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Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

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Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by colly0410 » Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:25 pm

Radio Luxmbourg relied on skywaves to cover the UK at night for it's English service. Did any other none propaganda domestic radio stations in the world use/used skywaves like this? Or was Radio Luxembourg unique in this respect.

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by nuvistor » Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:33 pm

Hilversum probably did aswell.

Frank

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by Terrykc » Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:44 pm

nuvistor wrote:Hilversum probably did aswell.

When? My knowledge of Hilversum goes back to the mid 50s and external broadcasting was confined to SW by then.

There are quite a few that fit the MW bill, though.

Radio Moscow
Radio Warsaw
Radio Prague
ORTF (but English broadcasts were discontinued in the early 60s)
VoA Munich
Vatican Radio

Then, of course, we had the biggest of them all: Radio Tirana (1,000 kW) which wiped out reception of the BBC's 1214kHz synchronised network (Light Programme, later Radio 3) at night in many areas of the UK ...

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by nuvistor » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:28 pm

I have a number of radios around 59/60 era marked with Hilversum at locations on MW around 300 and 400 meters, some with both, others with just the 400m. I do remember listening to Hilversum, must admit cannot remember which band but I will try to find out more info, see what I can find.
Frank

edit. more info, 4th para down give freq of MW TX after WW2
http://mediumwave.info/reports.html

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by ntscuser » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:05 pm

Where we lived the pirate stations were only audible at night.

Radio Monte Carlo had a English language service for a brief period in the 1970s. It was hosted by disgraced DJs Dave Cash and Tommy Vance who were fired from the BBC after the payola scandal. It offered an interesting alternative to Radio Luxembourg who at that time played only album tracks after midnight.

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by raditechman » Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:53 am

Although it was not aimed for a UK audience AFN was listened to by many in the UK at night, it was popular enough for several British newspapers to list their programmes that were on after 6pm as reception became possible in the evening.
I used to listen to it for Bob Hope Show and Dragnet!
John

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by Synchrodyne » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:03 am

I think that the BBC European service used MF skywave transmisisons for some of its services, e.g. on 647, later 648 kHz. But these were international, not domestic, and as far as I know the transmitting aerials were configured to maximize the skywave in the required direction and at the required angle and to minimize the ground wave. On the other hand, Luxembourg probably radiated both a groundwave for nearby listeners and a skywave for distant listerners.

Cheers,

Steve

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by Pye_Man » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:53 am

At least in recent times, excluding the offshore pirate stations, Radio Luxembourg would seem unique in providing a regular commercial service of entertainment several hours a night every day of the week specifically designed for reception in a foreign country some distance from its own borders. Atlantic 252 did the same but reception on long wave was, in the main, ground wave. The 1970s offshore stations relied on skywave for their English broadcasts as they were at night, though in 1973 Radio Caroline had a short lived all day English service on 773kHz which I remember fair thumped into the midlands during the day. Unfortunately, this came to an abrupt end when the aerial mast collapsed.

Radio Sweden on 254 metres (Horby) broadcast a few programmes in English at night. These were short shows probably designed for general anglophone consumption but there were many listeners in the UK. I distinctly remember "The Saturday Show". I was also a regular listener to AFN and at night could often hear several of the German transmitters. I don't know if there were ever any low power relays for US bases in the UK. I also remember Radio Monte Carlo on 205m, and seem to recall that there was a similar idea to transmit pop/rock programmes from Radio Andorra in the late 60s or early 1970s.

Radio Luxembourg on 208m had an elaborate aerial system that was switched depending on whether programmes were for Germany or the UK. Given the power of the transmitter, had they chosen to, English programming would have been easily heard in the UK during the day.

Before World War II there were various continental stations transmitting programmes from the continent specifically for UK listeners. The most famous of these was Radio Normandie which was available on 274m (it did use some other wavelengths). There were also programmes from Paris, Lyon, Hilversum and one or two more. Radio Luxembourg was also transmitting but English programmes were on long wave.

