program lines were opened between Melbourne and Darwin and these were designated with the line callsigns VLK VLL and VLM.
 However, as a back up for the relays to Darwin, three different transmitters at Lyndhurst carried the VLM program relay at various times, and these were: a 5 kW SSB single side band transmitter manufactured by STC, a regular 10 kW broadcast transmitter, and a 30 kW SSB transmitter that had previously been in use with the ABC at Wanneroo in Western Australia. 
 In addition, the VLM service was at times also conveyed to Darwin via a 100 kW transmitter located at Shepparton.  Then, when the Darwin station was disabled by Cyclone Tracy during the Christmas season in 1974, the VLM service was transferred to Shepparton.
 However, after the so-called temporary relay station at Carnarvon in Western Australia was opened, the VLM service was transferred again from Shepparton to Carnarvon beginning May 6, 1984.  Initially the 250 kW transmitter at Carnarvon carried the VLM service, though subsequently the VLM service was transferred to the 100 kW transmitter.  Backup for the VLM program service was continuously available via a 30 kW SSB transmitter located at Lyndhurst in Victoria. 
 When Carnarvon was closed in 1996, some of the VLM programming was returned back to a transmitter located at Shepparton.
 Unfortunately as we are all painfully aware, Radio Australia no longer exists and their last major shortwave station, at Shepparton in Victoria, is still up for sale.
(AWR-Wavescan/NWS 438)

California QSL Cards in Red White and Blue

(via WTFDA)
As our opening topic in Wavescan today, we examine a cluster of now historic and quite valuable QSL cards under the title, California QSL Cards in Red White and Blue. These QSL cards were issued by OWI, the Office of War Information, on behalf of the Voice of America from their office at 111 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California during the years stretching from 1942 to 1946. 
 The 25 storey Hunter-Dulin Building at 111 Sutter Street had previously housed the offices and studios for the NBC radio network beginning in 1927.  When NBC vacated their Sutter Street facility in San Francisco in favor of their new building in Hollywood (and elsewhere) in 1942, OWI took over the NBC suites on the 21st and 22nd floors. of the Hunter-Dulin Building.
 All of the famous California Red White and Blue QSL cards were issued from the OWI office in Sutter Street.  Each card contained the same QSL text in blue; a red colored block at the bottom of the lefthand side of the card presented the country name, United States of America; and a large blue colored block on the left side of the card provided a large white space for the station callsign.
 The well known California radio station KGEI with its 20 kW shortwave transmitter made its first broadcast from Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay on the first day of the Golden Gate World Fair, February 18, 1939.  Some time after the World Fair ended, the General Electric shortwave KGEI, was moved into new facilities at suburban Belmont, and together with some additional electronic equipment, the power output was raised to the newly mandated FCC requirement of 50 kW.
 At the direction of the federal government, all shortwave stations in the United States were taken over by OWI on February 24, 1942, for the broadcast of programming that grew into the international shortwave service of the Voice of America.  On earlier occasions before the Pacific War, KGEI had broadcast special programs that were beamed to South America, the Philippines and Asia.
 The  Red White and Blue QSL card issued by OWI-VOA on behalf of the GE station KGEI gave the callsign of the station, KGEI, in large letters, and the operating frequency of the station was written in by hand or typed in below the callsign.
 The GE sister station KGEX was taken into OWI-VOA service on July 1, 1944.  Station KGEX was also a General Electric transmitter, Model No G100C, and it was co-installed at Belmont alongside the earlier 50 kW KGEI Model No 4G881.  The QSL card for KGEX is exactly the same as the card for KGEI, except that the letter I in the KGEI callsign was changed to the letter X for the KGEX callsign.
 It was back in the year 1931, that the well known American telephone and radio company AT&T took into service their shortwave station some three miles southeast of downtown Dixon in California.  The original shortwave transmitter KMI was rated at a power of 80 kW, though as time went by, a bevy of transmitters and antennas were installed.  At the height of its usefulness, AT&T Dixon utilized 30 transmitters and 36 antenna systems.
 In the era prior to the beginning of World War 2, most of the shortwave transmissions from the AT&T station at Dixon in California carried point-to-point telephone conversations across the Pacific.  However, there were also many notable transmissions in which program material was relayed across the Pacific for rebroadcast in the Philippines, Asia and the South Pacific.
 Three of the Dixon transmitters that were logged in the United States, Australia and New Zealand with the transfer of radio programming in those days were 20 kW units that identified on air under the callsigns KWV KWU and KWY.  During the Pacific War, these three stations were also noted carrying a relay of programming from the studios of the United Nations Network in the Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill, San Francisco. 
 Even though these three stations were, strictly speaking, communication stations, yet OWI issued QSL cards verifying the reception of all three stations, with a separate card for each, KWU KWV and KWY. 
 Now, another communication station that carried radio programming during the Pacific War was the RCA station located near Bolinas in California.  The OWI office verified three of these Bolinas callsigns each with a separate card, KES2 KES3 and KRCA.  Station KRCA was actually the communication station KEI when it was on the air with a program relay on 9490 kHz.
 Next we come to the enigmatic callsign KROJ.  There is unfortunately insufficient information regarding the World War 2 California callsign KROJ, and the three additional similar callsigns KROS KROU and KROZ.  International radio monitors in Australia were led to believe that these four callsigns were associated with Mackay Radio in San Francisco, but subsequently it became evident that international radio monitors in the United States understood that the KROJ callsign at least was associated with Press Wireless in Los Angeles.
  Reception reports for the KROJ callsign were verified with a specific Red White and Blue KROJ QSL card, but details about QSLs for the other three callsigns remain largely unknown.   
 Then the twin stations KWID and KWIX were co-installed at Islais Creek in suburban San Francisco.  They were operated by Associated Broadcasters and their signals were heard strongly throughout the Pacific.  Separate OWI QSL cards were issued for each, KWID and KWIX, though after the end of the war, Associated Broadcasters issued their own similar QSL card with both callsigns listed on the same card.
 Towards the end of the war, two large shortwave stations were constructed in California; NBC at Dixon and CBS at Delano.  Interestingly, the OWI QSL cards identifying these two stations showed a double callsign on each card; KNBA-KNBC and KNBI-KNBX for NBC Dixon and KCBA-KCBF for CBS Delano.  In these circumstances each pair of transmitters was tied together with parallel programming.  There was also a separate transmitter at Delano, KCBR, with its own separate QSL card.
 As far as is known, this above list contains all of the known California Red White and Blue QSL cards.  If any additional Red White and Blue QSL cards were to turn up unexpectedly with an additional shortwave callsign, that would indeed be a new revelation of interesting radio history.
(AWR Wavescan/NWS 438)

