Voice of Biafra: September 8, 1969

Realistic DX-150.jpg

Many thanks to both Dan Robinson and Jerry Berg who made me aware of this excellent--extremely rare--recording of the Voice of Biafra.

This broadcast was recorded by Al Sizer in North Haven, CT, on September 8, 1969 on 6,145 kHz starting at 2140 GMT. The receiver used was a Realistic DX-150. Mr. Sizer introduces the recording:

Radio Habana Cuba (51 aniversario): February 16, 2016

Cuba_Flag.jpg

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Emilio Ruiz, who shares this recording of Radio Havana Cuba's Spanish Language Service. This recording was made on February 16, 2016 starting at 6:00 UTC on 11.760 MHz. This recording was made in Chiapas, México with a Keenwood R-600 and Magnetic Loop antenna.

Radio Free Whatever (Pearl Harbor Tribute): December 15, 2013

 USS SHAW exploding in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941

USS SHAW exploding in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941

For your listening pleasure: one hour, seven minutes of the pirate radio station, Radio Free Whatever.

I recorded this broadcast on December 15 2013, starting around 2:40 UTC, on 6,925 kHz AM. This broadcast was a tribute to WWII and Pearl Harbor and contains news clips and music from the same time period. I believe my recording begins about five or so minutes into their broadcast.

Radio Bucharest: December 31, 1989 (Romanian Revolution)

 By Denoel Paris and other photographers [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Denoel Paris and other photographers [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Jack Widner, who shares the following off-air recording and notes:

Radio Bucharest, Romania, on Shortwave New Year's Eve 1989.  The beginning is missing.   Frequency not logged but was probably 6155 or 11830, time 0200 UTC.
The Ceausescu regime had finally been toppled and executed outside the capital Bucharest.  These were heady times; Romania was one of the last of the "Iron curtain" countries to change its Communist government.
But now Ceausescu is out and Romania has its first taste of fresh air.  This program reflects that new-found liberalisation.  The announcer at 0102 says "FREE Romania" and at 01:12 - 02:33 the American Ambassador Alan Green Jr sends greetings from President GHWB.  After that, the majority of the program is traditional music and celebrations of Romanian new year.  The two announcers are full of national pride!
There is a slight gap at 11:19 - 11:23.  Frequency and contact information are at the end of the program, 25:15.
The picture of Bucharest is the cover of a verification card from 1967 in my possession.
Heard in Pennsylvania, December 1989.

Radio Nederland's "What's New": November 6, 1976

 Paul's reel tape containing this Radio Netherland's recording

Paul's reel tape containing this Radio Netherland's recording

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Paul Harner, who notes:

Radio Nederland's "What's New" was a Saturday night program that featured hits from the weekly Dutch Top 30.  The show was co-hosted by American Bruce Parsons and Australian Graham GIll.  Based on the charts from that week, this show aired on 6 November 1976.  Shows like "What's New" introduced me to pop/rock artists that didn't receive airplay in the USA.  It also introduced me to other shows on Radio Nederland later on, such as "His And Hers," "Happy Station," and especially "Media Network."

Radio Polonia: post martial law declaration 1981 (Part 1)

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Jim Jordan, who shares this three part recording of Radio Polonia and notes:

After the declaration of martial law in Poland on December 13, 1981 Radio Polonia ceased broadcasting. Broadcasts in English instead continued from a military base near Warsaw Airport. The staff of Radio Polonia returned to the air soon afterwards and here are three broadcasts from that period in Poland's history. Of some of the presenters that you will hear, Konrad Gocman is in retirement and works as a translator. However Benny Ludkiewicz (aka "Bengt Scotland") unfortunately passed away a couple of years ago. Anyone who is interested in the old North American service from Warsaw may like to read have a read of this. The writer used to work with the late Sol Flapan and his wife Anna, who used to deal with the English section's correspondence right up until the 1990s http://www.tc.umn.edu/~marqu002/Chap10.pdf

Jim made the following recording in South Shields, UK, using a National Panasonic RF2200 and a random long wire on 6.135 MHz:

