Media Network Vintage Vault 2015
Re-live international shortwave radio between 1980-2000 through a radio show that pioneered producing narratives with its listeners. Over 450 complete programmes are posted here to enjoy all over again. This is a non-commercial service to media historians done at the initiative of host, Jonathan Marks.

This programme looks at the private initiatives beaming into mainland China as a result of events at Tiananmen Square in 1989. Now, two years later, the June the 4th Production company has been active from Chicago. We also hear that WYFR is reducing its broadcasts because of a funding challenges. Radio Austria International is resuming transmission of its SW Panorama programme. Sarath Weerakoon reports on what happened as a result of the military coup in Thailand.  

Direct download: MN.28.02.1991.freechina.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:53 AM
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The programme starts with the news that Irelands only commercial radio network Century FM has closed. We analysed why. Herbert Visser called with news that Radio Caroline has not sunk as reported by some mainstream media, but it did lose its anchor and drifted. A special ham radio event is being held in India. Domestic public broadcasting is reacting to a report that no-one is listening to Radio 5 on mediumwave. What has happened to Radio Vilnius in Lithuania? Queensland Australia is being heard in Europe. Andy Sennitt reports that Radio Surinam International has signed off. We do a follow-up on Radio Polonia and recent changes to its focus. And Mark Deutsch says the BBC has time on 17 stations in Poland. 

Direct download: MN.21.11.1991.carolinesinks.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:44 AM
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This was a news programme in which we looked at DX programmes to replace RCI's DX Digest which has ceased transmission. World of Radio from Glenn Hauser runs via WWCR. And Radio Havana Cuba's Arnie Coro reported his station was doing tests with compatible single sideband. Western media this week have speculated that a new clandestine station called Voice of Free Iraq coming out of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is actually backed by the CIA. Richard Measham of BBC Monitoring has details of clandestine stations operating out of Kurdistan. Sarath Weerakoon in Sri Lanka is hearing a new service out of Radio Baghdad which also seems to be aimed at Kurdistan. We hear about a new FM station in Jaffna run by the Tamil Tigers. That part of Sri Lanka at the moment is going through very difficult times, with batteries being banned and no mains electricity being available. BRTN Teletekst reports that Libya has started broadcasts to Eastern Europe with German and Russian being monitored so far. And the Francophone part of Belgium wants to revamp its international radio service in French with a new name. 

Direct download: MN.18.04.1991.srilanka.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:42 AM
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This was a news edition of the programme. Kol Israel is planning to cut its shortwave broadcasts in half. We also aired the impossible context presented by voiceover artist Jim Cutler (pictured). The 10th anniversary contest promo later won a gold medal at the New York Radio Awards. We had a barrage of listener complaints - which subsided when we aired a proper contest a few weeks later. Victor Goonetilleke reports a successful convention for DXers in India. The Radio 5 Africa project, a joint project of several Francophone countries, appears to be building momentum. 

Direct download: MN.16.05.1991.anncontest.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:40 AM
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There are terrible shortwave conditions at the moment because of solar flares. We looked at new stations, including Radio Northern, the Voice of Oro in Papua New Guinea which is now on the air, as Gordon Darling reports. The BBC has announced that the Daventry transmitter site is to close in 1992. VNG Time signal services will change frequencies. Icelandic National Broadcasting Service has started a new English news broadcast via the phone! The main feature looks at the last 10 years of commercial shortwave broadcasting in the USA. WWCR has sold all of its airtime. Jeff White helped us with the interview with George McClintock of WWCR (transmitter site picture is their current facility). The programme also includes clips from the various stations broadcasting to Cuba. 

Direct download: MN.13.06.1991.USprivate.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:37 AM
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Radio Tirana has stopped using the Internationale and announced some curious changes to its transmissions, including taking adverts! Vasily Strelnikov on Radio Moscow says hallo to Radio Netherlands and wants a programme schedule! Radio Moscow is running syndicated programmes from Australia and has also made some drastic cutbacks to its English service. There has been a 10% cutback last year. BBC Monitoring has spotted a new station called Voice of Free Iraq. It mimics the real Radio Baghdad in its use of music. Paraguay is being heard on 11945 kHz with just 500 watts. Richard Ginbey reports that test transmissions have started from BBC's Lesotho site. Namibia Broadcasting Corporation has new station Idents, and to go on shortwave. Radio Truth targeting Zimbabwe has closed down. Rudy Van Dalen, reports hearing the Lincolnshire Poacher numbers station out of Cyprus. Clandestine station Agent 847 is also jammed. An anti-Sudanese clandestine station is also being blocked with a very old fashioned jamming sound. Radio France Internationale has been given the go ahead for a major transmitter upgrade. BFBS Middle East has started shortwave broadcasts plus operating an FM station out of al-jubail, a city in Northern-Eastern Saudi Arabia. NHK has started a morning broadcast in Urdu via Ekala, Sri Lanka. The BBC may have to close it's Hong Kong relay station. It is 41 degrees in Melbourne, where Mike Bird has the propagation news. 