BBC Far Eastern Relay Station - Part 3

(Arcane Radio Trivia)
Supplementary Relay Service in Japan
 On two previous occasions here in Wavescan, we have presented the story of the BBC Far East Relay Station; at its first location in Tsang Tsui Hong Kong and then at its subsequent location in Nakhon Sawan Thailand.  The Hong Kong station was on the air from 1987 - 1997, and the Thailand station was on the air from 1996 until the very end of last year (2016).
 However, during this same era, not so well known is the fact that the BBC was on the air also from a high powered shortwave relay station in Japan.  That is the story here in this edition of the international DX program, Wavescan.
 We go back in the pages of time to the year 1941, and that was when the Japanese government began the construction at Yamata of what was then a modern new shortwave station, almost adjacent to the older station at Nazaki.  These twin shortwave stations were installed in rolling countryside some 50 miles north of Tokyo that is these days heavily built up and intensively cultivated.  
 The first transmitter at Yamata was a 50 kW unit that was apparently manufactured in Japan and it was taken into service on January 1, 1941. This unit was in use to beam programming in Japanese and English to North America, Europe and China.  This new unit was identified on air under callsigns in the JL series, such as JLT on 6190 kHz and JLG3 on 11705 kHz.
 At the time when the Pacific War began (December 7, 1941), the programming of Radio Tokyo in Japanese and English was on the air from five shortwave transmitters located at Nazaki and Yamata, two at 20 kW and three at 50 kW.  At Yamata, it would appear that there was just the one transmitter at 50 kW with the JL callsigns, though there may possibly have been one additional transmitter at 20 kW also. 
 Towards the end of the Pacific War, probably early in the year 1945, some of the electronic equipment in each of the shortwave stations in Japan was removed and hidden for safety in a country location.  However, at both Nazaki and Yamata, there was still sufficient equipment remaining in service to keep the stations on the air.
 In August 1945, Yamata was taken over by Allied Military Forces and it was used for both international communication as well for the broadcast of programming in Japanese and English.  Initially, there was just one shortwave transmitter on the air at Yamata and this was a single 5 kW unit. 
  When the station was on the air on 7257.5 kHz with a relay of programming in Japanese from mediumwave JOAK, the shortwave callsign was JKC; but when it was on the air on 9605 kHz with a relay of English programming from the American AFRS station WVTR, the shortwave callsign was JKE.  In 1949, the callsign for the Japanese programming was adjusted from JKC to JKH, and the callsign for the English programming was adjusted from JKE to JKL.
 A new 50 kW shortwave transmitter was inaugurated at Yamata on February 1, 1952 under a new callsign series, JOA; and shortly afterwards another 50 kW was installed under the consecutive callsign JOB.  Both units could be combined into 100 kW output on the same channel as needed.
 Over the years, many additional transmitters have been installed at Yamata, and in 1990 for example the WRTVHB listing for Japan showed 2 @ 20 kW, 2 @ 50 kW, and 8 @ 100 kW.  Ten years later, the WRTVHB list showed 3 @ 100 kW and 7 @ 300 kW.  Incidentally, the official callsign for the Yamata shortwave station, which is owned these days by the commercial company KDD, is JOD, though this call is never used on air.
 It was during the year 1993 that the  BBC in London took out a supplementary relay from shortwave NHK-KDD at Yamata and this was in addition to the program output from the quite new 6 year old BBC relay station which was located at Tsang Tsui in the interior jungle area of Hong Kong.  Initially, the BBC relay via Japan was for around four hours daily, though this was soon increased to around seven and eight hours daily. The BBC programming from Japan was beamed to China in English and Mandarin via one of their 300 kW transmitters.
 When the BBC Far Eastern programming was transferred from their station in Hong Kong to their newer station at Nakhon Sawan in Thailand during the years 1996 and 1997, the BBC continued the usage of the supplementary relay service of programming from Japan.  In fact three years later, the BBC relay service via Japan was increased to ten hours daily, though still in English and Mandarin to China. 
 The supplementary BBC relay via Yamata in Japan was terminated during the year 2007, at the end of a fifteen year jaunt.  As far as is known, there are no QSL cards anywhere verifying the BBC relays via Yamata in Japan, not from the BBC nor from NHK Tokyo.
(AWR Wavescan/NWS 437)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monitoring Pakistan

Radio Pakistan QSL (Gayle Van Horn Collection)

Great to see the following log of Radio Pakistan being heard. For many months, it has been speculated the station had either left shortwave, or was operating sporadically

For the first time since many months, I heard Radio Pakistan from Islamabad again this morning. The signal was weak and tiny and also heavy NOISY quality, like Taiwanese Sound of Hope audio level on 13680.186, 15070.203 or 15339.853 kHz at same time slot.

