NASB NEWSLETTER             www.shortwave.org

 

March 2005

                

IN THIS ISSUE:         

MEXICO CITY HFCC

Introduction

Opening Remarks---Oldrich Cip

Sponsorship    

HFCC-ASBU Conference

The Mexican Shortwave Scene

Visit to Radio Mil

            80 Years of Radio Educacion on AM and Shortwave

            Sightseeing in Mexico

 USA DRM  GROUP AND  NASB  2005  ANNUAL MEETINGS

DRM NEWS FROM MEXICO

DRM  SOFTWARE SALE

NEW CONSTRUCTION PERMIT APPLICATION

HF ANTENNA FOR SALE

 

 


MEXICO CITY  HFCC

Introduction

Almost four years ago, Stanley Leinwoll -- frequency coordinator for NASB member stations WYFR and WEWN -- suggested that the United States should host a conference of the High Frequency Coordinating Committee, the organization which plans shortwave frequency use for 80% of the  world's shortwave transmissions.  Stanley suggested that the NASB should take on the role of organizing such a conference.  There were informal discussions about the possibility, and even about possible venues, but in the end nothing transpired.  This was largely due to our encountering seemingly insurmountable problems with any USA venue for an HFCC conference from delegations from certain countries who were worried that they might not be able to obtain visas to enter the U.S.
 
Some time later, Stanley suggested the idea again to the new president of NASB, Jeff White, who decided to renew the discussions and press forward with the idea.  The NASB Board of Directors gave Jeff approval to draft a proposal to the HFCC, and a proposal was eventually drafted for a meeting in Miami.  It was presented to HFCC delegates at the February 2004 conference in Dubai, with generally excellent responses.  However, some members of the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) felt that they might be unable to obtain visas to participate in a conference in the U.S., and since all HFCC conferences are now joint conferences with the ASBU, this presented a major difficulty.
 
Although the NASB had made great efforts to obtain special assistance from U.S. government officials so that all HFCC-ASBU delegates could attend a conference in the U.S., the reluctance of the ASBU leadership led us to change the proposed venue from Miami to Mexico City.  We were able to obtain the co-sponsorship of the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) and two local shortwave stations -- Radio Educacion and Radio Mil.  The proposal was accepted by the HFCC/ASBU Steering Board in August of 2004, and the work began.  Jeff White was  no longer President of NASB, but he remained as Chairman of the NASB HFCC Conference Committee, assisted by the new NASB President (Doug Garlinger), Board member Dennis Dempsey, Jeff's wife Thais from NASB member station WRMI, and various others who helped in one way or another.
 
After much negotiation, a hotel was chosen -- the Marquis Reforma, located on the large Paseo de la Reforma Boulevard. 

 

                                                            Hotel Marquis Reforma

Arrangements were made for transportation services, an agenda was developed, speakers were confirmed, and a budget was created.  Jeff and his committee went to NASB members, associate members and other organizations looking for sponsors for coffee breaks, dinners, receptions, computer facilities, etc.
 
Thanks to the participation of many people and organizations, the Mexico City HFCC-ASBU Conference has been pronounced a great success. It was the first-ever HFCC Conference to be held in Latin America, and the first-ever HFCC Conference organized principally by the United States delegation (NASB and IBB).  The NASB still looks forward to the day when it can sponsor a conference in Miami or elsewhere on U.S. territory.

           

 

-----

Opening Remarks at HFCC Mexico City

Oldrich Cip, Chairman HFCC

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Colleagues, Distinguished Guests from Radio Educacion and Radio Mil.

 

It is my pleasure to thank Dr. Lydia Camacho, Director Radio Educacion and to Jeff White for the opening words to our conference and to welcome you all to Mexico City on behalf of the HFCC/ASBU Steering Board.

 

 

 

 

In my remarks now I would like to share with you something that relates to an almost forgotten shortwave broadcasting conference in Mexico City that ended here in April 1949: The conference lasted for six months and it produced the "Mexico Plan" that was without doubt the first ever frequency plan for broadcasting on short waves. Unfortunately, the implementation of that Plan failed due to the start of the Cold War and to the emergence of what was later known as the "War of the Words in the Air."  

 

However, at least one living reminder of the Mexico Plan has outlasted to this day and it is still used in our databases. The map of original CIRAF zones had been drawn for the first time here about fifty-six years ago.

 

Another valiant yet unsuccessful attempt at the planning of shortwave frequencies for broadcasting was undertaken by the ITU in the 1980s during two huge World Administrative Radio Conferences attended by hundreds of delegates. In contrast to this - and without any publicity - two small groups of shortwave frequency managers on both sides of the former Iron Curtain had been working on this problem since the early 1960s. The groups were completely independent of each other but they both came to a conclusion in that co-ordination and informal approach was more important than administrative planning.

 

There is still in this meeting room a dwindling group of old-timers that met and joined forces early in the 1990s and started developing a process that introduced global co-ordination and actually brought us to back Mexico City again.

 

We work with different tools and in a completely different environment but some old problems still remain. An original and yellowed document from 1949 - which one of our old-time colleagues has found - testifies that the requirements during that long-gone Mexico City meeting exceeded about three times the space then available in the spectrum.

