Author Topic: Any Shortwave Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?  (Read 5808 times)

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Online edy

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Any Shortwave Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« on: December 06, 2019, 06:34:16 am »
For some time I have been interested in getting a beginner receiver for tuning in to broadcasts around the world. This shortwave listening "hobby" seems to require some technical understanding but also is a fun way to discover interesting stuff that one can find over the air. Apparently there is an art as well as a science, to knowing how to rig the antenna, what time of day is best for listening to things, what bands and how to tune, etc. I would like to learn more about it.

My interest was renewed recently after stumbling across some budget AM/FM/Shortware radios on eBay and Amazon. Two of which I have seen some reviews for are Tecsun PL-310ET (digital) for $45, and Tecsun R-909 (analog tuner) for under $20. There are a pile of models from Tecsun and I have no idea which are good or bad. I'm sure there are other budget brands out there.... too many names to mention (Eton, Retekess, Skywave, etc)... all in the $20-50 range. Grundig and Sony are the big names but too expensive for my budget. I don't want to spend much and I don't know where to start. Last time I checked a few years ago I remember radios costing $150+ and so seeing these cheaper devices renewed my interest in getting into the hobby.

Can anyone recommend a reliable brand with reasonably good reception (or at least with options to improve the antenna if needed) and something not too simple so it will keep things interesting? I am leaning towards digital tuner vs. analog only because I think it will be easier to lock on to a frequency. What is your practical experience? Is it worth the extra money? Reviews of the R-909 seem to say it is great value, but it is analog dial only and seems very simple. On the other hand, something like the PL-310ET seems to allow very fine control for tuning and memory functions and has lots of features. I haven't looked into other brands, but I am sure there are other comparable models.

I'm in Toronto, so does anyone have experience as to what signals you would be expected to pick up with one of these cheaper models? Does it get airline, emergency vehicle or trucker communications? Would you be able to pick up signals from Europe or Asia? ISS? Is the idea to just scan around and find stuff and make a log? Sorry for all the noob questions.


**NOTE: I don't know if this topic belongs here in General or the RF, HAM Radio section. I apologise if I posted to wrong section of the forum. The RF, HAM Radio section seems to be more technical based not for a very basic general question like this posting.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 11:55:25 pm by edy »
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Offline bob91343

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2019, 07:21:47 am »
I hate to be a doom sayer but the era of short wave listening is largely over.  All the wonderful (and not so wonderful) foreign broadcast stations seem to have shut down.

I remember hearing lessons on speaking Chinese, and a station in Holland with a regular jazz program.  Of course the majority were religion oriented, begging for contributions.  Lots of languages.  Very strong signals, so not much antenna needed.

It's not like that any more.  There aren't many stations left and the signals aren't what they used to be.  This latter may be due to the terrible radio propagation of recent years.  The hams are unhappy with this situation as well.  Many pretend this is the low point in the cycle but they have been saying that for years.

Having said all that, you can find gear to buy that isn't expensive.  A nice old receiver for under a hundred, and even a transceiver for that.  (You don't have to transmit.)  The equipment comes in two basic varieties.  The 'ham band only' that isn't general coverage and isn't what you want, and the general coverage.  However, most relatively recent gear is general coverage.  An old tube receiver may or may not be.  You will want frequency coverage from the usual AM broadcast band 530-1700 kHz continuous up through 30 MHz (there isn't broadcasting above about 25 MHz).  Synthesized is best as you mention.  You don't need a crystal filter or even variable selectivity if all you care about it broadcast.

In many cases, SWL morphs into amateur radio.  It's much more interactive, as you can reach out once you get a license.  If you attend an amateur radio club meeting or picnic you may find people to lend or even give you the stuff you want.  Many hams have garages packed with gear they will never use again.
 
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Offline CJay

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2019, 09:35:20 am »
I hate to be a doom sayer but the era of short wave listening is largely over.  All the wonderful (and not so wonderful) foreign broadcast stations seem to have shut down.

I remember hearing lessons on speaking Chinese, and a station in Holland with a regular jazz program.  Of course the majority were religion oriented, begging for contributions.  Lots of languages.  Very strong signals, so not much antenna needed.
Those Chinese lessons were relayed by stations in the US, I heard them too, YFR Okeechobee was a regular listen for me and they frequently 'crashed' the lessons with their station ident.

Disagree about SW listening being over, local noise from PLT devices, household electronics etc. have made it more difficult and sure, propagation is awful right now but it's not a waste of time IMHO.

It's not in its heyday that's for sure, the 'net has given people a far simpler way to reach people but there's still a lot out there to listen to, the religious stations are still around as well as lots of other things, there's maritime and aero traffic, military and civil, there's also the more esoteric, 'Numbers stations' are still kicking around and are fascinating even if utterly indecipherable so it can still be enjoyable and as the OP says, there's a lot to learn about the 'art' of setting up a station.

