What is it about SWLing that keeps you coming back? A reader participation post.

By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM

After trying to copy Shortwave Australia on 4835 this AM, the curiosity bug has bitten me. What, I wonder, is it about SWLing that keeps my fellow readers of SWLing.com coming back?

For me, it’s three things. First, I think Treasure Island ruined me as a kid. Ever since I read it, shiver me timbers matey, the search for The Hidden Thing – whether treasure in the ground or a signal on the airwaves – has been a lifelong fascination for me.

Second, I enjoy trying to tease a faint signal out of the ether. That’s why I got a kick out of trying to hear the Armed Forces Crossband Test.

Finally, I enjoy the physical act of operating a radio, turning the dial, adjusting the controls, tuning the preselector, and so forth.

So now, it’s your turn – what keeps you coming back and tuning the airwaves?

Please comment!

Spread the radio love

52 thoughts on “What is it about SWLing that keeps you coming back? A reader participation post.

  1. Jack K

    Anything radio and I’m in. I do enjoy new products and taking your radio to far away places. {The writing and photos are great too!)

  2. VK5014SWL

    I enjoy reading about new products that come into the market and homebrew antennas. I also enjoy reading about people’s DXpeditions, especially when they detail what’s in their kit. I like to learn about what could potentially make it into my GoBag. This blog has taught me many valuable lessons.

    1. Jock Elliott


      “This blog has taught me many valuable lessons.” — Me too! And I have learned a lot from the readers’ comments as well.

      Cheers, Jock

  3. adi

    Radio is all but magic, it could be just noisy AM station with the weekly hit parade or with a drama we all got hooked in the evenings. This was me in the 60’s…
    But if you add on top of those, voices from distant places that were marked on the dial of our family radio. and with every tiny knob touch, totally different thing.
    Even as a kid at first or second grade, when I was sick, my parents knew they could go to work as long as the radio was on. I’m going no where.
    Bygone days…

    1. Dave Minchella

      I’ve been into radio since I was a boy. At age 5 I saw a Hallicrafters S-53 at a neighbor’s home. He demonstrated shortwave, and I was hooked. At 7 my grandfather gave me my first SW radio, a 1946 RCA AA-5 with a SW band. I listened allot. At age 11, my dad brought home a 1937 Midwest “All-wave” radio. Wow, there was so much to listen to on each of the 6 bands! Today I’m a retired EE, a ham, and still enjoy shortwave listening. The SWLing Post keeps me informed of all things radio. Thanks!

  4. Peter L

    > Finally, I enjoy the physical act of operating a radio, turning the dial, adjusting the controls, tuning the preselector, and so forth.

    The overall term for this is something I picked up from YouTuber Hand Tool Rescue. It’s “gizmosity”.

    Radio has, or at least used to have, a high Gizmosity Factor. Even with a digital readout, it’s still there if there are knobs. I think gizmosity also explains why so many people still like records instead 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs, and MP3 files – there’s nothing to them! OK, maybe cassettes, but the rest? Borrrrrring. Even FM broadcast back in the day was a high-gizmosity affair with OTA stereo tests and making sure your antenna was properly aimed, etc.

    Can you listen to the audio from any of the audio services provided by national governments? Sure, they are all online whether or not they have foolishly decided to abandon RF. But click-and-listen has almost zero gizmosity factor.

    1. Rob W4ZNG

      Stick shift muscle cars, manual tuners, homegrown tomatoes, fresh-caught fish, and of course hand-dialed SWLing – some may claim there’s “better,” but no, there’s really not. Gizmosity for the win!

  5. Mark

    16. July 2022


    I was first captivated by shortwave in 1963 with my Rincan table radio. With an antenna of a random length of wire salvaged from a defective automobile ignition coil I eventually discovered the broadcasts from Radio Hanoi and Hanoi Hannah from my location in Bangkok, Thailand. From the constraints of the compound of our home it was radio that released a young boy to the world.

