Radio Luxembourg

For those of us old enough to remember.
Radio 2 will be broadcasting a two part documentary about Radio Luxembourg on
May 31 and June 7 at 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

BBC Media Centre has released details of the first part:

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Solar Activity.

TWO INCOMING CMEs: A pair of solar eruptions on May 7th hurled coronal masss ejections (CMEs) toward Earth. Forecast tracks prepared by analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab suggests that clouds with arrive in succession on May 9th at 13:40 UT and May 10th at 07:54 UT (+/- 7 hours). The double impact could spark moderate geomagnetic storms. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Magnetic storm alerts: text, phone.

CORONAL HOLE: A dark hole in the sun’s atmosphere (a ‘coronal hole’) is spewing a stream of solar wind toward Earth. The impact of the stream, expected on May 9-11, could add to the effect of the incoming CMEs, boosting the chances of strong geomagnetic activity later this week. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory took this picture of the opening on May 8th:

Coronal holes are places where the sun’s global magnetic field opens up and allows some of the sun’s atmosphere to escape. The outflow of gas is the solar wind. NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of geomagnetic activity on May 9-10 when the stream arrives (along with the CMEs of May 7th).

BIG SUNSPOT: One of the largest sunspot groups in years rotated over the sun’s northeastern limb on May 6th. With a least four dark cores larger than Earth, AR1476 sprawls more than 100,000 km from end to end, and makes an easy target for backyard solar telescopes. Amateur astronomer Alan Friedman sends this picture of the behemoth from his backyard in Buffalo, NY:

“AR1476 is firecrackler,” says Friedman.

Indeed, the active region is crackling with impulsive M-class solar flares. Based on the sunspot’s complex ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field, NOAA forecasters estimate a 75% chance of more M-flares during the next 24 hours. There is also a 10% chance of powerful X-flares.

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Shop Radio

Now if you really want to be bored……………………….
Shop Radio will be broadcast on the Sky platform (Sky EPG radio channel 0184) twenty-two hours a day, seven days a week with amazing offers from 0600 right through until 0400 hrs and can also be found on the web at

This new radio station will be the first of its kind in the UK to bring radio listeners the same quality products that TV viewers have had access to for more than a decade.

David Treadway, Chief Executive of WRN Broadcast said,

‘We are delighted to be leading an experiment in a new way of delivering content to customers. TV shopping is big business, why shouldn’t it work on radio?’

Ed Hall, Chief Executive of Canis Media said,

‘I have been looking for the right partner to launch Shop Radio for nearly ten years. WRN Broadcast is a great distributor of radio stations, and a combination of our market knowledge and experience and WRNB’s history in radio seems like a winning combination to me.’

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Battle to save flagship Envisat spacecraft

Engineers are battling to save the European Space Agency’s (Esa) flagship Earth observation mission – Envisat.

Controllers say the eight-tonne spacecraft appears to be in a stable condition, but they are not receiving any data at all from it.

Contact was lost with Envisat at the weekend shortly after it downloaded pictures of Spain’s Canary Islands.

A recovery team, which includes experts from industry, is now trying to re-establish contact with the craft.

Mission managers said on Friday that they were working through a number of possible fault scenarios but conceded they had little to go on.

Radar pictures taken from the ground appear to show the satellite to be intact, but there is as yet no confirmation that Envisat has entered the expected “safe mode” of an ailing spacecraft.

This automated procedure is designed to ensure the solar panel is pointed at the Sun and that onboard power systems are prioritised above all other activity.

If this has not happened, the concern would be that Envisat’s batteries could soon become depleted, denying any prospect of recovery.

“We continue to try to re-establish contact with the satellite, and in parallel to collect more information on the satellite’s status by ground radar images, from optical images, from telescopes, but also from other spacecraft,” said Prof Volker Liebig, the director of Earth observation at Esa.

A radar image taken from the ground shows Envisat’s main structures to be intact
“On Sunday, [the French space agency] will try to program [their new high-resolution imaging satellite] Pleiades to see if they can image Envisat, to give us more detailed knowledge on whether there is damage on the outside,” he told reporters.

Envisat was launched in 2002 and is the biggest non-military Earth observation spacecraft ever put in orbit.

It has been at the forefront of European Earth science endeavours for a decade, monitoring the land, the oceans, Earth’s ice cover and its atmosphere.

The mission, which has so far cost about 2.5bn euros (£2.1bn), has already exceeded its planned lifetime by five years, but Esa had hoped to keep it operating until 2014.

This would have given the agency time to run it alongside some of the scheduled replacements, and to cross-calibrate their data.

The first of these is Sentinel 1, which is supposed to take over the radar duties of Envisat. It should be launched next year.

Sentinels 2 and 3 will image changes on the land and over the oceans and they should follow in early 2014.

Of more immediate concern are the operational and scientific projects that rely on Envisat data.

The satellite’s information is used daily to monitor for oil spills at sea, to check on iceberg hazards, and to provide information for meteorological forecasts, among a wide range of services.

