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Shortwave radio display failure

It looks like my Eton Solarlink FR600 radio receiver is about done. After years of use, the digital display has failed. I am not able to visually determine which frequency I am tuned into. For the time being, I can still listen to short-wave radio broadcasts, but for the most part, I will need to guess where I am on the dial. It may be this way until I can afford a replacement radio.

© Trevor Dailey

The Internet did not kill radio

Newspaper image via Allan Weiner, WBCQ The Planet.  (April, 2018)

How many people listen to shortwave radio?

The truth is that there are no worldwide surveys to determine the number of listeners to a particular shortwave station, or to shortwave radio in general. It would simply be too expensive and time-consuming to undertake these kinds of surveys. The number of letters that a station receives is really no accurate indication of its listenership either, since this is often affected by factors such as contests, giveaways, the literacy levels in different countries, listeners' abilities to afford international postage costs, their propensity to write to radio stations in general, etc. Some of the larger government-funded shortwave stations like the BBC and the Voice of America have been able to fund local surveys in certain countries to determine listenership rates. These weekly listenership figures range from less than 1% up to 30% or more of the population of a given city or country, depending on the availability of shortwave receivers and the availability of alternative programming on local radio stations. Shortwave listenership is generally higher in countries where the domestic media are largely government-controlled, or where there is a desire to hear programs from countries which the domestic media do not provide. The BBC and the Voice of America have estimated their worldwide audiences at as much as 200 million per week. Not many stations have all of the technical facilities or the number of languages that these government-funded stations have, but even if they only have a small percentage of the BBC's and VOA's audiences, these are still very significant numbers. 

SOURCE: National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters

Radio Canada International: Canada’s Voice to the World

RCI ends shortwave broadcast  (June 26, 2012)

© Trevor Dailey

Tracking down radio transmissions

In Canada, the USA, and likely other countries in the world, there are Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) capable portable two-way radios. These average 1 or 2 mile maximum range “walkie-talkies” as many people call them are free for the public to use without a government issued licence. They can be bought in many retail stores. For the past couple of weeks, my scanner receiver has been tuned to these FRS/GMRS frequencies. There is not much activity that I hear except two groups that I am now attempting to find out who and where they are.

These two groups broadcast each day, but they do not broadcast frequently. Both are some kind of business as the radio users are employees. They have not yet said anything over the radio that I can use to identify them. All I know for sure so far is that they must be fairly close by because the radios they are using are not long range. Probably within a couple of city blocks. Not all transmissions are clear, so that also makes me guess where they could be coming from.

To assist me in my search, I have the audio from my scanner recorded by my computer through Audacity having it set in the “sound activation recording” mode. This way I can listen to all the recorded transmissions in a few minutes and pick out any clues I might hear. I can also listen again to hard to hear transmissions. What is annoying is there are many radio "call" transmissions recorded.

Another thing I can do is walk around with my scanner and earphones where I suspect these people could be. I may be able to identify them this way.

It is a fun game that kind of makes me feel like an investigator, or a spy, or somthing sometimes.

UPDATE: I think I may have identified one. A new transmission was heard. I keep listening.

© Trevor Dailey

To Hell with the CRTC

Here is another reason why I think the U.S.A. is still the greatest country in the world.

Free radio express

For the occasional radio broadcaster we offer this great deal to get you on the air.

Send us $50 and a one hour audio file of your program.

We’ll play your program on our 7490 transmitter at the next best time available on our schedule.

We’ll run your show on our 5130 transmitter, at no extra cost, at the best next time available.

We’ll send you an email message when your program will air.

This is a great deal for those programmers who wish to get on the air from time to time.

I recently took advantage of this deal from WBCQ The Planet, and I was able to put something on international short-wave radio. My programme was nothing special, it was only music, but it was aired on a real radio station. It is something I never could have done in Canada. One reason is because there is not a single radio station (AM, FM, or SW) in Canada that I know of that leases air time to the public. The main reason is the Canadian Radio-televison and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).  