    You asked what it is that keeps me coming back? Hell… I left SWLing and never returned!

    Decades ago I was a very aggressive shortwave program monitor. Some of you might remember my old byname and posts. I had file cabinets of broadcast schedules from around the world. With the changes of the season I would diligently update those schedules until it got to be a true PIA! On this blog I have read questions posted wondering why shortwave radio never became mainstream — can you guess why? Perhaps the slow descent of mainstream interest began when shortwave radio dials ceased to display country listings.

    I could never understand why there had to be confusing frequency changes twice a year. Yea, I know about seasonal changes of radio propagation but with megawatts of power and massive antenna arrays those stations were using to direct signals to target areas did it really matter — I don’t think so. Then again, when I heard commentary from the stations that they had to reduce station expenses and broadcast content would suffer, I never once heard them say they were reducing power to half — even though it would have made no real difference to the listener if they did so!

    The end for me began when the BBC threw the shortwave community under the bus. I had been corresponding with Bvsh Hovse on a new schedule format for their BBC On Air publication when the word was passed down that the BBC was going to the internet. With an advance copy in my hand I literally dropped the entire project into the dustbin. But seriously, I think the real end came for the BBC with the staff changes of the 1990’s — the old timers left in disgust and the new upstarts took over. Astute listeners could tell something changed by the shift in content and focus on Newshour that was repeated episode after episode — ad nauseam. It became obvious that after nearly 70 years of unbiased reportage, there was now being pushed a clear political (global) agenda.

    In retrospect, it was with a forked tongue when the Big Cheese at BBC announced that beginning 01. July 2001 shortwave broadcasts to North America would end AND because we were advanced users of the internet the broadcasts would be continued there. Many of us took the bait and looked forward to interference free, studio quality, BBC World Service as we always knew it — it was a great dream! However, from a nicely scheduled shortwave broadcast service with a great mix of programming to an internet presence, continually revised at great annoyance, with an assortment of channels of varying content that has become so complicated that, for me, I don’t bother with anymore. Then there is geo-blocking of content, the Cheese didn’t say anything about geo-blocking. I am safe to say few of us realized back then we would actually be geo-blocked by the BBC. Based upon stories I have been told, the great minds at the BBC have finally figured out how to block users using a VPN to access current geo-blocked content. Should I now mention, The Lend-Lease Act of 1941?

    The next hit for me was from Radio Netherlands. Their final announcement from Jonathan Groubert actually made me feel I was being abandoned — it made me angry. From the Happy Station I became an unhappy listener. I liked RN very much. There was a feeling that came across with their broadcasts — a nice, friendly feeling; a quality in the voice. Was it the Dutch character? Thinking about it now reminds me of smiling Queen Maxima wearing her signature wide-brimmed hat! The occasional touch of sarcasm during press review was perfect. The newsletters that were sent regularly with the photos of staff made me and the rest of the listening community feel like an important part of RN — which we were. Thank you RN for the ‘Goodie Bag’ and after all these years I still have it and all the items it contained in pristine condition.

    There were other hits also. From Radio Peking to China Radio International — who is reading the news now? He or she sounds very much like an Oxford Don of the English Language. For some reason I have lost interest in listening to those broadcasts. I think I learned more by careful listening to the heavily accented hosts struggling through the English — somehow, what they said had more meaning.

    Many of us liked to not only listen to the English service of the Voice of Turkey but the all-night and exceptionally strong Turkish broadcasts of vintage folk love songs beamed to North America. My Drake R8B with a pair of high fidelity speakers made those broadcasts of love sound absolutely surreal — they would transport me to a different dimension. I would wake up in the early hours of the morning to shut off the radio. But that came to an end when their chief engineer decided to change the broadcast frequency. From a perfect broadcast in the clear to interference ridden something of a sound — why couldn’t she have left it alone?

    Jade Bells and Bamboo Pipes from Radio Taipei International became an international sensation — Carlson Wong did everything right. But the new broadcast relay sent their signals over my location and I could no longer hear them.

