Nothing to hear on shortwave? Jacques disagrees…


Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Jacques Catherine, who left the following comment on our post from 2012: Is there anything to listen to on shortwave?

“I live in Mauritius Island in the Indian Ocean and I’ve been listening to Shortwave since I was a kid (I’m 58 today) on my dad’s good old Phillips wooden valve radio.

I’m sorry, but shortwave is certainly not dead. After having read all the comments above, I come to the conclusion that reception definitely depends on your location.

The Tecsun PL-660.

The Tecsun PL-660.

I have two Tecsun receivers ( Tecsun S 2000 and PL 660) hooked to a Windom antenna and an ATU. I receive dozens of stations from all over the world here as well as a lot of stuff on ssb, including – in the morning – New York MWARA (8825.0 usb), Gander (8831.0 usb) or, in the evening, Brisbane (5634.0 usb).

Broadcast stations from Japan, Taiwan, India, Iran, Australia, Singapore, China, Africa and even the US, come in here loud and clear with very little static, depending on the season and time of the day. I think I’m privileged to be located where I am !

And I bought some years back a pair of cheap small wooden amplified speakers in Hong Kong that reproduce exactly the sound of my dad’s old valve radio!”

Thank you for your comment, Jacques. You’re right: it’s all about your location…and you certainly live in a prime spot!

I’m most fortunate that I live where I do–quite far away from sources of noise that plague our urban readers/listeners (and that have plagued me in the past). My location is not ideal (from a radio/receiving standpoint) because my ground conductivity is very poor and I’m in North America where very few broadcasts are targeted these days. I do, however, have the space for a rather large horizontal delta loop antenna that serves me well across the HF bands. I might have invested $50 in the antenna wire and components five years ago.

When propagation is good, some broadcast bands are actually packed tightly with signals. Indeed, Thursday last week, I could’ve easily logged two dozen stations on the 31 meter band alone.  Here’s a screen capture from the spectrum display of my SDR:


If you live in an urban area and feel that you’re missing out on the action, consider taking your receiver outdoors and away from interference. Take your receiver on hikes, camping trips or to the beach. You might be surprised by the number of stations you’ll log!

Recently, our friend London Shortwave has been posting an amazing array of broadcast recordings he’s made in a park in the middle of London, England. He’s the guru of mitigating urban interference.

When I have time to curate the recordings, I hope to do a 2016 update of “Is there anything to listen to on shortwave?“–it’s been on my to-do list for a while now.

Jacques, thanks again for your comment and reminding us to keep listening!

Spread the radio love

13 thoughts on “Nothing to hear on shortwave? Jacques disagrees…

  1. Ahmed Azhad

    Hi Jacques,

    Did you listen to Voice of Maldives. It’s medium wave 1449kHz. Would love to know SINPO from your location. My best DX was from Puducherry, India at 10PM local time.


  2. cesae

    The only thing left in short wave are the old nostalgic listeners that are stuck in the past and want to remember the good old days after that sadly is all gone , long gone. In a few years these old listeners will de gone too and short is going to be an anachronistic curiosity for historians,

    1. Larry

      Do you not see the irony that you’re reading this article and making this sweeping statement on a dynamic website which focuses on shortwave radio? Um…why are you here? Oh right…to troll! Ha ha! To each their own…no one is forcing you to participate in a shortwave radio community. There are many other places you can go play on the Internet. My advice? Don’t spend time in a community you don’t care to understand.

    2. DL4NO

      As a radio amateur I do not even need any broadcast stations: I am my own station!

      BTW: Two weeks ago, using a statin out of my suitcase and with 2 watts of RF, I made a connection from Madeira, an island off the west-African coast, to New York.


    Dear Jacques,
    Happy to hear that SW still exists used to enjoy listening to many stations from the early 60’s from a valve radio my father had, still remember the name GRETZ was made in Germany, remember listening to the live commentary when the pipe passed away from Rome, well I lived in India from the city of Bombay. Later on I had a JVC RADIO where I listened to the best of stations like VOA, Deutsche wells, Radio Celyon, Radio Kuwait, Feba. Far East Broadcasting station, some radio station from Seychelles, Vatican Radio, BBC, and stations I cannot remember, virtually live by the radio, sorry to say I now live in the Capital of India, Delhi close to the president’s residence, afraid to mention, jammers are installed so BACK TO STONE AGE, NO STATIONS AT ALL. Will those days and joy of fixing ever come again.

  4. Robert Gulley

    Thank you Jacques for sounding a welcoming bell for shortwave listening, rather than focusing on what has been lost. I do not live in the wonderful location you do, but even here in North America, where few stations target us anymore, I capture signals from all over the world with a fairly modest station.
    Could my reception be better without the local interference, certainly! But many stations still come in over the noise, and modern digital signal processing allows us to combat these noise sources, as well as judicious use of antennas, such as directional mag loops to cut down on local interference.
    As someone else noted, shortwave listening is not Internet streaming, and I would add it is not FM broadcast radio either (except perhaps the DRM stations where they may be heard!).
    Shortwave radio, like AM DXing, has always required more work, but the rewards are well worth it!

  5. Troy

    JACQUES lives on one of the most beautiful islands in the World. My military career too me there twice to work with the local forces. Great snorkeling & diving. And now we know great shortwave reception, too! Can it get any better?

  6. Jeff

    Reception quality also depends on the time of day and great-circle-path of the propagation.

    No doubt people are spoiled by the “always-on internet access” so the fact you must listen at certain times of the day (and people’s unwillingness to work with the natural cycles of the planet) probably contribute to presumption that their is nothing as well.

  7. DL4NO

    When receiving, a prime quality parameter is the signal-to-noise-ratio. If next to no human-made noise is produced for 1,000 km around you, signal strength is not really important – the low noise is!

    Comparable effects have been reported from ham radio operators on the scientific Antarctica stations like DP0POL: Quite often they can easily hear stations from the US or Europe but they cannot reach them. To some degree I had this effect from OH0 (a group of islands between Sweden and Finland in the Baltic Sea) a few years ago.

  8. Dave B

    Also, if you have any power line networking adapters in your house, or your neighbours do, they can virtually wipe out SW reception when they are transfering data. Even the old “ComTrend” ones would chatter incessantly when idle.

    Bin them, use WiFi or string cable arround the house. Uses less electric too.

    LED lights (low voltage types) and some Compact Florescent lamps are also bad for SW. Golf cart/invalid trolley chargers, some tool chargers and many other modern digital gadgetry can affect SW reception. Only use what you “Need”, and power it down when you dont.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.