NASWA Journal Columns

The North American Shortwave Association

We’re the largest shortwave-only radio enthusiasts club in North America.

Welcome to NASWeb, the web site of NASWA, the North American Shortwave Association. We have been active in the business of sharing information about shortwave radio since 1961. We focus on domestic and international broadcasts on shortwave frequencies between 2 and 30 MHz. We are the premiere organization in North America for shortwave listeners and DXers. We sponsor the popular yearly Winter SWL Fest, where monitoring hobbyists of all stripes, from DC to daylight, gather for a weekend of cameraderie and talk about radio. Our club motto is “Unity and Friendship.”

The Journal

NASWA members receive The Journal, a monthly digest of the latest logs and news about shortwave radio, as well as various feature articles and columns. The Journal is available in print as well as digitally in PDF format.  Samples of columns from The Journal are available on this site. Members can also subscribe to our weekly e-mail DX tip sheet, Flashsheet for no additional charge. NASWA’s Flashsheet comes out every Sunday, filled with the latest loggings and tips from NASWA members.

Winter SWL Fest

If you haven’t been to a NASWA Winter SWL Fest before, what are you waiting for? The Fest happens every March in beautiful Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, about a half-hour north of Philadelphia. At a typical Fest, between 150 and 250 dedicated radio hobbyists get together to meet with old friends and make new ones. Friday and Saturday are filled with informative sessions by some of the top names in the hobby covering a wide variety of topics, from longwave to microwave and beyond. The weekend is well-lubricated with tuning oil, and a good time is had by all.

Registration forms typically run in several hobby publications, including the NASWA Journal, NRC DX News, ODXA Listening In, and CIDX Messenger. The form is also available starting a few months before the Fest at the Fest web site. And if you want to relive the Fest experience year ’round, or just get to know some of your fellow attendees online before your first visit, you can join the Winter SWL Fest mailing list.

Radio Monitoring The How To Guide

Long time NASWA member Skip Arey has generously offered to make his hobby classic, Radio Monitoring The How To Guide, available under a Creative Commons license for anyone to download and read. Skip has long had a passion for educating newcomers to the hobby, and his book is well worth the read. Thanks, Skip!

NASWA Country List

NASWA maintains what is widely considered throughout North America as the definitive list of countries from which shortwave broadcasts have originated. Many hobbyists like to count how many countries they’ve heard broadcasts from.

The NASWA Radio Country List is unique. It considers the interests of the longtime listener who has heard and counted some radio countries which, in the political world, no longer exist. Even if war or revolution, conquest or annexation, split-up or merger, change the world map, the listener need not subtract these politically defunct countries from his or her tally.

The interests of the person who began listening much more recently also are taken into consideration. That person can count loggings of stations in countries which, politically, are extinct. This seems fair to all. After all, reception of shortwave stations is not directly linked to such matters as political boundaries or independence dates.

And now, the NASWA Radio Country List is available in PDF format from this web site!

In Memory of NASWA Publisher Bill Oliver

NASWA publisher Bill Oliver died of a heart attack on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 in Lower Bucks Hospital. Bill was 89 years old. Bill published The Journal of the North American Shortwave Association and The Lowdown for the Long Wave Club of America. He had taught computer classes at Bristol Township Senior Center. The club’s management team thanks everyone for their sympathy and support. Our new publisher is Rich Cuff, and our new address is P. O. Box 3292, Allentown, PA 18106.

See other Website Updates columns.

Website Updates

Hello – we’re in the process of updating the NASWA website, and we ask for your patience as old information is retired and new information is added.

In the meantime, if you have any questions on the club, please e-mail Publisher / Business Manager Richard Cuff at the email address hq [at] naswa [dot] net, or at the postal address of NASWA, PO Box 3292, Allentown, PA  18106, USA.

Here are the columns regularly appearing in the NASWA Journal along with their editors and e-mail addresses, along with those who produce the Journal each month.  Please contact them directly with specific questions.

