Coffee and Radio – with Thiago Pereira Machado

The following Coffee and Radio Listen interview was conducted in the city where I currently live, which is Brasilia, Federal District, capital of Brazil.

Brasilia is a very new city, it was inaugurated on April 21, 1960 by the then president Juscelino Kubitschek, Brasília DF, formally became the third capital of Brazil, after Salvador and Rio de Janeiro.

Brasilia is very young, but it quickly became one of the country’s leading gastronomic centers.

It was not by chance choosing the bar that bears the same name as the capital, “Bar Brasília”.

The Bar is a journey through time that portrays the true soul of Brasilia, marked by the best of nostalgia, surrounded by stories and memories engraved on its walls.

Located on a corner, “das boas”, on 506 Sul Street, Bar Brasília is a reference in terms of entertainment and food, in the Federal District. Today it is one of the most awarded houses in Brazil and the temple of the bohemian of the Brazilian people (name of people born in the capital).

A beautiful collection of old radios, next to the bar, composed of an impressive piece of furniture that belonged to a pharmacy from the beginning of the 20th century, located in the city of Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro. Also striking are the chandeliers used at night in São Paulo, in the first half of the 20th century. Thus forming a mixture between the Carioca (a name for people born in Rio de Janeiro) and the bohemian of the Paulistas (a person who was born in the city of São Paulo).

Collection of old radios, next to the old Pharmacy cabinet and early 20th century luminaires from Bar Brasilia. (Photo: Ligia Katze)

And if we talk about coffee, the young capital is a pioneer in growing organically produced without the help of artificial chemicals. The coffee is sown in the shade of another type of taller tree, thus providing the necessary humidity and helping to produce high quality coffee.

There are many farms where it is harvested organically in Brasilia DF, among them I can recommend “Café Fontenelle”, produced at the Santa Rosa farm, 70 km from the capital. Another very curious coffee is called “Lot 17B ”, produced in the backyard of a house near Lake Brasilia, with a plantation of 5,000 coffee trees; ecological, 100% arabic. Also the “Café Serrazul ”, produced on a farm in West Lake, Brasilia, with a plantation with 2,000 feet, in an area of 1.5 hectares, with a production of 20 bags per hectare 100% organic. These cafes can be found in bars and cafes throughout the city.

Returning to Bar Brasilia, today I am going to have a coffee with DXer Thiago Pereira Machado. He is an aviation enthusiast, born in Goiânia, capital of the state of Goiás, but naturalized in Brasilia.

In addition to DXing, since 2003 he also began in the hobby of the Spotter (taking photographs of airplanes), with a 2 megapixel digital camera, he began to take his first photos, a hobby he maintains today.

Martin Butera, with Dxers Thiago Pereira Machado, in Bar Brasilia. (Photo: Ligia Katze)

Here you can listen to the interview of approximately 30 minutes in Portuguese:

Here is a translation and adaptation to the English language:

MB: How did your interest in radio listening begin and where did your interest in listening to aviation begin?

Well, that interest has come since I was little. My dad worked in aviation, so I already had contact with the world of aviation from an early age. On weekends, I remember my dad taking us to see airplanes.

The funny thing about this was that when I started listening to airplanes, only then did I find out that my dad actually worked in the communication part for airplanes and when I was little I didn’t realize that, I only understood that my dad works with airplanes But he did not know where his work specialized.

After I was older I discovered that my father worked in the operational control offices, via HF (High Frequency), at the time he did it for some companies, one was called Central Brazil, it is what today would be called “Tam Linhas Aereas”.

So my dad’s job was basically to listen and talk to the planes that were going through the northern, central-western routes, throughout Brazil.

Then I worked at the airport here in Brasilia Distrito Federal and I’m also a Spotter, I take pictures of airplanes.

In the following link you can access the work of Spotter by Thiago Pereira Machado:

MB: And in short waves, which were the radios that influenced you the most?

In short waves, I listened a lot to CRI (International China Radio), NHK (World Radio Japan), I really liked listening to short waves, but listening to more from the cultural part not so much for the DX itself, I liked listening to the programs for example in the voice of Russia, other stations from the Middle East, Africa, I listened a lot. I remember National Radio of Angola, which was not very easy to listen to from here, so it was kind of like a constant DX trying to tune into it.