About Us

The CRTC is an administrative tribunal that regulates and supervises broadcasting and telecommunications in the public interest.

Unlike all radio stations in Canada, WBCQ is not restrained by the repressive CRTC that requires radio and television stations in Canada to be CRTC approved and licenced before a station may be permitted to broadcast.

Canadian content requirements for music on Canadian radio

Radio plays an important role in introducing listeners to new music and artists. CRTC policies and regulations ensure that Canadian works are played on Canadian radio stations.

The CRTC licenses seven general types of radio stations:

Commercial station
Campus station
Community station
Ethnic station
Native station
CBC / Radio Canada
Other not-for-profit stations

Each licensed station is required to devote a percentage of its weekly music broadcasting to Canadian content. The required amount of Canadian content depends both on the type of radio station and the type of music it broadcasts: Popular Music (Category 2) or Special Interest Music (Category 3).

Unlike radio stations in Canada, WBCQ will broadcast almost anything its programmers want to broadcast.

Free Speech On The Airwaves

WBCQ strongly supports the United States of America’s constitutional right to free speech. Programs aired by WBCQ’s clients are not censored in any way.

WBCQ believes that it’s programmers have the right to express themselves on the airwaves in any way they seem fit. This is why you will find a diverse mix of music, talk, commentary, spiritual, religious, and commercial programming on WBCQ. WBCQ only restricts programming content if the programmer directly advocates harming other human beings based on their race, creed, or national origin.

In Canada, the CRTC tells broadcasters what to broadcast to Canadians, and tries to completely control what broadcasting Canadians receive.

Content Made by Canadians

One of our goals is to ensure that Canadian broadcasting content meets the needs and interests of Canadians by delivering compelling, high-quality Canadian-made creative content from diverse sources on a variety of platforms.

Among other things, we engage in public processes that generate content policies, encourage linguistic duality, support public affairs programming, and support broadcasting for Canada’s diverse communities. We also support the maintenance and development of Canadian talent by ensuring that Canadian artists can create content for both Canadian and global audiences, that they can gain financial support, and that they can promote their creations.

Other ongoing activities related to content made by Canadians include:

Analyzing various broadcasting licence applications from the perspective of content made by Canadians

Issuing Canadian Program Certification to independent Canadian program producers for TV productions that use mainly Canadian crews and talents

Monitoring the programming and financial performance of broadcasters to ensure they comply with regulations and licence conditions

Getting my programme on WBCQ was easy and reasonably affordable for me. I created what I wanted. Nothing in my programme, absolutely nothing, complied with CRTC regulations. WBCQ aired my programme on international short-wave radio. The time I bought was mine to do with however I wanted. No censorship. My getting on the radio with WBCQ, and my listening to short-wave radio, is my way of telling the Socialist, Communist, Fascist, Racist CRTC to go to Hell.

I support short-wave radio. I support WBCQ. I support freedom. I support abolishing the CRTC.

© Trevor Dailey

WBCQ The Planet Announces New Showcase Radio Facility

WBCQ The Planet Announces New Showcase Radio Facility

For Immediate Release: March 2, 2018

WBCQ The Planet Announces New Showcase Radio Facility

Plymouth Meeting, PA: WBCQ The Planet announced today that it is building one of the most powerful and versatile radio stations in the world. WBCQ’s new shortwave radio station, now under construction in Monticello, Maine, features a new 500-kilowatt transmitter from Continental Electronics and a state-of-the-art antenna system from Ampegon Antenna of Switzerland.

The new station, funded by private investors, will be able to direct a powerful shortwave signal to any country on Earth. Our new facility is planned to be a showcase for the radio world and is dedicated to our free speech mission.

The new station is planned to commence operations in fall 2018.

