Tag Archives: Shortwave Radio

2019 Huntsville Hamfest photos: Flea Market

Yesterday (Saturday, August 17), was the first day of the Huntsville Hamfest in Alabama.

Over the years, I’ve heard from a number of friends that Huntsville is a must-see hamfest. And, boy, were they right! Turns out the Huntsville Hamfest is one of the largest hamfests in North America.

The entire event is held in the amazing Von Braun Center and is fully air conditioned–a good thing as temperatures were pushing 100F/37.8C yesterday!

I took a number of. photos in the flea market area of the hamfest. In truth, though, this is only a small sampling of what was there. I told a friend that–in terms of selection and radio density–this was one of the best hamfest flea markets I’ve ever seen. If you were looking for ways to rid yourself of your hard-earned cash, this was the place to do it!

Click on the photos in the gallery below to enlarge each image. Note that I plan to take photos of the vendor/club areas today and hopefully post them tomorrow:


Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

Spread the radio love

Radio World: “The Internet’s Impact on International Radio”

The Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station Control Room

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors, Dennis, Eric, and Michael who share the following story from Radio World. Please note my comments below following a short excerpt from this piece:

OTTAWA — During the height of the Cold War (1947–1991), the shortwave radio bands were alive with international state-run broadcasters; transmitting their respective views in multiple languages to listeners around the globe.

The western bloc’s advocates were led by the BBC World Service, and included Voice of America, Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe, Radio Canada International and a host of influential European broadcasters. The eastern bloc’s de facto team captain was the USSR’s Radio Moscow (with its unique hollow, echoing sound), supplemented by broadcasters in Soviet satellite countries (like East Germany’s Radio Berlin International) and allies like Fidel Castro’s Radio Havana Cuba.

Then 1991 arrived, and the Cold War apparently ended with the fall of the Soviet Union and the destruction of the Berlin Wall.

In the seeming peace that followed, many governments no longer saw the sense in spending millions on multi-megawatt transmitters and vast antenna farms to keep broadcasting their messages globally.

The leader among them, the BBC World Service (BBCWS), trumpeted the web and webcasting as modern, cost-effective alternatives to expensive shortwave broadcasting (along with satellite radio and leasing local FM airtime in the countries they used to broadcast to). This is why the BBCWS ceased shortwave transmissions to North America and Australia in 2001 and Europe in 2008, while retaining SW broadcasts in less-developed parts of the globe.[…]

The full article is available here and quite a good piece exploring how the Internet has had an impact on shortwave radio broadcasting.

I, along with a number of fiends in the shortwave community–Bob Zanotti, Jeff White, Colin Newell, and Ian McFarland to name a few–we’re quoted in this piece.

As with most any published piece, quotes and statements are trimmed and edited to fit the print space. If you read the full article, you will have noticed some quotes from me. Here’s a larger portion of my full statement for this piece:

Most audience analysts agree that the number of shortwave listeners has been on the decline at the same time Internet access has been on the rise. Moreover, shortwave listener numbers are hard to quantify due to the very nature of anonymous listening; no one can truly “track” a shortwave radio listener. On the other hand, there is nothing anonymous about those who listen to or watch Internet content–not only can the audience be measured by numbers, but a much deeper and more invasive set of data can be gleaned from an online audience. Thus the decline in shortwave also denotes a loss of anonymity on the part of the listener.

This is not to say there aren’t shortwave listeners. A significant number of listeners are radio enthusiasts/DXers who appreciate the shortwave medium. But perhaps more meaningfully, shortwave listeners are those living in rural and remote parts of the world who benefit from the instant, free, and anonymous information shortwave provides.

At Ears To Our World, we received this photo from a school in rural Tanzania in June 2019. The teacher has been using one of our self-powered shortwave radios to listen to news and improve language skills.

Some broadcasters effectively target both of these audiences. Large government broadcasters, however, have always tried to reach the “influencers” in a country–those who might eventually help guide a country’s policy and international relationships. And the great majority of these influencers, according to audience research, have moved to social media and the Internet as a source of information.

Note that I received the photo above in June. At Ears To Our World, we still work with communities that appreciate the accessibility of radio. Perhaps our partners are more the exception than the rule, but there are still those who benefit from radio–especially those living in rural and remote areas. Where large government shortwave broadcasters are pulling out of the scene, often community-driven stations are taking their place. We’ve been working with Radio Taboo in Cameroon, for example, and they are an amazing case in point.

As a radio enthusiast, I’ll also add that I love the homegrown nature of shortwave broadcasting these days. As private broadcasters have a larger market share of the airwaves, individuals have an opportunity to buy their own broadcast time and produce amazing, unique shows like VORW, Free Radio Skybird, Encore, From the Isle of Music and Uncle Bill’s Melting Pot. These are just a few examples–if you’d like more, just check out the latest edition of Alan Roe’s guide to music over shortwave.


Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

Spread the radio love

“Father Knows Best” episode features shortwave radio

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Zantow (N9EWO), who notes the following episode of “Father Knows Best” (link below) features shortwave radio. Dave also points out that the website streaming this episode can be somewhat slow to load, but is very watchable.

Click here to view on Shout Factory TV.

Thanks for the tip, Dave!

Spread the radio love

What’s your favorite shortwave listening story?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Zack Schindler (N8FNR), who writes:

Back in the 1980’s I was tuning around and came across two guys talking back and forth in a non-ham portion of the HF spectrum. They were not using any callsigns which I found weird so I kept listening. It became obvious that one guy was on the ground and the other was in a plane. The guy on the ground was trying to give the other guy instructions on where to land. The pilot kept saying that he was not seeing any of the landmarks that the other guy told him to look for. The man on land then gave the pilot a beacon callsign to navigate by so I looked it up and it was in the Yucatan. The pilot said that he was not receiving the beacon but after a bit said that he could see a water tower in a town. He flew near the tower and read off the name and it was a town in the panhandle of Florida.

So it appears to me that they were probably drug smugglers and the pilot was so bad that he was off course by 700 miles or so. I always wondered how this story played out.

Please reply with your favorite SWLing story here. I look forward to reading yours.

What a great idea, Zack!

In fact, I’ll sweeten the pot…

Next Sunday (July 14t, 2019) I will pick a commenter at random from this post and send them a copy of Joe Carr’s Loop Antenna Book which has been graciously donated by Universal Radio.

This is open to anyone, anywhere–I’ll ship it globally.

Please comment with you favorite shortwave listening story!

[Note: Please include a valid email in the email address field of the comment form, else I will not be able to contact you to get your shipping address. We never share your email or use it for any other purpose.]


Do you enjoy the SWLing Post?

Please consider supporting us via Patreon or our Coffee Fund!

Your support makes articles like this one possible. Thank you!

Spread the radio love

The Hindu: “AIR may have to power off short wave transmissions”

(Source: The Hindu)

If Prasar Bharati has its way, All India Radio will have to stop all global short wave transmissions — eighty years after it began international broadcasting in 1939. AIR is resisting the move arguing that it will curtail its global reach.

There are about 46 short wave transmitters that run both domestic and external services. Out of these, 28 are used for the external services alone. Barring three transmitters that were recently installed, all the others will have to be shut down over the next six-months. The external services are broadcast to 150 countries in 13 Indian languages and 15 foreign languages.

Prasar Bharati had written to the AIR in May third week asking it to come up with a proposal to phase out the short wave transmitters.[…]

Read the full article at The Hindu.

Spread the radio love