Thanks to the short wave I met DXista Gustavo Maia, who today is a great friend and lives near here in the state of Goiás, and he advised me on how to listen to the air controls, the different planes crossing the Atlantic sea and in that way I became more interested in air band and little by little I stopped listening to shortwave broadcasting so to speak.

MB: And when you listen to aviation, where is your interest in the reception, what do you write down, the plane’s registration, some detail of the conversation, tell me a little about that?

What I really like is listening to airplanes that I already know, as I told you, I am Spotter, so I already know many aircraft license plates and have the feeling of hearing an airplane, that I already take a picture of it and hear that now for example it is crossing the Atlantic, or arriving in Africa, or Europe, is a very beautiful feeling.

Another detail is trying to listen to the most distant aircraft possible and that ends up turning into a DX.

In this way, for example, I have managed to listen to air controls from French Polynesia, from Oceania, from San Francisco in the United States, including Russian air controls.

Also try to listen to military air operations, for example the Americans have a lot of activity, and it goes around copying the callsign or license plates and recording everything as if they were DX.

MB: And what radio receiver did you start with and what is your receiver today?

I started with a Radio Degen DE 1103, at the time I had an antenna that helped me a lot, which was a pre-amplified Active loop antenna, also from the Degen brand, model DE 31.

I have that radio to this day and you must turn it on from time to time, it is excellent, very easy to operate and it was the one that made me really like this hobby.

Then I bought an SDR-IQ, I used it with a telescopic antenna, which I placed on the balcony of my apartment, it was an active antenna that listened very well, only that when living in an apartment, the noise, the interference was too much, anyway With the SDR-IQ, be fascinated, one can see the entire spectrum and can see where there is movement and position directly at that point, plus they have a lot of functions that are very simple, the only complicated thing is to mount the SDR-IQ, in the best possible way so that it does not get a lot of noise.

Thanks to the SDR-IQ, one ends up studying, on antennas, the aspects of propagation, in short, everything related to the activity.

Only afterwards people appear in our lives, one gets married and has to give attention to other people (laughs) …

Still, he continued to this day photographing airplanes and listening, but not with the intensity of before.

MB: And do you like more to listen analogically or listen in SDR with the possibility of seeing everything on the computer screen?

I like the 2 forms. In analogy everything is a surprise and in SDR I find it interesting and even beautiful to see Waterfall of signal intensity, something that fascinates me a lot. Seeing for example the sweeping satellite that crosses caused noise throughout the HF band and in SDR you can see it in real time how it moves is impressive.

Listening to airplanes is very different from listening to a radio, for example that has a constant carrier, airplanes speak only minutes or even seconds and with the SDR, it is much easier for me to capture them.

Anyway, I also really like the analog because of the ease, you turn on the radio and have a good antenna and voila, you are listening to everything, you do not need anything else and in analogy I really like listening to the propagation oscillation, you start to hear the signal low, suddenly louder.

In short, I like both systems, because beyond that, I like listening to the ether itself.

MB: And in Software Defined Radio, after SDR-IQ, what else came?

Then I armed myself with an RTL-SDR Receiver with a Raspberry Pi 2 to receive messages in mode S and ADSB, which are aviation protocols.

These protocols are a kind of air traffic monitoring, the plane transmits data packets and the main thing is the location of the aircraft, then with free software, you can see these traces on your monitor, as if it were a control tower .

At the time I shared those records with the flight radar application companies 24, I had the system on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it was full time.

And the interesting thing about this experience was that by leaving the system on for so long, it managed to monitor for a long time and could see how the VHF propagation behaved short distance, I was able to receive packages from 600 kilometers away, where the normal thing is jumps of 400 kilometers, I managed a little more.

