ABC News: Portrait of a devoted shortwave radio listener

(Source: ABC News)

Saying goodbye to Radio Australia on the shortwave after 37 years

Kevin De Reus has lived in the same 24-kilometre-radius his whole life.

Born and raised in Iowa in the US, Kevin now calls his grandfather’s farm — just 12 kilometres from where he grew up in central Des Moines — home.

He is married, has five children and has worked at the same company for 20 years.

And while he admits he has not travelled much in his 52 years, it hasn’t stopped Kevin from listening to the news from Australia since 1980 — with the help of a shortwave radio.

Listening from the other side of the world

Even half a world away, he says the broadcast was one of the clearest of the stations he listened to.

“Radio Australia always held a special place in my heart just because it was in the South Pacific and I didn’t know much about that area — and the signal was always good from that part of the world,” he says.
“Most recently, over the last two to three years as I was listening in the morning hours here on 9.580, the signal was so good. It really was about the only English broadcaster at that time of the day that had news and information.

“Most mornings I would get up and turn on the shortwave radio at 7:00am (local time) and listen to the news from Australia and then I would drive to work.

“So many of the stations just aren’t on the air anymore. BBC doesn’t broadcast to North America anymore. I can’t even hardly hear the Voice of America in English anymore to tell you the truth. So Australia had the strongest signal.

“That’s why it was hard for me to hear [Radio Australia] was going to go off the air.”[…]

Click here to continue reading the full article on ABC News.

I believe Kevin De Reus did a fine job explaining the appeal of being a shortwave radio listener.

Though I gather a lot of international news these days with a WiFi radio (especially since Radio Australia left the shortwaves), I still prefer listening to shortwave.

It’s just how I’m wired.

3 thoughts on “ABC News: Portrait of a devoted shortwave radio listener

  1. Robert Gulley

    Very well said – I suspect it reflects how so many of us feel about shortwave radio. His comments about the differences with the Internet were also interesting and pretty much on target, I think.

    Reply
  2. Dan

    I live about 70 miles northwest of him Here in Iowa. His shortwave career is eerily similar to mine, starting in around 78 or so. I echo his comment that the signal fading in and out is somewhat comforting. I always tried to explain my hobby as being similar to fishing when my friends would ask.

    To me there is something magical, mysterious and therapeutic when you just never know what you might “catch” even when you use the same rod/reel and tackle box each day – just like fishing.

    Cheers

    Reply
  3. Kire

    To me this story and the previous one about KIMF show the potential of shortwave. Someone with vision and backed with money could probably create a very listenable shortwave station, that with time and excellent programming, be quite renowned. I know the naysayers will say its been tried already, shortwave is dying. But there is so much more freedom on the shortwaves than on FM/AM, you can hear things on shortwave that you will never ever hear on FM/AM, and, a good signal goes so much farther. Shortwave revived my interest in radio.

    Reply

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