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One Broadcast Engineer’s Effort to Send Radios to Ukraine

20 radios are already on the way with a GoFundMe started to send even more

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Paul Thurst is a broadcast engineer with a lifelong interest in radio and geopolitics. He lives in upstate New York with a wife and two children.

I, like many other people, have been watching the situation in Ukraine unfold. My wife is from that part of the world and it is concerning, or rather, it is a vast understatement to say it is concerning. With the onset of winter and the recent targeting of the electrical grid, the situation is getting worse. Knowing what it is like when the grid is down, the internet is down and the mobile network is down, radio is often the only way to get information out to the general population. 

In this high tech world with all of the many media choices available, when all else fails, radio is still there. That is true here and it is true in Ukraine as well. With that in mind, we reached out to someone who is working for an aide organization and asked if small battery-powered radios would be helpful. The answer was an enthusiastic YES! These radios are especially helpful in smaller settlements and rural areas where power restoration may take some time.  

Ukraine has a large government owned public broadcaster (Суспільне,  latinized; Suspilne or  ”Public”) which has a large network of AM and FM radio stations across the country. Looking at a few Ukrainian and Russian websites, it looks like most of their transmitters are still on the air. The AM broadcasting was discontinued in 2018; however, as of February 26, 2022, they are back on the air on 675, 873, 1278 and 1404 Khz.

[Related: “RFE/RL Says War Is Driving Traffic Spikes“]

We have sent a batch of twenty radios with AA batteries over via an international shipping service in New Jersey. The radios are inexpensive portable units that cost about $10 each. Each radio will be distributed with six AA batteries, which should provide about 2,400 hours of listening time. We will hopefully hear from Roman (the aide worker) soon that they have arrived. In the meantime, I started a GoFundMe for others to help out. That address is:

All of the money received from GoFundMe will be used to purchase and ship radios to Ukraine.


A screengrab of Thurst’s GoFundMe Page. Click on the photo to donate.