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by Terrykc » Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:44 pm

nuvistor wrote:I have a number of radios around 59/60 era marked with Hilversum at locations on MW around 300 and 400 meters, l

Yes, but these were only used for domestic services and didn't rely on sky waves to reach their intended audience in the Netherlands, so are outside the scope of the original question.

However, ground waves don't stop at international borders and most, if not all, transmitters radiate a sky wave component which can travel long distances at night, thus radios all over Europe show the domestic transmitters of many other countries on their dials.

When Radio Caroline North opened up at midnight for Murph the Smurf's midnight surf party, not only was it clearly receivable in the south east but also 1250 miles away on the Italian coast - not bad for 10kW! Not that Caroline's sky-wave was intentional but, with the excellent ground plane reflector provided by the Irish Sea was inevitable, I suppose! Meanwhile, the close down of co-channel Radio Prague was clearly audible and periods of test tone were sometimes clearly heard over Caroline's signal well into the early hours - but this was the domestic service of Radio Prague, not the international one!

I agree with the comments about AFN but, again, their transmitters did not RELY on skywaves, which is the important aspect of this thread's title - and seems to be causing the most confusion!

Radio Luxembourg is an interesting case. Early in the evening, reception in the South East was often dire with much worse deep fading and distortion than later on, although the fading was always present. However, one thing about those early evening request programmes was the high number of requests from Scotland and Ireland. It was only after a couple of summer holidays, one on the Isle of Bute and the other on the mouth of the Boyne, that I realised the reason - no ground wave! At home we had the ground and sky-waves continually going into and out of phase with each other and causing the very deep fading whereas at those much longer ranges there was still some fading of the skywave but the ground wave never got that far!

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by ntscuser » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:03 pm

The fading and distortion added to the drama when listening to the chart show on Radio Luxembourg, you could only hope and pray that the station would be audible when they finally announced the No.1 record. I remember when Je t'aime topped the chart and it was completely inaudible for the first half of the record! The record was of course banned on BBC radio at the time.

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by Pye_Man » Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:09 pm

ntscuser wrote: I remember when Je t'aime topped the chart and it was completely inaudible for the first half of the record!
That wasn't phase distortion you were hearing - it was lots of grunting and groaning... ;-)

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by nuvistor » Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:56 pm

Hi Terry,
I have done a bit more searching and although I cannot find any direct reference to Hilversum transmitting in English for the UK I have found many articles about the reception of the Dutch station in the UK on MW. Using the search facility at American Radio history in PW and WW to find these references.
My parents definitely listened to Hillversum and my mother would not have used SW, the sets I refer to with the Hilversum station dial marking are standard UK sets, Ekco, Ferranti Pye, indeed the DAC10 has it marked. We lived in the North West so reception would not have been ground wave.
It is possible that only the odd program was intended for the UK, but never the less the adverts and constructional articles promote its reception.
Attached are just two, a page from an advert from the early 60's PW and a letter from WW 1949 complaining of interference to Hilversum on MW. There are many others.

I obviously cannot be 100% sure that programs were intended for the UK but the evidence suggests it was.

regards
Frank
Attachments
Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 20.26.55.png
PW Oct 1962
Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 20.26.55.png (171.35 KiB) Viewed 1899 times
Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 20.53.44.png
WW Nov 1949
Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 20.53.44.png (108.38 KiB) Viewed 1899 times

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by Synchrodyne » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:52 pm

Between intentional skywave radiation to reach a target area outside of the groundwave reach on the one hand, and purely incidental skywave radiation from a transmitter intended to cover its target service area by groundwave on the other, there might have been an intermediate case. That is, where transmitters in the second group discovered after the fact that they did in fact have a distant night-time audience for their incidental skywave. Then having found this to be so, accordingly they directed some of their programming to that audience.

Cheers,

Steve P.

