Wireless Waffle - A whole spectrum of radio related rubbish
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  • 2017
    • December
      • Vodafone rapped over knuckles for roaming scam
        Back in June of last year, Wireless Waffle discussed the fact that Vodafone had hiked their roaming charges in a number of countries, making even a simple text message cost a fiver or more.

        It seems that we were not the only ones to notice this but that the powers that be took a dim view

    • November
      • Radio Caroline 648 kHz
        Wireless Waffle previously sang the praises of the boat trips to visit the Ross Revenge, the home of former radio pirate, Radio Caroline. We also noted that they had been awarded a licence to operate a 1 kiloWatt transmitter on 648 kHz in the Suffolk and north Essex area.

        Well, it seems

      • Digital UK Magic Spectrum from Nowhere
        Digital UK, the organisation responsible for promoting digital terrestrial television in the UK, has recently published a white paper it commissioned from consultants Aetha and Webb Search entitled 'The defragmentation dividend: A more efficient use of the UHF band'. The paper hypothesises

    • October
      • Halloween Hits Reminder
        Just a quick reminder, as Halloween is but 2 dastardly days away, to take a look at our list of One Hundred Halloween Hits.

        The list of horrendous hell-bound hits has now easily exceeded a blood-curdling century, but 'one hundred and sixteen and a bit Halloween hits' doesn'

    • September
      • The Five G's...
        Whilst much of the world is yet to experience the joy of 4G (LTE) mobile technology, work is ongoing in a variety of prestigious international bodies to put the finishing touches to the specifications for the next generation of mobile technology: 5G. Everybody knows that 4G stands for GGGG, or the s

    • August
      • Ross Revenge Boat Trips
        Wireless Waffle recently spotted that boat trips to see Radio Caroline's ship, the Ross Revenge, were available to book from their web-site (follow the link) and so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to don an anorak and set sail. On the day of the visit, the weather was beautiful, sunny,

    • July
      • Tune In, Light Up!
        Wireless Waffle recently suggested that the high power short-wave transmissions coming from the HAARP site in Alaska were trying to trigger lightning strikes in an attempt to send radio signals strong enough to be received on a remote planet.

        It seems that they are not the only ones who a

    • June
      • Clarifying Radio Acronyms Precariously
        The world of wireless, spectrum and radio has so many acronyms and abbreviations that Wireless Waffle thought it might be useful to provide an alphabetical glossary of terms to help explain what on Earth is going on in this complex and complicated field of electromagnetic mechanics.
        OK, so the

      • Whack A Roaming Mole
        The idea of the 'whack-a-mole' game is that each time a mole's head appears above the parapet, you clobber it with a hammer and push it back down, the goal being to keep the playing field clear of moles. But no matter how hard you hit a mole, there always seems to be another one willi

    • May
      • Strange Signals from Outer Space!

        Just a quick plug in case you missed it... BBC's Horizon programme has just aired an episode entitled 'Strange Signals from Outer Space!' which examines the (so far unsuccessful) search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI). It finishes with a look at star KIC 8462852

    • April
      • Hear no Alien, See no Alien, Speak no Alien
        Here at Wireless Waffle, we have taken quite an interest recently in deep space communication with Mars and Jupiter and the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI), considering whether we are, for example, listening on the wrong frequency.

        It seems, however, that even the profess

    • March
      • A Jovial Reception
        Wireless Waffle has previously discussed the idea that it might be possible to receive radio transmissions from alien planets, but it might not be widely recognised that it is possible to receive radio transmissions from planets within our very own solar system!

        It turns out that the plan

  • 2016
    • December
      • We're Jammin' (Part V)
        Wireless Waffle last discussed the issue of interference to and from wireless car keys and other similar devices back in 2013, but the topic has cropped up here almost since time immemorial. The original articles discussed the fact that the frequency band used for these devices (around 433.925 MHz)

    • November
      • Long Live Medium Wave
        No sooner had Wireless Waffle discovered the existence of one medium wave pirate, another one pops up. Paradise FM was being received loud and relatively clear last night on 1440 kHz (now clear of the sadly defunkt 'Great 208') around 21:00 GMT. The web-site gives phone contact numbers i

      • Top 10 European Medium Wave Countries
        As a child, the medium wave band was a mysterious place replete with strong international broadcasters such as Radio Sweden International, Radio Moscow and the BBC, and who could forget the thrill of tuning into the medium wave pirates of the past, whether it was Radio Caroline in the 1960s, the lan

    • October
      • "Not Enough Spectrum" say RealWireless... again...
        It seems that consultants RealWireless have been at it again. At what again, you ask? Back in May 2014, Wireless Waffle reported that a report, produced for Ofcom had been modified to seemingly correct a factor of 1000 error in the forecasts for future mobile data traffic thus fatally skewing thei

    • September
      • Repairing Skin Laxity with Radio Waves
        Various media outlets reported that singer Kylie Minogue (and other famous television personalities) are using radio waves to get a facelift. At Wireless Waffle we like a good radio related story and if it involved Kylie then we are triply interested.

        So what are the 'collagen waves

    • June
      • FM Bandscan, Lomé, Togo
        Information on broadcast radio stations that are actually on-air in various cities around the world is sometimes easy to get hold of, and sometimes very difficult. For many African countries, the situation is quite dynamic as stations come and go, and also many stations have no web presence (whethe

    • May
      • SETI listening on the wrong frequency?
        Since the 1980s, extensive amounts of time and resources around the world have been focussed on the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence (SETI). One of the primary methods of doing so, is listening for radio transmissions from far away worlds. But how do you decide what frequencies to listen

    • April
      • Antipodean Gain
        Despite it being a well-known phenomena amongst radio fanatics around the World, there is little written on the internet concerning a strange effect known as 'Antipodean Gain' and for that reason Wireless Waffle has decided to take it upon ourselves to enlighten anyone who is not familiar

    • March
      • Putting pirates to good use
        This week, Wireless Waffle took a rare trip to the far reaches of the UK. Or Birmingham to be precise. To be even more precise, the motorways surrounding the UK's second city, whilst en route to elsewhere. The journey gave the opportunity to do a bit of tuning around the FM band to see what&

      • CBGB (Citizens Band Great Britain)
        Wireless Waffle has been contacted by Will Hogan who is putting together a book entitled 'CBGB' which will celebrate the culture of CB radios across Great Britain in the 1980s. To let Will take over the commentary:Inspired by the amazing artwork of Eyeball cards, we aim to interview enthu

    • February
      • Is the UK overpaying for the digital dividend?
        Some time ago, Wireless Waffle discussed the various bidders to provide the television transmitter network for the UK's fledgling local TV stations. As part of this, the company responsible for providing the transmitters and masts for all of the other UK digital terrestrial television stations

    • January
      • Pirate radio to go digital
        The number of pirate radio stations on-air in London does not appear to have diminished over the past 10 or more years, despite there now being many legal ways in which stations could reach their audiences, most recently though streaming audio on-line.

        Ofcom has recently proposed that man

  • 2015
    • December
      • Investing in VoIP for cheaper calls
        Making phone calls in the UK has rarely been as cheap as it is today. Most mobile contracts provide almost limitless free UK calls and even low cost pay-as-you-go services such as those provided by GiffGaff offer plenty of bundled call minutes.

        However, calling from fixed-lines remains r

    • November
      • Understanding Spectrum Liberalisation
        It's been a long time since Wireless Waffle reviewed a new book. That's largely because there are very few books published on the topic of spectrum management. But Lo! a new book has fallen across our desk. 'Understanding Spectrum Liberalisation' has been written by the trio of

    • October
      • 5 Guiding Principles for WRC-15
        This week in Geneva, the next in the series of ITU World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC) begins. One of the most contentious items on the agenda at the 2015 WRC (WRC-15) is so called Agenda Item 1.1 (AI1.1). AI1.1 will address the identification of new bands for IMT-based mobile broadband serv

    • September
      • LEO: Roaring in the wrong direction?
        On several previous occasions, Wireless Waffle has discussed some of the problems, both technical and economic that the raft of companies planning to launch new constellations of high throughput, broadband delivering, satellites may face in making their services a success. Whilst ferreting around t

    • August
      • Is WiFi hazardous to health?
        A number of people claim that they have had adverse medical and psychological responses to the presence of WiFi signals. But can WiFi actually constitute a health hazard? Wireless Waffle investigates...