BBC World Service report of Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster: January 28, 1986

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Tom Laskowski, who submits these notes with his timely off-air recording of the BBC World Service from January 28, 1986:

Thirty years ago today the US Space program came crashing down with the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger.
I was a student at Purdue University at the time, living in a dormitory.
I decided to make some recordings knowing this would be a historic event.
This is a recording I made of the BBC on the evening of Jan 28 (0200 UTC on January 29). The frequency was most likely 5975 kHz or 9590 kHz.  The dorm environment didn't make a great place for SWL reception and the recording is noisy but still of decent quality.
Recorded using a Sony ICF-2001 with a wire attached to a window screen for an antenna.

Click here to download as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Radio Canada International: September 13, 1979

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Tom Laskowski, who notes:

Radio Canada International recorded on September 13, 1979.
This 26 minute program starts with a ten minute-long news broadcast followed by a program highlighting Canada's rising bank rate, and a story about anorexia nervosa. The recording was made using a cheap GE portable with indoor antenna.
This was probably recorded around 0100 UT likely on the 49 meter band. (5960 kHz?)

1991 cassette of shortwave IDs, interval signals and numbers stations

SWLing Post reader and SRAA contributor, Frank, writes from Germany:

First let me say that I enjoy your blog a lot.

After a 2005-13 hiatus, I have rediscovered a childhood hobby and your reviews have helped me find my way to the post-Sony portable shortwave radio markets.

First, I obtained my “childhood dream” radio (Sony ICF 2001D), because at the time I made these recordings I was still in school and 1300 DM would have equaled over 1 year of pocket money, so a Supertech SR16HN had to do. I thought I got some fine results with this Sangean-Siemens re-branded receiver then, using a CB half-length antenna, a random wire, and much endurance.

I kept regular logs throughout the years, wrote to 50 international and pirate stations for QSL and compiled this cassette.

A few years before I got that trusty SR16HN, however, I recorded a few number stations (such as G3, Four Note Rising Scale etc) with an ordinary radio cassette recorder, and in 1991 I put them onto this tape as well. The other recordings are done with the same radio placed right in front of the SR 16HN.

Feel free to make use of these recordings. Most of it are the well-known international state-owned shortwave stations of the past; plus European pirates; plus number stations; and at the end, a few (off-topic) local Am and FM stations interval signals.

As I said, this collection I made shortly after the Wende/reunification period, when all former-GDR state broadcasters changed their names, sometimes more than once.

Please continue your good work on the blogs! Weather permitting I am often outside cycling and always have the tiny Sony ICF 100 with me (which I call my then-student’s dream radio of the later 90ies).

Cassette Side 1

Cassette Side 2


Shortwave Radio 1974 mix tape: Canada, Argentina, Spain, West Germany, Albania, utility stations

SRAA contributor, Brian Smith, writes:

Want to know what shortwave radio sounded like in 1974? This 55-minute recording, recovered from a cassette, was never intended to be anything but "audio notes": I was an 18-year-old shortwave listener who collected QSL cards from international stations, and I was tired of using a pen and a notepad to copy down details of the broadcasts. I wanted an easier way to record what I heard, and my cassette tape recorder seemed like the perfect means to accomplish that goal.

But it wasn't. I soon discovered that it was simpler to just edit my notes as I was jotting them down — not spend time on endless searches for specific information located all over on the tape. To make a long story shorter, I abandoned my "audio notes" plan after a single shortwave recording: This one.

Still, for those who want to experience the feel of sitting at a shortwave radio in the mid-1970s and slowly spinning the dial, this tape delivers. Nothing great in terms of sound quality; I was using a Hallicrafters S-108 that was outdated even at the time. And my recording "technique" involved placing the cassette microphone next to the radio speaker.

