Friday, March 26, 2010

New DRM Steering Board leadership elected

The DRM Consortium has elected its new leadership for the next two years and agreed its broad strategy based on continuity, development and growth of the DRM standard worldwide during its General Assembly held at the headquarters of Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) in Hilversum, Netherlands.

The Steering Board, which runs the DRM Consortium and sets its strategy and implementation, now includes five new companies: Digidia, Rfmondial, Nautel, Christian Vision and Voice of Russia. They join fifteen other companies that have existing representatives on the Steering Board and together strengthen the Consortium.

Ruxandra Obreja, Head of Digital Radio Development, BBC World Service was re-elected as the Chairperson of the DRM Consortium for the next two years. The Steering Board also elected two vice Chairs – Jochen Huber, Transradio and Ludo Maes, TDP. Lindsay Cornell, BBC and Michel Penneroux, TDF were re-elected Technical and Committee chairpersons respectively. Alexander Zink, Fraunhofer Institute, was confirmed as Treasurer of the Consortium for the next two years.

The two day conference (24th-25th March 2010) was attended by many DRM members and supporters from around the world who not only took part in the elections but discussed the progress of DRM technology and the challenges faced by the introduction of digital radio in general and DRM in particular. All members unanimously agreed that DRM has made great progress in the recent years including minimum receiver requirements, the extension of the DRM standard to include DRM+ and official adoption of the standard in Russia and India. The assembly urged receiver manufacturers not to overlook the growing demand for digital receivers and to bring appropriate products to the market.

The General Assembly is the largest decision-making body of the DRM Consortium which meets every two years for an extraordinary meeting to elect the governing bodies and representatives to oversee Consortium's activities in spreading the use and take-up of DRM digital radio technology.

> Click to read the full release.

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Amazing collection of QSL

Amazing collection of QSL cards of Pradip Kundu, Tripura using his 2 band
analog receiver.

Thanks to Babul Gupta, Kolkata for scanning & uploading the images ...

http://picasaweb. babulgupta/ QSLFromPradipKun du?feat=email#


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Passport 2009: Moving On

It's no secret — Passport 2009 is to be the last in an annual series that began in 1984. Now, the time is nigh to further phase down that operation by shuttering this website. Timing is inexact, but the wire should be snipped late this month.

Long, Strange Trip

In Deadspeak, this has been one long, strange trip. It started some 40 years back, when my first and wonderful wife was having increasingly serious personal problems. These led me to quit what I had been doing so I could watch over her fulltime.

Alas, this left me pretty much cooped up with little else to do. So, restless, I purchased a Drake R-4B receiver, which I still have, and became absorbed by digging through the boundless offerings of shortwave broadcasting.

It was fascinating, yet frustrating because of stations' technical and content shortcomings. Never one to keep my trap shut, I let blast with critiques and suggestions, and in due course wound up consulting professionally. (Cynics might conclude, in the spirit of Lyndon Johnson's explanation of why he retained J. Edgar Hoover, that they preferred to have me on the inside pissing out rather than the outside pissing in.)

It was fantastic work — especially victories against the KGB's vast jamming firewall — but the base of viable clients was thin. In 1980, after several unforgettable years, that client base all but vanished, thanks to shifting political winds. We scrambled into survival mode.

Our most useful assets for public consumption turned out to be within our frequency management activities. First, our team of monitors and experts from intelligence and other backgrounds was top-drawer. Second, we had what was generally recognized as the world's premiere database of shortwave spectrum occupancy.

Thus it was that the idea of publishing a world band database was born out of desperation.

But it wasn't to be a slam dunk. Until then, our "database" had been a internal pencil-and-ruler exercise like what Roger Legge had been preparing at the Voice of America. Obviously, this had to be computerized if a book were to be timely and attractive enough for public sale.

PCs Appear in Nick of Time

Since 1961, when I had had the good fortune to land a summer job at IBM-Paris, I'd been working on and off with mainframe computers and database development. However, in the early Eighties the attractiveness of renting mainframe time began to fade as the embryonic world of PCs with hard disks — "Winchesters" — came into being.

