Is Shortwave Dead?
(From the Original Site. Recently discovered in a forgotten back up. Circa early 2012)
Recently, I decided to sell my DX-398 shortwave receiver that was modded by the world famous LOWBANDER. I set it up a few months ago and strung a long-wire copper antenna out the window and over the roof and out into the back yard. I made sure it was properly grounded. Throughout the whole process my wife and my neighbor both thought I was nuts as I strung the antenna out about 70 ft. There was not much I could pick up other than the bright beacons of propaganda from China and Cuba. And the good Word of Christ from many mission focused stations across the world. And a whole lot of QRM (Man Made Electrical Interference) from all the electronic gadgets that are in homes today including those FCC compliant CFL lamps.
Gone are the great shortwave stations of my youth like HCJB out of Equator or the BBC North American service. There is plenty of amateur radio activity out there in normal mode, USB and LSB. It is fun to scan around and see what you can pick up. It just was not the same though. I do plan on getting my amateur license back in the near future. I hope that will also allow me to buy a nice transceiver that will let me listen to shortwave and talk among the hams. It brings me back to my original question about shortwave being dead as far as broadcasters go. The answer surprisingly is no.
I came across a post on the shortwave blog called “Shortwave Central” relating an article from Popular Communications by Jerry Dexter about new developments in shortwave. I have not been a subscriber to Popular Communications in over 15 years. I am glad it is still out there and being published. According to the article shortwave is not dead. In fact new government and non-profit stations around the world are about to go on-line in the next couple of months and some have already done so. The article was published in April of last year. Shortwave central took some of the highlights of the article and posted it in their blog. Here are just a few of the stations they mentioned:
“* Radio Zambia has returned to shortwave with 100 kW on 5925 kHz & 6162 kHz.
* Saudi Arabia plans to activate around mid-year four new shortwave transmitters at 250 kW at the Al Khurmra site near Jeddah, and each is capable of analog or DRM digital transmission.
* Radio Damascus in Syria plans to renovate and re-activate its older shortwave transmitters.”
I have not been able to verify this information since I sold my rig. I have other shortwave receivers I can set up to verify the info. None as nice as the DX-394 but they are not too bad as far as Radio Shack re-branded shortwave receivers are concerned (Most of them made by Sangean). Reading that post gave me hope as a shortwave enthusiast that it is still worth it to scan the bands and hear what the world has to say. I am curious as to what others out there have to say about their recent shortwave experience. If you come across this post I invite you to please comment on your experiences scanning the band. 73 for now and keep scanning up.
(I had to use radio lingo at the end just because. For non-radio people reading this, “73” means “best regards.” Some people say “73’s” but that is bad ham radio grammar. If I said “73’s” that means I said something like “best regardses” and that is bad grammar in English. When I was a young ham I got chewed out politely by some of the old timers in the ham radio club when I said “73’s.” They also ran circles around me with their Morse code. The phase “Keep Scanning Up” was inspired by Jack Horkheimer who was the guy on PBS who did the Jack Horkheimer: Star Gazer program. He would end each program by saying “Keep Looking Up.” As far as I know I came up with the “Keep Scanning Up” phrase. Whenever I want to just scan I tell my scanner or shortwave receiver to scan up until it hits something and then keep going up from there. So I’ll “Keep Scanning Up.”)
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