Direct download: MN.10.01.1991.bfbstogulf.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:27 AM
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A listener-powered edition of the programme, with a range of updates from the shortwave bands. What power is being used by Radio Luxembourg on 15 MHz? The answer is 10 kW. Julius Hermans has been listening to Radio Ala, and Radio Dublin is back on 6910 kHz. There is a shortage of books about HF propagation. Dave Rosenthal has been reviewing what's available. Radio Netherlands English broadcasts are expanding to the Pacific. So why isn't QSL and DX in the Oxford English Dictionary. Victor Goonetilleke has been following broadcasts from Kashmir. A Purple Hair story from Hungary. In 1995 experiments with digital radio experiments (DAB) are due to start in the Netherlands. Arthur Cushen has media news updates from Tonga. The shortwave transmitter on 5030 kHz has been moved to a new building. Radio Free Bougainville is verifying reports via Sam Voron. 

Direct download: MN.05.03.1992.schedule.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:24 AM
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This was one of the few broadcasts to originate from a train. I was on my way back from London after meeting Richard Astbury, of British Forces Broadcasting Service based at that time in studios next to Paddington Station. He explained why they had started shortwave broacasts to Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf. Andy Sennitt was trying to get a FIDO bulletin board working in Amsterdam and a company in Bussum wanted to use broadcast networks in Holland for scrambled distribution of programmes in the middle of the night. Bert Steinkamp and Andrew Taussig explain what international broadcasters are trying to do to improve coverage of their own continent. Trevor Brook of Surrey Electronics has critical remarks about Dynamic Amplitude Modulation. 

Direct download: MN.03.05.1991.BFBSLondon.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:21 AM
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We covered developments at RTL Luxembourg several times towards the end of the 1980's as RTL phased out several mediumwave services (like the great 208) and invested in a station in Ireland (Atlantic 252). In this programme there's an extensive update of the scene in 1989, and we ponder on the problem of explaining wavelengths and frequencies to listeners. With the arrival of satellite, tuning information was becoming ever more complex. 

Direct download: MN.13.04.1989.luxembourgSES.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:02 PM
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This edition of the programme includes the news that the American Forces Radio relay in Berlin is to sign-off. We also reported on the death of North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, as reported by Radio Pyongyang. BBC Caversham reports that Rwanda may be returning to shortwave, which we assumed was the transmitter site built by Deutsche Welle in Kigali. VOA is looking to expand their FM distribution in Africa. 

Direct download: MN.12.07.1994.AFNBerlin.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:52 PM
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At one time, Radio Netherlands was planning to build a third relay station to improve its shortwave radio coverage into South Asia and China. the late Bert Steinkamp and Jim Vastenhoud went on a fact finding mission to look at possible sites. Jim Vastenhoud came into the Media Network studio to explain the findings. In the end, the BBC found the money to build a station in Thailand - and Radio Netherlands did not.

Direct download: MN.09.06.1988.TransmitterThailand.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:40 PM
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Twenty years ago, I was part of a Radio Netherlands delegation to a conference in Quito, Ecuador on the future of radio, especially community radio. At that time many local radio stations were finding it difficult to compete with the new giant (international) music networks delivering slickly presented music programmes via satellite. They were buying up local FM licenses across the continent. Most of this programme was recorded in Quito and includes several off-air montages of stations broadcasting at that time. Enjoy.

Direct download: MN.30.11.1995.quito.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:33 PM
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This was the first of several visits we made to the VERON amateur radio news station, which operated at that time out of a tower in the Sikkens (now AKZO) paint factory in Sassenheim. You could see the antennas as you passed by the factory on the A44 motorway. The news service from the VERON still exists, and can also be followed on line via Youtube. Again, remember this is all 10 years before the Internet was invented. So the only way to exchange news about ham radio was by radio or in a printed bulletin. The VERON did both. 

Direct download: MN.20.01.1983.PAOAA.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:31 PM
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Here we are 32 years after this programme was made and some people still hope that AM stereo is going to work. Of course, AM Stereo was analogue technology. In the meantime, several attempts have been made to digitize the AM broadcast dial with technologies like HDRadio and DRM. Frankly, I think the conclusions we drew in 1983 apply now. It isn't going to happen. But it is still fun to discuss why. Enjoy this vintage edition of Media Network. 

Direct download: MN.29.09.1983.AMSTEREO.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:29 PM
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I remember Malta on my radio map because Deutsche Welle built a relay station for North Africa on the island, which was later nationalised. Malta started getting closer to both Algeria and Libyan. In this programme we interviewed the new station manager of the "Radio Mediterranean". The aim was to give Malta a voice in the world.