We first committed to a DEC Rainbo system with a 5 Mb disk and a hard-wired Pascal compiler, but it had development issues. So we wound up purchasing, instead, an IBM PC-XT with a then-astonishing 10 Mb "fixed disk" and RAM upgrade to the maximum-allowed 256k. This was the lone demonstration unit which had just arrived at a major Princeton outlet in advance of XTs being nationally introduced for sale. Thankfully, I was able to persuade a young lady there to part with it anyway, as we needed something fast.

Still, with nearly every dime we had going to lawyers, we nearly didn't make it. First, finding affordable programming talent to properly turn my specs into a working program was a huge hurdle. U.K. professor John Campbell, like Patton at Bastogne, ultimately came to the rescue. But only dogged persistence allowed us to overcome the main hurdle: a Federal lawsuit from an existing publisher.

Tarted Out for Survival

A small edition, dubbed Radio Database International, was ultimately released in early 1984, with the title eventually morphing into Passport to World Band Radio. But this was preceded by several near-death experiences, among them:

In late 1983 our legal counsel in New Jersey warned that we needed to produce something soon in print if we were to prevail in the lawsuit. Alas, we didn't have enough time to input the massive volumes of data into our lone PC, and there were no rentals or funds for a second machine.

So, one of our female co-conspirators dressed in her best approximation of a ditsy young thing married to some rich guy. Thus tarted out, she proceeded to a Philadelphia department store.

There, she cooed to an eager salesman that for Christmas she just might be amenable to getting a computer for her husband. She also pointed out that she couldn't be certain Daddy Warbucks would care for it.

Not wishing to miss out on a juicy sale, the salesman suggested she could take home a fully equipped PC and peripherals. If hubby wasn't pleased by his lavish surprise, she could return it weeks hence, in January — not incidentally allowing the salesman to collect his commission.

Thanks to this creative tomfoolery and the resulting round-the-clock keyboarding, we were able to successfully publish a first bare-bones edition within weeks.

Rise and Fall of World Band Radio

The rest, you may know. In the best of times sales were over 80,000 units a year, and for one snapped-fingers instant Passport was actually a national top-ten best seller.

But that was over 15 years ago. World band radio gained vigor during the buildup to WW II, and of course during the War. After that, the Cold War with its ideological bent kept the field thriving. But once the Berlin Wall came down, questions arose as to why these government broadcasts were taking place in the absence of any major conflict.

So, some reinvented themselves, while many phased down or terminated their shortwave operations. Add to that Sony's near-downfall, the growth of the Internet, and even the possible fading away of print publications — and it's sadly evident that the time has come to shutter Passport's declining operation.

Great Folks, Grand Times

It has been a fantastic quarter century creating and growing this book. I can but wish that everybody could experience what I have: the opportunity to do work that makes you excited about going to the office and getting cracking.

And what a pleasure to have had such exceptional folks as colleagues! Heading the roster has been the amiable Tony Jones, who was central to Passport's success from 1982 to the end. Without him, the book simply wouldn't be have been what it was.

One of life's eternal truths is that you don't know who your friends are until the chips are down. So it's worth recalling that early on, when we were threadbare, being sued and few gave us any chance of succeeding, we were fortunate enough to have had in our corner the likes of Don Jensen, Noel Green, David Meisel and Pennsylvania attorney Brian Price. During Passport's 25-year run there were a good hundred other angels, including Craig Tyson, Mike Wright, Jock Elliott, Rik Mayell, David Zantow and Rob Sherwood, who turned their exceptional skills into meaningful results. That's only some, and the names of certain others can never be made known. But you know who you are and how much your roles have meant.

The same holds for those who have read and supported Passport over the years. Especially, thank you, thank you and thank you for your many recent kind comments. We had precious little of this warmth when we started, and the difference cannot be overstated. It has thrown sunshine on otherwise difficult moments, even as we're gently pulling down the curtain.

