Skip to comments.Shortwave radio is (almost) dead, long live Internet radio (vanity)
Posted on 12/30/2013 3:57:33 PM PST by steelhead_trout
Anyone who is or was a shortwave listener, like I was, knows there isn't much left on the bands these days. Nothing like the Cold War days of the 70s and 80s when it seemed every nation from the biggest superpowers to the most forlorn Iron Curtain client state, had a booming shortwave network that broadcast in English, among dozens of other languages. The Cold War's end, lack of money, and the Internet did away with all that. But there's still Internet radio, and it can do wonders. There are thousands of stations, foreign and domestic, that broadcast in Engish, and tens of thousands in other languages. And, unlike with shortwave, they all come in crystal clear. All you need is WiFi. I have a great portable Internet radio (a Sangean WFR-28), whose only failing is that it cannot pick up stations which use the iheartradio streaming format (I've heard that Clear Channel does not want its stations picked up overseas). And you can listen to any format you wish. So if you miss the old days of shortwave, this can help.
Yeah, but they don’t have the Interval Signals like they used to.
I have a Drake SW8 but have not listened to it in years. Was very interesting for years.
One switch of Obama’s finger and the internet is down.
And unlike shortwave, it's going to cost you money...
BTW, with a decent wire antenna and decent inexpensive receiver, shortwave signals come in great...And free.
I don’t have a shortwave, only a portable HAM Baofeng uvb5. That’s not as popular anymore either but it a necessity for emergency or during severe weather.
I just repaired my Zenith Transoceanic the other day but the SW side needs some adjustment, it’s still a treat listening.
I love going on websdr. One of my fave antennas to jump on is out of the Netherlands.
Last time I turned on my brother’s old Hallicrafters was New Years eve of Y2K. Found someone broadcasting an old Bob Hope Christmas special.
Ah yes. And the first one is the intro to Radio Tirana (Albania). The Internationale, an old communist anthem. The broadcasts were whacked-out stalinist rants, and very anti-Soviet. I guess the Soviets weren’t keeping it real! The BBC had a neat one, too.
I don’t have wi-fi so I’m stuck with my Icom R71A. I still hear a lot.
And unlike shortwave, it’s going to cost you money...
online? foreigners are blocked from listening?
Yes, HAM radio has been declined in popularity over the past twenty years (partly due to the internet, as with SW) - but has rebounded quite a bit since 2008. The licensing classes are seeing much greater attendance these days.
So it seems. But there also seems to be a way around it. http://www.start-vpn.com/blog/2012/06/12/iheartradio-outside-us-how-to-listen-to-iheartradio-outside-us-632988/
Do the internet stations confirm reception via QSL card?
The one I really wanted I never got (Diego Garcia). If I could go back in time and had a piece of property better suited for a longer beverage or three...
Apparently not. I’ve tried emailing a South African AM station, a Canadian AM station and a few US stations, and all I’ve gotten was a “Great! Thanks for listening.” No QSL, no mug, no nothing.
And I’ve heard North Korea doesn’t normally send out QSL cards, so don’t even bother.
Our club’s doing an exam session in a couple of weeks. 16 signups at last count - the norm is about a half dozen.
I think that is the one my late Brother had. I know it was a very old Zenith. It had an antennae which could be attached to a bus window with suction cups.
He said it only had something like 5, maybe 6 tubes. I can remember his playing it and my being amazed how good it sounded and how well it picked up.
I also remember listening to Radio Deutschland one night. They mentioned that when they first began broadcasting in the 1920s it only took 200 watts to send their signal worldwide. I think that was the power, if not it was something close to that.
I would not be surprised if in the next 20 years all the frequencies between 1.8mhz to 30mhz is just given over to ham and unlicensed use. It will be looked at as useless.
I was thinking about how cheaply you could create a low-bandwidth digital message system on hf a few weeks ago.
I built two small boards with a ATtiny84 and lm567 on each along with a few other simple parts...resistors, caps and a cheap 2-line LCD from ebay (China special 2.50 ea).
These were able to handle data reliably at about 60wpm using simple morse. You could easily program them to handle email traffic, remote device control and countless other duties. More speed as well as a couple of side channels could be added if I was inclined to play with them further.
Total cost was less than 10 dollars a board.
You could add a few more lm567 decoders(a quarter each) and handle traffic on several frequencies at the same time. You could use a better uC like an ARM Cortex and eliminate the lm567 decoders by using FFT code...but I like the old analog 567 decoders :-)
Anyways, this shows that the old noisy shortwave frequencies can still be put to good use in case TSHTF.
“One switch of Obamas finger and the internet is down.”
Yep, and the only hope for freedom at that point is short wave radio. Which is apparently dead.
I’ve still got 2 SW radios hanging around. Whether the fertilzer hits the fan, or just a power failure, they’re ready just in case.
