Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Luke Perry, who writes:
Just [wanted to share] a little bit of shortwave good luck that I had when tuned to 3925 kHz. That is the frequency for Radio Nikkei 1 if I am not mistaken. They have a similar frequency that I can usually get at about the same time in 3945, but from my location in the Pacific Northwest the former usually comes in better until about 13:00 UTC or so.
To any SWL listeners on the west coast can tell you, there are not a whole lot of choices anymore for the listeners who like the exotic DX catches, whereas 20 years ago you had many choices like Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Radio Vladivostok on 5015 kHz that was a special station for Russian boats at sea, etc. These stations all played exotic and sometimes even current music, not to mention lots of ‘oldies’ and classics.
So I am left with the few that are left and I usually tune in late at night as the static lulls me to sleep.
Last night, I was listening to 3925 kHz at about 12:00 UTC or so and I got quite the surprise. Usually when I tune in at about 2:30 AM my time they are playing classical music or some other relaxing music. I think their sister station on 3945 kHz plays more of the current music and I believe that they even have a special hour or more that they play newish music. When I first tuned in it was their typical show where they start with about an hour or so of relaxing music and then the announcers come in with news, talk, or whatever? Truthfully, I don’t speak Japanese so I really can’t say! I do remember reading somewhere though that they broadcast horse races on that channel and sometimes it does sound like that.
But last night I still hadn’t fallen asleep for whatever reason so I kept hitting the ‘Sleep’ button on my trusty Panasonic RF-9000. After the announcers talked for a bit they played a few hard rock songs back to back. Quite a few of them but a couple that I remember off of the top of my head were “Smoke On the Water” and “I Remember You” by Skid Row. That kind of stuff and this went on for a good half hour or so uninterrupted so my ears were perked up at this point. What came next really blew me away and really made my staying up worthwhile.
They first started off with Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times”, and then proceeded to play the whole first Led Zeppelin album straight through! No interruptions and they went straight from Side A to Side B with only a moment pause. After that, they started in on Led Zeppelin III but after “Immigrant Song” the signal was really fading bad but I could still make out that it was the might Zeppelin. It kind of reminded me of old pirate radio stations on shortwave or even FM radio in the 70’s when they would play whole album sides.
So anyway, just a quick update on that station and for people who have given up on finding good programming on shortwave radio…it is still out there, but it takes a bit more time to find nowadays.
Thank you for sharing your listening experience, Luke! Yes, shortwave is still a medium for this sort of serendipity–a space where you can listen to broadcasts that are free of commercial breaks. I image Led Zeppelin must have sounded pretty amazing on that Panny RF-9000!