Technical errors cause 'Chinese' radio jamming in Da Nang: authorities

By Minh Khoi, Nguyen Dong   July 19, 2016 | 11:37 pm PT
Speculation about Chinese tampering has been proven unfounded.

Vietnamese authorities have denied deliberately jamming radio transmissions in the country’s central city of Da Nang.

The Authority of Radio Frequency Management (ARFM) said it was aware of unidentified Chinese airwaves disrupting radio transmissions in Da Nang, but the disruption was caused by technical errors.

The radio station in Khue My Ward in Da Nang City’s Ngu Hanh Son District has been taken over with 5-7 second bursts in Chinese on numerous occasions, said Doan Quang Hoan, head of the ARFM under the Ministry of Information and Communications, adding that relevant authorities have indentified the cause of the problem.

The loudspeakers in Khue My Ward, which have been airing short bursts of Chinese, are used by the ward to air news, songs and other information on 97.5 MHZ to the local community.

Local people shared on their Facebook pages that they have heard Chinese from the loudspeakers many times.

An initial investigation found that if there had been deliberate jamming of radio transmissions, it would have happened to all loudspeakers in Ngu Hanh Son District, said Hoan.

He indicated that signals from a few loudspeakers in Khue My Ward have been disrupted by Chinese airwaves.

“Old radio equipment may receive signals from the other side of the border under abnormal weather conditions,” said Hoan.

He said that Ngu Hanh Son District’s radio stations are about to move onto a new frequency to prevent any disruption to the local airwaves from happening in the future.

The official also ruled out the possibility that signals from walkie-talkies in nearby areas have caused the disruption to local radio transmission since there is currently only one Chinese company using a walkie-talkie system.


Unidentified Chinese waves have been disrupting an FM transmission radio station in Vietnam’s coastal city of Da Nang since May 21 this year. Photo by Nguyen Dong

Similar disruptions to radio transmissions have occurred in Phu Loc District, Thua Thien –Hue Province, about 100 kilometers to the north of Da Nang.

The radio system in the district has unexpectedly broadcast in Chinese over the last month, said Duong Dang Nhan, head of the district’s Radio and Television Station.

Local people said they have heard broadcasts in Chinese by both male and female announcers aired from the loudspeakers, which receive signals directly from the district station.

The jamming happened on the FM transmission frequency of 98 MHZ during the airtime intervals of Phu Loc District’s Radio and Television Station.

“On July 12, after the morning show, our staff could clearly hear a Chinese male voice on our radio frequency, but could not understand the broadcast,” said Nhan.

The station then immediately reported the incident to the district People’s Committee and the provincial Department of Information and Communications.

During the Vietnam War, the loudspeakers aired crucial warnings about air raids. Today, they still exist to provide local people with news, songs and information at dawn and at dusk.

Truong Cong Hanh, deputy head of Radio Frequency Management Center in the central region, told VnExpress that the center has not been able to pinpoint the exact location of the equipment that has jammed local radio signals.

“We have been monitoring it since we heard from local residents. However, since then there has been no disruptions. If we can pick up the signal while [local radio signals] are jammed, then we will immediately identify the location [of the equipment],” said Hanh.

In response, Ngu Hanh Son District Radio Station has installed a coding filter so it can only pick up signals from within the country.

The district plans to send the equipment to Hanoi to upgrade its capacity and coding system.

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