Friday, July 12, 2013

VOA Radiogram for 13-14 July 2013

From Kim Andrew Elliott:

Thanks to everyone who sent reception reports for VOA Radiogram during the weekend on 6 and 7 July. Some of you found ways to add local noise to your reception, allowing us to test the limits of MFSK text under difficult conditions. I look forward to analyzing your reception, and responding to your emails, now that I have finished producing the VOA Radiogram for this coming weekend.

VOA Radiogram for the weekend of 13-14 July 2013 will include some items in Spanish. This will allow us to review our ability to display accent marks (diacritics) on decoded MFSK text. In Fldigi, use the UTF-8 character set: Configure > Colors & Fonts >   Select Char Set UTF-8.

In my decoding from the recording of program to be broadcast 13-14 July, I was able to see the accent marks in the first Spanish item, greetings to the Encuentro Nacional Diexista 2013, a meeting of shortwave listeners in Mexico City. But in the second plain-text Spanish item, a VOA news story about Pluto's moons, the accents were no longer visible. If this happens to you, during the Pluto story, try closing Fldigi and opening it again.

There will also be a brief MFSK transmission in the Flmsg format. To make Flmsg work adjust these settings in Fldigi: Configure > Misc > NBEMS > under reception of flmsg files, check both boxes, and under that indicate where your Flmsg.exe file is located.

EasyPal also returns this weekend. We will use the more robust 4-QAM transmission setting, which requires seven minutes to transmit one image. You can download EasyPal from

Another change for the 13-14 July program is that the Optimod audio processor will be used at the North Carolina transmitter site for the broadcasts Sunday 0230-0300 UTC on 5745 kHz and at 1300-1330 UTC on  6095 kHz. So far, we have not been using the audio processor that is typically present for VOA shortwave voice broadcasts because of our concern that the processor might affect the spectral purity of the digital tones. This weekend we will find out if the audio processor has any adverse effect on the ability to decode MFSK and EasyPal. (Radio Australia used the Optimod during its recent digital text tests, with no problems at the transmitter end and no apparent reduction in the  ability to decode.)

Here is the lineup for VOA Radiogram, 13-14 July 2013 (duration of each transmission in the left column):

3:00  MFSK16: Program preview
 :38  MFSK32: Greeting to SW listeners in Mexico City (Spanish)
1:10  MFSK32: Same greeting in Flmsg format
2:42  MFSK32: Image related to meeting in Mexico City
2:16  MFSK32: VOA Spanish news story about Pluto's moons
2:14  MFSK32: Image showing orbits of Pluto's moons
5:22  MFSK32: VOA News about O2B satellite system
1:05  MFSK32: VOA Radiogram logo and intro to EasyPal
7:04  EasyPal image
1:14  MFSK16: Closing announcements
 :22  Surprise mode of the week    

As usual, please send reception reports to

Especially appreciated:

1) Audio samples of difficult reception which nevertheless results in a successful decode of MFSK text.

2) Reception on less expensive portable shortwave receivers. (And your advice on how to transfer audio from the portable radio to your PC and into your decoding software. It's often difficult to do this.)

VOA Radiogram transmission schedule
(all days and times UTC)
Sat 1600-1630 17860 kHz
Sun 0230-0300 5745 kHz
Sun 1300-1330 6095 kHz
Sun 1930-2000 15670 kHz
All via the Edward R. Murrow transmitting station in North Carolina.

Thanks as always. I very much enjoy producing these VOA Radiogram broadcasts and hearing from you.


Kim Andrew Elliott
Producer and Presenter
VOA Radiogram