Posts tagged MND Radio
MND Radio, a shortwave radio station run by South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense, appears to have left the air.
The station was last heard broadcasting on October 31st. Since then, it hasn’t been detected by radio monitors in East Asia or further afield.
MND Radio first appeared in late 2011 and broadcast a handful a hour-long programs several times a day.
The station name, the organization behind it or any other details were ever announced on air, but details leaked through documents submitted to an international shortwave broadcasting coordination body.
Aside from the obvious similarity between the name “MND” and the abbreviation for the Ministry of National Defense, the contact phone number and fax number listed were both on South Korean Defense Ministry exchanges.
Just as it had never acknowledged the station, the Defense Ministry hasn’t acknowledged its apparent ending.
The South Korean government still runs two other shortwave stations: Voice of the People and Echo of Hope. The South Korean military also runs an FM radio station.
A radio station believed to be operated by South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense has strengthened its radio broadcasts to North Korea, according to reports from radio monitors in Japan.
MND Radio added extra shortwave frequencies from August 9 in an apparent attempt to get around the DPRK’s heavy jamming of its signal.
The current schedule for the station’s four programs a day now looks like this (all times in GMT)
MND Radio Schedule
0400-0440 on 5900, 6760kHz – Program 1
0500-0535 on 5150, 6435kHz – Program 2
0600-0650 on 5410, 6700kHz – Program 3
0700-0735 on 5290, 6270kHz – Program 4
1000-1035 on 5150, 6435kHz – Program 2 repeat
1100-1150 on 5410, 6700kHz – Program 3 repeat
1200-1240 on 5900, 6760kHz – Program 1 repeat
MND Radio begin broadcasting in late 2011 and has steadily increased its broadcasting hours and the number of frequencies it uses.
The precise identity of the radio station is a mystery — it doesn’t provide any details on air and has no website — but there are several clues that point towards South Korea’s Defense Ministry.
All the clues appeared in documents submitted to the HFCC, a shortwave broadcasting frequency coordination body, in 2011.
Perhaps the most obvious clue was the name of the station: “MND Radio,” an abbreviation commonly used for the Ministry of National Defense. A second was identification of the broadcasting site as “ChunCheon” with the coordinates 37.56N 127.46E. The location is the same listed as that for a KBS shortwave transmitter that targets North Korea.
And finally, the contact information for the radio station in the HFCC database included that of Kim GyuCheol. A participant list for an unrelated conference lists someone with the same name and phone numbers as being a director at the Ministry of National Defense.
Several of North Korea’s external radio services and its powerful jamming operation that blocks foreign broadcasts are having trouble staying on the air.
Voice of Korea, the country’s international radio outlet, was missing from several of its scheduled broadcasts on Thursday, according to monitoring from sites in South Korea, Japan and the U.S.
Two days earlier its English-language broadcast to North America, scheduled from 1500-1554 GMT (1000-1054 Eastern Time) abruptly cut off around 20 minutes into the broadcast and didn’t return. On Thursday the French program left the air five minutes early while in the middle of a song.
All these events are highly unusual for the station, which is charged with spreading North Korean news and propaganda to a global audience.
The country’s jamming of overseas broadcasts, which involves the broadcast of noise over the top of a radio station to make it unintelligible to listeners in North Korea, has also been sporadic.
Early Thursday it could not be detected on any of the frequencies used by radio stations “Voice of the People” and “Echo of Hope.” Both stations, which are believed to be operated by South Korea’s intelligence service, are usually heavily jammed.
It was also missing from broadcasts of MND Radio, a recently activated station operated by South Korea’s Ministry of Defense.
The country’s domestic services appear to be unaffected at present, according to monitoring reports.
It’s impossible to know the source of the problem and the radio station is unlikely to make an announcement or apology to listeners, but all signs point to electricity shortages. A typical shortwave transmitter requires between 100-500 kilowatts of energy, which is equivalent to hundreds of electric kettles or heaters being used simultaneously. Several such transmitters are on air for jamming alone.
Earlier in February, Reuters reported that Pyongyang is facing its “worst electricity shortages in years,” quoting a foreign diplomat based in the city.