In the official story of the Broadcasting Authority of Malta, there's a passage indicating that these government agreements for stations like DW and Radio Mediterranean were set up directly by the Maltese government. 

Although the contractual relationship that existed between the Broadcasting Authority and the Rediffusion were also operative with the Telemalta Corporation (when the latter became responsible through its broadcasting division, Xandir Malta) the same cannot be said for those stations which operated under direct licence from the Government.  At the start of 1979 these included the Central Mediterranean Relay Station; the British Forces Broadcasting Service; the Deutsche Welle Relay Station; TiveMalta Ltd.; the Voice of Friendship and Solidarity (later Voice of the Mediterranean operating under joint management provided by the Maltese and Libyan Governments); and Radio Mediterranean (a joint venture between the Maltese and Algerian Governments) – all these were not contracted by the Authority

Thanks to Mario J Cachi for the photo of Valetta. Never been to Malta myself , but one day...

Direct download: MN.13.01.1983.MALTA.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:25 PM
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This is a very early Media Network magazine documentary about broadcasting in Southern Africa, when apartheid South Africa had stations operating from the various "homelands". We had no internet, only cassettes - and the link to the late Frits Greveling who had presented and produced the previous DX show to this one, DX Juke Box. He returned to Johannesburg to work for several South African radio stations. Although the style is totally out of date, the information about broadcasting in Southern Africa in the early 1980's remains fascinating. 

I note that there's a site dedicated to the memory of Capital 604 Transkei. You can find most of the jingles they used here.

You may also find the video interview with David Smith to be interesting. He also had adventures with Capital Radio which can be found here.  

Direct download: AfricanSafari1981Part2.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:21 PM
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In 1983, Media Network broadcast a series of features on forces broadcasting. At the time, the Dutch were part of a UN peace keeping mission in Lebanon. It was also the era of FM pirate radio stations in many cities in the Netherlands. So, infact, Dutch forces radio had its origins as a pirate radio station. Infact the story of the Dutch forces is now brilliantly told at the new Dutch National Military Museum, which opened on December 13th 2014 on the grounds of the former American Air Force base in Soesterberg. 

Direct download: MN.06.01.1983UNIFIL.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:55 PM
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In 1983, Media Network ran a series of thematic features on Forces Broadcasting. This was the final part, which featured the British Forces Broadcasting Service. Apart from an FM transmitter in the South of the Netherlands, BFBS was heard widely on the cable radio systems in many cities across the Netherlands. FM signals could be picked up from neighbouring Germany by the aerials on the top of the cable head ends. But propagation was not reliable enough to hear FM signals from the UK. So, no BBC Radio 4. Remember this is 5 years before we saw the launch of SKY television. The photo is of BFBS in Hamburg in 1946, which is referred to in the interview. 

Direct download: MN.05.05.1983.BFBS.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:51 PM
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This was a new edition of the programme covering the strange move by President Reagan to use clandestine Radio Liberation broadcasting from El Salvador. VOA Spanish is much better received in the target area of Nicaragua. We also learned that Radio France Internationale has decided against putting a relay station in Sri Lanka, looking at the island of Reunion instead (later dropped when they discovered the island is prone to very high winds). Mark Deutsch at BBC World Service explains their expansion plans for satellite coverage of Europe. People are not watching the new Superchannel service because there are no subtitles on the programmes. Radio Lebanon has been off the air because of a heat wave in Beirut. We also covered the Berlin Audio and Video Fair. Sony has launched a radio with a fax receiver built in SR6768. We learn about EuroMac and why Philips believes DAT will not take off as a consumer tape standard. Wolf Harranth reports on an Italian station broadcasting to Slovenia. Enthusiasts in the Netherlands have discovered a way to make free international calls via Denmark.

Direct download: MN.26.08.1987.NicaraguaSuperchannel.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:14 PM
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A nice summer edition of Media Network in which Diana and I looked at a revival of Radio Caroline in the Netherlands, organised by Sietse Brouwer from Harlingen. Land-based pirate stations have been meeting in London. Bob Tomalski reports on one of the biggest booze-ups in 35 years. Bob laments that the old passion has gone. Audio quality is not what it used be. Bryan Clark reports from New Zealand on the reappearance of American Forces stations on shortwave. And that includes Diego Garcia. We also looked at the future of radio design, highlighting some work going on at the University of Twente.

Direct download: MN.23.08.2000.Pirates.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:48 AM
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This was a documentary I made about Indonesian radio broadcasting, based on a holiday trip I took in 1988. I recall taking an ICF2001D and a Walkman Professional so as to capture sound effects of the train journey. 