 

The bottom of the sunspot cycle is approaching rapidly, and even more space is needed now in the spectrum below 10 MHz. A special working group has been launched during our last Helsinki conference. The group should provide statistics and other input to support this legitimate concern of shortwave broadcasters that had been on the agenda of the ITU and of other bodies many times in the past. 

 

We in the Steering Board of our association are worried since an old argument has appeared in the new debate aimed at a World Radio Conference in 2007 in that there is a problem with the validity of seasonal databases that we keep and that broadcasters are abandoning short waves. Overall statistics show that this is not true but the results of our monitoring campaigns do indicate that the inaccuracies can be dangerous for the effort to get additional spectrum for broadcasting.

 

A joint meeting of our Monitoring and IRUS subgroups is planned again for this conference, as well as the meeting of the WRC07 Working group. These meetings should also provide a forum for discussion of this problem, especially with those frequency management organisations that appeared on the list of inaccuracies and of wooden requirements found in the present B04 schedules.

 

There is absolutely no reason why the inaccuracies should persist. Our Asia Pacific Colleagues held their co-ordination meeting about a week ago in Kuala Lumpur. All members of the HFCC/ASBU have been invited to take part using the online data that have been processed every day by the HFCC secretariat. The global, continually updated database has become a reality and as a result of this co-ordination, this week should be even more effective and reliable.

 

Our conference in Mexico City is another first in that the hosting organisation NASB is not located here. In addition, NASB is a non-profit making association like the HFCC. This has posed a number of problems both in organising the conference here and in accumulating sufficient funding from sponsors in addition to the Conference fees.

 

I would like to single out the role of Jeff White, Chairman of the NASB Conference Committee, and his wife Thais, who both worked hard and dedicated a lot of their time and effort to secure this venue for us. There would have been no conference in Mexico without Jeff and Thais.            I would like to thank also two members of the NASB Board of Directors, namely Dennis Dempsey and Doug Garlinger, and to our sponsors, the IBB, Riz Transmitters from Croatia, VT Communications, Thales Broadcasting and Multimedia, Continental Electronics, KNLS World Christian Broadcasting, Comet North America, TCI Dielectric, and also to the NASB stations EWTN and Radio Miami International. They have all helped the conference organizers to cover some of the expenses.

 

I do not want to impose on your patience further, and since we are in a Spanish speaking country, there is a proverb that says: "Con un cambio de actividad se renuevan las energias" or " a change is good for renewing energy" in English. And with that idea I will hand over as usual to Horst and Jan Willem, and to Jeff White again to inform you more about the conference and its programme.  Thank you for your attention.

 

                          Doug Garlinger                                   Oldrich Cip                                                 Dennis Dempsey                                                               Jeff White

 

 

 

                                                            -----

 

Sponsorship

 

This will likely be known as one of the most sponsored HFCC-ASBU conferences ever.  Normally the host organization absorbs a lot of the administrative and other expenses of the HFCC-ASBU conference that it sponsors, often footing the bill for a reception, the traditional Wednesday dinner, or an excursion to some local site.  But in this case, NASB was the primary sponsor of the event, and it is a non-profit organization for its member stations, with very little in the way of funds to allocate for such things.

However, NASB was able to rally a lot of support from its members and associate members.  The U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) sponsored the Thursday dinner, a coffee break, and also lent us a computer projector to use throughout the conference week for PowerPoint presentations.  (It would have cost us several hundred dollars to rent such a projector from the hotel.)  VT Communications, in what was really a "first" at HFCC conferences, sponsored the "Internet Cafe," which consisted of five computers with high-speed Internet access, two laser printers and a copying machine -- all of this available 24 hours per day to conference participants, with hotel security guards on duty during non-conference hours. 

 

 

 

 

 

   Internet Café, Dennis Dempsey and  Cary Harding on right

 

Thales Broadcast and Multimedia sponsored the Friday closing reception, which consisted of 10 different tropical drinks (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) with all you cared to drink for an hour.

Continental Electronics sponsored both the morning and afternoon coffee breaks on Thursday.  Other coffee breaks during the week were sponsored by TCI Dielectric, Comet North America and KNLS/World Christian Broadcasting. 

The conference was very honored to have present Adil Mina (and his wife Thespina) of Continental Electronics, Dr. Ahmad Ghaffarian of TCI, and Sebastien Larmier and Perry Priestley (and his wife Kendle) of Thales.  Representing the IBB's home office were Dr. Don Messer, Dan Ferguson and Russ Erickson.  And from VT (Merlin) Communications there was the usual large delegation of friends and colleagues.  We only regret that a package of pens and mints sent by Merlin via DHL for distribution at the Internet Cafe was not allowed entry by Mexican customs since VTC had neglected to include a letter from the manufacturer of the mints indicating the sugar content in each one! 

