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Hello fellow DXers, it is with great excitement to release the latest shortwave news programme DX Extra number 16 to the world wide web!
In this fortnight's podcast: ABC cutbacks further affect radio Giant sunspot mass Solar storm Two German stations close Santa on Amateur radio Pirate Radio Logs and recordings Audio Archive: Radio Romania InternationalLISTEN via embedded player:
“3.5.3 Shortwave radio: Radio Australia and Outback RadioThe ABC broadcasts Radio Australia shortwave services through two domestic transmitter sites and from three overseas shortwave facilities. In addition, Local Radio is broadcast on three High Frequency (HF) short wave services in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek and Katherine. These HF services are known as Outback Radio and broadcast into remote areas of the Northern Territory. As theRadio Australia shortwave contracts are currently being renegotiated, the ABC is undertaking a strategic review of the continued application of shortwave distribution. Department of Communications Draft ReportABC and SBS Efficiency Study 91In contrast to the Australia Network television service which is funded under contract by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Radio Australia is a core ABC service which is funded through ABC base operating funds.
Radio Australia is distributed via both shortwave services and local FM retransmission sourced from the Australia Network satellite feed. If shortwave is terminated Radio Australia would continue to be broadcast on the FM retransmission. However, it should be noted that the current distribution ofsignals for FM retransmission relies on the Australia Network satellite service.DFAT has advised that shortwave delivery of Radio Australia provides the only current source of the service in some sensitive areas in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea; it supports a review of more cost effective alternatives for delivery of Radio Australia but considers that access tothe service in these areas should be maintained.
Offshore Radio Australia transmission servicesShortwave relay services to broadcast Radio Australia content off shore are provided through year to year contracts with Babcock Communications.These services are currently located at three sites: Singapore, Palau and the United Arab Emirates. All three provide coverage to the Asia region, specifically Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and China.
Outback Radio – Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Katherine NTABC local radio content from the Darwin and Alice Springs studios are broadcast by shortwave services to remote areas in the Northern Territory and sections of the Timor Sea. There is no measurement of listener engagement with these services in the data provided by the ABC.
FindingsNoting shortwave is largely a superseded technology, potential savings may be achieved by discontinuing Radio Australia shortwave radio services. Radio Australia would continue to be broadcast in target countries through FM retransmission sourced from Australia.
Network satellite feed or its equivalent. Based on current usage, the distribution of the Radio Australia signal by satellite is estimated at $0.2 million p.a., including satellite capacity and uplink costs.If the ABC was to maintain the current breadth of coverage for Radio Australia provided by shortwave, a body of work to increase FM transmission through partnerships in Myanmar, Bougainville, Manus and Western Province would need to be undertaken. This work would need to be undertaken in consultation with DFAT to ensure that regional and local sensitivities are taken intoaccount. This would impact on the savings achievable and wider strategic issues would dictate the timing of this change. In addition, should the Australia Network satellite service not be available, other feed arrangements would need to be purchased. An additional potential saving of up to from discontinuing shortwave transmission of Outback Radio may be possible. However, Outback Radio particularly covers the remote areas of Australia that may be of value to those communities. The study understands that the ABC believes there is merit in maintaining this service until an alternative can be sourced.”
““The cost of digital radio services comprises the content costs (which would be very small for simulcast services, and modest for services which largely stream music content), and the distribution costs. Significant savings could be realised if a decision is taken to cease terrestrial transmission which is currently only available in capital cities. Content would continue to be available on alternative platforms such as the web, mobile and through digital television.” Via the ABC and SBS Efficiency Study public document* Limit digital radio services to online and mobile platforms, doing away with terrestrial services.* There may no longer be a need for ABC and SBS to pay for their services to be rebroadcast on Foxtel.* The ABC and SBS could use a pay-per-view service once catch-up services were no longer available for free on their websites.* Over time investments in bricks and mortar shopfronts should shift more towards online distribution methods.”
“The largest sunspot to appear on Earth's nearest star in more than two decades is once again pointed at the planet, and it will likely kick-start solar storms, NASA scientists say.The massive sunspot, previously known as Active Region 12192, was turned toward Earth in October and early November, but rotated out of view. While it was on the Earth-facing side of the sun, the sunspot did not produce any coronal mass ejections — hot bursts of material ejected into space at 4 million mph (6.4 million kilometers/hour) — which have the potential to damage satellites and power grids. Now the active region has rotated back around to face Earth again, and although the sunspot has shrunk in size, it will likely be disruptive, NASA scientist Holly Gilbert told Space.com"This time around, it's more likely to have some coronal mass ejections associated with it, even though the solar flares might be smaller," said Gilbert, chief of the Solar Physics Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. "We have a good idea, based on the structure of that magnetic field and the sunspot, that it's very possible that it will create some midlevel flares."Look out for some odd dxing this month!
“1 December 2014The German national public broadcasters Deutschlandfunk and Deutschlandradio Kultur will disappear from longwave at the end of this year. Wasteful channels are going off the air due to cost considerations. The money saved will be invested in digital terrestrial radio (DAB+). At the end of 2015 the mediumwave transmitters of Deutschlandfunk will also close.
Deutschlandfunk currently still broadcasts through longwave 153 and 207 kHz and seven mediumwave frequencies including 1269 and 549 kHz. Deutschlandradio Kultur broadcasts by means of the longwave frequency 177 kHz. The mediumwave frequency 990 kHz went off last year.
Keeping these transmitters on the air costs Deutschlandfunk and Deutschlandradio Kultur millions of euros a year in electricity costs. All these stations transmit with a fairly high power. The three longwave transmitters are each 500 kW, and the mediumwave transmitters range between 100 and 400 kW.
Meanwhile Deutschlandfunk and Deutschlandradio Kultur can be received on FM and DAB+ in large parts of the country. Further expansion of this network is proceeding rapidly. Earlier this year Deutschlandradio Kultur switched from the obsolete MP2 DAB standard to the modern DAB+, which is also used in the Netherlands.
In 2010 it was agreed that the public broadcasters will only get funding for the rollout of DAB+ if they cut down on other distribution methods. It therefore simply means that the medium- and longwave transmitters must be switched off. Meanwhile, several regional broadcasters have already turned off their AM stations. For example, MDR did so in March 2013.
In the Netherlands, the NPO will scrap the broadcast of Radio 5 via medium wave in September 2015. Again listeners are advised to switch to DAB+.”
“Kids chat with Santa on the North Pole and go secret shopping.Dressed in a shirt from Frozen and braids in her hair like the character Anna, Kapri Brumwell, 3, was beaming from ear to ear. “I talked to Santa,” she said proudly, following her sit down to radio with and speak to Santa Claus on a television at the North Pole on Saturday at the Western Development Museum (WDM) via shortwave. “I talked about the Rocking Mally Horse.”That was one of her requests for Christmas. She also said she wanted a Barbie whistle horse.
Jackie Hall, education/program officer at the Moose Jaw WDM, said she saw the annual event as an official start to Christmas.“It’s just a fun way to kick off the Christmas season,” she said. “Theturnout is fantastic.”The Moose Jaw Amateur Radio Club put on the Shortwave to Santa event. The club made all the arrangements for the kids to be able to chat with Santa Claus.” via the Moose Jaw Times Herald online.