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Welcome to program 60 of VOA Radiogram from the Voice of America.
I'm Kim Andrew Elliott in Washington.
Here is the lineup for today's program:
1:31 MFSK32: Program preview (now)
2:48 MFSK32: Tropical storms, with image
6:54 MFSK32: Russian scientific cooperation, with image
14:10 MFSK64: China Internet censorship, with image
21:35 MFSK64: Comparing Internet censorship regimes
27:21 MFSK32: Closing announcements
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And visit voaradiogram.net.
Next week's VOA Radiogram will include an image in the EasyPal
format. Please download the EasyPal software from vk4aes.com.
Practice decoding EasyPal from amateur radio transmissions on
Study: Tropical Storms Migrating Away from Equator
May 15, 2014
A study published in the science journal Nature says tropical
cyclones are reaching maximum intensity farther from the equator
and closer to the poles.
Over the last 30 years, the peak of these powerful and
destructive storms has migrated poleward at the rate of about 56
kilometers per decade.
The study released Wednesday says the drift means that regions
that were once considered to be relatively cyclone-safe may
become more exposed.
The trend may be linked to factors that have contributed to
global climate change including human activities like the burning
of fossils fuels.
The scientists documented the greatest migration in tropical
cyclones in the northern and southern Pacific and south Indian
Oceans. The migration was not as evident in the storms in the
North Atlantic called hurricanes.
Image: Track of Hurricane Sandy in 2012...
RSID: <<2014-05-24T16:06Z MFSK-32 @ 17860000+1500>>
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Russia Threatens End to Scientific Cooperation
George Putic, KI4FNF
May 15, 2014
Differences between the West and Russia over the situation in
Eastern Ukraine are beginning to affect scientific cooperation
between Washington and Moscow. Russia is threatening to close
U.S. satellite navigation monitoring stations in Russia.
The threat to close stations that monitor signals from the U.S.
satellite-based Global Positioning System followed other warnings
about ending scientific cooperation.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin also announced Moscow will
ban the United States from using Russian rocket engines to launch
military satellites and cut Russian participation on the
International Space Station by four years.
There are 11 GPS tracking stations in Russia that may be forced
to suspend operations on June 1. According to University of New
Brunswick Professor Richard B. Langley, the stations are used for
extracting scientific data from the satellite signals.
"If they are shut down, they will not affect the day-to-day
operations of GPS and the kind of positioning and navigation that
we do with our car navigation units and so forth," he said. "But
it will have a significant impact on the scientific studies that
are being done using GPS signals."
The ground part of America's GPS system consists of a master
control station and several dedicated monitor stations that keep
the satellites in proper orbit and correct timing errors. None of
them are located on Russian territory.
Russia's satellite navigation system, GLONASS, also has several
monitor stations outside Russia, and Moscow would like to build a
few on U.S. territory. Washington is refusing permission and
Rogozin says if agreement on that is not reached by September 1,
operation of U.S. GPS tracking stations in Russia will end
Langley, who was interviewed by Victoria Kupchinetsky of VOA's
Russian Service, stressed neither country's stations can be used
for anything other than monitoring satellites.
"I can not envisage how they could be used for spying," he said.
"We know the exact location of them. In many cases they would be
at scientific institutions, typically the data is freely
Langley says shutting down the tracking stations may also hurt
Russian science because its scientists also benefit from data
extracted from GPS and GLONASS signals.
Image: GLONASS logo...
Next on VOA Radiogram, two interesting stories about Internet
access in China and Russia. However, because of their length, it
would take too much time to transmit them in MFSK32. VOA
Radiogram therefore changes to MFSK64, with apologies to those
who do not receive 100% text copy because of poor reception
VOA Radiogram now changes to MFSK64...
RSID: <<2014-05-24T16:14Z MFSK-64 @ 17860000+1500>>
This is VOA Radiogram in MFSK64...
Freeing China's Sina Weibo
May 14, 2014
WASHINGTON - It's a safe bet that no nation has a more
comprehensive and redundant system for filtering and censoring
the Internet than China.
Officially, it's called the "Golden Shield Project" and is
designed, among other things, to prevent "injury to the interests
of the state or society."
