So, I spent wasted several hours on this SDR website over the holiday weekend:
This is a web-based SDR hosted by the University of Twente in Enschede, Netherlands. I enjoyed listening to the European medium-wave and short-wave stations available. Something that is always fun to check out: UVB-76 on 4625 KHz.
PS: A special thanks to all those who have donated to the cause via the donate button on the upper right sidebar. I had enough money to buy a FUNcube dongle SDR. I think I have all the other necessary hardware to launch one of these sites myself. If or when that happens, I will post a link here.
It is a joke circulating in Russia at the moment. Kind of funny when you think about it.
In light of the developing situation in Eastern Europe, it may be wise to retain some of those HF broadcasting (AKA Shortwave) sites. It may be too late for Canada, however, the US government still has a few high-powered HF sites that they may want to hold onto for a while. There are several ways that shortwave broadcasting can be beneficial.
Like all radio broadcasting, quality content is needed to attract listeners. Most of what is available on shortwave are religious or transparent government propaganda. There are exceptions to this, but they are rare. Introduce quality programming, and shortwave listenership will increase.
DRM 30 (Digital Radio Mondial) is still in its experimental phase. It has been demonstrated to work reasonably well on HF. Several digital data formats are successfully being used on HF; HFDL, ALE, STANAG 5066, PACTOR and others. DRM 30 has the advantage that H.264 video can also be transmitted.
The VOA has been experimenting with images transmitted via MFSK, AKA the “VOA Radiogram.”
HF is always susceptible to changing propagation. However, it can be reliable enough, especially when frequency diversity is employed, to overcome these issues when no other method of communication is available.
DRM and MFSK can be decoded using a simple shortwave radio and a computer sound card. A DRM CODEC is required, but those are readily available for download.
Analog shortwave broadcasting using AM is still viable. AM has the advantage of being extremely simple to receive and demodulate. Simple receiver kits can be built and run on 9 volt a battery.
While the Soviet Union had an extensive jamming network, those sites have long since been non-functional. Most countries have discontinued the practice of jamming with the exception of China, North Korea, Cuba, and perhaps some countries in the middle east (the usual suspects).
Sample of DRM reception via shortwave:
If the internet is censored or somehow becomes unavailable in that part of the world, shortwave may be the only method to convey an alternate point of view.
Hopefully, things will settle down and return to at least a civil discourse. However, it never hurts to have a plan.
This was filmed in 2006. In 2010, Radio Sweden ceased broadcasting on medium and shortwave, thus I believe these sites have Horby (HF) have been dismantled. Medium wave installation Solvesborg is visible starting at 15:30. Two tower directional array 180-degree towers with 600 KW carrier power. Quite impressive.
Another government shortwave broadcaster calls it quits. The Voice of Russia (Голос России, Golos Rossii) will cut its shortwave service as of January 1st, 2014. Originally known as Radio Moscow, it has been on the air continuously since 1922. It will be sad to see yet another shortwave station pull the plug.
I can remember Radio Moscow being one of the first shortwave stations I tuned across on my Uncle’s Zenith Transoceanic shortwave radio. It was fascinating to me to hear the news from the far away and all too scary Soviet Union. After a short bit of interval music and a series of beeps counting down to the top of the hour, a man with a deep, sonorous voice came on and said “Zis is Moscow…” It was very dramatic.
The economics of HF broadcasting is daunting, to say the least. Minimum power levels in the US are 50,000 watts into a highly directional, high-gain antenna. Most stations use greater than 50 KW transmitters, which will very quickly use gobs of electricity, becoming an expensive operation. Other expenses include maintenance on transmitters, buildings, land, and antennas. With little or no opportunity to commercialize, it becomes difficult to justify a shortwave operation. Sadly, those are the state of affairs in HF broadcasting today.