An anonymous reader writes: An investigation by Reuters has uncovered a radio station located just outside Washington, D.C. that broadcasts dedicated Chinese propaganda to the U.S. capital and the surrounding area. In 2009, under new ownership, Virginia-based station WAGE erected new broadcast towers, amplifying its signal by ten times, and changed its call letters to WCRW, for "China Radio Washington." All WCRW programming shares a common theme, with newscasts that avoid any criticism of China and are critical of Beijing's political enemies; for example, a report on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year did not explain why people were in the streets, and said only that the demonstrations had "failed without support." WCRW's American owners claim they have no input on content and are only rebroadcasting programming provided to them by a state-sponsored Chinese company to which they lease the airtime. U.S. law requires that anyone seeking to influence American policy or public opinion on behalf of a foreign government must register with the Department of Justice, but according to Reuters, government officials didn't even know WCRW existed until Reuters told them about it.
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Zothecula writes For the first time in history, a prototype radio has been created that is claimed to be completely digital, generating high-frequency radio waves purely through the use of integrated circuits and a set of patented algorithms without using conventional analog radio circuits in any way whatsoever. This breakthrough technology promises to vastly improve the wireless communications capabilities of everything from 5G mobile technology to the multitude devices aimed at supporting the Internet of Things (IoT).
Bruce Perens writes Chris Testa KD2BMH and I have been working for years on a software-defined transceiver that would be FCC-legal and could communicate using essentially any mode and protocol up to 1 MHz wide on frequencies between 50 and 1000 MHz. It's been discussed here before, most recently when Chris taught gate-array programming in Python. We are about to submit the third generation of the design for PCB fabrication, and hope that this version will be salable as a "developer board" and later as a packaged walkie-talkie, mobile, and base station. This radio is unique in that it uses your smartphone for the GUI, uses apps to provide communication modes, contains an on-board FLASH-based gate-array and a ucLinux system. We intend to go for FSF "Respects Your Freedom" certification for the device. My slide show contains 20 pages of schematics and is full of ham jargon ("HT" means "handi-talkie", an old Motorola product name and the hams word for "walkie talkie") but many non-hams should be able to parse it with some help from search engines. Bruce Perens K6BP
gbjbaanb writes: The BBC has converted its legacy WMA (Windows Media Audio) streams to the "industry-wide and open source" MPEG-DASH format. While this has left some users of old devices unable to receive the broadcasts, the BBC claims the use of WMA was "prohibitively expensive to operate"when existing licence agreements ran out. The BBC says that they are working with "radio industry and manufacturers towards using just one standard."
journovampire writes: We might live in an age of YouTube and Spotify being the go-to music players of teenagers, but radio was still the top method of music discovery in the U.S. last year. According to the research, "59% of music listeners use a combination of over-the-air AM/FM radio and online radio streams to hear music," and "243 million U.S. consumers (aged 12 and over) tune in each week to radio – 91.3% of the national population tuning in across more than 250 local markets."
product_bucket writes: The UK's radio regulator, Ofcom, today published changes in the licensing conditions that remove the mandatory 15-minute callsign ID interval on all allocated frequencies apart from 5MHz, where special conditions remain. In its place, a requirement for the station to be "clearly identifiable at all times" has been made, along with a requirement to transmit the station callsign "as frequently as is practicable" in a form consistent with the operating mode. The decision also permits the use of encryption (PDF) when the station is being used for, or on behalf of a user service such as St. John Ambulance. Unusually, no response to the consultation (PDF) has been made available, so there is at present no way to assess the extent to which the changes were based on actual responses.
First time accepted submitter product_bucket writes A consultation published by the UK Radio Regulator Ofcom seeks views on its plan to remove the mandatory 15 minute callsign identifier interval for amateur radio licensees. The regulator also intends to permit the use of encryption by a single volunteer emergency communications organization. The consultation is open until 20th October, and views are sought by interested parties.