Thiago’s equipment, RTL-SDR receiver with Raspberry Pi 2 to receive Mode S and ADSB messages on the 1090 MHz frequency.
ADS-B by Thiago, screenshot of the Virtual Radar Server, it is observed the movement of 5 flights of the Avianca Brazil airline leaving the Brasilia airport (BSB), practically together, towards the Northeast region of Brazil.
Aerial with beer can by Thiago Pereira Machado. The recipe is basically 1 female F connector
connected to one end of a 50 ohm coaxial cable (TV), a 269 ml beer can bottom, with a 7 cm “wall” and a 7 cm coaxial cable above from the bottom of the can. , which goes into the female connector. I didn’t use extremely precise measurements, no amplifiers, filters, etc. In areas with a view to the horizon, the reception distance is approximately 400 km, which is basically limited by the terrain, the height of the aircraft and the curvature of the planet.

MB: Does it occur to me to ask you, did you ever receive a package, about an aircraft emergency or things like that?

In aviation, if I heard many times searching for crashed planes and that was a different emotion, because you are watching the news on television on the news of a missing plane and on the other hand, you have information about what is really happening, It ends up being a complicated situation.

Then something curious and more cheerful happened to me, that once I was with a normal home scanner and I was just scanning automatically and suddenly I hear a conversation in English and when I go to see it was 145.8000 which is the frequency of the ISS, and it was the astronauts, it was very nice to hear them chat with other radio amateurs.

MB: What can you tell me about the handheld receiver that you brought to these interviews today?

He is my faithful companion, he is a Uniden Bearcat BCD325P2, it is very practical as I am Spotter, it is very comfortable to listen to the air controls here at the Brasilia airport and find out if a special plane is coming, for example from a delegation or an aircraft that does not have taken photos of you yet.

MB: To finish, what summary can you give me about the activity here in Brazil, especially in the aeronautical listening area?

Well here in Brazil, everything is starting for digital, as are the applications in real time to see with cell phones for example, everything is turning more to the internet.

The truth is that the activity of listening to VHF fell a lot and in short waves there is also little movement, for example there was a short wave frequency of the corridor between the Atlantic Ocean that joins America with Europe that was very busy, it was the control of Dakar and today they are practically operating, almost all via satellite.

I even remember in a time when I listened a lot to the air corridors of the Amazon, I remember that once there was a blackout and the planes ended up being guided by short waves, but today it is difficult to listen, the short waves I think today are like a backup.

Thank you very much Thiago !!

Martín Butera with Dxsista Thiago Pereira Machado, in a handshake, at the conclusion of one more Coffee and Radio Listen interview. (Photo: Ligia Katze)

Here are some QSLs, which Thiago Pereira Machado brought to the bar

Martin Butera, with his wife Ligia Katze, in Bar Brasilia


We could not get lost with my wife (Photographer of this report), taste the indisputable quality of Bar Brasilia’s beer, hyper creamy and super cold, along with their classic “frango a passarinho” dish.

The frango a passarinho, consists of several small cuts of chicken, usually of the wing, cut into three parts. These pieces are fried in hot oil, under immersion, they carry a sauce of garlic and oil on the fried chicken.

Until next time 73 and good DX !!

Martin Butera, special article for Radio Heritage Foundation 2022

What is Coffee and Radio?

Coffee and Radio is an exploration of Brazilian radio listeners.

How they began listening to radio, the local or international stations that influenced them, the interests they have when tuning to a station, the languages they like to listen to, if they send listeners reports and collect QSLs, their antennas and receivers, and all aspects related to their radio listening both in shortwave and in other bands and modes.

About the Author

Martin Butera (PT2061SWL) is an Amateur Radio operator with more than 30 years of experience and has participated in DXpeditions throughout South America, under the Argentine radio callsign LU9EFO and Brazilian callsign PT2ZDX.

He collaborates for several newsletters and magazines, covering world radio, he is our accredited collaborator in South America for the Radio Heritage Foundation, he is also the founder of the Brazilian CREW Radio Oyentes, known as 15 punto 61 (15.61), now simply called 61 CREW.

Martin is Argentinian, born in the city of Buenos Aires capital. He currently lives in Brasília DF, capital of Brazil. He is also a journalist, documentary maker and founding member of Radio Atomika 106.1 MHz (Buenos Aires, Argentina).

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