Unofficially, it's known around the world as the Great Firewall
of China, and since 2003 it has effectively blocked just about
anything the Chinese government deems too controversial.
Since its launch, China has limited or completely blocked access
to a growing number of websites based in other nations.
Increasingly, it also has been aggressive about censoring
homegrown sites where Chinese citizens share their opinions, such
as on Sina Weibo, China's most popular social network ["weibo"
means "microblog" in Mandarin].
That's something one man is working hard to fight.
He can't tell you where he is, won't allow his voice to be
recorded, and can be reached only via a secure line and encrypted
phone. He goes by the pseudonym "Charlie Smith."
VOA has independently confirmed his identity and that he is
co-founder of the website GreatFire.org.
Since 2011, Smith and other like-minded free-speech activists
have been documenting China's extensive censorship of the
Internet at GreatFire.
"We started monitoring a few hundred URLs and now we're up to
about 100,000," Smith told VOA. "It's the No. 1 resource for
checking to see whether a site is blocked in China."
GreatFire has recorded hundreds of thousands of blocks, and Smith
and his partners have become a major thorn in the side of Chinese
A look at GreatFire one recent day showed how many of Google's
services were blocked [exactly all of them], which Wikipedia
pages are blocked and by how much [100 percent block for the page
on Charter 08, 55 percent for the article on Tank Man] and for
how many days VOA's Chinese service site has not been censored
[just once, on Sept. 18, 2012].
Now Smith is hoping to up the stakes with a new app that he says
allows Chinese "netizens" to see what they're missing due to
censorship on China's largest social media platform, Sina Weibo.
It's estimated that thousands of posts are deleted every day on
popular social media sites like Baidu and Sina Weibo, a
Twitter-like micro-blogging platform.
For example, one study in 2013 found that approximately 12
percent of posts on Sina Weibo were deleted by Chinese
authorities, often within minutes after posting.
For several years now, Smith and his colleagues have been
reposting as many of those censored posts by Chinese citizens as
possible on another website FreeWeibo.com.
That's helpful for many living outside of China, but not so much
for those living there, as FreeWeibo and GreatFire are completely
blocked by the Great Firewall.
Then, a little over a year ago, Smith had an idea how to break
through the firewall. It began when he noticed that Chinese
authorities suddenly blocked the popular web development site
"Github is used by a lot of Chinese web developers to write code
while America sleeps," he said. "The authorities one day decided
to block access to that site, probably because someone had
reposted a petition asking the U.S. to deny entry for all those
who were involved in creating the Great Firewall."
The reaction, Smith said, was as swift as it was unexpected.
"All of these developers were like ‘Hey, what's going on? This is
our livelihood, why is this site blocked? This isn't like the New
York Times, this is how we make money,'" Smith said. "The dollar
Apparently so. Realizing their mistake, authorities quickly
unblocked the site, presumably opting to allow a little
unpleasant content through the Great Firewall in exchange for
greater economic reward.
From that, Smith said, the idea of what he calls "collateral
freedom" was born.
"We realized, well, hold on, these guys were serving up this
banned information on a website that was too valuable to block,"
he told VOA. "The Chinese couldn't selectively block the
controversial things without taking out the entire site, but that
would have terrible consequences. So in essence, these cloud
services are unblockable."
With this in mind, Smith and his colleagues soon developed an app
that collected the deleted Weibo posts they had been gathering
and delivered them to users via a very popular service in China –
Amazon's AWS cloud-computing service. They called their app,
first developed for Apple, "FreeWeibo."
Since Amazon's AWS is encrypted, individual posts can't be
blocked without blocking the entire site. But because AWS is used
by so many major Chinese firms, it's essentially unblockable.
"Collateral freedom," said Smith.
From Apple to Android
"We published first on Apple and the app was working no
problems," Smith said. "And then the authorities called up Apple
and said, ‘Can you remove that app?' And Apple said, ‘Yeah, we
can do that, no problem. Yes, sir.' And they did." Apple
representatives declined to respond to several requests for
Because Apple tightly controls all apps delivered through its
proprietary App Store, Smith reasons the tech giant didn't want
to risk angering Chinese officials and losing a very profitable
market all for one anti-censorship application.
But, he said, what was first seen as a setback was actually a
blessing in disguise.
"This was good for us because we went to look at Android," he
said. "That market is so fragmented in China that it's actually
very difficult for them to call up all the stores and say,
‘Remove this,' because there are just so many. Plus, our download
link is now delivered through the cloud, so that's unblockable as
In China and elsewhere, there are now many sites where you can
download the "FreeWeibo" app for Android devices. [This is just
one of them.]
Smith estimates there are some 2,000 active daily downloads, and
he said he expects that number to skyrocket with the approaching
June 4 anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
Every year around that date, Chinese authorities step up their
censorship of blogging sites like Sina Weibo.
But this year, that censorship may be diluted for users with
"FreeWeibo" who really want to see what their fellow citizens are
"This app is totally seamless," Smith said. "You get it, install
it, bang, you don't have to do anything, no changes on your
phone, all the information gets delivered, you're done."
And it doesn't just stop with Sina Weibo.
Using the same collateral damage idea, Smith said "anything
that's blocked in China, we can do the same thing." That means
just about any content currently censored by the Great Firewall –
from news reports to regime critics and anything else – might now
find a way into China.
"We want to expand this out, on a paid-for basis, as a way of
sustaining what we're doing," Smith said. "We've been pretty much
self-funded to this point, but our bills are starting to go way
up. So we're trying to use this as our business model."
Image: Greatfire.org home page graphic...
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From Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty...
Russia's 'Cheburashka' Internet? Probably Not, But Here Are Some
By Glenn Kates
May 06, 2014
An impossibly cute creature from a 1966 Soviet book and cartoon
has recently found himself on the periphery of discussions about
the Kremlin's growing ambitions to exercise greater control over
domestic Internet use.
In late April, a member of Russia's upper house of parliament
proposed creating a purely domestic Internet -- inaccessible from
abroad with the exception, perhaps, of members of a Russian-led
Customs Union -- that would be named after a furry character
And while the senator, Maksim Kavdzharadze, later clarified that
his proposal would only apply to scientific information, the use
of Cheburashka as a symbol for the Kremlin's efforts to create a
more "sovereign" Internet is apt.
The beast in Eduard Uspensky's story, who is theretofore unaware
of humans, winds up in a crate of oranges and must adjust to a
new reality after tumbling out in a Moscow shop.
In Russia, it is unclear how users will react to the new reality
being created around an Internet that was once widely free. In
April, the State Duma passed legislation that would require
non-Russian tech companies to store all domestic data within
Russia for at least six months. And "Kommersant," a well-regarded
newspaper, reported that a commission set up by Russian President
Vladimir Putin is recommending a system that would allow the
government to filter and access all content passing through
It is still unclear whether major companies like Google and
Facebook will agree to the expensive task of placing servers and
data-storage centers inside Russia -- or if Moscow will follow
through with blocking access to the sites if they do not.
Whatever he decides to do, Putin is representative of an
accelerated push by autocratic leaders worldwide to reign in the
unwieldy Internet space. But doing so once populations have
already experienced the value and convenience of open access can
RFE/RL takes a look below at some case studies of web censorship
-- ranging from the most extreme version of a truly "sovereign"
web to one of evolving ad-hoc efforts to chip away at Internet
All of these censorship regimes exist with varying degrees of
coerced self-censorship brought about by threats of punishment
for posting content deemed immoral or harmful to the state. Users
and companies are aware that their online activity may be
monitored at any time and themselves become players in creating a
North Korea's 'Walled Garden'
Operating as a nationwide intranet, a truly sovereign system can
only be accessed from within the state. The one standout
"success" in this complete censorship regime is North Korea's
Kwangmyong (Bright) network. There is little information about
the network because few people outside the so-called "hermit
kingdom" have been able to access it. But according to a report
by the AP news agency, the system contains up to 5,500 websites
that are mostly associated with universities and government-run
This type of network is one that can really only work in places
where there is a virtual blockade on information from the outside
world, such as North Korea or Cuba, which has a similar system.
