NASWA Winter SWL Fest » 2017 Winter SWL Fest Program

2017 Winter SWL Fest Program


(Final.  Subject to Last Minute Change.)



Thursday, 2 March 2017


1200    Registration Table and Exhibit Room Open (until 1700)


1300    “Broadcast Towers I’ve Known and Photographed” – Scott Fybush provides a visual tour of broadcast transmitter sites including several shortwave facilities he’s had the privilege of visiting lately.


1430    “Radio on the Road” – Once again, travel the world of radio with Janice Laws and Steve Karlock in this popular continuing Fest series. Janice has now visited 84 countries and made many recordings and videos of local stations she’s heard during her travels. Including hot tips on how to make the most of your vacations and radio listening hobby, updated for this 30th Fest!


1600    “Getting Started with RTL-SDR” – RTL-SDR refers to a class of hardware devices based upon a particular DVB-T CODFM demodulator with a USB interface.  While designed to receive off air digital television outside of the US ATSC system, hobbyists have found for several years that it makes for a great receiver for VHF and up. Dan Srebnick covers how to get started with free(ly) available software, and describes some interesting uses of this low-cost receiver platform.


1700    Dinner on Your Own


1930    Registration Table and Exhibit Room Re-Open (until 2100)

            Hospitality Room and Receiver Demonstrations Open (until 2400)


2000    “Radio 101 – The Past, Present and Future of Radio for Newbies and Significant Others of Radio Geeks”Charles Hargrove introduces the uninitiated to the history and science of radio, describing what is out there to hear and what new developments are on the horizon. From shortwave to scanners, satellite TV to covert communications, there is much to receive and view the world without having to wait for “film at 11” from your local news outlet.



Friday, 3 March 2017


0800    Registration Table Opens (until 1200)

            Exhibit Room Opens (all day)


0830    “What’s Up at RFA?” – Our good friend, Radio Free Asia Program and Operations Support Director AJ Janitschek, returns with a report on how RFA is faring in its efforts to provide reliable news and information to Asian nations lacking free media. He’ll also unveil a little surprise for DXers on the occasion of the 30th Fest!


0930    “Internet DXing” — Radio listening is changing. We can now stream global broadcasters and those former tropical band stations on our smartphones, tablets and desktop computers.  However, there are many stations that the big aggregators like TuneIn, vTuner and Shoutcast miss in their postings. Tracy Wood demonstrates how to hunt down those illusive Internet “DX targets” using search engines, HTML deep dives, packet sniffers, scripts and online geospatial tools The “Joy of DXing” truly has returned, albeit it’s now Internet-style!


1100    “Pirate Radio Year in Review”George Zeller leads our annual discussion of the year in pirate radio–oriented both toward veteran pirate DXers and also newcomers to this aspect of the radio hobby–including official announcement of the 2017 class of inductees into the North American Pirate Radio Hall of Fame.


1200    Lunch on Your Own

            Hospitality Room and Receiver Demonstrations Open (until 1330)


1315    Registration Table Re-Opens (until 1500)


1330    “Going Digital: Better Scanning in the 21st Century” — Tom Swisher leads our annual session devoted exclusively to scanners where up-to-date methods for scanning modern communication systems will be demonstrated and discussed.


1500    “Farewell to the BBG: What’s Ahead for U.S. International Media and the VOA?” — U.S. government-funded media — VOA, RFE/RL, RFA, Radio/TV Marti, and MBN — are all impacted by legislation signed by Barack Obama in one of his final acts as president. Our good friend and former VOA White House, Congressional and Foreign Correspondent Dan Robinson reviews recent events and offers his views on where things are headed.


1630    “Defining Radio in Software” — Mark Phillips provides a “1000 mile view” of what SDR (software defined radio) is, what it does, how we use it all the time without realizing and why it’s really quite a significant milestone in SWLing.


1730    Dinner on Your Own

Hospitality Room and Receiver Demonstrations Open (until 2400)


1900    Informal Radio Swap Meet Starts (in the Exhibit Room)


2000    Zenith ‘Long Distance Radio’ and the Highway to DXing” — The early (1919-1925) work of Zenith Radio Corporation poured gasoline on the flames of early DXing and helped spread the fire to the masses. With a description like that, there has to be an interesting story in there somewhere and Harold “Dr. DX” Cones, one of the notorious Gang of Three who invented the Fest, is just the one to tell it.