Some NASB members contributed in important non-financial ways.  EWTN Global Catholic Radio provided the waterproof conference bags (which many participants found were perfect for taking to the beach in Acapulco afterwards), an Information Technology specialist (Cary Harding) to assist participants with computer problems during the week, and general technical assistance from Cary and Dennis Dempsey in setting up the computer network and other technical help.  Radio Miami International paid for hundreds of dollars worth of international telephone calls, faxes, etc. both prior to and during the conference.  RMI also provided two secretaries -- Thais White and her sister Johanna Silva -- to "man" the registration table during

 

 

            Jeff White, Thais White and Johanna Silva

 

 

the week and help with general organization.  Johanna flew up from Venezuela to volunteer her services during her two weeks of "vacation."  Incidentally, Thais and Johanna's mother in Venezuela, Alicia de Silva, volunteered her time hand-making 120 passport and money holders which were placed in each participant's conference bag.

And there were also a few non-NASB members who helped out tremendously with the conference, most notably Riz Transmitters of Croatia.  Riz sent a low-power 26-MHz shortwave transmitter to Mexico for the week-long DRM tests on Radio Educacion. 

 

        Riz DRM transmitter                    DRM antenna on Radio Educacion

 

 

General Manager Darko Cvjetko and his engineer Robert Tomljanovich sponsored the Wednesday evening buffet at the Hotel Marquis Reforma, complete with Mexican wines and nine mariachi singers who were a big hit with everyone.  No one who was present will forget the photos with the various delegations trying on the mariachis' sombreros -- especially the IBB's Don Messer with his newly-acquired neck brace on.


 

 

 

 

Thanks also to Jan-Peter Werkman and the whole crew from Radio Netherlands who went to monumental efforts to construct an excellent external antenna on the roof of the hotel and connect it to the DRM demonstration receivers at both the HFCC Conference and the next-door DRM Symposium on Wednesday.  And last but not least, thanks to Jan-Willem Drexhage of Radio Netherlands for sending his secretary Guadelupe Velazquez Quevedo (known affectionately as "Lupita") to help out with the registration desk and all sorts of other matters.  Lupita, who is from Mexico originally, was a great help in taking documents to the National Migration Institute, caring for Don Messer and Anders Backlin during their hospital visits, making and confirming flight reservations, and so much more.


 

                        DRM  meeting room

 

We should also mention that we had two local co-sponsors -- Radio Educacion and Radio Mil.  Radio Educacion provided us with all of the audio equipment and audio operators for the entire HFCC Conference and the DRM Symposium, and it welcomed conference participants to visit the station's studios and to see the DRM transmitter and receiver room.  Radio Mil, for its part, provided a tour and cocktail reception at its new corporate headquarters building in the Mexico City suburb of Santa Fe.  Both stations provided speakers at the conference. 

 

We were also happy to have assistance from George McClintock of  WWCR, now representing the Caribbean Beacon station on Anguilla, West Indies.

                                                            -----

HFCC-ASBU Conference Attendance

A total of 119 persons registered for the conference, plus 15 spouses and family members, from 36 countries, as follows:

Austria, Belgium, China, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guam (which is, of course, a U.S. territory), Hungary, Iran, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, USA, Vatican City and Yemen.

In addition, about 90 persons attended the  DRM  Symposium on the Wednesday of the  HFCC  conference.  A few of those were also registered for the  HFCC  Conference, but the vast majority were Mexicans from local radio stations, broadcasting organizations and regulatory authorities.

                                                            -----

The Mexican Shortwave Scene

Dr. Julian Santiago, coordinator of Radio Mil's shortwave service on 6010 kHz, spoke briefly at the inauguration of the HFCC/ASBU Conference on February 7, welcoming everyone to Mexico.  On the morning of February 10, Dr. Santiago spoke again to the Conference about the shortwave listening and broadcasting panorama in Mexico in general, and about his personal involvement in shortwave radio in particular, from his first time listening to the BBC from London, to his own programs in English and Spanish on Radio Mexico International, Radio Educacion and Radio Mil. 

Dr. Santiago is very active in the Mexican shortwave listening community.  He pointed out that an informal association of shortwave radio listening clubs throughout Mexico has sponsored an annual meeting for Mexican shortwave listeners at a different location throughout the country each year for the past 11 years now.   Last year's 10th anniversary shortwave listeners meeting was held in the port city of Veracruz.  He pointed out that a large number of shortwave broadcasters have attended these SWL meetings over the past decade, including Radio Netherlands, Radio Miami International, China Radio International, Radio Taiwan International, Radio Free Asia, Radio Havana Cuba, Adventist World Radio and others, including the Mexican shortwave stations.  Dr. Santiago invited all shortwave broadcasters to participate in the 11th annual meeting of Mexican shortwave listeners which will take place on July 29-31, 2005 in the city of Tampico, which is in Tamaulipas State, also on the Gulf Coast of Mexico.  More information about this meeting is available at www.aer-dx.org/encuentro.