        Let's begin by considering the international rules which establish the limits f

    • July
      • ITU roll the dice on the use of C-band
        The bedrock of the recommendations posited by many consulting companies involved in radio spectrum management is the cost-benefit analysis. The principal of such an analysis is quite straightforward - you calculate the cost of doing something and then evaluate the benefits of the same thing and com

    • June
      • So farewell, then, analogue TV
        A year ago Wireless Waffle posited the notion that we were beginning to see the end for digital terrestrial television. Just over a week ago in Geneva, the ITU celebrated the date on which, in Region 1 (Europe and the Middle East) and Iran, protection of interference for analogue television services

      • ITU spies new training opportunities
        Regular readers of Wireless Waffle will be aware that last year we discovered that, like many in the telecommunications industry, the ITU seemed to have a rather poor grasp of maths. Now it seems that their training academy has an equally poor grasp of English!

        The ITU run a training aca

    • May
      • Grotesquely Skewed Mathematical Analyses
        You may remember in this very month of last year, that Wireless waffle reported that various studies concerning the demand for radio spectrum for mobile services were replete with rather significant and obvious mathematical errors. It seems that these types of error which serve to highlight the poo

      • How Not To Install A Satellite Dish (Part II)
        In the last instalment of 'How Not To Install A Satellite Dish', we successfully installed and aligned a new satellite dish to point at 19.2 degrees East so as to be able to receive German language television (and a few French channels to boot). The next job was therefore to connect the ne

    • April
      • Adjø FM Radio
        The Norwegian Communications Authority (NKOM) recently announced that FM radio is to be closed-down in Norway by the end of 2017. The closure will begin at the north of the country, and spread southwards. National broadcaster NRK will wave goodbye to FM radio first, followed by major commercial br

      • Polar Foil - virtually not antennas at all?
        It is almost a law of physics, that the best way to increase the coverage of a transmitter is not simply to turn up the power, but better still to increase the height of the transmitting antenna. Wireless Waffle has discussed the relationship between height, power and coverage before. It is, howeve

    • March
      • How Not To Install A Satellite Dish (Part I)
        It's been a long while since anyone at Wireless Waffle installed any satellite dishes, however as part of a project to improve language skills, it was decided that the WW HQ would be fitted with the kit needed to receive German television. This is the sad story of the trials and tribulations o

    • February
      • Nuff sed...?
        Experts at the University of Surrey have allegedly achieved wireless data transfer speeds of 1Tbps (Terabits per second), albeit in laboratory conditions and over a distance of just 100 metres. Sizzle! Then again, just imagine the cost of rolling out the 10 million or so cell sites that would be n

    • January
      • DAB Dead Line?
        Yesterday was the final day for applications to Ofcom for a new national digital radio (DAB) multiplex licence. The licence was first advertised on 1 July 2014 with a deadline for submissions of 31 October. The deadline was then extended to 29 January to, according to a516digital, "allow a pro

      • Martian radio amateurs appeal spectrum allocation decision
        Radio amateurs with designs on operating from the planet Mars are appealing against a decision by the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) to allocate the 70 cm amateur band (430 - 440 MHz +/-) for communications between satellites in orbit around the red planet and the numerous rov

      • Ofcom proposes closure of stable door
        On several past occasions, dating back to 2008, Wireless Waffle has reported on how several users of the short wave spectrum including radio amateurs, broadcasters, air traffic controllers and NATO, have raised concerns about interference caused by power-line telecommunications (PLT) devices (such a

      • Hotel Wi-Fi in the spotlight again
        Back in October of last year, Wireless Waffle reported that Marriott hotels had been fined by the FCC for deliberately interfereing with Wi-Fi networks in an attempt to try and force guests at their hotels to use the hotel's own extortionately priced WiFi service.

        Earlier this month,

  • 2014
    • December
      • Japan's digital spew-over
        Japan. Country of Shinto serenity. Where cherry blossom floats down from tree-strewn parks during Hanami. Where tourists come to enjoy peaceful views of Mount Fuji.

        Japan. Country of high-technology. Inventors of the pocket calculator, walkman, compact disc player and PlayStation. T

    • November
      • Echos Of Signals Past
        It's easy to forget that the radio spectrum has been in use for over 100 years, but that then (as now!) communications has not always been wireless.

        During World War I, teams of 'signals' engineers risked life and limb to lay down wires to allow communication between the

      • Why-Fi No-Fly Zone
        Various news web-site including CNN and the BBC report that American Airlines flight 136 due to fly from Los Angeles to London on October 26 was delayed by almost a day when a passenger sitting on the aircraft noticed a WiFi network named 'Al-Quida Free Terror Nettwork'. As a result, the a

    • October
      • UK Hams Get New 'Moonlight' Channels
        Back in the early days of citizens band (CB) radio in the UK, when the 40 available channels were busy and bustling, some enterprising operators found that by changing the voltages on the pins of some of the integrated circuits inside their CB radios (the PLL), it was possible to make them operate o

      • What A Waste Of (White) Space!
        There can be no doubt that there is increasing pressure to find radio spectrum for a growing number of applications and uses. At the same time, there is a diminishing amount of spectrum that can be relatively easily re-purposed. It is against this backdrop that various organisations are seeking to

      • Marri-ot-to know better!
        Wireless Waffle last reported on Wi-Fi jamming in the context of 'Wi-Fi free zones' that had been set-up by confectionery company Kit Kat in Amsterdam. At the time we examined whether or not the jamming of Wi-Fi could be done legally and concluded that though it was probably illegal, it w

      • 'Everything's on the up for Egypt', say GSMA
        In a damning new report written for the GSMA by Plum Consulting, it has become apparent that yet another set of graphs concerning mobile networks, this time with respect to Egypt, mostly point upwards.

        The report, entitled, 'The Economic and Social Impact of Mobile Broadband in Egy

    • September
      • PMSE Industry Calls For More Domed Cities
        The European Commission has finally made a ruling on harmonising spectrum for programme making and special events (PMSE) use. PMSE includes things such as radiomicrophones and in-ear monitors that allow performers to hear themselves think whilst on a noisy stage.

        You would think that the

    • August
      • Mobile Spectrum Demand: The Last Word?
        Yet another challenge to the seemingly overinflated forecast demand for IMT spectrum has been raised. This time, a paper entitled, 'Overestimating Wireless Demand: Policy and Investment Implications of Upward Bias in Mobile Data Forecasts' which has been written by Aalok Mehta of the Univ

    • July
      • ITU forecasts 'from another planet'
        According to an article in DigitalSpy (and several other sources) UK mobile operator EE have announced that during the recent Glastonbury Festival, 0.74 TeraBytes (TB) of data was uploaded and 2.49 TB of data was downloaded (a total of 3.23 TB). EE built a special network at the site as part of its

    • June
      • Who's zoomin' (in on) who?
        There is growing evidence to suggest that Google is planning to enter space by launching satellites of its own. Two seperate pieces of news point in this direction. Firstly, Google has announced plans to purchase Skybox. Skybox operates low-earth orbit satellites whose purpose is to take high reso

      • Trains halted by 'Wrong Kind Of Programme'
        You would have thought that those designing systems that use the radio spectrum would check that the frequencies they planned to use would not cause interference to other systems and equally importantly that they would not suffer interference from other users. Such basic compatibility checks are cr

      • All Are Bored with On-Train Wifi
        Last night’s BBC Watchdog programme discussed the issue of the apparently poor WiFi connectivity available on a number of inter-city train routes across the UK. The programme conducted a survey of the paid-for WiFi service of three long-distance train operators. They measured the percentage of the