–Lawrence Magne

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Radio Free Asia releases fourth Radio Pioneer QSL Card

Radio Free Asia announces the release of the fourth QSL card in its Radio Pioneer series. The card honors Russian physicist, Alexander S. Popov. Popov demonstrated that a receiver could detect the electromagnetic waves produced by lightning discharges in the atmosphere many miles away. In 1895, Popov was able to receive and detect the radio waves produced by an oscillator circuit. In 1897 he successfully sent a ship-to- shore transmission over a distance of 3 miles and then persuaded Russian naval authorities to begin installing radio equipment in its vessels; just two years later he had increased the distance of ship-to-shore transmissions to 30 miles. Popov is credited with being the first to use an antenna in the transmission and reception of radio waves. The QSL card below will be issued for all valid RFA reception reports from April 1 - June 30, 2010.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) is a private, nonprofit corporation that broadcasts news and information to listeners in Asian countries where full, accurate, and timely news reports are unavailable. Created by Congress in 1994 and incorporated in 1996, RFA currently broadcasts in Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean to North Korea, Lao, Mandarin, the Wu dialect, Vietnamese, Tibetan
(Uke, Amdo, and Kham), and Uyghur. RFA strives for accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content. As a 'surrogate' broadcaster, RFA provides news and commentary specific to each of its target countries, acting as the free press these countries lack. RFA broadcasts only in local languages and dialects, and most of its broadcasts comprise news of specific local interest. More information about Radio Free Asia, including our current broadcast frequency schedule, is available at

RFA encourages listeners to submit reception reports. Reception reports are valuable to RFA as they help us evaluate the signal strength and quality of our transmissions. RFA confirms all accurate reception reports by mailing a QSL card to the listener. RFA welcomes all reception report submissions at (follow the QSL REPORTS link) not only from DX'ers, but also from its general listening audience. Reception reports are also accepted by email at, and for anyone without Internet access, reception reports can be mailed to:

Reception Reports
Radio Free Asia
2025 M. Street NW, Suite 300
Washington DC 20036
United States of America.

(AJ Janitschek)

BBC Radio 3 and World Service DJ Charlie Gillett dies

Charlie Gillett
Gillett turned down an offer to present BBC Two's The Old Grey Whistle Test

BBC Radio 3 and World Service presenter Charlie Gillett has died after a long illness, aged 68.

Known as a champion of world music, the Lancashire-born broadcaster passed away in a London hospital on Wednesday, his family has confirmed.

He contracted an autoimmune disease, and last week suffered a heart attack.

Gillett is credited with discovering Dire Straits in 1976 after playing Sultans of Swing from their demo tape on his Radio London show Honky Tonk.

'Sorely missed'

He also wrote an acclaimed history of rock'n'roll, The Sound of the City, in the 1970s.

World Service director Peter Horrocks said he was an inspiration whose spirit of adventure and passion for the rich diversity of global music opened the ears of the world.

"His broadcasts brought together music and radio fans from far flung corners of the globe," he said.

"His postbag was one of the biggest, most affectionate and diverse in Bush House, which confirmed his special place in listener's lives. He was a very special broadcaster and he will be sorely missed."

Gillett stood down from his regular slot on Radio 3's World on 3 for health reasons two months ago, with fellow presenters Lopa Kothari and Mary Ann Kennedy covering.

Charlie Gillett
Gillett was part of a panel who first coined the term "world music"

The station's controller, Roger Wright, said at the time: "Radio 3 has always valued Charlie's immense knowledge and passion for world music which has been much enjoyed by listeners."

Gillett, who was born in Morecambe and brought up in Stockton-on-Tees, Cleveland, discovered several stars of world music while on Radio London.

They include Youssou N'Dour, Salif Keita, and the young singer of Portuguese fado music, Mariza.

