English Language Broadcasters
It can be fun just cruising up and down
the bands to see what stations you can receive, just like channel
surfing on television. But to get started with shortwave listening it
helps to know what is there to find. So in this page we'll look at some
major broadcasters that you can easily find at the appointed time.
What to Look For
To get started, English language
broadcasters are the easiest to find and more importantly to identify.
It's also quite easy to find foreign language broadcasts, but unless you
know the language, identification of the station becomes difficult.
of the first things that is different about shortwave is that no station
owns a specific frequency. Unlike medium wave, where if you tune into
1010 kHz you will always get CFRB, at least in Southern Ontario,
shortwave is different. Tuning in one frequency you might get the BBC at
one time, Radio France at another, and Radio Brazil at another time. So
if you're not getting the station you expect you might be listening at
the wrong time.
Major broadcasters do keep careful
schedules so by getting a guide, such as one listed in the section
Listener's Resources, you can find out where they all reside.
Stations often transmit on more than one frequency so if one isn't
received well in your area try another. The following table shows some
of the easier ones to receive, and their times and frequencies.
|BBC, United Kingdom
||Radio Netherlands, Holland
||Swiss Radio International (SRI)
|6040, 6085, 9640
6085, 6185, 9615
5960, 6045, 6120
|Deutsche Welle, Germany
|Radio Canada International
5995, 7405, 9775
|Voice of America (VOA) U.S.A.
Figure 1. Major Shortwave
Many of these stations have
strong signals, resulting from using up to 500 kW transmitters, compared
to 50 kW for the strongest domestic medium wave stations. Still you will
often encounter fading, interference, and noise on the frequency. Such
are the characteristics of the shortwave bands. If a signal is
particularly poor then try one of the alternates listed in the table.
Shortwave broadcasters can
occasionally change their broadcast times and frequencies. This is due
to changing band conditions, time of year (higher frequencies are better
in the summer in the northern hemisphere), and the change to or from
daylight saving time. By sending in reception reports you will not only
receive an attractive QSL card, but stations often send broadcast
schedules to keep you up to date.
Once you get your shortwave
buds tantalized with these stations you'll want to try for others. There
are hundreds of potential stations so it can keep you busy for a long
time. You might want to try out the Ontario DX Association's (ODXA)
annual DX Challenge that occurs in November of each year. The challenge
is to log 100 shortwave stations during the month of November. Contests
like this one can be great fun and you don't need the top line equipment
to compete. So now let's get on with sending
reception reports to begin your QSL collection.
Text © 1999 Don
You can e-mail me at email@example.com