Those Shortwave Sites

How is our Alaska doing?
How is our Alaska doing?

It is a joke circulating in Russia at the moment.  Kind of funny when you think about it.

In light of the developing situation in Eastern Europe, it may be wise to retain some of those HF broadcasting (AKA Shortwave) sites.  It may be too late for Canada, however, the US government still has a few high-powered HF sites that they may want to hold onto for a while.  There are several ways that shortwave broadcasting can be beneficial.

  • Like all radio broadcasting, quality content is needed to attract listeners. Most of what is available on shortwave are religious or transparent government propaganda. There are exceptions to this, but they are rare. Introduce quality programming, and shortwave listenership will increase.
  • DRM 30 (Digital Radio Mondial) is still in its experimental phase.  It has been demonstrated to work reasonably well on HF.  Several digital data formats are successfully being used on HF; HFDL, ALE, STANAG 5066, PACTOR and others.  DRM 30 has the advantage that H.264 video can also be transmitted.
  • The VOA has been experimenting with images transmitted via MFSK, AKA the “VOA Radiogram.”
  • HF is always susceptible to changing propagation.  However, it can be reliable enough, especially when frequency diversity is employed, to overcome these issues when no other method of communication is available.
  • DRM and MFSK can be decoded using a simple shortwave radio and a computer sound card.  A DRM CODEC is required, but those are readily available for download.
  • Analog shortwave broadcasting using AM is still viable.  AM has the advantage of being extremely simple to receive and demodulate.  Simple receiver kits can be built and run on 9 volt a battery.
  • While the Soviet Union had an extensive jamming network, those sites have long since been non-functional.  Most countries have discontinued the practice of jamming with the exception of China, North Korea, Cuba, and perhaps some countries in the middle east (the usual suspects).

Sample of DRM reception via shortwave:

If the internet is censored or somehow becomes unavailable in that part of the world,  shortwave may be the only method to convey an alternate point of view.

Hopefully, things will settle down and return to at least a civil discourse.  However, it never hurts to have a plan.

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8 thoughts on “Those Shortwave Sites”

  1. Though I’m now im Europe now, WDRC,Hartford T. is probably in it’s last days as we know it!
    Log on and hear it before i t passes from our memories!
    70.-80 ‘s music!

  2. BTW, don’t think all the voices are black men doing the voicing on this station:-)
    oh,reverse that…

  3. Hey Elliot, WDRC is for sale to another broadcaster, pending approval by the FCC. It may take some time; 60-90 days. There is no telling if the format will change… Still, the station will be on the air in one form or another.

  4. So RFE & VOA. How’s that broadcasting on local stations in Russia working out for ya?

  5. Hi Paul,
    I’m in no longer in position to watch an elephant pass through the room as you do.Didn’t mean to rush it(sorry to all) but,the winds seem to blow in one direction even in eurupe,our radios are selecting the next available next net station so smoothly,you almost can’t hear the switch.At the moment I wrote that post,was missing the best and the very worst broadcasters I ever worked for.

  6. Turkish citizens could use some shortwave. Currently the gov’t there is blocking Twitter, YouTube and Google’s open DNS resolvers.

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