NASB NEWSLETTER             www.shortwave.org

 

April 2009

         

IN THIS ISSUE:         

DRM  USA  and NASB  Annual Meetings

Tunis  HFCC/ASBU  Meetings

Miscellaneous HF-related News and Views

 

 

DRM  USA  and NASB  Annual Meetings

 

Last Call for Registration for 2009 NASB-DRM USA Annual Meetings

You can still register for the 2009 NASB-DRM USA annual meetings in Nashville, Tennessee on May 7 and 8.  Anyone interested in or involved in shortwave radio is welcome to attend.  The meetings will take place at the Holiday Inn Express in downtown Nashville.  Registration is completely free of charge; you only need to pay your own travel and lodging expenses.  If you plan to attend and have not already done so, please notify NASB Secretary-Treasurer Dan Elyea that you will be attending.  His e-mail is:  fsiyfr@okeechobee.com.

Here is the latest tentative agenda for the meetings:

Thursday, May 7, 2009 – DRM USA Annual Meeting

9:00 am – Opening of DRM USA Annual Meeting in the Holiday Inn Express Amphitheater.  Welcome remarks from World Christian Broadcasting, WWCR and DRM USA officers.  The Amphitheater meeting room is sponsored by TCI International.

9:05 am - The Latest Developments in Digital Radio Mondiale – Adil Mina of Continental Electronics and the DRM Consortium will report on what is happening with DRM around the globe. 

 

9:30 am – WinDRM: Amateur Radio's DRM Evolution - One of amateur radio's digital voice and image transfer modes was derived from DRM's Dream receiver/transmitter software.  Mel Whitten, who holds amateur radio callsign K0PFX, will talk about how these amateur modes were developed, how they are used and the transmitting and receiving equipment used.

 

10:00 am – A Profile of Ten-Tec - the Tennessee company that makes HF radios for amateurs and shortwave listeners.  The Ten-Tec RX-320D was one of the first DRM software-capable receivers on the market.  The speaker will be Gary Barbour.

 

10:30 am - Coffee Break, sponsored by Media Broadcast

 

11:00 am – Question and Answer Session with NASB Attorney Edward Bailey

 

11:30 pm - Lunch, sponsored by World Christian Broadcasting and WWCR, in The Nashville Room at Jack's Bar-B-Que, 416 Broadway, next to the Ryman Auditorium.  The buffet-style menu will include Tennessee pork shoulder, smoked turkey, barbecue sauce, barbecue baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad, cornbread and buns, chocolate fudge pie and beverage (tea or fountain drinks).

1:30 pm - Bus leaves hotel for Sightseeing Tour, sponsored by TCI International, visiting WWCR studio/transmitter site and  World Christian Broadcasting headquarters in Franklin.

6:00 pm - Dinner at Stoveworks restaurant, sponsored by  VT Communications.  Stoveworks offers authentic Southern cooking served with down home style in a historic setting at The Factory in Franklin.  The menu will include a choice of one of three main dishes (pork tenderloin with red plum sauce; creamed chicken breast in a mushroom sherry cream sauce with cornbread; or seafood hot brown with white fish, shrimp and crabmeat in a creamy cheese sauce with Parmesan topping), plus Stoveworks hot spoon rolls, cranberry congealed salad, squash casserole, green beans, fruit cobbler and your choice of beverage (water, tea, fruit tea, coffee, Coke, Sprite or canned drinks).  Vegetarians may substitute vegetarian burritos for the main dish (burritos with m
ushrooms, onions, cheddar jack cheese, spinach, tomatoes and artichoke hearts with homemade salsa, sour cream and guacamole).

9:00 pm - Bus returns to the Holiday Inn Express. The rest of the evening is free to explore The District.


Friday, May 8, 2009 – NASB Annual Meeting

9:00 am – Opening of NASB Annual Meeting in the Holiday Inn Express Amphitheater.  Welcome remarks from NASB officers.  The Amphitheater meeting room is sponsored by TCI International.

9:15 am - Panel Discussion:  The State of Shortwave Listening and Broadcasting in Europe.  Panelists will include Michael Murray, former Secretary General of the European DX Council.

 

9:45 am – Sports Programming on Shortwave – Independent producer Bruce Baskin will tell about his experiences with World Cricket Today and World Baseball Today on shortwave.

 

9:55 am – Update on Digital Aurora Radio Technologies DRM project in Alaska by Don Messer

 

10:15 am – New Technologies from Galcom International – an update on Galcom's new suitcase-sized transmitter and the possibility of a low-cost DRM receiver.

10:30 am - Coffee Break, sponsored by Continental Electronics


11:00 am – Madagascar World Voice, African shortwave project of World Christian Broadcasting

 

11:30 am – Kintronics and its involvement in HF broadcasting, by Tom King, President, Kintronics Labs of Bristol, Tennessee

12:00 pm – Lunch, sponsored by Thomson Broadcast & Multimedia, at Big River Grille, 111 Broadway.  The menu will be a Southern Buffet including greenhouse salad with dressing, assorted breads, chicken fried chicken with country gravy, white cheddar mashed potatoes, creamy coleslaw, assorted bite-size desserts, and unlimited coffee, tea and fountain sodas.

2:00 pm - NASB Business Meeting, including plans for next year's annual meeting in Canada

4:00 pm - NASB Business Meeting ends, conference ends.  Brief closed meeting of the NASB Board.

 

Hotel Reservation Details

The Holiday Inn Express at 920 Broadway in downtown Nashville is accepting reservations for hotel rooms during the 2009 NASB Annual Meeting.  The rate is $125.00 per room for single or double occupancy (plus local taxes).  You can guarantee your reservation with a credit card, and your reservation can be canceled without penalty until three days prior to arrival.  To make your reservation, call toll-free (in the U.S.) +1-888-465-4329, and be sure to mention that you are part of the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters meeting in order to get the special conference rate.  The group code is NAS.

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Tunis  HFCC/ASBU  Meetings

 

Tunis Hosts HFCC/ASBU B09 Conference

Report from NASB delegate Jeff White

The spotlight was on Arab shortwave broadcasters at the A09 HFCC/ASBU frequency coordination conference in Tunisia February 2-6.  The meeting was hosted by the Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) which is headquartered in Tunis.  The opening ceremony took place Monday, February 2 at the new ASBU headquarters buidling in downtown Tunis, and featured an address by Tunisia's Minister of Information and Communications Technology about the country's program to modernize its domestic and international broadcast structure, and Tunisia's commitment to the ASBU, which is the union of public and private radio, TV and satellite broadcasters from throughout the Arab world.

For the rest of the week-long conference, delegates met at a large hotel called the Alhambra (designed to resemble the famous Alhambra Palace in Spain) in the popular beachside resort of Hammamet, some 65 kilometers south of Tunis.  Even thought temperatures were in the low 60's Fahrenheit and the Mediterranean Sea too cold to swim in at this time of year, it was still a scenic location.

A record attendance of approximately 130 delegates came from around 55 Frequency Management Organizations from 40-some countries around the world.  Fittingly for the host and location, there were a large number of delegates from the Middle East and North Africa.  Countries like Syria, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Oman were represented, as well as Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and several others.  Even the Palestine Broadcasting Corp. attended as observers, since they are considering starting an international shortwave service within a year or so. A few broadcasters from other parts of Africa participated, such as South Africa's Sentech.

As usual, the main job of the HFCC/ASBU Conference was to input frequency selections for the coming broadcast season -- the A09 season, which begins March 29 and ends October 25, 2009.  A new more sophisticated collision identification program was used to determine potential frequency collisions, and the delegates spent the week working out these interference problems with each other, constantly updating schedules through a complex Internet and Intranet system.  The vast majority of the world's shortwave schedules are coordinated at the HFCC/ASBU meetings, avoiding problems for stations and listeners alike during the upcoming frequency season.

Also as usual, there was a lot of cultural entertainment and sightseeing during the week.  On Wednesday night, the ASBU invited all delegates and their spouses to a six-course Tunisian dinner which took place underneath a large Moroccan-style tent, complete with live performances of Arabic music and dancing.  It was quite an experience.  And on Friday afternoon, when the conference officially ended, the ASBU provided a bus tour of Tunis for delegates.

After passing through miles and miles of olive farms and vineyards en route to Tunis, the tour visited the fabulous Bardo Museum, which is filled with Roman mosaics and sculptures unearthed in Tunisia, as well as Islamic mosaics that were made after the Romans left and Islam became the predominant religion in the country.  It is interesting to note that while Roman mosaics and statues featured their gods and other famous personages and animals, Islamic art prohibited representations of human beings and animals.  Therefore, Islamic mosaics use geometric patterns and are amazingly beautiful.

The next stop on the tour was the Roman ruins of Carthage, just outside of Tunis.  The group visited the Roman baths of Antonine and a Roman theatre which has been restored and now hosts the annual Carthage Music Festival, with performances as diverse as Stevie Wonder, Shakira and many singers from the Arab world.  The final stop on the tour was the upper-class surburb of Sidi Bou Said, a pleasant seaside village where all of the buildings are painted in striking blue and white.

At the final plenary session on Thursday afternoon, special thanks were given to Abdelrahim Suleiman and Bassil Zoubi of the ASBU for all of their hard work preparing the conference in Tunis and Hammamet.  And the NASB was given an opportunity to invite ASBU and HFCC delegates to the B09 seasonal conference that will take place in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic on August 17-21.  More information about the upcoming conference can be found at http://myatt.net/p/PWP-hfccb09.  Eighty-four persons pre-registered for the Punta Cana conference before the end of the meeting in Hammamet.

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Opening Remarks of HFCC Chairman Oldrich Cip at the HFCC/ASBU A09 Conference

Good morning ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues, distinguished guests!  First - on behalf of all of us here -  I would like to thank the high-level guests for coming over to our Opening Ceremony, namely His Excellency Mr. Rafaa Dkhil, Minister of Information and Communication Technologies of Tunisia; and Mr. Salah Eddine Maaoui, Director General of the Arab States Broadcasting Union, for his opening words. There would be no conference in Tunis without the support of those two bodies. I would like to thank very much too our colleagues and friends in the ASBU management, Mr. Abdelrahim Suleiman and Mr. Bassil Zoubi, who have been the moving force behind the Tunis Conference project.

 

We are here in the newly constructed headquarters of the Arab States Broadcasting Union and I would like to devote at least a part of the opening remarks to the history of ties between the two so-called regional co-ordination groups, HFCC and ASBU. As it has already been said, the date of the present conference is also important since the association between the ASBU and the HFCC started almost exactly ten years ago. In fact the decision on the part of the ASBU in 1998 to join the HFCC provided a basis for a global system that has been developed during the past decade.

 

In the early 1990s a special task group of the International Telecommunication Union studied the methods and procedures of an informal co-ordination group active outside the ITU that later became known as the HFCC. The task group came to a conclusion that informal co-ordination was the magic formula for the successful frequency planning of shortwave broadcasting. The World Radio Conference in 1997 created a new Article of International Radio Regulations. An extensive and complex co-ordination among the so-called regional groups was expected originally since Article 12 of the Regulations foresaw the creation of a number of groups around the world. Luckily enough the need for coordination among those separate groups just did not emerge. The HFCC and ASBU have worked together from the start. Methods improved in the meantime, and another smaller group in the Asia-Pacific area that we helped establish agreed to use the common database as well. It is now completely clear that the frequencies of some, mainly smaller stations in Africa or South America that are still outside the co-ordination process could be incorporated easily into one, single database. There is also no great need for the creation of more groups.

 

A global database is now in place on the HFCC website for every season and we all keep updating it even between the seasonal conferences. A newly improved method of detection of frequency incompatibilities has just been developed. Yet there is not enough space in the spectrum especially below 10 MHz, and sometimes it is extremely difficult to find a suitable frequency. That is why I would like to recall in this context that the history of more than 60 years of failed attempts at frequency planning - before the introduction of our co-ordination - is still a warning memento to us. The spectrum has always been limited, but all big ITU shortwave broadcasting conferences before our time failed due to inflated frequency requirements. We have come a long way from the confusion of huge and disproportionate frequency submissions of those unsuccessful conferences. Most of the requirements in our databases are real and genuine, and "wooden" or "paper" frequencies can be detected more easily than in the past. We took up this problem with only relatively few frequency managers who still keep making such submissions, during the last Moscow B08 Conference and we are going to carry on with those discussions in Tunis as well.

 

But there is also a positive item about the HF spectrum usage on the agenda. Literally for decades there was a problem with the 7 MHz band allocation to broadcasting since we were not permitted to use it for transmissions from, within, or to, the World Region 2 - i.e. North and South America. This was difficult, especially during the epochs of low sunspot activity.

 

A small improvement came about as a result of an ITU world conference in1992 but the new 50 kHz segment for this region was officially endorsed for use in 2007 only. A more important change comes into force with the start-date of the A09 schedule we are going to co-ordinate here in Tunis: Another fifty kilohertz will become available for Region 2 up to 7400 kHz and further up to 7450 kHz in the rest of the globe. At the same time the lower part of the present 7 MHz broadcast band has to be vacated for amateur radio. In addition, broadcasting in the ASBU countries in a defined part of the band needs to be co-ordinated with the so-called fixed service.

 

The upcoming changes after March 29th 2009 are quite complex and Geoff Spells and other Steering Board members have tried hard to make them more transparent in a document which is on the HFCC website. We believe that it is worthwhile to make good use of the new spectrum changes.

 

Coming back to the conference preparation, the big attendance we have here in Tunis is record breaking for an HFCC/ASBU event only. As you may have noticed in the hotel conference room in Hammamet, our team had a bit of a problem with space since the number of participants have greatly exceeded the original expectations. This is in fact encouraging since some colleagues had to leave our association in the recent couple of years. We have new participants from Bahrain in the ASBU group and a renewed attendance from Algeria.  WRN (or the World Radio Network of London) have come to Tunis as new applicants for membership. We have new associate members in the Russian Federation and an application for associate membership from Radio Sweden.

 

We have been working with Vladislav [Cip] for a couple of days together with the ASBU team at the Alhambra Thalasspa hotel in Hammamet. Let me thank all of them for their work on the Conference preparation. I wish us all a good and successful Conference.

 

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Message to HFCC/ASBU Members

from Oldrich Cip, Chairman

 

Dear Colleagues:  The HFCC/ASBU Steering Board have agreed to remind you again about important changes in the 7 MHz spectrum from March 29th 2009, the start of the A09 season. We would like to point out in particular that there are still some requirements left in the range 7100-7200 kHz which became an amateur band after that date. It is quite essential to continue to work on moving these requirements to the new 7 MHz broadcasting band. Any frequency management organizations with operational requirements in this band at the start of the A09 season are likely to get complaints from the Amateur service.  As we informed you already prior and during the A09 Tunis Conference, there is a detailed explanation of the 7  MHz spectrum changes on the HFCC website:


http://www.hfcc.org/pro/A09-7MHz-changes.pdf


The Frequency Range Reference Table (rngfreq) in the package of reference tables on the HFCC website has been also amended.

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Message from the International Amateur Radio Union

from David Sumner, Secretary, International Amateur Radio Union

 

On behalf of the worldwide amateur radio community I want to thank HFCC for achieving such a high degree of compliance with the change in the 7 MHz allocation last Sunday [March 29]. All of the comments I have received from amateurs reflect gratitude for the dramatic improvement in the usefulness of the band for amateur communication. I am certain that the few remaining BC transmitters operating on 7200 kHz and below will be addressed in the coming weeks.  Thank you again for your exceptional cooperation.

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Miscellaneous Shortwave-Related News and Views

 

New HCJB Global President Emphasizes Reaching the Unreached for Christ

News release from HCJB

 

New HCJB Global President Wayne Pederson reaffirmed the mission’s priority of bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ via media and healthcare ministries to those who have never heard during his inauguration ceremony the evening of Thursday, Jan. 29.  “My life was changed at 16 when God called me to serve Him,” he told the crowd of nearly 200 HCJB Global staff, nonprofit leaders, partners and friends at Pulpit Rock Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. “My life mission for years was to use Christian media to bring people to Christ. Now it’s using media and healthcare to introduce people worldwide to Christ.”

 

Despite the world’s economic and political challenges, he encouraged attendees not to despair. “This is a time for hope and opportunity,” said Pederson, who became the organization’s seventh president on Nov. 1, 2008.  “We’re moving ahead. Global missions has changed from a North American-European model to moving alongside indigenous partners. We are striving to be the Voice and Hands of Jesus—the proclamation and demonstration of the love of Christ. The task is not finished. There are still 6,700 people groups—a quarter of the world’s population—that haven’t heard the gospel message.”

 

While HCJB Global is best known for its “giant shortwave station” in Ecuador, the ministry model is changing with an emphasis on “planting” local radio stations and helping medical partners, handing the reins to talented nationals worldwide.  “Radio is changing,” Pederson said. “We now have more than 350 stations planted around the world. National indigenous staff members have been trained to operate those stations in more than 100 countries, broadcasting in more than 120 languages. And our healthcare ministries provide not just physical but emotional and spiritual care.”  Pederson pointed to places such as Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation, where 30 partner stations are on the air with plans to increase that number to 200. “I saw some of these local FM stations manned by local believers who know the culture and are already there, using high-tech computer software.”

 

Pederson also introduced a new initiative focused on reaching households to be launched at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention in Nashville Feb. 7-10. The campaign will focus on the North Africa/Middle East Region where an estimated 1 million households listen weekly to HCJB Global’s satellite and shortwave broadcasts.  “It’s your voice and your hands that can change your household. As families and households change, communities change; as communities change, cities change; as cities change, nations change; and as the nations change, the world will be changed.”

 

HCJB Global Board Chairman John Baugus added that Pederson’s vision for HCJB Global will be guided by his years of broadcasting and leadership experience at KTIS at Northwestern College, Moody Broadcasting, NRB and the Mission America Coalition. It was while at Northwestern that Pederson began his long relationship with HCJB Global, partnering on several radio projects in Latin America and Euro-Asia.  He listed 10 priorities as HCJB Global moves forward: effective use of new technologies, program formats geared to those under 25, strong recruitment efforts to the next generation, agile decision-making, lean infrastructure, emphasizing the Voice and Hands of Jesus, human crisis response teams, reaching households and communities, strategic alliances with Christian organizations, and an innovate financial model.

 

Since 1931, HCJB Global’s passion has been to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Using mass media, healthcare and education, and working with partners around the world, HCJB Global has ministries in more than 100 countries. Together with local partners, the gospel is aired in more than 120 languages and dialects. Thousands of listeners and healthcare patients are meeting Jesus. Local believers are being trained as missionaries, pastors, broadcasters and healthcare providers.

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Radio Equipment Needed for new Shortwave Station in Africa

 

Dr. R.M. Ako of Jewels of God International recently sent the following appeal to the NASB:  “We recently received a license to operate a not for profit private SW radio station in West Africa and would appreciate assistance by way of donations of new/used equipment or contacts to purchase used but servicable equipment.  All relevant broadcast equipment are needed and their donations would be much appreciated.  We are looking at a 10kW SW transmitter to transmit in the 10kHz bandwidth.  Our e-mail address is:  jewelsofgodinternational@gmail.com.  Thanks in anticipation of required assistance.

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VTC Offers ad hoc shortwave broadcast time to Sudan, Bangladesh and Pakistan

News release from Tim Ayris of VT Communications

 

VT Communications (VTC) is providing ad hoc, quick turnaround capacity on its global shortwave network for broadcasters requiring extra transmissions into Sudan, Bangladesh or Pakistan. VTC currently delivers daily programmes into these regions for a number of broadcasters.

 

Ad hoc, extra short wave broadcasts into Sudan - We have available slots that would suit daily 30 minute and 60 minute programmes targeting Sudan including:  0200 - 1200 UTC (5am – 3pm local time), 250/500 kW options from a VTC transmitter located in Dhabayya, UAE; 1900 UTC onwards (10pm onwards local time), 250/300/500 kW options, VTC UK transmitter site.

 

Ad hoc, extra short wave broadcasts into Bangladesh - We have available slots that would suit daily 30 minute and 60 minute programmes targeting Bangladesh including:  0200 - 1200 UTC (8am – 6pm local time), 250/500 kW options from a VTC transmitter located in Dhabayya, UAE; Various time slots available, 100/200 kW options, Central Asian transmitter site.

 

Ad hoc, extra short wave broadcasts into Pakistan - We have available slots that would suit daily 30 minute and 60 minute programmes targeting Pakistan including:  Various time slots, 250/300/500 kW options, VTC UK transmitter site.

 

All slots are offered on a "first come, first served" basis.  This is part of VTC’s service which provides broadcasters with extra cost-effective capacity to rapidly increase their transmission capability to cover major regional and world news stories and events.  If you require extra capacity into these countries during this time, please contact your designated VT Communications’ Account Manager or Tim Ayris, VT Communications' Business Development Manager for Broadcast: tim.ayris@vtplc.com or telephone: +44 (0)7515 333 142.

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Will Oceanographic Radar System Threaten HF Broadcast Spectrum?

 

On February 18, Tom Lucey of the FCC's International Bureau advised the NASB of the following:

 

“The FCC's WRC-11 Advisory Committee, see http://www.fcc.gov/ib/wrc-11, in Informal Working Group 1, has under its consideration WRC-11 Agenda Item 1.15 'to consider possible allocations in the range 3-50 MHz to the radiolocation service for oceanographic radar applications, taking into account the results of ITU-R studies, in accordance with Resolution 612 (WRC-07).'  These allocations will be used for the operation of oceanographic radars that monitor the sea surface for wave heights, currents and tracking of large objects.  Marcus Wolf, one of the FCC representatives on this issue, has expressed to me the need for the presence of the HF Broadcasting community in IWG-1 on this issue.”

 

The NASB immediately got to work researching this issue.  Glen Tapley of WEWN sent the following initial report:

 

Reading from the ITU Radiocommunication Study Groups paper-Annex 29 to Document 5B/175-E dated 19 November 2008, it looks as if the WRC-11 agenda item 1.15 was established with the understanding that the spectrum would be allocated on a shared basis.  Reallocation of spectrum from an existing allocated radio service to the radiolocation services is not the intent.  Under 2/1.15/4 Analysis of the results of studies,  “Sharing with the broadcasting service in bands 4.5 MHz, 9MHz, 13 MHz, 16 MHz, and 27 MHz, all bands +/- 1 MHz except the 27 MHz which is +/- 3 MHz.”  The agenda information and results are listed as TBD, so, as we know, the item is yet to be resolved.  This is where we can be involved, gaining information and making our voices known to the WRC-11 advisory committee. 

 

“Global oceanographic stations, including those along the U.S. east and west coasts as well as the Florida coast, will be using 50 watts to radiate frequencies in order to monitor the ocean surface and then measure the scattered waves which come back (Bragg’s Scattering).  Apparently, this will assist in wave heights, currents, and the tracking of large objects.  Climate change, pollution, and ship safety are the goals of the studies.  These radars have been in use for the past 30 years on a non-interference experimental basis.  Now they want to study the permanence of spectrum allocation.  Under study are the types of antenna, the possibility of utilizing directional antennae, limiting spurious and out-of-band emission, and to limit the emission bandwidth to the necessary bandwidth.  Also being studied is the possible re-use of sharing common spectrum by multiple oceanographic radar stations.  The thought is that if the sweeps to the ocean surface is time staggered, a single frequency could be used by multiple radar stations.  While a typical operation of the HF bandwidth is 5 kHz, the oceanographic stations will require signal bandwidth of 150 kHz to sweep. 

 

“How exactly this will effect us is still a question to be answered.  At this point, there are still too many TBDs without conclusions and this study is to determine just what effect it will have on HF broadcasters and other HF users.  We should keep pulse with what’s going on and try to get immediate information as it becomes available.”

 

On March 3, Glen Tapley provided the following update, based on his discussions with Marcus Wolfe of the FCC and David Franc of NOAA, who is co-heading the WRC 11 study:

“The study group has divided the HF frequency bands into three distinct categories:  Category A includes fixed, mobile, and radio astronomy.  This is their preferred bands to study for usable radar frequencies. Category B includes amateur and broadcasting.  David said they would prefer not to use these frequencies due to broadcasting, but all frequencies within, while not totally ruled out are problematic due to sharing with amateur and HF broadcasters.  Category C, maritime and aeronautical, will not be studied. “The frequencies within the fixed service frequencies of 5.060-5.450 are primarily the frequencies we will have some concern about.  The other is fixed service frequencies to be looked at by the study, including 12.100-12.230.  David pointed out that there will be an initial 100 radar stations along the United States coasts and 200 globally with an expected increase of 5% over a five year period leading to an eventual 800 systems operating on 50 watts each.  That is a lot of radar stations; however, spaced correctly, these radar stations use ground waves which can utilize common frequencies.”

 

Glen suggests reviewing the following web page for a general explanation of HF radar stations:

http://sampit.geol.sc.edu/radar.html

 

The chief engineer of NASB member station KTWR on Guam indicated that the radar system could affect two frequencies that the station uses to reach China, and that it could also affect KSDA, KHBN, WWCR and the IBB. 

 

Two meetings were scheduled in Washington for March 17 and 19 to deal with the oceanographic radar system's desires for spectrum space.  The NASB contracted with well-known technical expert Dr. Don Messer (formerly of the IBB and the DRM Consortium), who also represented us in hearings regarding the official U.S. position on proposed changes to the HF broadcast spectrum at the most recent World Radiocommunication Conference.  Dr. Messer attended both meetings on behalf of the NASB, and he sent the following report:  “Both the IWG-1 and USWP5B meetings were calm; that is, no controversies concerning Agenda Item 1.15 on ocean characteristics radars trying to muscle in somewhere in various segments of the 3 - 50 MHz spectral region (Agenda Item 1.15).

 

1. IWG-1 -- the official industry advisory unit to the FCC on WRC-11 matters dealing with maritime, aeronautical and radar services:  The short document has been approved. It will be a part of the "approved documents" package that will be presented at the parent organization (WAC) soon by the IWG-1 chair. The document notes that it will be best to stay away from the Broadcasting and Amateur bands below 30 MHz as a part of a "US Preliminary View". That's clearly OK for us.  Nevertheless, when the sharing studies get earnestly underway, here and in Geneva, it will be impossible to avoid sharing studies clear across the spectral range. For now, the good news is that the US will be on record initially as saying: "look elsewhere".

 

2. USWP5B - the US preparation group for meetings of the ITU-R's WP5B:  WP5B has the WRC-11 responsibility to prepare technical studies on Agenda Item 1.15, as well as several other agenda items. The March meeting rapidly considered around 35 documents, of which 6 were related to AI 1.15. The content of these documents will be absorbed appropriately into US input documents for the May meeting in Geneva.  So far, no problems. There will be at least one more meeting before the US delegation shoves off for Geneva.”

 

So that is the latest on the oceanographic radar situation as far as potential effects on U.S. shortwave broadcasters.  The NASB will stay on top of the situation and will keep members advised.

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Noted Shortwave Broadcaster Passes On

 

Bob Zanotti of Switzerland in Sound sent the following item via the European DX Council:

“It is my sad duty to inform you that Dick Speekman, host of Radio Netherlands' DX Juke Box  in the 1970's and 80's, died on March 11 in the hospital at Hawker, Australia. He had been ill with cancer for some time and underwent a series of treatments in the last couple of years. We were in regular contact, and he sensed that the end was near. With Dick, we lose one of the great names in SW radio, and I have lost a good friend.”

 

Bob also notes that the only known surviving recordings of the old Swiss Shortwave Merry-Go-Round program of the 1960's and Two Bobs shows of the 80's and 90's are now available as MP3 files under The Two Bobs section of www.switzerlandinsound.com.

 

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Latest News from DRM

Excerpted from the March 2009 DRM Newsletter

 

India is going DRM

 

After extensive trials in 2007, the Indian state broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) has decided that DRM is the best technology for converting its vast public service broadcasting network to digital. After conducting trials over a one and a half year period, AIR has started regular DRM transmissions from a 250 KW SW transmitter installed near the capital city New Delhi in January this year. AIR is also in the process of converting 4 shortwave transmitters (250 kW) to DRM mode by March 2009. There are plans to introduce DRM transmissions in 42 new medium wave, 36 existing medium wave and 5 new short wave transmitters. However, the cost and availability of good receivers remains the main issue in their implementation strategy for the next five years.

The BES (Broadcast Engineering Society of India) event held in New Delhi on February 23-25 was a great opportunity for the Consortium to interact with AIR at a very senior level and understand the broadcaster’s plans and problems. While Ruxandra Obreja, DRM Chairperson, was the keynote speaker for the event, the DRM workshop on the opening day and DRM session next day was attended by about 300-400 delegates and had excellent presentations by Lindsay Cornell and Julian Cable (BBC), Thomas Feustel (Deutsche Welle), Joseph Troxler (Thomson), T V B Subbramnyam (Analog Devices), S R Aggrawal, (AIR) and Vineeta Dwivedi (DRM).

 

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Text Box: 	 
 
Encouraging News from Russia

 

The Consortium has received some very encouraging news from Russia that its General Radio Frequency Centre has decided to introduce ‘Digital Radio Mondiale’ (DRM) in Russia in the medium and shortwave bands.

The Russian General Radio Frequency Centre, the organization that coordinates national spectrum management issues, took the decision on 20 January 2009 following a series of tests on the future use of transmission networks with digital technology.

 

The Radio Frequency Service carries out supervision over emissions of radio-electronic facilities and high-frequency devices, provides proper use of radio frequencies and radio frequency channels, radio-electronic facilities and high-frequency devices, assistance in international legal protection of radio frequency assignments

 

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Text Box:    
 
   

Polskie Radio Uses DRM

 

German transmission-services provider and DRM Associate Member Media Broadcast has begun transmitting digital shortwave broadcasts for Polskie Radio, the external service of Polish public broadcaster using the Digital Radio Mondiale standard.

"The introduction of DRM is considered a renaissance for shortwave radio," Media Broadcast said in the announcement. "The Polskie Radio broadcasts can be heard with DRM throughout Europe in considerably better sound quality."

Media Broadcast is part of the TDF Group, which operates transmission facilities and networks across Europe. Media Broadcast launched the service in December. An English-language program is broadcast on 6015 kHz from 1800-1859 UTC; a German program is broadcast on 3975 kHz from 2030 to 2100 UTC.

Media Broadcast has shortwave transmission facilities in Nauen and Wertachtal, Germany, operating at up to 500 kW. TDF is a founding member of the DRM Consortium.

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Invitation to DRM Event at the NAB Convention in Las Vegas

 

Continental Electronics and DRM Digital Radio Mondiale have the great pleasure of inviting you to a DRM panel discussion and networking event, DRM is here - wide coverage, low costs, digital quality.”  The presentations, question and answer session and networking event will take place on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 from 15:00 – 18:00 hours at the Continental Booth, N 7007, at the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

The panel discussion on DRM digital radio at 3 pm will be followed by a social event where you can meet the DRM Consortium's top experts and other leading players in the international radio market. Please respond to pressoffice@drm.org to confirm your attendance.  If you cannot make this date or time, you can still meet DRM officials and get more information, see new receivers and get DRM roll-out news from around the world at the Continental booth every day at 3.30 pm from April 20th-23rd 2009 in Las Vegas.

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Kintronic Labs at the NAB

 

New NASB associate member Kintronic Labs invites you to its booth at the NAB Convention in Las Vegas, Booth N5217.  Kintronic Labs is a world leader in the design and manufacture of AM/MW/SW radio broadcast antenna systems and accessories. In addition, it provides international propagation analyses, installation services, commissioning services and technical support from an engineering staff with over 60 years of combined broadcast experience. Products on display at the Kintronic Labs booth at the NAB will include digital-ready directional antenna phasing, matching and multiplexing equipment.  The exhibits will be open April 20-23 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.  For more information, contact Tom King at Kintronic Labs, Inc.  Telephone +1-423-878-3141, Ext. 12.  Tom King's e-mail address is: tking@kintronic.com.  The Kintronic website is:  www.kintronic.com.                                                                                                                      -----

 

The Happy Station Show Returns

Press release from Keith Perron

After an almost 15 year absence on the shortwave dial The Happy Station Show returned this March.  The Happy Station is one the longest running shows ever on shortwave, having begun in March of 1927 when Philips Radio started broadcasts over station PCJJ as a way to reach the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia).  Sometime in 1928 a very young Edward Startz created the Happy Station.  He changed PCJJ to PCJ, which he said stood for Peace, Cheer and Joy. The show continued until the start of the war. During WW2 the only shortwave done by the Dutch was via the BBC in London broadcasting back to Holland with Radio Orange. After the war around 1946 the Dutch Government founded Radio Nederland Wereldomroep and Edward Startz returned to microphone as presenter of The Happy Station Show. Edward remained with the show for 43 years, way past the legal age to retire in the Netherlands.

In January 1970 Tom Meijer, who was working for the Dutch section of Radio Nederland, took over as host. This was a major transition. With Tom, the show took on a new life and energy. The Tom Meijer era was one of fun, with Tom making you feel that the Sunday broadcasts were bringing all the listeners together for a family gathering. It truly was your Sunday family show of smiles across the miles. Tom Meijer stayed with Happy Station for 21 years until he retired. After he left the show it was first taken over by long time Radio Netherlands announcer/producer Pete Myers and then by Jonathan Groubert. The Happy Station Show was canceled in 1995.

Why return Happy Station?  The Happy Station had and still has a very loyal audience, and now the time is right to return with the same message of Peace, Cheer and Joy and Smiles Across The Miles that Edward and Tom brought listeners every week.

What is different?  One of the major changes with the Happy Station today is it won't be a Radio Netherlands production. Instead it will be independently produced and distributed. Radio Netherlands has given permission for the new producer and presenter to use the name Happy Station, as long as it's made clear there is no affiliation with Radio Netherlands.

The new Happy Station host will be Keith Perron, a Canadian broadcaster who has been based in Asia for almost 10 years. He has worked as an announcer/producer with CKUT Montreal, Radio Canada International, Radio Havana Cuba, CHMB Vancouver, China Radio International and has freelanced for Monitor Radio, CBC Radio and others over the last 17 years.

The new Happy Station Show won't be produced in Holland, but will be based in Taipei, Taiwan and will be distributed using many different channels and all aspects of technology, new and old, to bring the show to the audience. The first will be shortwave on the frequency of 9955 kHz via WRMI (Radio Miami International) for listeners in North and South America. After the show's first transmission on shortwave, it is uploaded as a podcast so fans of the show not in the target region will be able to tune in. A plan is in place to bring it on shortwave to other regions of the world; this will be announced at a later date. A Facebook page has also been set up where listeners can send in pictures and recorded messages, which will be used on the show.

With the revival of The Happy Station Show there will also be a Happy Station youtube channel, where listeners will be able to upload videos from whereever they are in the world. The new host of the show will also present videos and a behind the scenes look at the new show and its new surrounding.

For listeners who remember the Spanish version of the show, La Estación de la Alegría, Keith will at a later date present both editions. At the beginning the show will be bi-weekly.  When the Spanish edition comes at a later date, it will alternate with the English Happy Station.

For those who fondly remember Tom Meijer, you will also have a chance to hear him again in guest spots as well as some of the songs he recorded at Radio Netherlands over the years. The first edition was a tribute to Tom and the original Happy Station with contributions from listeners from around the world and some very famous voices from the shortwave dial.

For more information, audio samples and pictures contact:
Skype: pcj.happystation
Email: pcj.happystation@gmail.com
Telephone: +886 938408592
Facebook: The New Happy Station
Post: Happy Station Show Attn: Keith Perron, 8th Floor, No47, Lane 31, Section 1, Sanmin Road, Banciao, Taipei, Taiwan (ROC), 22070

 

The current shortwave schedule for The Happy Station is 0100-0200 UTC Thursday to Latin America and 1500-1600 UTC Thursday to North America – both on 9955 kHz.  These transmissions can also be heard via a live Internet stream at www.wrmi.net

 

 

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Shortwave – My View

by Keith Perron

 

Guest commentary for the NASB Newsletter (your responses are welcome)

 

My very first job on shortwave radio was around 19 years ago when I did some replacement work for Radio Canada International’s English language service to Asia. During that time I have seen so many changes, but not always for the best. Since around 1991 all of us have seen shortwave broadcasters drop frequencies, cut back on programming and reduce broadcast hours.  The question that many of us who work in this medium and listen is:  Is this the right way to go?  Yes it’s true that since the internet took off, broadcasters such as the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Radio Netherlands and others now have another means of distribution and can attract a different audience that normally would not listen on shortwave. But! To cut off an audience of hundred of thousands or I would even go as far to say millions of people who have shortwave radios and are regular listeners is very short sighted. Myself and many others are asking why, why, why?  What’s going on?

