Listener's Guide

Storm Clouds Gather Over Shortwave Radio

We could go on about being a shortwave listener, the great receivers we have owned, the antenna designs we have tried and the folk we have met following our wonderful hobby. Times have changed and slowly, almost imperceptibly, we have changed with them.

The big switch-off for shortwave

While we are at the confessional, the last show we listened to on a shortwave radio was Media Network on RNW and that was a programme about the changing face of broadcasting and the inevitable move to listening online. It's not as if we weren’t warned.

RNW is no more. Radio Canada International is no more. We could open a Roll Of Honour for all the stations that have left the air but we really need to move on. Switch on a shortwave set today and we ask you, what is there to listen to? We did ask you and you never got back to us.

We still have a LOWE HF150 receiver and we love it. We still hear the occasional conversation between radio hams that amuses us on all sorts of levels. We still get a buzz hearing aircraft crossing the mighty oceans. When the weather closes in, we'll check Search And Rescue frequencies to see who has been foolhardy enough to venture out. And we'll check VOLMET to see if the weather really is that bad. And that's it.

Listening online now, we still have that same sense of wonder we had when we listened on our classic ex-military AR88D back in the day.

What Are The Wild Waves Saying?

They are saying as much as they ever did, but the message is not being conveyed by wild radio waves with fading, noisy reception. Getting the best from a poor signal used to be such a big part of the hobby but once you have heard KRML via a studio-quality feed online, why would you bother?

So let's honour shortwave, find other things on that expensive receiver and listen to international broadcasts online. Our choice today is Glenn Hauser's World of Radio with no doubt, news of more station closures. We are listening to it as a podcast, so in a small way, we have moved on.