                                                            -----

Visit to Radio Mil


On Tuesday, February 8, the HFCC/ASBU Conference delegates paid a special visit to the new corporate headquarters building of Nucleo Radio Mil in the Mexico City suburb of Santa Fe, which is a rapidly-growing area containing the headquarters of many national and multinational businesses.  Nucleo Radio Mil is one of the largest commercial radio groups in Mexico.  At its state-of-the-art headquarters, it operates six AM and FM stations,

 

     One of several control rooms at Radio Mil facility

including the flagship station Radio Mil, which concentrates heavily on news programming.  Radio Mil has also broadcast with low power (one kilowatt) on the shortwave frequency of 6010 kHz for over 50 years.  The HFCC group was broken up into several smaller groups and taken on a tour of the facilities by several of the station's engineers, as well as by Gustavo Alvite (program director) and his assistant Claudia Rosendo.  While some groups were touring the facilities, others were treated to a cocktail reception with German wine and pretzels at the Radio Mil cafeteria.  Everyone was given station souvenirs and stickers upon leaving the building.

But that was not the end of the evening.  From Radio Mil, the buses took the conference attendees to nearby Santa Fe Mall, the largest shopping mall in Mexico, for a chance to do some shopping and to have dinner at their choice of about 20 or 30 restaurants ranging from fast food to gourmet cuisine.  Two of the favorites were Rainforest Cafe, where customers eat amidst a lifelike indoor recreation of a South American rain forest, and La Calle, featuring authentic Mexican cuisine served in an indoor recreation of a typical Mexican street scene, where the waiters are dressed as policemen. 

 

                                                            -----

80 Years of Radio Educacion on AM and Shortwave

Text of a presentation by Prof. Perla Olivia Rodriguez Resendiz, Assistant Director for Production and Programming at Radio Educacion, given at the HFCC/ASBU Conference February 7, 2005 in Mexico City.

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

First, I’d like to thank Jeff White for his kind invitation to participate in the High Frequency Coordinating Conference.

Today, we must continually reflect on the profound economic, political, social and technological changes that are leading to new forms of production, new markets, new cultures and new communications media.  Some believe that we are witnessing the birth of the Information Society.

According to Spanish researcher Manuel Castells, the Information Society is a great network; the world is made up of communication networks, business networks, cultural networks, social networks and technological networks, among others.  These networks make it possible to create, disseminate and exchange information and knowledge.

The Information Society is at the center of contemporary debates.  However, for more than a century, people have used radio to communicate. Radio has helped us stay informed, and, through sound, it has given us the opportunity to learn about and imagine men and women of diverse cultures.  Music, speech, silence and noise have carried us to the furthest corners of the world.

In particular, shortwave radio has created a broad network of creators and listeners whose meeting place is sound itself.  Shortwave radio has not only constructed a network for the exchange of information, knowledge and cultural creations; it has also allowed us to explore multicultural creation, which is, today, one of the main characteristics of the      so-called new media.

Shortwave conjures up ideas and feelings within its listeners; this undoubtedly helps them imagine the daily life of many peoples in the furthest corners of the world—peoples that we might otherwise never learn about but that, through radio, we have imagined.



Radio Educacion

In Mexico, one of the shortwave stations that has participated in multicultural sound creation is Radio Education, a cultural and educational station that is part of the Ministry of Public Education and the National Council for Culture and the Arts.  Radio Education is the direct heir of Mexico’s tradition of cultural and educational broadcasting—a tradition that began more than 80 years ago with broadcasts that aimed to make radio a vehicle for education and the dissemination of culture.

Since then, Radio Education has provided space for a great variety of our country’s creative works.  Radio Education has divulged many of Mexico’s artistic and cultural creations over its shortwave frequency: XEPPM.

Broadcasts over shortwave began in 1982, and we have listeners throughout the world.  The 10,000-watt signal is broadcast internationally at 6185 kHz on the 49 meter band.  Over our shortwave frequency, Radio Education has transmitted to the world the variety, diversity, contrast and above all the richness of Mexico’s musical creations.

[
PLAYS COLLAGE OF PROGRAMS: “MÉXICO OF MY ADVENTURES” AND “CHATTING ABOUT MUSIC”]

We have just listened to fragments of “Mexico of My Adventures” and “Chatting about Music,” two programs that divulge and promote our country’s musical richness and diversity. 

Mexico’s diversity lies not only in its music, but also in its languages.  Many different native tongues are spoken in the country, and Radio Education has included them in its programming, as they are part of our identity as a people.  Native languages have been broadcast in one of humanity’s most sublime expressions: poetry.  I invite you to listen to “The Word’s Flower,” a series dedicated to the creations of Mexico’s native poets.  The series has also been a part of our shortwave programming.

[
PLAYS FRAGMENT OF THE PROGRAM “THE WORD’S FLOWER”]

Since the end of the 1970’s and throughout the 1980’s, Radio Education was particularly known for the broad acceptance and credibility of its newscasts.  The “Pulse” newscast is another important program that Radio Education has shared with the world over its shortwave signal.

[PLAYS FRAGMENT OF “PULSE”]

News information is undoubtedly another means by which one can get to know a people, feel their daily heartbeat, and above all understand them.