All this had now been disrupted, said Prof Liebig.

“What we have done is [activate] the contingency agreement we have with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) which we have had for many, many years. Canada has responded very positively. So, for a certain time, the CSA’s Radarsats 1 and 2 will try to fill some of the gaps.”

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One of the remotest islands on earth, St Helena in the South Atlantic, will experience big changes in its media this year. Radio St Helena, which operates on 1548 kHz mediumwave and for some years broadcast a special once-a-year programme on shortwave via a transmitter of Cable and Wireless, will be closing down. Its parent company, St Helena News Media Services, is being dissolved, and the final edition of its newspaper the St Helena Herald was published on 9 March 2012. In its place, a new government-funded company called the St Helena Broadcasting Corporation (SHBC) has been set up, and will operate three FM radio stations on the island, one of which will be a relay of the BBC World Service

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GB100MGY (Marconi Station)

GB100MGY will be operating on
502 kHz from the Fort Perch Rock marine radio museum in the Wirral, UK
during the Titanic commemoration.Their website says:

We have “special permission” from OFCOM to use the 501 to 504 kHz band
from 12th to 18th April from above location at FPR using above callsign.
Please listen out for us on around 502 kHz CW. We will be on air on this
frequency most evenings and overnight on 14th/15th April, the
anniversary of the Titanic’s sad demise. We will be using Marine radio
equipment from Marconi, JRC, Nera with a long wire between fort and
lighthouse and a 6oo foot loop aerial around the fort. We will be be
doing crossband QSO’s on 3566 khz or 7066 kHz. We also have a Kenwood
TS570 100 watts transceiver which will be used on a vertical aerial for
QSO’s on all other amateur bands both CW and single sideband.

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Now thats what I call a tower!

A massive
tower called the Tokyo Sky Tree has been completed ahead of schedule.
Standing 634 m (2,080 ft) high, it is the world’s tallest free-standing
broadcast tower – and the second tallest building in the world after the
Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The Tower will be officially opened on May 22.

Wikipedia says that one of its main purposes is to relay television and
radio broadcast signals; Tokyo’s current facility, Tokyo Tower with a
height of 333 m (1,093 ft), no longer gives complete digital terrestrial
television broadcasting coverage because it is surrounded by many
high-rise buildings. The name of the tower was chosen by public vote.
The height of 634 m (2,080 ft) was selected to be easily remembered. The
figures 6 (mu), 3 (sa), 4 (shi) stand for “Musashi” an old name of the
region where the Tokyo Sky Tree stands. 9 television channels and two FM
radio stations, J-Wave on 81.3 and NHK Tokyo FM on 82.5 will broadcast
from the tower. It will also have a restaurant and observation tower.

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BBC highlight problems with Powerline Communication Technology

BBC highlight problems with Powerline Communication Technology to
radio services

The BBC has pointed out
the radio interference problems caused Powerline Communication
technology systems (PLC), also known as Broadband over Powelines.

The BBC say these systems can not only cause problems for broadcast
radio services but to broadcast television and to all other
radiocommunication services operating in the bands where interference
might be generated. Additionally they pose a threat to conventional
broadband telecommunication services.

The BBC’s specific concerns are:

Low frequency mains signalling systems are proposing to use PLC and
extend the present band above 150 kHz to 540 kHz. In Europe this will
impact longwave and some medium wave broadcasting services.
Present systems are using all the high frequency bands, and have to
notch out certain frequencies to reduce interference to services such as
amateur radio. There are technical difficulties regarding the notch
depth, but despite this there are proposals for a higher power levels to
enable reduce operational costs. The widespread use of the technology
for SmartGrid may prevent the rollout of the planned DRM services.
Permanent notching of the Broadcast bands is not considered practical,
and there is some opposition to using an active dynamic notching technology.

There are serious concerns that the technology will adversely affect
Band II services. It is noted that the FCC have limited PLC to below 80
MHz in order to protect Band II services. Many Band II receivers have
inadequate out of band response performance to protect against
interference from PLC in nearby bands. Similarly Aeronautical services
in the VHF band need protection. There is nothing that receivers
(broadcasting, aeronautical, etc) can do to reject in-band interference
from PLC and little that can be done to existing receivers to reject
adjacent channel PLC.

There have been some reports of PLC interfering with DAB (in Band III)
services; however products operating in the VHF spectrum are at present
limited – possibly by the desire for them to be marketable in the USA.

The BBC concluded that:

“There is a need for PLC networks that cannot readily be met by present
wireless systems; however it is unlikely that the current PLC technology
could comply with current interference standards.”

