In this outlay of shortwave reception I’m back to the band I believe I’ve featured most often here– 31 meters. I guess I’ve had particular luck finding interesting broadcasts there, along with the least interference. In retrospect, that's how it's panned out (at least in the hours I tend to listen).
And if you look at (or listen to) the reception offered in these posts, you’ll see that there’s quite a variety of broadcasts be to found in this frequency campground from North America. None of the logs I've posted from scanning this band are even close to being identical to any others. One reason of course, is that all the recordings are from different days of the week and unique times of the evening. But propagation (and local RF) is the biggest factor. Some nights you can catch Stations from the Middle East and Africa. Other nights European and North American stations are most of what you find. And now and then, a few South America signals show up on the dial. In general after dark, mainstays like KOL in Israel, the Voice of Greece, Cuba (in general), CRI, Deutsche Welle, Radio Netherlands, and Spain are usually out there and can be easily heard on this band with little effort. And then there’s always Family Radio. (As if you’d want your kids to hear that...) On this particular Friday evening scan I happened across Iran’s “Voice of Justice” (their nightly English program) for a little while. AND you can almost hear everything they’re saying through most of it.
As a shortwave listener, I must admit that I'm at a particular disadvantage. Not only do I live in a huge megalopolis full of throbbing RF. But in reality, the very worst radio noise culprits are the electronics and wiring in my house (or almost any house these days). I’ve always had the best results listening to a shortwave portable outside. Unfortunately, if I happen to be serious about DXing from home I have to park myself under the bright streetlights illuminating our stoop (with funny looking audio equipment around me), or I’ll end up crouched in some awkward postion out on the fire escape, hoping the landlord doesn’t come out to put something on the clothesline and wonder what the hell I’m doing up there.
So, when I was here at the station here in Jersey City the other night I made a point of bringing my Degen 1103 and a cassette recorder to accompany a meal I brought with me to enjoy on our back deck. (Tomato soup from a Polish deli and a cheese sandwich, if you’re curious.) Then for an hour I slowly worked all the way up and through the 31 meter band (in its slightly expanded form on the Degen-- 9000 to 10000 kHz). And well, here’s what happened:
All you get here is some detailed information on how to hear the Chronicles (make sure you have a paper and pencil on hand to jot down the details).
9345 - KOL Israel
An announcer speaking Hebrew, then some jaunty bumper music. Doesn’t sound like news programming. And then... The Beatles!
9370 - WTJC - Fundamental Broadcasting Network
Chapter and verse talk, Piano, holy white folks raising their voices in praise. (yawn) Time to turn the station...
9420 - Voice of Greece
Some urgent musical interlude, then some Greek speak.
9495 - The Voice of Justice (Iran)
In between some intermittent fading, this extended segment (over 18 minutes) includes some of the most solid reception I’ve yet heard of Iran’s English language programming. Other than Cuba (and North Korea if you have the equipment), Iran is the only one of America’s avowed “enemies” that can be really be heard via shortwave here on the east coast. That said, coming from over 6000 miles away “The Voice of Justice” still isn’t all that easy to receive with consistent clarity.
It’s mostly a newsreader and a commentator offering headlines and discussing American and international news stories from an Iranian perspective. However, instead of a spirited attack of U.S. policies and some loaded boasting of the Iran’s military might (as you might have heard years ago from shortwave broadcasts from behind the “iron curtain”), it’s simple short issues and opinions followed by brief and polite interludes of polite bumper music. As in every English language broadcast I’ve caught from the Islamic Republic, there's plenty of criticism of America’s “wars”– against Iraq, Islam, and “terror.” And not surprisingly, Hezbollah is highly praised (on their “victory” over Israel). And quite a bit of talk about the internal American political situation.
No, it’s not great radio, and certainly not as titillating as the
snarling anti-western propaganda that used to come out of cold war era Radio Moscow and Radio Peking. But it when our country is (again) picking fights with (and occasionally threatening warfare against) large groups of people out
there, it seems like a good idea to be able to hear what the supposed bad guys have to say about the U.S. and the news. And historically, shortwave radio has for the better part of a century provided people around the world the ability to hear the "other" side, and it's still valid today.
If you want to hear Iran’s English service without the noise and fading (or seeking out a shortwave radio), they now stream their broadcasts online. Try it from 9:30 to 10:30 PM Eastern Time if you're curious.
9505 - WFYR (Family Radio)
A deep voice speaketh onto us...
9515 - WHRI (World Harvest Radio)
Oh, here’s some drama. This guy’s got the Jesus craving REAL BAD. Some shaky and sweaty prayer content here. Not for children.
9520 - Radio Free Europe (U.S. propaganda from Hungary)
Russian, I think. Female announcer. Decades later, we’re still bringin’ radio freedom to the savages of Europe. I’m sure they’re thankful.
