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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Voice of Russia QSL card

Near the end of July, I sent a reception report to Voice of Russia by email,
from a logging from July 22nd, on 13775 khz, for their English service. On
August 6, I received an email reply from Elena Osipova with VOR
acknowledging receipt, and letting me know that a QSL card was being
mailed (some VOR schedules were also attached to the email). Less than
two weeks later, I received the above card in the mail. Very nice!

Email for VOR is

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Shortwave broadcast logs for 8/24 to 8/26

Country in brackets is the country of origin of the
transmission, and not necessarily the transmitter site,
unless specified. If two countries are in brackets, first
one is transmitter site. After that, the date, time and
frequency in kHz is listed. All times in UTC and all
stations heard on TECSUN PL-380 portable in
Euless, Texas, USA, with 25 foot reel wire antenna,
on a second floor, unless otherwise noted.

[CUBA] 08-24-12, 0048, 5025 -- Radio Rebelde coming
in very nicely, SINPO 54334. Sports show presumably for
domestic audience, male announcer scolds audience over
complaints their call-in phone number is always busy,
says people are misdialing it, repeats the number several
times. Listened for about 10 minutes, and it was same
caller the whole time, going on and on; suspiciously
articulate and good on air for a "random" sports radio
caller. Hrmm.

[BRAZIL] 08-24-12, 0203, 11780 -- Radio Nacional
Brasilia in Portuguese. Male reads news, ID at 0204,
ballad played at 0205. 43244.

[SPAIN] 08-24-12, 0359, 9535 -- Radio Exterior de
Espana in Spanish, txmitter is Noblejas, 350 kw per Aoki.
Female gives phone number for listeners to call and leave
messages, which may get played on air: 800-34-100-100.
Said it works from US, Germany, Brazil, UK and a few
other countries I couldn't write down. News at 0400 by
male, mentions wildfires in Spain. SINPO 54344.

[GREECE] 8-24-12, 2348, 15630 -- Voice of Greece in
Greek. Music and some talk, weak signal, lots of noise.

[CANADA / VIETNAM] 08-25-12, 0349, 6175 -- Voice of
Vietnam in English. YL talks, hard to understand through
bad QRM (pretty sure I heard RN Brazil, which was on at
6180). Made out words "revolution", "1945...liberated the
country". Started 41422, improved around 0355 to 43444.
Silence at 1358, pop music abrubtly on a few seconds later.
Spanish programming started at 0400 with OM talking about
labor issues in different countries. Txmitter is Sackville,
Canada (thanks go to Dan Ferguson).

[EGYPT] 08-25-12, 0141, 9315 -- Radio Cairo, supposedly
in Spanish. Lots of noise, distorted/muddy speech from
possible male, impossible to understand, for a change.

[RWANDA / GERMANY] 08-26-12, 1805, 21780 -- Deutsche
Welle in Hausa, txmitted from Kigali, Rwanda @ 250 kw.
Excellent signal! SINPO 55455. Male read news, made out the
word "Aleppo" (as in Syria).

[USA] 08-26-12, 1810, 17895 -- Voice of America in English.
Aoki shows that at this freq., but not at this time. Same when
checking VOA's website schedule. Txmitter site might be Sri
Lanka? Male talks about human rights in Ethiopia, then female
w/ story about government policy around the world to deal
with drought. 43333. EDIT: Eike Bierwirth, Glenn Hauser and
Dan Ferguson have informed me that the txmitter site for the
above is Greenville, SC, USA. This per HFCC, which I had
neglected to check, for some reason.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Vatican Radio QSL

On July 27th, 2012, I happened to pick up Vatican Radio in English,
relayed via Sackville, in Canada (a relay which was ended permanently
soon after). I logged it and promptly sent an email to Vatican Radio
with my reception report. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the receiver
I was using was faulty and I reported the wrong frequency, 9500 khz,
when it probably should've been 9610.

