Shortwave DX log for evening of Tuesday 11 July 2017

Logged via Tecsun PL-380 in NW London (currently UTC+1) via long wire antenna.

I’m still getting to grips with SINPO ratings and this Android app for logging; until now I’ve used a notebook and pen and rather fuzzier ratings like ‘fair but some interference’. But the app provides a decent, fast, offline schedule lookup, and the built-in logging function does 90% of what I would want it to.


17780Khz 1719 11 JUL – BBC (UNITED KINGDOM)  in ENGLISH from ASCENSION ISLAND. SINPO = 32231.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 6684KM from transmitter at Ascension Island. Local time: 1819.

17655Khz 1720 11 JUL – VOICE OF AMERICA (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)  in PORTUGUESE from SANTA MARIA DI GALERIA. SINPO = 42222.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 1416KM from transmitter at Santa Maria di Galeria. Local time: 1820.

15680Khz 1720 11 JUL – CHINA RADIO INT. (CHINA)  in FRENCH from KASHI (KASHGAR) (XINJIANG). SINPO = 44533.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 5807KM from transmitter at Kashi (Kashgar) (Xinjiang). Local time: 1820.

15570Khz 1720 11 JUL – RADIO VATICANA (VATICAN CITY STATE)  in FRENCH from SANTA MARIA DI GALERIA. SINPO = 42132.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 1416KM from transmitter at Santa Maria di Galeria. Local time: 1820.

15520Khz 1721 11 JUL – VOICE OF TURKEY (TURKEY)  in ENGLISH from EMIRLER. SINPO = 33332.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 2866KM from transmitter at Emirler. Local time: 1821.

15435Khz 1721 11 JUL – BSKSA 1 (SAUDI ARABIA)  in ARABIC from RIYADH. SINPO = 55444.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 4955KM from transmitter at Riyadh. Local time: 1821.

15400Khz 1721 11 JUL – BBC (UNITED KINGDOM)  in ENGLISH from ASCENSION ISLAND. SINPO = 53444.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 6684KM from transmitter at Ascension Island. Local time: 1821.

15300Khz 1722 11 JUL – RADIO FRANCE INT. (FRANCE)  in FRENCH from ISSOUDUN. SINPO = 21111.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 569KM from transmitter at Issoudun. Local time: 1822.

15235Khz 1722 11 JUL – CHANNEL AFRICA (SOUTH AFRICA)  in ENGLISH from MEYERTON. SINPO = 44333.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 9062KM from transmitter at Meyerton. Local time: 1822.

15140Khz 1722 11 JUL – RADIO SULTANATE OMAN (OMAN)  in ARABIC from THUMRAIT. SINPO = 43444.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 6031KM from transmitter at Thumrait. Local time: 1822.

13870Khz 1723 11 JUL – CHINA RADIO INT. (CHINA)  in HAUSSA  from KASHI (KASHGAR) (XINJIANG). SINPO = 43333.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 5807KM from transmitter at Kashi (Kashgar) (Xinjiang). Local time: 1823.

13760Khz 1723 11 JUL – CHINA RADIO INT. (CHINA)  in ENGLISH from KASHI (KASHGAR) (XINJIANG). SINPO = 55454.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 5807KM from transmitter at Kashi (Kashgar) (Xinjiang). Local time: 1823.

13730Khz 1723 11 JUL – VOA RADIO ASHNA (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)  in PASHTO from SULAIBIYAH. SINPO = 11111.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 4641KM from transmitter at Sulaibiyah. Local time: 1823.

13710Khz 1723 11 JUL – BSKSA HOLY QURAN (SAUDI ARABIA)  in ARABIC from RIYADH. SINPO = 44433.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 4955KM from transmitter at Riyadh. Local time: 1823.

13640Khz 1724 11 JUL – CHINA RADIO INT. (CHINA)  in RUSSIAN from URUMQI (XINJIANG, CRI). SINPO = 44444.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 6159KM from transmitter at Urumqi (Xinjiang, CRI). Local time: 1824.

13630Khz 1724 11 JUL – VOICE OF AMERICA (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)  in PORTUGUESE from MOPENG HILL. SINPO = 22111.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 8536KM from transmitter at Mopeng Hill. Local time: 1824.

13590Khz 1724 11 JUL – VOICE OF AMERICA (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)  in ENGLISH from SANTA MARIA DI GALERIA. SINPO = 43433.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 1416KM from transmitter at Santa Maria di Galeria. Local time: 1824.

