Category Archives: Shortwave listening

Global Tuners – listening to far-off radio stations

Global Tuners is a worldwide project for people to share their shortwave radio receivers. There are about 50 tuners around the world, and once you create an account you can log in to each of them, change the tuning settings, and listen to the broadcasts that can be heard in that part of the world.

Global-tuners-perth-australia

I have an old shortwave set that was my stepdad’s, and so I’ve been trying to pull in stations from home. That’s been successful up to a point, but compared to the last time I was following this world (20 years ago) there’s a lot less in the English language and more in Chinese. Getting access to tuners around the world, especially to ones that have better antenna setups than I do, is remarkably handy.

The other thing that you can use a shortwave set for most of the time is listening to AM and FM stations that are aimed at a local audience. Here is where some of the most unusual listening comes in – it’s just plain fun to tune in an Australian FM station (via a tuner in Australia) and listen to what ordinary radio sounds like there.

For best results, you’ll want to pair this with some lookup tools that help you figure out what’s on the air at that time that’s likely to be heard in that part of the world. Short-wave.info has a nice real time database of broadcast schedules, so that if you are tuning around the dial on shortwave you can see which stations are likely to be broadcasting.  FMSCAN has global listings of AM and FM stations, and MWLIST has longwave, mediumwave, tropical bands and a shortwave radio database. It’s the kind of information that I recall from sorting through the back pages of the World Radio and TV Handbook, except that it’s all linked together (and more up to date than my 1980s copy).

Japanese Mitsui chemical plant explosion, monitored via transmissions of NHK World Radio Japan

A fire at a chemical plant in Japan killed one and injured dozens, according to broadcasts monitored on international shortwave frequencies and Internet news and trade publication sources.

Picture 14

The NHK news includes news of a chemical plant explosion at Mitsui Chemicals' Iwakuni-Ohtake facility, which straddles areas in Yamaguchi and Hiroshima prefectures. The Mitsui Chemicals site identifies the site of the plant as 1-2, Waki 6-chome, Waki-cho, Kuga-gun, Yamaguchi 740-0061, and says the following chemicals are produced there:

  • PTA
  • PET resin
  • TPX
  • MILLION
  • APEL
  • Wax
  • Hydrocarbon resin
  • LUCANT
  • Gas pipes
  • Pelicles
  • Hydroquinone
  • Resorcinol
  • Meta/Para-cresol

ICIS.com, in a story by Tomomi Yokomura, reports that the fire was in the unit which produces resorcinol, an adhesive for wood and car tires.

This safety data sheet for resourcinol, otherwise known as CAS 108-46-3, 3-HYDROXYPHENOL or 1,3-benzenediol, m-dihydroxybenzene, describes that its dust is highly flammable.

Fukushima Diary reports (unconfirmed) nuclear materials on site. This was later confirmed in a Mitsui Chemicals press release.

I'm not able to be up to monitor this (it's late here in Ann Arbor, MI) but there is a YouTube video with a longer shot of the event.

Via the NHK World Radio Japan web site, here is a map of their transmissions on shortwave bands. The "Yamata" site marked is the primary transmission site in Japan.

Shortwave_transmission
I was able to pick up the transmission from Canada, marked as (1) here and on the March 25, 2012 frequency and broadcasting chart (PDF). Of course, the sound quality is much better on the Internet, but if you have a new (to you) shortwave set there's some satisfaction in just making contact.

Picture 13
I always find Japanese infographics to be interesting to look at and get ideas from.

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Mandatory disclaimer: Nothing to disclaim at this time.

Copyright notice: The images in this article are Copyright NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) and are not to be further reproduced.

Also see: NHK World, UPI (quoting NHK),  Xinhua (quoting the local press), and Jiji Press (quoted by several, but I could not find the original story).