Are the days of English-language SW broadcast drawing to an end?

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raisindot

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I know that many stations have ended their English-language broadcasts--at least to North America--in favor of Internet radio or perhaps DRM.

But, after investing a fair amount of cash in SW equipment, I suppose it's my fault for not realizing that number of English-language broadcasts I can pick up is dwindling to a handful.

The only English broadcasts I can seem to pick up and their seeming airwave saturation:

China International (at least 10 million frequencies)
Moscow (or Russ) (at least 1 million frequencies)
Havana (at least 1,000 frequencies)
Bulgaria
Prague
Albania
Slovenia
Radio Australia (only during the summer)
Voice of America
Jesusradio (10 trillion frequencies)

Even though they seem to be in the usual English language listings, I''ve never been able to pick up Radio Iran, North Korea, South Korea, France, Vietnam, Thailand or any English-language tropical station of any kind.

This with both my Sat800 on a simple whip ribbon antenna and my JRC NRD 545 attached to a 100 foot longwire connected to a PAR EF SWL box.

Suzie
 

pathalogical

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...hmmm...Although I don't have many years of DXing under my belt, I must say that during the past year and a half, I have not been discouraged listening to my G5. Radio Taiwan is an easy catch, CRI, RHC and Voice of Vietnam (6175khz) are quite reliable. I have heard Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran and prayers being broadcast (unkown from where). However, it seems that Spanish is a very dominant language on SW.
 

CLynch7

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Radio Netherland Intl, BBC, DW, Radio France Intl, Radio Romania Intl as well as many Asian, African, European, and Middle Eastern stations in English a very easy catches on all of my radios here on the east coast. English isn't going to be going away ever. Now, if only the sunspots will pick up.....
 

ka3jjz

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Are you using the NASWA spreadsheet, Suzie? Do you belong to NASWA or the DXLD Yahoo groups and regularly read the posts there from Glenn Hauser and others? Iran, Thailand and Vietnam are all pretty easy catches - the last 2 are via VoA and RCI relays, of course; direct is much harder. Neither Koreas nor France are particularly easy - in fact I think France has no more English skeds...but a check of the NASWA spreadsheet would confirm them.

This is the best way to get up to date information on schedule changes.

Expand your horizons - did you ever learn a foreign language in school? How much of it do you remember? There are still a few of these floating around - and if you do Spanish, the Latin Americans on the tropical bands are always an interesting challenge (many also use more local languages, particularly the Peruvians...). Brazil uses Portugese of course (actually it's a variation on the Mainland variety...) and always entertaining when they have music programs.

Africans are always fun...73 Mike
 

raisindot

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I tend to look for Engish-language frequencies through Monitoring Times or via the lists at:

Prime Time Shortwave - Your guide for English shortwave broadcasts

I would say that other than the countries I listed up top, wth few exceptions nearly every frequency I dial in picks up nothing. It may just be the times I'm listening (generally in the evenings). Maybe it's the antenna, although it picks up plenty of non-English frequencies just fine.

But I've never been able to pick up any international broadcasts on the tropical bands. Is it true that before sunrise in winter is the best time to try to catch some of these?
 

ka3jjz

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Unfortunately the PTSW lists aren't updated nearly as frequently as others which Dan includes in his spreadsheet.

There aren't many 'international broadcasts' in the tropical bands (OK you could argue HCJB in 90mb, and Rebelde/Cuba 5025); however the time to listen to the tropical bands is generally after sunset to sunrise - and in this case you must consider sunset/sunrise times in the target area, as well as locally. In general, both areas must be in darkness for propagation to occur (there is another possibility - grey line DXing - where each area is in dawn/dusk or a few minutes thereafter). As an example, on the East Coast, Africans are a possibility until about 04-06 UT or thereabouts when local sunrise occurs - however Latin Americans are generally possible all night long, schedules permitting.