13570Khz 1725 11 JUL – CHINA RADIO INT. (CHINA)  in ESPERANTO from BEIJING-MATOUCUN (CRI/CNR). SINPO = 52333.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 8208KM from transmitter at Beijing-Matoucun (CRI/CNR). Local time: 1825.

12055Khz 1725 11 JUL – VOICE OF AMERICA (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)  in SOMALI from SANTA MARIA DI GALERIA. SINPO = 43222.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 1416KM from transmitter at Santa Maria di Galeria. Local time: 1825.

12035Khz 1725 11 JUL – VOA RADIO ASHNA (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)  in PASHTO from UDON THANI. SINPO = 21111.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 9370KM from transmitter at Udon Thani. Local time: 1825.

12025Khz 1726 11 JUL – ALL INDIA RADIO GOS (INDIA)  in HINDI from PANAJI (GOA). SINPO = 21112.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 7565KM from transmitter at Panaji (Goa). Local time: 1826.

11975Khz 1726 11 JUL – RADIO ROMANIA INT. (ROMANIA)  in ROMANIAN from GALBENI. SINPO = 45444.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 2015KM from transmitter at Galbeni. Local time: 1826.

11965Khz 1726 11 JUL – DIMTSE RADIO ERENA (CLA)  in TIGRINYA from SOFIA-KOSTINBROD. SINPO = 43223.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 2027KM from transmitter at Sofia-Kostinbrod. Local time: 1826.

11875Khz 1726 11 JUL – CHINA RADIO INT. (CHINA)  in RUSSIAN from URUMQI (XINJIANG, CRI). SINPO = 44343.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 6159KM from transmitter at Urumqi (Xinjiang, CRI). Local time: 1826.

11860Khz 1727 11 JUL – REP.YEMEN RADIO SANAA (YEMEN)  in ARABIC from RIYADH. SINPO = 32112.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 4955KM from transmitter at Riyadh. Local time: 1827.

11825Khz 1727 11 JUL – CHINA RADIO INT. (CHINA)  in CROATIAN from BEIJING-MATOUCUN (CRI/CNR). SINPO = 44454.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 8208KM from transmitter at Beijing-Matoucun (CRI/CNR). Local time: 1827.

11810Khz 1727 11 JUL – RADIO ROMANIA INT. (ROMANIA)  in ENGLISH from TIGANESTI. SINPO = 54444.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 2097KM from transmitter at Tiganesti. Local time: 1827.

11680Khz 1728 11 JUL – CHINA RADIO INT. (CHINA)  in SWAHILI from XIAN-XIANYANG (SHAANXI). SINPO = 42221.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 8259KM from transmitter at Xian-Xianyang (Shaanxi). Local time: 1828.

11650Khz 1728 11 JUL – CHINA RADIO INT. (CHINA)  in ESPERANTO from XIAN-XIANYANG (SHAANXI). SINPO = 44333.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 8259KM from transmitter at Xian-Xianyang (Shaanxi). Local time: 1828.

11610Khz 1728 11 JUL – DEUTSCHE WELLE (GERMANY)  in FRENCH from MEYERTON. SINPO = 32332.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 9062KM from transmitter at Meyerton. Local time: 1828.

9850Khz 1730 11 JUL – IRIB VOICE OF I.R.IRAN (IRAN)  in GERMAN from SIRJAN. SINPO = 43433.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 5171KM from transmitter at Sirjan. Local time: 1830.

9770Khz 1730 11 JUL – CHINA RADIO INT. (CHINA)  in CANTONESE from XIAN-XIANYANG (SHAANXI). SINPO = 31111.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 8259KM from transmitter at Xian-Xianyang (Shaanxi). Local time: 1830.

9730Khz 1730 11 JUL – VOICE OF VIETNAM (VIETNAM)  in VIETNAMESE from HANOI-SONTAY. SINPO = 32222.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 9205KM from transmitter at Hanoi-Sontay. Local time: 1830.

9660Khz 1731 11 JUL – RADIO VATICANA (VATICAN CITY STATE)  in ENGLISH from TALATA VOLONONDRY. SINPO = 21112.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 9030KM from transmitter at Talata Volonondry. Local time: 1831.

