Shortwave in a Multimedia World

WRC-03 Report


2004  NASB  Annual Meeting

Updates from  NASB  President Jeff White

     HFCC  A04  Conference

     SWL  Winterfest Update

     Publicity Campaign

     DRM  Series Update



(This is a summary of a presentation given at the  2003  NASB  annual Meeting)


Kim Elliott

IBB---Audience Research



International broadcasting  initially mostly used shortwave because, for the most part, that was the only way to deliver programming to long distances and across international borders.  These days, three other major options exist for international broadcasting:  release on domestic Medium Wave or FM stations in the target country (FM is usually most listened to, when available), transmissions via satellite, and the Internet.


The domestic radio option serves the urban areas, and receivers for those modes are widely available, making this a very desirable approach.  Reliability of program transmission by the relaying station, and government authorization for such relayed transmissions are some of the major issues of concern.  This media approach is very susceptible to being non-available during times of international crisis. 


Direct-to-home satellite delivery of international programming faces the difficulty factor that, in many target countries, there are relatively few satellite receivers in the homes of individuals.  Commercial and political pressure on transponder owners is also problematic.


Delivery via the Internet, though potentially worldwide in scope, faces the issue of website access blocking by restrictive governments.  And in many target countries, computer ownership is limited, and telephone service for Internet access is marginal or nonexistent. 


International broadcasters now take a multi-media approach, using each available option where appropriate.  However, shortwave remains the mode least likely to be successfully blocked or stymied.  So for broadcasts to many countries,  shortwave is still the media of choice.                                                             


 Kim conducted a survey recently on a 24-hour-a-day world-wide program called “VoA News Now”---a mix of news, feature programs, and music.  They put announcements on the half hour requesting response, running a total of 76 announcements.  Response came in from 109 countries.  The breakdown by major categories of medium usage by listeners to this program was as follows:  58.5%  shortwave , 16% domestic MW/FM releases, 15% VoA high-power medium wave relays, Internet audio 9.4%, satellite 0.4%.  Even those with e-mail access tended to listen mostly by shortwave because of per-minute Internet access charges, and because of bandwidth issues.  The U.S. was the only country showing significant use of the Internet to listen to this particular VoA broadcast.





Geoff Spells

VT Merlin Communications


The World Radio Conference 2003 (WRC-03) was held in Geneva 9th June – 4th July 2003 to consider and take appropriate action with respect of proposals from administrations and the Report of the Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM), taking account of the results of WRC-2000, and with due regard to the requirements of existing and future services in the bands under consideration.

Around 2500 delegates from 144 administrations and various agencies attended the conference.

The agenda contained 47 items of which 3 were associated with the HF bands allocated to the broadcasting service. Although HF issues appeared to be a small part of the WRC, discussions on the HF items continued throughout every day, including one weekend and sometimes to late in the evening on the first 3 weeks of the conference. Meetings in the final week were almost continuous from 9am to after 1am the following day (3:30am on one occasion) with short breaks of around 1-hour for lunch and dinner.

Agenda item 1.2

To review and take action, as required, on No. S5.134 and related Resolutions 517 (Rev.WRC-97) and 537 (WRC-97) and Recommendations 515 (Rev.WRC-97), 517 (HFBC-87), 519 (WARC-92) and Appendix S11, in the light of the studies and actions set out therein, having particular regard to the advancement of new modulation techniques, including digital techniques, capable of providing an optimum balance between sound quality, bandwidth and circuit reliability in the use of the HF bands allocated to the broadcasting service

The aim was to incorporate digital modulation into the Radio Regulations and to revise all ITU documentation on broadcasting in the HF bands.

The main discussion point was the planning parameters for digital emissions. Some administrations were unhappy to use the parameters in ITU-R Recommendation BS.1615.  Fortunately, a compromise was agreed whereby the parameters in the Recommendation would be used on a provisional basis by ITU-BR and would be reviewed at a future WRC in light of experience.

