Shortwave radio, the original and most crucial form of radio communication in our history, and dropped by many countries 20 years ago, is set for a resurgence!

Used heavily during the Cold War, shortwave was vital for communications in isolated areas.

After the war, listenership dwindled and as the equipment aged and the energy bills continued to accrue, one of the first in line for budget cuts was shortwave, with no importance placed on replacing it.

 

Not unlike the song, “Video Killed the Radio Star”, many say that satellites and the internet killed shortwave radio.

 

Really it is a combination of technology and content delivered directly to the savvy FM listener and streamed to the cell phone obsessed user generally at a reduced cost compared to shortwave. 

 

As Shortwave dwindled, radio began being broadcast in FM and DAB modes to radios, devices, and laptops, with thousands of listening options. 

Many new broadcasters began piggybacking on the local popular informative radio stations.

 

This new technology, however, in many countries is not without its issues. At first, it might appear that these are cheaper and more modern options, but slow buffering times, multiplexed DAB+, excessive and expensive cost of data in many countries, as well as a listener’s preference for anonymity has seen a return to shortwave.

 

As mentioned in previous articles the emerging ability to transmit shortwave radio digitally using DRM ( Digital Radio Mondiale) has seen a resurgence in the use of shortwave due to its wide coverage and heavily reduced cost.

 

Specifically China has opted to use DRM Shortwave to provide full coverage to the areas between the large cities.

 

China National Radio broadcasts from five upgraded sites 80 hours a day with seven to eight transmitters sending shortwave DRM to most areas of North China, East China, South China and Southwest China. Russia is also airing DRM in shortwave over huge areas of Siberia.

India is now looking to increase its three DRM shortwave transmitters for further national and international reach. 

 

Several CRN transmitters beam enormous DRM signals into our part of the world daily.

 

Indonesia and Brazil are also said to have expressed interest in adapting their shortwave analog over to DRM for greater coverage. 

 

As mentioned previously Vanuatu, has recently opted for DRM shortwave to save lives in disaster situations by using its integrated emergency warning capability, and a site in the United States has recently started broadcasting in DRM the popular Radio Marti programs toward central and Latin America.

 

As many areas of the world are re-discovering the value of shortwave we may see the resurgence of shortwave being replaced by its new digital form.

 

Are you interested in listening to Shortwave radio? Imagine picking up and decoding radio stations from remote areas of the world? Re connect with the world during this time of isolation.

 

Tecsun Radios Australia has a great range of Shortwave and Digital radios available.

Shop the range here

Have you seen the latest edition of Silicon Chip magazine? Our latest product the Xiegu G90 has its own 2 page spread with a favourable review by ROSS TESTER.

 The most notable features are: transmit power of up to 20 watts adjustable in 1 watt increments so output power can be adjusted to suit band conditions, built in ATU, detachable control head for vehicle operations, and a superb general coverage receiver.

Operating frequencies can be directly-entered via the microphone keypad or “dialled up” using the 1.8 inch front panel with 25 push buttons for control.

ROSS TESTER noted that online reviews of the G90 world wide, rate the transceiver at least 4 stars, with many rating the radio 5 out of 5. The unit has been reviewed recently in QST magazine in the USA and Radcom, the monthly magazine of the Radio Society of Great Britain.

Here at Tecsun Radios Australia we heavily research and test new products and much consideration is put into what products we release to the market.

The Outstanding Features of the Xiegu G90 for us are the following.

** 20 watts output power

** Inbuilt ATU

** Detachable front panel

** Superb general coverage receiver

** Waterfall and spectrum display

In addition to these fantastic features the Xiegu G90 represents fantastic value retailing for around half the price of most transceivers on the market.

The Xiegu G90 transceiver is available for order in our webstore with same day shipping available for orders placed before 12pm Business days.

Are you looking to add the Xiegu G90 Transceiver to your collection? Get yours here.

See a preview of the article by clicking here.

The future of shortwave

 

The future of Shortwave is looking bright as the BBC Shortwave transmissions service of two decades ago is being revisited.

 

In a time where people are distancing themselves and experiencing isolation. Shortwave may just be what the world needs to unite all cultures!

 

People who enjoy shortwave and for those who are interested in shortwave radio something interesting has emerged from the  High Frequency Co-Ordination Conference (HFCC), a non-governmental association.  

