Monday, March 2, 2015

Post-Winterfest Entry; 3/2/15

Post-Winterfest Entry; 3/2/15

Yesterday, I drove for about five hours through freezing rain, from Philadelphia to home. You know that the conditions aren't too great when everyone's driving about 40-50 mph on the PA Turnpike near Philly.

The Winter SWL Fest is always invigorating to me. I always return home with fresh ideas (to me, at least) and an optimistic attitude about the future of pirate and/or shortwave radio. Just something about chatting with others with similar interests and different concepts really cracks the winter doldrums. At this point of my monologue, I always mention that hobbyists in other parts of the country should at least try having some small get-togethers, if not a full-out fest.

It was nice to see that attendance rose by about 19 people from last year. Not a bad turnout, considering that it isn't really advertised, we're a few years past the 25th anniversary of the Fest, and some high-level events (the Resurrect Dead movie premiere and Mark Fahey's North Korea presentation) are in the past.

Unfortunately, I was unable to leave for day 1 and I missed the events on Friday. A lot of great stuff was slated, such as George Zeller's pirate forum, atrainradio's talk on getting youth interested in shortwave radio, and David Goren's Shortwave Shindig. Some other talks were slated for Friday & Saturday that I wanted to see, but didn't quite as directly apply to pirate listening.

On Saturday, Mark Fahey returned with a lot of video and propaganda from around the world. As mentioned above, Mark has spoken at length at the SWL Fest and other locales about radio monitoring and the socio-political situation in North Korea. I find North Korea to be fascinating because it's the most repressive regime on earth and because its cult of personality of bizarre and downright insane. If you don't believe the latter part, try reading the DPRK constitution sometime.

Actual line from the DPRK constitution: "Comrade Kim Il Sung was a genius ideological theoretician and a genius art leader, an ever-victorious, iron-willed brilliant commander, a great revolutionary and politician, and a great human being."
In case you're wondering, not everyone in North Korea believes that they're living the dream. A number of North Koreans in exile are working to create a social revolution with episodes of Friends. The article, from Wired magazine, shows the lengths taken to bring even the most innocuous entertainment into North Korea, with the hope that some people will being to question their existence and the country's leadership.

I wonder, if South Korea had a thriving pirate radio scene, just how many of those broadcasts would be audible in the North. Likewise, how many North Koreans would begin to question the
authorities (and eventually defect) for a relatively minor level of shortwave pirate activity in the South?

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