    Radio Moscow… Voice of Russia… I miss Moscow Nights, it was iconic. Mussorgsky was a good replacement… But I always wondered why a clip from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, No. 13 Dance of the Knights couldn’t have been added somewhere as an interval signal too — it seems particularly appropriate now. I appreciated the scholarship reflected in their broadcasts pertaining to the arts. I recently sent a letter to my German cousin wherein I mentioned that the broadcasts from Radio Moscow regarding the collapse of the American way of life seems more appropriate now than they did in the 1970s when we simply laughed at them. The 1998 commentary from ex-KGB analyst Dr. Igor Panarin that America will Balkanize seem prescient. There is now something called Radio Sputnik, I don’t know anything about it…

    KOL Israel our ally in the Middle East. With all the aid sent to Israel and the intimate relationship they have slowly woven within the threads of our government I would have thought they could have offered more than a measly few minutes of token dry news quickly read by an annoyed newsreader. That those broadcasts have been discontinued is of no consequence or loss. I guess I will have to join a Yeshiva and brush up on my Hebrew so I can read the science journals to find out what those archaeological excavations are revealing. I listened to the broadcasts from Radio Jordan but they were so weak I couldn’t understand what their archeological teams were discovering though it seemed very interesting. Radio Cairo had exceptionally strong signals and very interesting programming from the ancient city but the audio was often so poor that it could not be understood. I once suggested a good-will trip for a team of broadcast engineers to offer improvements to their station but there were no takers.

    WBCQ The Planet was an interesting prospect. Unfortunately, the radiation pattern of their main lobe to the southwest also has a null in my direction. I tried to listen when it first aired but I tired quickly of its marginal signal. Oi… how about a few more microvolts down toward Miami Beach?

    I think what eventually put me on the terrorist watch list came from my viperous comments and complaints regarding the sweeping ionosonde transmissions or whatever they were. I just got tired of getting comfortable with an entertaing broadcast when an unbelievable strong signal of who knows how many volts would quickly travel thorough my passband with the same effect as someone boxing my ears — again, and again, and again! Fortunately, I don’t have Cauliflower Ear as I quit shortwave monitoring just in time. No, they were not always present on the shortwave band and no, the AGC or AVC was of no use because the quick rise time of the offending signal was too fast for the circuits to take effect. This to me was very intentional interference. Interesting… by international convention ionosonde transmissions are prohibited from passing through the portions of the HF spectrum reserved for radio astronomy. I wonder… how would viewers of Netflix respond if they were subjected to periodic sound every few minutes of a forceful bang of a hammer against a slab of wood — again, and again, and again?

    I don’t know the limits of the SWLing Post message box so I will quickly close with a final short exploratory comment regarding Geo-blocking and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union. How is it that whom we consider as allies of our nation in times of peace and war and have formally committed treasure and the lives of our soldiers by treaty, for the most part, cannot access their internet resources and content without being geo-blocked? Similarly, many of us who once freely accessed the websites of the member nations of the European Union are now particularly annoyed at the sign-in or Click-Wrap Agreements in FOREIGN LANUAGES that for native speakers is as complicated as software license agreements are for English speakers. Apparently, copyrights and license fees reign preeminent regardless of the terms and life and death commitments of the international treaties — for simplicity just consider NATO. There is an Eastern European country that is demanding advanced weapons and greater military aid for an engagement which some seriously consider will escalate into a much larger theatre of war although they have already received billions in military aid. You can be sure that upon becoming a member of the EU they will also enforce GPDR and become essentially unavailable on the internet. One can only think at the future financial burden for the rebuilding of Ukraine (and Europe?) after a war that might occur on a scale beyond that of the Marshal Plan or European Recovery Program in Germany after World War II — will we reap any benefit from our commitments and losses? Perhaps it’s as Mr. Tom Waits has aptly expressed in his musical composition God’s Away on Business — it’s about, “…killers, thieves, and lawyers…”


    1. Harry

      Whew! Care to expound a bit, Mark? You shouldn’t hold back, just lay it all out.
      Where did I go wrong? I thought SWLing was just a casual hobby.

