What are Shortwave and HF broadcast seasons?

After posting recent shortwave broadcast schedules and updates for the A19 season, SWLing Post reader Tom Cook asked, What is A19?”

Excellent question, Tom! And, frankly, one I’ve never answered here on the SWLing Post even though it’s so fundamental to understand HF broadcast scheduling.

Shortwave broadcast schedules are coordinated for two seasons:

  • a summer season which starts on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October; and
  • a winter season which starts on the last Sunday in October and ends on the last Sunday in March.

The summer season is often referred to as the “A” season, and winter the “B” season. This is often abbreviated, so “A19” equates to the 2019 “A” or summer season.

For newcomers to shortwave listening, the confusing bit is that three month period between January and March in any given year–the end of the “B” season which started the previous year. For example, in February 2019 you would still be in the B18 broadcast season even though you’re already in the year 2019.

At time of posting (May 4, 2019), we are in the A19 HF broadcasting season.

Thanks for asking your question, Tom! I hope this explanation helps.

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