There are several tools for predicting sunrise/sunset times in other areas - some of which are listed in our HF Propagation wiki 73 Mike

[edit] Since I've mentioned it twice in this thread, here's the link to the spreadsheet - updated yesterday, no less!

http://www.hfskeds.com/skeds/

I can't stress enough the value of the DXLD and NASWA Yahoo groups for up to date schedule changes and other information. I know that many people turn their noses up at Yahoo due to the spam they send, but that's remediable with a simple change in your membership configuration. I've belonged to Yahoo groups for many years, and have gotten very little - if any - spam from them
 
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ka3jjz

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I should also mention that West Coasters have a different problem - most broadcasters don't transmit directly to the West Coast, so they're at the mercy of propagation - and that hasn't been stellar, although it seems to be improving somewhat. On the flip side, you have the Asian subcontinent at your fingertips - something us East Coast folks have a much harder time with. 73 Mike
 

k9rzz

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This weekend I'm trying to see how many countries I can hear. Not just in English, but all languages. These are the English lang. stations I happened across last night and this morning, not really looking for English in particular:

USA
Canada
Egypt
Czech Republic
Greece
Turkey
Romania
Cuba
Serbia
Australia
New Zealand

Note that if you always listen at the same times, you'll probably just hear the same stations and those that are more distant across the globe are going to be *MUCH* harder to hear. A few months ago I did run across North Korea at an odd time and freq. broadcasting in English and coming in quite well, so never stop trying. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmGIOqEntfk

Full log on Monday.
 
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BMT

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Subscribe to MT Express and every month you get an updated list of SW station's.

BMT
 

ka3jjz

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These too suffer from the same delay problem as other pubs - in addition, in between the date when one version to the next is published, there could be multiple changes that may, or may not, have been captured. It's good, but not nearly as good as you can get.

You're far better off with the DXLD and NASWA Yahoo groups, where the delay in getting this information out is much less. For our West Coast friends, there's the ASWLC Yahoo group 73 Mike
 
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SCPD

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For us (north)west coasters, we generally have a much easier time with Radio NZ and Australia. Also, North Korea is very easy to pick up out here in English. They're on in the early morning and come in thru fairly strong here.

We get a lot of Spanish broadcasts from Cuba (who doesn't.) Of course, we get a lot of the Asian broadcasts as well - Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese - some of which is broadcast from Sackville, Canada.

For English, it's pretty much the usual folks - Voice of America, Voice of Russia, CRI, Radio NZ/Australia and Radio Netherlands. If I search for it, I can usually catch a BBC broadcast as well.
 

k9rzz

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For those of us on the east coast or midwest USA: North Korea 11,735khz, 0100-0200z, ENGLISH.

I've got them S8 right now.
 

CLynch7

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Glenn Hausers World Of Radio is a great source of info too. Get the podcast, or listen to it on SW!
 

BrigPilgrim

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Why do the Communist countries, like China, invest so much in Short Wave broadcast to North America? I haven't decided if it is that they have a distrust of the internet, or if it is a legacy of the days competing with Voice of America.
 

va3saj

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Brig Pilgrim:

One possibility....many of the Communist Countries (places like China and Cuba) already have massive shortwave transmitters and antenna farms designed to jam or disrupt foreign broadcasts coming into their lands. Thus, as they're not jamming all channels all the time, there's bound to be free time on those transmitters for foreign broadcasts, some to North America? Plus I suspect some of this may be bureaucratic inertia as well (the legacy argument). I doubt it is internet-relaed, as they all have government websites, and indeed they often control internet access even more tightly than they try to control shortwave (think great firewall of China)

Julian
va3saj
 

BrigPilgrim

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Brig Pilgrim:

One possibility....many of the Communist Countries (places like China and Cuba) already have massive shortwave transmitters and antenna farms designed to jam or disrupt foreign broadcasts coming into their lands. Thus, as they're not jamming all channels all the time, there's bound to be free time on those transmitters for foreign broadcasts, some to North America? Plus I suspect some of this may be bureaucratic inertia as well (the legacy argument). I doubt it is internet-relaed, as they all have government websites, and indeed they often control internet access even more tightly than they try to control shortwave (think great firewall of China)

Julian
va3saj
I can see the shortwave broadcaster in communist countries having an easier time getting budget money from the leaders. The leaders are older and from the "Radio Generation". They don't trust the internet because they know how fragile and easily controllable it is.

I have trouble getting my kids enthused about listening to DX radio because they can just click on a website and hear the same broadcast. They don't see the art of engineering involved in getting that broadcast to the listener. They don't appreciate the directness of the message from the broadcaster to the listener. They don't share my paranoia of having everything I listen to on the internet available to the government to monitor.

The only future I see for shortwave is the pirate and alternative media broadcast. Religious broadcasters are keeping the SW band alive right now, but as the internet becomes more available, and economical I see them moving to the pod cast world.
 
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