An anonymous reader notes coverage of research from the University of Michigan into the ease with which attackers can hack traffic lights. From the article: As is typical in large urban areas, the traffic lights in the subject city are networked in a tree-type topology, allowing them to pass information to and receive instruction from a central management point. The network is IP-based, with all the nodes (intersections and management computers) on a single subnet. In order to save on installation costs and increase flexibility, the traffic light system uses wireless radios rather than dedicated physical networking links for its communication infrastructure—and that’s the hole the research team exploited. ... The 5.8GHz network has no password and uses no encryption; with a proper radio in hand, joining is trivial. ... The research team quickly discovered that the debug port was open on the live controllers and could directly "read and write arbitrary memory locations, kill tasks, and even reboot the device (PDF)." Debug access to the system also let the researchers look at how the controller communicates to its attached devices—the traffic lights and intersection cameras. They quickly discovered that the control system’s communication was totally non-obfuscated and easy to understand—and easy to subvert.
Bruce Perens writes "Codec2 is the Open Source ultra-low-bandwidth speech codec capable of encoding voice in 1200 Baud. FreeDV (freedv .org) is an HF (global-range radio) implementation that uses half the bandwidth of SSB, and without the noise. Here are three speeches about where it's going."
- David Rowe: Embedding Codec2: Open Source speech coding on a low-cost microprocessor, at Linux.conf.au 2014. YouTube, downloadable MP4.
- Bruce Perens: FreeDV, Codec2, and HT of the Future (how we're building a software-defined walkie-talkie that's smarter than a smartphone), at the TAPR/ARRL Digital Communications Conference 2013. Blip.tv, YouTube
- Chris Testa on the .Whitebox handheld software-defined radio design that is the RF portion of HT of the Future, which was also shown at the TAPR conference.
chipperdog writes "NorthPine.com reports: 'ASCAP is firing back against Pandora Radio's attempt to get lower music royalty rates by buying a terrestrial radio station, "Hits 102.7" (KXMZ Box Elder-Rapid City). In a petition to deny, ASCAP alleges "Pandora has failed to fully disclose its ownership, and to adequately demonstrate that it complies with the Commission's foreign ownership rules." ASCAP also alleges that Pandora has no intention of operating KXMZ to serve the public interest, but is rather only interested in obtaining lower royalty rates. Pandora reached a deal to buy KXMZ from Connoisseur Media for $600,000 earlier this year and is already running the station through a local marketing agreement.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The Greek government shut down broadcasting of all TV and radio channels operated by the state-owned broadcaster ERT at midnight local time, with police ejecting journalists and other employees occupying the building. The above link is a prominent Greek economics professor's (and Valve's in-house economist) analysis of the political motivations for the move."
RocketAcademy writes "The Federal Communications Commission has issued a Public Notice to help commercial space companies obtain use of communications frequencies for launch, operations, and reentry. Commercial space companies can obtain the use of government frequencies on a temporary, non-interference basis through the FCC's Experimental Authorization process. Experimental Authorizations are valid for a six-month period from the date of grant and are renewable, but applicants must obtain a new authorization for each launch and must apply 90 days in advance. Unfortunately, this requirement does not meet the needs of suborbital launch providers who expect to fly several times per day and schedule launches as needed, on very short notice."
TwineLogic writes "Many Slashdot readers have been enjoying the availability of $20 USB radios which can tune in the range of 50MHz-2GHz. These devices, while cheap, have limited bandwidth (about 2MHz) and minimal resolution (8-bit). Nuand, a new start-up from Santa Clara, wants to improve on that. Their Kickstarter proposal for bladeRF, a Software Defined Radio transceiver, will support 20MHz bandwidth and 12-bit samples. The frequency range to be covered is planned as 300MHz-3.6Ghz. In addition to the extended spectrum coverage, higher bandwidth, and increased resolution, the bladeRF will have an on-board FPGA capable of performing signal processing and an Altera processor as well. SDR hobbyists have been using the inexpensive receivers to decode airplane data transmission giving locations and mechanical condition, GPS signals, and many other digital signals traveling through the air around us. This new device would extend the range of inexpensive SDRs beyond the spectrum of 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. In addition, the peripheral includes a low-power transmitter which the experimenter can use without needing a 'Ham' license."