9535 - Radio Exterior de Espana.
Breakneck news delivery, in Spanish.
9550 - Radio Habana Cuba
9560 - China Radio International
Sort of a hip-hop disco thumper at the onset of this clip, then the announcer is speaking English, specifically tempting listeners with cheap air fare to China.
9565 - BBC? Or something relayed via BBC in the UK (Rampisham)
That’s the best guess I can come up with. Unknown language. It’s fairly loud at first, with some crosstalk from something else. Anybody have a clue?
Sounds Chinese to me. Male guest on the phone, the host groans in agreement occasionally.
9580 - China Radio International (From Cuba)
More Chinese. Same host? While other countries are cutting back their international shortwave broadcasting budget, China must be paying some hefty electric bills keeping all these transmitters up and running around the world.
9590 - Radio Netherlands
Latin music. Nice, short, but not very clear.
9600 - Something from Cuba?
Radio Nacional de Venezuela? Radio Rebelde? Radio Habana Cuba? Any Spanish speakers who can figure this one out for us? Something about Panama. Sounds political.
9610 - Vatican Radio
Male and female announcers. French, I think
9625 - (unknown)
Male voice. Perhaps Arabic? Canada and Finland use this frequency at other times. It sounds like it’s coming from quite a distance, whatever it is. Some clandestine station perhaps? One from Sudan has used this frequency.
9665 - Voice of Russia
It’s a drama in English. Drunkenness is mentioned. Eastern European shortwave sounds so dated sometimes. And I kind of like that. But wouldn’t it be fun if they played some reruns of those hard core Radio Moscow propaganda broadcasts? But you never hear much reflection on shortwave. Everything is NOW, despite some of the dated formatics and technology.
9680 - WYFR (Family Radio)?
Sounds like a far east Asian language. A sweet little song in fact. Which I suppose is spreading the Jesus agenda, if it is Family Radio.
Maybe some problem with the connecting cable to the recorder here. Sorry.
9690 - China Radio International (from Spain)
Strong and loud (overloading the radio) Chinese. Male announcers.
Some hazy reception in English. Female speaker, followed by male announcer with British accent. Very hard to hear what’s being said.
9715 - Radio Romania?
Extremely almost nothing. A little buzzing. This is supposed to be Romania...
9720 - Radio Tunis
Extremely lo-fi female announcer/narrator. Unknown language, perhaps Arabic. Musical accompaniment. Some very American voice (signal) chewing at the edges of this one.
9725 - Voice of Russia?
Low rumbling reception here. Sounds like Russian. Some female singer from somewhere else stepping on the signal.
9745 - HCJB - Voice of the Andes
Spanish Christians from Ecuador. HCJB is a longstanding Western Hemisphere presence on shortwave. Spirited broadcast with poor signal. Spanish.
Jokes in Spanish I guess. A young woman seems to find it all remarkably funny.
9780 - HCJB - Voice of the Andes
More “Hey-Zoos” from South America. In German.
9795 - Radio Budapest (Hungary)
In English, promoting Hungarian wine. Jazzy bumper music and an offer to download their daily broadcasts.
9805 - Radio Farda
9820 - Radio Habana Cuba
In English, fairly clear. Sounds like tourism information to me. Go see the natural paradise where Columbus had a good time a few hundred years ago.
9830 - Deutsche Welle
A solid signal relayed from the Netherlands, in German.
Same melodrama we heard at 9725 kHz I believe. Pretty good reception.
9865 - Radio Farda
U.S. radio “outreach” to Iran again. This time it’s a better signal. A song starts before I turn the dial.
9880 - Voice of Russia
Loud whine on top of this. This time it’s not English either.
9925 - Hrvatska Radio (Croatia)
More “jazzy” bumper music. Unknown language. Then some signifying tones run naked on the carrier signal, it’s the top of the hour (0300 UTC).
10000 - WWV (Ft. Collins, CO)
It’s the OFFICIAL time, you know atomic clocks and all that. WWV (or WWVH) is the longest continuously running radio station in the U.S. They relay the Coordinated Universal Time (or UTC) to the world (the same time format used for shortwave broadcasting). Basically, it’s the same as the time in London. However, there’s much more going on at WWV. It's an interesting and historic operation-- lots more than beeps, clicks and time announcements. Wikipedia has a nice feature on the station.
As always, hope you enjoyed all the noise. Appreciate any discussion, comments, questions and corrections left below if you're in the mood. And you can send me an email here. The other posts in this series can be found here, with plenty of radio recordings to listen to. And one of these days I’m going to dig back into the AM band again here, maybe catch a ball game or two before the summer's over.
Thanks for listening.