In the mid-70s he formed a partnership with his dentist and went on to manage Kilburn and the High Roads, whose lead singer was Ian Dury.

Notable successes on his label and publishing company, Oval Music, were Lene Lovich's Lucky Number and Paul Hardcastle's number one hit 19.

The DJ also turned down an offer to present BBC Two's live music show The Old Grey Whistle Test.

In 1979 he moved to commercial station Capital Radio, where he began to feature music from around the world. More recently he appeared on BBC London.

He was known to millions of listeners for his World Service programme Charlie Gillett's World of Music.

He is survived by his wife Buffy, their daughters Suzy and Jody, their son Ivan, and two grandchildren.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

AWR DX Program "Wavescan" - Annual DX Contest - 2010 "Station Profiles"

It's that time of the year again! Yes, we're talking about our big annual
DX contest here in "Wavescan". The title for our big 2010 DX contest is
"Station Profiles", and here are the details for all five parts in this year's

A. Five Station Profiles:

Make a list of five different radio stations for which you would like to
have a "Station Profile" presented on air in a coming edition of "Wavescan".
You may suggest five different radio stations, or the radio stations in five
different cities, or in five different countries, or any combinations of
these designations. These radio stations may still be on the air, or they
may now be silent. You may choose only shortwave broadcasting stations, or
shortwave communication stations that have been used also for broadcasting.

B. Five Paragraphs:

You are invited to write just one short paragraph about each of the five
stations you have chosen in the above list, and state why you have chosen
that particular station.

C. Five Photocopies:

You are invited to search your QSL collection, and where possible, provide a
photocopy of a QSL from each of the five radio stations in your above list.
These photocopies should be in color if possible, but black & white is also
acceptable. If you do not have a QSL from any of the stations you select,
then you should indicate the reason why you do not have a QSL; such as for
example, the station is now silent, or you are unable to hear the station in
your part of the world, or they do not verify reception reports, etc.

D. Three Reception Reports:

You are invited to send in at least three reception reports on any
transmission from Adventist World Radio on any station, shortwave,
mediumwave and FM.

E. Three Radio Cards:

Where possible, you are invited to include three radio cards for the
Indianapolis Heritage Collection with your contest entry. These cards may
be old or new, and they may be QSL cards, reception report cards, or picture
cards of radio stations, etc. (Not valid for this contest are amateur cards
nor CB cards.)

Other Contest Details:

Well, there you have it, the details for our "Wavescan 2010 Station Profiles
DX Contest". This contest will run through the month of July 2010, and all
contest entries should be postmarked at your local post office anywhere in
the world on any date up to the end of the month of July, and they should be
received at the AWR post office address in Indianapolis no later than the
end of the month of August 2010.
Return postage in the form of currency notes in an international currency,
or mint postage stamps, or IRC coupons would be welcome. Where possible, a
self addressed return envelope, business size or half quarto size, would
also be welcome.
The awards for this year's contest will be similar to all previous contests.
There will be a special award for the world winner, one of the Jerry Berg
radio history books; and World Radio TV Handbook 2011 for each continental
winner. In addition, there will be other special awards as well as AWR
souvenirs and radio curios for many participants. There will be special
awards for listeners in Africa responding to this year's contest.
You can remember that all reception reports will be verified with a
specially endorsed AWR QSL card. Please remember that it will take a period
of many months to process all of the reception reports, but each will in due
course be verified. In addition, and over a period of time, it is our
intent to present in our Wavescan DX program, many, and perhaps all, of the
"Station Profiles" as submitted in this year's DX contest.
When we present each of these specific "Station Profiles" in our "Wavescan"
program, we will also call on-air the listener who made the suggestion.
When the listener hears his name in the program, he can send in a reception
report and receive a specially endorsed QSL card.

The only address for the AWR Station Profile DX Contest is:-
Station Profile DX Contest
Box 29235
Indiana 46229 USA

(Dr.Adrian Peterson, Adventist World Radio)
Alokesh Gupta
New Delhi, India