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Shortwave Radio?

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RadiationX

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Hey guys, Im thinking about buying a shortwave radio but im not sure what are they really im know they pick up the same thing as scanners but is shortwave just a term for the lower freqs? And is there any thing here in Okc that could be picked up on one?
 

freqscout

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Well I do not a whole lot about shortwave radios but yes they are for listening in the lower HF bands. Some of the receivers even pick up VHF/UHF and other things. They are just another version of communications receivers. They were popular back in the days of transistor radios and before but they still have a strong following. There is still a lot of stuff that can be received in those bands from what I understand. There is a large number of radio stations abroad but many of them are in their native language from what I know of. There is a lot of stuff from the BBC in England and there are the Voice of Americas and things like that which may provide interesting listening. There are websites for SW listening that would probably provide more information than I have. If you enjoy hearing broadcasts from around the world then this would be a great hobby to look into.

The three bands that I have heard of the most are Sony, Grundig, and Sangean. I do not know specifics on any of them. Universal-Radio.com has a bunch of different models that you might be able to look at to get info on.
 

Chaos703

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I just submitted a Father's Day request in for my first SW receiver. I'm very excited about getting into it.

I find myself playing with my AM radio late at night trying to ID distant stations skipping around deep in the static. I could ID a lot more stations if I spoke spanish, but it's still a fun sport for insomniac types like me. I'm assuming that this means I'm the prefect candidate for a SW receiver.

It's funny, really. I get all excited when my scanner picks up Newton CoSO in Missouri yet the AM radio on my night stand easily tunes in Chicago and Tampa. And a SW receiver can tune in Sydney.

I really want one of those vintage cabinet radios that have both AM and SW bands. The ones that have dial settings that say "Paris" and "British Empire" and "Berlin."

I think the whole "global reach" aspect of SW is made even cooler by the fact it's an ancient technology.

Any way, get a SW and have fun. I'll be the next guy in line behind you.
 

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ka3jjz

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Paris? British Empire?? Berlin??? Oh boy are we dating ourselves! Things have changed drastically in 40+ years. I remember such markings on radios - I was in Europe at that time.

Anyway, all of you should go to the HF Forum on this board and use the sticky thread that's listed there. We have numerous Wiki pages which should be the first place you want to go. Shortwave (better known as HF) ranges between 2 and 30 Mhz, and is a totally different world from scanners. One thing you will need to understand is propagation; how a signal arrives from Point A to get to your antenna and receiver. We also have receiver reviews, organizations and much much more. Doing your homework now will save you from making an expensive mistake later on.

73s Mike
 

Chaos703

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Thanks a ton. I'll check that out and see what I can do to educate myself. I'm eyeing a basic cheap RS model just for starters, but I suppose it would be foolish for me to not look around some more.

Since you've dated yourself, Mike, let me ask you a question: I'm actually seriously interested in spending the big bucks to buy one of those old 1930s cabinet radios. Are the HF bands that those were built to tune in still active today? In other words, if the receiver is correctly restored and it's working the same as it did 70 years ago, is someone from "Paris" or "Berlin" or "The British Empire" still broadcasting on those frequencies?

Okay, so I'm kidding about the British Empire!
 

KD5WLX

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Chaos,

Some of the bands are still active, but they aren't regional like they used to be (at least not completely). Part of what you're seeing on the old radio is which bands will work to which areas of the world during certain portions of the day.

Another thing to keep in mind, though - SW Broadcast is high power AM, just on discreet chunks of the spectrum above our AM broadcast band and below what your typical scanner can pick up. There's a wealth of "other" chunks in between the broadcast segments, though. For example, military comms, long range air nav stuff, and the ham HF bands. The catch is, the cheap radios are AM only (or AM plus broadcast FM). The "good" radios will also have capability to use narrower modes like sideband and CW (Morse code) or feed audio to your computer to decode various digital modes.

If you think "chasing DX" is fun hunting for megawatt AM super stations, try doing it with 100 watt ham stations 1/2 way around the world - or better yet 1/2 WATT ham stations just as far out. It's not impossible, it just takes better "ears" (more antenna in the air, typically).
 

RadiationX

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I didnt know you cold pick up AM from a long ways away i was messing around like Chaos did and all be damned picked up stuff from L.A. on 550 not very long though, i always thought like most ppl, thinkin AM was boring crap, but thanks Chaos new hobby..lol. Im wanting to get a AM/FM/SW radio but where can i get one besides RS or can I?
 

okccsi

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Our most powerful local AM station, KOMA 1520, can be heard a LONG ways off. Driving back from Cali, I was able to pick it up in parts of New Mexico. KOMA is known for their ability to put out so to speak.

OKC CSI
 

Chaos703

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RadiationX said:
i always thought like most ppl, thinkin AM was boring crap
Ouch. About the only time I'm not listening to AM talk radio is when I'm listening to the scanner. I don't think I could possibly feel any older than I do at this moment. Thanks, X.

If you haven't figured it out already, you can only get the far away stuff at night. I'm sure KD5WLX can explain the technical specifics, but I think it has something to do with the government using AM radio stations to communicate with aliens at night — they assume they can get away with it because no one listens to that boring crap anyway.
 

KD5WLX

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Radio waves that go up are bent by the ionosphere. The higher the freq, the less they bend. VHF and up hardly bends at all, so they go out into space most of the time.

But the ionosphere (in general terms) gets denser as the day progresses due to the sunlight, then gets thinner after the sun goes down. So higher HF bands come in in the afternoon, and go progressively shorter until sundown, then die suddenly. Lower bands go "long as the night progresses, then shorten back up during the daytime, so that by evening signals are bent right back at you (almost). The AM broadcast band is technically not even HF, but rather Medium freq, below 3MHz, so in the daytime it is noise limited to ground wave (mostly) but at night, especially near dawn, it can go around the world.

If you think chasing AM Dx is fun, try it on 20 meter ham (use USB) or 21 meter broadcast (AM) (around 14MHz+/-) and you can hear Europe most mornings, and Japan just before sundown nearly every day. When it dies, go down 40m (around 7MHz) for the best long haul stuff. Around 7.3 +/- is where you'll hear Voice of America, BBC, and all of those, above 7.3 in the US but on both sides of it from Europe.
 

CommShrek

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That's cool about the VOA, BBC, CBC, etc. What about the VimH? What frequency are they on? Most of the time I can pick them up but sometimes they fade out and go away. I'd like to be able to listen to them more often.
 

Chaos703

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So I guess it's fair to say that my explanation was "mostly right?" Sort of.

I just got my first little HF radio today. It's just a tiny little Grundig that RS has on clearance. I figured it would be a good tester. I'm having a great deal of fun with it. I'm using an online database to track what I'm hearing. So far I've heard the voice of China, a lovely discussion about Prague's medical schools and the life story of an exorcist in Dallas who seems quite proud of his wrestling matches with the fiery demons from hell.

I also heard a lot of World Cup coverage in many different langues and english accents. Not nearly as interesting as the exorcist.

All for $39. Who knew?
 
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RadiationX

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Sweet... Im definatly getting me one now, all that stuff i was playing with one in RS but nothing so far but guess i dont work till you buy it.......lol jk
 
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