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

Radio frequencies for shortwave

Do you enjoy listening to shortwave and have noticed the frequencies used by your favourite broadcaster change twice a year? Interestingly there is a scientific reason behind this.

Shortwave travels long distances because of its unique way of propagating. The transmission is beamed upwards towards the sky where it is reflected back down to earth spanning a huge distance between the two points. In good conditions a single transmitter is able to reach millions of listeners around the world.

This is what makes shortwave unique and incredibly effective, especially to remote audiences as well as to areas where news and information is highly controlled. 

As a general rule, higher frequencies (SW) work best during daylight hours and summer time while lower frequencies (MW) work better in darkness – before dawn and during the long winter evenings. 

 This same frequency can not be used all year round because as the seasons change the number of daylight hours at any location can directly affect the optimum frequency band. This is because the energy from the Sun required to ionise reflective layers in the upper atmosphere is directly impacted by the sunlight hours available. So seasonal changes causing shorter sunlight hours will affect daily propagation of a higher frequency, and so a lower frequency will need to be chosen to provide similar coverage during the period of shorter days.

The High Frequency Coordination Committee (HFCC, under the ITU International Telecommunications Union) is the body that has the responsibility to decide when to change shortwave  frequencies.They must coordinate these changes with all the major shortwave broadcasters around the World.

To ensure the optimal transmission conditions the HFCC recommend  two seasonal frequency schedules – summer and winter – known as the ‘A’ and ‘B’ seasons.

The changeover between seasons is internationally agreed to occur on the last Sunday in March (start of ‘A’ season) and the last Sunday in October (start of ‘B’ season), which coincides with start and end of ‘Daylight Saving’ in many countries, where local time can change.

The changeover ‘A20’ season has just occurred on Sunday 29th March, and the frequencies agreed for all shortwave transmissions will continue until the beginning of the next season ‘B20’, on Sunday 25th October.

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.

shrotwave radioin Africa

In a world where internet connectivity and social media reign supreme it is interesting to reflect on the power radio still has in developing countries.

A great example of this is the country of Mali in West Africa that often experiences political unrest and unreliable power sources, the need for information is critical.

In Mali, internet coverage is scarce providing only 30% coverage to the region. In rural areas, where even less people have internet access, and the power supply can be unreliable, most people rely on battery-operated radio sets for information.

Furthermore,  for those with internet coverage, mobile data is quite expensive meaning streaming digital radio or listening through a social platform or app can be very costly.

Shortwave radio can be accessed by workers in the fields in isolated areas, even whilst driving which has made radio a critical source of information and dialogue.

Mali’s largest private radio station, Radio Kledu, not only provides regular news and informative programming, they have also included an editorial policy to give everyone a platform to express their opinion. In Africa this is not always an easy task, where terrorist groups often target journalists.

A recent broadcast featured a special program about teachers’ long-running strike for higher pay. 

The lunchtime show presenter Oumou Dembele encouraged debate by first interviewing the teacher union representatives to hear their side of things. Later in the show the government were invited to present their version on air. 

For many in Mali, the work of radio journalists like Dembele is vital to keeping them informed. 

“Radio reaches far more people than any other media on the continent,” says Franz Krüger, Director of the Wits Radio Academy in South Africa.

Even in developed and media-savvy countries like South Africa, more than 90 percent of people listen to the radio.

Franz Krüger mentioned “Radio can be produced cheaply and reaches the disadvantaged faster,”.

The same can be seen across the islands of the south pacific reporting similar figures with only a small amount of the population having access to Tv signals and internet.

Many of the rural and disadvantaged villagers rely solely on radio to stay up to date on current political movement, news and regular weather warnings.

Broadcasters like Radio Vanuatu and RNZ Pacific keep an otherwise isolated region connected.

Listen to shortwave radio?

Here are a few of our most popular shortwave radios.

tecsun s200TECSUN S2000

4th generation desktop receiver with provision for external antennas,

allows you to listen to AM, FM, shortwave, longwave and VHF Air Band broadcasts

Tecsun PL600 World Band Radio

The Tecsun PL600 World Band Radio provides reception of the shortwave, medium wave, long wave, and FM broadcast bands.

Shop the full Tecsun radios Australia ranger HERE

What you need to do to prepare for a natural disaster or emergency including what essentials you will need to pack in your emergency kit.

Its important to have a discussion with your family on what you would do in the event of a fire/ flood or other natural disaster event before the actual event takes place.

Its important to discuss the following.

How will you access emergency alerts and messages and monitor events? 

The best way of receiving event alerts and updates is via radio. ABC broadcasts hourly updates, more if needed in the local area to keep you informed. In many cases Emergency Services will call the radio station directly. Radio is also the failsafe method of receiving these reports when power is cut and networks are down which often happens during natural disasters

Make a list of radio frequencies of the local ABC and Community radio stations, so you know where to listen. You can find our guide here

In an emergency dial 000. Access to 000 is available on all mobile networks regardless of which network you use. Roaming arrangements are in place so you can use any available network.You can even dial 000 on a phone with no SIM.

Download the “Emergency +” app onto your phone. Do this before any emergency and take note of your GPS location. You might need this for emergency services if they have to find you. The Emergency + App wont work without mobile phone coverage.

Tune in to your local radio, local ABC/emergency broadcaster frequency. You may want to consider a solar powered or battery operated radio because power is often the first thing to go in emergency situations.

If you still have internet keep an eye on the BOM app and investigate your local Flood/ natural disaster and fire apps like the Rural Fire Service “Fires Near Me” App.

         

 If you are driving, keep updated on road conditions and closures by checking the NSW Transport “Live Traffic” App. There are similar Apps in most states.