  6. Andrew (grayhat)

    maybe this is a shameless plug, but… folks, what about carrying on this interesting discussion on the forum which Thomas, kindly, made available ?

    I’m referring to https://swling.net/ and I believe that the “general discussions” area should fit pretty wel 🙂

  7. Mario Filippi

    Jock, what a great question, and many great responses.

    As for me, for some odd reason, listening to weak, fading stations from far away, whether it be LW/MW/HF or even the TV band always captivated me.

    In the late 50’s, as a kid in NY, my mother would wonder about me since I tuned our TV set to channel 8 every chance I got. Channel 8 was a blank screen most of the time but once in a while a grainy, kiddie TV show called “Bonomo The Magic Clown” would fade in and out. Later years I found out that Channel 8 was from CT and “The Magic Clown” was a man by the name of “Zovella.” The sponsor was Bonomo Turkish Taffy.

    After 60+ years of listening, the magic is still there.

  8. jack dully

    I am still amazed after 60 years of listeniing what a rinky- dink ,skinny wire antenna up in a few trees can capture and send me traveling to foreign lands.That’s the Long and Short of it .The directions that you run it,or configuration is all just experimental and when you find that sweet spot it’s time to crank the nobs on your radio and fine tune it with a tweak here and there. Reception usually does not stay the same day to day but you have learned to roll with the punches and have “Plan B” to try another country to visit on your skinny little wire high up in the trees.It has been said “Even The Longest of Journeys,Always Starts With The First Step” ENJOY !

  9. Tom

    For me the thrill of hearing a signal out from a far away, little known country hasn’t faded since I began SW listening in 1965. Digging out signals from Bhutan, Greenland, Burundi or Papua New Guinea and listening to gamelan music from the Indonesians, hi-life music from the Africans or pan flute music from the Peruvians wasn’t always easy but the excitement of finally hearing one of these stations after what could sometimes be a long, tough effort was extremely rewarding. Yes, most of this is gone but I still enjoy listening to music from the Brazilians and the local music from R. Mali and hunting around to see what I can find.

    Radio has always fascinated me in a way that TV or the internet never have.


    After reading your article and all those great comments…I don’t have time to answer now, I got so primed up that I’m gonna go fishin’ on the SW bands.

      1. jack dully

        Regular tweaking on your radio(s) knobs is like going to the gym & spa at the same time,it is very therapeutic and relieves tensions and common finger cramps,so my Doctor says.I’ll give it a shot Doc ! fer sure ! It might even help my curve ball to dance a little more too.

  11. Mark J.

    Started out as an SWL. Logged all kinds of stations for years. Got my ham ticket and listened and participated in everything. Discovered digital signals, bought a Universal M-8000 auto-tune multimode decoder. Wow! Decoded everything from DC to DAYLIGHT!!! Satellite, diplomatic, high seas comms, aircraft, spies, drug runners, military, FAX, simply everything. Had a big antenna farm and the best equipment. Pirates still fascinate me today and I actively look for them each day. Also, radio is theater of the mind. No interest in television. Am a broadcast engineer, so things keep progressing. SDRs are the best. I still use Blaupunkt wooden tube radios that I restore and hope real radio, not computer streams, still exist until I leave this planet.

    1. Jock Elliott

      Mark J.,

      “Decoded everything from DC to DAYLIGHT!!! Satellite, diplomatic, high seas comms, aircraft, spies, drug runners, military, FAX, simply everything. ”

      Sounds like great fun!