The tape of this documentary did not survive well - some print through because the tape was in poor condition and not complete. But I have processed it so it probably sounds better than it did on shortwave back then. The sounds of RRI in English, especially on the local stations was something out of a living radio museum. 

 

Direct download: MN.08.04.1988.Indonesiarepaired.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:00 PM
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This was an early attempt to do longer investigative features. We start the programme looking at the challenges facing the satellite broadcast industry (remember this is well before the launch of SKY television). Richard Ginbey also did a marathon overview of the history of broadcasting in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. I think the off-air recordings are rather unique - not sure that much has survived. He put this togther using cassette tape recorders - must have taken ages. And the programme ends with tuning suggestions from Andy Sennitt and Arthur Cushen. 

Direct download: MN.01.09.1983.Zimbabwe.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:33 PM
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Radio South Atlantic was a short-lived clandestine radio station started by the UK Ministry of Defence with programmes aimed at Argentine troops on the Falkland islands. This programme was broadcast from a transmitter on Ascension Island which was temporarily taken away from BBC World Service.

The Falklands War (SpanishGuerra de las Malvinas), also known as the Falklands Conflict, Falklands Crisis and the Guerra del Atlántico Sur (Spanish for "South Atlantic War"), was a ten-week war between Argentina and the United Kingdom over two British overseas territories in the South Atlantic: theFalkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. It began on Friday 2 April 1982 when Argentina invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands (and, the following day, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands) in an attempt to establish the sovereignty it had long claimed over them. On 5 April, the British government dispatched a naval task force to engage the Argentine Navy and Air Force before making an amphibious assault on the islands. The conflict lasted 74 days and ended with the Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982, returning the islands to British control. In total, 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel and three Falkland Islanders died during the hostilities.

This is a studio copy of Radio South Atlantic. In May 1982, the British government decided to set up a Spanish language radio station targeting Argentine troops. This was probably in response to an Argentine radio station (nicnamed Argentine Annie by the UK press) which appeared on shortwave some weeks earlier using the Beatles theme "Yesterday" as a signature tune. 

I was editing the Media Network programme at the time. We could hear Radio South Atlantic in Hilversum - but the signal was very weak. So I rang the British embassy in the Hague and asked if it would be possible to get a studio copy of the programme to use in a documentary feature we were making. A few days later, a courier riding a large motorbike arrived at RN's reception and asked for me. I went down to the front-desk to sign for the tape. "But you can't keep this tape. You can only listen to it" was the message from guy in the helmet. "I have to take it back to the Hague in about half an hour". I said I'd look for an empty studio, gave the guy a large coffee and wandered casually round the corner. Then I made a mad dash to the fast copy-room used to make tape copies of RNW transcription programmes for other radio stations. It had a machine that could copy tapes at around 8 times faster than normal. Luckily, Jos, the guy in charge, saw my challenge, set up the machine immediately and 15 minutes later I was back in reception to return the tape to the messanger. And I had a copy.

It seems the British dropped leaflets over the Falklands to try and spread the word that this shortwave radio station existed. And we later analysed the programme. It was classic Sefton Delmer (Black Propaganda), although rather poorly presented. Bit like calling up Vera Lynne if the British had a dispute with France.

But this is one of the few surviving recordings of Radio South Atlantic. You be the judge of how effective it all was.  

Direct download: RadioAtlanticodelSur.mp3
Category:Radio Netherlands Specials -- posted at: 4:28 PM
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This programme has a strong Latin American flavour starting with the news of test transmissions from Radio For Peace International in Costa Rica. Sky Channel in the UK is not making money yet but has no intention of stopping. Some broadcasters are experimenting with AM stereo. Don Rhodes in Australia reports that Deutsche Welle is going to start testing the new 22 metre shortwave band. A special shortwave broadcast is on the air from a station in Syria during the Mediterraean Games. 

We then announced the Radio Netherlands SSB Feeder Challenged. RNW has to bridge a four-week gap in the satellite feed to Madagascar. A special SSB transmitter was hired at a transmitter site at Ruislede, Belgium.

The first edition of Passport to World Band Radio is reviewed with Harry Kliphuis. 

Christian Zettl from Austria is travelling in Central America and has been investigating some strange political clandestine radio stations in Guatemala, including one with a connection to a recording by Nat King Cole.

Direct download: MN.25.09.1987.Guatemala.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:48 PM
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Jonathan gets a tube of "on-air" radio toothpaste. China is being relayed by Swiss Radio International, some transmissions being well heard. We started to spot strong signals from Radio Beijing but not coming from Europe. Dave Rosenthal explains Electrometeors and why lightning can make shortwave radios suddenly insensitive. Carefully tuned outdoor antennas can "blow-up" the front end of a portable radio. In fact, the Sony ICF2001D was particularly suspectible. A lightning arrestor is a bit of a misnomer.

