SOUNDS OFF THE WIRELESS

Webspace having become so terribly cheap of late I decided to finally get myself a really personal domain. And once having reached that point, I decided that now is an excellent time to sort of update my website. I promise you won't get a headache due to loads of animations jumping to life the moment you open your eyes, as I am one of those old-fashioned persons who believe the content is more important than the artwork.

When I started this part of my site, many (if not most) people still had dial-up connections and MP3 had just about appeared, which is why I recorded stuff in a quite lossy RealAudio 2. Unfortunately since in those days hard disks were still expensive, I did not keep the original WAV-recordings, if not I could probably have done better converting the old recordings than I have done now. With an old version of Streambox Ripper I converted each one of them to MP3 with a bitrate of 32 kb/s. This is not much, but it's about as much as can be extracted from an 8 kb/s RealAudio recording. Time allowing I will also try and clean some of the recordings up (like filtering out hets and clicks), but that will not be for today or tomorrow.

An important advantage of the migration to MP3 is that you can use any self-respecting player, such as RealPlayer, Windows Media Player (which many people use, for the simple -and not necessarily good- reason that it came with their computer) or MusicMatch Jukebox (which has a free -light- version), but I would suggest you use WinAmp on a Windows machine, or XMMS on a Linux computer.

For some time I have been thinking of putting all stations together in one long list. I could even have prepared a neat page with real database access (PHP, MySQL or what have you). As it is I am however not just old-fashioned, but also quite clumsy with more complicated applications. I tried quite often to understand the workings of these programs, but until now I have never really succeeded in getting beyond the introduction. I have therefore decided to not change much about the lay-out and to maintain a division by continent and types of station.

You will see I have added a link to my NDB-page, which has a different lay-out due to the different character of the relative stations. If you have never spent time hunting for NDB's (Non Directional Beacons) it would do no harm to give it a try. You will need some basic knowledge of the morse code, but you can take all the time you need to decode the few morse characters you hear on every station: the (generally 2- or 3-character) ID is repeated over and over and over. NDB-hunting is not only fun, but also quite simple. Since the ID is the only thing that is being transmitted (the verb 'broadcast' is hardly applicable here) and is being transmitted uninterruptedly, you won't have to wait until the top of the hour for an identification - with the risk that precisely at that moment your signal suffers from interference.

Most of the stuff on these pages has been recorded by myself on a succession of receivers and antennas. At present I use a WinRadio G303 (with Professional Demodulator, DRM Demodulator and Advanced Digital Suite) and a Wellbrook ALA-1530 loop antenna. Please remember however that the hardware (and software) do not mean everything. Often patience is more important and a bit of luck has never done any harm either. Some stations can only be received during a short period, e.g. between your local sunset and the station's local sunrise, so for the more exotic catches you should be prepared to spend some time trying.

Some other listeners, however, have also very generously sent me dozens of recordings - such as Ignacio Sotomayor, who sent me some 100 recordings of Spanish Medium Wave stations, which I have stored on a special page (which you will find under Spain, Europe. Also Aart Rouw sent me a load of tapes, which I still have not worked out completely. Of course all these donations are duely credited as follows:
AR = Aart Rouw, Germany
EB = Erich Bergmann, Germany
FV = Fernando Viloria, Venezuela
IS = Ignacio Sotomayor, Spain
JdR = John de Rivaz, United Kingdom
JMM
RG = Ryan Grabow, USA

Just before you begin your trip through the recordings, please note that you can always contact me by e-mail, e.g. if you have a recording you would like me to publish so as to share it with other hobbyists.
And now the fun can begin. Just look up the continent or the type of transmission you are interested in, make sure the volume of your speakers or headphones is not too high and click on...

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