    • May
      • Is it time for a 'Digital Switch-Off'?
        It could be argued that before the switch-over from analogue to digital television broadcasting, the value of terrestrial broadcasting was on the decline. Faced with fierce competition from cable and satellite, each offering 10 or more times the number of programmes, terrestrial television was a po

      • Maths: Not Ofcom's strong suit?
        It seems that following the ESOA submission to Ofcom concerning the apparent errors in the RealWireless study on spectrum demand for mobile data reported by Wireless Waffle on 15 Febuary, the offending report has now been re-issued (note the publication date is now 11 April 2014) with the axis on Fi

    • April
      • The Porridge thickens...
        Following the recent Wireless Waffle piece on Valles Marineris sized chasm in the values used by the ITU in predicting the demand for IMT spectrum in 2020 spotted by the European Satellite Operators Association in their response to Ofcom's mobile data consultation, others have noted similar gul

      • H comes after E, E comes after G...
        When using your mobile phone, smart phone or tablet have you ever noticed that next to the signal strength bars (usually found at the top of the screen), there is often a letter (or two) that seem to change almost at random as you move around, and even sometimes when you aren't moving at all?

      • Marconiji and Elastic-Magneto Waves
        It has been widely reported with great delight across India and in the world-wide media that the Level 8 Social Science school text books being given to children in the Indian state of Gujarat contain many inaccuracies. Examples of these heinous inaccuracies include 'factlets' such as the

    • March
      • The full Gravity of the situation
        For those who have not yet seen the Oscar winning film, Gravity, please note that although there are no spoilers (in the traditional sense) in the ensuing text, for those who are regular readers of Wireless Waffle, reading what is to follow before seeing the film may leave you with the same level of

      • 'Loafsat' to solve Internet Censorship Problems
        A consortium led by the Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), and calling itself Outernet is planning to launch hundreds of small satellites (at 30x10x10 cm at their largest, they are about the size of a loaf of bread) to 'broadcast' the Internet. The idea is that selected portions of

    • February
      • Goldilocks and the ITU
        When Goldilocks visited the house of the three bears, she tried their porridge and found one bowl , one but the third one . It seems that the ITU may have employed Goldilocks to help them put together their forecasts for mobile spectrum demand. Why? Read on...

        Leafing through the vari

      • "London to be underwater by 2019" says eminent scientist
        Given the current extreme weather battering the UK, the time seemed very apt to give a plug to an excellent novel whose plot-line is chillingly familiar.

        Flood by British hard-fiction author Stephen Baxter begins with the River Thames flooding in London and leads to a tale of global catas

      • 90 years of the 'time pips'
        What a disappointment it was to find a recording called 90 years of the time pips, to discover that it is a special version of the pips¹ designed to celebrate their 90th birthday.

        Wouldn't it have been more fun to have calculated how many pips there have been in 90 years and then cre

    • January
      • Local TV test transmissions on-air
        It's a surprise that there haven't been more reports of this, but it seems that the Local TV services licensed by Ofcom last year are beginning to come online. The video clip below shows test of one of the two national channels that will be operated by Comux (to try and generate enough pr

      • Wave To Go!
        The BBC recently reported that Radio Russia have quietly switched off the majority of their long-wave broadcast transmitters. Whilst the silent passing of Russia's long wave service will not rattle the front pages either in Russia or anywhere else for that matter, it does raise the question of

  • 2013
    • December
      • Where next for radiomicrophones?
        It wasn't that long ago that Wireless Waffle was discussing the need for spectrum for programme making and special events (PMSE). At the time we were considering how the needs of the burgeoning demand for radio spectrum for the Eurovision Song Contest would be met. Most radiomicrophones curre

      • Hold tight HTML
        With thanks to Keith over at the other Wireless Waffle for bringing this to our attention. Pirate Wogan has to be one of the best pieces of radio broadcasting since Chris Morris's various shows on BBC Radio London and Radio 1. Invented by Peter Serafinowicz the concept is a simple one. Put T

    • November
      • Dish Of The Day
        Do a search for 'Dish Of The Day' on Google and all manner of results pop up, many cooking related, but none more dishy than sexy chef 'Pinny Rollings' here on the right. But even Pinny's dishiness pales into insignificance compared to the downright deluge of dishes on the

      • NO-3b
        Recently Wireless Waffle reported on the launch of the first four satellites in the O3b fleet which were intended to launch a service to provide high speed wholesale broadband services in remote areas. We suggested that there were many business and technical challenges that O3b might face in commer

    • October
      • Going Underground...
        In major cities around the World it is now unusual to find yourself in a place without a WiFi connection or two going for free. Coffee shops, bars, department stores and many other places now offer free WiFi to their customers. Normally all that is required is to enter an e-mail address and accept

      • TP-Link WR702N Wireless Nano Router
        Whilst Wireless Waffle is branching out into equipment reviews the time seems right to give a plug to the snappily titled TP-Link WR702N wireless N nano router.

        What is it? It's a small (hand-sized) wireless router that can be configured to do a number of jobs. In essence it's

    • September
      • Topping TP20 Mark II - A Noisy Noise Annoys (Part 4)
        In the past, Wireless Waffle has discussed various things that cause radio interference but which are not supposed to including, for example Power Line Telecommunications devices. This time around it's the turn of a Class T audio amplifier to come under the spotlight.


      • 700 MHz - The Heat Is On
        The new 700 MHz mobile band (703 - 748 paired with 758 - 803 MHz) is a hot topic amongst spectrum aficionados around the world. It raises a number of technical and political issues which are far from being fully resolved. On the political side, the main battle is between broadcasters (who currentl

    • August
      • Come fly with me...
        According to an article in the Daily Mail, a funeral taking place in Windsor, direcly under the flightpath for aircraft landing at London Heathrow airport was interrupted by the voice of a stewardess coming over the church's public address PA system saying, "fasten your seatbelts", an

    • July
      • Oh, 3B
        Satellite officionados will no doubt be aware of 'O3b' but to the rest of the world, the launch of their first four satellites probably passed them by. O3b stands for 'other three billion' and is meant to highlight the plight of the significant proportion of the world's pop

    • June
      • Who will pay to re-farm the radio amateurs?
        Ofcom have just opened a consultation on the use of 2310 to 2450 and 3400 to 3475 MHz spectrum band by radio amateurs. To cut a long story relatively short, the Ministry of Defence who are the current occupants and owners of these bands, have decided to release parts of them for new uses, most like

    • May
      • Strewth! Aussie 700 MHz auction comes a guster!
        The Aussie auction of 700 MHz spectrum (one of the first of it's kind in the world) has, on the one hand, left the Australian government a few cents short of a brass razoo but at the same time left operators paying big bikkies for the spectrum. Wireless Waffle has previously discussed who the

    • April
      • Poll: What Should The Radio Spectrum Be Used For?
        Over 5 years ago, Wireless Waffle reported on the fact that a UK radio ham repeater was forced off air to stop interference to licence-exempt 'wireless car unlocking keys' (and no excuses are necessary for re-using the rather fetching graphic one again). In this instance, because radio am

      • Eurovision, but no Eurosound?
        It is now only a month or so before the annual pan-European musical bun fight that is the Eurovision Song Contest (which is on the 18th of May). The 39 songs that have made it to the competition (which this year is in Malmo, Sweden) are now available to listen to online - with many having professio

      • Outrage as tests show up to 30% of spectrum auctioned in Europe is “not electromagnetic”
        Mobile operators have been outraged by the results of tests carried out by the University of Bolondok, Hungary, which have shown that, in some cases, up to 30% of the spectrum sold at auction in Europe is not electromagnetic.  One of the team behind the work done by the University, Prof. I. Laslo sa

    • March
      • What are the chances (Part III)?
        Previous posts entitled 'What are the chances?' have mostly been about the chances of pirate radio stations causing enough interference to merit the authorities tracking them down. In a sense, there is a certain similarity between that topic and the one discussed here as the question that

      • Silly - Deine Stärken
        To be truthful, most of the so-called 'chart preductions' that have previously bedecked the pages of Wireless Waffle, have been little more than excuses to showcase some great music heard whilst travelling, none of which is really that likely to chart in the UK, and most of which has alrea

      • Omawumi - Stay Alive
        Wireless Waffle had the good fortune to have visited Africa this week. One thing that's always a pleasure when visiting other countries, let alone other continents, is the chance to listen to local radio stations and hear new music.