About WBCQ The Planet: WBCQ is an international shortwave broadcast station located in Monticello, Maine, USA. We broadcast on 7.490 MHz, 9.330 MHz, 5.130 MHz, and 3.265 MHz. We’ve been bringing access to the airwaves for people like you since 1998.

WBCQ is currently broadcasting on 50-kilowatt transmitters from Monticello, Maine, USA.

© Trevor Dailey

The Report Of The Week: A short-wave obsession

The Report Of The Week is a YouTube channel created by an eccentric and clever young man. In this video, he talks about his “obsession” with short-wave radio listening.

Not only is he obsessed with listening to short-wave radio, but he leases air-time for his own short-wave radio show broadcasting on WRMI, Radio Miami International and WBCQ The Planet.

Thursday 2000 UTC – 7780 kHz – WRMI 100 kW – Eastern North America

Thursday 2100 UTC – 7490 kHz – WBCQ 50 kW – Eastern North America

Thursday 2300 UTC – 9955 kHz – WRMI 100 kW – South America

Friday 0000 UTC – 7730 kHz – WRMI 100 kW – Western North America

Friday 0100 UTC – 9455 kHz – WRMI 100 kW – Central America

Friday 0100 UTC – 9395 kHz – WRMI 100 kW – North America

Friday 0100 UTC – 7780 kHz – WRMI 100 kW – Eastern North America

Friday 0100 UTC – 5950 kHz – WRMI 100 kW – Test transmission to Florida

Friday 0100 UTC – 5850 kHz – WRMI 100 kW – North America

Sunday 2100 UTC – 9395 kHz – WRMI 100 kW – North America

Sunday 2100 UTC – 7780 kHz – WRMI 100 kW – North America

© Trevor Dailey

Listen to and control an online short-wave receiver

I am not one who is interested in streaming the audio of a short-wave broadcaster over the Internet. That is not what I have a short-wave radio receiver for. Once it is streamed online, it is not radio anymore. However, in this case, I will make an exception:

On this page you can listen to and control a short-wave receiver located at the amateur radio club ETGD at the University of Twente [the Netherlands]. In contrast to other web-controlled receivers, this receiver can be tuned by multiple users simultaneously, thanks to the use of Software-Defined Radio.

This site, which in 2008 was the very first WebSDR site ever, was finally reactivated in July 2012 after an interruption of more than 1.5 years

If you live in another part of the world, and you would like to tune into the radio signals in the European area, this is the next best thing to being there with your own radio receiver. One can direct entry a frequency to listen to, or one can move the “needle” around listening to transmissions. Frequency range covers the entire short-wave spectrum (1MHz to 30MHz).

I like to direct entry the three frequencies for the National Research Council (NRC) short wave station broadcasts (CHU) that amazingly travel from Canada to the Netherlands. There are also a lot of interesting and entertaining short-wave radio broadcasts one can tune into using the site; including the mysterious "buzzer station" from Russia, 4625 kHz (night), the Russian "pip", 5488 kHz (day),  3758 kHz (night), and the Russian "Squeaky Wheel", 3828 kHz (night).

A WebSDR is a Software-Defined Radio receiver connected to the internet, allowing many listeners to listen and tune it simultaneously. SDR technology makes it possible that all listeners tune independently, and thus listen to different signals; this is in contrast to the many classical receivers that are already available via the internet.

A current and automatically updated list of other WebSDR sites.

Worldwide short-wave KiwiSDR radio receiver map. Similar to WebSDR.

© Trevor Dailey

Listening for the signal: 4625 kHz

My Eton Solarlink FR600 radio receiver is old, discontinued, obsolete, but it still works. I have a random length long electrical copper wire aerial attached to the now broken aerial rod, and I have received signals from thousands of miles away. Some of those signals have been interesting, like time signals, and the VOA radiogram, and some have been strange, like the so-called Cuban Numbers Station. However, there is a signal I have not yet heard, one that is both interesting and strange to me: MDZhB, or simply, “The Buzzer”, broadcast 24 hours per day, seven days per week on 4625 kHz. The ghostly radio station no one claims to run.

