VOA Amharic getting through Ethiopian jamming on some frequencies, adds morning transmission.

Posted: 21 Apr 2010   Print   Send a link
Nazret.com, 18 Apr 2010: "In addition to our daily shortwave broadcasts, VOA now offers you 'Today From VOA Amharic.' To get this newsletter and links to the top stories of the day visit our newsletter sign-up page enter your e-mail address. If you have friends or family in Ethiopia who cannot hear our Horn broadcasts during the pre-election jamming by the Ethiopian government, you can send the newsletter sign-up page and they can enter their e-mail addresses. Although the Ethiopian government is jamming our Amharic, Afan Oromo and Tigrigna language broadcasts, we’re still delivering balanced and up-to-date news from Ethiopia. Amharic news airs seven nights a week, Afan Oromo and Tigrigna five nights a week. And now, at 6 a.m. in Ethiopia, Amharic delivers a rebroadcast of election highlights. To learn more check out our frequencies under Radio Program Information."
     The links are not included in this Nazret.com article. The links are in the original promotion from VOA. However, I could not find a way to get to this promotion from the VOA Horn of Africa home page. Only a general search found it.
     The jamming of Afan Oromo and Tigrigna is news to me: previously it was reported that only Amharic was jammed. The new morning Amharic transmission is also a surprise. It is not (yet) listed in the VOA frequency schedule (the schedule that appears when clicking on the "Radio Program Information" link mentioned above).
     Listening via the remote monitoring receiver in Addis Ababa, all three of the frequencies for the new morning transmission (at 0300 UTC on 6055, 7300, and 11790 kHz) are succesfully jammed. I'm surprised higher frequencies, which would have to come from the east, are not used, because they might be more effective against the jamming.
     For the evening transmission at 1800-1900 UTC, now on nine frequencies, I heard two frequencies getting through with at least a fair signal. In this audio file, from 20 April, you can hear 1) 15730 kHz getting through at 1815, but 2) covered by jamming at 1845, 3) 13835 fair at 1816, and 4) still fair at 1846.
     Shortwave jamming can be overcome by transmitting on as many frequencies as possible from as many directions as possible. It could be that propagation favored those two frequencies, but another possible explanation is that Ethiopia simply ran out of transmitters to jam the nine VOA frequencies. Ethiopian listeners with patience can hear VOA Amharic.

     VOA Horn of Africa Service, 20 Apr 2010: "Technology experts in Washington, DC say the recent blocking of Voice of America radio and Internet broadcasts by the Ethiopian government is likely to have a negative long term impact. ... The panelists agreed jamming radio broadcasts by Ethiopian government is 'a severe act of censorship' which can only serve to increase the outrage of people in that country." With links to audio of the discussion in Tigrigna.