Regardless, three weeks later I got an envelope in the mail from
them with a QSL card, a postcard, two Vatican Radio stickers and
a couple of schedules printed on glossy paper. Not bad, considering
I didn't even report the correct information. It could be that, with
the gradual decline of shortwave radio as a medium and Vatican
Radio's significant cutbacks, the folks at VR may not care too
much about their reception reports nowadays. I reached this
conclusion when I saw that the frequency field in my QSL card
didn't even list a frequency, it only says "31 m" (for the 31 meter
band). Whoever read my email probably just said "f*ck it" and
scrawled whatever on my card. Not complaining, though, I'm
grateful for the souvenirs (pictured below).

It was hard for me not to notice how creepy Pope Benedict
looks in this postcard. But he is a pretty creepy-looking guy,
on a good day. The other card had a picture of the inside of
the Chapel of the Annunciation on the front. This was probably
my most significant contact with the Catholic Church since
I graduated from catholic high school 17 years ago.

Email for Vatican Radio:

Shortwave broadcast observations for 8/21/12

Country in brackets is the country of origin of the
transmission, and not necessarily the transmitter site,
unless specified. If two countries are in brackets, first
one is transmitter site. After that, the date, time and
frequency in kHz is listed. All times in UTC and all
stations heard on TECSUN PL-380 portable in
Euless, Texas, USA, with 25 foot reel wire antenna,
on a second floor, unless otherwise noted.

[SPAIN] 082112, 0055, 6055 -- It's not often that I run
into REE in English, but it looks like I caught the tail end
of a broadcast. OM in English IDs and reads frequencies,
then some music which sounded like an interval signal.
SINPO 43444.

[BRAZIL] 082112, 0058, 6180 -- Radio Nacional da
Amazonia from Brasilia at 250 kw. Male announcer talking
to another male on phone in Portuguese.  Headlines at
0059. SINPO 43333.

[GREECE] 082112, 0100, 7475 -- Very weak, noise-
riddled transmission. OM reading/talking in foreign language.
Per HFCC, this is Voice of Greece, in Greek. Whoa,
definitely a first time station for me. 22222, txmitter is
in "Avlis" per HFCC, but I can't find any location by
that name online. I assume it would be in Greece.

[MOLDOVA / RUSSIA] 082112, 0103, 9665 -- Voice
of Russia in English. Female hosted segment "Out and
About". 33233. Txmitter in Kishinev-Grigoripol, Moldova,
per Aoki.

[SERBIA] 082112, 0106, 9685 -- Heard male reading in
foreign language, weak signal and lots of noise, 23133.
Thought it might be CRI in Chinese first, but from what
I could make out, this was probably a European language.
Another first time reception? Yes, per Aoki A12. Nice.

[ROMANIA] 082112, 0110, 9700 -- Eastern European
Night continues, apparently, now with Radio Romania Intl
in French, broadcasting from Tiganesti, 33233. Noisy but
steady. OM reads news in French.

[GERMANY / CROATIA] 082112, 0112, 9925 -- Croatian
Radio in vernacular, 2 males talking. 34243, not terrible.
Txmitter is Wertachtal (Bavaria, Germany) per Aoki and
HFCC.  The latter says transmission should've been over at
0100, the former says 0300.

[USA] 082112, 0115, 11775 -- Radio Marti from Greenville,
SC, in Spanish. Male and fem. interview someone via phone,
a Cuban exile, what else? 32222. Bad interference, maybe
Cuban jamming?

[USA] 082112, 0118, 11870 -- EWTN in Spanish from Vandiver,
AL. Male with female voices in background reciting prayers. Pro-
bably the rosary. Yawn. Comes in great, for all the good it does
me, 55445.

[UNIDENTIFIED] 082112, 0121, 21600 -- I keep hearing a
strong carrier on this frequency around this time of night. Aoki
and HFCC show nothing, but there is a Chinese jammer at 21605.
Per Aoki, jamming Radio Free Asia on 21595 and BBC from
Cyprus in Uzbek on 21590. Alrighty then.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Shortwave broadcast observations for 8/17/12

Country in brackets is the country of origin of the
transmission, and not necessarily the transmitter site,
unless specified. If two countries are in brackets, first
one is transmitter site. After that, the date, time and
frequency in kHz is listed. All times in UTC and all
stations heard on TECSUN PL-380 in Euless, Texas,
USA, with 25 foot reel wire antenna, on a second
floor, unless otherwise noted.