9500Khz 1731 11 JUL – RADIO ROMANIA INT. (ROMANIA)  in ROMANIAN from GALBENI. SINPO = 43222.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 2015KM from transmitter at Galbeni. Local time: 1831.

9470Khz 1731 11 JUL – CHINA RADIO INT. (CHINA)  in RUSSIAN from XIAN-XIANYANG (SHAANXI). SINPO = 21111.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 8259KM from transmitter at Xian-Xianyang (Shaanxi). Local time: 1831.

9460Khz 1732 11 JUL – VOICE OF TURKEY (TURKEY)  in TURKISH from EMIRLER. SINPO = 44333.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 2866KM from transmitter at Emirler. Local time: 1832.

9435Khz 1732 11 JUL – CHINA RADIO INT. (CHINA)  in CROATIAN from KASHI (KASHGAR) (XINJIANG). SINPO = 43433.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 5807KM from transmitter at Kashi (Kashgar) (Xinjiang). Local time: 1832.

9425Khz 1733 11 JUL – VOICE OF KOREA (DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA)  in RUSSIAN from KUJANG. SINPO = 11111.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 8601KM from transmitter at Kujang. Local time: 1833.

9400Khz 1733 11 JUL – BIBLE VOICE (UNITED KINGDOM)  in PERSIAN from SOFIA-KOSTINBROD. SINPO = 32212.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 2027KM from transmitter at Sofia-Kostinbrod. Local time: 1833.

7445Khz 1733 11 JUL – BBC (UNITED KINGDOM)  in ENGLISH from TALATA VOLONONDRY. SINPO = 11111.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 9030KM from transmitter at Talata Volonondry. Local time: 1833.

7380Khz 1733 11 JUL – CHINA RADIO INT. (CHINA)  in GERMAN from CERRIK. SINPO = 42332.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 1938KM from transmitter at Cerrik. Local time: 1833.

5970Khz 1734 11 JUL – CHINA RADIO INT. (CHINA)  in GERMAN from CERRIK. SINPO = 43423.  Received at London, United Kingdom, 1938KM from transmitter at Cerrik. Local time: 1834.

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Flashbacks: Croatia summer 2015

I cannot believe it will have been two years since M and I visited Croatia at the end of July.

I’ve been enjoying Luke Bather’s recent Instagram posts of some (film) shots he took on a recent trip to Croatia – he captures elements of the light and the building materials in a way that makes it feel like just yesterday that we visited. But it’s basically two years ago now, and that makes me long to visit again.

Some brief highlights below, and the whole album is on Flickr.

2017 Tour de France live in HD

20140824-20140824-IMG_6226.CR2It’s that time of year again: Tour de France is just around the corner, and I can’t wait.

I can’t remember when I started watching TdF, but I think it coincided with living in Milton Keynes, that bike-friendly city, and buying my first bike since childhood. The following year I bought a second bike, a road bike to go with my more functional Dutch-style bike.

I’m a fairweather cycling fan (and cyclist!), and I only really follow the Tour when it’s on. But I love the competition just as much as the scenery. I just love watching the Tour weave its way through France (and sometimes Germany, or Belgium, or Spain or the UK, or…).

In fact, ogling the scenery of southern France in last year’s Tour is what led, directly, to M and I heading there for a holiday in August. We took in sleepy Montauban, which had featured (briefly!) on the route, the fortified citadel of Carcassonne, and beautiful, vibrant Toulouse.

So for the next few weeks, I’m really looking forward to many hours of exciting racing, beautiful scenery, bike nerdery, and of course that incessant theme tune. But of course that scenery looks so much nicer in high definition – and therein lies the rub.

ITV4 is the national broadcaster for the Tour in the UK, but unfortunately on my platform of choice Freesat, ITV4 isn’t available in HD – it’s only on Sky. And so I started investigating other broadcasters who might carry TdF coverage in HD, like Eurosport. But, again, that is subscription-only.

And then I suddenly spotted that S4C, the Welsh language channel, is showing TdF live for two hours a day on every stage, plus daily highlights, in glorious HD – all free to air on Freesat! Hurrah!

There is, of course, the small detail of the commentary being in Welsh. But, given that I’d been considering German Eurosport as one way method of getting free-to-air HD coverage, I think I can deal with that.

Plus, I imagine words like “peloton”, “maillot jaune”, “allez, allez!” and “Geraint Thomas” will come across pretty clearly. The coverage itself is called ‘Seiclo’, for crying out loud…

I think a combination of live coverage from S4C and highlights on ITV4 will be the perfect setup for this year’s Tour.