        It was therefore a joy to come across this piece o

    • February
      • Is the European Commission's Spectrum Inventory nuts?
        Over in Brussels, the European Commission, through the direction given to it by the Radio Spectrum Policy Programme (RSPP), is trying to identify 1200 MHz of spectrum that can be made available for 'wireless broadband' services. At present there is 1025 MHz of spectrum available for such

      • Who won in the UK 4G auction?
        Ofcom has today published the long awaited outcome of the first phase of the UK 4G auction. The second phase of the auction is yet to take place. The first phase decided who gets how much of the spectrum, the second phase decides who gets which particular frequencies.

        The winning bidders

      • Choosing the clearest channels for WiFi... continued
        You might think that Wireless Waffle has a thing about WiFi as it is a topic that keeps coming back time and time again (for example under the title 'Wire-More Lan' here, here, here, here and here). But it's also a topic that is becoming increasingly important as mobile operators see

      • Superfast Broadband - Is It Really Necessary?
        At the IET, Ofcom's chief technology officer, Steve Ungar, gave the annual IET Appleton lecture (parts of which can be viewed on the IET.tv web-site). The title of the lecture was 'Superfast Broadband - what will it take to make it happen', though the opening slide (shown on the righ

      • We're Jammin'... Again (This time it's WiFi)
        Wireless Waffle has reported many times on the issue of jamming. Jamming, put simply, is the transmission of one radio signal in such a way as to intentionally block another one from being received. It is the intentional nature of jamming that distinguishes it from other kinds of radio interferenc

    • January
      • (Not) A Hope In Heaven
        Following the recent Wireless Waffle post about Wes's excellent Soldery Song, it has been noted that the terms 'C-Band' and 'Ku-Band' were thrown around casually, as if everyone understands what these mean. For the benefit of those who don't, here's a short descri

      • Arqiva win UK Local TV multiplex licence
        In a shock decision, Ofcom today announced that Arqiva are to run the UK's local television multiplex. The winning company, called 'Comux' has won the licence to operate the transmission network that will support local television services. Not speaking to Wireless Waffle, a spokespe

      • Hop to it!
        Wireless Waffle received an e-mail from Des of Ireland. Des writes:Since early May I have been noticing many many frequencies being occupied by very short bursts of digital 'noise' which are random in their frequency and time but very recognisable. So far pattern emerged is that they foll

      • What do coffee, books, fiddles and TV pictures have in common?
        The UK public has been angered recently at the discovery that some high profile companies used various 'fiddles' to avoid paying tax. At a time when UK incomes have been squeezed, the idea that big name companies have not been contributing to the UK tax coffers left them hopping mad. The

  • 2012
    • December
      • Soldery Song
        It seems there are very few songs which touch on the topic of satellite communications unless you count:But none of those songs are really about satellite technology as such, they just happen to have ‘satellite’ in their title. There are, however, some songs which have lyrics that are actually abou

    • November
      • UK Local TV - Learning The Lessons Of The Past
        The local TV landscape in the UK is slowly taking shape as the decision on the final, and arguably the most commercially viable/advantageous franchises is delayed to give Ofcom more time to make the right decision. Whilst decisions on which companies will succeed in the lucrative markets of London,

    • October
      • Freakquencies in Dhaka
        Have you ever read the book 'Freakonomics'? It tries to demonstrate that sometimes cause and effect are far, far removed from each other. Rather like Sherlock Holmes adage:When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
        Take a look a

    • September
      • What is Amateur Radio Worth?
        About 18 months ago, the Wireless Waffle team wrote a paper on the topic of what radio amateurs in the UK might have to pay if spectrum pricing was applied to the spectrum they use. The paper was offered to the RSGB and to Practical Wireless as material that could be used for an article in their pr

    • August
      • Is 5 better than 2.4 (GHz)?
        Although the standard for WiFi at 5 GHz has been around for a long time, most manufacturers have focused upon producing equipment for the 2.4 GHz band. The reason for this is a simple one - it's cheaper! The higher you go in frequency, the more difficult, and therefore expensive, it becomes t

    • July
      • Gareth Emery feat. Christina Novelli - Concrete Angels
        Another random pop prediction from the Wireless Waffle team. This time it's Southampton's very own Gareth Emery who has teamed up with the daughter of television chef Jean-Christophe Novelli to cook up a delightful tune called 'Concrete Angels'.

        It seems u

    • June
      • Fjarskip taste of nun
        A friend recently alerted us to the fact that 'fjarskiptastofnun' is the Icelandic word for 'telecommunications'. Is this the best word for 'telecommunications' you have ever heard? Maybe, then again maybe not. Here are Wireless Waffle's favourite foreign phrases

    • May
      • Pirate Radio disposal squad called into action in Surrey
        A report recently arrived on the Wireless Waffle newsdesk of the discovery of some kind of (probably illegal) transmitter discovered on land in Surrey next to a military establishment. According to the report:
        Army bomb disposal experts were called to Camberley on Monday morning to deal with a

    • April
      • Super-Resonant Frequency Memocorders
        One major problem facing many authorities across the world, is the transient nature of radio transmissions. For example, tracking down a radio transmitter requires the transmitter to be active in order for its direction to be sensed. Equally, for those bodies (such as the security services) who wi

    • February
      • Spray-On Antenna
        Regular readers of Wireless Waffle will be familiar with our relentless drive to improve both the availability, performance and aesthetics of antennas that can be used to listen to radio signals in situations where normal aerials are not feasible.

        The Wireless Waffle Super Signal Holiday

      • Make your ADSL connection more reliable!
        A while ago on Wireless Waffle, I commented on the daily loss of service that was occuring on my home broadband (ADSL) connection. It seems that this struck a chord with a number of people and remains one of the most commented-on articles on the site.

        The question is, 'can anything

    • January
      • Harmonics - Putting The Record Straight
        Over the years, Wireless Waffle has tried to explain and demystify many of the more esoteric technical terms and concepts used in the wireless world such as OFDM, intermodulation and even interpreting ionograms. There is one very straightforward technical concept that is so often misused that it

      • Russia is the Tsar of Pirates
        Wireless Waffle has talked extensively about pirate radio in the past, from short-wave music stations, to Brazilian sat-jackers. But it seems that, of all the nations on the planet, the Russians hold the baton for being the biggest pirates of them all.

        This story begins when reading the l

  • 2011
    • December
      • BBBBCC Rraaddiioo Ssccoottllaanndd
        It seems that it's not just Rraaddiioo Nneeddeerrllaanndd that suffer from an echo on transmissions. It was a dreich day and being concerned for relatives who live in Northern Scotland, last night the Wireless Waffle receiver was tuned to BBC Radio Scotland on 810 kHz.

        The 810 kHz

    • November
      • Radio Killer - Don't Let The Music End
        Here at Wireless Waffle we're working on something a bit special. A project that will help sufferers of broadband drop-out everywhere. Meanwhile, we thought you might like the latest offering from Romanian groovers Radio Killer, 'Don't Let The Music End' (lovers of 80's hi-

    • October
      • Another Radio Birthday...
        It's been a while since we discussed CB radio here at Wireless Waffle and it's not time to go over old ground now. What it is time for, is to dust of that old rig that's propping up the WiFi routers that are sitting in the corner of your garage, sort yourself out a twig, and join the

    • September
      • Happy Birth-DAB Sweet Sixteen
        27th September is a good day for birthdays. Not only is it the birthday of Internet Goliath Google, but it's also the date on which DAB radio was launched in the UK.