 

Due to the fact that many of the old transmitters needed to be replaced or upgraded a decision to revisit the need for shortwave and consideration to re-launch the BBC shortwave broadcast  service (cut 20 years ago) has been undertaken. Modern technology allows greater coverage and lower operating costs, re-energising the enthusiasm for shortwave broadcasting.

 

Even in this high tech world, there are still so many developing and free world countries relying heavily on Shortwave radio. Not everybody in the world has smart phones, broadband, connected cars or enough disposable income.

 

Shortwave defies cultural, religious and geographical barriers, Shortwave is free and unlike most platforms available it can be consumed anonymously.

For some countries, much of their information and media is censored, so receiving updates through shortwave from neighboring countries can be the only source they can access.

 

Many, especially in North Korea which are rated as the second most censored country in the world, tune in to cross border broadcasts despite serious consequences if caught by the Kim Jong-Un regime.

The BBC Shortwave transmission services used to broadcast to most of the world, over time however, many were cut, limiting broadcasts  to larger audiences in Africa and part of Asia. 

Currently, the major shortwave broadcasters are BBC, Voice of America, All India Radio, China Radio International, Radio Japan, Radio Romania, Radio New Zealand, Radio France International, Radio Taiwan International, KBS Korea and Voice of Turkey and many more.

 

Reinstating the previous BBC Broadcasts would mean the world of shortwave could be enjoyed cross culturally again especially in a time where boarders are closed to each other and people are feeling isolated.

 

 “Shortwave is just short of a miracle, actually. When it is beamed at an angle, it hits the ionosphere. A mirror around the Earth and then it falls like a ball at great distances, beyond the horizon. Thus these transmissions reach listeners over large areas, continents and beyond. Two or three high-power transmitters can potentially cover the entire world.”

                                Ruxandra Obreja ( chairman of Digital Radio Mondiale.)

 

Are you looking for a radio whilst self isolating that is capable or shortwave listening?

Here are our picks.

Tecsun S-8800 High Performance AM/FM Radio.  A true Broadcast Listeners Receiver  designed to provide maximum performance on the AM (MW) bands, allowing listeners to receive fringe AM radio stations with unmatched audio clarity

Tecsun SL-880

Tecsun PL600 World Band Radio provides reception of the shortwave, medium wave, long wave, and FM broadcast bands. The Tecsun PL600 World Band Radio’s PLL synthesised design ensures excellent frequency stability.

Tecsun pl600

To shop the full range of our radios and antennas, click HERE

Easily identify shortwave stations

For those of you who have ever been scanning shortwave radio and happened across an interesting station but have no idea what it is or where it is coming from there are a couple of phone apps that can identify what you are listening to.

 

These 2 apps (depending on what type of phone you have) will help listeners identify who they are listening to.. All they need to do is lookup the frequency they are receiving  and these Apps will show what stations are on air at the time. This is an easy way to identify who you are listening to.

 

                                                                                                                                          For Android: Click here

shortwave station identifier.

                                                                                                                           For iphone, iPad;Click here   Shortwave station identifier

Try these two apps and let us know what you think. We would also love to hear what you have found recently on Shortwave. 

Send your feedback and listening reports to hello@tecsun.com.au

 

Radio licence applications soars.

Tecsun Radios Australia has set up a Software defined radio (receiver) in Araluen, a rural town in NSW, Australia. It’s a quiet location for radio “noise”, far away from high density population and the accompanying RF noise generated.

You can listen to the Tecsun Radios Australia SDR here.

The SDR itself is called a “KiwiSDR” and is a commercially available unit, costing around $500. The Kiwi SDR compared to others has 2 advantages: (1) it allows the user to observe the entire shortwave spectrum in one screen, and (2) it can easily be connected to the internet to allow remote operation.

Other SDRs only receive a narrow portion of the radio spectrum, and require extra equipment to connect to the internet.

With the Kiwi SDR, it is easy to remotely identify that a signal exists from the “waterfall” display and then accurately tune and receive it.

The SDR is connected to an onmidirectional wideband antenna, so that all signals across the shortwave band can be equally well received (however this is dependant on signal propagation at different times of the day). The antenna itself is a modified Tecsun Radios Australia discone, with some of the radials removed to give the antenna a higher angle of radiation. The central active element has been replaced with a 3 meter spiral wound helical element. This simulates a much longer piece of antenna wire needed for lower frequency reception.