In many cases, SWL morphs into amateur radio.  It's much more interactive, as you can reach out once you get a license.  If you attend an amateur radio club meeting or picnic you may find people to lend or even give you the stuff you want.  Many hams have garages packed with gear they will never use again.

Absolutely, SW listening is a gateway drug for Ham radio, which opens up a whole new realm of things to experiment with.
 
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Online bd139

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2019, 09:46:33 am »
Agree. Particularly China Radio International dramas are so terrible they are funny. There's loads out there to listen to still!
 
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Offline German_EE

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2019, 11:00:59 am »
I still find lots of interesting activity on the HF bands to listen to, all it takes is a decent amount of wire up i the air and some patience. To make your listening effective the following may help:

1 Get a world map, if possible one centered on Canada. You need to practice something called 'graylining' where there is a sunrise or a sunset between you and the station you want to listen to. Using this technique brings better results than random listening.

2 There's something called Maximum Usable Frequency or MUF that you need to pay attention to. Rather than me explain all the details look it up on Wikipedia.

3 For HF listening a long length of wire and probably an antenna tuner will be needed. Keep this away from overhead power lines.

4 The main manufacturers of ham radio gear (including receivers) are Kenwood, Icom and Yaesu. You can also purchase one of the smaller rigs made by Alinco and just use it as a receiver. If you're into computers then consider the new Software Defined Radio (SDR) systems which are cheap, powerful but can be difficult to set up.

Finally

5 Be patient. The signals are out there but will need finding.
Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

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Offline CJay

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2019, 11:15:13 am »
Two of which I have seen some reviews for are Tecsun PL-310ET (digital) for $45, and Tecsun R-909 (analog tuner) for under $20. There are a pile of models from Tecsun and I have no idea which are good or bad. I'm sure there are other budget brands out there.... too many names to mention (Eton, Retekess, Skywave, etc)... all in the $20-50 range. Grundig and Sony are the big names but too expensive for my budget. I don't want to spend much and I don't know where to start. Last time I checked a few years ago I remember radios costing $150+ and so seeing these cheaper devices renewed my interest in getting into the hobby.

To answer your question, I hear good things about the Tecsun radios for SWL, they seem to have a relatively good reputation among the hams who have them, they're not going to compete with a good communications receiver form a 'big name' who specialise but as a starting point to see if you want to get more involved then I'd say they're  a good buy. The PL310ET gets good reviews and there are reviews of other radios here too:

https://swling.com/blog/2016/12/the-brilliant-little-tecsun-pl-310et-serious-dxing-on-a-budget-part-2/
 
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Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2019, 11:53:57 am »
Try and find a second hand FRG-7 radio and throw up a long wire up a tree to get started. The FRG-7 is a classic short wave receiver. I still have the FRG-7 I bought in 1977, and have hundreds of QSL cards from very interesting stations, the rarest being Radio Gabon in Franceville. Almost all the stations are gone forever. The bands and been abandoned by Voice of America, Radio Australia and pretty much all the rest, which is a crying shame and very short sighted as they all put their eggs into the one Internet basket. There was a time not long ago when Christian stations filled the airwaves in a bid to bring the Word of God to the unsaved in remote places (some still do). Now the SW broadcast bands are mostly polluted with Chinese propaganda stations.

But the good news is there are many ham radio operators on the ham bands. As sunspots are low at the moment (but expect to bet a lot better over the next few years), try around 7.1-7.1 MHz. Or around 3.6 MHz. When conditions are good, try around 14.3 MHz. You can learn a lot of good technical info on the ham bands. Hams are into FT-8, Slow scan TV, voice, RTTY, Morse code CW and a whole lot of other fun things. You can download some software to decode the SSTV and CW signals on your computer, without needing a ham license. CB radio on 27 MHz is almost dead, and the only thing you'll learn there perhaps is new swear words.
 
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Online edy

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2019, 01:46:24 pm »
Thanks for all the great info! I will reach out to a local HAM club (I’m in York region just northern outskirts of Toronto) and see if they have anybody selling basic used listening gear. Sadly a search through Kijiji and Craigslist for “Shortwave” and “HAM radio” returned few listings and those were beyond my budget. I’m worried about buying anything used on eBay as I won’t know if it is performing as it should and shipping may be expensive due to weight. The stuff out of China or Hong Kong is cheap with free shipping. But I noticed the low end units don’t have SSB. How critical is that?

