Before I first went to Europe about 10 years ago, I got my first shortwave radio (a SONY ICF-SW7600). I used it to keep up with the news (mostly BBC), and listen to broadcasts from countries with in Europe. Well, I haven’t really messed around with it since then, but over the past couple of days I have been on holiday, and getting a little bored (there is only so much XBOX 360 one can play). So, I started looking into Shortwave radios again, and pulled out my trusty old Sony to see what I could pick up in San Francisco.
Well, things didn’t go too well at first. I tried to pick up some stations in the middle of the day, and had absolutely no luck at all. I could not pick up a single shortwave station. Once it started to get dark, I began to pick up a couple of stations (Voice of the Andes from Ecuador, and Radio Havana). However, reception was still very poor.
So, getting a little frustrate, I started doing some research, and asked for some help on the rec.radio.shortwave group. After some trial and error, I finally figured out that 1). there is a lot of RF noise and electrical interference in my house. This was mostly from some low voltage lights, light dimmers, and my plasma TV. 2). if I string up a simple portable antenna outside and sit near the window, my reception gets much, much better. Seems pretty obvious in hindsight, but I hadn’t played around with this stuff in a long time.
So, once I turned out the lights and TV, move away from the computer to the Window, and ran a simple antenna outside, I started to get some pretty decent reception. I was able to confirm the following:
- Voice of the Andes in Ecuador (Spanish) 0450 UTC 9745 SIO 433
- Radio Netherlands (English) 0500 UTC 6165 SIO 444
- Radio Havana (English) 0500 UTC 6180 SIO 232 (also on 6000 at SIO 333)
(I was able to confirm these either through the station confirming, and / or by cross referencing the frequency schedule here.
Hopefully I can find a strong broadcast of Radio Havana over the next couple of nights.
I also pulled up these that I wasn’t able to 100% confirm (mostly because I think they were in Chinese:
- Radio Taiwan 0500 UTC 5950 SIO 545 - Woman Speaking in Chinese (also 9680 at SIO 233)
- China Radio International 0500 UTC SIO 434 - Man Speaking Chinese
I even listened to some HAM radio broadcasts on SSB (although nothing that interesting).
I am going to try and track the SW broadcasts over the next couple of days, and then submit some reports to the stations and hopefully get my first QSL cards.
I am also starting to research some new radios. I really want a Sangean ATS-803A and am going to keep my eye on eBay to see if I can find one. I am also looking at a new Eton E5, which looks like a good portable to get started with. The is actually the same radio as the Degen DE1103 / Kaito KA1103. It cost more than the Degen and Kaito (which you have to import), but I like the digital read out of the E5 a lot better. Anyways, I am still researching receivers. I don’t want to spend too much right now until I am sure I am going to play around with this for a while (although I already have my eye on some more expensive models).
You can find my DX delicious links here.