Thus, what you'll hear is a grab bag of randomness: Major shortwave broadcasting stations from Canada, Argentina, Spain, Germany and Albania; maritime CW and other utility stations; and even a one-sided conversation involving a mobile phone, apparently located at sea. There are lengthy (even boring) programs, theme songs and interval signals, and brief IDs, one in Morse code from an Italian Navy station and another from a Department of Energy station used to track shipments of nuclear materials. And I can't even identify the station behind every recording, including several Spanish broadcasts (I don't speak the language) and an interview in English with a UFO book author.

The following is a guide, with approximate Windows Media Player starting times, of the signals on this recording. (Incidentally, the CBC recording was from July 11, 1974 — a date I deduced by researching the Major League Baseball scores of the previous day.)

Guide To The Recording

00:00 — CBC (Radio Canada) Northern and Armed Forces Service: News and sports.
07:51 — RAE (Radio Argentina): Sign-off with closing theme
09:14 — Department of Energy station in Belton, Missouri: "This is KRF-265 clear."
09:17 — Interval signal: Radio Spain.
09:40 — New York Radio, WSY-70 (aviation weather broadcast)
10:22 — Unidentified station (Spanish?): Music.
10:51— Unidentified station (English): Historic drama with mention of Vice President John Adams, plus bell-heavy closing theme.
14:12 — Unidentified station (Spanish?): Male announcer, poor signal strength.
14:20 — Unidentified station (Spanish): Theme music and apparent ID, good signal strength.
15:16 — Unidentified station (foreign-speaking, possibly Spanish): Song, "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep."
17:00 — Deutsche Welle (The Voice of West Germany): Announcement of frequencies, theme song.
17:39 — Unidentified station (English): Interview with the Rev. Barry Downing, author of “The Bible and Flying Saucers.”
24:36 — One side of mobile telephone conversation in SSB, possibly from maritime location.
30:37 — Radio Tirana (Albania): Lengthy economic and geopolitical talk (female announcer); bad audio. Theme and ID at 36:23, sign-off at 55:03.
55:11 — Italian Navy, Rome: “VVV IDR3 (and long tone)” in Morse code.

Radio Canada International anniversary special: March 16, 2015

SRAA contributor, Richard Langley, writes:

Live one-hour recording of the PCJ Radio International special broadcast celebrating the 70th anniversary of Radio Canada International in English via WRMI on 16 March 2015 beginning at 01:00 UTC on a frequency of 7570 kHz. 

The broadcast was received on a Tecsun PL-880 receiver with its built-in telescopic whip antenna in Hanwell (just outside Fredericton), New Brunswick, Canada. Signal quality was generally good.

Radio Canada International: Final broadcast, June 24, 2012

 QSL courtesy of @UKDXer

QSL courtesy of @UKDXer

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Rajdeep Das for this recording of Radio Canada International's final shortwave radio broadcast. This recording was made on June 24, 2012 beginning at 1550 UTC on 11,675 kHz. 

Listeners will note that the broadcast ends abruptly during the mailbag program--obviously the transmitters were turned off prematurely.

Radio Vilnius 1990-1991 (6th and Final Series Recording): January 30, 1991

30 January 1991, 23:00 UTC, 7400 kHz

Strong signal. The recording begins with a few seconds of music from the previous transmission on this frequency. Then, after about one minute (there was no IS), the Radio Vilnius transmission starts with the beginning of the patriotic song “Lietuvninkai Mes Esam Gim?” (Lithuanians We Are Born) and an introduction stating that the broadcast is coming “from the capital of the independent Republic of Lithuania.” This is followed by “News About Lithuania” including items on further acts of violence by Soviet troops and severe winter weather. Then, there are reports on Lithuanian-Polish relations and the work of the commission on Soviet aggression. Next is an eye-witness report on the attack on the TV tower on the night of 13 January, a report on the current feelings of Lithuanians under occupation, and how music and the arts keep the people going. During the recording, the receiver was briefly tuned to other Radio Vilnius frequencies to check on signal quality. In addition to 7400 kHz, only 9750 and 17690 kHz could be heard.