2115   THE ANNUAL SHORTWAVE SHINDIG! Join David Goren and friends for our annual late night listening hang featuring live music, interviews and audio pieces exploring the history and aesthetics of the shortwave radio listening experience. At 2200 EST we’ll go live via WRMI Radio Miami International for a three hour broadcast including the best of Short Waves/Long Distance, an open call for shortwave based audio work co-sponsored by NASWA The North American Shortwave Association and Wave Farm, a media arts organization. Short Waves/Long Distance celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Fest, and the 20th Anniversary of Wave Farm. (WRMI Radio Miami International frequency TBA.)



Saturday, 4 March 2017


0800    Registration Table Opens (until 1000)

            Exhibit Room Opens (all day)


0830    SWLing in Japan: Past, Present and Future – We are pleased to welcome once again our friend Toshimichi Ohtaké, joined this year by Sakaé Obara, representing Japan Shortwave Club (JSWC) and discussing the current state of the hobby there. SWLing was very popular among teenagers in the country during 1970s-1980s, and that influences the hobby still today.


0945    Broadcast FM DX – Russ Edmunds covers FM propagation, receivers, antennas, as well as examples of FM station receptions via various propagation modes, using audio clips and/or RDS software.


1000    Silent Auction Opens (location TBA)


1100    “Pirate Radio in Continental Europe – A Personal View”Andy Walker returns with Chris Ise, who have “crossed the pond” to discuss the free radio scene in Europe of the last 25 years. Chris has operated ‘pirate station’ Crazy Wave Radio (CWR) for around 24 years and was one of the main organizers of Level 48, a network of European pirate operators broadcasting on public holidays in the mid-90s. He was also involved with the infamous Radio San Marino broadcast of 1998. In 1999 he was part of the crew on Offshore 98, the last illegal broadcast station from the North Sea. He will be more well known to American DXers as the ‘DJ’ voice of Mystery Radio which broadcast on 6220khz a few years ago. He has visited most of the major pirate stations throughout Europe over the years and has many photos, plus some video footage of their set ups. We are honored that they chose to join us for the 30th.


1200    Lunch on Your Own

Hospitality Room and Receiver Demonstrations Open (until 2400 or later)


1330    Espionage and Numbers Stations: Behind the Numbers – We’re all familiar with “numbers stations”, which have broadcast encoded messages to spies since the start of the cold war.  Web sites have been devoted to cataloging the broadcasts, which appear to originate from almost every major (and many minor!) world powers. But who actually are these numbers stations intended for? Matt Blaze will examine (declassified) spy cases, how numbers stations have been used, how the messages are encoded (and why it’s considered both secure and practical), how they sometimes fail, and why they’ve endured for so long.


1500    Collective Intelligence, Augmented Technologies and Super-Dark Denim

We lament that as a breed we are dying out. Radio Australia has gone, interference is high and Norway is switching off all of its FM transmitters – for good! With such decay surely this must be the time of Armageddon. Actually, no says Mark Fahey who honors us again by returning from Oz for the 30th. Never before has so much been happening, he argues. There is a tsunami of super-dark denim wearing people, with cool haircuts using our receivers and antennas in amazing ways. Their ideas leverage a blend of technologies and there now are many thousands of SDRs deployed on the planet doing all types of cool things. The range of applications is amazing. This presentation will be a real eye-opener to the power of low cost shortwave radios and their amazing application when augmented with other datasets and technologies.


1630    Silent Auction Ends

            Exhibit Room Closes


1800    Cocktail Party


1830    Annual Banquet

                        Keynote Speaker: Thomas J. “Skip” Arey, N2EI — ARRL Southern                                                       NJ Section Manager and Author of “Radio Monitoring:  A How To Guide” and longtime contributor to various radio-related publications.

                        Topic: “A 30 Year Retrospective of the Fest”


2100    The Raffle


2400    The Midnight Ride of Pancho Villa (?)