Monday, April 27, 2020

Radio Free Asia Hosts Secure Mirror Websites for Asian, Chinese Audiences

Sites circumvent blocking, improve access to COVID-19 and other sensitive coverage

WASHINGTON – Radio Free Asia (RFA), in partnership with the Open Technology Fund (OTF), is hosting dedicated .onion addresses for its Mandarin and Cantonese Services' websites, in addition to its English-language site. These sites enhance the ability of audiences in restricted media environments, including mainland China, to securely access RFA's up-to-date, accurate reports and content on the coronavirus pandemic, among other topics deemed sensitive to censors.

"Radio Free Asia's mission is to inform audiences in China about critical developments and topics that are censored in state media," said Bay Fang, RFA's President. "With the deadly Covid-19 pandemic and the abuse of information about it via China's official media, this responsibility for our organization takes on an even greater urgency. These secure websites will help to protect and empower our audiences, whether they are in mainland China, where RFA's online content is blocked, or in Hong Kong where the growing threat of surveillance can have a chilling effect on freedom of information."

"RFA's decision to begin hosting dedicated Tor .onion sites will only make it easier for audiences in Asia to get around censors and access news and information relevant to their everyday lives," said Sarah Aoun, Director of Technology at OTF. "RFA continues to leverage the power of technology in order to further fulfill its mission of bringing free press to closed societies."

In hosting .onion websites, RFA joins other news organizations such as the BBC and Deutsche Welle in making its content available on this secure network. In the months since the coronavirus outbreak, RFA Mandarin has seen a boost in visits to its website, along with sharp increases in the number of user profiles following the service's Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Concerns about blocking by Chinese authorities, who tightly control the narrative around major news developments, were a significant factor in the decision to better ensure access to RFA's timely reports. These include RFA's recent investigation into the official statistics of Wuhan's coronavirus fatalities, as well as coverage of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, and the crackdown on ethnic minorities such as Uyghurs and Tibetans, among other restricted issues. China's vast filtering and censorship of its internet and social media platforms has earned it the dubious distinction of being "the world's worst abuser of internet freedom," according to Freedom House.

RFA's .onion websites are:

(RFA Press Release)

AIR Special broadcasts for Ramadan

Like every year, the special transmissions for Ramadan has started from AIR stations in Jammu and Kashmir as follows:

Timings (variable) : 2145/2205 to 2305 UTC (0335-0435 IST)

Frequencies :
1116 kHz 300 kW  Srinagar
1350 kHz 20 kW Kupwara
4950 kHz 50 kW Srinagar
103.5 MHz 10 kW Srinagar

This  transmission is for about 1 hour and sign on and sign off timings vary.   These special programs will continue for a month, till Ramzan day ie around 23 May 2020. The 1 hour program consists of prayers, songs and advertisments. In the previous years sign on timings varied as the days went on.

(Via Jose Jacob, NIAR, Hyderabad)

Friday, April 17, 2020

Digital Radio Mondiale™ (DRM) collaborates with ABU and ASBU to jointly host webinar

Under the theme of "DRM Benefits in Times of Crisis," The DRM Consortium in collaboration with Asia-Pacific Broadcast Union (ABU) and Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU) will jointly and for the first time host a two-part interactive webinar session. The webinar will focus on key DRM benefits and what makes the standard so useful in times of crisis and disasters.

The first session will take place on Thursday 23rd April 2020 and the second session will take place a week later Thursday 30th April 2020 (0800 UTC, 0900 BST- London and Tunis time, 1600 MYT, Kuala Lumpur time).

Both webinars will explore the benefits of the DRM digital radio technology in times of crisis and disasters by demonstrating key features such as, Emergency Warning Functionality (EWF), monitoring map, content server programming using Journaline and how the DRM technology is used in public signage. The webinars will also delve into how DRM data casting technology could be valuable in education for all, especially in regions which are not always covered by internet or television signals.

The speakers will include: Ruxandra Obreja (DRM Chair), Alexander Zink (Fraunhofer IIs, DRM Vice-Chair), Yogendra Pal (Chair Indian Platform), Simon Keens (Ampegon), Jan Bremer (NXP) and Radu Obreja (DRM Marketing Director).

According to DRM Chairman, Ruxandra Obreja:" This webinar duo on the 23rd and 30th of April is a first for us as our long and fruitful cooperation with ABU is now being enriched with that of ASBU. We feel that as a lot of people are under lockdown just now, a webinar is an excellent opportunity to learn more about DRM and its many advantages, beyond excellent audio, which can become particularly useful in times of crisis. We hope that many participants will register for the two events to be technically hosted by ABU".