Cover: John Herkimer, jherkimer [at] rochester [dot] rr [dot] com
Musings: Jerry Alice Lineback, jalinebk [at] gmail [dot] com
Listening Review: Alan Roe , alan-roe-swl [at] randa33 [dot] co [dot] uk
Pirate Radio Report: George Zeller, georgez [at] nacs [dot] net
Shortwave Center: John Figliozzi, jfigio1 [at] nycap [dot] rr [dot] com
QSL Report: Sam Barto
Scoreboard: Gary Neal, grneal [at] earthlink [dot] net
Kim’s Column: Kim Andrew Elliott, kimweb [at] verizon [dot] net
Log Report: Dave Turnick, david.turnick [at] gmail [dot] com
Publishers Corner: Rich Cuff, hq [at] naswa [dot] net
On the Shortwaves: Jerry Berg, jsberg [at] rcn [dot] com
Listeners Notebook: Rich D’Angelo, rdangelo3 [at] aol [dot] com
NASWA Notes: Rich D’Angelo, rdangelo3 [at] aol [dot] com Publisher: Rich Cuff, hq [at] naswa [dot] net
Desktop Publishing/Graphics: Richard Murphy, rm271828 [at] gmail [dot] com E-group at Groups.io: Dan Ferguson, k4voa [at] zerobeat [dot] org
Facebook: Richard Murphy, rm271828 [at] gmail [dot] com
Flashsheet: Mark Taylor, markokpik [at] gmail [dot] com

Links to other updated pages will be posted here as they are developed.

See other Website Updates columns.

Kim’s Column, February 2020

International broadcasting and events in Iraq and Iran

The big international affairs event in January was the killing of Qasem Soleimani, Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and, commander of its Quds Force, in a targeted US drone strike in Iraq, January 3. That was followed by Iranian missile attacks on US bases in Iraq on January 7.

How did US international broadcasting under the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM), formerly Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), respond to these events? Like US international broadcasting itself, it’s complicated. Besides the United States, two countries were primarily involved: Iran and Iraq. For Iran, broadcasts in Persian (Farsi) originate from two USAGM entities: VOA Persian (TV and online) and Radio Farda (radio, TV and online), part of Prague-based Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc. The extent to which these two Persian-language USAGM entities cooperate is a good question that I can’t answer.

For Iraq, all of USAGM’s Arabic-language efforts come under its Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN) Inc, consisting of Alhurra television and Radio Sawa, plus their online presences.

On the day of Soleimani’s death, RFE/RL’s Radio Farda published an analysis in English (and presumably in Persian, as well) by Mehrzad Boroujerdi, director of the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech University. His frank assessment: “By reducing the complexity of Iraqi politics to Iranian manipulations, the Americans have surely made a grave analytical mistake. They may have physically eliminated a number of nemesis while handing Iran, on a silver platter, a major political victory in Iraq.” (bit.ly/2tpue8o)

The same day (January 3), RFE/RL issued an advisory press release (bit.ly/2TupGYT) with comments by Seyed Mehdi Parpanchi, Director of RFE/RL’s Iranian Service, Radio Farda, about the killing of Soleimani: “There is a small minority that is condemning this attack and saying that what the U.S. did is terrorism, but a majority of the people that we see on social media, especially on Twitter, on Instagram are kind of happy that this has happened.”

This contrasts with mainstream media reaction, which was that the drone attack against Qasem Soleimani and his confederates would unite Iranian and Iraqi public opinion against the United States. But the revisionist assessment popped up in other elements of US international broadcasting.

Baking cakes to thank @realDonaldTrump

Fox News, which would want to counter the conclusion that the drone attack on Solemani and company was a public diplomacy disaster, cited three tweets by Alhurra reporter Steven Nabil @thestevennabil, including “Some Iraqis are baking cakes thanking @realDonaldTrump Trump for taking out Qassim Suleimani.”

