Top Menu

Dictator blocking your Internet? Try a Radiogram

A Radiogram downloaded via shortwave receiver in Italy.

A Radiogram downloaded via shortwave receiver in Italy.

One of my favorite correspondents has brought the Voice of America’s Radiogram project to my attention. The venture experiments with transmitting digital text and images via shortwave broadcasting. Dr. Kim Andrew Elliott is running the show with some technical assistance from my aforementioned contact: Bennett Kobb.

“These experiments are intended to establish the best mode for transmission of text via international AM broadcast,” Kobb told me. The resultant data modes “are more robust against intentional and unintentional interference than is speech. Ultimately, simple software will be distributed that will enable nontechnical persons to decode the news broadcasts even where they are jammed or too weak to hear otherwise.”

As Dr. Elliott puts in one of his experimental broadcasts:

We are doing this because shortwave transmitters might be a useful link when the Internet is disrupted by disasters [or] dictators. . . . Sometimes it’s useful to have news and information in text format, and occasionally in poor shortwave reception conditions, when the announcer’s voice is difficult to understand, text might get through with much greater reliability.”

Receivers of these text transmissions can decode them themselves via a shortwave radio, a basic personal computer, a patchcord to connect the earphone jack of the radio to the microphone input of the PC, and some decoding software

Here are some fun YouTube videos of the reception process in various experiments.



Just one dollar a month makes you a patron of Radio Survivor. Help us through our Patreon Campaign!


, , ,

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. PiratesWeek 4/14/13 | PiratesWeek - April 14, 2013

    […] Seems VOA is broadcasting digital The venture experiments with transmitting digital text and images via shortwave broadcasting. Read the entire story at Radio Survivor. […]

  2. The 1938 radio receiver that picks up text | Radio Survivor - August 26, 2013

    […] is this important? Project supervisor Dr. Kim Andrew Elliott explains: ”We are doing this because shortwave transmitters might be a useful link when the Internet […]

  3. Community broadcasting in 2035: the let's-get-real version - November 16, 2015

    […] Second, FM and AM broadcasting will become increasing useful to populations trying to end run state/corporate digital censorship. We’ve already seen examples of digital shutdowns in various regions of India and elsewhere. Basically you have telecoms cooperating with governments, closing off Internet access during what regional or national administrations deem social emergencies. During those times, good old old-school AM/FM should come in handy for allowing the targets of this kind of censorship to renew discussion and even bring back various kinds of digital communication. […]

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes