More from the "I’m a Tech-Geek" column.


Hi everyone,

     Well, I’m still into the shortwave radio thing.  For me, still listening actively (or as actively as I can given my schedule) for this long is rare.  I don’t try for reception reports as much as I did in the beginning (partially because some of the radio broadcasts are in German, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese just to mention a few languages and I only speak English and a little Spanish and even less German).  But, I do enjoy listening to the stations.  Especially if they’re broadcasting in English.

    I’ve heard stations from the Netherlands (which had a really good Jazz music program during the Summer), China, Japan, Germany, Cuba, Taiwan, and of course the United States and Canada (along with other countries).  I’ve gotten QSL cards from Taiwan, Netherlands, Canada, the US, Croatia, and Equador to name a few (as soon as I get a scanner that works with Windows Vista, I’ll scan them in).  And, I’ve even done some “AM DX’ing”.  I’ve heard stations from as far away as San Antonio, TX and Rochester, NY.  In fact, I even heard a station from Denver CO last week.  I sent them an Instant Message via their website link, and got to hear them read it both over my ancient radio and online.  The impressive thing about that is, one frequency over (they are on 850 AM and the other station was on 860 AM) was a local station.  So, just hearing them at all is amazing. 

     The AM stations typically will send you a letter of confirmation, where the Shortwave stations actually send a postcard style QSL card.  Although, the San Antonio station sent me a bumper sticker as well.  Either way, it’s fun to get something from them.  And, it’s fun to try and find the stations on the air. 

      Plus, it’s a good way to find out what the rest of the World thinks about our daily lives.  You hear people saying everyone’s either “Pro-American” or “Anti-American” and that the rest of the world doesn’t agree with us or see us the same way as we do.  This is a good way to find out the truth.  You’re hearing the same news that the rest of the world is hearing– the same sentiments, and the same versions of the stories.  In some cases, you find out that the American news broadcasters are ‘sanitizing’ it, but in most cases, it’s very similar.

     Well, I’m off to find another station to listen to.  Who knows, it could be one that you are broadcasting from, or from your country.  If you haven’t tried shortwave, I highly recommend it.  All you need is a shortwave radio (which can be found in prices ranging from $19.95 at RadioShack to $2,000+ for the high end receivers).  Although as you get further on in the hobby, you’ll spend money on higher-end receivers, computer controllers, and antennas.  So far, I’ve spent a whopping $10.00 on the ancient radio that I’m using.  I’ll be spending another $30.00 or so on new tubes for it, since the ones that are inside of it are the originals (and some are burned out).

Have a great Labor Day everyone, and a great week.

Patrick.

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