To register please click below:

Webinar ID: 318-732-411

(DRM Press Release)

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Latest info on All India Radio

Updates on All India Radio - External and Home services 

As reported earlier, transmissions of AIR External Services are suspended from 24 March 2020 due to national lockdown. The national lock down in India has been extended to 3rd May 2020.
Hence the External Services of All India Radio is expected to resume transmissions only after that.

Only the following External Service has resumed transmission from 12 April 2020:
Tamil 1115-1215 UTC 7270 kHz via Chennai to Sri Lanka /SE Asia

However new Digital Channel of All India Radio External Service is now available on YouTube as per below :

0600-0630 UTC Hindi Transmission 1   (1130 am to 12.00 pm IST):

0830-0900 UTC Urdu Transmission 1 (2.00 to 2.30 pm IST):

1400-1430 UTC English Transmission 1   (7.30 to 8.00 pm IST):

1435-1505 UTC Hindi Transmission 2   (8.05 pm to 8.35 pm IST):

1515-1545 UTC Urdu Transmission 2 (8.45 to 9.15 pm  IST):

1600-1630 UTC English Transmission 2 (9.30 to 10.30 pm IST):

Tests on External Service transmitters are noted occasionally eg:

594 kHz Chinsurah 1000 kW (Around 1730-1830 UTC)
Bengaluru 500 kW on 6110, 7550 (DRM), 9690, 9865, 9950, 11560, 17510 etc. at various times especially at around 1330-1430 UTC
Delhi 100 kW 9950, 11620

Home Services:

Since the national lock down, programs of all stations of AIR has changed with more emphasis on news including new and extended bulletins. Several stations are noted relaying Vividh Bharati Service (Entertainment Channel) from Mumbai instead of regular programs.

AIR Mumbai is noted now operating continuously at night on MW as follows instead of signing off around midnight:
558 kHz 100 kW  Vividh Bharati channel
1044 kHz 100 kW AIR Live news 24x7 channel

Live streaming of most stations of AIR is available in "Live Radio" in

The updated complete SW service of AIR in Frequency order is available in:

(Jose Jacob, VU2JOS, National Institute of Amateur Radio , Hyderabad, India)

Sunday, April 12, 2020

TRAI issues recommendations on reserve price for auction of FM radio channels

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on Saturday recommended that the reserve price for FM radio channels for 273 new cities has been fixed at 80 per cent of the valuation for each city.

Consultation Paper on Reserve Price for auction of FM Radio channels can be downloaded here :

Comments on  digital radio :

Excerpts :

2.24  Presently radio signals are largely transmitted in analog mode in the country. Analog terrestrial radio broadcasting, when compared with digital mode, is inefficient and suffers from operational restrictions. With the advancement in technologies, digital radio technologies around the globe have been developed and adopted by several countries in order to offer more choice to listeners along with efficient use of spectrum. Digital Radio broadcasting provides a number of advantages over analog radio broadcasting. The biggest advantage of digital radio is that it is possible to broadcast three to four channels on a single frequency carrier while ensuring excellent quality of audio for all the channels whereas analog mode broadcasts only one channel on a frequency carrier.

2.25 Looking at the advantages of digital radio broadcasting and in order to develop an eco-system, which can facilitate deployment of digital radio broadcasting, TRAI had suo-motu sent its recommendations on "Issues related to Digital Radio Broadcasting in India" to the government on 1st February 2018. The Authority while framing these recommendations noted that the Phase-III policy guidelines mandate radio broadcasting using analog FM technology and does not permit use of any other radio broadcasting technology. The Authority also noted that in Phase-III expansion of FM radio, 966 FM radio channels were made available for auction. Auction of FM radio channels for Phase-III were conducted by MIB in two batches in 2015 and 2016, wherein a total of 162 FM Radio channels were successfully auctioned indicating that MIB would be required to auction remaining 804 FM radio channels.

2.26 In light of above, the Authority was of the view that in order to facilitate smooth transition to digital radio broadcasting, Phase-III policy should be revised to permit use of any transmission technology, analog or digital or both, for channels yet to be auctioned, which can provide radio 19 broadcasting services in the 88 – 108 MHz. 
Accordingly, the Authority in its recommendations dated 1st February 2018 recommended that: "The auction of remaining channels of Phase-III should be done by delinking them from technology. Broadcasters should be permitted to use any technology (analog or digital or both) for radio broadcasting on the frequency allocated to them through auction in future. In case Radio broadcasters opt for digital technology, they should be permitted to broadcast more than one channel subject to technical feasibility on single frequency allocated to them."

