Category Archives: Apps

What are your favorite radio apps? Tell us and you might win a prize!

Each year, I spend time going updating our curated list of amateur and shortwave radio apps.

I do my best to keep this list of applications up-to-date and am always on the lookout for new ones. Thing is, new apps are developed every day–certainly a moving target for this editor.

This is where you can help…

Please comment on this post with your favorite radio-related iOS, Android, and Windows Phone applications. Please link to the app and/or mention what operating system you use. Of course, please tell us what you love about your choice apps.

A prize! Woot!

Next Friday (August 23, 2019) I’ll pick one random comment from this post and send the lucky reader a copy of Pirate Radio: The incredible saga of America’s underground, illegal broadcasters by Andrew Yoder. This classic pirate radio history book even includes an audio CD with clips from famous (and infamous!) pirate radio stations.

Many thanks to our friends at Universal Radio who supplied this to us as a gift for our readers.

What apps supplement your radio fun?  Please comment!

Congratulations to Peter Atkinson who won the CC Buds Solo and April who won the Joe Carr Loop antenna book in our last giveaways!


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Google is developing a podcasting app called “Shortwave”

“Shortwave” tradmark filing by Google

(Source: The Verge via Richard Cuff and Kim Elliott)

An experimental unit within Google has been quietly developing a new app for discovering and playing podcasts. Called Shortwave, the new app was revealed by a trademark filing embedded below, which describes it as “allow[ing] users to search, access, and play digital audio files, and to share links to audio files.”

Nothing in the trademark filing specifies the kind of audio being accessed, but a Google representative said the focus of the app was on spoken word content. There is little public information about the app, although Google has played with smart captioning, translation, and other AI-assisted features in previous podcast products.[…]

Click here to view the full article.

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Skywave Radio Schedules now on the Google Play store

Skywave Schedules App will allow you to search a comprehensive, regularly updated, database of shortwave radio broadcasts.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Cap, who has just notified me that his shortwave radio schedules app for Android–Skywave Radio Schedules–is now available via the Google Play store.

You might recall that Cap first shared this app in Beta form and invited us to share feedback and comments. Cap has spent weeks incorporating our suggestions and making changes in the background–Skywave Radio Schedules feels refined and responsive. Best yet?  It’s free and has no ads. Amazing.

Cap does note that you should uninstall any previous versions of this app before installing it from the Google Play store.

Thank you, Cap! Great job making this app a reality.

Click here to view Skywave Radio Schedules on the Google Play store.

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Zello transformed Holly from onlooker into dispatcher

As a follow up to our previous post about the PTT “radio” app Zello, SWLing Post contributor, Aaron Kuhn shares this story from The Houston Chronicle:

I downloaded an app. And suddenly, was part of the Cajun Navy.

After watching nonstop coverage of the hurricane and the incredible rescues that were taking place, I got in bed at 10:30 on Tuesday night. I had been glued to the TV for days. Every time I would change the channel in an attempt to get my mind on something else for a few minutes, I was drawn right back in.

I finally turned off the TV and picked up my phone to do a quick check of email and Facebook. I read an article about the Cajun Navy and the thousands of selfless volunteers who have shown up to this city en masse. The article explained they were using a walkie-talkie-type app called Zello to communicate with each other, locate victims, get directions, etc. I downloaded the app, found the Cajun Navy channel and started listening.

[…]As I was listening, I quickly figured out that there were a few moderators on the app that were in charge and very experienced in using this method of communication during emergencies. One in particular, Brittney, was giving directions, taking rescue requests, and prioritizing calls and rescues. At one point, she said something that made me realize she’s a nurse, so I immediately understood why she was so effective in this situation.

A couple of other women (who were working from other parts of the country, not Houston) who had been taking calls from victims and logging in the information came on the line around 12:30 and said they had to sign off so they could get to bed. They asked if there was anyone who could work through the night to keep taking rescue requests and log them.

I sat up and turned on my light. I timidly pushed the “talk” button and said, “I can.”[…]

Click here to read the full article at The Houston Chronicle.

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Zello: A PTT (push to talk) app surges in popularity with Hurricane Irma

(Source: The Washington Post via David Korchin)

As Hurricane Harvey dropped anchor over Southeast Texas last week, Zello became the go-to app for rescuers working to save thousands of people trapped by floodwaters.

Within days of Harvey’s arrival, the app saw a 20-fold increase in usage in Houston, according to Bill Moore, the Austin based startup’s the chief executive.

As Hurricane Irma hurtles across the Caribbean toward the coast of Florida, Zello continues to boom in popularity. The free Internet “walkie-talkie” app — which relies on cellphone data plans or WiFi and is designed to operate in places where signals are weak — became the top app on iTunes and Google Play Wednesday.

The latest influx began Tuesday and, at one point, Moore said, 120 people were registering for the app every second. In recent days, the app has also trended on Facebook and Twitter, offering another example of the pivotal role social media is playing in natural disasters.

“The heat map of where the registrations are occurring looks like the hurricane’s forecast path,” he added. “It’s very dense at the tip among the Caribbean islands and then fans out across Florida.”[…]

Continue reading at The Washington Post online.

I find Zello quite interesting. If you think about it, this app mimics the concept of traditional PTT/two-way radio which certainly has traffic management advantages during times of emergencies. Of course, Zello has many features traditional two-way radio does not (voice history, the ability to leave messages, native GPS and mapping functionality, etc.).

Zello does rely on some sort of Internet connectivity via 4G, 3G, WiFi, GPRS and/or EDGE. During disasters, these services may not always be accessible. Of course, amateur radio, CB and other traditional radio services do not require Internet connectivity.

Zello requires no license, no radio, nor any other accessories–just a smart phone–and is free. That’s a powerful combination and, as The Washington Post reports, Zello is obviously helping with Irma relief efforts. Thanks for the tip, David!

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