In addition to news and current affairs, XEPPM has started to broadcast new works for radio created by the Laboratory for Artistic Sound Experimentation, or LEAS.  The LEAS was created by Dr. Lidia Camacho, the director of Radio Education, and has become a space for exploration and experimentation with the aesthetic possibilities that sound offers.  So, in our shortwave programming, tradition and vanguard coexist—because in Mexico, processes of cultural and artistic creation constantly renew themselves.  Creation never stops, always challenges established forms, and dares to explore new proposals.

[PLAYS FRAGMENT OF “MUNCH”]

That was a fragment of “The Frieze of Life”, based on works by Norwegian painter Edvard Münch. Radio Education dares to experiment.  Our search for new educational possibilities in radio has led us to create a series of radio courses titled “The History of Western Music, from its Beginnings Up To 1940.”

With the launch of several radio series that included complementary material on the Internet, Radio Education became the first Mexican radio station to experiment with hypermedia languages.  Motivated by the desire to explore hypermedia, Radio Education was the first station to try to redefine the educational possibilities of radio in combination with the Internet.

The series of courses titled “Rescuing Eurydice: The History of Western Music, from its Beginnings Up To 1940” not only broadcasts music for the enjoyment of listeners; it also provides an academic course in which radio is the starting point for the learning process.  In this way, radio seduces and attracts knowledge, and the Internet constitutes a complementary medium that helps students throughout the world participate in the courses and receive information that complements the weekly lessons broadcast over the radio.  Students can use a virtual library and a virtual notebook, listen to additional material and communicate using tools such as chat rooms, forums and e-mail.  This novel program is also broadcast over shortwave.

[PLAYS FRAGMENT OF THE COURSE “RESCUING EURYDICE”]

With our shortwave signal, not only do we share the sounds of Mexico; we also receive and imagine the lives of radio listeners throughout the world.  This relationship with shortwave listeners enriches the medium.  Radio Education constantly receives letters from almost every part of the world.  Their correspondence lets us get to know our audience and is one of the most exciting aspects of shortwave radio.  Now we’ll hear a fragment of “Free Signal,” a program that goes to great lengths to promote constant exchange with its listeners.

[PLAYS FRAGMENT OF “FREE SIGNAL”]

Radio participates in its own redefinition as a new medium.  Radio is faced with a fundamental technological shift, “even more important than the changes brought on by transistors, FM and stereo.”  Radio’s transformation is the result of a convergence of technologies that allows for digitization, digital storage, hypertextuality, signal compression and automation of production and broadcast processes.  At the same time, and unlike in traditional media, there appears a range of possibilities of interaction, dialogue and audience participation.

Radio, as a new medium, must view the innovation of content and services as a challenge.  This means we must be more creative.  Otherwise, we will end up using new technology with old content that does not motivate the public.  Shortwave radio cannot escape this process; radio is a living entity that must change, improve, grow and always provide new options.

Radio Education is currently renewing its shortwave programing, at the very time that tests are being carried out in the area of Digital Radio broadcasts.  Undoubtedly, in Radio Education this will be an historic event that will stimulate us to continue imagining the radio of the future.  This does not mean we must renounce old media, but rather research how to renew our use of and potentiate these technologies.

We must do so, above all, because for many years shortwave has had a multicultural listenership; today, with the appearance of new media that also have a multicultural audience, shortwave can share its broad and rich experience, and can improve itself using that experience as a point of departure.  Through shortwave radio and sound itself, many cultures of the world have met and will continue to reach out to each other.

Thank you very much for your time.  I invite you to listen to and get to know Radio Education.

                                                            -----

Sightseeing in Mexico

Mexico is a tourist's paradise, and many HFCC delegates took advantage of the opportunity to combine the conference with a bit of tourism.  Some people relaxed on the white sand beaches of Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula or Ixtapa on the Pacific Coast.  Others explored the archeological sites near Oaxaca in southern Mexico or the northern city of Monterrey in Nuevo Leon State.

The conference hotel was located just a short walk from the National Museum of Anthropology, generally regarded as one of the best museums in the world.  Here you can see artifacts and recreations of artifacts from archeological sites all over Mexico.  Dioramas and other exhibits explain in vivid detail the pre-Columbian history of the country and the various indigenous cultures.

The conference itself offered three optional sightseeing tours.  On Sunday afternoon before the meeting began on Monday, there was a city tour taking delegates along the famous Paseo de la Reforma Boulevard from the hotel to the historical center of the city.  At the very center is what's called the "zocalo," or main plaza.  It's one of the largest plazas in the world.  On one side is the National Palace with gigantic murals depicting the history of the country. 

National Palace                                                                              Metropolitan Cathedral

On another side is the main cathedral -- a breathtaking piece of religious architecture which has recently undergone some reconstruction.  Despite centuries of earthquakes, the cathedral remains in place, largely unscathed, with its myriads of chapels, paintings, sculptures and altars, many covered in gold which the Spanish conquerors found in abundance.

From the zocalo, three tour guides took the group on a walking tour around the city center, visiting a number of historical buildings, ending up at a fascinating old building which has been converted into a Sanborn's coffee shop, where the group stopped for a drink before returning by bus to the hotel.

