Thursday, July 20, 2006

Adventures in Shortwave: Swahili on the radio

Last week, I had a rare night of exquisitely clear shortwave radio reception. I recorded a number of stations--either strong, non-American broadcasters, or rare catches (for myself). This was with a Hallicrafters S-40A shortwave receiver and a simple random wire antenna on the roof of a six story building. I'm awaiting a new digital receiver to finally be able to actually know what frequency I'm listening too--on the old tube it's always a guessing game.

I recorded a scan through the 31-meter international broadcast band, which is filled with stations on many nights. To me, this band is from 10MHz down to 9, but I think officially it's just 9500-9900kHz, although the frequencies around it have some broadcasters. I cut some short segments out of the big recording.

Deutsche Welle, broadcasting in Swahili (6:06, 3MB mp3). This recording is 6:25 in length, recorded on 7/11/2006, at 3:54UT, until end of transmission. Station ID is at 6:06.
The Program Schedule indicates I was listening to Jukwaa. The recording is a little shaky at the beginning, fighting with an adjacent American religious broadcaster playing music.

Everybody's favorite, the BBC World Service (4:32, 2.1MB mp3). I am guessing that this is a relay broadcast from Guyana, pointed towards the Caribbean. EDIT: In discussing this in the comments, I've found that it was broadcast from the UK towards South America.

Radio Habana Cuba, in French (1:19, 621kB mp3). As I wrote in the previous post, we receive Radio Havana Cuba pretty well here in Chicago. Station ID at 0:21.

The Voice of Russia (0:31, 251kB mp3).

Radio Netherlands 9845kHz (5:43, 2,680kB mp3). A story about new boat technologies. Radio Netherlands is a continued supporter of shortwave broadcasts to North America in the time of shrinking audiences.

Radio Croatia (I think), (1:03, 271kB mp3). This was recorded near WWV at 10MHz during a scan from WWV to 9MHz, so the frequency was near 9990kHz.

Kol Israel (1:41, 693kB mp3). To be honest, I have trouble distinguishing Hebrew and Arabic, but this definitely is Hebrew. I assume it's Kol Israel, but I know Family Radio out of Oakland California occasionally broadcasts in what sounds like Hebrew or Arabic.

Finally, a tougher recording. This is WWVH at 15MHz. (0:27, 427kB mp3). From 0:05-0:10 you can hear the female voice of WWV-Hawaii saying "At the tone, the time will be two hours, thirty-six minutes, Coordinated Universal Time". Normally we don't hear the Hawaiian time broadcast in Chicago; whereas I hear it all the time on the west side of the Rocky Mountains.

See the first post in this series:
Adventures in Shortwave: last night's Radio Habana Cuba


weatherall said...

BBC is not my favorite! The latest updates on don't show any BBC broadcasts to Latin America anymore, which were typically the ones I could hear in California.

Let me know what you think of your 1103 when you get it.

Dean W. Armstrong said...

It appears from the BBC's World Service page that what I was hearing was transmitting from the UK towards South America:
and not the Guyana transmitter as I thought, given I heard it in the 31 meter band.