15700 kHz, 0500-0700 UTC, Radio Pakistan, Islamabad in Urdu language, to Middle East, Iran, Turkey and north/west Africa. Signal noted in Eastern Thailand at 0500 UTC until suddenly OFF the air at 0548 UTC on July 17. Noisy S=5-6 signal, Pakistani music and typical drums singer.

Listen to the noisy tiny signal, taken at Uwe's remote SDR installation place. Access via the box recording file via URL

15700PAK_Islamabad_Urdu_0500_0548UT_20170717.mp3 _  by Box.html
[selected SDR options, span 12.5 kHz RBW 15.3 Hertz] (wb  df5sx, wwdxc BC-DX TopNews July 17)
(Wolfgang Bueschel/WWDXC/HCDX)

Weely Propagation Forecast Bulletins

Product: Weekly Highlights and Forecasts
:Issued: 2017 Jul 17 0154 UTC
# Prepared by the US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center
# Product description and SWPC web contact www.swpc.noaa.gov/weekly.html
#                Weekly Highlights and Forecasts
Highlights of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 10 - 16 July 2017

Solar activity was at very low levels on 12 Jul, low levels on 10,  11, 13, 15 and 16 Jul and moderate (R1-Minor) levels on 14 Jul. Region 2665 (S06, L=111, class/area Ekc/710 on 09 Jul) produced a
majority of the flare activity. However, new Region 2667 (N12, L=155, class/area Axx/010 on 14 Jul) produced all of the C-class activity on 13 Jul including a C8 x-ray event with a Type II radio
emission (770 km/s). The largest event of the summary period was a long-duration M2/1n flare from Region 2665 observed at 14/0209 UTC.
Associated with this event was a Tenflare (130 sfu) and Type IV radio emission. At 14/0125 UTC, LASCO C2 imagery detected an asymmetric halo CME that was analyzed and modelled to reveal an
Earth-directed component with a likely arrival at Earth on 16 Jul.

A greater than 10 MeV at greater than or equal to 10 pfu proton event (S1-Minor) began at 14/0900 UTC, reached a maximum flux of 22 pfu at 14/2320 UTC and ended at 15/1115 UTC.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit was at moderate flux levels then entire summary period. A maximum flux of 942 pfu was observed at 14/1750 UTC.

Geomagnetic field activity was at quiet to unsettled levels, with isolated active intervals, on 10-11 Jul due to waning effects from a positive polarity CH HSS. Solar wind speeds reached a peak of about
650 km/s early on 11 Jul and steadily decreased through the summary period to reach a low speed of 287 km/s at 16/0446 UTC. Quiet levels were recorded from mid-day 11 Jul through early on 16 Jul.

At 16/0515 UTC, an interplanetary shock associated with the arrival of the 14 Jul CME, was observed in DSCOVR solar wind data. Solar wind speeds sharply increased from around 320 km/s to 502 km/s. Solar wind speeds then slowly increased to a peak value of 643 km/s observed at 16/2037 UTC. Total field strength values reached 28 nT at 16/0836 UTC while the Bz component was sustained at around -23 nT for a prolonged period following the shock arrival. Solar wind density reached a peak of around 56 particles/cubic cm following the shock and the phi angle became highly variable after 16/0515 UTC. Phi angle settled into a mostly positive (away) solar sector after
16/1100 UTC. The geomagnetic field was quiet until 16/0601 UTC when  a geomagnetic sudden impulse was observed (40 nT at Hartland magnetometer) indicating the arrival of the 14 Jul CME. The geomagnetic field responded with active to G1 and G2 (Minor to Moderate) geomagnetic storm levels through the remainder of 16 Jul.

Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 17 July - 12 August 2017
Solar activity is expected to be low with a chance for M-class flare activity (R1-R2 / Minor-Moderate) through 19 Jul when Region 2665 exits the visible disk. Very low to low levels are expected from 20-28 Jul. A chance for R1-R2 activity is possible with the return of old Region 2665 from 29 Jul - 12 Aug.

There is a chance for an S1 (Minor) solar radiation storm through 19 Jul due to potential significant flare activity from Region 2665. No proton events are expected from 20-28 Jul. A chance for S1 (Minor) solar radiation storms is possible with the return of old Region 2665 from 29 Jul - 12 Aug.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to be reach high levels on 19-20 Jul due to influence from the 14 Jul CME. Normal to moderate levels are expected for the
remainder of the outlook period.

Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be at G1-G2 (Minor-Moderate) geomagnetic storm levels on 17 Jul due to continued CME effects. Unsettled to active levels are expected on 21-22 Jul
and again on 05-06 Aug, with G1 (Minor) geomagnetic storm levels likely on 05 Aug, due to positive polarity CH HSS influence. Quiet to unsettled levels are expected for the remainder of the outlook

Product: 27-day Space Weather Outlook Table 27DO.txt
:Issued: 2017 Jul 17 0154 UTC
# Prepared by the US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center
# Product description and SWPC web contact www.swpc.noaa.gov/wwire.html
#      27-day Space Weather Outlook Table
#                Issued 2017-07-17
#   UTC      Radio Flux   Planetary   Largest
#  Date       10.7 cm      A Index    Kp Index
2017 Jul 17      85          30          6
2017 Jul 18      80          12          4
2017 Jul 19      74           8          3
2017 Jul 20      74           8          3
2017 Jul 21      74          15          4
2017 Jul 22      74          12          4
2017 Jul 23      74           5          2
2017 Jul 24      75           5          2
2017 Jul 25      75           5          2
2017 Jul 26      75           5          2
2017 Jul 27      75           5          2
2017 Jul 28      75           5          2
2017 Jul 29      90           5          2
2017 Jul 30      90           5          2
2017 Jul 31      90           5          2
2017 Aug 01      90           5          2
2017 Aug 02      90           5          2
2017 Aug 03      90           5          2
2017 Aug 04      90           5          2
2017 Aug 05      90          25          5
2017 Aug 06      90          10          3
2017 Aug 07      90           8          3
2017 Aug 08      90           5          2
2017 Aug 09      90           5          2
2017 Aug 10      90           5          2
2017 Aug 11      90           5          2
2017 Aug 12      85           5          2

