Radio History Sojourn

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by N1BCG, Sep 4, 2018.

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  1. N1BCG

    N1BCG Subscriber QRZ Page

    An unexpected and surprising revelation occurred while staying at the Novotel Monte Carlo in Monaco when I began noticing decorations that seemed odd for a hotel. Studio microphones and headphones! Can you identify the models?

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    Determined to learn about these unusual decorations, I asked the staff at the front desk and it turned out that the hotel had been built on the former site of the Radio Monte Carlo International Broadcast Center! Back in the day, RMC had a significant presence in European broadcasting with its 1400kW longwave signal on 216kc and 1000kW on 1467kc. Quite a pair of strappers radiating from facilities in Roumoules, France!

    I discovered all kinds of tribute decorations. Even the conference rooms had familiar names!

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    RMC's thunderous LW signal can be heard on this SDR in neighboring Italy:

    But, as seems to be the trend, the heyday of RMC may have passed. This video shows what appears to be a gathering of RMC staffers in the studio building shortly before its demolition to become the Novotel. For those of us in the b'cast industry who have had stations change or close, there's an empathy that spans all languages:

    This video, made from clips circa 1978, give an idea as to what Radio Monte Carlo was like:

    I admit that this post is a bit of a stretch on QRZ, but if there's going to be any appreciation it will likely be found in this forum. Hope you find this as interesting as I do!

    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
    KD8ZM, KA0HCP and AD5HR like this.
  2. W3RSW

    W3RSW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Merci. C’est vrai.
  3. K4KYV

    K4KYV Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    Visiting family in the UK back in 1999, I remember riding with my wife's brother-in-law one evening during an excursion down to Brighton. He was driving and had the car radio tuned to one of the FM stations. I asked him if I could play with the radio a litttle, to listen to some of the medium wave AM stations and to see what I could hear on longwave. He asked me with a perplexed expression on his face , why in the world I wanted to do that. "Nobody listens to that any more".

    A few years ago, using a LF tuner I had thrown together, I was able to pick up some of the European LW stations between 150 and 200 kc using my 160m beverage and Kenwood R-1000 receiver, whose nominal frequency range goes down to only 200 kc but I found it would pick up signals as low as 150 kc at reduced sensitivity. In mid-winter some of these signals came in at times with entertainment quality, regularly appearing up to an hour before sundown.

    Before that, I had never even been able to pick out a heterodyne from the carrier of any of the LW stations. The antenna and tuning network made all the difference.

    I understand many of the LW stations have now gone dark or soon plan to do so.
  4. N1BCG

    N1BCG Subscriber QRZ Page

    There's a list of stations still on the air followed by those that have gone dark toward the bottom of this page:

    I've been fascinated by LW stations since a young age beginning when I was given a Zenith AM/LW radio and first heard the navigational beacons and TWEB (aircraft route weather) voice stations here in the U.S. Then I discovered during trips to Europe that the LW band was filled with broadcast stations. My uncle there regularly listened to a classical music station in his car, I believe it was in France, while "Atlantic 252" (500kW day, 100kW night) became a favorite of mine. Our clashing tastes required me to use headphones while staying at his place.

    Interestingly, Atlantic 252 and Radio Luxembourg were both owned by RTL which tried to promote 252 as a daytime alternative for UK listeners when the Luxembourg signal could not be received.

    I checked out some home electronic stores during a recent trip to The Netherlands to see what type of radios were being sold. Yikes. The vast majority were "DAB +FM" and only a few Sony tabletops had MW (AM). None had LW or KW (shortwave). While I understand this, it's a tough sight, particularly since I vividly remember seeing dozens of interesting radios for home, car, and portable use that typically included those four bands. But that was some years ago...

    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  5. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think that list is obsolete as more shut down.
  6. N1BCG

    N1BCG Subscriber QRZ Page

    You got me curious. A scan of the LW b'cast band using a webSDR yielded these loggings:

    153 Possibly Russia or Norway
    183 Europe 1 (Germany)
    198 BBC4 (Droitwich, UK)
    216 RMC (France)
    225 Polskie Radio Jedynka (Poland)
    234 RTL (Luxembourg)
    252 RTE Radio 1 (Ireland)
    270 CRo Radiozuma (Czech Republic)

    Amazing those web-based SDRs!
    KM1H likes this.
  7. KM1H

    KM1H Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the update, I dont listen down there much any longer but the empty spaces really stand out. One station, UK I think, played a lot of the US and UK oldies and blasted in on any half decent night on 500-1500' Beverages depending upon where I lived here in NH.

    When in the USN and cruising the Atlantic and Med I piped in a lot of LW into crew areas thru the ships speakers. Some US BCB when conditions were right. WKBW, WBZ, WOR, WABC, etc.

    Radio Caroline and a few other pirates were in their prime.

  8. N1BCG

    N1BCG Subscriber QRZ Page

    Ironically, they recently got their hands on a license for a former BBC frequency:

    Radio Caroline 648
  9. K4KYV

    K4KYV Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    A few years ago when I tuned into those stations, I was able to hear Europe 1 ( French-speaking border blaster located just over the line in Germany, running 2 megawatts), BBC 4, Iceland, and Morocco. I couldn't hear much above 200kc because of QRM from the aircraft beacons, although I could detect the presence of RTL.

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