[THAILAND / UK] 081712, 0245, 17795 -- BBC World Service in
English, transmitted from Nakhon Sawan, Thailand, per Aoki.
50/100 dbu on signal strength meter, but very noisy and hard to
understand speech. Did hear a reference by male announcer to
'the BBC'. Jolly good, then.

[USA] 081712, 0249, 2500 -- WWV on 2.5 mHz, male voice reading
time and tones. First time I've actually received WWV on this
frequency. SINPO 33333.

[CUBA] 081712, 0250, 5025 -- Per Aoki schedule, Radio Rebelde
from Cuba, Spanish. YL and OM talk about theater and arts,
43333. First time station for me.

[JAPAN] 081712, 0255, 5960 -- OM talk in what sounded like
Japanese, saying names of US states, "Illinois, Ohio...". SINPO
32222, noisy and with significant QRM. Aoki says R. Kuwait
also on at this time, but this didn't sound like Arabic.

[BRAZIL] 081712, 0258, 6180 -- Radio Nacional, male announcer
reads off all the different R. Nac. station names in Portuguese.
32333. Didn't stick around after that.

[EGYPT] 081712, 0300, 9305 -- Per Aoki A12, this is Radio Cairo in
Arabic. Muddy, noisy, almost impossible to understand, as described
in Glenn Hauser's logs. Not worth a rating.

[COSTA RICA/SPAIN] 081712, 0301, 9630 -- R. Exterior de
Espana in Spanish. Male & fem. read news, good reception,
54454. Story about fishing-related tensions between Spain and
British Gibraltar. From the txmitter in Cariari, Costa Rica.

[RUSSIA] 081712, 0314, 15425 -- Started off weak with choral-
sounding music, got a bit better to 34333. YL in english, then
more music at 0316.

[CHILE / USA] 081712, 1800, 17680 -- CVC La Voz, religious
station in Spanish. This is their last day transmitting on sw from
their Calera de Tango site in Chile. Received it with no wire
antenna, from the parking lot at my job in West Dallas, near a
bunch of power lines. Not bad, everything considered! SINPO
34333. Male ("Erwin Dorado") reads news headlines at hourtop
(1pm CDT): Paraguay elections, talk about a hurricane, sports
news w/ different OM at 1802. I'll be QSLing them soon. Last
chance today.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Observations of shortwave broadcast listening from August 14 to 16, 2012.

Country in brackets is the country of origin of the
trasmission, and not necessarilly the transmitter site,
unless specified. After that, the date, time and frequency
in kHz is listed. All times in UTC and all stations heard
on TECSUN PL-380 in Euless, Texas, USA, with 25 foot
reel wire antenna, on a second floor, unless otherwise

[CUBA] 081412, 0128, 5040 -- Great signal again from
RHC's Spanish service. Music, then news at 0130. I
scanned the shortwave bands a few minutes later, and I
could hear the exact same broadcast on 15230, 11760,
9810, 6120 and 11680. Overkill much, RHC?

[USA] 081412, 0139, 11530 -- Family Radio, religious
programming in Portuguese, directed at Brazil, no
doubt. OM preaching in non-insane way. SINPO 55455.
Txmitter is supposed to be in Okechobee, FL, 100kw.

[SPAIN] 081412, 0325, 9535 -- Radio Exterior de Espana,
in Spanish. Show ID "Espanoles en la Mar" ("Spaniards
at Sea"), station ID by YL. SINPO 54444. From Noblejas
txmitter site, per AOKI A12 schedule. Excellent signal
tonight with good modulation.

[NEW ZEALAND] 081412, 0338, 15720 -- The usual on
here, Radio New Zealand Intl. Some sort of audio
documentary, in which some guys were thatching
something. A hut, maybe? 43344.

[TAIWAN] 081412, 2350, 17725 -- I seldom get to listen
to R. Taiwan's Spanish service, so I'm glad I ran into this.
Sounded good, 54444. Economics news, then talk about
renewable energy in Taiwan, including a solar plant that
would power 1,000 homes.

[AUSTRALIA] 081512, 0000, 21740 -- Once again, R.
Australia's English service comes in very handsomely
on this frequency, but not as good as I've heard it, 44344.
Directed towards Asia-Pac., per announcement before
ID at 2359. Headlines at top of hour read by Ashley
McGee [sp?], including contoversy over Australian
plans to process boat refugees in PNG or places other
than Australia itself.