      Cheers, Jock

  12. Patricia

    SWL has changed so much since I had my first Ross radio in 1971, with Radio Moscow and Radio Peking clear as a bell. In 1977 I purchased a Radio Shack tabletop receiver and heard Asia, especially North and South Korea. In 1991 I purchased a Yaesu FRG8800 receiver/outside antenna and heard numerous countries from a remote area of Arizona. Now from Southern California I have heard South America as well as Asia. Now I hardly hear anything on the Yaesu. My Sky Crane smaller model is awesome but don’t hear that much due to static-just Cuba, New Zealand, North Korea, China-in Chinese as well as numerous signals. I keep coming back because it is so fascinating, and although I love internet radio, hope one day SWL will return.

  13. John

    Shortwave listening is a lot like fishing. You never know what you’re going to catch. For me it’s all about the thrill of discovery through sheer patience and application of skills. It’s loads of fun and immensley satisfying when one achives great results with minimal equipment.

    1. Jock Elliott


      ” It’s loads of fun and immensley satisfying when one achives great results with minimal equipment.”

      Yes, indeed!

      Cheers, Jock


    Hi there.
    Interesting survey. Guess there will be as many different motives as persons replying. For me, born in a pre-TV days (at least in Uruguay where I am from) the radio was as relevant in our lives as are cell phones today. Then the books Kon Tiki, Rommel the Desert Fox, Bomba the Jungle Boy, Jules Verne all converted me into a daydreamer and opened and transported me to magic kingdoms, hunger to travel and see.
    Coming back to Thor Heyerdahl
    “Once in a while you find yourself in an odd situation. You get into it by degrees and in the most natural way but, when you are right in the midst of it, you are suddenly astonished and ask yourself how in the world it all came about.”
    I had my awakening in mid Pacific Ocean as a Radio Operator on a cargo vessel (Stolt Vincita/ELEN5 if you must know) in a trip from Singapore to Seattle. Ceiling lights turned off, dim instruments and receiver glow, and contact with a lonely R/O in Hawaii, the only person in the whole world that knew where I was and by the way alive…. Then I realized that I was living the magic.
    Although I use for sake of convenience an SDR receiver hooked to my PC, almost every afternoon I switch on the desktop receiver (Kenwood TS-590SG or Marine Furuno RV-108S) and start fiddling with knobs and pushing buttons because there is the magic of short-wave. Turning the dial is like opening portals to multiple worlds, to magic kingdoms. Voices, cultures, the “good, the bad and the ugly” of human civilization, sounds that convey useful information or just for the simple curiosity of it. There is nothing that can beat the thrill of tuning to a faint signal slowly and with gusto and patience, hands pressing the headphones and straining to identify the language and grab the WRTH to corroborate your guess. The challenge of copying Marine Fax or RTTY Weather forecasts or every Saturday to listen for Marine Radio Historical Society Point Reyes Coast Stations KPH/KFS signals.
    All of this and every time I flip the switch on radio sets I am keeping the memory and legacy of a piece of history and in doing so inherit my children and grandchildren their place in time and space is what keeps me coming back.
    Or might be that I am an irremediable sentimental and living in the past old timer.
    Either way, keep tuning until signing-off.


    1. Jock Elliott


      ” Turning the dial is like opening portals to multiple worlds, to magic kingdoms. Voices, cultures, the “good, the bad and the ugly” of human civilization, sounds that convey useful information or just for the simple curiosity of it.”

      I think you have touched the heart of it. I don’t think you are an irremediable sentimental.

      Cheers, Jock

  15. Jake Brodsky, AB3A

    I’ve been fascinated with radio since I was five years old. The notion that an AM radio could hear broadcasts from a city half-way across the country, or that a shortwave radio could hear broadcasts from Europe was amazing to me.

    Even today, with an electrical engineering degree, decades of hands-on experience, and a most of a lifetime tinkering with it, radio still fascinates me. I have a good idea of how things work. And yet I still enjoy watching it, playing with it, knowing exactly how the equipment works, and yet marveling that it does.

    It fascinates me still, even after all these years

    1. Jock Elliott


      “The notion that an AM radio could hear broadcasts from a city half-way across the country, or that a shortwave radio could hear broadcasts from Europe was amazing to me. ”

      And it still is to me!