Sunday, July 16, 2017

From the Isle of Music and Uncle Bill's Melting Pot schedules, July 16-22

From the Isle of Music, July 16-22
This week, our special guest is Juan Carlos Bonet, director of Leyendas.com, one of Cuba's most entertaining show bands and a nominee in Cubadisco 2017 for their album Sabroseando. Fans of groups like Rumbavana and artists like Juan Pablo Torres willespeciall y appreciate this group. As always, we'll have plenty of great music.

Four opportunities to listen on shortwave:
1. For Eastern Europe but audible well beyond the target area in all directions with 100Kw, Sunday 1500-1600 UTC on SpaceLine, 9400 KHz, from Kostinbrod, Bulgaria (1800-1900 MSK)
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0000-0100 UTC on WBCQ, 7490 KHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EDT in the US)
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany.

Episode 21 of
Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, a musical variety program that features everything from everywhere EXCEPT music that you are probably familiar with, will air on WBCQ the Planet, 7490 KHz, Thursday, July 20 from 2300-2330 UTC (7:00pm-7:30pm EDT in the Americas). This week, we'll have some laughs, but we'll also wander through Switzerland, Haiti and Argentina.
William "Bill" Tilford, Owner/Producer
Tilford Productions, LLC

Monday, July 10, 2017

From the Isle of Music and Uncle Bill's Melting Pot schedules July 9-15

From the Isle of Music, July 9-15:
No interviews this week - rather, we wander through the Fusion category of Cubadisco 2017. The winner, Buena Fe, also won the Gran Premio (Grand Prize) and the technical category for Recording. The other nominees also recorded some excellent music.

Four opportunities to listen on shortwave:
1. For Eastern Europe but audible well beyond the target area in all directions with 100Kw, Sunday 1500-1600 UTC on SpaceLine, 9400 KHz, from Kostinbrod, Bulgaria (1800-1900 MSK)
2. For the Americas and parts of Europe, Tuesday 0000-0100 UTC on WBCQ, 7490 KHz from Monticello, ME, USA (Monday 8-9PM EDT in the US)
3 & 4. For Europe and sometimes beyond, Tuesday 1900-2000 UTC and Saturday 1200-1300 on Channel 292, 6070 KHz from Rohrbach, Germany.

Episode 20 of Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot, a musical variety program that features everything from everywhere EXCEPT music that you are probably familiar with, will air on WBCQ the Planet, 7490 KHz, Thursday, July 13 from 2300-2330 UTC (7:00pm-7:30pm EDT in the Americas). This week, we'll stick our toes in Benin, Romania and the US (but definitely NOT Top 40)
William "Bill" Tilford, Owner/Producer
Tilford Productions, LLC

Weekly Propagation Forecast Bulletins

Product: Weekly Highlights and Forecasts
:Issued: 2017 Jul 10 0130 UTC
# Prepared by the US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center
# Product description and SWPC web contact www.swpc.noaa.gov/weekly.html
#                Weekly Highlights and Forecasts
Highlights of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 03 - 09 July 2017

Solar activity ranged from very low to moderate levels. The period began on 03 Jul with an M1 flare (R1-Minor) observed at 03/1615 UTC from an emerging region on the west limb. A CME was associated with the M1 flare, but was determined to be well off the Sun-Earth line. Low levels were observed on 04 Jul due to a single C1 flare observed at 04/0425 UTC from this same unnumbered region. Very low levels were recorded on 05-06 Jul. Activity increased to low levels on 07 and 08 Jul as new Region 2665 (S06, L=111, class/area Ekc/710 on 09 Jul) produced a C1 flare observed at 07/1349 UTC. This was followed by a C3/Sf flare observed at 08/2353 UTC from the same region. Activity levels increased to moderate as developing Region 2665 produced an impulsive M1/2n flare (R1-Minor) observed at 09/0318 UTC. Additional C-class flares were observed from Region 2665 throughout the remainder of 09 Jul.

No proton events were observed at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit was at normal levels throughout the period.

Geomagnetic field activity was at quiet to isolated unsettled levels from 03-08 Jul. During this time, the solar wind environment was at nominal levels with the phi angle in a steady negative orientation.
By early on 09 Jul, solar wind parameters reflected the onset of a CIR in advance of a recurrent, positive polarity CH HSS. The geomagnetic field responded with active to minor storm levels
(G1-Minor) throughout 09 Jul. Solar wind speed increased from near 365 km/s to a maximum of 602 km/s at 09/2103 UTC. Total field ranged from 4-14 nT while the Bz component varied between +/-11 nT. Phi angle rotated from a negative to a mostly positive sector after
09/0430 UTC.

Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity 10 July - 05 August 2017

Solar activity is expected to be at low levels throughout the outlook period. A chance for additional M-class activity (R1-R2, Minor-Moderate) is possible from 10-30 Jul.

No proton events are expected at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to reach high levels on 10-15 Jul with normal to moderate levels expected throughout the remainder of the outlook period.

Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be at generally quiet to unsettled levels for a majority of the outlook period. Unsettled toactive conditions are likely on 10 Jul with active to minor storm
levels (G1-Minor) likely on 05 Aug due to the influence of arecurrent, positive polarity CH HSS.