We review the RFB40L shortwave portable from Panasonic.

We also report on superconductor research displayed at Telecom 87 in Geneva by AT&T.

Direct download: MN.06.10.1987.superconductors.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:46 PM
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A New Year has dawned but without the expected reduction in Soviet jamming of Western broadcasters. West German television airs the wrong new year speech from Chancellor Kohl. The Dutch have been measuring devices for radio interference levels, banning two devices because of poor shielding. We also talk to the UK engineers who had to shield a football stadium in Saudi Arabia, because of a nearby 1.2 Megawatt mediumwave transmission tower. Solar specialist Mike Bird reviews 1986 from a radio reception point of view.

Out in the Iraqi desert, French transmitter manufacturer Thomson is to build 16 high power transmitters. We look at satellite radio with the BBC's Jonathan Stott.

On 6009 kHz a clandestine radio station in Libya has been making some mistakes. Radio Truth, a clandestine in South Africa targeting Zimbabwe, has made a clever frequency change. Radio West in The Hague, a station of 18 people, has just started operations. Willem Bos has been testing a special device for scanner enthusiasts.   

Direct download: MN.08.01.1987.riyadh.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:30 PM
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We start this programme with news of a two-in-one RS-10 and RS-11 amateur radio satellite launched by the Russians. Pat Gowan reports. Radio Moscow has started a summer programme for the tourists to the capital. Radio Danubius in Budapest is doing something similar. Poland objects to a new Israeli relay station for VOA (never built). India is upgrading its time signal station. Philips says its solved the problem of poor resolution on LCD displays. We also discuss radio broadcast radiation and it's danger to humans. Wim van Amstel explains. 

We also discuss clandestine broadcasting to Iran, using transmitters in Iraq. We solve the mystery of the number station contest, and Anne Blair Gould reviews the Guide to Broadcasting Stations by Philip Darrington.

The programme concludes with Arthur Cushen's DX report including a very clear recording of Radio Luxembourg signing off in English on 49 metres. 

Direct download: MN.02.07.1987.Monster.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:18 PM
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We're postponing a series of features until the satellite link with Madagascar is resorted after maintenance.

Europe-1, a commercial network in France, has been heard on a Radio Caribbean on 1210 kHz 05 UTC. It seems it's the start of a major expansion plan.

We tell the story of Atlantic 252, which apparently was an idea from Luxembourg. More than 4 million pounds has been invested in the project. Radio Tara was the project name.

We explain the Stickers on the Move contest.  Radio Nacional Venezuela is being heard more regularly.

Paris KISS-FM has started a station Tahiti. We were clearly intrigued at how the signal got to the Pacific. Radio Finland has started using a new higher power transmitter on 963 kHz. 

Japanese cordless phones are being monitored on shortwave radios in India because they are so poorly made. We take the situation to its illogical conclusions. Ben Kobb explains that Citizens Band radio didn't start on 27 MHz but infact began in 1947 in 460 MHz. 

Direct download: MN.02.10.1987.europe1.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:10 PM
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This edition of the programme discusses how the US Emergency Broadcast System works. This was a predecessor to what is now called the Emergency Alert System. Benn Kobb elaborates and Frank Lucia explains how President Truman gave the go-ahead for the development of the CONELRAD system. Gary Burgeois also explains what could go wrong at 9.33 every Saturday morning. It sounds like stations then were better prepared than today. 

The programme also discusses changes to the domestic shortwave service in Australia. Andy Sennitt explains that Nigeria has discontinued some of its shortwave services and the location of Radio Sovereign. Bob Tomalski (known as Roger Tate in those days) reports on DAT digital recorders. 

The tape of this programme didn't survive as well as others, which explains the slightly higher level of hiss than other editions at the start of the programme. But it quickly gets better. 

Direct download: MN.04.09.1987.emergency.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:09 AM
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Vanuatu has been counting the cost of a major cyclone to hit this Pacific island chain. They’ve asked Radio Australia to help out while repairs are made to Radio Vanuatu. We also discuss progress 10 days into the WARC 1987 conference in Geneva. Jim Vastenhoud reports about the technical decisions being made. Single Sideband raises its head again. Of course SSB never happened.

 

Willem Bos looks at decoders to receive and decode “telex over radio”. At that time there was a large group of enthusiasts monitoring utility stations. We also review a new book about Radio Wave Propagation written by antenna specialist Fred Judd

Direct download: MN.12.02.1987.vanuatu.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:49 AM
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This news edition of the programme starts with a major raid by Amsterdam police on the four largest pirate radio stations in the Dutch capital. We solved the mystery of very strong signals from Radio Beijing (now China Radio International) beamed to North America from a new relay station in Africa. It turned out this was a new project in Mali.