      Cheers, Jock

  16. Chuck D.

    My older brother had a “multiband” portable in the early 70’s. As a kid I was blown away by hearing these foreign accents and languages- signals coming in from everywhere (never mind the airband option.) And with my bedside clock radio I’d hear stations from various cities, whether it be out in the midwest or down south- local weather reports for Chicago, Wheeling, Pittsburg, Washington DC, Atlanta- it was mysterious how that happened to my young mind. Over the years I’ve heard everything from military, ship-to-shore (ie AT&T HIgh Seas,) pirates, time stations, to the space shuttle missions. And though much has changed today as a radio engineer and ham I still prefer listening. Though the broadcast bands are echo-chambers of syndication, I still get a smile out of a lpcal forecast for some far away city once in a while, or catching some old radio shows rebroadcast on AM, as they should be.

  17. Dave Mason

    Great question. I blame WKBW in Buffalo. In 1958 they introduced “Futuresonic Radio” on 50kw 1520AM. Up to that point we’d only had a daytime Top 40 station in Rochester but the Zenith console radio at my cousin’s house in Brockport picked up ‘KB like a local. It also had short wave –but propagation wasn’t great at the time. In the Summer of 1960 –at another cousin’s in Ohio, my uncle (W1BTA) (who was working for Clevite-Brush at the time) brought home a Zenith Transoceanic portable . There I got to hear WWV, CHU and they the “rag chewers” on short-wave. I was hooked. My uncle has since passed, but I have adopted his legacy calls – and am working on my General Class ticket.

    1. Jock Elliott


      My Dad brought home a Zenith Transoceanic when I was a kid, and I was introduced to voices from half a world away. . .

      Thanks for you comments.

      Cheers, Jock

    2. jack dully

      Uncles are truly great ! My uncle Ed,was working for RCA Television,after WWII.He worked in the field installing TV antenna towers for people that had reception problems,with early TV,so they could get a clear signal from the transmitting towers.He bought me a Trans Oceananic Model RD 7000 Y around 1968,after I got out of the US Navy People say the original Eton E-1 XM is a very big portable,The Oceanic dwarfs it with 8 D-cells, more like a battering ram/Real Boat anchor.I had it overhauled completely and it works good.The radio just doesn’t compare with more modern ones like the E-1 ot Tecsuns, on selectivity or sensitivity but my uncle picked a classic for me.I ran long wire outdoor antennas with.Once again Uncles are very cool.Enjoy

      1. Jock Elliott


        Thanks for your comments. My Satellit 800, if I recall correctly after more than 6 decades, is about the same size as a Transoceanic.

        Cheers, Jock

  18. ThaDood

    You just never know whom, or what, you’ll receive on various bands at different time. At times, propagation sucks and you will hear very little. Other times, you’ll hear Number stations, military comm’s, pirate stations, drug runners, CB Outbanders, Clandestine stations, marine, broadcast auxiliaries, licensed broadcast stations that are not normally heard where you are, Amateur Radio Stations, and tune-in to people of whom you know, etc. You just never know. And, you are not putting out there your IP Address, so you can tune-in anonymously.

  19. 13dka

    Good question, Jock!

    It’s so many things, constantly changing over the years and repeating themselves. Starting with the fascination and mystery of the sounds and noises, then the amazement about receiving programs and stories from countries far away, then the sportive aspect of picking up the weakest and most unknown ones, the complexity and unpredictable nature of the matter always bringing up more questions than answers…

    Fast forward a few decades –the easy access to massive amounts of knowledge through the internet turned a basic understanding of the ionosphere physics into a genuine interest in exploring them. Bits of experience gathered in the past decades fall into their place with newly acquired knowledge and old questions are being answered, which is fun too. I’m still on the hunt for maximum performance, finding or DIY making better gear and then using it is tremendously satisfying, new technology is making that a whole new experience not possible when I started out anyway. I’m still constantly amazed about hearing something I haven’t heard before, be it stations, countries, islands or propagation phenomena and that happens almost every day I play radio, even on days where the conditions are bad and I couldn’t hear what I had planned to hear. The improved ability to network with like-minded people is adding a lot to the fun, too.

