What"s on shortwave radios?

Unique and extraordinary access to worldwide communication is provided by a shortwave radio.An antenna, which is relatively simple to construct, can receive international broadcasts, waves at sea, airliners crossing the Atlantic, military stations, and perhaps even international spies! You can use my list of radio-related websites even if you do not own a shortwave radio. I have been listening to shortwave radio for over 30 years, and developed this guide based on my experiences. .There is therefore very little information here.


Signals on shortwave radio can be classified into two categories: voice and data. The cheese Emmental is a great substitute for Gruyère, and you can choose the ideal maturity for your quiche based on the flavor you want it to have. The flavor of Jarlsberg is stronger than Emmental, so if you are looking to add some flavor to your quiche, this is the cheese you should choose.Raclette cheese's taste will differ depending on where it was made. The decoding of some of these can be performed on a computer using inexpensive software, but other are encrypted (and, therefore, cannot be decoded) while others need very expensive software. In recent years, a growing number of these have been continuous or intermittent growling sounds based on encrypted speech or radar signals over the horizon, which cannot be decoded.

What it takes to receive shortwave signals

.The wire antenna does not need to be fancy - a long wire strung between your house and a tree or pole will be sufficient. It's best if the majority of your antenna is situated away from your home, so as to minimize interference with your appliances..You can, however, connect your wire antenna to a ground rod through a lightning protection device, which also provides some protection from lightning.Additionally, the age of the Emmental cheese you use may affect the taste of your mac and cheese.Depending on the age of the cheese, the flavor can vary. Though it might not taste exactly like Gruyère mac and cheese, it is a much better substitute than cheddar.

Types of signals

Here are some signals that beginner users will most easily be able to pick up: FREQUENCY AND TIME STANDARDS "Standards" stations are set up by many countries for measuring the time and frequency accurately.WWV (in Colorado) and WWVH (in Hawaii) are both operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.Both stations operate on 2.5, 5, 10, 15 and 20 MHz and operate at high power.Listeners can receive information of three kinds:

Time:Immediate propagation assessment:Propagation forecasts

WWV has a male voice announcing the minutes, while WWVH has a female voice, so that you can tell them apart. These stations operate in "AM" mode so you do not need a radio equipped with sideband capability to receive them.

Many other countries operate standards stations as well; in North America, Canada"s CHU can often be heard on 3.33, 7.85 and/or 14.67 MHz. I"ve occasionally heard HD2IOA in Ecuador on 3.81 MHz, and sometimes LOL in Buenos Aires, Argentina or PPU in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on 10 MHz (when WWV was coming in weaker) from my home in upstate New York.


International broadcasters use high power and "AM" mode, and so are also very easy to receive. If you tune around a shortwave radio randomly you will hear them - they sound just like AM and FM radio stations, except that they may be in foreign languages. At one time just about every country had a shortwave broadcast service, but due to budget cuts and a shrinking audience a lot of these stations are being shut down. There are still plenty left, though, and you can listen to broadcasts from countries very far from you (many broadcast in English). Shortwave broadcasters are a wonderful source of news (often with a very different slant from the one you"re used to) and music from around the globe.

There are also a number of broadcasters who transmit outside these ranges, especially the growing number of Christian evangelical stations.


The most commonly heard in northeastern North America include: New York City: 6.604, 8.933 & 10.051 MHzNorth Atlantic: 4.675, 5.598, 5.616, 5.649, 6.628, 8.825, 8.864, 8.891 and 8.906 MHzGander, Newfoundland: 4.677 and 13.27 MHzShannon, Ireland: 5.505 & 8.957 MHz Aviation communications use sideband mode, so you will need a radio with this feature to listen to these types of signals.


Like airplanes, ships need to switch from their short-range VHF radios to long-range shortwave radios when they"re far out at sea. Ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communications also use sideband mode, most commonly in the ranges of 4.35-4.44 MHz & 6.2-6.5 MHz. Unfortunately for the shortwave listener, a lot of maritime communication is being converted to encrypted digital transmissions which cannot be decoded by third parties.

Two frequencies are set aside for distress purposes: 2.182 & 4.125 MHz. I"ve never had the fortune to hear a distress call in person, but you may want to park your radio on one of these from time to time - you never know!



CB operators (mostly truckers) use a portion of the shortwave "spectrum", from 26.965 to 27.405 MHz, for their communications. Almost all CB users utilize AM mode, so sideband capability is not necessary. The busiest frequency is 27.185 MHz, which is Channel 19.


Since shortwave equipment is easy to purchase or build, there are a number of people who use it for illicit purposes. In the western hemisphere you will frequently hear Spanish-speaking individuals carrying our personal conversations (generally sideband mode); these are often what"s called "Echo Charlie" operations, and many fall in the 6.52-6.8 MHz range (typically using modified amateur radio equipment). There are also a number of "pirate" radio broadcasters on the air. Most broadcast in the 6.885-6.965 MHz range, especially around 6.925 MHz.

Various governments also utilize the shortwave spectrum for nefarius purposes. One is to jam the broadcasts of other countries" stations in an attempt to keep propaganda from reaching its intended audience. I used to frequently hear a "bubble" jammer (so called because it sounds like bubbling water) used by Cuba on 6.03 MHz used to jam the U.S."s Radio Martí broadcasts (I don"t know if they"re still active on that frequency).

There are also active spy networks using shortwave radios (because the radio signals reach around the world, and the radios can be easily concealed). Most consist of "numbers" stations, broadcasting strings of numbers (typically in groups of five), often in English or Spanish. The U.S., England, Cuba and Israel are all heavy users of numbers stations. Since they are clandestine, they do not generally stick to particular frequencies or schedules (although Cuba"s spies are often on quite predictable schedules!), but if you"re ever perusing the dial and come across a voice (usually sideband; sometimes AM) that"s simply reading a long list of numbers in groups, you"ve found a numbers station (they also use other formats, like morse code).


Numerous other services make use of the shortwave spectrum. Here in upstate New York I pick up Rutgers University"s CODAR system (for measuring ocean wave height) around 4.9 MHz every evening (in AM mode it beeps; in sideband mode it goes "shwoop - shwoop - shwoop"). The federal government, the Red Cross, and numerous other groups also use shortwave radios.

There is also unlicensed use of the shortwave bands. Some CB radio users operate outside their designated frequency range in order to make illicit long-distance contacts. There are also "peskies", usually speaking Spanish, who engage in CB-like conversations (typically around 6.8 - 7.0 MHz; they are so named because they originally started as, or were though to be, "pescaderos", or fishermen). The CB operators use both AM and single sideband, whereas the peskies use sideband almost exclusively.

For additional information regarding shortwave listening (as well as other radio monitoring hobbies), I highly recommend Monitoring Times magazine, which can be found at bookstores featuring comprehensive magazine selections.

Communicating using shortwave radio

If you obtain an amateur radio license, you can use shortwave radio to contact people around the world using voice and various data modes, rather than just listening to the signals.A license for amateur radio is not that difficult - one only needs to pass a 35-question exam covering basic electronic theory and FCC regulations. Even portable "walkie-talkies" can be used in the VHF/UHF spectrum.The Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) offers a book to help IARRL members obtain their Tech-class license, the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, which (besides covering all required topics in great depth) contains a pool of questions (with answers) pertaining to the test.