Radio Vilnius 1990-1991 (5th Recording): January 13, 1991

13 January 1991, 23:00 UTC, 9750 kHz

Strong signal on this and other frequencies usually received except 17690 kHz; only background noise on that frequency. However, there was no Radio Vilnius transmission on any frequency. It had been replaced by light classical and contemporary orchestral music. No IS or announcement of any kind. Music was faded out at 29m:03s before ending. During the recording, the receiver was briefly tuned to other Radio Vilnius frequencies to check on signal quality.

Radio Vilnius 1990-1991 (4th Recording): January 12, 1991


12 January 1991, 23:00 UTC, 9750 kHz

Strong signal. Initial mix-up of interval signals. The first IS is believed to be that of Moskovskaya Radio, the Russian Service of Radio Moscow, followed by a bit of the Radio Moscow World Service IS, and then finally the Radio Vilnius IS. The transmission begins with the statement “We’re still broadcasting from Vilnius.” This is followed by the Lithuanian news reporting on the acts of aggression of the Soviet occupying forces and “Correspondents’ Reports.” The latter includes a report that the exam session at Vilnius University has been postponed to allow students to help protect buildings from the occupation forces, including the Radio and Television Building, and a report on the restrictions on travel. The reports were interrupted with “some news just come in” about a group trying to break into the building of the Council of Ministers. The announcer subsequently reported that the attackers had been put off and so the conflict has been neutralized. The broadcast ends with the statement “We hope to be with you tomorrow again” followed by the transmission schedule and contact information. The Radio Vilnius transmission is followed by the one from Radio Minsk. News organizations reported that Soviet troops entered the Radio and Television Building about 15 minutes after this Radio Vilnius transmission.

Radio Vilnius 1990-1991 (3rd Recording): January 11, 1991


11 January 1991, 23:00 UTC, 7400 kHz

Strong signal. Recording actually starts at about 22:58 UTC with music, the tail-end of a transmission on this frequency, likely from Radio Kiev. Some transmitter hum. Then, Radio Vilnius IS and ID. “We’re still hold up and we hope you can still hear us.” “News About Lithuania” including occupation news, commentary, and reports from the neighbouring Baltic states. Receiver briefly switched to other usual frequencies to check on signal quality (9750, 15180, 17690, and 17720 kHz; 6100 kHz not heard). Transmission ends with “And that’s all we have for our today’s broadcast, we hope not the last one, from Radio Vilnius in the Republic of Lithuania.” This is followed by the transmission schedule and contact information. After about 45 seconds, the Radio Minsk transmission begins with IS and ID.

Radio Vilnius 1990-1991 (2nd Recording): April 9, 1990


9 April 1990, 22:00 UTC, 11770 kHz

Strong signal. Some co-channel interference from Radio Liberty. Receiver briefly switched initially to other frequencies to check signal quality during the recording. IS, ID, “News About Lithuania,” report about the Lithuanian Mission in Moscow, “Around Lithuania,” program in Esperanto (begins around 23m:08s) — a regular feature at the end of Monday broadcasts from Radio Vilnius in English. Interesting sign-off statement: “It’s goodbye and good luck.” On the recording, the Radio Vilnius transmission is followed at 29m:29s (on the same frequency), by the first approximately 15 minutes of a transmission from pro-Moscow Radio Minsk in Belorussian (now usually referred to as Belarusian). The transmission begins with the IS and ID (“Havorits Minsk … Radyjostancyja Saviecki Bielaru?”), followed by a news program.

Radio Vilnius 1990-1991 (1st Recording): March 28/29, 1990 and April 3, 1990

Shortwave Radio Audio Archive contributor, Richard Langley, has digitized a set of historic off-air recordings documenting the independence of Lithuania through Radio Vilinus.

We will feature Richard's full description and comments in this first post and recording.  Subsequent posts will describe each individual recording of the set. 

Many thanks to Richard for this archived archived audio:

Radio Vilnius 1990-1991

On 11 March 1990, Lithuania was the first Soviet republic to declare its independence. The Soviet Union issued an ultimatum to the Lithuanian authorities to renounce independence or suffer the consequences.

