I have been watching and listening to the news from Ukraine. It is somewhat horrifying to see the wanton disregard for human life. It is especially concerning when combatants begin shelling a nuclear power plant. A breach of one of those reactor containment buildings might have contaminated a wide swath of eastern Europe. Such an act demonstrates that the Russians no longer seem to care about anyone, themselves included. A man can be very dangerous when he has nothing left to lose.

I have known many Russians over the years through email exchanges, video chats, and meetings in person. People seem to be celebrating with glee over the sanctions but it just makes me sad. Obviously, the war of aggression is wrong. However, you cannot conflate ordinary citizens with the terrible acts of their government, whether in Russia or anyplace else.

Roskomnadzor is has removed almost all outside sources of information from the Russian internet. As of this writing; CNN, BBC, Facebook, Twitter, and Google (YouTube) have all been banned. Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty still exist, however, they are either on FM or use the internet for distribution.

Close up curtain array

I have to wonder if the VOA is going to step up with some shortwave broadcasts to the region. I know that the BBC has restored two frequencies so far. I believe that the European VOA relay sites have been shut down. That means either leasing time with someone or using Greenville. That is a long way away from eastern Europe, however, HF propagation is currently good and those old Continental 420As could use a little workout. Looks like they still have a row of curtain arrays aligned along 30-40 degrees true North.

Continental Electronics 420A 500 KW Shortwave transmitter

As the Chief Engineer of Radio Australia once said, HF will get through when nothing else will.

In the meantime, it might be a wise idea to dust off those old cold war contingency plans and review them. It appears a new iron curtain has arisen, stretching from St. Petersburg to Odessa.

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6 thoughts on “Ukraine”

  1. The CCP has really ramped up their HF presence in the last 10 years. Hundred transmitters that take over entire HF bands with CRI programs (or traditional Chinese music) covering anything they don’t like.
    Anything from Taiwan is thoroughly jammed. MW, HF, FM, TV.

  2. One would think the U.S. Agency for Global Media, VOA and RFE/RL’s parent agency, would be trying to acquire funding while the administration throws billions at the Ukraine problem but as far as I can tell…nothing.

  3. One would think…

    Part of the US response should be information, solid facts on the ground reporting (not propaganda). In the coming months/years, it will be important to keep the information flowing towards Russian people. I don’t know if the jamming system used during the Soviet times is still in place. Likely not. So shortwave will be an excellent way to get information out.

  4. Thanks for this post, Paul!
    There is a certain, unsexy, un-fundable-ness about shortwave.
    Sure it’s expensive – but it just works.


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