This type of domestic intranet environment is difficult to
establish in all but the most oppressive societies because
experience with the free-wheeling way the Internet works already
China's Great Firewall
China's "Golden Shield" project, which blocks and filters content
deemed harmful by the ruling Communist Party, has been largely
successful because the government decided early on that the
Internet was something that needed to be controlled. As Internet
use grew rapidly in the first decade of the 21st century,
homegrown sites that accepted the authorities' censorship rules
-- and assisted in blocking content -- became the norm. While
Western companies have struggled to or refused to adapt to the
rules governing content-filtering, domestic companies like Baidu,
the country's largest search engine, have thrived.
Chinese users wishing to access blocked sites can use proxies,
which provide access to third-party servers to avoid censors, but
because the web already caters to the domestic audiences, most
users will not go through the effort of doing so.
Iran's 'Halal' Network
Iran's censorship of the Internet increased markedly following
disputed elections in 2009 that saw thousands of antigovernment
protesters flood the streets of Tehran. Access to Western sites
like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube were cut off and in 2011 Iran
began work on a "halal" network that would exist only within the
country. The plan, according to one minister, was that users
would only be able to access content that maintained the
appropriate "ethical and moral level."
Although Tehran says it's still working on this intranet, three
years later the country is still relying on censors to blacklist
and filter websites deemed threatening to the Islamic republic.
Creating an entirely new system without an already existing
infrastructure, like in China, has proven to be difficult. And
many users still manage to access Western social- networking
sites through proxies.
The Evolving Turkish Model
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been in an
ongoing battle against the "dark forces" of the Internet since
antigovernment protests swept the country last June. He went on
the attack in early 2014 when secret audio recordings were posted
online that appeared to incriminate his family in corruption. His
government ordered Twitter and YouTube blocked in March. Despite
a court order to reverse Erdogan's edict, YouTube is reportedly
Erdogan has viewed the recent success of his party in municipal
elections as a mandate to continue the Internet crackdown.
Turkey's spy agency was given increased power to access users'
data and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have begun to use
technology similar to that being used in China to scan and log
At first glance, Russia might seem an appropriate candidate for a
Chinese-style firewall. Homegrown Russian sites like the Yandex
search engine and Vkontakte, a social network, have larger shares
of the Russian market than their Western competitors. But these
same companies owe some of their success to foreign practices and
Yandex is registered in the Netherlands and is traded on the
NASDAQ stock exchange in New York. VKontakte's founder fled
Russia in April after he said he was forced into giving up his
shares in the company to figures close to the Kremlin. Leaders at
both companies have complained about the new Internet legislation
in Russia potentially harming their businesses.
Up until now, Russia has largely targeted individual websites and
bloggers, like opposition figure Aleksei Navalny, with shutdowns
or punishments. But it seems clear the Kremlin wants to do more.
Although a "sovereign Internet" may be the Kremlin's ideal, a
layered approach -- similar to that seen in Turkey -- where
Internet freedoms are slowly stripped away, may be the most
VOA Radiogram now changes to MFSK32...
RSID: <<2014-05-24T16:27Z MFSK-32 @ 17860000+1500>>
This is VOA Radiogram in MFSK32...
Please send reception reports to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And visit voaradiogram.net.
Thanks to colleagues at the Edward R. Murrow shortwave
transmitting station in North Carolina.
I'm Kim Elliott. Please join us for the next VOA Radiogram.
This is VOA, the Voice of America.
RSID: <<2014-05-24T16:29Z MFSK-31 @ 17860000+1500>>
Thank you for decoding the modes on VOA Radiogram.
D-06193 Petersberg (Germany/Germania)
Dipol for 40m-Band
ICOM IC-R75 + IF-mixer
con STUDIO1 - Software italiano per SDR [SAM-USB]
German XP-SP3 with support for asian languages
MEDION Titanium 8008 (since 2003) [ P4 - 2,6 GHz]
DRM-images - received via EASYPAL/DSSTV on 14233kHz/USB (FRG-100 / Dipol for ~12 MHz)
Here are some pics of F8BMI [Andre Petton, 3 Impasse Coz Castel, Le Conquet 29217, France] received in the last days.