Media Network Vintage Vault 2014-2015
Re-live international shortwave radio between 1980-2000 through a radio show that pioneered producing narratives with its listeners. Over 400 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 how amateur radio helped in the aftermath of the two earthquakes which hit El Salvador in October 1986. Around 1000 messages were sent on behalf of official organisation. 14313 kHz is the emergency frequency to monitor. Bob Horvitz reports on the political clandestine stations beaming into the area, including Radio Venceremos. FMLN has declared a truce. 

The programme also looks at stereo mediumwave tests in China. On 10870 kHz Radio Iran Toilers is being heard from transmitters believed to be in Afghanistan. Receiver Development Update deals with Escom 500. Eddy Visser is working on modifications for ICOM receivers with a Phase-locked system. We also looked at what happened to Radio West, an updated AM filter on a Philips D-2935 and a new communications receiver, the SRX-351 from Germany.

We investigated why there is a pitch change to the Radio Netherlands interval signal and changes at RCI for SWL Digest. 

Direct download: MN.16.10.1986.ElSalvador.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:30 PM
Comments[2]

This programme was one of several in the period to look at clandestine radio broadcasting. Although there were later programmes that went into detail about number stations, the remarks by Professor John Campbell of the University of London Computer Science Dept were spot on. I wonder if there is any on-line evidence of that oil company using numbers for communications with Nigeria?

He also reviews the book Nish No Kaze, Hare by American writer Robert Haslach. I can still see copies of the book listed in antique book shops here in the Netherlands, though I don't know of any English language translations. Robert worked at Radio Netherlands, when it was "Radio Nederland" and later wrote a history of the station.

The programme also includes the news of the start of CFI, a new educational TV network for Africa.The English language pages of the current CFI website must have been done by a machine!

We also discuss the rather confusing Sony shortwave line of 7600 receivers. Sony is launching the ICF7601. 

You can probably skip the RN Hertzian adjustment file - there was no Internet to announce all that schedule information. And even though we printed thousands of programme schedules, the postal services have never been that good at delivering this kind of information. 

Direct download: MN.23.03.1988.Haslach.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 1:00 PM
Comments[0]

What were ANARC meetings like 25 years ago? ANARC was the Association of North American Radio Clubs, coming from an era when groups would organise around their passion for listening to distant radio stations on AM, FM, and/or shortwave. I think their peak was in the late 80's, when there were still plenty of stations on the tropical bands of 60 and 90 metres, the Cold War was still on (with all the mystery of clandestine stations) and receiver technology was experimenting with digital processing to dig out weak signals from the noise. I recall this hotel in downtown Montreal because I ended up using the fire-escape a couple of times to get down to breakfast. And on the last day, my pyjamas disappeared from underneath the pillow. I remarked about it in an off-hand way during an edition of the show and a listener in India sent me a new pair!

Direct download: MN.24.07.1986.Montreal.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:30 AM
Comments[0]

The photo was taken outside Polish Radio in Warsaw in 2005. The programme that accompanies it was made in August 1988, a difficult time for Poland. There were at least 15 illegal FM stations on the air, trying to combat the official government voice coming out of the Polish Radio building. 

Do you remember international reply coupons? If you were trying to get a reply out of a radio station, sometimes enclosing an IRC would help out. In theory, such a coupon could be exchanged for postage stamps in another country. However, in my experience, they often turned out to be an expesive proposition. We discuss IRC's in this programme. 

This was also the week that General Zia was toppled from power in Pakistan and IRRS was preparing broadcasts from Northern Italy. Media Network's Pubspot talks to John Bryant of Fine Tuning.

Professor John Campbell looks at clandestine antennas and reviews a book about Harold Beverage called Genius at Riverhead. 