The main results were:
a. Digital modulation incorporated into the Radio Regulations for use in the HF bands allocated to the broadcasting service in the range 5900-26100 kHz
b. Digital modulation not permitted in the HF bands allocated to the broadcasting service in the Tropical Zone
c. RF protection ratios to be used provisionally in the application of the procedures of Article 12 are taken from ITU-R Recommendation BS.1615.  These to be reviewed at WRC-10
d. Additional spectrum allocated to the broadcasting service at WARC-92 becomes available on 1st April 2007 for use with any recommended modulation type, DSB, SSB or digital
e. DSB no longer to cease in 2015
f. SSB with –12dB carrier suppression removed from Radio Regulations

Agenda Item 1.23

To consider realignment of the allocations to the amateur, amateur-satellite and broadcasting services around 7 MHz on a worldwide basis, taking into account Recommendation 718 (WARC-92). 


Extreme views were expressed during the first week of the conference with options ranging from 200 kHz extra for the amateur service in Regions 1 & 3 to No Change (NOC).  Much discussion in formal meetings did not result in any change in positions but informal discussions with interested parties over long periods resulted in the following fragile compromise.  All changes are from 29 March 2009.

  1. Extra 100 kHz (7100-7200 kHz) allocated to the amateur service in Regions 1 & 3 but shared on a primary basis with the Fixed and Mobile services in most countries in the Middle East and Asia

  2. Broadcasting moved by 100 kHz to 7200-7450 kHz in Regions 1 & 3 and allocated an additional 50 kHz in Region 2 to give 7300-7400 kHz

  3. Footnotes provide access to 7350-7450 kHz broadcasting spectrum by Fixed and Mobile services on a secondary basis


d.  Further footnote gives additional allocation to the Fixed service in the band  7350-7450 kHz in all Arab countries

Apart from the 100kHz shift, the broadcasting service lose exclusivity to 100 kHz spectrum in the 7 MHz band as result of these footnotes

Agenda Item 1.36

To examine the adequacy of the frequency allocations for HF broadcasting from about 4 MHz to 10 MHz, taking into account the seasonal planning procedures adopted by WRC-97

There was little discussion on this agenda item. Administrations generally appeared to accept that the bands allocated to the broadcasting service in the range 4-10 MHz were congested but were not prepared to allocate additional spectrum at WRC-03.

The outcome was:

·            No support to allocate additional HF spectrum to the broadcasting service at this   conference so Resolution prepared to add this to the agenda for WRC-07

·            Resolution requests ITU-R to do studies on impact of digital modulation on spectrum efficiency as well as identifying possible bands from which additional allocations to the broadcasting service could be made

Further Work resulting from these decisions

·         As there are a number of issues still unresolved in the HF bands allocated to the broadcasting service, more work is needed before the next WRC’s due in 2007 and 2010 in order to get a satisfactory outcome. The areas where more work is required are:

·         Verify protection ratio values for digital modulation within an analogue modulation environment.  Results to be input to ITU-R SG6 to update ITU-R Recommendation BS.1615

·         Identify the impact of digital modulation on the efficient use of the HF spectrum and submit information to ITU-R SG6

·         Using information from HFCC/ASBU/ABU-HFC, identify which bands are most congested and identify how much additional spectrum needed to satisfy broadcasting requirements.  Information to be submitted to ITU-R SG6





 In the December 2003 NASB Newsletter, it was stated that the NASB was founded in 1990.  Long-time Board member Ted Haney provides this clarification:


     It is probably true that the NASB was legally started in 1990. However, the initial organizing meeting was held in New Orleans in 1989 at the September NAB Radio show there.  Ed Bailey was elected President, Tulio Haylock was the Secretary/Treasurer and I was Vice President.  As I recall, Doug Garlinger was also at the meeting. Ed Bailey, Dick Zaragoza and I signed the documents when the NASB was officially registered in Washington, D.C.  Just part of NASB history.  


     PS: Ralph Carlson, the manager of KUSW in Salt Lake City was also there.  Hope I didn't leave out anyone else.








NASB 2004 Annual Meeting


The NASB 2004 Annual Meeting is scheduled for May 7 at the Crowne Plaza in Arlington, Virginia.


A block of rooms is reserved at $150.00 per night.  This rate is available by mentioning NASB.  The cut-off date for reserving a room at this rate is April 6.  Call 703-416-1600 (NOT the 800 number) and ask for the Reservations Office.  You must make your own reservation.