Product: 27-day Space Weather Outlook Table 27DO.txt
:Issued: 2017 Jul 10 0130 UTC
# Prepared by the US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center
# Product description and SWPC web contact www.swpc.noaa.gov/wwire.html
#      27-day Space Weather Outlook Table
#                Issued 2017-07-10
#   UTC      Radio Flux   Planetary   Largest
#  Date       10.7 cm      A Index    Kp Index
2017 Jul 10      92          18          4
2017 Jul 11      92          12          4
2017 Jul 12      92          15          4
2017 Jul 13      92          10          3
2017 Jul 14      92           5          2
2017 Jul 15      92           5          2
2017 Jul 16      92           5          2
2017 Jul 17      90           5          2
2017 Jul 18      85          12          4
2017 Jul 19      85          10          3
2017 Jul 20      85           5          2
2017 Jul 21      85          11          3
2017 Jul 22      85          11          3
2017 Jul 23      85           5          2
2017 Jul 24      85           5          2
2017 Jul 25      85           5          2
2017 Jul 26      85           5          2
2017 Jul 27      85           5          2
2017 Jul 28      85           5          2
2017 Jul 29      90           5          2
2017 Jul 30      90           5          2
2017 Jul 31      85           5          2
2017 Aug 01    85           5          2
2017 Aug 02    85           5          2
2017 Aug 03    85           5          2
2017 Aug 04    85           5          2
2017 Aug 05    85          25          5

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Wavescan program features International Shortwave Broadcast Guide

International Shortwave Broadcast Guide -
            During each calendar year, there are two publications that stand very high in the value that they render to the international radio aficionado.  One of these publications that is issued in paper around the turn of each year, is the World Radio TV Handbook, which traces its origins way back to the year 1947.  The other publication is a regular electronic version that coincides with the International Shortwave Transmission Period, actually twice each year. 
            We pick up this information about the New Summer 2017 International Shortwave Broadcast Guide that is now available.
            Teak Publishing is pleased to announce the release of the Summer 2017 International Shortwave Broadcast Guide (ISWBG) electronic book by Amazon bestselling author Gayle Van Horn, 

W4GVH. This all important semi-annual information resource is your electronic guide to the world of shortwave radio listening.
            The release of this book is very timely for international radio monitors given the recent outbreak of tensions in the world hotspots of Eastern Europe, Middle East, East Asia and the Korean Peninsula.
Shortwave radio listeners are routinely entertained with unique perspectives to events, music, culture, history, and news from other countries that you won’t see or hear on your local or national broadcast channels.
            Shortwave radio broadcasts are not restricted by country borders or oceans, and they can propagate thousands of miles, reaching millions of listeners worldwide, in over 300 different languages and dialects.  These worldwide transmissions are monitored on internationally assigned radio frequencies between 1700 kHz and 30 MHz.
            There are even broadcasts from the dark side, transmitted from broadcasters known as clandestine or clanny stations.  Clandestine broadcasters are wrapped in mystery and intrigue, and they usually exist to bring about some sort of political change to the country they are targeting.                         Listeners who live in the United States can easily hear shortwave broadcast stations from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia with an inexpensive shortwave radio receiver, if you know when and where to listen!
            The ISWBG is your exclusive 24-hour station/frequency guide to “all” of the known longwave, selected mediumwave and shortwave radio stations currently broadcasting at the time of publication.        
New in this eighth edition of the ISWBG is Surfing the Shortwave Radio Bands without a Radio by senior radio monitor Larry Van Horn.  When News Breaks: Getting Your News from the Front Lines through streaming media by Loyd Van Horn.
            Also included in this edition is increased frequency and station coverage of longwave broadcasters, selected medium wave broadcast frequencies used by international broadcasters, all known international standard time and frequency stations transmitting worldwide, and some selected spy numbers broadcasts.

            The International Shortwave Broadcast Guide (Summer 2017 edition) is now available for purchase worldwide at US$7.99 from Amazon.com at https://www.amazon.com

Saturday, July 08, 2017

The Radio Scene on Snake Island

(via You Tube)
It is true; there are several islands in various places around the world that have been given the name Snake Island.  It is quite probable in almost every case, that the reason why the name Snake has been appended to the island is quite obvious; snakes were found there.
            However, there is one interesting island that was named Snake Island, but it was not because snakes were found there.  This Snake Island is located in the Caribbean, and it was named Snake Island for a very different reason.  It is home to what we might call a scattered radio station whose studio location, transmitter location, and city of license, are each installed on a different island.