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by Terrykc » Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:33 am

nuvistor wrote:I have done a bit more searching and although I cannot find any direct reference to Hilversum transmitting in English for the UK I have found many articles about the reception of the Dutch station in the UK on MW. Using the search facility at American Radio history in PW and WW to find these references.
My parents definitely listened to Hillversum and my mother would not have used SW, the sets I refer to with the Hilversum station dial marking are standard UK sets, Ekco, Ferranti Pye, indeed the DAC10 has it marked. We lived in the North West so reception would not have been ground wave.
It is possible that only the odd program was intended for the UK, but never the less the adverts and constructional articles promote its reception.
Attached are just two, a page from an advert from the early 60's PW and a letter from WW 1949 complaining of interference to Hilversum on MW. There are many others.

I obviously cannot be 100% sure that programs were intended for the UK but the evidence suggests it was.

You are obviously not intending to drop this but, in reality, there is little in your post that you have not repeated before. As you say, you can find no reference to that transmitter being used for broadcasts in English and, as a powerful transmitter on a clear channel it would have covered a much larger area than its intended service area (which was all of the Netherlands).

In 1962, the Musicians Union still ruled the roost at the BBC resulting in very little recorded music being available so listeners were only too happy to find it wherever it might be. There was a very heavy Anglo-American influence on the Dutch hit parade so using this fact to sell radios in the UK should not be taken to infer anything different!

Had Radio Veronica been available to a UK audience in 1962, that would have been an even better selling point!

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by nuvistor » Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:58 am

OK Terry, I leave it at that.

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by Pye_Man » Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:23 am

Terrykc wrote:Had Radio Veronica been available to a UK audience in 1962, that would have been an even better selling point!

Radio Veronica experimented with limited hours broadcasts in English in 1961 under the guise of 'CNBC' (Commercial Neutral Broadcasting Company) and an office to handle advertising was set up in London. Little success and the increasing popularity of the Dutch programming brought them to an end.

To go back to the opening post, Radio Luxembourg, post World War II, would thus appear to be unique, certainly given its hours of output and clearly defined target audience. Before WWII Radio Normandie would have relied on skywave at night for further flung places but groundwave during the day for southern England. Given their distance Radio Lyon and Radio Toulouse would probably have relied on skywave alone. Hilversum did broadcast to the UK before WWII - with reception via groundwave and/or skywave depending on the location of the receiver. Normandie and Luxembourg were clearly the most successful stations in this era, most of the others ceasing their English broadcasts in the early 1930s.

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by ntscuser » Thu Jun 09, 2016 3:16 pm

Was any particular model of radio receiver especially good at receiving MW skywave signals?

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by turretslug » Thu Jun 09, 2016 4:05 pm

Good AGC and synchronous demodulation? I suppose similar criteria as for good SW reception would apply, but image rejection and noise performance wouldn't have been as critical, so no need for the 2 RF stages and 4x ganged tuning of the classical behemoths.

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by hamid_1 » Thu Jun 09, 2016 7:33 pm

As well as Radio Luxembourg, I certainly remember Radio Sweden International had some English language programmes on medium wave.

Radio Moscow also broadcast on medium wave in English, though I suspect the transmitter wasn't actually in Moscow but somewhere in Eastern Europe, nearer to Britain.

Hilversum I only came across on short wave in English, "The Happy Station Show" I think it was called.

All of the above was in the in the 1980s. AFN (American Forces Network) was also receiveable in the UK at night, though unintentionally - it was aimed at US troops in Germany.

In the 1990s, I remember listening to one of the Dutch stations on medium wave, "Radio 10 Gold". One day, the DJ read out a letter in English from a listener in the UK. The listener confessed that he wasn't able to understand Dutch but liked the music - a bit like me, really. Clearly, some radio stations did find an audience outside their intended service area.

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by Terrykc » Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:40 pm

Pye_Man wrote:Radio Veronica experimented with limited hours broadcasts in English in 1961 under the guise of 'CNBC' (Commercial Neutral Broadcasting Company) and an office to handle advertising was set up in London. Little success and the increasing popularity of the Dutch programming brought them to an end.

That surprises me because, unlike the UK Pirates with their tall masts, Veronica used a low altitude horizontal antenna. Perfect adequate for coverage of the low lying countryside of the Netherlands but useless this side of the North Sea. My first acquaintance with Veronica was in Rotterdam in 1962 and the following year I thought I'd try my luck on the East Coast at Lowestoft but no-go.

