OldByreSkye

gallery, cafe & apartment

Wot, no home service?*

Up here on the west of Skye we don’t have very good radio reception.  I like having the radio on in the background when I’m working, especially cricket when it’s on, which these days usually means Radio 5 extra, which I’ve previously listened to on DAB.  DAB is a complete no go; VHF is variable; medium wave is generally very poor.

So, as we have wireless broadband, the answer is internet radio, which means I can listen to anything from Albanian folk radio to Zim Net Radio Zimbabwe, should I suddenly be at a (very) loose end.  There are quite a few models on the market, though not the plethora of analogue radios, or even DAB that are available, so choosing should have been reasonably straight forwards, especially as I want to be able to move it around the house easily and use it in the bathroom (no plug sockets), which means being able to use batteries or a recharging pack.

So, I made my choice via the Amazon market place.  The model I really wanted was discontinued, but there was a vendor who had a few in stock  (I didn’t want the more expensive,  fully featured replacement with DAB as the whole point of the exercise is that we can’t get DAB, so why pay for it!).  So: put in basket, proceed to checkout, put in delivery address, and… “Sorry, supplier will not deliver to address specified.  Please remove from basket or select new address”.  The supplier of another item in the basket wouldn’t deliver either…

I presume the reason for this was not that Scotland had suddenly been placed on some technology transfer blacklist (like North Korea, or Cuba if Amazon is feeling particularly craven) but that the carrier the vendor uses charges a premium for deliveries to the Isle of Skye.  Even though Skye is not an island for road traffic purposes as there has been a bridge since 1995, which has been toll-free since 2004.  But try telling that to some of the ‘national’ delivery companies and suppliers who still talk about ‘delivering items to the nearest mainland port’, or who charge a premium for driving across the bridge, but not for driving another 100 miles up the road on the mainland!  I was aware of these issues before we moved, but being here brings home the grasping nature of it all (you’re a small market, you don’t have much option, so pay up or shut up: or walk away and find another supplier…).

So, I chose a different radio that was available directly from Amazon itself, and it arrived without any major hitch (just a day later than estimated).  And very nice it is too.  It’s a Pure Oasis Flow, which looks like a Tonka toy as it is rather large and robust, being water-resistant and having an external aluminium frame. The irony is that the original radio I tried to order was designed and manufactured by Revo, a Scottish company!

Internet radio, and free advertising for companies that don't need it...

*For younger readers, or those who enjoy being patronised, the ‘home service’ or ‘The BBC Home Service’ to be precise is what became Radio 4 in 1967.  Radio Three was ‘The Third Network’ (previously ‘The Third Programme’), and Radios One and Two originated from ‘The Light Programme’.  No I don’t know why they were called ‘programme’ rather than ‘network’.  This was all when god was in short trousers and I can barely remember it.  I was using it as a clever play on words, that is becoming less clever by the moment…

Currently listening to: The Six O’clock News – on internet radio of course!

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2 thoughts on “Wot, no home service?*

  1. Adrian Hough on said:

    The Home Service (aka radio Four) is broadcast on the premier Radio Frequency band called Long Wave (analogue of course) not mentioned above. Long Wave Radio Frequencies have the property of bending around the earth and the whole of the UK is more or less covered from one transmitter at Droitwich in Worcestershire. It’s used to broadcast the Shipping Forecast and should reach Skye with ease (it reached Shetland). Cricket is traditionally broadcast on Long Wave. Contrary to the title, the Home Service should be the one Radio Station which is available.

    (From older brother Adrian, former radio enthusiast and currently suffering from a slow and meandering brain due to recent emergency surgery)

    • All well and good in theory, but: it’s available on a sadly diminishing number of radios (although it’s on most of mine as I specifically look for it) and; even long wave reception is very poor at the Byre. We’re in a broad shallow valley facing west to the north Atlantic and seem to be in a strange radio shadow… You cannae break the laws of physics, captain. (I also had a nice shiny Amazon voucher that needed spending!)

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