Welcome to my Shortwave
Hi Everyone !!!
Well this is the section that
deals with my favorite hobby.Shortwave radios!
Read on for a lot of info
,pictures,and more .
What is Shortwave Radio?
So you are asking," Just what the hell is a shortwave
radio?" I knew you would be! Shortwave radios are radios that receive
overseas radio stations in the area of the radio frequencies above your
AM radio dial. Numerous countries use this service to transmit news, music,
religous programs, and the occasional political propaganda.
Some countries broadcast these programs to outside their
borders to expatriates or other people interested in their country while
other broadcasts are meant for the English speaking North American listeners.So
not all programs will be in the English language.
Also other organizations such as weather bureaus, press
services and various non governmental organisations such as the International
Red Cross use this area to transmit data,weather reports and things like
The military is also one of the largest users although
they are moving more and more of their transmissions to secured satellite
services.However they can still be found all over the shortwave bands usually
in USB -Upper Sideband- modes with radio checks,phone patches,status reports
and the somewhat infamous EAM -emergency action message.
Another big user is the maritime service or ships at sea
as well as aircraft on long distance oceanic flights. These are aircraft
with callsigns like Speedbird # 17 or whatever.Speedbird was the British
Airways callsign for their Concorde aircraft.Lots of aircraft flying overseas
and on long distance oceanic flights can be heard on several
band segments with a simple receiver that receives single sideband, as well
as the Air Traffic Control centers on the ground such as New York Radio or Shannon Radio.
How I found myself becoming a shortwave listener !
Since I started in this hobby,my interest
has continously increased to the point where I think at times I have over
extended myself in trying to improve my listening post. Once started it
becomes a never ending game to constantly see if this radio can be made
better or maybe this antenna needs to be longer and higher!
I first started listening to shortwave in 1990 when my
dad gave me an old all in one type of radio like you see at flea markets
with the funny plastic antenna on the top of the portable's casing or on
the very top shelf at Radio Shack.This one was some off brand and I don't even
remember the name ,but it sure wasn't from anyone I had ever heard of and
I had been in or around the business of selling TV's and stereos all my
life ! It had the regular AM ,FM and then some VHF,Marine,CB and two switches
marked SW1 and SW2.
Well,one night I turned that thing on at the apartment
I first lived in back in Lousiville,flipped the switch to SW1,and heard Radio Exterior
de Espana in English !This was on just the whip antenna and I guess I was
lucky it was near the bedroom window .As soon as I heard the station id'ing
as coming from Madrid Spain I was hooked. Of course, with an analog tuned
radio it was lots of fun to try to find them again the next night, but from
that moment on I never looked back.
Some Shortwave stations I have heard through
The number and range of stations I have heard is too
big to completely list here but here is an idea of what I have heard: Radio
Algiers, Radio Australia, Radio Austria Intl, BBC, Radio Bras-Brazil, Radio
Defusion de Benin, Botswana, , Radio Canada Intl. Colombia National Radio, RTV
Cameroon, Radio Cairo, Deutsche Welle-Germany, Radio Ethiopia, Radio France
Intl, Gabon Radio One, HRT-Croatia, Voice of Indonesia, Radio Japan, Radio
Pyongyang-North Korea, Radio Lithuania, RTV-Marocainne-Morocco, Radio New
Zealand Intl, Radio Oman, Radio Pakistan, Radio Romania Intl, Radio Singapore, Radio
Thailand, Radio Ukraine Intl, Voice of Vietnam, Xerta Radio -Mexico, and Zambian
National Broadcasting Service among others.
I realize this was somewhat alphabetical, but just an idea to show what all can be heard out there.
Overall, I would have to say the three best catches I have had would be RTM-Sarawak from Malaysia, Radio
Uganda from East Africa, and Radio Mali from West Africa.
