Thursday, May 21, 2015


It's a rare day that I find a radio advert in a print publication.When I do I like to scan and post, collating the data slowly looking for a pattern...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

IRS Agents Live on Howard Stern

An unnamed woman from Cape Cod, MA inadvertently, and unknowingly ended up being a caller on the Howard Stern show recently. She was on a call with an IRS agent aka "Jimmy from Long Island." I would expect Jimmy was been subsequently terminated.

Jimmy accidentally conferenced the woman and Howard Stern onto the same line.. the line that was being broadcast live on Sirius XM. Stern to his credit yelled Jimmy's name repeatedly but for whatever reason Jimmy continued his call.The 3:44 recording now on YouTube airs it all.

The IRS did release this statement regarding the incident. "We are aware of this troubling situation, and we are currently reviewing the matter. The IRS takes the confidentiality of taxpayer information very seriously, and we have high standards that we expect and require employees to follow."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Kiwanis Frolic

Today frolicking is something that antelope do in the tall grass on the Animal Planet channel. But in the early part of the last century it also was jargon describing a range of amateur stage shows the Great Depression's equivalent of open mic night. Many different civic groups held a frolic: the Rotary Club, Moose, Elks, Odd fellows... and the Kiwanis Club. This image below is from a newspaper covering a Frolic held in Ottawa in 1928. It sounds less dirty when you know it's Canadian.

So it comes as no surprise that in those early days of radio, so hungry for content that someone felt the need to broadcast them.  In the early days of KFOX-AM, then known as KFRN-AM, Kiwanis member Bob Muckler had an variety program. In 1927 he and fellow and Kiwanian Hal G. Nichols, devised a plan to let their local Kiwanis Club take over on Monday nights from 9:00 PM to midnight. It was called the Kiwanis Frolic. (It helps to have the station owner in your club.)

Starting on January 17th 1927 Bob Muckler was the Emcee of a Kiwanis Club radio talent show. His guests included budding local singers and musicians alongside more professional talent from vaudeville houses and theaters. Five minutes of each "program" was allocated to a member of Kiwanis who discussed the club's activities, objects, and objectives.

The Monday night Kiwanis Frolic popular program, drawing weekly letters from as far away as Alaska,  New Zealand and Australia. At the time the station broadcast on 1240 which was not too crowded in the bay area. KFOX-AM first broadcast from the Jergins Trust Building in Long Beach in 1924 on 1290 kHz. In 1927 it moved to 1240 kHz. A 1928 FCC frequency re-allocation resulted in a further move to 1250 kHz. They didnt' move to 1280 until the NARBA agreement in 1941.

KFOX still exists, though only as a christian zombie sat-caster. The Long Beach Kiwanis Club still exists as well. As of 2010 it still had 40 members, and that may sound small but that's actually above average. In other words, it's doing better than KFOX. Hal Nichols died in 1952, in the early 1940s Bob Muckler was booking acts for the State Fair. His career after that remains a mystery.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Driftnet Radio Buoys

A radio buoy is not a piece of hardware that the average person needs to use. In other words, you probably can't buy one refurbished on Woot. They are a type of battery powered, radio beacon used extensively used by fishing boats operating on the open sea. Popular models are made by Kato Electronics, Taiyo, Sea Star and Newstar, and Ryokuseisha Co.  More here.

By definition they are non-directional, and usually broadcast on a 4-minute loop repeating an ID three times followed by a steady carrier and a stop. They are most frequently found between 1600–2850 kHz and are very common on the 160-meter band. The ID has nothing to do with the location, it's just a unique ID to distinguish one driftnet buoy from another. They usually broadcast with a power of 4-15wats though tmuch higher strengths have been recorded. To extend battery life there is a type of radio buoy called a "SelCall buoy." These only broadcast a signal in response to one from their ship.  More here.

As you might imagine Hams  located on the coasts encounter them a lot, and other shortwave users consider them a source of RFI. They are quite difficult to manage having no fixed location, unknown power and a variable radius. VK2DX classifies them in "Endemic Groups" an elegant classification he created. [LINK] I'll just quote his explanation here:
"Due to the fact that fishnet beacons do not have a fixed location, finding the exact coverage radius could be a difficult task. The starting point into any distance or location-related analysis would be the establishment of Endemic Groups. An EG is a group of distinctive call signs (ID’s) identifiable at a particular location. In other words, EG beacons are your local beacons. For example, a study of VK2DX log reveals that the most often logged ID’s are Class 5b beacons starting with 2Axxx. The most frequent daytime loggers are 2AEGH (1807khz), 2AFYZ (1771khz) and 2ACVW (1753khz). It is therefore reasonable to conclude that 2Axxx beacons would constitute an Endemic Group based on the coast of central part of the state of NSW (VK2). Naturally, a group of beacons with different ID classes might be coexistent in the region. "
But why are they in use at all? Drift net buoys are used in situations where fishing nets aren't anchored to the boat, or another fixed anchor, like the sea floor. In other words, the nets move. They're called drift nets. They hang vertically in the water column without being anchored to the bottom. The nets are kept vertical in the water by floats attached to a rope along the top of the net and weights along the bottom of the net.There are numerous criticism of the technique [LINK] but Greenpeace had not begun jamming them yet.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


I am taking a few days off.
Be back next week.