There were other news headlines: Ariane launches TVSat1, which later turned out to be one of the most expensive launch failures. The D2MAC TV standard is having development challenges in Germany. Ralf Carlson of KUSW explains his plans. The Ross Revenge antenna has collapsed. We announced the results of the Radio Netherlands SSB Find-the-Feeder Challenge.

The programme also looked at the challenges of pollution from batteries. That was 100 million in 1987. (Wonder what it is now?) I talked with Lucas Reinders about what’s been agreed to reduce the amount of mercury in alkaline batteries.

 

Richard Dearborn of the Christian Science Monitor in Boston explains what they’re planning to do with the rock station KYOI on Saipan which they purchased. Victor Goonetilleke closes out the programme with tuning suggestions including a clandestine station targeting listeners in Iran.

Direct download: MN.27.09.1987.mali.beijing.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:31 PM
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I remember this edition of Media Network broadcast in August 1987. At that time digital recording was only just becoming possible, using a PCM adaptor connected to a Umatic video tape recorder. The late Joop Zuidam was a music producer at Radio Netherlands and he told me he was heading to Breda to record another in his series about carillons, the set of bells in church towers. Radio Netherlands had been using an ancient recording of the carillon in Den Bosch, but the tape had been copied so many times that it sounded awful, especially when played back on a cartridge. So I asked Joop if he could arrange for Jacque Maasens, the carillon player of the Great Church of Breda, to record a new version of the interval signal played at the start of each broadcast from Radio Netherlands on shortwave. It seems there is an interview with Jacques in Dutch on Youtube, also taken in the same tower. I will always remember the view (pictured). And we also recorded a few jokes, including Yankee Doodle, the theme used by the VOA at the time.

This edition also includes news that the BBC is to start transmitting from Hong Kong on shortwave and Pirate radio sovereign has been broadcasting again. We look at the pirate radio scene on FM in Paris. Arthur Cushen has a bumper crop of tuning suggestions from his listening post in the Pacific.

Direct download: MN.06.08.1987.HongKongBreda.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:29 PM
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Great to hear the voices of John Brannigan, a Scottish radio propagation specialist, who was the perfect interviewee. He really knew his field and could explain things in non-technical language. The other guest in this programme is BBC World Service Chief Engineer Keith Edwards. He was one of the first top managers to turn up at shortwave listener gathering and explain what they were trying to do at the transmitting end. He also anticipated home satellite radio and TV reception several years before it took off in hobby circles. Remember this is well before the launch of Sky Satellite Television.

Direct download: MN.04.04.1985BranniganEdwards.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:58 PM
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One of a series of Media Network programmes that originated from the 1985 Expo in Tsuba, just North of Tokyo. I used the visit to the expo to visit Akihabara, called Electric Town, even then. The Sony ICF2001D has just gone on sale, and I remember picking one up for considerably less than in Europe. Just had to make do with a Japanese only instruction booklet. We also look at the domestic shortwave radio station Radio Tampa. This was one of the first Media Network safaris, exploring media in other countries. Remember it is nearly 30 years old!  

Direct download: MN.04.07.1985.JapanExpo2.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:24 PM
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Radio Netherlands won't be getting access to 747 kHz. Things are going to plan for PA6FLD ham radio station operating from the new Flevoland transmitter site. I also did a marathon edition of SW Feedback live from the transmitter site.

Radio Jackie gets raided again in South West London. Bob Tomalski, later a contributor to Media Network, looks at whether they were a community station or just in it for the money. In the Netherlands, Broadcast minister Elco Brinkman says that pirate radio stations will not get access to extended FM bands. Roger Tidy in London has started a new monitoring magazine. 

Direct download: MN.07.02.1985.RadioJackie.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 7:08 PM
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In 1985, we didn't know much about a new station that had gone on the air in Costa Rica, but was clearly targeting listeners in neighbouring Nicaragua. As Don Moore wrote in 1992, Radio Impacto did little to hide its Contra connection. On its staff were an official spokesperson for the FDN, some announcers from former Somoza radio stations in Managua, and several former staffers for La Prensa, the the primary anti-Sandinista newspaper in Nicaragua. Elsewhere, Impacto's Tegucigalpa correspondent actually doubled as the FDN's local spokesman. The strongest evidence for the contra connection came from Edgar Chamorro, former director of communications for the FDN, who told the World Court that Impacto was a CIA operation. 

 

Direct download: MN.12.09.1985.radioimpacto.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:52 AM
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I remember going on a trip to the BASF chemical factory in Ludwigshafen, Germany. We went to see why Chrome Dioxide cassette tape was such a superior recording medium. At that time, there were stories in the scientific press that audio and data could be stored in "bubble memory". BASF said that this was a long way off. In this programme the prediction was that solid state memory with a capacity of 650MB might be around by 2014. It shows how difficult it is to predict the rapid advance of techology, since some of the high end iPads now have 128 GB of solid-state storage. The machine I'm using for this entry has 256 GB. 