Bruce Perens writes "The Codec2 project has developed FreeDV, a program to encode digital voice on two-way radio in only 1.125 KHz of bandwidth. But FCC regulations aren't up-to-speed with the challenges of software-defined radio and Open Source. A 24 page FCC filing created by Bruce Perens proposes that FCC allow all digital modulations and published digital codes on ham radio and switch to bandwidth-based regulation."
New submitter titanium93 writes "For months, dozens of people could not use their keyless entry systems to unlock or start their cars when parked in the vicinity of the eight-story Regents bank building in Hollywood, FL. Once the cars were towed to the dealership for repair, the problem went away. The problem resolved itself when police found equipment on the bank's roof that was broadcasting a bootleg radio station. A detective and an FCC agent found the equipment hidden underneath an air conditioning chiller. The man who set up the station has not been found, but he faces felony charges and fines of at least $10,000 if he is caught. The radio station was broadcasting Caribbean music around the clock on 104.7 FM."
theodp writes "GeekWire's Taylor Soper reports that the University of Washington has capped live sports coverage at 20 Tweets per basketball game (45 for football) and threatens to revoke the credentials of journalists who dare exceed the Twitter limits. Tacoma News Tribune reporter Todd Dybas was reportedly 'reprimanded' after drawing the ire of the UW Athletic Dept. for apparently Tweeting too much during UW's 85-63 Sunday win over Loyola."
jjp9999 writes "By using the same technology found in older modems, Thomas Tumino, vice president of the Hall of Science Amateur Radio Club, has invented an iPhone interface for ham radios. He told The Epoch Times, 'Today there are iPhone apps where you can use the systems in the phone — and its sound card, which is being used as a modem ... And then you connect that into your radio with an interface like this, that just isolates the telephone from the radio, and then you can do all sorts of things.'"
Dupple writes in with news about a discovery that should extend the life of your battery in the near future. "Powering cellular base stations around the world will cost $36 billion this year—chewing through nearly 1 percent of all global electricity production. Much of this is wasted by a grossly inefficient piece of hardware: the power amplifier, a gadget that turns electricity into radio signals. The versions of amplifiers within smartphones suffer similar problems. If you've noticed your phone getting warm and rapidly draining the battery when streaming video or sending large files, blame the power amplifiers. As with the versions in base stations, these chips waste more than 65 percent of their energy—and that's why you sometimes need to charge your phone twice a day. It's currently a lab-bench technology, but if it proves itself in commercialization, which is expected to start in 2013—first targeting LTE base stations—the technology could slash base station energy use by half. Likewise, a chip-scale version of the technology, still in development, could double the battery life of smartphones."
An anonymous reader writes "Today in a blog post, Pandora has shared some details of the fees they pay to musical artists for playing songs over their music streaming service. Over 2,000 different artists will pull in $10,000 or more in the next year, and 800 will get paid over $50,000. They provided a few specific examples as well. Grupo Bryndis, who has a sales rank on Amazon of 183,187 (in other words, who is not at all a household name), is on track to receive $114,192. A few earners are getting over $1 million annually, such as Coldplay and Adele. 'Drake and Lil Wayne are fast approaching a $3 million annual rate each.' The post segues into a broader point about the age of internet radio: 'It's hard to look at these numbers and not see that internet radio presents an incredible opportunity to build a better future for artists. Not only is it bringing tens of millions of listeners back to music, across hundreds of genres, but it is also enabling musicians to earn a living. It's also hard to look at these numbers, knowing Pandora accounts for just 6.5% of radio listening in the U.S., and not come away thinking something is wrong. ... Congress must stop the discrimination against internet radio and allow it to operate on a level playing field, under the same rules as other forms of digital radio.'"