The BBC World Service Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast

Phew. Just a couple of hours after walking home from work on what I think must’ve been the warmest day of the year, I was settling down to listen to a most unusual radio programme.

Just as it was mid-summer’s day here yesterday, in Antarctica (and elsewhere southern) it was midwinter.

Stranded for months in nocturnal eternity, the staff of the British Antarctic Survey get a rather special gift from the BBC. On this day, the scientists, engineers and other support staff traditionally give each other gifts, have a big meal, and get rather merry.

But they also tune in to a special BBC World Service broadcast directly pointing at them. And I mean literally: the Beeb utilises three shortwave transmitter sites around the world, points them south, and broadcasts a special one-off half hour programme directly to Antarctica in the hope that the bases will pick it up.

Shortwave audiences may be shrinking as time and technology move on, but this show deliberately only has a target audience of 50 or so. I’m not sure how long it’s been going on, but it seems to be something of a tradition.

The show features a bit of music, some messages of support from the great, the good and the weird, and primarily plays messages from family and loved ones of the intended audience. I imagine it provokes scenes of joy, tears, merriment and embarrassment to all listening in. The show was presented this year by Cerys Matthews of 6 Music.

As a shortwave listener, this kind of special broadcast is especially interesting. Because although the target audience is the bottom of the globe, the nature of the broadcast meant that other listeners could attempt to pick up the signal as it made its way south.

I was very pleased to get good reception from two of the transmitter sites: Woofferton in England, and Ascension Island, a dot in the South Atlantic. Signals from Dhabbaya in Abu Dhabi eluded me.

I usually get good reception from all three sites, and even though in theory they were all directing their signal south, I was still able to pick up Ascension almost as strong as I was Woofferton.

Shortwave radio has fascinated me for 15 years or more, and it continues to. For every ten relays of China Radio International you have to wade through, there’s always an oddity popping up. And the variations in the atmospheric conditions mean that every listening session is different somehow.

But even more so, special events like the BBC’s Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast can’t fail to intrigue me and I was so pleased to be able to ‘take part’ this time.

My trusty Tecsun PL-380 continues to do sterling work with the aid of the bundled long wire antenna draped out of the window across the balcony. I’m pleased to get pretty decent reception in my ground floor flat in NW London, despite masses of sources of interference, lack in height, and being surrounded by buildings.

The reception quality of the Midwinter Broadcast was less good than I’m used to, but this is to be expected as the signals were directed in a particular way and it was just nice to pick them up on their way.

I made some very sloppy recordings of the broadcast for the SWLing Post blog, and they’re online here. The show itself can be heard in much higher fidelity online here.

Virginia Woolf beats up the waters of talk

Occasionally, a single passage from a single diary entry can floor you. This one from Virginia Woolf was quoted at Diaryfest recently and I just love it so much:

Wednesday June 13th, 1923

“…and then I went to Golders Green and sat with Mary Sheepshanks in her harden and beat up the waters of talk, as I do so courageously, so that life mayn’t be wasted.”

That turn of phrase – to beat up the waters of talk – is just so evocative and stirring! One thinks of conversing in this style, like being waist-deep in water, slapping the surface chaotically, stirring things up. One can imagine the disapproving looks on the faces of nearby bathers…

But this entry – this singular turn of phrase – isn’t the first time Woolf’s diaries have stopped me in my tracks.

From Michael Palin’s diary of 11 September 1985, he notes another of her clever observations:

“Have been dipping into V Woolf’s extraordinary diaries over the last few days and found a neat phrase – to ‘rout the drowse’. Sounds like street talk, in fact it describes what a good walk does for her creative energy. So, as I feel increasingly addled, I eventually go for a run, which routs the drowse most effectively.”

I’ve referred to this passage before somewhere. But it’s too good not to share, particularly in tandem with the other quote above. Whether beating up the waters of talk or merely routing the drowse, Woolf never fails to impress.

On a related note, I was immediately drawn to the above quote due to its mention of Golders Green, near to where I work. Indeed, the quote goes on: “the fresh breeze went brushing all the thick hedges which divide the gardens,” which immediately makes me think the passage refers to a meeting either just within Hampstead Garden Suburb or just without; hedge-lined gardens remain a prominent feature – indeed, a requirement – of most Suburb homes a century on.