Messages of Thanks from Ukraine

The receivers sent last December and January have arrived safely and have been distributed. There are still at least two packages in transit and another on my kitchen counter waiting to go out.

First:

Good afternoon! Reporting on the radio Yesterday we distributed 27 receivers in the villages. People were very pleased, because it is expensive for old people to buy such a device. They cost about $20 right now. For the village, this is a lot of money. The remaining 13 radios I gave to my friend Anton (he is on video). He works for the International Medical Corps and often visits front-line villages, where there is no communication or electricity at all. He will distribute radio in such places. Give Paul a huge, huge thank you from the old folks! Here is a video from yesterday’s trip https://t.me/yukhnovets_r/813 I see on the application that one package has not yet arrived. I’m waiting for it and I’ll write to you right away Dyakuyu!❤️

Followed by:

Returned from the villages The ground froze again, so we reached all the addresses. In addition to the reinforced food package, they brought radios to the old people, which Paul sent from the USA, for which many thanks to him! This is really a super important thing in a permanent blackout. Most of the radio was distributed, Anton will take the rest to the de-occupied villages of the Kharkov region Grandmother Katya timidly asked me to find some scraps of boards for her so that she could put together a shed and start chickens in the spring. Her past farm was completely burned down. Let’s make her a shed for sure Grandfather Pasha, like a child, was delighted with the radio. His last receiver fell and stopped working. Now he will follow the news from the front around the clock Two grandmothers of a neighbor were more impressed not by the opportunity to listen to the news, but by music radio stations. We will, he says, dance both in the hut and in the garden in the spring Grandmother Vera from Bervitsy cooked zrazy with cabbage for our arrival, grandmother Raya from Mokrets made dumplings with liver, and Nadezhda Ivanovna from Grebelki baked pies with apple and poppy seeds. Everything is very tasty. If someone needs recipes – write. Next time I will ask for you Galina Nikolaevna’s son came from the front. Just for a day, but even from this she cheered up and rejuvenated Grandfather Grisha fulfilled the order and cured his grandmother in a week. We met in a good mood and were touched for a long time, looking at the photo of Polina. In general, all the old people are waiting for her and Marusya to visit in the spring, they worry during the shelling of Kyiv as if they were relatives Nadezhda Ivanovna and aunt Olya also recovered. feel good Orthodox crosses are painted on every door in the houses. This priest went to the huts of old people at baptism We delivered another batch of products, took lists of necessary medicines for the next week in three villages, conveyed greetings from you to everyone Minus 340 days of war, which means we are 340 days closer to Victory Everything will be Ukraine!

We raised enough money to send 100 of these little AM/FM radios to Ukraine, plus one AM/FM/LW/SW set for the medical organization. I would like to thank everyone who donated generously to the cause.

Video

We also sent along several large bottles of Ibuprofen, multi-vitamins and many packages of seeds for springtime vegetable gardens.

It is really important that we remember these people and what they are going through. When I see pictures and videos like this, it strengthens my resolve; we cannot let the sociopathic bullies win.

Radios for Ukraine

Firefighters work at a site of a thermal power plant damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine September 11, 2022. Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.

After having a nice Thanksgiving meal with my family, I was sitting around thinking about all the events in Ukraine. The situation over there is getting more desperate with each passing day. The wholesale destruction of the power grid is unfathomable to those of us sitting in our warm houses with full stomachs. It seems like these attacks will continue throughout the winter, which is charming.

With that in mind, I asked around with some people I know; would battery-powered radios help out? I was thinking about after any natural disaster here, most often battery radio is still the go-to source for information during a massive power outage. Where to get food and clean water, locations of warming centers, where to get medical treatment or just news in general. This is especially true if mobile data and internet service is affected. All of those things are currently happening in some areas of Ukraine. The short answer is; definitely YES! In fact, what was said was that for small villages and settlements, the need for small radios like this is urgent. Power restoration often happens first in large cities and settlements, while less settled areas can go for many days or perhaps weeks without power.

A little more research shows that the AM and FM bands in Ukraine are similar to ours with two exceptions; AM channels are spaced at 9 kHz and FM frequencies end in both odd and even numbers e.g. 96.0 MHz. Thus, radios need to be constant-tuning analog types. Other good features; small size and long battery life. Amazon has several models of radios in the 9-12 dollar range that run on two AA batteries. Something like this:

Portable radio

Along with a four or six-pack of AA batteries.

The next question is; how to get those radios from here to there? Knowing several people from that part of the world, I understand that care must be taken to ensure that the radios are not stolen in transit. I believe we have that sorted out. I have sent the first batch of 30 radios with batteries over. I should have confirmation of arrival in the next week or so. In the meantime, I have set up a GoFundMe campaign to send more portable radios over:

GoFundMe: Radios for Ukraine

If you would like to participate, any donation would be welcome. All funds (less the Go Fund Me fees) will be used to send portable radios and batteries to people in Ukraine.

UPDATE: So far, we have received about $730.00 from the GoFundMe campaign. All of the donations are highly appreciated! I have sent another shipment of radios off and there is another one on order.

Inexpensive, portable radios

As time and funds allow, I plan on sending about 80 radios by early January.

Disinformation and Shortwave radio

I came across an interesting article on the Engineering and Technology website:

How to defeat disinformation with short-wave radio

The takeaway is this:

“When you’re in an environment where infrastructure has been damaged, where transmission towers have been destroyed or where the power supply to the transmission equipment isn’t reliable and robust, such as some parts of Ukraine, then you end up with a fallback to older equipment, such as battery-powered radios,”

Griffiths, Sarah. “How to Defeat Disinformation with Short-Wave Radio.” RSS, The Institute of Engineering and Technology, 9 Nov. 2022, https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2022/11/how-to-defeat-disinformation-with-short-wave-radio/.

That applies not only to war zones but also to natural disasters or other situations where widespread disruptions occur in communications or power distribution networks.

The article focuses mainly on the BBC’s efforts to get information to Ukrainians who may be listening on shortwave radios in occupation zones. That is an effective use of shortwave radio, to be sure. One problem with this idea; if there are no regularly used shortwave frequencies in the affected areas, who will have access to a shortwave radio? There may be a few receivers around in any given community, but the vast majority of people will not have access to them. The idea that a broadcast service can be neglected for years if not decades, then be quickly dusted off and put into use is simply not realistic. This applies to AM and FM radio as well.

New transmitter building for an old station

Putting the finishing touches on another transmitter site rebuild, this time in central NY. This station for many years used this rambling white residential-looking structure for both the studio and transmitter site:

Former studio and transmitter site for WDLA, Walton, NY

Unfortunately, over the years, the building has deteriorated beyond economical repair. A few years ago, the studio facility was moved to a new location in town. Now the transmitters are being moved to this repurposed cellular building:

Former NEXTEL building, now WDLA AM/FM transmitter site

This was purchased used from a local crane company, which had dozens of them on their lot after NEXTEL was absorbed by Sprint. During the permitting process with the town, they referred to it as a “Circular Use.”

They are actually nice buildings, coming prewired with a 200 amp single phase service, two working Bard HVAC units, ready-made coax entry ports, etc. My only complaint (so far), is the light switch timer. I like the idea, the lights get switched off automatically and are not left on for months at a time when nobody is at the site. However, the timer only goes up to 2 hours. Thus, when we were doing the installation work, periodically there would be an audible click, then everything would go dark. Not terrible.

Equipment racks and transmitters
Transmitters and equipment racks

There are also two other FM stations that have an STL transmitter here.

Rack placement and grounding work
STL equipment for two additional stations

All in all, an enjoyable project.