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MARCONI’S NEW STREET WORKS – 1912 – 2012 (Book)

Birthplace of the Wireless Age
By Tim Wander
Book Size (Paperback editions): 7.44 x 9.69″ (246 x 189mm)
ISBN (Paperback editions): 0755206932
ISBN-13 (Paperback editions): 9780755206933

With the centenary of the New Street Works now here ex-Marconi engineer
and historian Tim Wander has spent the past two years putting together a
history of the famous factory. The book is now available direct from the
publishers priced at £12.99 – see, (search for ‘New Street’ or ‘Tim Wander’)

At nearly 400 pages and with over 130 photographs the book charts the
history and development of the site and tells the stories behind the
world beating and world saving technologies that were developed there.
New Street was the birthplace of many technologies that have shaped and
changed our modern world including radio, broadcasting, television,
radar, satellite communications and even the computer and the technology
behind the mobile telephone. But most of all the Marconi New Street
centenary book tells some of the stories of the men and women who worked
there from the 1930’s onward. Over a hundred people have contributed to
a unique oral history – everything from a paragraph or humorous anecdote
through to a career history. With careful editing they have been woven
together to form a permanent record of the factory and the people who
served there.

Many of the photographs in the book are previously unseen and span the
entire history of the New Street site and include some taken earlier
this year inside the main factory showing the dreadful state of decay
and dilapidation now rain water has got into the site though the
vandalised roof.
For more information on New Street and Tim’s forthcoming books see:-

Tim also wrote the book
“2MTWrittle” a couple of years ago about the Birth of British
Broadcasting. He tells me that “Marconi on the Isle of Wight” will be
coming out in a couple of months, and he is also working on another
book: “A Kind of Magic – The Birth of the Wireless Age: Five Years that
Changed the World”

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Peats ‘World of Electronics’ – (RIP)

Peats ‘World of Electronics’ – Statement


It is with deep sadness and regret that the family owned business of Peats ‘World of Electronics’, the long established and well-known Dublin electronics retail company is to seek the appointment of a Liquidator in an upcoming voluntary creditor’s liquidation.

The Chairman of the business, Ben Peat, briefed the company’s 75-staff today at the company’s head-office store in Parnell St and told staff that the company could not continue to trade in light of its current financial constraints confirming that the company’s eleven stores around Dublin have closed with immediate effect.

Mr Peat told staff that a combination of recession impacts, unsustainably high rental costs and a changing marketplace in which online shopping was eating into high street retailing, meant that the business cannot continue to trade going into the upcoming lean summer. Mr Peat said that “the business generated 60% of its annual sales in the period November to January, and that a summer’s spend could not carry the business, to allow it to continue. It is evident in our experience that consumers have little discretionary spend at this time and sales volumes are up to 50% down on peak 2007 spend, while in parallel it has not been possible to achieve appropriate rental adjustment to enable a profit margin to be achieved to sustain business viability. The sector in which we operate has been disproportionately affected by the downturn, if we don’t close now our capacity to settle our affairs to best effect will only further deteriorate”, Mr Peat said.

Mr Peat told staff that “Trade hit its peak in 2007, with turnover that year of €24m, it has since re-trenched to less than half for the current year” and thanking staff, customers and suppliers, he continued, “the Company had a fine heritage for quality, decency and value, it became a popular name on the Dublin retail landscape and it’s departure from the high-street will be a loss to the tradition of family retailing in Dublin. Thanking customers he said, it is with deep regret that we have to close the doors of our ‘world of electronics business’, – we have tried very hard to establish solutions with suppliers and landlords that could have brought balance and sustainability back into our business. We have implemented extensive cost-reduction at all levels including payroll and terms of employment, but unfortunately it is beyond our power to continue in operation and we have to protect our staff, creditors, debtors and legal interests to best possible effect and do right by all concerned as far as is both humanly and financially possible. We cannot allow our situation to deteriorate further – as we do not want to compromise our capacity to secure the best possible outcome for all out of what is a difficult situation”

Thanking staff for their support and loyalty in a number of cases for over thirty years, Mr Peat said that staff will be paid their entitlements and redundancy due in full, and asked for their support for both colleagues and the business in the coming days, while the business settled its affairs to the very best of its ability to do so. He commented that over the years Peat’s staff have always been exceptional, there was one big extended family within which three generations of the Peat family still currently work.

Peats began life in Parnell Street in 1934 when Brigit and William Peat set up shop to sell wet cell batteries, bicycles, furniture and prams. All six of their children joined the business and their youngest son, Ben Peat is the current chairman. In its early years the company began to develop the electronics side of the business selling radiograms, followed by three-in-one hi-fi systems and contemporary products including repair services, to the present day sales of an assembly of electronic home entertainment products including flat screen TV’s, cameras, computer laptops and accessories.

Peats’ eleven stores are located throughout Dublin, with its head office in Parnell St; the Company also has stores in Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, College Green, Rathmines, Swords and in the Whitewater Shopping Centre in Newbridge. It also operated a number of Sony Centre shops under the Sony Centre identity. These outlets are located in the Jervis Shopping Centre, on O’Connell St, in Dun Laoghaire, in the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre and also on Stephen’s Green, close to the Shelbourne Hotel.

All stores have now been closed and telephone calls will automatically be directed to a call centre to accommodate any enquiries arising, so that they can be logged and dealt with as efficiently and as soon as possible.

In making enquiries customers are invited to call 01-9023718 or to Email:

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