 

I think we need to examine when all this started happening.  In the early 90s just after the collapse of Communism in Europe, stations started to think how to get listeners to listen.  This is around the same time many managers of SW stations started to retire.  The new generation of managers (I should also state not all) are just that: managers.  Many of them know nothing or little about radio -- let alone shortwave -- to be able to create programs for an international audience that wants to tune in.  It’s almost like when lawyers and accountants took over the music industry.

 

Many of the new generation of station managers think that switching off shortwave and relaying on internet and satellite is the way to go.  A few years ago I was at a radio conference in Tokyo, Japan and the director of a well-known station – sorry, I won’t mention any names -- said that shortwave is dead.  During the question and answer period of his speech, I had a number of questions I wanted to shoot off.  My first question was “Have you ever listened to shortwave or do you even own a shortwave radio?”  His answer was “No!” And he’s running a shortwave station?  My second question was “How do you know people don’t listen to shortwave?”  Well, this was when I could not believe my ears.  He said that recently he and a number of other directors from Radio Blablabla went to the US, Canada, Australia and some countries in Africa and found no one listened to shortwave, let alone radio. This led me to my third question: “Where exactly did you go?”  His reply: New York, Boston, LA, Brisbane, ect, etc, etc.  That’s when I and a few others in the room started to giggle.  I then said, “Wait a min. Did you go anywhere without a 4 or 5 star hotel?  Did you go anywhere in the US or Canada which is not a big city?” He said “No!”     He then added they could get a much larger audience by having programs relayed on local FM and AM stations. My reply to him was “That’s great! But when do your programs air?”  This is when he seemed a bit shocked, as I was well prepared and started to list off some relays.  I said yes, your station Radio Bla bla bla is on local radio in Canada on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Would you like to know the time? 4am. Radio Sweden is also on the CBC at 2:30am.  Oh, your program is also on NPR in Burlington, Vermont at 5:30am; Seattle, Washington on Sundays at 11pm. And I went on and on and on.  I said yes, the domestic relays are good, but you have no control over when local stations put you on air, whereas before people could listen on any number of frequencies at almost anytime. And you’re bringing in a new audience? Who? It was at that point he said he needed to run to another appointment.

 

Another point is content. In the last 15 years or so it seems that all shortwave stations do is news and more news, all trying -- I say TRYING -- to be like a mini BBC or VOA. After a while if you tune in you will find that the majority of the news put out by the small to medium international broadcasters is all the same.  If I want to find out what’s going on in my corner of the world I tune to the BBC.  Why would I listen to Radio Bla bla bla for an hour to hear the same thing that’s being broadcast by the BBC?  If I tune to stations like Radio France, Deutsche Welle, Radio Netherlands or Radio Canada International, I want to hear something different. Like a good program about music, culture or something silly.  I strongly believe that if SW wants to catch an audience, stations need to do something different.  People at one time did and still do tune in for interesting content, interesting personalities, but now it’s nothing more than generic McDonald’s for the ears.  It’s no wonder people don’t tune in as much.

 

My next point is budget.  Yes we have seen budgets at stations cut, but maybe it’s time to not cut back on programming, but rather to look at the way you do programs.  Radio Canada International, which has had severe cut backs since the early 90s, could be a case in point. RCI, like some other international broadcasters, have so much overhead it’s not funny. At RCI you have in-studio technicians. What luxury.  In almost every station I’ve worked at as an announcer/producer you did your own technical work. And now with the new studio technology it’s even easier than it was 10 years ago when tape and LP's were still widely used.  When I was at China Radio International, I used to produce and present a daily 30-minute current affairs program called Real-Time China.  How many people helped me?  Zero!  I would set up interviews, research, write, edit and transmit the program to master control for broadcast to North America and Europe.  But yet stations like RCI and others have people that do these things for the producers and presenters. I mean really, what luxury!  So when cuts are made, where is it?  First programming, then frequencies and third staff.  Then what do you have?  Programs no one hears or let alone listens to!

 

Something that many programmers and managers don’t think of is how important SW is even to a region like North America. Do any of them know how many people tuned in during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? From what I’ve been able to find out, SW was the only way to hear news, as many of the local stations had no power or were knocked off air when their transmitter sites were damaged.  During the 2005 tsunami, which devastated Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and Maldives with almost 300, 000 people killed, shortwave was the only way to send and receive information.  In 2006 an earthquake off the coast of Taiwan damaged an underwater fiber optic cable which made internet traffic come to a snails pace. I remember for almost 2 months trying to listen to radio online, but it was impossible. But guess what?  My radio worked.  During the earthquake in China that killed nearly 70,000 people in Sichuan Province, SW was also the only way to keep local people informed and to inform relief workers who were in the region.  I could continue to give more examples.

 

Let’s move to China. Some stations feel that maybe shortwave to the People’s Republic is not a good idea because of the amount of jamming done by Chinese authorities with FIREDRAKE.  This is silly.  I lived in Beijing for over 8 years and never had a problem to tune in.  Yes it’s true that frequencies directed to China were jammed, but all I had to do was tune to a frequency for let's say Africa or Eastern Europe, and had no problem to listen.  This is the magic of shortwave.  You can have a program directed only to Europe or somewhere else, but you can also listen in a different region as the signal is bouncing around.  Try listening to online radio in China from VOA!  BLOCKED!  Radio Canada International, BLOCKED!  And the station websites which are not blocked from RFI, DW, RN or Radio Sweden can’t be listened to online because of the Great Firewall Of China which slows down everything so much it can take up to an hour -- sometimes more -- for a program to be downloaded.

 

So finally. Is shortwave dead?  No!  Stations, managers and programmers just need to stop thinking of the internet and domestic relays as new toys.  If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, improve it.  My feeling is that over the next 10 years or hopefully less,  the stations, people and governments that have cut shortwave will wake up and say “What have we done?” Yes it’s true that nowadays there is much more competition with the 300 TV channels that are delivered to our homes, or we can just click and listen to our favorite program.  But radio and shortwave is still the most economical medium.