[CHINA] 081512, 0259, 21600 -- Carrier signal, listened
for a few minutes, but just silence. Per the Shortwave
schedule app on my Android tablet, this is a jammer vs
R. Free Asia, originating from commie China. Sure,
I'll buy that. 19dbu signal strength. No wire antenna,
just the Tecsun's telescoping one.

[CUBA] 081512, 0300, 17705 -- IS, then news headlines
in Spanish, YL & OM. First couple of minutes marred by
technical problems. First, the opening news theme played
for too long (maybe 1 minute+). Then , it sounded like
people talking over each other for several seconds.
WTF? Anyway, something about Paraguay, and how
Simon Bolivar's face is being seen in Cuba for the first
time. No wire antenna.

[BRAZIL] 0815, 0309, 11780 -- R. Nacional Amazonia,
agitated male talking in rapid Portiguese over stock back-
ground music. 44334.  No wire antenna.

[SPAIN] 081612, 2328, 9535 -- R. Exterior Espana in
Spanish at first, hard to understand due to bad QRM,
22322. Improved a bit after 2330 to 32323. Time pips
at 2329, then YL reading headlines in Catalan. Good

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Observations About CB Radio in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas

As a pre-teen in 1980s Puerto Rico, I was big into CB radio, as
many others were at the time. After a couple of years, though, my
interest waned and I left CB. Many years later, I bought a used
Realistic TRC-415 mobile unit on eBay and put it in my car, with a
magnetic base antenna. Not much seemed to be going on in the
CB bands then, and I honestly wasn't as interested in it as I
thought I was. So, before long, I put the CB away and forgot
about it. Recently, I found it while going through some old boxes,
and decided to put it in my car again.

My commute to work is now different than it was since I
bought the mobile unit a few years ago, and this time I was
able to hear a lot more. Practically nobody has been able to
copy ME, though, with the exception of a contact in Grapevine
which my fiancee was able to make late one night while I
drove us back from a local bar. I know that I need a better
unit and antenna (and a SWR meter), but that's not happening
just yet.

I do monitor CB on my way home from work 2-3 times a
week, usually while driving through Irving and the DFW
Airport area, and I've noticed a few patterns:

Channel 2 seems to be used  almost exclusively by Spanish-

Puerto Ricans seem to like to hang out on Channel 9 (the
'Emergency Channel', but apparently this isn't enforced
very well, if it ever was). Good to see Puerto Ricans
still into CB, even all the way over here. Just don't try to
use Channel 9 for emergencies near DFW Airport.

Channel 6 normally sees the most activity, with some
high-wattage units making appearances, one in specific,
which I haven't been able to clearly identify.

Other than that, I just hear a lot of truckers with extremely
rural accents that I can almost never understand.

I will transmit every now and then to see if anybody can
copy me, but other than the nighttime contact described
above, no dice. I usually do this on channels 6, 8 and 9,
at around 5:00-5:30PM CDT and I go by the handle
"W.E.M.Y." Give me a shout if you hear me.

I'm looking to upgrade my CB set-up sometime in the
near future, and I will post here when and if I do. We do
have a CB shop in the area, which I need to check out
sometime soon: Ike's CB Shop. Their Facebook page
is here. I'll post more observations when something new

Radio Taiwan International QSL Cards

Sometime in early to mid July (I lost the e-mail that I sent) I emailed
a reception report to Radio Taiwan International, for one of their
English broadcasts. Less than a month later, I received an envelope
with a QSL card acknowledging my reception report, as well as a
newsletter, a postcard and some forms for RTI's "Listener's Club".
Here are some pictures. Thanks, RTI!

E-mail address for Radio Taiwan:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Shortwave observations from 8/10/12 to 8/13/12

Some observations of shortwave broadcast listening from
August 10 to 13, 2012.

Country in brackets is the country of origin of the
trasmission, and not necessarilly the transmitter site,
unless specified. After that, the date, time and frequency
in kHz is listed. All times in UTC and all stations heard
on TECSUN PL-380 in Euless, Texas, USA, with 25 foot
reel wire antenna, unless otherwise noted.

