Music (?) 4 Joy

Music 4 Joy is a broadcast carried by a commercial station in Nauen, Germany, that consists of an hour of what some have called “techno” music with no announcements. It’s like random notes accompanied by a drum machine. The audio appears to be the same repetitive pattern, perhaps with small variations, on each of the 8 weekly appearances.

The broadcasts are Tuesday and Thursday only (times UTC):

  • 13:00-14:00 – 17670 kHz to Far East
  • 18:00-19:00 – 11790 kHz to East Africa
  • 18:30-19:30 – 9755 kHz to the Middle East
  • 20:00-21:00 – 9800 Khz to West Africa

My interest comes from the challenge of receiving a station that’s unusual and one that’s not broadcasting in my direction.

World map showing direction of Music 4 Joy broadcast, all pointing away from North America
Direction of the 20:00 UTC broadcast and me

It took 12 tries over 3 days for me to finally hear the broadcast, one to West Africa on 9800 kHz. I found the experience interesting, and the final capture exciting. I shot a video from the broadcast (much of the rest of the time the signal was poorer).

[For a much better recording, skip to the end of this article.]

Music 4 Joy on a Tecsun PL-660 with wire antenna

There were several interesting offshoots from the exercise. First, I got to compare the sensitivity of four of my “good radios,” the Tecsun PL-660, PL-330, XHDATA D-808 and Eton Elite Executive (this was before my PL-880 arrived). The PL-660 was the best, but the others worked OK after the signal strengthened. The radios were outdoors where I could compare my 2o ft. WUT (wire up tree) antenna to an indoor radio connected to an outdoors MLA-30+. The radios connected to the MLA-30+ didn’t receive the station, which makes me want to examine why that happened. I also tried a 2nd tier radio, the XHDATA D-109, that didn’t get the station at all. I also learned that it’s easier to hear a weak station when you know what to listen for, and learned that a station that’s inaudible at one moment, might just appear later.

I went outside this morning to try to receive the 13:00 UTC broadcast on 17670 kHz. It was there, again faintly, but growing in strength over time. I started with the PL-660, knowing exactly what to listen for. I saw this as an opportunity to rate another radio on this cooperating weak signal, my Tecsun R-9700DX, also a dual conversion analog receiver but with an analog tuning dial instead of a digital readout. Careful tuning located the signal — not as strong as the PL-660 — but still clearly there. The comparison is no surprise since the PL-660 is rated the more sensitive receiver. As a result, my respect for for the R-9700DX has improved a bit. I also tried the XHDATA D-109 one more time and this time I had a bit of success. What I found is that the radio mutes a very weak signal, so if it’s not strong enough there’s nothing, but the signal popped up from time to time.

M4J on 17670 kHz at 13:32 UTC

This is the kind of challenge I enjoy.

Before I received the station myself, I heard it on the Upper Bavarian Forest WebSDR in Germany.

[Update] Best ever reception on June 6 of the Far East broadcast on 17,670. Here it is on the PL-660 and PL-880.

Music 4 Joy on 17,670 – PL-660 and PL-880

About Kevin

Just an old guy with opinions that I like to bounce off other people.
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