        DAB radio was launched with a fanfare in London by the BBC on 27th September 1995 - 16 years ago. At the time, only

    • August
      • Maximise your mobile signal
        Ofcom has recently published a leaflet outlining how mobile subscribers can go about maximising their mobile signal with a view to getting the best possible coverage. The leaflet covers issues such as checking coverage first, before buying a phone (shops have on-line coverage checkers available), t

      • Radio Killer - Lonely Heart
        OK, so a bit of an odd one for Wireless Waffle. The only real connection with our usual topics is in the title of the band 'Radio Killer' because it contains the word 'Radio'. Anyhow, here's an off-the-wall prediction for a future UK chart topper...

    • July
      • Are Murdoch's Sky Satellites Spy Satellites?
        According to an article in last Friday's London Evening Standard, the term 'pinging' means locating a mobile phone by satellite. Now Wireless Waffle has previously explained that GPS satellites can not track your location due to the fact that they only transmit location information,

      • Let's sheikh on it!
        Around the short-wave world, mention of 'PsyOps' has recently had reason to reappear. It refers to psychological warfare being conducted by NATO forces to 'scare' Colonel Gadaffi's forces into remission through a variety of activities. One of these activities is the broadc

      • Rraaddiioo Nneeddeerrllaanndd
        Tuning around the 13 MHz broadcast band, Radio Nederland on 13700 kHz being transmitted from Wertachtal in Germany was sounding rather odd. It had a very pronounced echo which made understanding it very difficult (if you could understand Dutch in the first place!)

        You will note in the br

    • May
      • Spot the Difference!
        Driving around London the other day, there was time to have a good old tune through the FM band to see how the various new community radio stations were getting on and whether Ofcom had had much success in shutting down the myriad of pirates. But the job was much more difficult that usual! The dif

    • April
      • Bye bye broadcasting, hello mobile dongle
        Apparently, mobile phone operators are beginning to run out of capacity on their networks due to all the data traffic that is being generated by smart-phones and people using broadband dongles in their laptops. Of course, whether or not this is true or not today or whether it is just an excuse for p

    • March
      • They're Jammin'
        The front page of London's Metro newspaper today screams about 'Terror Fears over Dangerous Sat Nav Flaw'. The story highlights the extent to which the British economy relies on satellite navigation systems and claims that over GBP94 billion of domestic output would be affected by a

    • February
      • Bye bye 70cm, hello happiness?
        On a number of previous occasions, Wireless Waffle has commented on actions being taken by various regulatory authorities which seem to be attacking the use of the 70 centimetre band by radio amateurs. But in the USA, things have just gotten a whole lot worse, with the tabling of a bill which sugge

    • January
      • Reading Ionograms
        Previously on Wireless Waffle we have discussed ways of checking and even gaining some knowledge of the state of propagation of the short-wave bands. But for truly advanced users, there is a way to find out the actual state of propagation for a particular location in real time. Scattered around th

  • 2010
    • December
      • Malta Universal Frequency Telereception Instrument
        Following the immense success of the SuSi as a piece of apparel for improving short-wave reception, it is an honour to have received an e-mail from Nicolas Sant of Malta who brings news of an increadible new development in the field. Nicolas takes up the story:Here in Malta, the summer months are v

    • October
      • Radio Ray Gun
        Ever wondered what goes on in those increadibly high frequencies that might almost be called 'nanowave' instead of 'microwave'? Well other than a bit of use for looking at the earth from satellites (a.k.a. earth observation) the main uses tend to be military. This is partly bec

    • September
      • When is a radio not a radio?
        When is a radio not a radio? When it's a cake? Well obviously, but it wouldn't be a Wireless Waffle article if it was about cake now would it? Waffles perhaps, but cake?

        Anyhow the correct answer is 'When it's a Feynman Radio'. What, I hear you ask, is a Feynman

    • August
      • What are the chances (Part IIa)?
        Back in October 2009, Wireless Waffle brought to your attention the HF (short-wave) monitoring data produced on a quarterly basis by the ITU. Within these reports were a number of short-wave pirate stations and the original list of stations brought a lot of interest from these stations, both to see

      • Height versus Power
        One of the most common questions that the Wireless Waffle team are asked by those setting up radio transmitters is, "How much power do I need to cover an area X miles wide?". Such a question is virtually unanswerable as there are so many factors to take account of including the frequency

    • July
      • Super Signal Holiday HF Antenna Apparel (Part II)
        Last summer, here at Wireless Waffle, we came up with a design for an increadible piece of beach-wear for the short-wave listener which we cristened the 'Wireless Waffle Super Signal Holiday HF Antenna Apparel'. Not only has this become the must have item for improving reception whilst so

    • June
      • Speakin' Beacons
        Most short-wave listeners would probably love to know whether reception conditions are good or not at any given time on any particular band. One way to do this might be to use an on-line tool, such as the one shown on the right, which tries to interpret solar conditions (eg sunspot numbers) to provi

    • May
      • GiffGaff RiffRaff
        Travelling on the London Underground last week, Wireless Waffle was intrigued by an advertisement for GiffGaff which marketed itself as 'the mobile network run by you'. Visions of self installed cell sites connected back to the network infrastructure by home (or business) broadband connect

    • April
      • Whatever happened to...?
        There is endless speculation on the internet as to what became of the many pirate radio ships which sailed the seven seas (or the North Sea more specifically) in the bygone era. Wireless Waffle can exclusively reveal the final resting home of one of these infamous nafarious vessels, having been tipp

    • March
      • The Vl'hurgs and the G'gugvuntts
        Having seen this... the following somehow came immediately to mind...
        It is of course well known that careless talk costs lives, but the full scale of the problem is not always appreciated.

        For instance, at the very moment that it was concluded that 'economically speaking, shor

      • We're Jammin' (Part III)
        First off, let's get a few things straight. GPS works by using a constellation of about 30 medium earth orbit (MEO) satellites run by the US military which go whizzing around the earth twice every day at a height of 20,000 km to transmit position and time information to receivers on the ground

    • January
      • RSGB Spectrum Defence Fund
        Sometimes Wireless Waffle can be rather frivolous and irreverent but today is not one of those days. On many previous occasions, Wireless Waffle has gone on about the threat to short-wave radio caused by power line telecoms (PLT), power line adaptors (PLA), broadband over power-line (BPL) and blaufu

  • 2009
    • December
      • Number Station Bingo
        Regulars to the pages of Wireless Waffle will realise that we have an inate (or should that be 'inert') fascination with short wave radio. And nothing is more mysterious and intriguing on short wave than the many spy broadcasts which usually take the form of a string of numbers or letters

    • November
      • Chill Over and Out
        Some of the biggest brains in Europe, as well as hundreds of millions of Euros of public money are being poured into a concept which has the catchy name of the 'Internet of Things'. The concept in itself is a fairly straightforward one - that as well as people being connected together via

    • October
      • What are the chances (Part II)?
        A previous article on Wireless Waffle talked about the chances of a pirate radio station being caught focussing on VHF FM pirates. A later one focussed on short-wave pirates and discussed which frequencies to avoid in order to minimise getting the authorities' collective danders up.

