Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Comments Section Permanently Closed

Shortwave America has enacted a new policy effective immediately. Due to continued abuse of the comments section, specifically, comments that meet with the legal definition of threats, slander, libel, and defamation; the comments sections of this publication are now permanently closed. The comments section will not re-open again in the future.

Sadly, the reality is that the internet allows people to be anonymous. Internet anonymity was intended for a select and narrow group of people to have some sort of shield against their freedom of speech being violated or chilled at the very least. When this anonymity is abused, such as we see in this current day across the wide territory of the internet, we must start re-thinking the whole idea of anonymity and what requirements a person needs to meet to obtain and use anonymity. Unfortunately, the law is slow at catching up with modern day technology.

Shortwave America has made a commitment to create and maintain a safe environment for people from all over the world of all ages to enjoy, and has openly made a commitment to address the pandemic known as cyber-harassment, cyber-stalking, and cyber-bullying.

The decision to close the comments section was not made lightly, but has become a necessity. Furthermore, the fact that the comments section has been open for years and has only been used very rarely by people making legitimate comments further justifies the closing of the comments section.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ethiopia Criminalizes VOIP - RSF Reports

Reporters Without Borders is reporting that the government in Ethiopia is stepping up control of news and information. As part of this crack down, new legislation was ratified on May 24th, 2012. Here is a quote of what this law is reported to say:

"Use of VoIP hardware and software has just been made a crime by the new Ethiopian Telecom Service legislation, which was ratified on 24 May. Anyone violating this provision could be sentenced to up 15 years in prison.

The authorities say the ban was needed on national security grounds and because VoIP posed a threat to the state’s monopoly of telephone communications. The new law also gives the ministry of communications and information technology the power to supervise and issue licences to all privately-owned companies that import equipment used for the communication of information."

Shortwave America takes an interest in this due to the fact that licensed amateur radio operators use VOIP services as an allowed mode of communication world-wide. Use of VOIP in amateur radio is almost universal in regards to widespread international use. There is no information at this time about how or IF this ban will affect licensed amateur radio operators in that region of the world. 

This VOIP ban is only a small part of new law that has taken effect in Ethiopia. The government there has also blocked access to the TOR network, but the folks at TOR have found a way to circumvent this ban by way of the use of  certain TOR bridges in combination with Obfsproxy Tor Browser Bundle. Technical tests so far show that the TOR bridges are not responsive to pinging. Here is that instructional piece at the TOR Blog.

Reporters Without Borders says this: "This new law and the possibility that a Deep Packet Inspection system has been installed mark a turning point in the Ethiopian government’s control of the Internet,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We fear that DPI will be misused for surveillance purposes by a government that already subjects the political opposition and privately-owned media to a great deal of harassment."

On May 31st, 2012, the TOR Blog announced the following statement: (See the TOR link for technical graphs)

"Reports show that Tor stopped working a week ago -- even with bridges configured. Websites such as,,, and even continue to work."

Input/, "The free thinkin', free speakin', rabble rousin' geek has a tutorial up that tells us how to subvert DPI. (Shortwave America makes no guarantees as to the effectiveness of any advice given or linked to) 

As you read through the information and links provided here, you will have seen that Ethiopia is suspected of using TLS to achieve all of its censorship and monitoring activities. TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. This quote from Wikipedia tells us the basics of what TLS is:

"Transport Layer Security (TLS) and its predecessor, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), are cryptographic protocols that provide communication security over the Internet.[1] TLS and SSL encrypt the segments of network connections at the Application Layer for the Transport Layer, using asymmetric cryptography for key exchange, symmetric encryption for privacy, and message authentication codes for message integrity.

Several versions of the protocols are in widespread use in applications such as web browsing, electronic mail, Internet faxing, instant messaging and voice-over-IP (VoIP).
TLS is an IETF standards track protocol, last updated in RFC 5246, and is based on the earlier SSL specifications developed by Netscape Communications."[2]


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hancock - The Radio Ham

Tony Hancock, born 12 May 1924, was a well known actor and radio host at the BBC. One of his greatest hits was something called "The Radio Ham". Hancock had a complicated life and career due to a combination of factors. Learn more about Tony Hancock. 

Although Hancock's life and career were complicated matters in and of themselves, Hancock was a genius who continues to be appreciated, and his work lives on.

Shortwave America sort of "commandeered" these videos from Keith Perron at PCJ Radio in good spirit. Thanks for allowing the use of these videos, Keith!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Britain's Diamond Jubilee - Listening Guide

PCJ Radio's Keith Perron passed on the following shortwave frequencies for Elizabeth's celebration of sitting as a Queen for 60 years. Not sure how long this celebration is going on for, so, hopefully this will be useful for people to have.

Those who live in other countries can listen to audio feeds via RadioReference.
The Official Queen's Jubilee website can be viewed here.  
The BBC - Thames Jubilee Pageant Cheered by Crowds

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dangers of DXpeditions: DJ6SI Arrested In Greece

DX Coffee has written an excellent piece on the dangers of DXpeditions in places where diplomacy and human rights are not up to par.

7O6T and 6O0CW: All Things Considered

This piece was spoken of on the heels of breaking news which has come from the VU Amateur Radio mailing list. A ham in Greece has been arrested on suspicion of spying. DXCoffee references the Global Peace Index in the piece.

From DX World: 

World traveller and well known DXer, Baldur DJ6SI has been arrested on the island of Kos for alleged spying.

Whilst Dx World does not know the precise details, this story is all over the Greek ham radio blogosphere.
SV2DCD blog
SV8CS blog
SV5BYR blog
Recent cluster spottings prior to Baldur’s arrest.


DXCoffee makes the following points which are quoted here: 

"The 2011 ranking of the “Global Peace Index” (created by “Vision of Humanity“) sees Somalia at the bottom of the list (ranked #153), which thusly conveys the unenviable distinction of “Most Dangerous Country on Earth.” Yemen, in contrast, is “only” 138th, while still in the top 20 worldwide."

"We should give back in like measure for that which has transpired, by way of thanks and gratitude to the handful of radio stars involved in the activations of Socotra Island and Galkayo. They have willingly made possible for each us to conquer one more piece of the DXCC puzzle. There was an implicit acceptance of risk of sufficient magnitude."

"(the license qualifies us as operators, not necessarily as “courteous people”), but if a human being stopped being like this, alas, he could no longer be a ham. Responsibility is the first real virtue of an OM, and our search for those famous “fifteen minutes” (although in this case the duration of 15 days) is not enough, in spite of our freedom to choose; and individual motivations should remain unchanged in justifying even the slightest conditon relating to our physical security." 

"respectfully bear in mind the reflections of others in our reading over the past several days, the alleged communications restrictions (we have not heard from the team regarding this) in contacts with Israeli stations imposed by Yemeni authorities on the team of 7O6T."

"The Amateur Service is not put into operation by divine investiture, rather by permission of a government entity"

"DXCC does not assign values to the level of democracy of an entity; it’s not Amnesty International. It recognizes that an activation has occurred in accordance with procedures and requirements and makes it valid for the achievement of the given award."

"Politics has no place in radio (behind the microphone) – and this is an inviolable principle and one to defend – but it’s impossible, given the nature of a government action"

The SV2DCD website has some more talk about the situation involving DJ6SI.  

There is only speculation as of this time, some of it, not so nice. We will have to wait and see how this case plays out before we really know anything solid about the allegations and facts. There will likely be different versions of what happened and why. Shortwave America would urge the amateur radio community to think responsibly and act wisely until more details are known.