At what point would you leave your home?What will be your sign to leave? It could be smoke or fire in your area, lightning and heavy rain or floodwater approaching your property.

Where will you go? Where is there a meeting place that’s safe and away from the disaster area? It might be a friend or relative’s place, or even a shopping centre. Most regional towns have a designated “safe place”. Most local council or community associations have a designated “Safe Place” for residents to go in an emergency.

Find out where your “Safe Place” is located.

What will you take? What would be your essentials you would like to take with you if you were forced to leave your home

Make sure you have an emergency kit prepared and ready to grab when needed. Unfortunately you don’t need an emergency kit until you really do.

 

PREPARE YOUR EMERGENCY KIT.

Pack a backpack with the following supplies and keep it somewhere safe that is easily accessed when needed.

Storing items in airtight plastic containers and sealer bags will help keep your belongings dry and in good condition both while in storage and during the emergency situation.

Here is a list of your essential items to pack.

  • Flashlight
  • Personal medication
  • Bottled water. Allow 2L per person per day minimum.
  • Food, non perishable, as required..
  • Manual can opener
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Candles
  • Cash- if the power is out then the ATMS wont work.
  • Phone “power bank”. Make sure it is changed at all times.
  • Extra batteries for your flashlight
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust masks to help filter contaminated air- P2 masks are best for dust and smoke.
  • Toilet paper, moist towelettes etc for personal sanitation
  • Local maps
  • Sharp knife (penknife)

Repack expired items as needed and re pack/ check your emergency kit every year.

Don’t have an emergency radio yet?

We reccomend the DE13 which features light, alarm, inbuilt Solar Panel and Dynamo hand crank charger that allow you to recharge the internal battery or charge any device by  USB or mini USB including your mobile phone. This is the perfect radio to keep for any emergencies

                                                                                 

To get yours, Click here to be directed to this product in our online store.

 

One of the oldest and trusted services.

In the modern age where internet technology, social media and informational apps reign supreme the Vanuatu Broadcasting Television Corporation (VBTC) is investing AUD$12 million in upgrading its national radio service through its shortwave and medium wave (AM) service.

VBTC chief executive officer, Francis Herman says In Vanuatu many of the villagers do not receive television transmissions and currently only 30% receive radio transmissions. 

Radio Vanuatu is the only viable means of reaching Vanuatu’s rural population.

With the new upgrade that coverage will increase to 100% right across the 80-plus Islands of Vanuatu, connecting the country.

As listed by the United Nations, Vanuatu is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world and regularly experiences earthquakes, cyclones and floods.

Information is crucial during these events.

Shortwave radio is an essential complement to Vanuatu’s national radio service due to its far reaching capabilities even when the power, internet or local networks are down.

Technology commentator Peter Marks said “Shortwave comes from over the horizon it will continue to work even when local conditions are difficult like extreme weather that might knock out local FM and AM stations and internet,” 

 

A cost effective way to reach the population of Vanuatu to deliver important messages.

VBTC chief executive officer, Francis Herman says “Radio as you know is cost effective, people can pick it up on their phone, in the villages where television can not reach, radio is the companion for people,” .

“We have general elections in March next year, we are about to head into the cyclone season beginning in November and so its important, it’s crucial that the people of Vanuatu can get access to a reliable and credible broadcaster,” Mr Herman said.

This is why investing in a national shortwave service is even more important than ever even in the modern age.

 

Radio Vanuatu can be found at. 

RADIO FREQUENCY 
MEDIUM WAVE1125KHZ
SHORTWAVE3945KHZ (NIGHT TIME)
7260 KHZ (DAY TIME)
FM100 MHZ (VILA & SANTO)
98 MHZ (TANNA & SANTO)

Radio Vanuatu features a morning show with Dorinda Mabon from 5:30am till 9am

Marie-Noelle Kaltak hosts the mid morning show and evenings are hosted by Florence Vanua.

Do you currently listen to Vanuatu radio? We would love to see your listeners report.

Comment on the post below or email to hello@tecsunradios.com.au

Images via Radio Vanuatu website.

Radio New Zealand have a new shortwave frequency for the Region.

RNZ Pacific (RNZI) provides comprehensive Pacific  news coverage with the very latest Pacific stories as well as a live audio feed, podcasts, and on-demand programmes.

RNZI broadcasts in digital and analogue short wave to radio stations and individual listeners across the Pacific region. The RNZ Pacific signal can sometimes be heard as far away as Japan, North America, the Middle East and Europe.

RNZI was named the International Radio Station of the Year 2007  by the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB). RNZ Pacific also won the Most Innovative Partnership category recognising the way it works with local Pacific media.

RNZ Pacific (RNZI) broadcasts at the following frequencies and times to different parts of the Pacific Region.

UTCKHZTARGETDAYS
00:00 - 05:5815720PacificDaily
05:59 - 07:5811725PacificDaily
07:59 - 09:589765PacificDaily
09:59 - 12:586115 from 15 JanSolomon Isl , PNGDaily
12:59 - 19:586115PacificSat
12:59 - 16:506115PacificSun - Fri
16:51 - 17:505975 DRMTonga Niue Samoa Cook IslandsSun - Fri
17:51 - 18:5011690 DRMTonga Niue Samoa Cook IslandsSun - Fri
18:51 - 19:5813840 DRMPacificDaily
19:59 - 20:5811725PacificSun-Fri
20:59 - 22:5813840PacificDaily
22:59 - 23:5815720Pacific Daily

MAINTENANCE DAY: Every month on the first Wednesday RNZ conducts Maintenance at their transmitter site from 2230 – 0600 UTC. ( Thursdays 1030 – 1800 NZST) During this period there may be interruptions to programming.