    • September
      • Ofcom Sanctions Free Radio
        Well who would have thought it! According to many pages on the subject across the internet, hang gliders have a special arrangement with Ofcom to allow them easy access to various radio frequencies without needing a licence! Yes, apparently a chap called Rod Buck, the then radio officer of the Bri

      • High Frequency Fun
        It seems there is nothing that visitors to the Wireless Waffle web-site like better than a list of interesting radio frequencies to have a go at listening to. Previous articles in subjects such as frequencies for London airports, tuning into US military satellites and unusual UHF activity are some

    • August
      • Super Signal Holiday HF Antenna Apparel
        August is almost universally, the world over, the month when schools are out and people head off on their well deserved and hard earned summer vacations. However, here at Wireless Waffle have received a number of worried e-mails from radio lovers who are concerned that whilst they are away on holid

    • July
      • Come Spy With Me
        It may come as a surprise to the more ICT literate that in this day and age, short-wave radio is still being used for secret communications from various security organisations to their field agents. No encrypted e-mails or messages hidden on web-pages, no images hidden in jpeg files or microdots or

    • June
      • SatJacking, Brazilian style
        OK, so Wireless Waffle was wrong about the real story behind the Brazilian use of the US FLTSATCOM military satellites (and their sister satellites, the UFO series). We thought it might all be innocent but it appears that there are groups of Brazilian truckers and similar using the satellites as th

    • May
      • Wireless and the London Olympics
        There is currently much ongoing debate, and some might suggest ensuing debacle, taking place to ensure that there is sufficient radio spectrum available for the London Olympic Games to be held in 2012. However, Wireless Waffle has uncovered the official Government plans for the use of the radio spe

    • April
      • Don't Wave Goodbye to Short-Wave
        The threat to short-wave reception caused by PLT (a.k.a. BPL) devices is something that has been covered on Wireless Waffle on numerous previous occasions.

        Whilst it hasn't reached the point of naked protestors parading along the streets of London just yet, a while ago the technical

      • OFDM: How does that work then?
        Today, Wireless Waffle's continuing series attempting to explain and simplify the many complex radio technologies, techniques and applications tackles perhaps one of the most complicated spectrum sharing schemes that exists. OFDM or 'Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplex' to give i

      • Comtrend-ulations and Jubliations
        For some time, there has been software available on the internet which would allow anyone with enough brains and patience to hack into a 'WEP' encrypted WiFi link. 'WPA' encrypted links are more secure but even they are open to hacking. The basic problem with such devices is th

    • March
      • Eye in the Sky
        Have you ever tuned into your local radio station and heard the travel news being read out from the 'eye in the sky' - a presenter checking out the traffic from an aircraft high over the area concerned? Have you ever stopped to think how that is done? Well Wireless Waffle is here to help

    • February
      • Easy Listening
        My couple of previous posts concerning reception of BBC World Service English language programmes on short-wave in Europe led me to wondering whether there wasn't a more elegant solution to the problem of identifying which frequencies to tune to at any given time of the day.

        As it ha

    • January
      • Know Thy Neighbour
        Various forums and logging sites around the web have reported that short-wave pirate station Premier Radio International was recently raided. Their transmitters and studio equipment were apparently taken. Premier Radio operated on 6265 kHz on Sunday mornings from Ireland and according to the reports

  • 2008
    • December
      • World Service English (Take II)
        Further to last month's comments on receiving BBC World Service English in Europe, we've been testing out some of the frequencies that were suggested from the Wireless Waffle HQ in southern Great Britain. At all times checked, at least one BBC English frequency was available and at some t

    • November
      • World Service English in Europe
        The end of an era is afoot (or at hand, whichever you prefer). Earlier this year the BBC World Service announced that it has stopped transmission of its English service to Western Europe. No longer will the strains of 'Lili Bolero' or 'Big Ben' be heard on the hour in France, Ge

    • October
      • Noisy Neighbours
        It may appear to have been quiet here at Wireless Waffle over the past couple of months, but that's because a number of things have piqued the interest and we've been doing a bit of experimentation and investigation. The first of them is the issue of Power Line Telecommunications (PLT) al

    • August
      • Wire-More LAN (Part VI) - Maximise WiFi coverage and reliability
        Like all radio systems, wireless LANs can never be 100% reliable. Many factors affect radio transmission and even in situations where something might be expected to work well, problems can often occur. Wireless LANs suffer from a number of particular problems, not least the frequencies they use (a

    • July
      • A Noisy Noise Annoys (Part 3)
        The European Telecommunications Standard Institute (ETSI) is currently in the process of finalising a standard for in-home Power Line Telecommunications (PLT). This is equipment that allows internal electrical wiring in a house to be used as a local area network, to carry computer and other data si

      • Hang Fire a Minute
        Watching a number of hot air balloons float gracefully past recently, the question arose as to whether or not they used radio to communicate with the ground and, indeed, whether they used radios to communicate with air traffic controllers. A bit of digging around revealed that they do indeed carry

    • June
      • Wire-More LAN (Part V)
        Another long train journey, another opportunity to run Netstumbler to find out what is going on in the world of WiFi. On this journey 425 WiFi (802.11b and 802.11g) access points were identified. No 802.11a (5 GHz) access points were spotted. Of these, 24% were not encrypted or protected in any wa

    • May
      • The World's Simplest Harmonic Filter
        One problem that radio amateurs (and professionals for that matter) regularly stumble across, is the problem of adequately surpressing the harmonics that are produced in their transmitter. Harmonics are frequencies which are on multiples of the actual signal being produced (e.g. a transmitter at 10

    • April
      • Pennies from Heaven?
        It seems it's not just Wireless Waffle that takes an active interest in matters pertaining to spectrum management. No less than the fourth highest authority in the land (after God, the Queen and Chris Moyles), the Rt. Hon. Alastair Darling MP, chancellor of the Exchequer has obviously been tak

      • Frequency Sharpener
        You've no doubt heard of pencil sharpeners and knife sharpeners, both designed to ensure the maximum of performance from the devices on which they operate. Well, on April 1 this year, researchers at the University of Al Tayr, in Tripoli, Libya released details of the results of a 5 year study

    • March
      • Duel-Casting
        Finding a frequency must be one of the most fraught tasks for any prospective London pirate radio operators. The band is now so crammed with stations that there are next to no gaps anywhere. The problem is not made any easier by the BBC using lots of frequencies to infill coverage of its local sta

      • Farnborough Airport Frequencies
        To add to the previous list of frequencies for London Heathrow, Gatwick and City that went before, here is a set of active frequencies for Farnborough (ICAO code: EGLF) which might come in handy for the 2008 airshow. All frequencies are in MHz and use AM. Those shown in italics are unconfirmed but a

      • A Noisy Noise Annoys (Part 2)
        <rant> Whilst visiting Oxford this week, a quick scan around the 70cm band yielded a number of repeaters that aren't normally receiveable from my regular location. Amongst these was GB3WO, near Witney in Oxfordshire. Nothing unusual there. Except that upon setting the right CTCSS tone

    • February
      • Intermodulation: What's All This Then
        Intermodulation (intermod for short) is a common problem besetting virtually every radio system in existence. This particular problem occurs when two (or more) signals mix together in a non-linear device creating emissions on frequencies which are directly related to the signals being mixed togethe

      • Roof Raiders II - The Council of Life
        It seems as if Ofcom has been up to its tricks again. On February 19th they announced that they had conducted another large-scale raid on London's pirate radio stations similar to one it conducted in 2005, however this time it was in conjunction with the local council authorities whose buildin

    • January
      • Frequency Asked Questions
        A quick scan of the 430-440 MHz (70cm) amateur band in the UK usually reveals very little, other than the occasional repeater and one or two low-power licence exempt data transmitters (for weather stations and so on). But the other day I stumbled across a number of transmissions in the band which p

  • 2007
    • December
      • We're Jammin' (Part II)
        In a little known, sleepy backwater of the European Commission, moves are afoot to introduce a relatively obscure piece of legislation to allow mobile phones to be used on aircraft. There's nothing newsworthy in this you might think, Ryanair have already announced that they intend to install t

    • November
      • ADSL: A Daily Service Loss
        For the past few months, every evening around sunset, my (ADSL) broadband connection at home has been 'drying up'. By this, I mean that the throughput has got smaller and smaller until eventually there has been no incoming or outcoming bandwidth available at all. If left alone, after an

    • October
      • Essentials of Modern Spectrum Management
        Spectrum management has traditionally been about the use of technical criteria developed through long-winded compatibility studies to determine what can (and can not) be allowed access without causing harmful interference to other users. Increasingly, however, regulators are using forward looking m

    • September
      • Trains, Boats, Planes, God, Kylie Minogue, and more Planes
        Years ago I used to know the frequency¹ for the downlink of Capital Radio in London's 'Flying Eye', the aircraft used to scout about for travel blackspots. It was a useful frequency to have as there was no better place to get the latest travel news. I also remembered that there was

      • Wireless Wobbly
        Wireless Waffle isn't one of a kind. There's another Wireless Waffle on the web. Whilst I claim no originality for the title of this blog, it does irk me that the man who runs the other Wireless Waffle is so upset that I accidentally stumbled across the same name as him that he feels the

      • Spot the HF Antenna
        OK, so it's not as snappy as 'spot the ball' but the idea is the same. Look at the picture below and see if you can spot the HF antenna. Clue: Look for the 'x's.