The antenna has been located as far away from man made noise sources as possible, is fed with special double shielded coaxial cable and a variety of matching transformers and attenuators, to ensure local stations do not overload the sensitive “front end” of the SDR. Careful attention has also been paid to the grounding of the antenna.

Because the location is remote and in a bushfire affected area, mains power is supplemented by a diesel generator and UPS.

Connectivity to the www is achieved via a Ka band NBN satellite link.

The Kiwi SDR can be used to receive AM, AM Narrow, USB, LSB, weatherfax, CW (Morse Code) and DRM signals (when a suitable decoder is used).

The Tecsun Radios SDR ‘waterfall’

You can listen to the Tecsun Radios Australia SDR here.

Or, simply logon to the SDR (go to https://sdr.hu/ for a worldwide list), select an SDR located close to the transmission source you’d like to listen to, select AM mode and the desired frequency.

Have you tuned into the Tecsun Radios SDR?
Tell us in the comments below where you’re tuning in from and what you listened to!

This morning’s launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A of Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre, carried a payload designed to boost communications for the amateur radio operators among us!

Read more

Shortwave Radiogram transmits digital text and images on shortwave using a standard analogue shortwave transmitter. These signals can be received and decoded using a simple AM shortwave radio and either a computer or Android phone using free decoding software.

Read more

In 2017, the shortwave radio airwaves fell silent with the cessation of Australian domestic and international shortwave radio broadcasts. This was the culmination of withdrawing funding from a variety of Australia Government Departments including the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and ultimately the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The ABC labeled shortwave radio an antiquated technology and opted instead to reallocate resources and funding to local FM transmissions focused in Papua New Guinea. As a result of this, China promptly and actively moved to fill the Australian Government’s earlier role of broadcasting Shortwave Radio into the Asia Pacific region via the ABC. A large number of the people living in some of the most remote communities of the Pacific Islands actively rely on shortwave radio broadcasts to keep in touch with the world.

Without Shortwave Radio, many individuals are left isolated. The positive impact shortwave radio can have on many individuals in the Asian Pacific region is demonstrated through the example of  Chief Ben Lovo and his family of Bongkil Village on Erromango, Vanuatu, said that “shortwave broadcasts from RNZI during Cyclone Pam, allowed him to warn four villages of the danger and save hundreds of lives.”

Shortwave radio is so effective at providing long range communications because the radio waves bounce off the ionosphere and back down to the ground allowing a single shortwave radio broadcast to be heard thousands of kilometres away from the transmitter. It is because of this that shortwave radio works particularly well distributing signals to the many remote islands throughout the Pacific region, where there is no other means of low cost mass communication.

China, already aware of this and in light of Australia’s withdrawal from shortwave broadcasting, increased their existing broadcasts into the region fully understanding that if shortwave coverage is present, their sphere of influence and subsequent “soft power”would be immediately increased. The notion, that the Chinese immediately adopted the frequencies that the Australian Government, and indeed the ABC cut funding towards, “comes at a time of heightened speculation in Australian media and the commentariat about the motives behind China’s growing influence in the Pacific.”

The growing Chinese interest in the Asia Pacific region has led to the Australian Government,  to conduct a review of the broadcast services available in the region and whether Australia should reintroduce Australian international Shortwave Radio broadcasts.

The Review, will analyse:

  • The coverage and access of existing Australian media services in the Asia Pacific region, including examining whether shortwave radio technology should be used

The review will cover:

  • All media distribution platforms (i.e. Television, radio and online)
  • Commercial, community and publicly funded services and
  • Different types of technologies such as analogue, digital and satellite radio and television services and online services.

Supporters of Shortwave Radio, are encouraged to engage in the review hosted by the Australian Government. Tecsun Radios, as firm believers in the vital service that shortwave provides, believes that this review will act as a catalyst in encouraging Australia, to re-enter the Asian Pacific market in providing the vital service that shortwave allows.

Tecsun, will actively engage in the review process, in the hope that this reinvigorates Australia’s interest in the Pacific region. We firmly believe that shortwave radio through its modern evolution digital radio mondiale (DRM) provide the optimum technology to delivery broadcast style communications to island in the Pacific region.

The review is open until the 3rd of August. You can use the link provided below to add your comments and ‘Have your Say Now’, in regards to re-establishing Australia’s presence in the Asia Pacific region, for shortwave radio broadcasting.

https://www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say/review-australian-broadcasting-services-asia-pacific