World Band Radio

One nice thing about the Sony is the tuning lock. Once on frequency you can flip the switch and even if the dial is mo Ed the tuning won’t.

Is this what they used to call “Ham Radio” in the old days and, if so, why?

That list isn’t esp. helpful. E.g., the famous HCJB “The Voice of The Andes” stopped the last of its SW broadcasts in 2009.

Norway’s NRK stopped shortwave broadcasts in 2004.


It’s pretty dead out there now.

I remember during the 1st Gulf War when Israel put their domestic service on their SW signal. Real time updates on Scud attacks and civil defense actions. Wow.

Internet killed the shortwave star.

“Ham radio” is amateur radio. You could listen to some ham conversations with one of the receivers described, no problem, but I got the impression the OP was more interested in high-power stations like BBC World, Deutsche Welle, Kyrgyz Radio, various numbers stations, etc.

While some of the Ham and SW bands are intermixed, they are very different. SW is one-way broadcast radio. Like AM but at a higher frequency so the signal propagates farther. Broadcast by governments/charities (mainly religious)/etc.

Ham is purely amateur and two way. Hams communicate back and forth between themselves. Usually by voice but it can also include Morse Code and other systems.

Listening to SW requires little equipment. A small radio with a pullout antenna could do. Ham requires serious equipment and a good size antenna.

ETA a couple of the links above have up-to-date schedules, so you don’t have to guess who is still broadcasting. If you do have one of those portable radios, sometimes it’s convenient to just turn it on and listen to some music or news; they work on local stations too. Maybe it’s more popular off the beaten track rather than in large cities with fast Internet?

Unless they are broken, all of them should.

The ‘world band’ stations want to get their signal out. They target their programming for a specific audience, they select frequencies based on what will propagate the best, and they pump lots of power into directional antennas aimed directly at you. The result is that you receive a strong signal.

As a result, you don’t need to have a hundreds of feet of antenna to pick up, say, the BBC. Once, when I was checking out an old surplus receiver without a built in antenna, I touched my largest screwdriver to to the antenna terminal, and was able to pick up Radio Moscow. For world band, you don’t need a good antenna, you need just about any antenna.

Now, if you live in, say, South Dakota, and for some silly reason you want to listen to iceberg reports around the South Atlantic, you will probably need an acre or two to set up antennas. Even then, your radio may be able to tune to the frequency, but there will just be nothing there.

Of course, when the sunspots are wrong, and it’s the wrong time of year, as well as the wrong time of day, and the weather is acting up, and your listening location is in a interior room on the ground floor of a large apartment block, and you are on the side facing away from the transmitter you may not have much of a selection with a stock antenna. Otherwise, you will have more choices than time to listen.

Note the BBC ended their targeted transmissions to North America 17 years ago.

If you want decent reception from a shortwave radio a tall antenna will help greatly. Fortunately there is a portable 25 ft. antenna available here.. I had one of these when I still had my Grundig 400, and it really pulled in the stations.

Golly, I’ve been away from radios for a long time. I’m going to have to dig them out this winter. I hope Radio Moscow isn’t dead. It might be interesting to see what they have to say about Trump.

Hopefully this isn’t too big a threadjack…
When I was a kid, my far-from-wealthy grandmother owned a 40s era radio that had numerous shortwave stations. Was that common back then, and what did shortwave listeners usually listen to?

You can get both the BBC and Radio Moscow (as well as dozens of other Moscovian and Russian radio stations) over the Internet :slight_smile: Radio Moscow definitely isn’t what it used to be; they may be called Radio Sputnik or Russia Today. They seem to do less over-the-air broadcasting, if any, these days than Voice of Iran, Voice of Korea, Voice of America, etc.

It’s a shame you can’t be in one spot in, say, North America and easily pick up all those stations with a portable radio, but, realistically, if you’re at home and want to listen to BBC World Music or something, it is easy enough to set up a networked device (computer, phone, etc.) hooked up to some speakers and get surprisingly good, static-free reception. In the middle of the ocean it’s a different story, unless you paid for satellite internet.

To the OP - that book you found used to be published annually. It was essential for short wave enthusiasts. Unfortunately they stopped publishing it a few years ago. (They always had Gahan Wilson covers). I think someone else stepped up to the plate, so to speak, but I’ve not purchased one.