On Friday -- the last day of the conference -- there was an optional afternoon tour to the pre-Columbian pyramids of Teotihuacan, about a half hour from Mexico City.  Two buses took the participants to see these masterpieces of Mexican indigenous architecture, including the famous Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon.  Visitors can actually walk to the top of these monuments and take photos of the ancient city, which is believed to have been a political or religious ceremonial center.  The stone steps are very narrow, and coming back down can be tricky.  Climbing the pyramids is not for those with vertigo or fear of heights, but the views from above are spectacular.

The HFCC-ASBU Conference actually closed on Friday at noon, just before the tour to Teotihuacan.  But nearly half of the delegates stayed on for an optional two-day trip from Saturday till Monday to the resort city of Acapulco, on Mexico's Pacific coast.

The contrast between Mexico City and Acapulco is marked.  Mexico City's altitude provides it with daily high temperatures of about 20-25 degrees C (around 75 Fahrenheit) and cool evenings.  Acapulco is at sea level and remains hot year-round with daily highs around 30-33 degrees C (90 Fahrenheit).  A new super tollway connects the two cities in four to five hours by car or bus.  However, en route to Acapulco the conference bus took a more scenic route, stopping at the small town of Taxco in the mountains to see the local silver crafting shops.  Early Saturday evening, the bus arrived in Acapulco at the Calinda Beach Hotel, located right along Acapulco Bay on the Costera Miguel Aleman seaside drive.  The Costera is lined with hotels, restaurants, shops and discotheques.  Acapulco's nightlife is famous and many establishments are open 24 hours.  There are numerous restaurants on hills along the bay with spectacular views of Acapulco both by day and night, including one which used to be the home of Johnny Weismuller, an American Olympian athlete who also played Tarzan in 19 movies of the series. 

On Sunday morning, many members of the group chose to enjoy the beach right behind the hotel.  Even in February -- local winter -- the waters of the Pacific Ocean there were very warm.  Others decided for a bus tour of the city to take some photos of the Bay from various choice viewpoints.  The bus then left some people at the Acapulco Aquarium, where the group watched a sea lion show, and some enjoyed fresh seafood and a bit of shopping for local handicrafts before returning to the hotel for a rest or some relaxation on the beach.

An evening bus excursion took many members of the group to a cliff called La Quebrada on the north side of the Bay which is famous as a place where local divers jump off the cliff into the ocean below.  It's one of the major tourist attractions in Acapulco.  Despite some confusion about the  exact time of the jump (time has its own meaning in Mexico!), the group was able to see three cliff divers plunge into the Pacific by moonlight.  And yes, they all survived.  Later, some people retired for the night, while others went to one of the excellent local restaurants or nightclubs.

After breakfast on Monday, the bus left the Calinda Beach Hotel for Mexico City via the tollway.  Soft drinks, water and Mexican wines were served en route, and there were a couple of stops for rest rooms and leg-stretching.  By 1700 hours, the bus arrived at Mexico City International Airport to drop off all of the people who had flights to Europe leaving that evening.  The rest then returned to the Hotel Marquis Reforma for a night or so before their return home.

                                                            -----

USA DRM  GROUP and  NASB  2005  ANNUAL MEETINGS

 

The 2005 Annual Meeting of the NASB will be held Friday, May 6 in Washington, D.C. at the headquarters of Radio Free Asia. The U.S. DRM Group meeting will take place in the same location the day before -- Thursday, May 5. Both meetings will be in the first-floor conference room at Radio Free Asia, 2025 M Street NW in downtown Washington.

For those interested in the latest DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) developments, the second annual meeting of the U.S. DRM Group will begin at about 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 5. (Those who would like a tour of the RFA facilities may want to arrive about an hour earlier.) DRM Technical Committee Chairman Don Messer, US DRM Manufactuers Committee Chairman Adil Mina and US DRM Chairman Jeff White will provide brief reviews of the recent DRM symposia and test transmissions in Dallas and Mexico City; and of recent DRM meetings in Brazil and Paris.

Although discussions will include all aspects of DRM developments, some main "action points" will be emphasized, central of which is the objective of getting one or more long-term DRM tests on the air from a U.S. shortwave station within the coming months. We will attempt to "match up" broadcasters who have a spare transmitter and are interested in doing long-term DRM transmissions with manufacturers who may be able to provide the necessary equipment and technical assistance for such broadcasts.

Other items on the agenda of the US DRM Meeting will include expanded content for the new US DRM website (www.usdrm.com); plans for DRM exhibitions, events and publicity in the U.S.; the creation of a DXers Committee; and the organization of a US DRM DX contest. There is no charge for attending the DRM meeting, and an Italian-style lunch will be provided, sponsored by Continental Electronics, TCI and Thales. The meeting will end at 5:00 p.m.

The NASB Annual Meeting will begin at around 8:30 a.m. on Friday, May 6 in the same first-floor conference room at RFA headquarters. The morning session will feature a series of talks including updates from the IBB, the FCC, DRM and a review of the Mexico City HFCC Conference. Don Messer of the IBB will talk about the development of a U.S. position for the WRC-2007 regarding increased spectrum for HF broadcasters. And a special speaker, courtesy of VT Merlin Communications, will be Dr. Graham Mytton, former audience research officer at the BBC World Service. Graham will address issues of interest to shortwave broadcasters relating to audience research.