Many hours in total I have spent listening for this signal through the static and noise, but I have not yet been able to confirm I have received the signal. I have fallen asleep to the drone of static noise on my receiver monitoring the frequency. I tune into this frequency to listen to something whose true purpose is a mystery. I just know that it is there, and as long as it is there, I will continue to listen for it.

© Trevor Dailey

WBCQ Transmitter Fire

WBCQ is a international shortwave broadcast station located in Monticello, Maine, USA. We broadcast on 7.490 MHz, 9.330 MHz, 5.130 MHz, and 3.265 MHz. We’ve been bringing access to the airwaves for people like you since 1998.

Free speech radio WBCQ international shortwave suffered a fire in its main transmitter building on December 10th. The building was saved but our main 50 kilowatt transmitter completely burned up inside and is a total loss.

We are dedicated to the cause of free speech radio and have been for 19 years. There was no insurance and we have limited funds. We need to replace this transmitter to insure there is at least one free radio station broadcasting programs of individuals wishing to express their free speech rights to the world.

At least $20000 is required to buy a used transmitter and have it shipped to the radio station in Maine. We are on a reduced power backup transmitter and need to return to full 50KW power as soon as possible.

Thank You.

WBCQ Transmitter Fire (update)

We lost one of our transmitters in a fire on Dec. 10th. However, it is one of five 50KW transmitters on site. We have moved 7490 to transmitter #3 which is capable of super modulation and a great signal. All other transmitters are working well at WBCQ.

We will be replacing the fire damaged transmitter with a new unit. As WBCQ is run more or less as a public service to free speech radio, your financial support is welcome. We have a go fund me site if you wish to help.

Please continue to support free speech radio.

Allan Weiner

WBCQ The Planet
274 Britton Road
Monticello, Maine 04760

Allan Weiner of WBCQ talks about the fire during his short-wave radio show.

Allan Weiner Worldwide - 2017/12/15

WBCQ receives no government money. WBCQ relies only on donations and money from leased air time to pay for its operation. Donations to the radio station may be made by Credit Card, Paypal, and Bitcoin via the “Donate” link on the WBCQ main page. A cheque (check) or money order, payable in US funds, may be mailed to the address above. Inquires regarding getting a radio show on the air can be made through the WBCQ contact page.

© Trevor Dailey

Brother Stair off the air?

If you listen to short-wave radio, you have heard the extremely zealous evangelical Brother (Ralph Gordon) Stair of The Overcomer Ministry. Brother Stair claims himself to be a prophet of God, the end of the world is nigh, Jesus is returning, "that this is the last generation", etc.. He is all over short-wave radio at every hour of the day and night with his lengthy diatribes. It looks like the so-called “prophet” could be off short-wave radio as a result of the latest sexual assault charges against the 84-year-old Stair.

Although it has been stated on the air, through a strange sounding computer generated male voice:

Attention Overcomer Listeners: Due to legal difficulties, as of January 1st, 2018, the Overcomer Ministry will not be broadcasting on AM/FM radio and Shortwave. The Overcomer Broadcast will continue on satellite, telephone, and this website stream.

the broadcasts are still currently on short-wave radio. I am hearing them on short-wave radio, some are recordings of his earlier broadcasts from years ago, concluded by the sound of Stair's young voice. The broadcast repeats, playing for hours, and the computer generated male voice breaks in unexpectedly at random.

The SWLing Post wrote:

While I’ll certainly not miss Overcomer programming on shortwave, the numerous private broadcasters who had Overcomer as a primary client will feel the loss of revenue in no insignificant way. Indeed, I believe this could even lead to the closure of some private broadcasters this year.

The Overcomer Ministry may have provided revenue for private broadcasters, but this change might finally allow others to get on the air who will provide revenue. I doubt any short-wave station is going to go out of business because of The Overcomer Ministry leaving short-wave radio.

