SWL: Short Wave Listening Comeback?

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Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
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Redlands CA USA
Hi,

Years ago it was fun to stay up late at night or head out to the desert to listen to shortwave radio broadcast from pretty much all of the world, depending on time of day, time of year, and a bit of dumb luck. Kids who've grown up on the Internet are missing a lot of fun...

Over the years, choices of what to listen to dwindled as official government stations were closed up or seriously downsized. A lot of private stations went over to the tent preachers who could go on all night. BBC could be counted on anywhere in the world, until they fell into "you can do all this on the Internet" mode and shut down their SWL broadcast stations to North and South America, among others, and it seems that was the beginning of the end. I haven't picked up an SWL station in several years.

Well, it seems BBC is learning a lesson the "old timers" knew three quarters of a century or more ago: it's hard if not impossible to stop radio waves completely. Tokyo Rose and Axis Sally come to mind. The current class seems to be "replacing the Internet when a country shuts it down" as we're seeing with Russia and Ukraine. I read that BBC is reviving some of their stations in that part of the world to be able to get their news broadcasts to the whole area afflicted by this conflict.

Does anybody suppose others around the world might also learn this lesson about how fragile our communications via Internet are, and might even dust off some their own SWL stations?

Rick C
 

Mobuck

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missouri
Must be. Last week we stopped in to talk business with one of our farming customers and found him in a 3 way conflab with someone in South America and another in Arizona or New Mexico.
 

toysoldier

Hunter
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Location
Hutchinson, KS USA
As a docent at the Hutchinson Cosmosphere, I tell visitors about listening to Sputnik on my grandfather's short-wave receiver. It has me considering the purchase of a decent receiver.
 

Pat-inCO

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In the AZ oven (Phoenix basin)
Mobuck said:
Must be. Last week we stopped in to talk business with one of our farming
customers and found him in a 3 way conflab with someone in
South America and another in Arizona or New Mexico.
"3 way confab" implies Ham Radio and not SWL. Short Wave Listening
is on assigned commercial frequencies, and does not allow transmission
by others.

Ham Radio "low bands" would make the discussion easy. :D
 

Pat-inCO

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Almost a P.S. . . . .

Anyone that is thinking about trying SWL should look around in their area for a
Ham Radio "swap fest". Good quality, but older versions can be had for a few
hundred dollars. The new and greatest current crop of radios will run from
$800 on up (into the multi-thousands). - - - Just BE SURE it works before you
put money on the table at any swap fest. :wink:
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2006
Messages
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Location
Woodbury, Tn
Almost a P.S. . . . .

Anyone that is thinking about trying SWL should look around in their area for a
Ham Radio "swap fest". Good quality, but older versions can be had for a few
hundred dollars. The new and greatest current crop of radios will run from
$800 on up (into the multi-thousands). - - - Just BE SURE it works before you
put money on the table at any swap fest. 😉
What Pat in Co said. De WB4WBH
gramps
 

Pat-inCO

Hawkeye
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Location
In the AZ oven (Phoenix basin)
Is there a decent list of current frequencies anywhere?
Start with frequencies in the seven Megacycle range.
If you get one of the Ham Radios, they can easily cover well above and below that portion.
(PLEASE do not try to transmit on any of those frequencies without the proper license!)
de W0IPL

That is known as the 40 meter band (wave length) and is "open" (easy to hear) most,
or even VERY most nights. - - - Keep in mind that many/most of those frequencies use
AM (Amplitude Modulation) signals. You can receive the same signals on SSB (Single
Side Band) with a little manual tuning. - - - Antenna requirements are minimal. That said,
a good antenna for those frequencies (40M) is ten meters (30+ feet) in length. - - - While
anything will work, the weaker signals will be much easier to receive with the longer
antennas.

Welcome to the world of radios. (y)
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
Messages
9,154
Location
Greenville, SC: USA
I'm going to send a link of this thread to a good friend of mine who is a retired Marine and it seems like for some of those years he had a little to do with radio transmissions.

It's good to know that there is still an 'old school' way to communicate other than the dern infernalnet. .... which I firmly believe is being used by the Russkies to cause division among us.
 

deserttrans

Buckeye
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
1,211
Location
Arizona
The 11-year sunspot cycles have been fairly poor over the last years. The last really great one was the lates 70's to the early 80's. Ham radio operator on this end, for well over 40 years. Many hours of my life spent conversing and listening to other countries. During all these years, I have connected many overseas military personnel, contact state side families.
 

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Joined
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Oregon City, Oregon
As a kid, we made our own entertainment, including radio listening.