        A bit silly perhaps, but the thing of interest is that this building is the Admiralty Bui

    • August
      • How to listen to UFOs
        Since the late 1990's rumours have abounded that it was possible to hack into American military satellites and use them for wide area communication. The satellites, originally the 'FleetSatCom' newtork (often abbreviated to FLTSATCOM) use basic FM modulation and have uplinks in the a

    • July
      • Capture Area - Take 1
        Anyone who really knows their stuff when it comes to radio propagation and stuff like that will tell you that any aerial (or an antenna for that matter) has a certain capture area.
        Its capture area defines, in effect, how much of the signal that is in the ether it can capture and thus present

    • June
      • Oooh, Baby Baby!
        In a previous entry, I discussed the massive security hole presented to their neighbours like a baboon's bottom, by those still using analogue cordless telephones, as they can be easily received with cheap radio scanners, over quite large distances. However this is as nothing compared to the r

    • May
      • 48 metre Bandana
        There's a term used in the UK which takes its roots from an overgarment worn by many to keep dry on particularly squally days. The aforementioned garment is an 'Anorak', which is a kind of winter jacket which, no matter what you wear it with, will never look fashionable (the possible

    • April
      • Wire-More LAN (Part IV)
        Another train journey, another chance to run good ole Netstumbler and do a survey of channel occupancy for 2.4 GHz (that's 802.11b, g and n and not 802.11a in case you were wondering) to see whether my previous analysis of which are the best WiFi channels to use still holds.

        For thos

      • A Noisy Transatlantic Oyster
        In a previous post I discussed the fact that the powers that be in Europe had taken a decision with respect to low power, licence exempt radio equipment that meant that the 'heart' of the 70 centimetres amateur radio band had been ripped out due to a mountain of noisy interference produced

      • How accurate are computer coverage predictions?
        These days, a lot of radio planning (broadcasting and cellular for example) relies heavily on the ability to use computers to predict coverage from a site. So Wireless Waffle thought it would prove an interesting exercise to do some coverage predictions from a known radio station and compare them wi

    • February
      • iTrip iNterference
        So you've bought your iTrip, micro FM transmitter, AirPlay, PodFreq or similar and plugged it into your iPod or PSP and managed to get it to transmit somewhere in the FM band. You even manage to find a clear FM frequency at home where you don't suffer interference from local radio transmit

      • An Updated Version of the ZS6BKW Multiband Dipole
        So having whet your appetite with details of the ZS6BKW multi-band antenna, I've finally finished my own installation of the antenna and will share my findings with you. The good thing about this particular multi-band antenna is that it covers the majority of the HF amateur bands that I'm

    • January
      • An Updated Version of the G5RV Multiband Dipole
        I make no real apology for the blatant plagiarism here. Following my comments back in September 2006 on All Band Antennas for Skinflints, I've been trying to find the original article relating to the ZS6BKW antenna as I fancied making one. Nowhere could I find the article on-line but I did ma

  • 2006
    • December
      • Wiki-d Pirate Site
        Was doing a bit of 'Googling', as you do, and came across an attempt by Anthony Page (of Radio Nemesis fame), to start a pirate radio Wiki.

        The page at freeradio.wiki-site.com mostly recounts the history of many of the pirate radio stations who graced the airwaves in the South Y

      • Skywave Striptease
        Here at Wireless Waffle, we have spent the last month tracking down the perfect Christmas present for the radio enthusiast. Something classy and stylish that would enhance even the lamest of radio installations and make them sparkle and gleam. Something that will make everyone look at your aerial w

    • November
      • Antenna Plural Bugbear
        Aaaaargh... Why is it that so many people insist on using the wrong plural for antenna? It's soooo annoying. There are two plurals of the word 'antenna':

        Antennas - a technical term meaning more than one antenna or aerial
        Antennae - a zoological term meaning more than

      • A noisy noise annoys a noisy oyster
        When I'm at home, my receiver is usually switched on monitoring one frequency or another, commonly 145.500 or the local 70 cm repeater. Yesterday I was doing the latter and it soon became apparent that there was some active tropogation around. In addition to my local repeater, other amateur re

      • London Airport Frequencies
        As if this site isn't littered with enough useless information already, here's a load more. Having travelled to and from the various London airports on a number of occasions, I thought it would be nice to have an up-to-date list of the various air traffic control frequencies used at them

    • October
      • ITU Frequency Allocation Tables
        Something that's always been a nuisance is that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has made it's frequency allocation tables (i.e. the table which shows which frequencies are allocated to which services in which countries) something that has to be paid for if you want a full

    • September
      • Tropogation
        Most day-to-day 'DX' propagation experienced by radio users at VHF and UHF frequencies relies on some interaction between their signal and the troposphere (the troposphere is the lower layers of the atmosphere extending up to about 10 miles above sea level). For anyone wanting to find out

      • The Digital Dividend: How does that work then?
        As anyone who has bought a new television in the UK in the past year or so will know, it is the Government's intention to close down all analogue TV transmitters by the end of the year 2012. It's main reason for doing this is to release some of the channels used for broadcasting so that th

      • All-band Antennas for Skinflints
        With apologies to anyone who may be offended: radio amateurs tend to be a tight-fisted bunch. Often this attitude perpetrates from having other priorities in life (family, holidays, beer etc); sometimes it stems from wishing to prove the age-old maxim 'any fool can do for a pound, what a good

    • August
      • 2dBi or 2dBd, that is the question
        Something that I found confusing when first learning about the 'black art' of radio is that there seemed to be some argument about the gain figures quoted for antennas. Take a look at this example: The gain figure quoted for this Comet GP-3 dual-band 144/432 MHz antenna is shown as 4.5 an

    • July
      • Mystery No. 29612 - Solved!
        Tuning around the amateur bands during recent sporadic-E openings, I regularly stumbled across voice traffic in a slavic language on 29612.0 kHz USB (upper side band). The format of the traffic was clearly not amateur, and given this, and the fact that it is right in the middle of the relatively ac

      • Sporadic-al-E
        Driving along the M4 motorway yesterday evening, I was trying to listen to the news on BBC Radio 4. As usual, the RDS Alternative Frequency (AF) service was doing a good job at re-tuning my radio to a new transmitter once I disappeared out of the coverage of the one I was tuned to. Not long into m

    • June
      • Wire-More LAN (Part III)
        Looking back at the analysis of WiFi antenna performance I conducted recently, it struck me that to maximise the performance of a Wireless LAN there are two factors at play. One is the strength of the signal, clearly enhanced by the higher gain antenna. The other is the amount of background noise.