On his short-wave radio show, Allan Weiner of WBCQ gives his opinion regarding the arrest of Brother Stair.

Allan Weiner Worldwide - 2017/12/26

Stair is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law in spite of any one's opinion.

UPDATE: previously recorded Brother Stair programmes continue to be aired by WBCQ and WWCR on short-wave radio.

UPDATE: Stair has been released on bail, and has returned to short-wave radio.

© Trevor Dailey

Brother Stair

Several radio stations pull S.C. preacher's program in light of sex assault charges

Women at South Carolina religious compound say preacher sexually assaulted them in the name of God

There is more to short-wave time signals than time

It was one of those short-wave topic blogs. The writer asked a rhetorical question regarding the short-wave time signals: how long they were going to last with the time now being available from satellite GPS?

For me, a short-wave time signal is part of the magic of radio; receiving a radio signal travelling invisibly through the air, at the speed of light, from hundreds of miles, thousands of miles,  away is still amazing to me. No infrastructure between the receiver and the transmitter is required.

The time signal arrives in an instant from when it is transmitted making it extremely accurate, and it is in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Traditionally, shortwave radio broadcasts schedules are in UTC time, and UTC time stays the same. No stupid moving of the time forward and back twice per year with Daylight Savings Time.

The time signal from Fort Collins, Colorado, includes other valuable information with the time signal broadcast, such as “…geophysical alerts and marine storm warnings.”

Broadcasting 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on more than one short-wave frequency, I can determine the propagation of the short-wave bands by tuning into the time signals. This also allows me to test my short-wave receiver to determine if it is working properly, if one receiving location is better than another, or if my new home-made aerial does in fact work.

The short-wave time signals have a lot more use to them than just knowing the correct time.   

(c) Trevor Dailey

Canada time signals: NRC short wave station broadcasts (CHU)

USA time signals: Radio Station WWV

Radio Fundamentals: An Introduction to HF | Codan Radio Communications


WBCQ: more money and more free speech radio

Many times when one reads on the Internet about short-wave radio broadcasting the subject of the future of short-wave radio comes up. More often than not, contained in this subject is how short-wave radio is on its way to extinction. Once again, I disagree. Here is an example from “Free Speech Radio” WBCQ The Planet, Monticello, Maine, USA.

WBCQ $500,000 fund drive

WBCQ needs to raise $500,000 to keep going to provide the worlds only truly free speech radio service. Our goals for the funding are:

    1. Repair, replace, and upgrade our transmitting equipment.

    2. Upgrade all our antenna systems for higher power.

    3. Upgrade studios and computer systems.

    4. Finish our backup generator system.

    5. Create a fund to pay for more free speech alternative programming.

    6. Providing airtime for persons who cannot afford to purchase airtime.

    7. Create a free radio news service for true, unbiased news for the world.

    8. Improve the website, streaming, and video services.

Much more needs to be done. Shortwave radio is the only true worldwide open voice with no infrastructure required.

Fees for airtime do not cover operation costs at present. We need your help through donations to progress further, survive into the future, and get more voices on the air.

Please contribute whatever you can.

Thank you and God bless,

Allan H. Weiner

August 2016

Source: WBCQ $500,000 fund drive

Mr. Weiner, the owner and operator of WBCQ, not only asked for $500,000 of private money for his privately operated short-wave radio station, it appears he may have received it in only 7 months.

It’s simple. WBCQ will be constructing one of the biggest, most powerful, most versatile shortwave transmitter and antenna systems in the world. All for free speech radio. Freedom.

Allan H. Weiner

March 29, 2017

Source: WBCQ files application for a new transmitter and antenna

If one wants short-wave radio to succeed and prosper, then one needs to contribute private funds to privately run international short-wave radio stations like WBCQ.

(c) Trevor Dailey