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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 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.

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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.

Over the past eight weeks we have been running a competition to win a Tecsun PL880 radio. The purpose of the competition was to generate excitement around the capabilities of shortwave and promote Radiogram to budding amateur radio enthusiasts.

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Want to see your decoded radiograms featured on our website?
Remember to tag @TecsunRadios and #DecodeToWin!

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Want to see your decoded radiograms featured on our website?
Remember to tag @TecsunRadios and #DecodeToWin!

Read more

Want to see your decoded radiograms featured on our website?
Remember to tag @TecsunRadios and #DecodeToWin!

Read more

Want to see your decoded radiograms featured on our website?
Remember to tag @TecsunRadios and #DecodeToWin!

Read more

Want to see your decoded radiograms featured on our website?
Remember to tag @TecsunRadios and #DecodeToWin!

Read more