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Besides listening at night when it is better, are there any good tips for listening to shortwave? I've hit the point where I'm trying to get into shortwave. My background is in broadcasting had a career for 17 years in it and may also look up broadcasting it since it seems a place that has a lot of room for content.
I got a Realistic 150A shortwave for Christmas 1971. Wow had so much funn, sending off for QSL cards from all over the world. Listening to Radio Hanoi, Radio Havana Cuba and Radio Moscow during the Cold War. Numbers stations! 48294 7519 39897.
Loved building antennas and antenna tuners.
Got back into it in the early 90's with a Kenwood R-5000, not as much fun as many things had moved online or stopping broadcasting.
I first got interested in shortwave radio as a teenager in the 1970's. There were a lot more stations back then in the pre-internet era. It led me to get my ham license while I was in high school.
One thing that helps a lot is some sort of external antenna. Many shortwave receivers come with a long wire antenna that you can run outside to a tree branch (or let it hang down the side of a building if you are on an upper floor) and either clip on to the whip antenna or the radio has a jack it plugs into. But getting some kind of antenna outside the house is important and will also reduce interference picked up from inside. As an experiment, carry a portable receiver outside and compare the reception on the whip antenna to what you hear inside. There are also more compact loop and active whip antennas if you don't have room for a long wire.
One caution though is to either have the antenna properly grounded with a lightning arrestor or just take it down / disconnect it from the house in the event of a lightning storm. I just put up my wire ham antenna when I want to use it since I have very rocky soil that makes installing a ground rod nearly impossible.
In the old days, you weren't sure exactly what frequency you were tuned to as the dials weren't super accurate or precise. So you would listen for stations that were on known frequencies as a sort of calibration. Now every receiver has a precise digital frequency readout.
One thing I found recently is there are online databases, such as the one below, containing which stations are broadcasting on a given frequency. So if you hear a station on say 9.650 MHz, the website will tell you who was broadcasting on that frequency at that time (Radio Havana, Radio Saudi and Radio Guinea right now)and also who else uses that frequency at other times.
feel free to PM me if you want to talk about shortwave some more..
thanks for the link and tips. I got another tip since I'm using a portable shortwave unit to just hook up a wire (speaker wire, whatever I have) and throw it out the window for better reception, similar to what you said. take it back in when not listening.
thanks a lot for the link again, this will help me get into shortwave. :)
Here's a couple of photos of my complete station and antenna. I've marked the two ends of the antenna with yellow arrows. I put the antenna up this morning and will take it down tonight for 2 reasons - lightning and deer. Since one end is close to the ground I don't want the nightly parade of deer through the back yard to get snagged in the antenna.
I can receive shortwave bands on the transceiver as well as ham bands. It has a maximum transmit power of 5 watts. I still can work a lot of stations with just 5 watts.
I sometimes run WSPR mode (Google WSPR) using just 1 watt and have heard / been heard from Africa, Europe and other faraway places.
very impressive and must be good fun as well. I've attached a picture above, that's the one I am using.
as a side note I've found this youtube channel all about shortwave, there's instructional videos and many videos about how-to get into shortwave for beginners.
all kinds of tips there.
thanks again for the help, I appreciate it. I will try the outside antenna tonight.
Ah, you have one of the 'guess what frequency you're on' radios like in the old days. Tune in WWV on 5.0 MHz and see where the dial says you are. If it says you are right on 5.0 then it is pretty accurate.
Your SW4 covers the 40M ham band from 7.0 to 7.3 MHz but does not have SSB so most ham conversations won't be heard clearly. Some hams use AM though, and you could hear those. I was listening to some AM conversations on 40M this afternoon on 7.160. 40M is mostly a night time band but today it had a fair amount of activity.
If you remember John from the old outside asylum (now John EH on the green door forum), he has a blog where he sometimes talks about shortwave radio. He has 29 blog entries on the subject - see link below.
I am listening to some pirate radio station, in between going up and down it sounds like sea waves from the ocean. LOL! I'm on the northeast ...
Have a nice Winter, this is great. My tuner is not accurate at all but it gets the job done.
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