Lunch at the NASB meeting will be Chinese this year, appropriate for the location at Radio Free Asia. It will be catered from a local Chinese restaurant that is highly rated by RFA staffers, and it will be sponsored by our friends at Continental Electronics, TCI  and Thales.  After lunch is the annual NASB business meeting, which all are welcome to attend. It should end by around 4:00 p.m. or possibly earlier, and it will be followed by a brief meeting of the NASB Board of Directors.

Please inform Dan Elyea, NASB Secretary-Treasurer, that you will be attending the  NASB  Annual Meeting, and include the names of any additional persons from your organization who will attend. You can notify him by e-mail at: fsiyfr@okeechobee.com. There is no registration fee for the DRM meeting on Thursday, but it is still necessary to reserve your seat in advance. You can also notify Dan Elyea by e-mail of your intention to attend the DRM meeting.

Hotel availability in Washington in early May can be difficult, and prices have risen considerably during the past few years. There is a hotel right next to Radio Free Asia, but the price is well over $200 per night. The NASB has a block of rooms booked at the Red Roof Inn in downtown Washington for a group rate of $124 per night for the nights of May 4 and 5, and they will honor the same rate for those who want to arrive earlier or stay later, as long as rooms are available. In order to get a room at the group rate, you need to call the hotel direct at (202) 289-5959. Tell them you are with the NASB group. We strongly encourage you to make your hotel reservation as soon as possible -- certainly by the end of March -- as the block of rooms may be booked up by then. Of course you are welcome to stay at any other hotel in the area, but price and availability may be a serious problem. If you encounter any problems reserving for the group rate at the Red Roof Inn, please contact Jeff White at: radiomiami9@cs.com.


The Red Roof Inn is located in the Chinatown area at 500 H Street NW, which is between the White House and Union Station and just one block from the MCI Center. There is an Irish/Cajun restaurant (an interesting combination) at the hotel, and there are other restaurants in the area. Taxi fares from Reagan National Airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to Radio Free Asia, should be in the $9 to $15 range. The same would be true for taxi fares from National Airport direct to Radio Free Asia. We can go in groups from the hotel to Radio Free Asia on Thursday and Friday (and return), thus sharing the taxi costs.

For those who prefer to use the Metro, the hotel is near the Gallery Place Metro stop. Exit on the 7th and H Street side and turn right. The hotel is two blocks down on the right.

Thanks very much to Hal Creech of Radio Free Asia for coordinating use of the RFA conference room for both the NASB and DRM meetings.                                                   

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DRM NEWS FROM MEXICO

 

DRM Testing in Mexico to Expand to Commercial Radio via Radio Centro

News Release from the  DRM  Consortium

Mexico City – Mexico’s Cámara Nacional de la Industria de Radio y Televisión (CIRT) has announced that it will begin conducting DRM tests this spring. CIRT will use a commercial station of one of its members, Radio Centro of Mexico City, for this purpose. This development expands the scope of DRM testing in Mexico into the commercial radio realm. On February 9th, the Ministry of Communications and Transportation authorized the commencement of a national DRM testing project to be carried out by Radio Educación, the country’s public, cultural and educational network.

“We are very interested to evaluate the DRM system, in particular its medium-wave/AM simulcast modes, as soon as possible,” said Ernesto Reyes Ramirez, CIRT’s Director of Engineering. “The test results will be presented to the Ministry of Communications and Transportation.”  CIRT participated in DRM’s Mexico City symposium on February 9th.

“We are delighted to work with Mexican broadcasters who are interested in evaluating DRM’s potential as a digital radio solution,” says DRM Chairman and Deutsche Welle COO Peter Senger. “Enthusiasm for DRM’s advantages for Latin America is clearly growing.”   

The DRM consortium has 88 members from 28 countries. DRM has developed the world’s only non-proprietary, digital radio system for short-wave, AM/medium-wave and long-wave (also called DRM) approved by international standardization bodies for use worldwide. DRM revitalizes radio with clear, FM-like audio quality and excellent reception, free from static, fading and interference. More than 70 radio stations worldwide have begun DRM broadcasting. DRM’s Live Broadcasts Schedule and additional information are at www.drm.org (English).  The new U.S. DRM Group website is at www.usdrm.com, and the DRM Koordinations – Komitee Deutschland web site (German) is at www.drm-national.de.

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Radio Educacion Commences DRM Tests in Mexico
News Release from the  DRM  Consortium

Mexico City – The Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation has authorized the immediate commencement of a national DRM testing project, to be carried out by Radio Educacion, the country’s public, cultural and educational network. Jorge Rodriguez Castaňeda, the ministry’s Director General of Radio and Television Systems, made the announcement at Digital Radio Mondiale’s first-ever symposium in Mexico City on February 9th, as part of the weeklong HFCC-ASBU Conference sponsored by the NASB. As he led the “inauguration” of DRM at the event, Sr. Castaňeda presented Radio Educacion’s Director General, Dr. Lidia Camacho, with the official permit authorizing DRM testing, signed by Secretary of Communications and Transportation Pedro Cerisola y Weber. More than 80 commercial and non-commercial representatives of the Mexican broadcasting industry heard about DRM’s advantages from a panel of DRM experts.

