Monthly Archives: January 2009

Shortwave radio still packs an audible thrill (Reuters)

This article posted by Reuters is cracking at explaining why so many people still turn to SWLing:

It’s easy and cheap — and fun. You can hear and learn things that you would never find even if you work your search engine like a mule. From Swaziland to Paris to Havana, shortwave broadcasters can surprise an adventurous listener more than any MP3 playlist.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Author Robert MacMillan (with Reuters) began by comparing shortwave radios to many sleek portable digital media devices on display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year:

iPods and satellite radios are slim and pocket-sized, while shortwaves are throwbacks, typically as square as a textbook and just as serious looking.

While it’s true that most portable shortwave radios are slightly bigger than a Sony Walkman, few portables approach the size of a textbook. Sony, for example, produced the ultra small SW100S years ago–before the internet was much more than an easy way for university researchers to exchange off-color jokes. The SW100S, by the way, was about the size of a pack of cards. Innovative radio designer, Etón Corporation, announced the new, sleek, Grundig Mini 400 at the CES. [ has photos of the Mini 400 and other Etón products from the CES–order your Mini 400 at Universal Radio.] I should also note that Chinese manufacturer, Degen, recently released a new, sleek, pocket radio MP3 recorder/player–see Passport’s take here.

I was quite happy to see a few good shortwave news items come out of the CES this year. Yes, more and more focus is being given to web-based devices, and it should be. I am a huge fan of the world wide web and all that it has to offer. But what keeps me glued to my shortwave radio?  MacMillian puts it best:

[W]hen you hear voices over the noise and squeal, and realize you are hearing Mongolia, live, there is a warmth and a human connection that are hard to find on the Web.

Amen. Thanks, Robert.

Read the full Reuters article here.

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All India Radio to begin DRM transmissions

All India Radio (AIR) Headquarters in Dehli, India. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

All India Radio (AIR) Headquarters in Dehli, India. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Source — All India Radio News:

“The first digital shortwave transmitter of All India Radio will start functioning from Friday. The Chief Executive Officer of Prasar Bharati, Mr. B. S. Lalli will inaugurate this transmitter to mark the Golden Jubilee of High Power Transmitter Centre of AIR at Khampur in New Delhi. It will provide quality output to the listeners on the shortwave. The External Services programmes of AIR and Vividh Bharati services will be available with a boosted backup.”

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The Magno Medium Radio

The Mango Medium Radio

The Magno Medium Radio by designer Singgih Kartono

Areaware, a New York City based eco-retailer, showed off their Magno radio product line by designer Singgih Kartono at the Consumer Electronics Show this year.

An eco radio?  Yes, these radios are made of new growth, sustainably harvested wood from Java. Areaware claims that for every tree that is used in production, a new one is planted. Of course, the inside of the radio is electronic–you can only take sustainable wood so far.

I’m not sure what the AM/FM nor 2.3-22 MHz SW reception would be like on the beautifully designed Magno Medium Radio. I do know that Areaware products tend to perform well–perhaps striking that eloquent balance between form and function.

Areaware sells two other radios: the Magno Small Radio (AM/FM), and the three vacuum tube 2B Radio.

I don’t know about you, but I’d like all three.

Do you have a Magno?  Leave a comment!

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