[SPAIN] 08/10/12, 0247, 6055 -- Radio Exterior de Espana.
Spanish. Two males talking  about sleep and health. Do spaniards
sleep more, or less, compared to other Europeans? Apparently
they get less sleep, due to different work schedules and social
habits. Vely intelesting. Per, this came
from the 350 kw Noblejas transmitter, in Spain itself. SINPO

[USA] 08/10/12, 0300, 4840 -- WWCR, Nashville, TN. Talk show
with two males discussing power company rip-offs. Alex Jones at
0300, "live from Austin". Some talk about blacks and abortion.

[ROMANIA] 08/10/11, 0305, 11795 -- English, Radio Romania
International. "Radio Newsreel", YL reading news.Talk about Olympics,
Romania was ranked 22nd in medals, at the time of the broadcast. Tax
policy, IMF, Romanian budget deficit. End of the contest "My Cultural
Bucharest" announced. Excellent reception, SINPO 54444. Transmitter
loc. Tiganesti, Romania, 300 kw.

[CUBA] 08/11/12, 0320, 11760 -- Spanish, Radio Habana Cuba.
Fidel Castro speech from 8/22/1975 dealing with the anniversary
of the Communist Party of Cuba. SINPO 45444. Recording made
and available at the link:

[CHINA] 08/11/12, 0325, 9690 -- English, China Radio Int'l.
Good signal, 43344. News headlines, then OM on show about
words after 0330. First word for tonight: "anticippointment",a
combination of anticipation and dissapointment. Never heard it
before. Per Aoki, transmitted from Noblejas, Spain @ 350 kw.

[IRAN] 08/11/12, 0345, 13650 -- English, Voice Of Islamic
Republic of Iran. Weak reception, marred by noise, fading in and
out, but was able to make out OM, some talk about drought and
the expected rise in worldwide corn prices. Afghanistan was
mentioned. Per, txmitter is in Sirjan,
Iran. First time hearing this station.

[RUSSIA] 08/11/12, 1330, 15510 -- OM talking in non-English
language. Per Aoki A12 schedule, this is Voice of Russia in
Pashto, presumably directed at Pakistan/Afghanistan. SINPO

[NORTH KOREA] 08/11/12, 1338, 11710 -- Voice of Korea in
English, poor reception, 23222, lost it a few times. Was able
to make out "korean workers" and "Japan", which was mentioned
several times. I'm sure in a less than positive light,
considering the source. Choral-sounding music, YL singer at
1342, more talk at 1346, "1940s...Japan", perhaps talking
about the Japanese occupation of Korea of 1910-1945? First
time station for me, recording made:

[CUBA] 08/13/12, 1220, 11760 -- Happy Birthday, Fidel Castro!
I always remember, because he shares a b-day with my sister.
Turned this on before work at around 7:20 AM CDT, Spanish,
OM talking about how USA & Co. are paying off Syrian diplomats
to defect and turn against Assad. Syrian official in Mauritania
was offered at least a million, plus $20k/year to defect. I
can't verify that independently, atm. Great signal, just using
the Tecsun's telescoping antenna, no wire! SINPO 55455.

[NEW ZEALAND] 8/13/12 -- Web QSL received today in my e-mail
for my reception report on 6/26/12, 0300-0310 UTC, 15720 khz,
from their "Thompson CSF 100 kw transmitter is located at
Rangitaiki, east of Lake Taupo, and is linked to our studios
in Wellington, 340 kms south of the town Taupo." From Adrian
Sainsbury, Frequency Manager. Pictured below.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Shortwave bands, observations from 8/7/12 to 8/9/12

Tecsun PL-380

Some recent observations from the shortwave bands. All of these were
heard with a Tecsun PL-380 portable with a 25 foot Sangean reel wire
antenna in Euless, Texas, USA. All times in UTC unless otherwise
specified. Frequencies are in kilohertz. Header format is country/date/

[USA] 8/7/12, 0330, 15000 -- Heard WWV with robot
male voice reading the time.Almost right away, I noticed the
tones sounded odd, like they were being  doubled, or overlayed. 
Then when the time announcement came again, I heard the male 
voice, and a second later a female voice. Turns out I was 
hearing WWV (Fort Collins, CO) over WWVH (Hawaii). Both
sounded strong.