    As per usual I feel the urge to add that this kind of radio fun and satisfaction can hardly/rarely be had at home, surrounded by modern digital civilization. If I wouldn’t have started going off-grid as much as possible for optimal conditions I probably wouldn’t be posting here and typing this. Even when you’re lucky enough to have a still good environment for reception at home, 10-20dBm of residue wideband noise from somewhere can cover whole layers of signals.

    1. Jock Elliott


      I suspected I would get thoughtful replies from the folks here, and you just proved it.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Cheers, Jock

  20. Rob W4ZNG

    Fewer moving parts to break.

    With the internet or conventional news feeds, there are all kinds of server connections, wires, cables, power sources – in general, things in the middle between a news source and me. These can be cut by a natural disaster, censored by [redacted], tapped, tracked, monitored, or just plain break down. With a shortwave receiver and a dinky solar panel, at least some news will get through. Admittedly, that “news” may be from Radio Havana, from Brother Stair in The Great Beyond, or from a ham two states over who may or may not know what he’s talking about. But still, it beats walking around all day with a giant question mark floating over my head.

    And in the meantime, it’s just a lot of fun to see what I can dial up.

  21. robert

    might be nostelga. a dying thing swl. and cb radio too. i was 17 n bought my first cb in 72. and my first sw radio was a big tall wards truetone.
    owned many radios in my time.
    sadly i got my tech license and for what the capabilites are sadly few use 2 meters and 70 cm. i drew a line at tech license. not spending a fortune to step up to hf n discover nobody there.
    as long as there is sw stations we all be tuning in if we are 30+ years old. im sure some youngsters listen too

    1. Jock Elliott


      Too bad you are not in upstate New York. We have a fairly healthy 2 meter community here.

      Thanks for your comments.

      Cheers, Jock

  22. Frank

    I feel it is like stone-age-hunting. You sit on the corner of a meadow and have a faint idea what to expect.
    So it is not always the same, it is a different meadow every hour since propagation (and luck) change.
    That´s pretty much it for me: looking up the clouds and feeling you could travel just the same by spirit as the skywaves that bring me VOA Botswana every evening to Central Europe…or amateur radio stations from the other side of the Mediterranean…or sea weather reports from Scandinavia: My mind travels with the skywaves.
    Aditionally it is the forbidden pleasure of pirate radio, be it the Dutch accordeon polka stations, the Serbian or Greek musical ones or the freebanders from Southeastern Europe.
    And of course the normal amateur radio operation.
    It is normal people that I can hear by the help of nature, not just big corporations and their programming.

    All of this, even just one, keeps coming me back several times a week for the last (almost) 40 years. i have no other hobby i have been keeping up this long.

    1. Jock Elliott


      Very well put. Thanks for your comments.

      I particularly like the line: “My mind travels with the skywaves.” Indeed!

      Cheers, Jock


      You’ve nailed it, Frank. For me, an old guy, it’s also the nostalgia factor too, remembering shortwave of the late 1950s, 1960s and 70s as I tune in 2022.

      New technology has only added to my pleasure. SDR radios can be had for a song, under $200. And eBay provides a trip into yesteryear and the possibility of acquiring radios not within my reach 40, 50, 60 years ago.

      Though shortwave broadcasting is down, my interest is as high as ever.

    3. Rob W4ZNG

      Yes, and sometimes it’s just the beauty of what you hear sitting in that metaphorical meadow. Years back I heard Concrete Blonde’s cover of Ghost Riders in the Sky on one of WWCR’s music programs. That version is pretty etherial to begin with, but filtered through skywave propagation effects… oh man.

  23. Haluk Mesci

    You said it all and really well. But maybe I can add this as my other reason: I see it as witnessing my unique portion of ‘time’ as the planet and the atmosphere hurls in space.


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