On 17 March 1990, Lithuania rejected the demand and the Soviet Union responded by applying economic sanctions and occupied parts of Vilnius, the capital city. In January 1991, the Soviets launched a larger scale operation against Lithuania. On 11 January, Soviet military units seized several building in Vilnius and elsewhere. On 12 January, civilians congregated outside some strategically important buildings such as those of the Supreme Council (the Seimas Palace), the Radio and Television Committee, the Vilnius TV Tower, and the main telephone exchange in an attempt to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Soviet military. In the early hours of 13 January, tanks and soldiers attacked the TV tower. Fourteen Lithuanians and one Russian soldier died.

Subsequently, Soviet forces surrounded and entered the Radio and Television Committee building and forced the TV station off the air. Shortly thereafter, a small TV studio in Kaunas was used to resume TV transmissions and put out a call for help. Radio transmissions were also affected. Although Soviet forces were in the vicinity of the Supreme Council building, they retreated instead of attacking. The occupation and military raids continued for several months following the attacks.

Subsequent Lithuanian-Russian negotiations resulted in the signing of a treaty on 31 January. A referendum on independence held on 9 February overwhelmingly supported the full and total independence of Lithuania. Other republics of the Soviet Union declared their independence and following the resignation speech by Mikhail Gorbachev on 25 December, the Soviet Union was dissolved the next day. The last Russian troops left Lithuania on 31 August 1993.

Radio Vilnius, the external service of Lithuanian Radio, transmitted news about events in Lithuania and the other Baltic republics even at the height of the Soviet attacks. The broadcasts were made, in part, using transmitters elsewhere in the Soviet Union. However, there was a temporary interruption in these broadcasts after the occupation of the Radio and TV Centre by Soviet troops early in the morning of 13 January. They resumed on 25 January.

Radio Nederland’s “Media Network” programs of 20 January 1991 and 14 January 1992 featured reports on Radio Vilnius and the Soviet occupation. The sound files of these programs are available on the Web (“Media Network Vintage Vault“).

I have six recordings of Radio Vilnius English Service shortwave broadcasts between March 1990 and January 1991. These were received in Hanwell, New Brunswick, Canada, using a Sony ICF-7600D receiver and supplied wire antenna draped around the listening room.

Recording 1 (30 minutes):

28 March 1990, 22:00 UTC, 11770 kHz (00m:00s – 00m:55s)

Strong signal. Interval signal (IS) and station identification (ID) but the transmission was cut off in mid-sentence: “This is Radio Vilnius. Hello and welcome to our daily broad” All that could be heard faintly on this frequency then was Radio Liberty in Russian (“Govorit Radio Svoboda”). Initially could hear nothing on Radio Vilnius parallel frequencies until about four minutes into the broadcast when a very faint signal on 12060 kHz could be heard (not recorded).

29 March 1990, 22:00 UTC, 12060 kHz (00m:55s – 02m:04s)

Weak signal. IS, station identification, and first part of “News About Lithuania.” Radio teletype interference. Checked other frequencies.

3 April 1990, 22:00 UTC, 17665 kHz (02m:06s – 30m:02s)

Improved signal. Receiver briefly switched to other frequencies to check quality during the recording. IS, ID, “News About Lithuania,” report on the occupation of the Lithuanian Prosecutor’s Office on Friday night (30 March), music, sports news, “Lithuanian by Radio.”

CBC North Quebec Service (RCI Sackville): October 6, 2012

 I snapped this photo of the RCI Sackville transmitter site in June 2012--several months prior to the site's closure. All of the towers seen in the background have since been demolished. 

I snapped this photo of the RCI Sackville transmitter site in June 2012--several months prior to the site's closure. All of the towers seen in the background have since been demolished. 

I recently discovered this off air recording of the CBC North Quebec service. This recording was made in North Carolina on October 6, 2012 on 9,625 kHz, starting around 1059 UTC. 

This recording includes the North Quebec Service sign on, the TOTH CBC News and about 20 minutes of CBC Montreal's "All In A Weekend."

Sadly, the RCI Sackvillle site has now been completely closed down and all of her towers have been demolished.