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Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Chris Johnson, for sharing the following guest post:
Shortwave Recordings from Kilimanjaro
by Chris Johnson
Last month, I took a trip of a lifetime to Tanzania Africa to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro: Africa’s highest point and the world’s highest free standing mountain. It is also known as the “Rooftop of Africa” its summit stands at 19,341 feet or 5895 meters.
With this high elevation I figured that I could pick up a multitude of shortwave signals that I would normally not receive at lower altitudes. So I packed my Sony ICF- SW7600G to capture recordings of various signals, some common, others not so common.
Each night I unpacked my radio and extended the reel-wire antenna and scanned the bands. I came across an assortment of stations that I normally do not hear back home in the USA, but some were quite familiar such as the BBC, Radio Romania, and DW which had Africa as their target. In some cases their broadcast was targeted for Asia.
Below is a map of our trek along the Lemosho route and the camps where we stayed are listed with the recordings and the elevation (in meters) of each camp. The higher we climbed, the signals received were sometimes stronger but the surrounding mountains also limited the reception of others. I did find that the bands were congested with signals from stations that spoke Arabic, Swahili and Chinese, not surprising considering my location. For the purpose of this blog I only included the English speaking stations except for a few.
Unfortunately, the critical weight in our day packs was closely monitored and we could carry only the essentials on our climb from Barafu to the summit so I could not record at the summit of Uhuru Peak. Additionally, our time up there was limited to 15 minutes due to the lack of oxygen at that altitude. Below are selected recordings at each of the camps on the Lemosho route. Enjoy.
On the topic of shortwave radios in automobiles, SWLing Post reader, Chris, writes:
“Seven years ago, I purchased a Sony Car Stereo with a Shortwave receiver from the Shortwave Store in Canada. It works remarkably well especially on those summer trips to Northern Wisconsin and Michigan when I can get away from the city noise. Last summer while driving from Chicago to Copper Harbor Michigan (a 10 hour drive) I listened to Radio Australia, Radio New Zealand, Radio Havana Cuba, Radio Exterior Espana and the BBC (Ascension). It certainly made a long drive more enjoyable.
Below is a video I took last night of a relatively weak signal of Radio Exterior Espana (due to local electrical noise and weather) then followed by a nice strong signal of Radio Romania. The signals were recorded next to Lake Michigan in Chicago.
If you can’t afford a BMW with a Shortwave receiver or you don’t have an appetite for a Smart Car you can always install a receiver easily found for sale on Ebay.”
Of course, the receiver is only as good as its antenna. Chris admits that, “the [radio] installation was a hassle and I had to install an aerial whip antenna (which required drilling).” Obviously, your investment in the whip antenna is paying off, Chris. I’m impressed.
Chris’ Sharp Z-1000 AM/FM radio (Click to enlarge)
I had the pleasure of seeing SWLing Post reader, Chris, again this year at the 2013 Hamvention. Chris has enjoyed remarkably good luck in the flea market/tailgate section of the Hamvention; in fact, last year he found a Zenith Transoceanic 1000and a Transoceanic Royal 7000. (I have a special affinity for the Royal 7000, as it this was the first radio on which I cut my teeth, and which I still fire up from time to time.)
Chris just sent a photo of his find from this year’s Hamvention: a Sharp Z-1000. The name was familiar…and when he sent a photo, I knew where I had seen it. Earlier this year, Jeff at the Herculodge posted a link to a Z-1000 on eBay.
Chris reports that the Z-1000 audio is pleasant and that FM and especially AM reception are impressive. Great find, Chris!