      • Wire-More LAN (Part II)
        Having gone on about how to extend the range of a wireless LAN using a high gain antenna, the need suddenly arose for the range of my own WiFi connection to be extended so I though I would purchase a 9dBi antenna to see what happened. Being a hardcore engineer, I wanted to try and see whether this

      • WiMo, WiMo, It's off to work (DX) we go
        For a while now, I've been considering how best to go about installing a decent multi-band HF antenna that would be unobtrusive but still work. I first tried a long inverted-L made of thin wire running down the garden using the house-hold central heating system as an earth (yes, yes, I know th

      • Underground Communications
        A London Assembly report published yesterday (5 June 2006) into the events surrounding the terrorist attack on London on 7 July 2005 identified that the major problem suffered by the emergency services at the event was the lack of adequate radio communications. It identified that, other than the Br

    • May
      • What are the chances?
        One question which many unlicensed radio users of any kind (e.g. pirate radio operators) often ask themselves is, "What are the chances of me getting caught?" Clearly there is a lot of illegal radio usage which goes on, some of it over very prolonged periods of time, or at regular interva

    • April
      • We're Jammin'
        The practice of jamming radio transmissions has been around since radio was first used for military purposes when one side would attempt to inhibit the communications of the other side by transmitting on the same frequency at the same time. Indeed such military jamming is usually termed 'elect

      • Radio (No-)One
        The number of radio stations in the UK has been on the increase since commercial radio was first licensed since the late 1970's. The latest raft of licences (excluding the community licences recently awarded) includes stations whose potential audience is, to put it mildly, tiny. The coverage o

    • March
      • It's a Long Wave from Tipperary
        According to Isle of Mann International Broadcasting (IOMIB) around 75% of radios have the long wave band on them. But when was the last time you tuned into long wave? For the cricket coverage on BBC Radio 4? Or when Atlantic 252 was pumping out its 'You're never more than a minute away f

      • Wire-More LAN
        Wireless LAN's are fabulous things. You put a box next to your cable or ADSL modem with a little aerial on the back and your broadband internet connection miraculously becomes available all over your house to any device fitted with the appropriate wireless card. Or does it...?

        In so

      • Ahoy There!
        With all this talk of pirate radio, a question that often gets asked is, "But I've never heard a pirate station; where do I find one?". Yes, there are those who have yet to stumble across the skull and crossbones of the airwaves!

        The best place to look is on the FM dial of

      • Box of Dreams
        Broadband wireless ADSL modem/routers are now available for below GBP50, incorporating, as the name suggests, a WiFi router, ADSL (and now ADSL2/2+) modem and often an Ethernet LAN connection. At this price, there's really no excuse for sticking to wired broadband access unless your house is s

      • Radio Spectrum Management Training
        Spectrum administrations or radio regulators, whatever phrase you care to pick, tend to be staffed by enthusiastic and intelligent staff; after all, it's a complex field this radio malarkey. However, what most staff lack (and most would readily admit to) is any real experience or expertise in

    • February
      • NOW Wireless Broadband
        Wandering past a local bus-stop, I was intrigued by an advertising poster which shouted, "wireless broadband with no strings attached". Like many people, I have a wireless broadband network at home, however this ad seemed to be offering something different i.e. a broadband connection to t

      • It's a Cracker
        Looking through the statistics which highlight the phrases people have typed into various search engines in order to find this site showed that several people had found it by typing the words "bandwidth of stereo fm broadcast". However, this isn't something that's really discuss

      • Free Ham for Life
        As a Valetine's Day gift to the UK Radio Amateur community, Ofcom has decided to modify its radio amateur licensing policy. From 1 October 2006, instead of having to renew licences annually (at a price of GBP15 per annum), a lifetime licence will be issued. This licence will remain valid unti

      • Eyes Down for a Full House (with Herb Garden)
        Ofcom recently organised a seminar concerning the forthcoming auction of a chunk of UHF spectrum covering the UK. The spectrum concerned is 412 - 414 MHz paired with 422 - 424 MHz which was previously the haunt of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). The MoD have now (largely) vacated this spectrum a

      • Save Our Set-Top Box
        I read an article in The Times newspaper yesterday entitled 'Coastguard scrambled as set-top box sends SOS'. It would appear that, on two separate occasions, radio emissions from a Freeview set-top box had raised an alert with the coastguard who had sent search and rescue helicopters out t

      • Stereo-Phonics
        I used to supply VHF FM radio transmitters for Restricted Service Licence (RSL) stations in the UK. The licences allowed a maximum transmitter power of 25 Watts and a maximum antenna height of 10 metres above the ground. As such, the range of such stations was normally very limited compared to reg

      • Power Strip Antenna Booster
        My attention was recently drawn to a product called the 'Power Strip Antenna Booster' (though I believe these devices first came to fame in the USA in about 2001). It was being offered for only 1 pence by a mobile retailer (I won't embarrass them by naming First Phone Shop, oops...) i

      • Telling Bone
        No doubt a lot of people received cordless phones in their Christmas stocking, not least because with cellular phones all the fashion, it seems rather restrictive to have to use a fixed phone at home. Cordless phones come in many flavours, but in particular come in analogue and digital varieties.

    • January
      • UK CB Radio: Past, Present and Future?
        Citizens' Band (CB) Radio began in the UK in the late 1970's when truckers and a few other enthusiasts (illegally) imported CB radios from the USA where they were widely available and relatively low cost.

        Prices for these illegal AM sets in the UK were typically around GBP50 w

  • 2005
    • December
      • More FM licences in London?
        For some time now, I've been intrigued by suggestions that Ofcom (and its predecessor the Radio Authority) is toying with the idea of issuing further licences for FM radio stations in London. Whilst the FM band in London is undoubtedly alive with stations, there is still a relatively limited nu

      • Spread Spectrum: How does that work then?
        The concept of 'spread spectrum' dates back to World War II when the concept was put to use as countermeasures against jamming; against detection by radar; against detection of navigation beacons and as a way to make interception of communications more difficult. The idea is to take a sig

      • Roof Raiders
        Towards the beginning of November this year, Ofcom conducted a massive series of raids on pirate radio stations in London, and event considered news-worthy even by the BBC.

        The operation closed 53 pirate FM stations in London and whilst some of the bigger stations are now back on-air, for

    • November
      • Bright Spark or Spark Gap?
        Napoleon and the Mathematician
        Before going any further we need to take a brief side-step and remember Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier (1768-1830), one time governor of Lower Egypt under Napoleon and master mathematician. Fourier developed an equation (the Fourier Transform), which allows us to tr

      • Mad Hatters
        According to an article in yesterday's London 'Metro' newspaper, experts from the highly respected Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have spent about US$200,000 showing that aluminium hats, similar to those worn by Mel Gibson in the film 'Signs' serve to reduce rad

      • CDMA: How does that work then?
        CDMA - Code Division Multiple Access - is probably one of the most complex methods for accessing the radio spectrum that is in use today. Let's first take a look at the easier to understand methods to see what the differences are.

        FDMA - Frequency Division Multiple Access - is a sys

      • Radio No Man's Land
        Look at any Frequency Allocation Table (FAT) whether it's the ITU's radio regulations or a national one and there are lots of places where the use of the spectrum changes from one type to another (for example from mobile to fixed links). But what actually happens at the place where the tr

      • International Rescue
        A lot has been made in the British press recently of a test which is being introduced by the Home Office to assess immigrants' knowledge of Britain - the 'Britishness Test'. Amongst the many peculiar questions raised in the test, newspapers and television channels alike have reported

      • Twenty-Four Seven
        Any illegal radio transmission runs the risk of being tracked down by the relevant authorities who use sophisticated equipment to monitor the spectrum for unlicensed transmissions. Such equipment is capable of pin-pointing the location of a given transmitter to within a few hundred metres in under

    • October
      • The Digital Divide
        After many years in a sleepy backwater, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) in Europe is finally becoming more mainstream (with one or two exceptions). This is certainly in part due to the fact that the prices for DAB receivers have now dropped to the level where, when buying a new radio for the kitch

      • Cluster Beacons
        You often read about 'strange signals' being heard on various frequencies; there are lots of web-sites which provide listings of the frequencies on which these oddities can be heard. But I was surprised to discover that there are some weird goings on in the amateur bands. Not, that is, be

      • Over-the-Hill Radar
        Listening to the 17 and 15 metre amateur bands recently, I was puzzled by a buzzing that occasionally appeared. Centred around 21300 and 18130 kHz, the odd 50 Hz buzz spread over about 30 kHz (which almost wipes out the whole SSB section of the 17 metre band, which is only 57 kHz wide in total!)