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Shortwave Radio picks

Winradio G303i software defined radio, 7490 KHz WBCQ

Winradio G303i software defined radio, 7490 KHz WBCQ

I enjoy listening to radio, however, there seems to be a dearth of good programming on the conventional frequencies.  Somehow, personality-less robo programmed hit music and right wing talk radio just doesn’t seem to cut it anymore.  Thus, I have taken to listening to the shortwaves.  Truth be told, the availability of good programming is dwindling there as well, but good things can still be found.  Here is my list of interesting and or entertaining programs found on the shortwave:

  1. Radio Australia International – 9580 KHz mornings from 6-9am EST (11-1400 UTC).  There are a variety of good programs on this station including Asia-Pacific, Saturday Night Country and others.  Good to listen to with my morning cup of coffee.
  2. WBCQ – Several good selections here including Alan Weiner World Wide (Fridays 8-9pm), World of Radio (Glen Hauser, Thursdays 5:30-6pm), Marion’s Attic (Sunday 5-6pm), Le Show (Harry Shearer, Sundays 7-8pm) Amos n’ Andy (Tuesdays 5-5:30pm).  New 41 Meter Frequency 7490 KHz is clearer than previous frequency.  5110 KHz is hit or miss in this location, however Area 51 is worth a listen (Saturdays and Sundays 7-11pm) if reception is good.  Check their schedule on line as program time change.
  3. WWCR – 12160 KHz 12-3pm EST (17-2000 UTC) Alex Jones, entertaining if not a bit over the top, tends to rant, makes some good points when calm.  Other programs like World Wide Country Radio, The Pat Boone Show, etc are available at various times on various frequencies.
  4. CBC North – 9625 KHz Continuous Sackville feed of CBC Radio One, mostly in English, occasionally in Inuktitut or French.  Good for news from the Great White up.
  5. CFRX – 6070 KHz shortwave feed of News/Talk CFRB Toronto.  Conservative news talk programming Canadian style, some good trivia games and whatnot.
  6. WEWN – 15610 KHz Catholic Mass (8-9am Sundays) although lately they have been re-runs, which is goddamned annoying.

There are others from overseas, but many of the English broadcasting services are being scaled back or eliminated.  A few broadcasts that one is sure to come across when tuning around; The Voice of Russia (bland, predicable, promos sound like they are recorded in the bathroom), Radio Romania (meh), China Radio International (100% propaganda), Radio Havana, Cuba (campy, mildly entertaining in an absurd way), etc.

Pirate Shortwave broadcasters roam around in the 6890-6970 KHz range.  They are irregular in schedule, low power and often contain an obscure dialog or some selection of 80’s hair band music.  Still, if one has some time, they can be entertaining too.

A good source of information on shortwave broadcasts is Short-wave.info which has a pretty accurate searchable database and a great feature called “Find out what stations are broadcasting on a frequency of (fill in frequency) Now.”  That is very helpful for figuring out what a station is without waiting for station ID or if broadcasting in another language.

With winter coming and the sun spot cycle on the upswing, the HF bands should be open for business.

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8 comments to Shortwave Radio picks

  • Dewey Jacks

    Paul;
    On the 40 meter amateur band,…on Sunday evenings,especially,..I hear alot of SW broadcasts going on that it is hard to find a clear frequency in which to make normal amateur radio contacts. I hear them above 7.200 mhz
    and one comes in real clear on 7.210.00 mhz,…but I can’t ever seem to make out the station’s call sign because they seldom give it. Last night on 7.220 I heard a jazz program mostly in english that was kind of neat to listen to! I could only wish I had an external speaker connected to my Yaesu FT-950 for better bass response,but still sounded okay through the radio’s internal speaker.

  • Joe Sengl

    Tuning out of the amateur bands to 9580 kHz on my K2 this morning, we heard Radio Australia follow business news with Bob Dylan’s 1964 ‘Blowin In the Wind.’ With the typical bit of SW fading and popcorn, Bob never sounded better. Nearly as good as a scratchy old warped 45. I think it would be appropriate to follow every troubling news report with that song.

    Thanks for the quick picks. You will find low power pirate broadcasts in the evenings, especially weekends, on 6925 and around. With a reception report, they will often provide a colorful eQSL.

  • Paul Thurst

    @Dewey, you can check who is on those frequencies using the link in the article. 40 Meters is tough because in most of the world, it ends at 7200 KHz (used to be 7100 KHz), thus US Amateurs have to compete against powerful broadcast stations in the 7200-300 region. They are supposed to be moving out as the shortwave bands get less crowded.

    @Joe, Radio Australia is a well programmed station, I hope they continue on with their HF broadcasts as others shut down. I have listened around in the 6925 region and heard several shortwave pirates, I have never actually requested a QSL card. Perhaps I should.

  • Mondo Musique

    Very nice article! I had to laugh when you tagged Ed, Arnie and the girls at Radio Havana Cuba as “campy”. Though I enjoy RHC, I can’t say it’s not true!

    Last night at 600 UTC I tuned Radio Mali on 5955 khz and heard some fantastic music. Will listen to them again. I wish more developing nations broadcast on shortwave as it remains a very direct, unmediated and cost-effective way to communicate culture.

  • Dave Orienti

    Your comment about reruns of Mass on WEWN at 0800 Eastern was abit off base. That broadcast is NEVER a rerun unless something very wierd has happened. I’ve worked at WEWN for 13 years and have never broadcast a rerun of morning mass.

  • Paul Thurst

    My apologies Dave, I will admit that I haven’t tuned into WEWN since the time change. I will say, the week or maybe two (I can’t remember which now) after Easter, Easter mass was played again. I think I heard Palm Sunday twice too.

  • Joe

    WEWN on 9330 has reappeared lately mornings around 7 am ET (1100 UT)

    As to Radio Australia, I catch them on 9580 ever morning, even in my dense urban location on a tiny, hopeless Grundig G6, even though the transmission is only 50 KW. The opportunity is in the sweet spot up until sunrise on the east coast of the US, as the sun is setting in eastern Aus. from wence they emit…

  • Paul Thurst

    Asia and Pacific is one of my favorite radio programs. It reminds me of the time I spent on Guam, just hearing the local names, etc. They still boom in between 7-9am local time. WEWN is not normally one of my listening choices, but I do enjoy Sunday morning mass.

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