A registration fee of $50.00 ($25.00 for each additional person from the same organization) will be charged to cover luncheon and other expenses. 


The program will include a report and Q & A by FCC staff, history of AWR, reports and presentations by IBB and Merlin personnel, updates on DRM & WRC, audience research insights, and other features still being finalized.


A more detailed notice of the particulars will be distributed separately later.




Jeff White will be NASB's official representative at the A04 season High Frequency Coordinating Committee Conference to be held February 9-13 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  Some other NASB members will also have representatives present.  We attend as part of the U.S. FCC delegation and assist the FCC representative in checking schedules for our member stations and resolving frequency collisions.  In addition, we will be making an official invitation to the HFCC and the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) to host their joint HFCC/ASBU frequency coordination conferences in February 2005 in Miami and in August 2005 in Boulder, Colorado.

When you submit your A04 frequency schedules to the FCC, we encourage all NASB member stations to send a copy to Jeff White ( so we can check your schedules and keep an eye on potential collisions when the daily updates come out at the conference in Dubai.  If we see any problems, we can contact you by e-mail from the conference and try to resolve the conflicts by negotiating directly with the delegations present, and by obtaining instant approval of changes by the FCC representative present at the meeting, which in this case will be Tom Lucey.



The NASB exhibit will be at the 2004 Shortwave Listeners Winterfest in Kulpsvlle, Pennsylvania (just north of Philadelphia) March 12 and 13 to promote our member stations at the largest annual gathering of shortwave listeners in North America.  So far, representatives of five NASB members (WMLK, WBCQ, WRMI, KNLS and Adventist World Radio) and three associate members (HCJB, George Jacobs and Associates, and IBB) have confirmed their assistance at the Winterfest, and a former deputy director of the Voice of America is scheduled to speak as well. 

Dr. Adrian Peterson, Director of International Relations for Adventist World Radio, has answered the call in our last Newsletter and will be producing the NASB's PowerPoint presentation for the Winterfest which will contain brief profiles of all of the NASB members and associate members, as well as a major presentation by Adrian about the history of shortwave broadcasting in the United States from the 1920's through the end of World War II.

We encourage all NASB stations to attend the Shortwave Listeners Winterfest and take part in our booth there if it's within your possibilities.  You can find more details about the event and a registration form at:  If you register before March 1, the fee is $47 and includes lunch and an evening banquet on Saturday, March 13.  The event will take place at the Best Western hotel in Kulpsville, where accommodation is $75 per night (single or double occupancy).  There is a cheaper alternative hotel across the street.

Below is the tentative agenda for the Winterfest.  The  NASB presentation is at 10:45 on Friday morning.   In addition to participating in our NASB presentation, broadcasters will be able to take part in the Broadcasters Forum (moderated by Kim Elliott of VOA) at 10:00 am Saturday.  And  NASB  president Jeff White been asked to be the banquet speaker on Saturday evening.  Plus we will have the NASB exhibit set up in the exhibit room during the entire event.  We plan to distribute a listener survey in Kulpsville, very similar to the one we did at the Mexican National Shortwave Meeting this past August.

Friday, March 12

8:15 am Digital Broadcasting (Mark Phillips)

9:30 am Satellite Monitoring (Tracy Wood)

10:45 am National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters (Jeff White, Adrian Peterson)

11:45 am  Lunch (on your own)

1:15 pm Trunking and Scanning (Eric Cottrell/SkipArey)

3:00 pm BPL/Powerline Communications (Joe Buch)

4:15 pm The Pirates (George Zeller)

7:00 pm Ham Exams (to 10:00pm) (Skip Arey, Richard Magdy and the VE Team)

7:00 pm The Medium Waves (Gary Thorburn)

8:00 pm The Long Waves (Kevin Carey)

9:00 pm The Listening Lounge (David Goren)

Saturday, March 13

8:15 am Receiver Review (Alan Johnson)

10:00 am Broadcasters’ Forum (Kim Elliott)

12 noon Luncheon (includes Recruitment discussion--Sheldon Harvey/Alan

1:30 pm Zenith (Harold Cones)

2:45 pm Short Space Antennas (Greg Majewski)