I also noticed some very cheap under $20-30 USB plugin software-based radios. I am running Linux so not sure if I’m going to need a Windows machine and how much additionally is the software? Also portability is an issue. I’m not sure I want to take my laptop around just to listen to radio and I’m skeptical about the quality of these cheaper USB radios (compared to a cheaper stand alone digital receiver) and how subject they are to interference from the laptop and other stuff around. Apparently there is a lot of stuff in the house which will mess up reception so I should have something easy to move around and maybe take on a drive into the country away from WiFi lighting and hydro lines. Laptop may be a pain in that case, although I can see how it can be useful to capture data signals.

Thanks also for the info regarding the effect of the sun. From the few videos I watched my understanding is that getting long-range reception is all about bouncing signals off the ionosphere. So the sun solar wind creates a “stronger” (for lack of a better word) ionospheric surface for signal bouncing? If I am in Canada and I want to pick up Europe, I want to listen in the morning my time... like 8 or 9am, while Europe is 3pm (meaning the sun is at 12 noon somewhere over the Atlantic) and we are bouncing signals off that? Sun activity generally strengthens the ionosphere so because we are in a low cycle we are not getting help bouncing signals?

I’ll see what local HAM club can suggest (or if anyone here is in my area or has connections let me know). I can see how it is a gateway drug so I need to control myself or my wife will kill me.  :-DD. My way to slide this (yet another) hobby in is to keep it inexpensive and involve the kids, and not take up too much space or install all sorts of wires which will make wife unhappy. That’s why I thought of starting really basic and inexpensive with a new digital receiver... or maybe if I can find something old/used but a bit better in a similar price range from an older HAM (like I did when I got an analog scope for $50) that would be good. I’ll let you know what pans out from the club if anything.

ADDED:

I just tried to login to a few HAM local club pages and forums and classifieds here to see if I can get a foot in the door. Seems that most cater to members or people already in the HAM world. The clubs are very established with lots of members and social activities. Many will want a call sign for registration. I feel like I am too amateur for these guys... like a fruit fly annoying an elephant. I'll see if I can reach out to someone local that I can find in the club (although I hate emailing people out of the blue) and see if there is a better place for complete noobs to get started, without bothering these very professional "amateurs", especially since at this point I am only looking at cheap receiving equipment, not yet ready to dive in. These are some sites I was perusing:

https://www.yrarc.org/
http://www.ontars.com/cgi-bin/classifieds/classifieds.cgi
http://www.ontars.com/
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 02:02:49 pm by edy »
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Online Bud

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2019, 02:03:52 pm »
Facebook-free life and Rigol-free shack.
 
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Online edy

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2019, 02:49:44 pm »
I'll have a look at the swapshop, thanks! So far the listings all seem to be very sophisticated gear. Could be that the most entry-level basic receiver is just not even part of a typical HAM member's gear anymore (at least not these guys who have moved on to experienced stuff). Like someone on EEVBlog looking to buy a $2 multimeter and spending too much time debating which $2 meter to buy, in a forum where everyone is already using digital scopes.  :-DD  I have a feeling that once you get to the bottom-of-the-barrel entry-level stuff there is no point wasting too much time, you just pick up a Tecsun unit with good reviews and that's it. The only reason I'd like to give a glance at a swapshop or HAM club is to see if they have something a little better and used for the same price as a new Tecsun, maybe from someone local that I can meet face to face to make a contact/introduction. That way later if I decide to get more into the hobby I know a few people who can guide me. I reached out to someone at YRARC and waiting to see if they have any suggestions.  I have a feeling they will just tell me to buy a cheap radio and shutup, and when I'm more serious to come back.  :-DD  I will totally understand their point if they tell me to bugger off.

By the way I found this local site, it looks to be stale though (latest date is from 2004). I have a feeling it is no longer in operation, but I'll try to reach out and see what happens:  http://www3.sympatico.ca/jrlittle/main.htm
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 02:57:07 pm by edy »
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Offline CJay

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2019, 03:37:10 pm »
Don't let the clubs put you off, honestly, if the ones here are anything to go by they're not the easiest to get into because people just don't reply or update their websites, but friendly and welcoming when you do.

The SDR dongles you're talking about are probably the RTL8232 ones, they were meant to be USB DVB receivers but someone worked out the tuner chip is capable of so much more and wrote code to exploit it.

They're good little gadgets and are worth the money but have some limitations which can take some experimentation to get around, there should be plenty of Linux software for them.

 
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Online edy

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2019, 03:53:53 pm »
Thanks, I found this page and apparently there are some options available for Linux:

https://www.rtl-sdr.com/big-list-rtl-sdr-supported-software/

And I found a bunch of listing on eBay for $10-20. Not sure which one is reliable and which to buy or is compatible with any of the software. That may be an easy cheap way to start, a lot less than $45-60 for a digital Tecsun. Any suggestions?
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Offline Sal Ammoniac

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2019, 04:07:22 pm »
The SW bands are a wasteland compared to fifty years ago when I first got interested in SWL. Almost all of the iconic stations are gone, leaving mostly religious nutjobs like Brother Stair and his ilk and Chinese propaganda.