Meanwhile, Masih Alinejad, a contractor who hosts the hosts the Tablet talk show on VOA Persian, wrote a commentary (wapo.st/2NyokIW) in the Washington Post website.  She maintained that the Iranian protests of Soleimani’s death were largely orchestrated.  “I have more than 4 million followers on various social media networks, and I have received thousands of messages, voice mails and videos from Iranians in cities such as Shiraz, Isfahan, Tehran and even Ahvaz, who are happy about Soleimani’s death. Some complain of the pressure to attend services for him.” Alinejad also tweeted (bit.ly/2NzCERm) a video of a demonstrator in Iran calling for her execution.

Eli Clifton of the Quincy Institute took exception to the message conveyed by Alinejad. (bit.ly/2NyELEZ) “[O]ne frequently cited Iranian voice in the mainstream media, Masih Alinejad, has been repeatedly echoing the administration’s claims that Iranians, despite all visible evidence, were welcoming Trump’s potential act of war against Iran.

“Fox News for example presented Alinejad …as an ‘Iranian journalist’ or ‘Iranian journalist and activist,’ missing a key detail about her biography: she’s paid by the U.S. government. CNN, and New York Times columnist Bret Stephens also quoted her without acknowledging her government funding.

“Alinejad works as an ‘anchor, writer, reporter for [Voice of America] Persian Service,’ a U.S. government owned television network broadcasting to Iranians, according to a publicly available description of her federal contract reviewed by Responsible Statecraft.  She received more than $305,000 in contracts for her work at Voice of America (VOA) Persia between May, 2015 and September 10, 2019, the date of her most recent contract.

“That crucial context was missing in her television appearances and other media citations in which she appeared to closely echo the Trump administration’s line that the Soleimani assassination was welcomed in the region even when there is little evidence to support the assertion.”

Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) took up the Quincy Institute article, berating US media for not stating that Alinejad is a US government contractor. Alinejad answered Omar in a “10-tweet blast,” noting that Omar has not helped her in speaking out against Iranian human rights abuses. (bit.ly/2tgz7Ri)

VOA Editorial weighs in, none too soon

Back at the Voice of America, VOA has for several decades broadcast editorials “reflecting the views of the United States government.” These editorials are now relegated to slots on VOA’s television channel, which has very little distribution, and on the VOA Editorials web page editorials.voa.gov. Interestingly, unless I am missing it, I cannot find a link to Editorials anywhere at voanews.com.  You will have to find it by way of a Google or your favorite search.

When Soleimani was killed, I searched out VOA Editorials, wondering how they would explain the event on behalf of the US government. I was not surprised to see no comment, given that there can be lag time between events and VOA Editorials. But the VOA Editorial about the death of Qassem Soleimani on January 3 was not published until January 15 – twelve days after the event. “U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, declared that Soleimani was plotting further imminent attacks on American diplomats and military personnel.” (bit.ly/2Rq5btW)

The process with VOA Editorials is like this: The policy office at VOA or one of its parent bureaucracies will draft an editorial that they believe reflects the views of the US government. That draft is sent to the State Department. It (not usually a high priority) is eventually sent back with suggested or required revisions. Those revisions are incorporated and returned to the State Department. The next revised draft is sent back, and so on, and so forth. The twelve-day delay is therefore not surprising. Meanwhile, the Policy staff, whiling away the days, is paid more than I ever was at VOA.

See other Kim’s Column columns.

NASWA Notes, March 2019

As we go to press, the 32nd annual Winter SWL Festival is about to commence at the Doubletree Suites Philadelphia West, Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. The event runs from February 28th through March 2nd 2019. Co-FESTmeisters Rich Cuff and John Figliozzi have assembled another outstanding group of speakers to host our forum sessions. Another good group of attendees is expected at this important radio event. We will have a complete report in next month’s Journal recapping the event’s of #32.