4:15 pm Silent Auction closes

4:30-6:00 pm Time set aside for private organization meetings

6:00 pm Cocktail Hour

7:00 pm Fest Banquet

8:15 pm (approx.) Banquet Speaker

9:00 pm The Grand Raffle Drawing




The SWL Winterfest is the second stop on our NASB publicity campaign trail.  Just as we did at the Mexican National DX Meeting last August, we will have the NASB exhibit at the Winterfest and we will hand out program schedules and other literature and souvenirs from NASB member stations.  We appreciate the near 100% cooperation which we received in this regard at the Mexican event, and we are hoping for the same assistance at the Winterfest.  If you plan to attend the event, please bring along a quantity of station schedules, brochures, stickers, QSL cards, posters, pennants, etc. -- whatever publicity materials you have available.  Last time we received such items as pens, keychains, books, CD's, tapes, videos and much more from all of our members and associate members. 

Last year's attendance at the Winter Fest was about 225.  But you needn't send 225 copies of everything.  Send whatever quantities you can.  Limited-quantity items will be contributed to a raffle at the Fest.  If your station cannot attend personally, please send your schedules and other items to NASB President Jeff White, who will take them to the event and put them in the NASB booth.  The address to send items to is the following:


Jeff White
Radio Miami International
175 Fontainebleau Blvd., Suite 1N4
Miami, FL  33172   Telephone (305) 559-9764   E-mail:




The Voice of the NASB, our new weekly digital shortwave program series, is well underway.  The half-hour programs are broadcast in DRM mode each Sunday at 1330-1400 UTC on 9785 kHz via a VT Merlin transmitter in Rampisham, England.  These broadcasts are directed primarily towards Europe, which is where the largest number of DRM-capable receivers are located at the moment.  The same program is broadcast each week in analog form to North America via WRMI in Miami, UTC Sundays at 0330 on 7385 kHz.  (That's 10:30-11:00 p.m. Eastern time Saturday night in North America.)

The series began last October 26 and was originally scheduled to last six months.  However, there have been a few technical problems with the first DRM transmissions, and VT Merlin has graciously agreed to extend the series for us.  This has necessitated a few changes in the anticipated broadcast dates of some programs.

Each week's Voice of the NASB is produced by a different member or associate member station.  We want to thank all those who have contributed programs so far.  Adventist World Radio did a special edition of its "Wavescan" program about digital radio broadcasting.  WMLK did a program about the history of the station and the Assemblies of Yahweh, with a special message in a German dialect to listeners in Europe.  WEWN contributed a message by station founder Mother Angelica.  WYFR, Word Broadcasting (WJIE/KVOH), KNLS and Trans World Radio sent samplings of their English-language programming.  Far East Broadcasting presented a radio drama about some of its listeners in China.  WSHB/Herald Broadcasting Syndicate's program was about "dealing with addictions."  WRMI contributed a documentary about the 2003 Mexican National Shortwave Listeners Meeting.  And HCJB made a special program about the history of their DX programs in English, Spanish, Portuguese and German.  If your station has not sent its 24-minute program yet, please do so as soon as possible (or according to the schedule originally sent to you) to Jeff White at the Miami address above.  A standard Voice of the NASB intro and extro will be added before the final production is sent to Merlin in England.





NASB  member WEWN/EWTN Global Catholic Radio is now broadcasting its English and Spanish services on the Sirius satellite radio service in the U.S.  Station rep Dennis Dempsey reports that “listener response has been very favorable.”  For more details, see:





NASB  Members:                               


Adventist World Radio         

Assemblies of Yahweh

Family Stations Inc.

Far East Broadcasting Co.                                          

Fundamental Broadcasting Network

Herald Broadcasting Syndicate                                  

Le Sea Broadcasting Corp.                            

Radio Miami International

Trans World Radio

Two If By Sea Broadcasting Corp.

WBCQ---The Planet

Word  Broadcasting

World Christian Broadcasting

World International Broadcasters

World Wide Catholic Radio



NASB Associate Members:

Comet North America

DRS Continental Electronics

George Jacobs & Associates

HCJB World Radio                           




Thales Broadcast and Multimedia   

VT Merlin Communications


National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters

10400 NW 240th Street, Okeechobee, Florida  34972

Ph: (863) 763-0281  Fax:  (863) 763-8867    E-mail: