Wednesday, January 29, 2014

BlackBerry Update Adds FM Radio

Great news for the dozens of remaining BlackBerry fans. The latest platform update adds a bunch of little tweaks to your Z30, Q10, and Q5 including an FM radio. Why wasn't the FM radio enabled from the start, you ask?

More at :

Related :

BlackBerry's latest software update turns smartphones into radios

BlackBerry launches FM radio on Z30, Q10, Q5 phones

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Build a radio in less than 1 minute

Due to the numerous requests from his Build-a-radio-in-5-minutes, radio amateur Tommy Helgevold OZ4KID decided to make a better video with explanations on how to make a radio like this...
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Shortwave Radio - What went wrong?

Recently I've posted more about the rapid closure of shortwave radio transmitters sites around the world. Which triggers the question - if people thought it was a good idea in the second half of the 20th century to construct hundreds of powerful transmitters and run them at a cost of billions, what went wrong?

More at :

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Radio Free Asia's new QSL commemorates the 2014 Sochi Olympics

RFA's QSL card commemorating the 2014 Winter Olympics Radio Free Asia announces its 52nd QSL card. This latest design commemorates the 2014 Winter Olympiad in Sochi, Russia which will be held February 7-23, 2014. The Games always bring people together from around the world in peace and harmony to respect universal moral principles. This new design shows an adaptation of Radio Free Asia's Olympic pin, as created by RFA's Brian Powell, originally used for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This latest version adds a sable cap to the panda design. This QSL design is used to confirm all valid reception reports from January 1 – March 31, 2014.

RFA is a private, nonprofit corporation that broadcasts news and information to listeners in Asian countries where full, accurate, and timely news reports are unavailable. Created by Congress in 1994 and incorporated in 1996, RFA currently broadcasts in Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean to North Korea, Lao, Mandarin, the Wu dialect, Vietnamese, Tibetan (Uke, Amdo, and Kham), and Uyghur. RFA strives for accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content. As a 'surrogate' broadcaster, RFA provides news and commentary specific to each of its target countries, acting as the free press these countries lack. RFA broadcasts only in local languages and dialects, and most of its broadcasts comprise news of specific local interest. More information about Radio Free Asia, including our current broadcast frequency schedule, is available at

RFA encourages listeners to submit reception reports. Reception reports are valuable to RFA as they help us evaluate the signal strength and quality of our transmissions. RFA confirms all accurate reception reports by mailing a QSL card to the listener. RFA welcomes all reception report submissions at (follow the QSL REPORTS link) not only from DX'ers, but also from its general listening audience. If you have a smart phone, feel free to use the QR code below to access the automated reception report system and submit your reception reports to the web site.

Reception reports are also accepted by email at and by mail to:

Reception Reports
Radio Free Asia
2025 M. Street NW, Suite 300
Washington DC 20036
United States of America.

(Press Release)

Russia: End of an era for long-wave listeners

Russia has quietly switched off nearly all of its long-wave transmitters, ending almost nine decades of broadcasting - as cost finally catches up on the medium.

Read the BBC Monitoring story at :

Report of The Expert Committee on Prasar Bharati

Expert Committee on Prasar Bharati under the chairmanship of Shri Sam Pitroda submitted its report to Hon'ble Shri Manish Tewari, Minister I&B on 24th January 2014.

Report ( in two parts) is available for download at :

Excerpts related to All India radio ...

Digitalise the present AM radio system to a new digital radio transmission after due evaluation subject to cost and availability of DRM receivers. In the transition period, FM may be expanded as per demand.
Digitalise the present AM radio system to a new digital radio transmission after due evaluation subject to cost and availability of DRM receivers. In the transition period, FM may be expanded as per demand.

For AIR, the Committee recommends a transition to DRM-MW from AMMW for national and regional coverage. This will be advantageous to the audience in terms of quality of reception, will offer operational savings and financial viability of investment to Prasar Bharati, while also freeing up some amount of the important national resource of spectrum. However, given the simultaneous existence of multifarious devices and the rapid decline in traditional devices, the investment in DRM should be carefully evaluated and calibrated, based on availability of reception devices and their cost.
Given the popularity of FM, AIR may continue to increase the coverage of FM as per demand. Once the DRM eco-system has stabilized, AIR can consider migration of FM to DRM. AIR may continue with SW to meet its strategic international coverage needs.
Excerpts from report by Group on Technology......

The Group on Technology, Prasar Bharati is of the view that the in the long run, convergence will lead to a common transmission platform servicing audio, video and text formats. Thus, the current set of audio and video transmission technologies being evaluated are intermediate & will service industry's need for 7 years only. For purpose of this evaluation, the group has undertaken a detailed evaluation of DVBT2/DVBT2 Lite/ DVB-NGH and Satellite transmission technologies for DD and DRM/DRM+ for AIR. An assessment of all the existing transmission technologies has been provided in Section 5.  
For AIR, the Group on Technology recommends to continue with SW to meet international coverage for strategic international locations. Further, it recommends transition to DRMMW from AM-MW to meet the National and Regional coverage. In the current landscape, FM is the most popular audio transmission system as it has both private and public participation. However, FM reaches to only 43% of the population. The needs of the Public Broadcaster are met by AM through MW and SW transmission. MW and SW together reach to 99% of the population but fail to provide stereo quality output to the listener as provided by FM. The Group understands that Prasar Bharati has adopted transitioning of AM to DRM to improve the quality of output and endorses the transition. However, the Group on Technology feels that the receiver eco-system of DRM is not fully developed. Therefore, it is critical to have necessary directives and implementation strategy for transition.
Further to increase the uptake of DRM and develop the receiver eco-system, it is critical for private sector to participate. The additional capacity generated by transitioning to DRM can be utilized by the private players to provide more variety to audience. Shifting to DRM from MW will generate additional bandwidth which can be used for the transmission of 4 Mono channels or 2 Stereo channels and allow for private participation. However in the transition phase, AIR will have to provide both Analog and DRM transmission thus leaving no bandwidth for private participation. Therefore to promote private participation, it is suggested that AIR provides mono transmission instead of stereo transmission during transition to DRM and share additional bandwidth for mono channel with the private players. The technical feasibility of an independent mono private channel should be evaluated from a quality and coverage perspective. In case, it is not technically feasible to have an independent mono channel for private participation then AIR should explore time sharing mechanism with private players to increase the uptake of DRM and develop the receiver eco-system.
Decision on switching SW to DRM to meet international coverage should only be considered once the eco-system for DRM is developed in other countries. Since AIR has no control over the development of receiver eco-system in other countries, it should not migrate from SW to DRM.
Given the popularity of the FM, AIR should continue to increase the coverage of FM from 43% to 65%. Once the DRM eco-system is stabilized, AIR can consider migration of FM to DRM+.
Transitioning to DRM from MW will deliver improved quality of transmission and annual  saving of ~INR 185 Cr. of opex towards maintenance and operations and an additional capital expenditure of INR 697 Cr. planned towards developing the DRM infrastructure.
However, the receiver eco-system for DRM is under-developed and therefore to foster investment in receiver eco-system, AIR should promote private participation by sharing the DRM infrastructure with Private Operators. The details of the sharing mechanism and analysis are provided in Section 5.6.
The Group on Technology acknowledges that the current procurement process at Prasar Bharati is time consuming and has not been able to keep pace with the development of technology. The Group recommends flexibility in procurement process to reduce time to procure. The details of the proposed process are provided in Section 5.7.
The Group on Technology, Prasar Bharati recommends that the choice of technology for content production and storage should be customised based on the needs of content strategy. The content strategy would define the quality and complexity of the product design which will further define the choice of technology. However, it is critical that the technology choice for content creation and storage caters to HD content delivery, delivery across multi-platforms, allow for tapeless workflows and interactivity. The details of the analysis are provided in Section 5.7.

For AIR, the Group on Technology recommends to continue with SW to meet international coverage. and to transition to DRM from MW to meet the National and Regional coverage.This will meet the public service objective of AIR. Expansion of FM to increase regional coverage from 43% to 65% should only be carried out on the basis of commercial feasibility. Transitioning to DRM from MW will delivery improved quality of transmission and annual saving of ~INR 185 Cr. of opex towards maintenance and operations and an additional capital expenditure of INR 697 Cr. planned towards developing the DRM infrastructure. However the receiver eco-system for DRM is under-developed and therefore to foster investment in receiver eco-system, AIR should promote private participation by sharing the DRM infrastructure with Private Operators.

Radio – live and kicking

by Matona Sakupwanya
With the imminent launch of one of the biggest projects to hit the SA media and marketing sector – the unveiling of radio's new trade positioning, it's safe to say that if there's a medium to 'watch' in 2014 – it's radio!

More at :

Friday, January 24, 2014

New Interim Management Structure Takes Effect at the BBG

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Broadcasting Board of Governors today established an interim management structure for its International Broadcasting Bureau that appoints three senior executives to manage the day-to-day operations of the agency and helps pave the way for a future Chief Executive Officer.

Under this interim management structure, André Mendes will serve as Director of Global Operations, Robert Bole will serve as Director of Global Strategy, and Suzie Carroll will serve as Director of Global Communications. Mendes, Bole and Carroll will provide oversight and direction to the Directors of the Voice of America and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, as well as the other offices of the federal agency until a CEO is hired.

"The Board proposed this structure to leverage the strengths of three exceptional leaders and set the stage for important agency reforms," said Jeffrey Shell, chair of the BBG's governing board.
BBG Governor Matt Armstrong will serve as the Board's Management liaison and will provide support to the interim IBB management team. In addition, the Board has created a Special Committee on Creation of a Chief Executive Officer.

"We believe the BBG needs a CEO to be fully effective and to support all operational aspects of U.S. international broadcasting," he said. "We are consulting with both Congress and the Administration on meeting that goal."

Mendes has directed the IBB's Office of Technology, Services and Innovation (TSI) for the past four years. He provides executive leadership in the planning, development, and operation of all agency engineering and technical systems, including a world-wide satellite and transmitting station network, as well as planning for the use of new technological improvements and efficiencies. Before joining the agency, Mendes served as senior vice president, strategic planning and global CIO for Special Olympics International. Previously, he served as Chief Technology Integration Officer for the Public Broadcasting Service, where he was responsible for both Information Technology and Broadcast Engineering during a $1.8 billion transition to digital television.

Deputy TSI Director Terry Balazs, will serve as Acting TSI Director, given Mendes new leadership role.

Robert Bole joined the BBG in 2011 as Director of Innovation to lead the agency's use of technology to improve storytelling, news delivery and crisis response. As head of the Office of Digital and Design Innovation, he directed the agency's digital strategy and worked with journalists to innovate digital media products, focusing on engaging and connecting audiences. Previously, Bole served as the Vice President of Digital Media Strategies at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, where he helped lead the creation of a unified digital distribution platform. He also created a strategy to improve public media's use of social media to engage citizens in journalism, civic dialogue and education. Prior to that, Bole worked for the One Economy Corporation, a global non-profit organization that leverages the power of technology in underserved communities around the world.

As Bole assumes his new role in the IBB, ODDI's Director of Technology, Adam Martin, will serve as Acting Director of Innovation. Suzie Carroll has been with the BBG since 2012. As BBG Executive Director, she serves as the principal liaison for the Chairman and members of the Broadcasting Board of Governors and manages implementation of Board priorities. Before being tapped by the Board to be its Executive Director, she served as the agency's Congressional Coordinator for a year, cultivating support from Capitol Hill for high-priority agency initiatives, conducting day-to-day interactions with Congress, and coordinating these activities with counterparts at the BBG's networks. Carroll joined the agency from the Peace Corps, where she served as Acting Director and Deputy Director of Congressional Relations. As a member of the Peace Corps' senior staff, she was responsible for developing and implementing legislative strategy. Prior to that, Carroll held positions, focusing on government affairs and legal services in Washington, DC and Los Angeles.

Carroll will continue to serve as BBG Executive Director in addition to her new duties. IBB Deputy Director Jeff Trimble will now take on a new role with the Global Strategy team working to advance collaboration and coordination across the BBG. Trimble will play a leadership role on the content side of the operation to strengthen the BBG's position in a period of increased global competition.

The IBB is responsible for the agency's strategic planning and oversight, including U.S. international media's innovation strategy, and transmission, marketing, and program placement services. The IBB is also responsible for integrating activities across the federal and BBG-funded grantee networks for greater organizational efficiency.

The IBB manages the agency's communications, financial operations, and legal support along with a global network of transmitting sites, an extensive system of leased satellite and fiber optic circuits, and rapidly growing Internet and mobile audience platforms and services.

It provides research and evaluations of broadcasts, VOA editorials, and human resources, Equal Employment Opportunity, procurement, security, information technology, and other essential administrative support for the agency.

(BBG Press Release)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Special callsign AU3NIAR to celebrate three decades of NIAR

National Institute of Amateur Radio was established with its Headquarters at Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India in the year 1983. The activities of the organisation include Awareness Programs, Training, Technical Workshops, Advocacy, DX-pedititions, Contesting and Emergency Communications to promote peoples participation in Communication, Information Technology and Disaster Management through Amateur Radio.

Over three decades, NIAR has been conducting various programs to meet the above objectives and has won awards and appreciation for its activities in India and abroad.

Celebrating three decades of continuous service to society, NIAR Club station will operate a special callsign AU3NIAR used by members this year. Special QSL card is available via VU2NRO by post / email.

NIAR thanks all its members and hams for rendering their enormous support and encouragement to all its activities over the last 3 decades. NIAR has reinstated its commitment in nation building activities by service through Amateur Radio.

(S.Ram Mohan, VU2MYH, Executive Vice Chairman and Director, National Institute of Amateur Radio, Hyderabad, India)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

All India Radio Bengaluru testing its new transmitter in DRM mode

All India Radio Bangaluru was observed testing its new 500 kW Riz transmitter in DRM mode (170 kW in DRM mode) by Jose Jacob. 

Following new DRM transmissions were monitored from AIR Bengaluru wef 19th Jan 2014 :
1000-1100 UTC on 17895 kHz English to Australia/NZ
1145-1315 UTC on 15795 kHz Chinese to China
2045-2230 UTC on 11620 kHz English to Australia/NZ
2245-0045 UTC on 13605 kHz English to NE Asia

Look out for more DRM broadcasts from this station at other timings in External Services of AIR.
Reports to: with copy to

Here's a screenshot of reception at New Delhi using Newstar DR111 DRM receiver on 17895 kHz at around 1030 UTC, three audio channels + Journaline

Links :

Broadcast battles

Tracing the fascinating story of the rivalry that raged between All India Radio and Radio Ceylon between the 1950s and 1970s.

More at :

Sunday, January 12, 2014

AWR via FM stations in India

Adventist World Radio is currently broadcasting from Indian stations on FM as follows:

1. Bengaluru, All India Radio, FM Rainbow, 101.3 MHz, 10 kW, English, Fri, Sat, Sun,1645-1700 IST and via AIR DTH

2. Hyderabad, All India Radio, Vividh Bharathi, 102.8 MHz, 10 kW, Telugu, Daily,1730-1745 IST

3. Pune, All India Radio, Vividh Bharathi, 101.0 MHz, 10 kW, Fri, Sat, Sun,1845-1900, IST

4. Shillong, All India Radio, FM Rainbow, 103.6 MHz, 10 kW, Fri, Sat, Sun,1645-1700 IST

5. Thiruvanathapuram, Big FM, 92.7 MHz, 5 kW, Fri, Sat, Sun,1330-1345 IST

I have heard some of these broadcasts. These are not religious programs but secular programs. In Hyderabad they are even playing popular Telugu Film songs in their programs !

Reception reports may be addressed to wavescan @ (attn. Dr.Adrian M. Peterson) with copy to

Info from Adventist Media Centre. Pune.

(Jose Jacob, VU2JOS , National Institute of Amateur Radio, Hyderabad, India via DX_India FB Group)

The long term survival of short wave radio

The technology that first allowed radio signals to be broadcast over vast distances during the Cold War may have a future in small rural communities.

Have a look ....

Tecsun PL-880 AM/FM/SW/SSB Portable Radio

The newest radio from Tecsun is the new, feature-rich PL-880. Described on Tecsun's website as their new flagship model it is said to be an upgrade to the still available and much-liked PL-660. I'm not sure where that places Tecsun's S-2000…OEM version of the Grundig Satellit 750 in the pecking order but I assume they were excluding that model as a table top from direct comparison with the PL-880, PL-660 and smaller portables, of which there are many in the Tecsun line.

An excellent review by Jay Allen :

WRMI Beefs Up, Big Time

by Paul McLane
Many international broadcasters have scaled back their shortwave operations, citing changes in consumer habits, costs of operation and the revolutionary changes brought by the Internet.
So I was interested to learn that the former WYFR in Okeechobee, Fla., described as the largest shortwave facility in the Western Hemisphere, would reopen.....