“As of today, we start testing DRM via Radio Educacion,” said Sr. Castaňeda. “DRM is recognized as the worldwide standard for short-wave. We will study DRM for application in the

 

AM bands, and maybe the FM bands in the future.” (While the DRM system currently covers the broadcasting bands below 30 MHz, the DRM General Assembly voted to extend it to the broadcasting bands up to 120 MHz at its meeting in Paris on March 10th.) 


The symposium featured a live broadcast of the actual switch of Radio Educacion from analogue medium-wave/AM to DRM, as the Mexican testing process began. Radio Educacion had prepared a special, 20-minute broadcast for the DRM event. “This is a historic day for Mexican radio,” said Dr. Camacho. “Radio Educacion has been at the vanguard of Mexican cultural broadcasting for 40 years, and we are thrilled to participate in the development of our nation’s digital future.”

“We look forward to working closely with the Mexican authorities and broadcasters, to assist them in their DRM testing process,” said DRM Chairman Peter Senger. “It is more and more apparent that the DRM system provides the right digital solutions for Latin American nations.”

DRM members Harris Corporation and RIZ Transmitter Co. were involved in preparations for the symposium broadcasts. Harris Corporation installed a DRM modulator board within a Harris DX50 transmitter, and RIZ installed a 200 watt SW DRM transmitter system on 25.620 MHz. Symposium attendees heard DRM live on short-wave courtesy of DRM members Christian Vision (from Chile); Deutsche Welle (from French Guyana); HCJB (from Ecuador), RCI (from Canada), Radio Netherlands (from Bonaire); and TDF (from French Guyana). 

Last month, DRM members Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) and RadioScape made the landmark announcement that they are developing software and hardware to support the design of cost-effective DRM consumer receivers. This accelerates the timeline for development of a range of DRM consumer receivers. TI will supply the necessary digital signal processor (DSP) -based digital radio silicon along with RadioScape's software-defined digital radio technology, enabling consumer receivers to have DRM, DAB, FM, short-wave, medium-wave/AM and long-wave capabilities. The World DAB Forum and DRM announced their cooperation in markets of mutual interest in 2003. DRM’s European commercial launch will take place later this year.

 

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DRM  SOFTWARE SALE

Mike Adams, NASB's liaison with the DRM Consortium, reminds us that the original DRM software price has been reduced from 60 euros to just 45 euros, but the sale will end on March 31.  The reduced-price version will also include a copy of the Dream DRM software at no extra charge.  For more information, see www.drmrx.org before the end of March.

 

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NEW CONSTRUCTION PERMIT APPLICATION


Transformation Media International, a limited partnership based in Albany, Oregon, has applied to the FCC for a construction permit for a shortwave station near Lebanon, Oregon.  The application calls for installation of four 50-kilowatt P.E.P. reduced carrier upper sideband transmitters, three rhombic antennas directed toward northeast Asia, the Caribbean, and Central and northern South America; and a log periodic antenna beamed to central and eastern Canada.

According to the application, Transformation Media "intends to offer a variety of programming suited to the local target, foreign population.  Such things as news, religious teaching, educational, comedy, and music will be included in the program format."  Programs are planned in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Japanese, Korean and Mandarin.

Michelle Brosnan, operations manager of the station, attended the recent HFCC-ASBU Conference in Mexico City in order to learn more about international broadcasting and in particular shortwave frequency planning.

 

                                                           

       Oldrich Cip,    Perla Olivia Rodriguez,   Michelle Brosnan

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HF ANTENNA FOR SALE

At the recent HFCC Conference in Mexico, a flyer was circulated regarding an HF broadcast antenna for sale.  The Croatian Information Centre is offering a TCI model 611 high-gain dipole curtain antenna HRS 4/4/.5 made for 100 kilowatts of power to operate from 5.9 to 12.1 MHz with five slew positions.  The antenna is new and complete with guyed masts, air traffic signal lighting, slew remote control unit and all documentation.  It is original factory-packed, stored in Zagreb, Croatia since 1995.  An antenna erection permit was denied due to environmental protests.  The original price was US$ 300,000, but is subject to negotiation.  For more information, please contact Ms. Marica Risek at marica.risek@hic.hr.

 

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NASB  Members:            

 

Adventist World Radio         

Assemblies of Yahweh

Family Stations Inc.

Far East Broadcasting Co.                                          

Fundamental Broadcasting Network

La Voz de Restauracion Broadcasting, Inc.

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:

Beth Shalom Center Radio

Comet North America

DRS Continental Electronics

George Jacobs & Associates

Hatfield and Dawson Consulting Engineers

HCJB World Radio                           

IBB    

TCI/Dielectric

TDF

TDP

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:  nasbmem@rocketmail.com