           The island that we refer to in our program today is located just 17 miles off the east coast of Puerto Rico; it is 9 miles north of Vieques Island; and it is 12 miles west of St. Thomas Island.  It is in itself, the major island of a small archipelago of 23 smaller islands, only a couple of which are inhabited.      Our Snake Island in the Caribbean goes under the preferred name, Culebra Island; a Spanish word that is readily translated into English as Snake.  It is true, a few snakes are found on this island, but the snake population here is not significant.
            Spanish historians inform us that the first European to visit Culebra Island in the Caribbean was the famous Italian born Spanish navigator Christopher Columbus.  It was during his second voyage to the New World in 1493 that he made a brief visit to Culebra Island, which at the time was inhabited by a colony of Carib Indians.
            However, it was not until nearly three hundred years later that a European settlement was established on the island.  Under orders from the Spanish government in Spain, Sr. Cayetano Escudero Sanz from nearby San Juan on Puerto Island established a colony on Culebra Island on October 27, 1880. 
            The name given to this new Spanish settlement was San Ildefonso, and ultimately the name acquired by the island was Culebra.  Both names, San Ildefonso and Culebra, honored the Bishop of Toledo in Spain, San Ildefonso de la Culebra. 
            Two years late, work commenced on the construction of a lighthouse  on Culebra in 1882, and for nearly a century it was the oldest active lighthouse in the Caribbean.  The lighthouse was closed in 1975.
            After the Spanish-American War, the United States took over Culebra Island, as one of the  Puerto Rico islands, around the year 1900.  An American naval station was established on the island in 1902, and subsequently areas of the island were used for the now controversial live target practice from nearby navy vessels. 
            The island is a very irregularly shaped island of just 11 square miles.  The current population of a little less than two thousand is made up mainly of descendants of both the early European settlers together with slaves brought over from Africa.  
            During the year 1903, a spark wireless station was established on the newly designated American naval encampment on Culebra Island, Camp Roosevelt, and this was before a similar station was established in the islandic capital, San Juan.  This Morse Code station on Culebra was a 3 kW composite unit made up of equipment from more than one manufacturer. 
            It was inaugurated under the informal callsign SD and it operated on 425 metres,705 kHz, a frequency that was within what is now the standard mediumwave band.  When the navy regularized the callsigns of their entire worldwide network of wireless stations in 1909, station SD on Culebra Island was redesignated as NAV.  
            The first radio broadcasting station on Culebra Island was an FM facility that was originally established in the nearby United States Virgin Islands.  On June 10, 1973, commercial station WVIS  
was inaugurated in Frederiksted on the southern island of St Croix with 9.5 kW on 106.1 MHz.  The chosen callsign was WVIS, a call that had earlier been on the air in Indianapolis Indiana, and also in Jupiter in coastal Florida.
            It is stated that this commercial FM station was off the air as much as it was on the air, though it is true that it was damaged and destroyed consecutively by three different hurricanes.  When the station was ten years old, an attempt was made to transfer it from Frederiksted and re-establish at nearby Christiansted on the same St. Croix Island.
            In any case though, half a dozen years ago, station WVIS was relicensed for reinstallation on St. Croix Island, with the intent to transfer from the American Virgin Islands to what are sometimes colloquially called the Spanish Virgin Islands.  Thus it was that commercial FM station WVIS on St Croix Island was transferred and re-installed on three different islands; Vieques, Puerto Rico and Culebra.
            This unique FM radio broadcasting station, WVIS, is licensed for primary coverage of Vieques Island, due east of Puerto Rico.  The studio and main office is located on Puerto Rico island in the small town of Luquillo near the east coast; and the transmitter is installed on Culebra Island, Snake Island, a little to the north of Vieques. 

            Station WVIS, which also identifies as Radio Joe is licensed for 50 kW on 106.1 MHz FM.  The music format, which is mostly automated, is a mix of English and Spanish contemporary hits, including electronic, reggae and hip-hop.    
Another FM radio broadcasting station on Culebra Island has been on the air under at least four different callsigns during its thirty year history.  Back in 1988, it was inaugurated under the callsign WXZX, but due to sales to different owners, changes in frequency and power, and changes in program formats, this station has been known variously as WJZG, WNVE and the now current WQML.  Currently, station WQML, a Spanish language Christian station that identifies as Pura Culebra or in English as Pure Culebra, is also a Christian station that emits 6 kW on 98.7 MHz.
There was another FM radio station on the air on Culebra Island, and that was WJVP, with 30 kW on 89.3 MHz.  This station was inaugurated on February 19, 1996, though it is currently silent.
            And finally, another radio station of importance on Culebra Island is station WNG693, with 300 watts on 162.45 MHz.   This station is operated by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and its sole purpose is to provide weather information and warnings for Culebra, Vieques and eastern Puerto Rico.  A special weather band receiver is needed to tune to station WNG693. 
(AWR-Wavescan/NWS 434) 

Friday, July 07, 2017

Radio Free Asia IBB Kuwait QSL available to August 31

a reminder to our blog readers...

IBB Kuwait - 2017

Radio Free Asia (RFA) announces the release of the fourth QSL card in the series highlighting the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) transmitter sites used for RFA programming. RFA programs also broadcasts from these IBB sites: Biblis, Lampertheim, Saipan and Tinian. IBB Kuwait is one of the most cost-effective transmitter site’s in IBB’s inventory and is also an integral part of IBB’s global satellite interconnect system (SIS) carrying RFA programming where needed. This is RFA’s 64th QSL overall and will be used to confirm all valid RFA reception reports from May 1 - August 31, 2017.

RFA’s 4th IBB transmitter site QSL – IBB Kuwait

RFA is a private, nonprofit corporation that broadcasts news and information to listeners in Asian countries where full, accurate, and timely news reports are unavailable. Created by Congress in 1994 and incorporated in 1996, RFA broadcasts in Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean to North Korea, Lao, Mandarin (including the Wu dialect), Vietnamese, Tibetan (Uke, Amdo, and Kham), and Uyghur. RFA strives for accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content. As a ‘surrogate’ broadcaster, RFA provides news and commentary specific to each of its target countries, acting as the free press these countries lack. RFA broadcasts only in local languages and dialects, and most of its broadcasts comprise news of specific local interest. More information about Radio Free Asia, including our current broadcast frequency schedule, is available at www.rfa.org.
RFA encourages listeners to submit reception reports. Reception reports are valuable to RFA as they help us evaluate the signal strength and quality of our transmissions. RFA confirms all accurate reception reports by mailing a QSL card to the listener. RFA welcomes all reception report submissions at http://techweb.rfa.org (follow the QSL REPORTS link) not only from DX’ers, but also from its general listening audience.