2.27 TRAI's recommendations on Digital Radio Broadcasting are still pending with MIB. In its reference dated 22nd August 2019 MIB has sought reserve prices in 283 cities wherein total 805 channels are available for auction in Phase-III. Therefore, the issue again arises whether the future auction of remaining channels of Phase-III may be done by delinking them from technology and Radio broadcasters may be permitted to use any technology (analog or digital) for radio broadcasting on the frequency allocated to them through auction in future based on their business plan.

2.28 In order to facilitate smooth transition to digital radio broadcasting, PhaseIII policy may need to be revised to permit use of any transmission technology, analog or digital or both, for channels yet to be auctioned, which can provide radio broadcasting services in the 88 – 108 MHz. However, in FM technology only one Radio channel is possible on a single frequency, whereas in digital technologies multiple channels are possible on single frequency. One may argue that in order to provide level playing field between the operators using analog and digital technologies both should be allowed to broadcast one channel on single frequency. On the other hand, some may argue that operators using digital technologies 20 should be incentivized by permitting them to broadcast more than one channel on single frequency. Stakeholders may provide their comments.

(Source :  The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India)

Friday, April 10, 2020

Vatican Radio Easter SW Broadcasts

Scheduled Easter Weekend Broadcasts from Vatican Radio :

Friday, 10 April, Way of the Cross
18:55–20:30 UTC
Portuguese: 9620 kHz
French: 9705 kHz
English: 7360 kHz
Arabic: 9450 kHz

Saturday, 11 April, Easter Vigil
18:55–20:30 UTC
Portuguese: 9620 kHz
French: 9705 kHz
English: 7360 kHz
Arabic: 9450 kHz

Sunday, 12 April, Easter Sunday Holy Mass and Urbi et Orbi Blessing
08:55–10:30 UTC
Portuguese: 17710 kHz
French: 15575 kHz
English: 13830 kHz
Arabic: 15605 kHz

(Richard Langley via WOR list)

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

LRA36 Radio Nacional Arcángel San Gabriel special broadcast

LRA36 Radio Nacional Arcángel San Gabriel special broadcast

On Tuesday, April 7, at 11:00 Argentina time (14:00 UTC), the LRA 36 Radio Nacional "Arcángel San Gabriel" station of the Esperanza Base, Antarctica, will air a new special program, the central theme of which will be reminder of World Health Day.
The program belongs to the annual "Antarctic Heart" cycle and will have the Esperanza Base medical personnel as special guests.

Radio Nacional Arcangel San Gabriel celebrates a new anniversary ...
Also, the new anniversaries of the foundations of the Argentine Antarctic bases Cámara and Brown will be remembered.
The "Antarctic Heart" cycle is produced and performed by Yanina Galeano, Julia Morena, Tamara Milan and Eliana Baraldo, together with the SI Damián Tranamil technical operation.

LRA 36 can be heard on the short-wave frequency of 15476 kHz in AM, and on the Internet from the site - Emisoras - Antártida.
Program produced and carried out entirely at the Esperanza Base.

Reception reports to :

(Glenn Hauser via WOR list)

DW A20

DW A20
wef 29 March TO 24 Oct 2020

Language Time/UTC  Freq   Transmitter  Site  Target Weekday
AMHARIC 1600-1700 13775 kHz ISSOUDUN   Ethiopia      daily
AMHARIC 1600-1700 15275 kHz ISSOUDUN   Ethiopia      daily
HAUSA   0630-0700 9830  kHz SAO TOME   Africa (west) daily
HAUSA   0630-0700 11850 kHz ISSOUDUN   Africa (west) daily
HAUSA   0630-0700 15215 kHz ISSOUDUN   Africa (west) daily
HAUSA   1300-1400 9830  kHz SAO TOME   Africa (west) daily
HAUSA   1300-1400 11850 kHz SAO TOME   Africa (west) daily
HAUSA   1300-1400 15215 kHz ISSOUDUN   Africa (west) daily
HAUSA   1800-1900 9830  kHz SAO TOME   Africa (west) daily
HAUSA   1800-1900 11850 kHz ISSOUDUN   Africa (west) daily
HAUSA   1800-1900 15215 kHz ISSOUDUN   Africa (west) daily

Football specials :
HAUSA   1325-1530 15195 kHz ISSOUDUN Africa (west) Saturday 04.04.20 to 16.05.20
HAUSA   1325-1530 15350 kHz ISSOUDUN Africa (west) Saturday 04.04.20 to 16.05.20 

(Alokesh Gupta)