We had only one shortwave radio in our neighborhood, a Zenith Transoceanic, owned by a very senior (aged) couple, and we'd listen to it when we could. The problem was, so many shortwave broadcasts were spoken in a foreign language, so we could only imagine what commie propaganda we were listening to.

Otherwise, we also listened to distant AM broadcasts at night. We could hear the Clear Channel and or super stations from San Francisco and Tulsa most any time, and that was both exotic and exciting.

Years later, when I'd drive from Ft. Lewis to Portland at night, there were sections of highway where there was very little radio reception. Even then, I could tune in San Francisco. KSFO?





.
 
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Rick Courtright

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Mar 10, 2002
Messages
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Location
Redlands CA USA
As a kid, we made our own entertainment, including radio listening.

Years later, when I'd drive from Ft. Lewis to Portland at night, there were sections of highway where there was very little radio reception. Even then, I could tune in San Francisco. KSFO?

Hi,

Or maybe KCBS? I think that's the one I can sill get in the desert around here at night. AM talk radio format these days. 740 AM

Do "Clear Channels" still exist as they were originally set up, where local stations had to cut their power about sundown, allowing the Clear Channel to broadcast thru "clean air" at night?

Set-up for some fun thread drift trivia: the US Census Bureau keeps its data private for 72 years before releasing it. So the other day the announcer on the radio told us the 1950 info was being opened up. I'd looked at the 1940 records before while doing some genealogy stuff. It seems what to us are silly census questions go back a ways.

In 1940, one of the questions was "does the home have a radio?" Hmmm... that could go a lot of ways!

Rick C
 

jimd441

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666
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NC
Ron T - I did the same - had quite the collection of QSL cards. From the beginning, this thread had me thinking about my old QSL cards and it was a delight to read your post.

Jim
 
Joined
Mar 24, 2002
Messages
5,509
Location
Oregon City, Oregon
Hi,

Or maybe KCBS? I think that's the one I can sill get in the desert around here at night. AM talk radio format these days. 740 AM

Do "Clear Channels" still exist as they were originally set up, where local stations had to cut their power about sundown, allowing the Clear Channel to broadcast thru "clean air" at night?

Set-up for some fun thread drift trivia: the US Census Bureau keeps its data private for 72 years before releasing it. So the other day the announcer on the radio told us the 1950 info was being opened up. I'd looked at the 1940 records before while doing some genealogy stuff. It seems what to us are silly census questions go back a ways.

In 1940, one of the questions was "does the home have a radio?" Hmmm... that could go a lot of ways!

Rick C

I looked up KEX in Portland. Their website still says they are a Clear Channel station.

I don't listen to them often, but in the past, they went silent for a few seconds every night when they were changing their tower polarity, to comply with Clear Channel requirements.
 
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KIR

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 2, 2022
Messages
503
Early sixties while in the AF, stationed at Beale in Northern Cali. An airman sold me his Hallicrafter radio. I miss it. I probably sold it to a newbie when I got out. Once I picked up some police calls. Description of a young beautiful blonde that ended with armed and dangerous. The description alone was enough to think her dangerous. I also used to listen to the Giants baseball games, though being from L.A. I was and still am a DODGERS fan, ANGELS moreso. I have always had a small portable radio. My mother bought me one of the first Motorola transistor radios which was stolen from me in high school. I bought another though and have always had one or more small radios. In my truck there is a two inch tall radio that I can take with me during my walks and listen to with my ear phones (or are they called ear buds now? I am very old). I also have a CCrane Skywave SSB multi-band that fits in my pocket. Still manage to pick up lots of interesting stuff, but really hated it when emergency services started scrambling their broadcasts. Miss listening to those reports.
 

mistermills357

Blackhawk
Joined
Nov 9, 2012
Messages
841
Hi,

Or maybe KCBS? I think that's the one I can sill get in the desert around here at night. AM talk radio format these days. 740 AM

Do "Clear Channels" still exist as they were originally set up, where local stations had to cut their power about sundown, allowing the Clear Channel to broadcast thru "clean air" at night?

Set-up for some fun thread drift trivia: the US Census Bureau keeps its data private for 72 years before releasing it. So the other day the announcer on the radio told us the 1950 info was being opened up. I'd looked at the 1940 records before while doing some genealogy stuff. It seems what to us are silly census questions go back a ways.

In 1940, one of the questions was "does the home have a radio?" Hmmm... that could go a lot of ways!

Rick C
Clear channels are still around, and so are daytime only AM stations. The old stuff is still there, along with the new. Radio is bigger now than it ever was, with new stations and formats, and owner groups.


Note: I can pickup WBT from Charlotte and I live in the Tampa metro.
 
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