Michael Schmitz of the ADDX in Germany informs us that his club has digitized a whole bunch of new WRTHs and is offering them for sale. We’d like to inform you that we have digitized much more volumes of the WRTH and offer them for sale: WRTH-CD 1 (1947-1958); WRTH-CD 2 (1959-1970); WRTH-CD 3 (1971-1982); and WRTH-CD 4 (1983-1994). The price is 49 Euro each. We also offer bundles: Two CDs will cost 80 Euro and 3 CDs 119 Euro. Perhaps you are interestet in our brand new WRTH-Mega-DVD which covers all editions published from 1947-1998 – the first 52 (!) years of the handbook. Also the bonus-material of the DVD is worth a look: many “summer editions”of the handbook, several editions of the WRTH-publication “How to listen to the World”, and all editions of the WRTH which were published in the 1950ies in German and in 1960 in Spanish. Last but not least you will find on this DVD some of the WRTH predecessors, which the former editor, O. Lund. Johansen, published during 1927 and 1945. This DVD gives you a unique insight into the history of global radio. Its an essential tool for everyone interested in the history and development of international broadcasting. A full-text search-function is integrated. Also a print of the books is possible. The price of the WRTH-DVD 1947-1998: 149 Euro: (incl. shipment worldwide via airmail). Orders: Please write an email with your postal address to kurier@addx.de and transfer the money to the ADDX account at Deutsche Bank Duesseldorf, Germany. IBAN: DE25 3007 0024 0868 6800 00 BIC: DEUT DE DB DUE. Shipment of the DVD will be done directly after the reception of the money. Payment via Paypal upon request. Please write to: “kurier@addx.de” or to ADDX, Scharsbergweg 14, 41189 Mönchengladbach, Germany.

With the possibility of South Africa closing its shortwave facilities by the end of March, John Herkimer decided to put together a cover featuring shortwave broadcasting from that country while it was still an “active” radio country. I remember the Radio RSA days of yore as well as South African Broadcasting Corporation. Sentech is the current transmitter operator that may be facing a difficult future if a major client, the BBC, station departs. We will know more over the next few weeks about the future of shortwave broadcasting from South Africa. In the meantime enjoy the cover of this active shortwave radio country!

Early September seems to be the time of year for radio gatherings. From the Worldwide DX Club in Germany we learn that the 2019 European DX Council (“EDXC”) Conference will take place in Andorra, over the weekend of September 6th to 8th. They are still at the planning stages of organizing accommodation, visits, talks and other travel arrangements. All EDXC members and other DXers plus EDXC member organizations’ partners, significant others and any friends who may also wish to experience the fun of an EDXC conference and the opportunities to explore before, during and after the conference itself. Andorra is a small (468 sq km) and mountainous principality, nestled in the Pyrenees between France and Spain. It should be exciting event in another new destination. Chrissy Brand, the new Secretary-General, and Christian Ghibaudo, the new Assistant Secretary-General, invite all interested radio hobbyists to attend this year’s gathering in Andorra. Also, the 2019 IRCA Convention will be held on September 5, 6 and 7, 2019 at the Courtyard by Marriott Seattle Southceneter, 400 Andover Park West, Tukwila, WA 98188 hosted by Mike Sanburn (mikesanburn@hotmail.com). Registration is free but the banquet, which will be determined later, will be paid for individually. Guest room rate is $109.00 plus tax. Call for room reservations 800-321-2211 or 206-575-2500 mentioning the International Radio Club of American to get that room rate.

The World Radio Television Handbook (“WRTH”) has published its B-18 International schedule updates. A pdf update was made available in February 2019 of the B18 schedules given in WRTH 2019 can now be downloaded from the WRTH website. Follow the International Radio Latest Updates link on the menu on the left hand side of the WRTH homepage at: http://www.wrth.com/. Many of the updates are included in this month;s Listeners Notebook.