[SPAIN] 8/7/12, 2255, 15110 -- Caught the very end of some Radio
Exterior de Espana show. YL & OM read frequencies and times.
Abruptly off the air at 2256. SINPO 55344.

[USA] 8/8/12, 0028, 3260 -- "The Herman Cain Show" and ID for
"Better Life Radio", 1630 AM, Dallas/Fort Worth. WTF? Sounded
great, 55555. But what was this doing on shortwave?

EDIT: Glenn Hauser on DXLD has provided an explanation for
what I heard:
Bill, in Euless you are very close to the transmitter site of 
KKGM 1630, which is somewhere SE of Hurst. Welcome 
to the world of harmonic DXing. Strong MW signals may 
sometimes be heard on integral multiples of their frequency : 
2 x1630 = 3260. This could either be due to actual radiation 
of a fraction of the station`s power on the multiple, or 
produced inside your receiver due to overload. I suspect
the latter since you are so close, and there have been no 
other reports of KKGM being heard on 3260 at a greater 
Thank you to Mr. Hauser for being a living encylopedia of every-
thing broadcasting. Check out his World of Radio at

[TAIWAN] 8/8/12, 0335, 5950 -- Radio Taiwan International in
English. Male announcer, chinese music show. 55455. RTI has
been coming in much more strongly than normal for me this

[RUSSIA] 8/9/12, 0000, 9800 -- Voice of Russia (per VOR's
schedule, which they emailed to me). Terrible modulation,
couldn't make much out. Much better on 15425, which I 
checked at 0230, and had news headlines by OM and ID.

[ROMANIA] 8/9/12, 0245, 11945 -- Per,
this would be Radio Romania in Spanish. Very weak and noisy,
but could make out choral-sounding music, OM speaking Spanish
at 0247, but couldn't make out enough to know what was going
on. I'll go with this being R. Romania.

[BRAZIL] 8/9/12, 0255, 11780 -- Radio Nacional da Amasonia,
strong and clear, 55455. Male announcer in Portuguese, ID and
jingle was played. Then, a different OM comes on, talking
very animatedly for a few minutes, no idea what about. I know
Spanish, but not Portuguese, unfortunately.

[CHINA] 8/9/12, 0300, 9790 -- Carrier signal for a couple of
minutes, then "Beijing Hour" show abruptly blasts into my
headphones at top of the hour, scaring the sh*t out of me
during a brief moment of distraction. Male announcer in English.
54455, great reception on this and other stations that hadn't
been sounding all that greatlast week. Propagation conditions
must've been very good this night, since it wasn't just CRI
coming in perfectly.

[ROMANIA] 8/9/12, 0300, 9645 -- English service this time. 
YL reads news: Angela Merkel visits Moldova, spat between 
Sweden and Belarus, fighting in Aleppo, Syria. Strong, 55444.

[AUSTRALIA] 8/9/12, 1230, 11945 -- Got up a little too early
for work (around 7AM central) and decided to go to the patio
for a smoke and some SWLing. Radio Australia in English came
in beautifully. News by OM, including talk about plight of
Tongan immigrants in New Zealand, as well as of Afghan
refugees elsewhere. 55444. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

¡Atención! A Cuban spy station

For decades, shortwave radio has been used to transmit coded
messages to spies or other covert operatives. Stations that are
dedicated to this are usually referred to as "numbers stations".
The station will broadcast a voice, sometimes automated, some-
times live, that will read a sequence of numbers. The voices can
be female, male or even children, and the transmissions are
often capped by a distinctive tune, tone, word(s) or song.

The idea is that the person receiving the broadcast will write down
the numbers, and decode the message using a one-time pad.
These days, one of the few entities still operating numbers stations
is the communist government of Cuba. Their station at 5898 kHz is
usually referred to by listeners and dx'ers as "¡Atención!". I
was recently able to hear it and record it, late on a Saturday night.
Well, more like Sunday morning. It was past 2AM central time.
(July 22nd, 2012)

Click below to listen to a couple of recordings from that night.

Click on the links below to hear or download the mp3 files.