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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

During this past week with the devastating fires that have occurred throughout Australia many people have been left cut off from loved ones with roads being blocked and widespread extreme fire danger.

During natural disasters, conditions can change in a second, a simple thing like a switch in the wind direction can change everything.

Remaining in contact with Safety officials about evacuation or weather updates is crucial

Holiday makers fleeing vast “tourist leave zones” have found themselves stranded without power and water. Whole communities have been forced to flee their homes. 

Here’s our guide on the best ways to communicate during times of emergency including if you have lost power and internet.

This guide relates to use around Australia but also to communicate with people/ family overseas.

By using communication methods both online and offline and educating yourself on options for all situations including loss of power. You can ensure you are prepared at a time you may need it most.

  1. Emergency Radios: We are starting here because unfortunately during major bush fires, people can be in very remote areas and experience power and network outages. Emergency Radio is the only way you will be able to hear crucial safety messages. These compact units are essential to any emergency kit. Battery operated Emergency Radios capable of receiving broadcasts in the AM, FM, and Shortwave frequency bands provide a long range and simple method of keeping up to date with the latest emergency information. Traditional radio broadcasts cover a much wider area than mobile phone towers allowing signals to be received from much further away mitigating against local power and mobile phone outages.
  2. Apps: Downloads of the “Fires near me “App surged to over 750,000 in November when NSW was declared a state of emergency. Being able to open an app and see in real time where the fires were burning and what category they were was extremely helpful to people in fire affected areas and for those with family and friends in fire effected areas.
  3. Text Messages and Text Alerts: During a fire you may receive warnings on your mobile phone. With warnings and instructions on what to do. You however will not receive the message if the network is down or if your phone is switched off.
  4. Phone Calls: Phone lines can become over run during times of emergency, so the advice given is to keep your conversation brief and convey only vital information. emergency services may contact you with a recorded warning for your area. In many emergencies power and communications can be interrupted so Try to conserve the power on your phone by doing the following. Disconnect the phone battery and only plug it in at intervals to avoid draining it. Close all web pages and unnecessary apps. This should ensure you get the most life out of your battery because you just don’t know how long you may be without power.
  5. Social Media: Using Facebook or Instagram allows users to tell their friends and family that they are safe and live report what is happening. Social media has proven to help improve people’s awareness and preparedness for natural disasters.

Additionally, radio is a broadcast medium of communication meaning that many people receive the same message simultaneously so if you miss an update your friends and neighbours in the local area can hear the same message and relay it to you. 

The ABC is the designated Emergency Broadcaster and will provide updates on local AM and FM stations in times of imminent danger. Additionally, the Bureau of Meteorology broadcast two weather services in the Shortwave Radio bands for Australia on the East and West Coasts. Both services broadcast bulletins and warnings on the hour.

In addition to this some radios on the market like the Tecsun DE13 Emergency AM/FM/SW Solar Radio includes some additional features like a Led torch. A red flashing distress Led light designed as a personal locator and distress siren. These compact hand held radios are built for situations where there is no power and utilise both solar and hand cranked power sources.

It’s important to make your own evacuation plan and be prepared for the worst. Natural disasters often occur without much warning so planning before hand will pay off when you need it most.

If you are interested in equipping yourself with an emergency radio, we have some great radios that are small enough to simply click on your belt, right through to larger versions with multiple capabilities. 

Here are some of our most popular emergency radios.

 

Image Via Northern Daily Leader.