I also have made it a hobby to see what tropical band
stations I can find. These are very low powered stations using maybe 2
kilowatts at best for a local audience or region and aren't really meant
to be heard outside the immediate region. I have heard some really good
ones such as Radio Tacna from Peru, RTM Sarawak from Malaysia, RRI Unjung
Pandang -Indonesia, PNG Radio -Port Moresby -Papua New Guinea and many many
others and I still have just barely scratched the surface on this part
of the hobby.
Also of interest has been hearing Air Force flight crews
ordering beer to be delivered to their aircraft for a New Year's Eve party
at a remote base, maritime ship to shore calls with Russian stations, an
air traffic controller in Khartoum Sudan working aircraft in the Northeast
African air corridor as well as using a digital decoder to copy morse code
sent by ham radio operators and military stations.
I recently began an interest in clandestine stations
as well. I don't have much experience in tracking these down as for the
most part they seem to move all over the shortwave bands and also use low
power. But I have been lucky sometimes. Not too long ago I heard my first
Ethiopian clandestine called The Voice of the Tigray Revolution which was
really cool :) You're probably saying "What the hell is a clandestine? " Well
they are stations that oppose a government in power or are a part of the
population that wishes to create their own nation and as a result they
broadcast their views to those who may support them.
What I use for my listening
Currently my listening post consists of the Ten Tec RX320 and a Radio Shack DX440.
Some other radios I have owned over the years include the following equipment: Motorola-built R-390, Drake R-4A,Realistic DX-380( paperback sized digital portable), Hallicrafters SW-120,
Realistic DX440 ,and it's twin the Sangean ATS803A.I hope to add to my listening post as funds and time allow.
I recently moved to NYC, so a lot of my equipment is no longer in use due to not making it through the move.
However on a more positive note, while out job-hunting one day ,
I ran across a antique radio shop down in Lower Midtown that had a ton of radios ,
and even a few shortwave sets from Hallicrafters, Hammarlund, and had a few Zenith Transoceanics as well.
I have my eye on a Hammurlund SP120 they have there. Also I found out about a radio shop in Queens that has a lot of radios
of the tube type variety possibly for sale.
I have also played around with decoding morse code and rtty using an Info-Tech M-600 Digital Decoder and a Tono 350 Decoder.
The antenna's have varied throughout the years. I'm sorry
to report that first radio I ever owned ended up being broken later on after it
had the band dial go bad and I tried to fix it.
This picture below is another neat tool for use in shortwave
listening .It is the ERGO DSI program and shows in a easy to read format
what is on the frequencies at what time and where beamed to . It can use
the ILG radio database or others and can convert them to use in this program.
It is outstanding and I would recommend it to anyone who is an avid
DX' r. The red lettering is what is on the air at the current time
and you can look up stations, frequencies, times or locations .It
is very easy to use and it works very well for me .
Click here for a screenshot.
However, now I have found out the ILG database is no longer available due to whatever reasons the maintainer had. There are some
online databases still available, the accuracy depends on how often they update.
Needless to say it has been a fascinating hobby for me
these past years and with all that is going on in the world it definitely
has not been boring. So what are you waiting for? Go out and try a shortwave
radio out at your local Radio Shack just for grins and giggles. OOPS forgot
to say when you do that don't put that radio anywhere near their computer
or they WILL get mad. It has something to do with the radio's CPU interfering
with the computers CPU. Makes it go POOF!!! Then it's a contest to see
how fast you can get thrown out of the store. So there you have it .Enjoy
the pages and pictures and come back soon . Best dx to you in this hobby
and good luck
THIS IS A NICE LITTLE TOOL TO HAVE TO SEE WHAT STATIONS ARE IN DARKNESS
FOR A BETTER CHANCE OF HEARING THEM .LOOK FOR THE LINK ABOVE TO GET YOUR
COPY OF THE PROGRAM. SCREENSHOT WAS TAKEN COURTESY OF SNAG-iT SCREENCAPTURING
Want to see some radios now?
click below for more