Direct download: MN.18.08.1988.Poland.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 12:18 AM
Comments[0]

This news edition of the programme included news of the WRTH award scheme. We examine Jim Frimmel's computer program which will record audio off air, and talk to German reviewer Rainer Lichte about the Grundig Satelliet 500. There's a short extract from the DX Window programme on Radio Denmark. Jorgen T Madsen explains that they will be hiring airtime on Radio Norway International. For Media Quiz 1989 we invented a spy station and asked you to crack the code. David Monson, then working for the Belgian external service, BRT, explains about his international broacasting conference in Berlin. We were shocked to hear that David Monson passed away in March 2010. He was not only an accomplished musician, he was a master of ad-lib. Dave Rosenthal explains the work of the Space Environment Services centre in Boulder, Colorado.

Direct download: MN.12.01.1989.MonsonDenmark.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 11:04 PM
Comments[0]

February 2012. VOA is 70 years old. The first broadcast was in German to Europe. Later, from studios in Munich, VOA tried to reach Europe again with a "music and more"service called VOA Europe. This operation, launched in 1985, didn't last very long. In the early days it sounded like AM radio on FM. And it was cable radio in the Netherlands, rather than over the air FM. More successful in the Balkans, I believe. The photo is of the VOA entrance was taken last year. I understand the VOA logo is to return to its familiar red, white and blue later in 2012.

Direct download: MN.24.09.1986.VOAEuropecloses.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:12 PM
Comments[1]

This programme examines plans for a TV station on Sealand by Roy Bates on one of the disused wartime forts in the Thames Estuary. We talk with offshore radio specialist Hans Knot (still going strong in 2012 - check out the RadioDay website). You might want to skip the frequency changes at the start of the show...those were the days when Radio Netherlands had a major presence on shortwave.

The programme also talks to media researcher Robert Fortner, now teaching in Bulgaria. He'd been commissioned to look into the future of shortwave radios up to 2000 and beyond. Actually, they seem to have got quite a lot of it right. 

Direct download: MN.15.09.1988.Forts.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 10:50 PM
Comments[0]

As a student, it was often fun to listen on the radio between the broadcasting bands. You would tune just above the mediumwave (AM) broadcast band, say around 1.8 MHz, and you'd often pick up one half of what sounded like a very personal conversation. That's because, in those days, ship-to-shore communications went mainly via medium and shortwave radio. Ships had a communications officer, and they were responsible for setting up calls from the ship which then connected to the public telephone network on land. 

I still recall the trip to Ijmuiden like it was yesterday, and I find it difficult to believe we made this programme nearly 27 years ago, way back in October 1985. I remember the female operators at Scheveningen Radio were drop dead gorgeous, had fantastic voices and were clearly driving the place. They were often the only female voice men out on the ships had heard in weeks.

The men at Scheveningen Radio were mainly in the Morse code section which, even then, was being phased out. I vividly recall sitting in the canteen and seeing the Morse Code operators looking at the newspaper and their right hand involuntarily tapping out out on the table what they were reading.

There is one anecdote too. In this programme we set up a Morse Code link with the Hoek-Harwich ferry. I had to do it twice because the first time, when we asked the ferry for its destination, they came back with a string of expletives along the lines of - "We're the Hoek-Harwich Ferry, where do you think we're going?". The guy at Scheveningen radio cleaned up what they said, but I knew the Media Network audience had a high chance of understanding what was really said. So we did it again.

If you want to find out why they called it Scheveningen Radio, even though they operated from further up the coast at Ijmuiden, then take a listen to this vintage show. It's in huge stereo. 

Direct download: MN.17.10.1985.ScheveningenRadio.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 9:41 PM
Comments[0]

Hearing reports that it's 26 degrees below (Centigrad) in Moscow at the moment, reminded me of a programme we did with Vasily Strelnikov, the former Radio Moscow WS presenter. This programme takes you back the start of March 1992, when things are starting to open up, media-wise, in the Russian capital. Did you know that Vasily also has a FaceBook page these days? The show starts with a report by Rosella Strom who went to Geneva, Switzerland as part of the World Radio Congress at the ITU where large chunks of the radio spectrum were allocated. And guess what. They are doing the same thing again right at this moment. Actually, it seems surprising that most of the battles haven't changed a bit in 20 years. 

Direct download: MN.05.03.1992.Vasily.mp3
Category:Media Network Archives -- posted at: 8:25 PM
Comments[0]

1