Reception reports are also accepted by email at qsl@rfa.org and by mail to:
Reception Reports
Radio Free Asia
2025 M. Street NW, Suite 300
Washington DC 20036
United States of America
(A.J. Janitschek/RFA)

World Largest QSL: A Booklet from South America

YV1BC QSL (HipPostcard)
Back in the year 1998, the Wavescan DX Contest for that year was a search for the World’s Largest QSL Card and several hundred entries were received from all around the world.  The largest QSL that was revealed at that time was actually a set of twelve cards that showed a complete panoramic photograph of Quito City when placed side by side. 
            This series of twelve QSL cards was issued by the well known Gospel shortwave station HCJB in Quito Ecuador in 1996.  As a compete panoramic picture, the total area of all twelve cards measures 260 square inches, 1.8 square feet.
            However, in more recent time, we have acquired an old QSL booklet from another radio station in South America.  The front cover of this booklet contains the QSL text in both English and Spanish, and the entire booklet was sent out as a QSL in response to listener reception reports. 
            The total booklet with its 16 pages, renders a total of 881¼ square inches, a total area of 6¼ square feet.  That is more than three times larger than the previously known largest QSL set from HCJB.
            This fascinating QSL booklet was issued by a shortwave station in Caracas Venezuela.  Apparently the station was well heard over quite a wide area, as the booklet is dated in May 1933, as the Second Edition.  Interestingly, this radio station is the oldest radio broadcasting station in Venezuela, which will be celebrating its 87th anniversary this year.  This is their story.
            It was on Tuesday December 9, 1930, that a new mediumwave station in Caracas Venezuela made a test broadcast in order to give coverage to a good will gesture from the United States.  The event took place on the Plaza in front of the National Theatre in Caracas and it was the unveiling and dedication of a statue honoring Henry Clay, a prominent United States politician. 
            There was another test broadcast on the next day; and on that occasion, the Naval Brass Band from the USS Northampton was playing at the La Guaira Country Club, which was located in the port city of La Guaira, 20 miles distant from Caracas.
            On the third day, now Thursday December 11, 1930, this new commercial radio broadcasting station was officially inaugurated in a series of special events at the Almacen Americano Building in the central downtown area of Caracas.  The studios for this new radio broadcasting station were located on the second floor of the Almacen Building and the antenna masts were on the roof of the building.  
            This new radio broadcasting station was granted the callsign YV1BC, with the two first letters YV indicating Venezuela, the number 1 indicating that it was the first radio broadcasting station in the entire country of Venezuela, and the BC standing for Broadcasting Company.  The mediumwave transmitter was a 100 watt unit from RCA in the United States.
            This new radio broadcasting venture was so successful that plans were soon laid for increasing its major coverage area.  A new 5 kW RCA  transmitter was imported and installed in a new transmitter building on top of a nearby mountain, 4½ air miles from the studios in central Caracas. 
            The new transmitter site was at an altitude of 3930 feet above sea level; the two antenna towers were 490 feet apart, they stood at a height of 200 feet, they supported a T type center fed antenna, and the Caribbean Sea was visible, just 5½ miles distant.  The power supply for this new mediumwave mountain top radiostation came from their own generator, and the operating frequency was 960 kHz in the standard mediumwave band.
            It is presumed that the shortwave counterpart of mediumwave YV1BC was also installed in the same mountain top transmitter building.   The shortwave unit, presumably also of RCA manufacture, operated at 200 watts on 6112 kHz or 11695 kHz, according to scheduling requirements.
            Soon after the inauguration of the new radio station on the mountain top, a new callsign was adopted.  The original station YV1BC was in reality not the first radio broadcasting station in Venezuela.              There had been an earlier government station AYRE which was inaugurated four years earlier.   However, due to the political events at the time, the station was closed after just two years of broadcast service. 
            Around the time when the new mountaintop station was inaugurated, a new callsign was adopted, YV2RC, with the YV indicating Venezuela, the number 2 indicating in reality the second station in the country, and the letters RC indicating Radio Caracas, their new on air slogan.
            It seems that a new shortwave transmitter was installed in the mid 1930s, and 5800 kHz became their preferred shortwave channel.  At that stage, another new callsign was allotted to the station, this time YV5RC.  Then in the mid 1940s, a 7½ kW shortwave transmitter was installed under a  similar callsign YV5RN.  However, that was changed again some five years later to YV5KR. 
            In 1951, the amateur style callsigns for both mediumwave and shortwave stations in Venuzela were abandoned and a standardized system of just four letters, beginning with the country prefix YV, was introduced.  At that stage, the 10 kW mediumwave transmitter on 750 kHz became YVKS, and the 7½ kW shortwave transmitter on 4920 kHz became YVKR.  Shortwave was dropped in the late 1970s, at the same time as mediumwave on 750 kHz was boosted to 100 kW.
            That was a Station Profile on the oldest continuously operating mediumwave broadcasting station in the South American country of Venezuela and they issued the world’s largest QSL back three quarters of a century ago.

 (AWR/Wavescan-NWS 436)