Direct download: MN.13.06.1985.BASF.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:11 PM
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We delve into the Media Network archives to look back at the early days of commercial shortwave broadcasting from the United States. On October 15, 1927, Walter Lemmon, a radio inventor, was granted the first shortwave radio license in the United States and began experimental shortwave station W1XAL in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1935, the station began transmitting non-commercial, educational, and cultural programs. Supported by charitable institutions it was a not run for profit. The broadcasts came from a transmitter site in Scituate, Massachussets.

I found some recordings of the station in the audio section of the US Library of Congress for this programme. And Lou Josephs got me the recordings from a later stage in the station's history when it was WNYW, Radio New York World Wide. He used to work there as a Saturday job in the 1970's, and made some great studio recordings which I haven't heard elsewhere. 

Direct download: MN.18.07.1985.wrul.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:57 PM
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This was my first visit to Copenhagen when the radio and television production were in two separate houses in the downtown area of the city. Radiohuset (literally "Radio House") was located on Rosenørns Allé in FrederiksbergCopenhagen. Vacated by DR when DR Byen was inaugurated in 2006, the buildings now house the Royal Danish Academy of Music as well as the Museum of Music. 

On my visit to DR we went to a tiny room where a Revox tape-recorder on a time-switch was playing out the shortwave service of Radio Denmark. But there had been grander times. I also heard the story of DX Window, one of the world's first DX programmes which had more of a style of the off shore pirate stations. There was talk of working together with the Norwegians to make a Scandinavian external service. But when this was recorded, it was simply an idea. 

Direct download: MN.19.09.1985.denmark.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 3:45 PM
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Radio Caroline is back from the North Sea, complete with sounds of the generators. And we talk to Ruud Hendriks, producer of the media show on Veronica Radio which translated as the Enormous Confusion. Ruud is now a presenter on Business News Radio. Some would say that 32 years later, it is even more confused in Hilversum.

Direct download: MN.25.08.1983.EnormousConfusion.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:05 PM
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Africa Number One is still around, although unless you're in Libreville, Gabon, you'll need to listen online. Mind you, the station's audio quality via TuneIn is superb which is more than could be said for the shortwave signal in the 1980's.

This edition of Media Network discusses the thorny problem of jamming of Western broadcasters. NHK Radio Japan is testing via the new shortwave transmitter site in Moyabi, Gabon. FIBS in the Falklands has switched its frequency of 2380 kHz. (Those bumps on the line with Andy were the counting system that worked out the cost of the call). We reviewed the new book by Ellic Howe called The Black Game. We later returned to the subject in the editions entitled Wartime Deception. Professor John Campbell reports strange broadcasting on 3345 kHz. Sometimes its Radio Mayak. The radio situation is Chad is confusing with at least two stations operating. Radio Bardai is being heard on 2009 kHz. The programme also contains a comparison of the NRD515, ICR70, and the Drake R7A. Michael Schaay has tested all three.  

 

Direct download: MN..07.07.1983.NHK.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:04 PM
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A news edition of the programme, most of it triggered by listeners.

Norman Scott reports that Dr Gene Scott is planning major expansion of his shortwave ministry. Andy Sennitt reports changes to WJCR, Voice of Vietnam, the rumour about Country Nights, a special station on RTL 1440. Richard Measham reports on the radio of the Bosnian Serbs, on 9720 and 6100 kHz. BBC resumes broadcasts in Albanian after a break of 26 years. Uganda changes their media law. Radio Hope in Somalia. Radio Ala, the station of the Bards, has disappeared. Voice of Iranian Kurdistan is being heard in the UK. James Robinson, Birkenhead has been monitoring Quality Country Music on satellite. Nick Meanwell reports on new shortwave radios. Grundig Yacht Boy 222 isn't as good as the Grundig Yacht Boy 206. We look at the difficulty of operating some shortwave receivers if you are visually disabled. And Bill Whitacre updates up on Chinese jamming of US broadcasts relayed via transmitters in the former Soviet Union.

Direct download: MN.25.02.1993._RadiofortheBlind.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:50 AM
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I have only made it once to the Dayton Hamvention, the largest meetup of amateur radio operators anywhere on the planet. My trip was in April 1990, and I remember that Lou Josephs was invaluable in helping me to connect with the KLM flight connection at Boston Logan Airport. Lou warned me that the "Useless Air" flight from Dayton to Logan was always late. And sure enough it was. He gave me a lift from the wrong side of Logan to the right side for transatlantic departures. Made it with seconds to spare.

Oh, and please enjoy the reportage from Dayton Ohio. It was immense fun. Also recall running in to George Wood of Radio Sweden. 