More at :

India 360: All India Radio feature to connect listeners with world

When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe comes Jan 26 as the special guest for the Republic Day Parade, the visit would also see state-run news broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) launch a special programme on connecting its millions of listeners with the world - India 360.

More at : 

Friday, January 10, 2014

In-Car Digital Radio Ready for Take-Off With Groundbreaking Car Infotainment Solution From NXP

excerpt ...

With the SAF360x, NXP is the first semiconductor supplier to offer support for in-vehicle DRM reception, offering a cost-effective solution for OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers introducing in-car digital radio systems in emerging markets including India, Russia and Brazil. NXP has been involved in extensive field tests for DRM, which brings FM-quality audio in AM bands, including the first public "test drive" conducted last year with All India Radio (AIR) ahead of the nationwide rollout of DRM in India.
"By helping to demonstrate that DRM is ready for rollout in India, NXP has clearly established its expertise and commitment to the rapidly growing digital radio market worldwide. We congratulate NXP on the launch of its first multi-standard chipset incorporating DRM," said Ruxandra Obreja, DRM Consortium Chairman and President, DRM Association.

More at :

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

CES 2014: Etón Corporation Announces New World Traveler Radios

(LAS VEGAS, NV – Booth #31247, South Hall 3 – January 7, 2014) – Etón Corporation (, a leading creator of high-performance, eco-minded consumer products, announces four additions to the Etón radio line at CES 2014. New models include the Etón Field, Etón Mini, the Etón Traveler III and the Etón Satellit, all of which celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Satellit radio. All feature AM, FM and Shortwave radio and multiple power options, making them the perfect option to use at home and for travelers looking to stay tuned in while on the go. Each of the radios will make their debut at Etón's booth, #31247, in South Hall 3.
Etón Satellit – Paying homage to the features that have made Satellit radios the top performers in radio reception and audio quality for the past 50 years, the Etón Satellit receives every radio wavelength – AM(MW), FM with RDS, Longwave and Shortwave  - at home and abroad, making it the ultimate travel companion. Take the news of the world wherever you go. Features include:
·       Single Sideband (SSB) and VHF aircraft band
·       A PLL dual synthesized conversion receiver so your AM signal comes in strong and clear
·       RDS for FM which enables users to see your favorite stations' call letters, style of music and song title
·       A Sync Detector, which lowers distortion and fading
·       Ability to store up to 700 stations
·       Line input to plug-in your favorite device
·       Local and world time settings
·       Rich orange LCD display
·       Alarm clock, sleep timer and time backup
Etón Field – Featuring AM(MW), FM with RDS and Shortwave radio features, the Etón Field boasts high-sensitivity, strong anti-interference and fine-tuning of stations, so they come in loud in clear, with low background noise and distortion. This portable radio, complete with carrying strap, has local and world time settings, alarm clock and sleep timer. The Etón Field even displays the temperature on its rich orange LCD display, ensuring you are always prepared while in the field.

Etón Mini – This compact radio gives you access to news and music from across the globe, right in your pocket, whether on an AM, FM or Shortwave frequency. The Mini's built-in digital tuner and internal and telescoping antennas easily identify stations, which can be viewed on the high-contrast digital display. The radio also features an alarm clock, sleep timer and earphone jack. Perfect to listen to the radio broadcast at your favorite sporting events.
Etón Traveler III – The Etón Traveler III receives a multitude of radio wavelengths – AM(MW), FM with RDS, Longwave and Shortwave. Providing four options to tune the radio including auto, manual and Auto Tuning Storage (ATS), the Etón Traveler III also boasts internal and telescoping antennas to ensure your reception is clear and crisp. The Etón Traveler III can store up to 500 stations in the memory and the rich, orange LCD display allows you to see temperature and time. The perfect travel companion, the Traveler III also features an alarm clock and sleep timer.
"We are proud to have been designing and selling shortwave radios in the United States for the past 30 years," said Esmail Hozour of Etón Corporation. "Celebrating the 50-year anniversary of Satellit is a testament to the quality of the technology and we are excited to bring these new products to the passionate radio fans around the world." 
The Etón Satellit ($229.99), Etón Field ($149.99), Etón Mini ($44.99) and Etón Traveler III ($69.99) are all expected to be available in Q2 of 2014. 
To learn more about Etón and their products, please visit
(Etón Corporation Press Release)