 

To end, I would like to say to every international broadcaster:  Produce interesting programs that will make people want to listen on shortwave.  Yes, music does not sound that great on SW, but if you have good radio personalities and interesting programs people will listen.  Promote shortwave as a very economical means to reach millions of people.  Look into how to improve your shortwave signal instead of just cutting it.  And do something for all the loyal shortwave listeners that are now cut off and have no other way to tune in anymore. Bring back the respect we all once had.

 

Editor's Note:  An audio version of this commentary running about 11 minutes is available as an mp3  file upon request from info@wrmi.net.

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Name Change for WEWN

 

Glen Tapley reports that the official name of EWTN's shortwave station is now EWTN Shortwave Radio (WEWN).

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Adventist World Radio Announces 2009 AWR DX Contest

by Dr. Adrian Peterson, AWR DX Editor

 

Once again, Adventist World Radio takes pleasure in conducting an annual listener contest, and for this year the title is: “Silent Shortwave Station Contest.”  You are invited to search through your own QSL collection and assemble together all of your QSLs that verify the reception of shortwave stations and/or shortwave transmitters that are no longer on the air.  In addition to the regular awards worldwide, there will be special awards for those who include a reception report of our DX program, “Wavescan,” via Radio Miami International WRMI, in Miami Florida.  Here are all of the details:

 

1. List what you consider to be the five best QSLs from shortwave stations or transmitters that are no longer on the air.  The “best” may be described as the station or the transmitter itself, or the distance, or the power, or the age, or the circumstances under which you heard the station; or the QSL card itself, etc.  (Do not send the original cards.)

 

2. In one paragraph each, describe the reason why you consider each card to be one of the best in your collection.

 

3. Enclose a photocopy or each of these five cards, preferably in color, though black and white may be acceptable.  Remember, do not send the originals.

 

4. Send at least three reception reports on any AWR broadcast from KSDA Guam, or any AWR relay broadcast via any relay station anywhere in the world.  The AWR broadcasts may be on shortwave, mediumwave or FM. All reception reports will be verified with a contest endorsement on the QSL card.

 

5. Where possible, please enclose three radio cards for inclusion in the Indianapolis QSL collection.  These cards may be old or new, and they may be QSL cards, reception report cards, picture cards, etc.  Not valid for this contest are amateur nor CB QSL cards.

 

 

The 2009 AWR DX Contest, “Silent Shortwave Station Contest,” will run through the month of June.  All contest entries must be postmarked at the listener’s location in any country of the world on any date during the month of June, and they must be delivered to the AWR postal address in Indianapolis no later than the end of July 2009.  Return postage in the form of currency notes in an international currency, mint postage stamps, or IRC coupons would be appreciated.  Also, where possible, provide a self addressed envelope, business size.

 

The only address for the 2009 “Silent Shortwave Station Contest” is:

Silent Shortwave Station Contest

Box 29235

Indianapolis, IN 46229 USA

 

The awards for this year’s contest will be similar to all previous contests.  There will be a special award for the world winner, one of the Jerry Berg radio history books; and “World Radio TV Handbook” or “Passport to World Band Radio” for continental winners.  In addition, there will be special awards for those who send in a reception report on the broadcast of “Wavescan” over the shortwave station in Miami, WRMI.

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Adrian Peterson's American DX Report

* USA: The April issue of the American monthly radio magazine "Popular Communications" presents several major items of worldwide interest to all international radio monitors.  You will find a full article with colorful illustrations regarding the major QSL collections in New Zealand, Austria and the United States.  The American winner of our DX contest last year gives a four page article on how he won the contest, and the details of this year's contest are also listed.  You will also want to read Gerry Dexter's review of the new radio history books authored by Jerome Berg in suburban Boston.

 

* NEW ZEALAND: The shortwave station, ZLXA, operated by the Radio Reading Service at Levin in New Zealand went silent some time last year.  As a gesture of good will to the international radio world, it was announced that they would try to re-activate their shortwave transmitter just one more time before closing it down forever.  These special broadcasts were planned for the third weekend in March.  Unfortunately, a transmitter fault rendered this plan unworkable, and so the broadcasts never took place.  This innovative little shortwave station is now forever silent.  

 

* CANADA: Several reports from shortwave listeners in Canada and the United States state that the CBC shortwave station CKZN in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland can be heard currently with a surprisingly good signal at great distances in North America. This transmitter carries the programming from the CBC FM studio located at Happy Valley in Labrador and it is listed with 1 kW on 6160 kHz.  

 

* AUSTRALIA: The Australian DX News reports that the two remaining mediumwave stations in Launceston, Tasmania have now moved into the FM band.  This means that the mediumwave band as noted in this area of northern Tasmania is now open for distant listening.  There was a time when there were three mediumwave stations on the air in the regional city, and these were 7EX, 7LA and 7NT.  When you drop out the number that identifies the state, as we have remarked previously, they used to provide, listen carefully, EXLANT radio reception.

 

USA: The New Zealand DX Times reports that the California mediumwave station KGO in San Francisco has gone partially green.  By this, it is meant that this station has installed solar panels at its transmitter site which reduces its need for electricity from the local grid system.

 

ECUADOR: The Gospel shortwave station HCJB in Quito announces that they have removed the last of the tall towers at their transmitter site near the new international airport at Pifo.   They are still on the air with the usage of fourteen other shorter antenna towers, but they are scheduled to close this station completely at the end of March next year.

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Your News is Welcome

 

We invite all NASB members and associate members to send us news about their organizations for publication here in the NASB Newsletter.  Send your news items to Jeff White at jeff@wrmi.net.

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NASB  Members:            

 

Adventist World Radio         

Assemblies of Yahweh

EWTN Shortwave Radio (WEWN)

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

World Christian Broadcasting

World Wide Christian Radio

 

NASB Associate Members:

Comet North America

Continental Electronics Corporation

Galcom International

George Jacobs & Associates

Hatfield and Dawson Consulting Engineers

HCJB World Radio                           

IBB    

Kintronic Labs, Inc.

Richardson Electronics

TCI International, Inc.

TDF

TDP

Thomson  Inc.                        

VT  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