I remember the Hallicrafters receivers. I still have the Knights Ocean Hopper.
I’ve got both...:-)Plus some other fun stuff.
If you'd like to sell it, please drop me a Freepmail.
And in the mean time, they can easily keep track of exactly who is listening to what and when and where they are doing it.
But WWV is still there...
Guessing you're a Ham from your post (I am.) I've been reading that there's been a resurgence in Amateur Radio the last few years and the number of licenses issued year over year for the past five years is trending up. No doubt because of the "morse code" requirement which has been dropped.
? As for me I'm studying for my Extra and am planning on upgrading by the end of January.
Are you a licensed ham? If so, why not build yourself a simple jpole and get on the air with it? The adapter to plug in a PL-259 to the antenna jack is about $6 at AES or any other Amateur Radio store. You'll get alot more action if you get on a local Repeater with it too.
Heck if a jpole is too complicated for you to build, find yourself 5 coathangers, a few sticks of wood and some coax and you can build a 2m Yagi in about 20 minutes.
In the early 1990s, just before the Internet started catching on, it was a way to get exposed to what was going on outside the United States. I used to listen to BBC and other news but sometimes I'd pick up some exotic music from some distant country - probably in the tropics somewhere.
Anybody serious about shortwave in those days had a dog-eared copy of the "bible" of shortwave - the annual "Passport to World Band Radio".
My favorite was Radio RSA.
I don't have the biggest antenna's in the world, but I've managed to reach 135 countries, WAS on 40/75M and am active in several clubs and nets. It's a great hobby, I love it.
I got QSL cards from Radio Havana Cuba back in the day, and I’m sure the CIA took notice.
I can do that with my SignaLink USB which cost $85 with the cables. I get it that you can build it cheaper than I can buy it, however all the software for RTTY, PSK, SSTV and all the other digital modes like JT65 are out there free to download. I don't have to waste my time programming a board.
My eyes are drooling at that pic.
My first SW rig was an old Hallicrafters SX-110 that I received from my girlfriends father (now father in-law.) It needed tubes and some tlc but had it running in no time. Lived in a townhouse at the time so no outdoor antennas were allowed so I learned how to make a simple folded dipole for the attic.
I didn't know it then, but dang those were the good old days.
Yup, I am a ham. Got my license a few years ago. I made some steps toward getting my license years ago but the process plus the code requirement kept me away from it. Didn’t think much about it until a friend said that, besides being fun, it would be valuable whenever there’s an internet outage and would be really valuable if there was a large scale internet shut down. I do mostly digital modes.
I came close back in the day... Had a Midland sideband CB tied to a Siltronix Model 90 VFO, with a couple co-phased amps and a Moonraker 4... Man, I loved skip! Went about as far as I could in CB (last step would have been a Yaesu 101EE) and had every intention of moving into HAM proper, but life got in the way... Now, with things so close to SHTF, I am looking at it again. I will be going there very soon.
Also anxiously awaiting the next “Popular Electronics” with the updated Shortwave Time/Frequency Schedules.
I do mostly phone/ssb, have been dabbling in the digital modes the last 6 months. It’d be very cool to setup a sked to work digitally sometime....
I’ve had a DX-440 for about 25 years now, still works like a charm. Although I don’t use it much these days.
I listened a lot to AFRTS, because you could get games that you couldn’t hear anywhere else.
This one's on the "boat anchor" side of the shack. Finished restoring it about 6 months ago, she sounds beautiful on the air. I also have the matching amplifier, external VFO, 2 meter and 6 meter transverters for it.
The entire thing works as it did new out of the factory. Had it on air a few weeks ago on what's called "The Boatanchor Net" and received a ton of compliments on it's AM audio.
C'mon! Get in the hobby! Pick up a copy of the ARRL's "Technician Q&A" book off of Amazon, spend a few hours studying and go take your test!
You don't have the experience of tuning the dial a little, hearing something completely different, and wondering what it is.
Rather, you get the address, go there, and pretty much know what you're going to get. No surprises -- or not as many.
I guess it's just as well that I never moved up to the more expensive receiver. What's going to happen to all that bandwidth, though?
I was interested in seeing what could be whipped up quickly under conditions where you can’t buy commercial gear any more.
Lots of possibilities of using HF for data handling, old cell phones re purposed to create local networks, wifi routers to create a local data network..etc
Plus, the cheap little boards I made can be used to control equipment located remotely by just adding a bit of code.
It’s a hobby that might come in handy some day.
To me DX’ing was like fishing. Nothing like getting that rare catch when atmospheric conditions were just right.
Thanks for the advice. I’ve only had it a year and I haven’t taken the exam (yet). I’ve studied all fall for it and plan to take it first chance next year. I’ve just been listening, especially when we had the tornado come within a few miles last month.
I was a cryptolinguist in the Air Force so I’ve worked on a lot of radios and listened to more (Russian radios suck).
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.