The Radio Scene in European Turkey

The nation of Turkey is made up of two different geographic territories, known as Anatolia in Asia and Thrace in Europe.  The three provinces composing Thrace, European Turkey, encompass a total of 9175 square miles and they are located on the western side of the international waterways known as the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles.  Even though European Turkey (Thrace) is not a separate independent country, yet it is considerably larger than nearly a dozen of the smaller independent countries within continental Europe.
            In ancient times, the territory now known as European Turkey was settled by Thracians who were considered to be cruel and bloodthirsty in warfare.  Little is known about their language, due to the fact that they apparently had not developed their own script, and thus brief inscriptions in other languages make only brief reference to the Thracians.
            These days there are three bridges and three tunnels crossing the Bosphorus, connecting the two major sections of the city of Istanbul, and thus also the two major sections of the Turkish nation.   These bridges and tunnels provide two way access for both motor vehicles and railway trains, as well as the delivery of water from Thrace to Anatolia. 
            The largest of these bridges, the Bosphorus Bridge, is eight lanes wide and nearly one mile long, and it was for many years the longest suspension bridge in Europe.  When fully loaded with vehicles, this suspension bridge sags nearly three feet.           
            Early in the year 1922, Professor Dyke at the American sponsored Roberts College in Istanbul (Thrace side) bought some wireless equipment from a Russian army officer and installed it in the college laboratory.  Student Henry Moreau, who had already successfully constructed several simple radio receivers, dismantled the receiver, re-constructed it, and re-installed it in the laboratory. 
            On this home brew equipment, they successfully brought in most of the radio stations that were on the air in Europe at the time, including Berlin with a one time radio lecture.  That was in the Autumn of the year 1923.
            However, in the following Spring (1924), the Turkish government in Ankara issued a decree, requiring that all unlicensed radio equipment should be dismantled.  Soon afterwards though, a Professor Tubini made a visit to England and while there, he bought several items of radio equipment made by the Marconi company.  On his return to Turkey, he approached the national government in Ankara and he successfully received a permit to install the equipment at Roberts College and he then began teaching a radio class.  
            The first radio station in Turkish Thrace was installed in the Central Post Office at Eminönu in old Istanbul.  This early broadcasting station was installed by the Turkish Post & Telegraph Dept and it operated at 5 kW on the longwave channel 250 kHz.
            In 1949, a New Broadcasting House with studios and offices was completed and a new American made RCA transmitter was installed at an out of town location.  This was a mediumwave facility with 150 kW on 701 kHz under the callsign TAW.
            Today, TRT, the Turkish radio broadcasting system, operates a 600 kW mediumwave station on 702 kHz in Thrace-Istanbul.  The transmitter is located in a farming area near Catalca, which is a countryside tourist location on the Black Sea coast that is very popular with city families for brief visits.
            In addition, there is a host of FM stations throughout Thrace these days; government, commercial and private.  If we were to try to tabulate the list of FM stations in Turkey as shown in the 2017 edition of the WRTVHB and compare it with a full size map of Thrace, perhaps we could count a hundred or more FM stations in European Turkey.  

            The Turkish State Meteorological Service TSMS was established in 1937, and even to this day, their shortwave station TAH is on the air on multiple occasions on multiple channels with weather information and alerts, in Morse Code, as well as in speech in English and in Turkish.  Maritime station and weather station TAH is located near the Sea of Marmara Coast and quite near to the airport in Thrace, European Turkey.    Station TAH is known to verify listener reception reports in English, though with a letter and not a card. 
(AWR-Wavescan/NWS 435) 

Shortwave Radiogram weekend schedule

Hello friends,
Our new frequency of 9400 kHz, via Bulgaria, Saturday at 1600-1630 UTC, is a success, based on your reports. Reports were received, as expected, from all over Europe, as far west as the Outer Hebrides. To the east, reports were received from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Japan, New Zealand, and even British Columbia (“east,” assuming long path).

There is little chance that this transmission will be heard in eastern North America, but you can use the University of Twente receiver in the Netherlands http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901 or another SDR in Europe.

Our present combination of transmitters provides a variety of reception conditions, from excellent to challenging. This weekend, Shortwave Radiogram will try the different speeds of MFSK:

MFSK64 is fast (240 wpm) but may include errors in conditions that are less than favorable

MFSK32 (120 wpm), is our usual mode for typical (fair) shortwave conditions

MFSK16 is slow (55 wpm) but often succeeds in difficult reception conditions

This weekend’s show will also include an image transmitted in both MFSK64 and MFSK32, and another image in both MFSK16 and MFSK32, so that you can compare the resolutions. Whatever the baud rate, MFSK images of the same size take about the same amount of time to transmit.   

Here is the lineup for Shortwave Radiogram, program 3
, 8-9 July 2017, in MFSK modes as noted:

 1:31  MFSK32: Program preview
 2:36  MFSK64: Climate-friendly air travel*
10:08  MFSK32: Baker's yeast detects pathogens*
18:02  MFSK16: Volvo to go all-electric in 2019*
25:57  MFSK32: Image* and closing announcements

* with image
Please send reception reports to radiogram@verizon.net
Twitter: @SWRadiogram
Shortwave Radiogram Transmission Schedule
1600-1630 UTC
9400 kHz
Space Line, Bulgaria
0600-0630 UTC
7730 kHz
WRMI Florida
2030-2100 UTC
11580 kHz
WRMI Florida
2330-2400 UTC
11580 kHz
WRMI Florida
The Mighty KBC transmits to Europe Saturdays at 1500-1600 UTC on 9400 kHz (via Bulgaria), with the minute of MFSK32 at about 1530 UTC (if you are outside of Europe, listen via websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8901/ ).  And to North America Sundays at 0000-0200 UTC (Saturday 8-10 pm EDT) on 9925 kHz, via Germany. The minute of MFSK32 is at about 0130 UTC.  Reports to Eric: themightykbc@gmail.com . See also http://www.kbcradio.eu/ and https://www.facebook.com/TheMightyKbc/

Italian Broadcasting Corporation (IBC)  For the complete IBC transmission schedule visit  http://ibcradio.webs.com/  Five minutes of MFSK32 is at the end of the 30-minute English-language “Shortwave Panorama,” per the schedule below:
           19.55 UTC  1584 KHZ TO EUROPE
           20.25 UTC  1584 KHZ TO SOUTH EUROPE
           10.55 UTC  6070 KHZ TO EUROPE
Thanks for your reports from last weekend.  

Kim Andrew Elliott, KD9XB
Producer and Presenter