On the beach - fine if you didn't get shielded by a sand bar but off the beach? Zilch! Even on the top deck of a bus heading back to Norwich it barely survived a mile ..

In our workshop at Grays, on the Thames near Tilbury, though, it came in like the proverbial ton of bricks on our Band I TV aerial which we used to repair car radios! So, for several years, repaired car radios never made it the 'awaiting collection' shelf but stayed on 'soak test' until the owner arrived - tuned to Veronica, obviously!

hamid_1 wrote:In the 1990s, I remember listening to one of the Dutch stations on medium wave, "Radio 10 Gold". One day, the DJ read out a letter in English from a listener in the UK. The listener confessed that he wasn't able to understand Dutch but liked the music - a bit like me, really. Clearly, some radio stations did find an audience outside their intended service area.

Ah! Radio 10 Gold on 765kHz - a classic example of the power of the ground wave which gave excellent all-day reception over a large part of Britain - the radio in my van was permanently tuned to it!

Eventually, though, the Dutch had one of their routine frequency shuffles and it transferred to 1296kHz (I think) and the signal then never reach Britain at entertainment level. 765 became a rock station which was not my taste, so that was the end of that!

I was always fascinated by Radio 10 Gold's (pronounced Radio teen gold) weather man, Jan Visser, who would frequently introduce old English weather proverbs into his forecasts. He also had a way of pronouncing his name which was still clearly Dutch but came within an inch of its English translation - John Fisher.

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by Synchrodyne » Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:53 am

In the USA, the Class I AM stations had – probably still have - a protected secondary service area as well as a protected primary service area.

The primary service area was the groundwave coverage area which was protected from both co-channel and adjacent channel interference.

The secondary service area was within the night-time skywave coverage area and was protected from co-channel interference only.

So that was another example of intentional – and protected – use of the MF skywave, in this case additional to the ground wave.

Cheers,

Steve

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by Pye_Man » Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:10 am

In the midlands I could never hear Veronica on 192m. 538m was a completely different matter - until Capital Radio came along.

I am surprised how long it took the offshore stations to cotton on to the benefits of the lower medium wave frequencies. It seems that initially they were concerned with erecting as near a full-size quarter wave as was physically possible so the logic was to go for the higher frequencies. Of the 60s era the station with the biggest daytime coverage was Radio 390 (773kHz) where they had the advantages of the several towers of Red Sands Fort to erect a large aerial.

In the 1980s, Laser 558 and Caroline just a little above were easily listenable in the midlands and I regularly listened on my cheapo car radio in my old Ford Escort. Laser used a T aerial and Caroline, after the tall mast collapsed, used the same. Laser always seemed to have the better signal.

Today, BBC Hereford & Worcester on 738kHz goes a long way on its handful of watts. Driving down the M5 motorway one morning it only finally disappeared into the mush at Weston-super-Mare. My current car radio isn't particularly sensitive on AM.

Back to pure skywave, I remember being on holiday in Oban in 1974. The only two English language stations I could get at night on my pocket portable were RNI and Caroline - both thumping in. From what I remember of the listeners' mailbag RNI had big listenerships in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Nick

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by Katie Bush » Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:19 pm

Hi Nick,

RNI? - am I confusing that with "Radio North Sea International" (RNSI)? Anchored somewhere off Scarborough, I believe.

Marion

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by crackle » Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:03 pm

RNI was Radio Northsea International, but I believe it was closer to the Dutch coast, they broadcast in Dutch for part of the day.
http://websiterni.zapto.org/index%20OLD.htm
http://tunein.com/radio/Radio-Northsea- ... al-s97209/

Mike

 
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Re: Medium wave stations that relied on skywaves.

Post by Refugee » Sat Jun 11, 2016 2:05 am

I can remember RNI.
They also put out a short wave signal in the 1970s allowing for a much better quality signal.
It made ownership of a Murphy baffle board set worth while at the time.

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