Gayle Van Horn W4GVH, CEO/Vice President Teak Publishing tells us that now is a celebratory year for the WWV stations. The fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget includes full funding for the stations, which also mark their 100th year this fall. The WWV Centennial Committee has a tentative agreement with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (“NIST”) to mount a special event station this fall adjacent to the WWV site in Colorado to mark the 100th anniversary of the time and frequency standard station, the world’s oldest continuously operating radio station. The NIST budget for WWV, WWVH, and WWVB will remain level for FY 2019. Dave Swartz of the Northern Colorado Amateur Radio Club (“NCARC”) heads the committee, which is developing plans for an NCARC special event from September 28 through October 2, with a NIST centennial observance tentatively set for October 1. Although the US government cannot fund any Amateur Radio special event expenses, the club members will be allowed to use a 15-acre parcel on WWV property, Swartz explained on the WWV Centennial website. “The operating site lies outside the security fence and simplifies logistics,” he said. Swartz hopes that other clubs in Colorado will be able to pitch in to make the WWV Centennial a success. The WWV Centennial Committee will meet again on February 22.

That’s it for this month. Enjoy this month’s edition of the JOURNAL; it’s another good one.

See other NASWA Notes columns.

Pirate Radio Report, October, 2010

Welcome to the October Pirate Report! It is hard to believe that the summer of 2010 is over. But, better propagation is on the way! We are starting to see some indications of this now. Several Euro-pirates have been heard well inland in North America on 15 and 48 meter bands. US pirate activity has had its peaks and valleys during September with the general average being low to moderate and well below the July activity level which has been the most active month thus far in 2010.

This month I thought I would provide some pirate radio related web sites for our readers. The internet is a fabulous resource for just about anything you can think of and of course pirate radio is no exception. Please note that all sites in this column were all found on the internet via goggle or were posted as links on publicly accessible web sites. If you are interested in the listed URL’s I can send them to you via email if you cannot type them in for some reason.

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See other Pirate Radio Report columns.

Kim’s Column, September 2008

Radio Netherlands’ rapidly-fading shortwave signal

Of particular importance to us in the the North American Shortwave Association is Radio Netherlands’ decision to quit English-language shortwave broadcasts to North America.

This is a big one, following the BBC and Deutsche Welle abandonments of shortwave English to North America, as well as similar moves by Kol Israel, HCJB, Radio Vlaanderen International, RAI, Swiss Radio International, etc. German shortwave expert Kai Ludwig wrote: “This marks the end of shortwave as a relevant broadcast medium in the USA and Canada. The programming still transmitted on shortwave in and into North America should be of interest to very small niche audiences only. In some cases it may even damage the reputation of the medium further.”

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See other Kim’s Column columns.

Country List Committee Report, September 2008

Country List Questions

NASWA’s Country List Committee periodically gets questions regarding the use of the list which the committee is mandated to maintain. As the CLC’s chairman, I try to answer these questions in this occasional column.

Here are several questions received recently:

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Pirate Radio Report, May 2008

Hello and welcome to the May 2008 edition of the Pirate Radio Report.

Springtime conditions have arrived and static is on the rise. The good news is that the longer days are causing pirate signals to be heard longer in the evening before dropping MUFs cause fade-outs. Lots of activity during the past few weeks as well, including replays of Radio Metallica and UPMB.

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See other Pirate Radio Report columns.

Equipment Reviews, May 2008

Microtelecom Perseus Software Defined Receiver

A sea change has occurred with receiver technology. Over the past three decades, digital technology has gradually supplemented and then replaced analog circuitry in modern radios. At first, microprocessors were put into radios for tuning and function switching and external computers were used to control receivers. The next transition was the replacement of hardware by software (digital signal processing). Now, we have reached the point where the computer (with the addition of a couple of outboard intergrated circuits) is the radio. Not only has the internal hardware of the receiver been eliminated, but the control hardware of knobs and switches has been replaced by a computer mouse.

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See other Equipment Reviews columns.

Flashsheet #295, September 23, 2007

Next Deadline: Sunday, Sept. 30, 2007 at 1700 UTC (1300 EST/1200 CST/1100 MST/1000 PST).

All loggings to be sent to Mark Taylor at: markokpik@tds.net and Rich D’Angelo at rdangelo3@aol.com .

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