Author Topic: Shortwave radio / FM / Radio in general enthusiasts here???  (Read 713 times)

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Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Shortwave radio / FM / Radio in general enthusiasts here???
« on: April 05, 2014, 09:53:53 PM »
I have been finding a lot of interesting stations through my travels lately. Of course, a lot of stations stream online, but a lot (incl. some really interesting ones) actually don't. But in any case, I want a relatively small, light radio with good reception and decent sound I can take anywhere and not have to worry about finding internet connection/wi-fi.

I would also be interested in antenna options for when I have the time/space to deal with that.

What can I expect on shortwave? How can I pull in FM stations from around the world?

Any thoughts appreciated.  8)

If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Offline listener

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Re: Shortwave radio / FM / Radio in general enthusiasts here???
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2014, 11:11:34 PM »
The big users of SW are somewhat extreme evangelicals who can't or won't afford TV like Brother Stair - rather a lot in the southern states - and survivalists in the north.  Many countries have made severe cutbacks in SW or eliminated it entirely as the computer takes over.
I've given up on SW as I live in an area of poor reception.   FM signals travel in straight lines so the distance is limited to line-of-sight.
"Keep your hand on the throttle and your eye on the rail as you walk through life's pathway."

Offline Szykneij

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Re: Shortwave radio / FM / Radio in general enthusiasts here???
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2014, 04:35:54 AM »
Many years ago, I was an active DXer (someone who searches for long distance radio broadcasts). At night, the airways were loaded with all kinds of interesting broadcasts on the shortwave and AM radio bands. Changes in the ionisphere at night cause AM and SW radio signals to "skip" and bounce back down to earth all over the world. That's why AM radio stations need to cut their power at night. If they didn't, stations in one area would interfere with stations hundreds of miles away. That's also how shortwave broadcasters can target certain areas of the world by adjusting their transmitting antenna angles.  As listener mentioned, this isn't true of lower frequency FM signals which are line-of-sight and don't skip.

An interesting facet of the hobby was collecting QSL cards. These were sometimes simple, but often elaborate cards produced by stations sent to confirm reception reports from far off places.

Once most stations started streaming on-line, the number of shortwave broadcasts dried up. You can still get shortwave programming, but nowhere near as many or as interesting things as before. The last time I checked, religious programming seemed to dominate. Also, now that MLB.com allows access to every major league Baseball play-by-play for a small fee, the thrill and challenge of pulling in games from other cities on the AM band has waned for me.

The radio I still use is this Sony ICF-2010 that was discontinued in 2003. If you can find one used, I'd scoop it up. It's probably bigger and heavier than what you're looking for,  but it was (and still is) considered the crown jewel of DXers.

Men profess to be lovers of music, but for the most part they give no evidence in their opinions and lives that they have heard it.  ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Offline Rinaldo

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Re: Shortwave radio / FM / Radio in general enthusiasts here???
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2019, 05:43:11 AM »
Alright, let me try some thread necromancy: I've recently became interested in shortwave radio and will probably end up buying something used along the lines of a Tecsun or the Sony that Szykneij recommended, or maybe I'll opt for a crank/solar emergency radio (e.g. Kaito), as I like the idea of bringing one with me on my hikes, plus I have a particular affection for anything solar-powered. I can see myself eventually dishing out for a receiver – the Kenwood R-2000 caught my eye – and an antenna but first I want to familiarize myself with the whole shortwave shebang. I used to fool around with my grandfather's radio as a kid but that was 30+ years ago..

I'm not that interested in transmitting (yet!) but I would love to hunt for broadcasts and even more for all kinds of aural weirdness bouncing off the ionosphere. Yesterday night, I was hooked on the Web SDR at Hack Green and stumbled across this beautiful signal. Digital data stream, I guess? My kind of noise.

If there are any active/former radioheads here, your tips & stories are very much welcome!