Direct download: MN.03.05.1990.DaytonHamvention.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:10 AM
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This programme from 1990 profiles the Russian Forces Radio station Radio Volga set up in the GDR. We also look at how synchronous detection works on the Grundig Satelliet 7000 receiver, including some examples of how it improved reception.

I remember recording this edition of Media Network with Mark Eylers on a boiling hot evening in Radio Netherlands Studio 11 studio. For some reason the airconditioning wasn't working that well, so the decision to do a just outside broadcast really happened. The studio was just below my office in those days, as the photo shows. 

Direct download: MN.14.05.1990.radiovolgarussia.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:55 AM
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This edition of the programme in 1992 came together out of the blue. I suddenly got a tape from Taiwan from David Monson, a presenter on BRT Brussels who I knew in the 1990's. He was now in Taiwan and offered me a story about who is behind the Sangean shortwave radio company. The result in the second half of this show. (Sadly we learned that David Monson passed away in 2010). 

We discuss the international distribution of the Lowe HF150, DAK Industries new shortwave DM3000 is difficult to get hold of. Marcel Rommerts has news about Radio Galaxy from Moscow. Victor Goonetilleke has been hearing a strong station from Myanmar on 5973 kHz, aimed at the internal security forces. There's a new book called The Setmakers about the history of British radio receivers from the BREMA association. This includes the story about how Philips took over the Mullard valve company. 

Direct download: MN.23.04.1992.sangean.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:55 PM
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Long before Putin there was a different type of media in Moscow. It was just gradually breaking free of the old Communist era, experimenting with all kinds of different formats. In this editon of Media Network recorded in 1992, Vasily Strelnikov (who some now call the Russian Podfather) scans the dial for us. We look at the newly launched Radio-7 commercial station.

This news edition of the programme also contains news of the Democratic Voice of Burma which has has challenges reaching Rangoon, and the French company of TDF has made a new type of shortwave transmitter, where each sender has its own curtain array on top. And we review the latest edition of Shortwave Navigator from Jim Frimmel.

 

 

Direct download: MN.23.07.1992.MoscowRadio7.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:27 PM
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We live in troubled times (again). Bumped into a Media Network programme recorded in December 1989. We were reporting on the media surrounding the US intervention into Panama to capture Manuel Noriega. Listener Al Quagleri tipped us off after monitoring airforce communications from Albrook Airforce Base in Panama. Lou Josephs helped us unravel the media plan, which revealed the involvement of Pentagon backed Radio Impacto as well as extended broadcasts from the Spanish service of Voice of America. We also looked at the serious situation developing in Romania and the involvement of Radio Free Europe and the plans to build a 34 million dollar shortwave facility in Israel. Note the comment that people in Europe no longer listen to shortwave, so that FM was important. We called KNLS in, Anchor Point, Alaska and talked to Dave Stuart about the volcano that's been erupting. Arthur Cushen sent in Christmas greetings. And there are changes to report at Radio Australia. They were celebrating 50 years of their existence. Andy Sennitt was celebrating the new office in Amsterdam.

I think this is a good example of a listener-driven media show, about 6 years before the Internet started appearing in peoples' homes. This was the era when radio was the Internet.

Direct download: MN.21.12.1989.Panama.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 4:03 PM
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Interesting programme which revealed that Radio Vilnius, Lithuania was no longer using material sent to the station from Radio Moscow. We also profiled the early days of Voice of America transmitting station in Bethany, Ohio which recently closed down. 

Direct download: MN.12.10.1989vilnius.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:24 PM
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This is a very early Media Network from the summer of 1983. Yes, the presentation is dated and it has nothing like the pace of later programmes in the series. But it is interesting none the less. I recall the indepth interview about what HCJB was building in Pifo, near Quito Ecuador. The photo shows the studio buildings in downtown Quito which I remember visiting years later in 1995. And Professor John Campbell had some excellent insights into the clandestine radio scene in North Africa. Enjoy.

Direct download: MN.02.06.1983.HCJB.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:46 PM
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On July 17th 2014, a commercial aircraft from Malaysian Airlines, flight MH17, was shot down over Ukraine. The exact details of who was responsible are still be determined. But 298 passengers were killed, many of them Dutch nationals.

But this reminds me of an incident on September 1st 1983, when the Soviet government shot down a Korean airliner, flight 007. All 269 passengers and crew aboard the Korean airliner were killed, The aircraft was en route from Anchorage to Seoul when it flew through prohibited Soviet airspace around the time of a U.S. reconnaissance mission. In this edition of the Media Network programme as broadcast in September 1983, we hear how Radio Moscow, the voice of the Soviet government reacted. Remember this is before the Internet...it took several days before an official reaction was forthcoming.

 

Direct download: MN.15.09.1983korean007.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 5:17 PM
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