Broadcasters aren't the only inhabitants of the SW bands--there are also utility stations, hams, military, and a few others that are interesting to listen to. Winter nights are also good for listening to distant MW AM stations.
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Offline German_EE

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2019, 07:33:24 pm »
Joining a local club is probably a good idea as EVERYONE had to start at the bottom including me, and I've been an active radio ham for over forty years. Some clubs will be more technically minded with lectures and lots of test gear, others will be into contests and portable operation. Be careful of the clubs that tend to specialize in emergency work though as you might end up in a bright yellow jacket doing lots of weekend volunteer work.

Get in touch with the RAC to find your local club(s) https://www.rac.ca/

You might hear the term 'elmer' once in a while, don't worry about it. Back in the old days an elmer was the old guy who was always willing to help the new guys out. Now I'm one of the old guys and I find that I'm passing my knowledge on so it looks like the tradition is continuing.
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Online edy

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2019, 04:15:35 am »
Thanks again for the suggestions. I've contacted a few clubs and people to see what they suggest. I think I figured out what I'm trying to do and got down the terminology... it's called "Ultralight DXing". Other than seeing if any club members have older equipment they want to get off their hands, I am not sure I want to go full membership at this point. I have too many things on my plate as it is. Perhaps the easiest thing to do at this point is pick up a SW radio or one of those USB dongles which should keep me busy for a while, just logging what I find out there and seeing if it is something I would want to get deeper into. I'd be invested in minimally and if I have to put away the hobby for some time because I get too busy, I wouldn't have sunk much in financially.
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Online eti

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2019, 04:27:53 am »
I'll give you a guess which rock-solid, simple communication system based on physics and not on endless chains of servers and switches, I'd pick to save the life of my family, come a nuclear war? It's pretty simple, and here's a hint; it AIN'T the internet. We think we're SO SO "clever" and we are, but then radio preceded the "ever so pleased with itself" internet by MANY, MANY decades, and they don't use Skype or FaceTime to pilot submarines, so there's a clue as to which is better, merely by virtue of its' simplicity.
 

Offline fourfathom

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2019, 05:41:17 am »
Thanks, I found this page and apparently there are some options available for Linux:

https://www.rtl-sdr.com/big-list-rtl-sdr-supported-software/

And I found a bunch of listing on eBay for $10-20. Not sure which one is reliable and which to buy or is compatible with any of the software. That may be an easy cheap way to start, a lot less than $45-60 for a digital Tecsun. Any suggestions?

Be careful with the cheap SDRs.  Most of these are designed for VHF, not HF (shortwave), and you will need something like the "ham it up" converter if you want to use these SDRs on the shortwave bands.  The "RTL-SDR V3" unit from https://www.rtl-sdr.com/buy-rtl-sdr-dvb-t-dongles/ can be used at these lower frequencies, but still needs quite a bit of work (including external RF filters) to turn it into a halfway decent SWL receiver.  If you want to go the SDR route, I would recommend the "SDR-Play RSP1A" (https://www.sdrplay.com/rsp1a/) or perhaps the "funcube dongle pro +".  These cost a bit over $100, but are technically far superior to the $10-$20 units.
 

Online bd139

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #17 on: December 08, 2019, 10:50:11 am »
I'll give you a guess which rock-solid, simple communication system based on physics and not on endless chains of servers and switches, I'd pick to save the life of my family, come a nuclear war? It's pretty simple, and here's a hint; it AIN'T the internet. We think we're SO SO "clever" and we are, but then radio preceded the "ever so pleased with itself" internet by MANY, MANY decades, and they don't use Skype or FaceTime to pilot submarines, so there's a clue as to which is better, merely by virtue of its' simplicity.

My family’s lives are at the mercy of the food supply chain and healthcare which is all built on top of the internet these days as a communication tool. Thus I’d rather concentrate on attempting to keep political matters on the straight and narrow. Because it’s not much point having an off grid HF set up or VHF HT’s if you’re rat food after starving to death.

Also like hell amateur radio is reliable. That’s part of the fun. For the military it solves only logistical communications problems. And they have protocols for when it doesn’t because it’s not reliable. Go figure.

Also I notice you’re in the U.K.  2m traffic here is whining, brexit, tomato growing advice and complaining about baofeng users. Oh and ironically tech support for people’s printer problems which quickly turns into “send me a text message”
« Last Edit: December 08, 2019, 10:52:19 am by bd139 »
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2019, 12:28:29 pm »
I'll give you a guess which rock-solid, simple communication system based on physics and not on endless chains of servers and switches, I'd pick to save the life of my family, come a nuclear war? It's pretty simple, and here's a hint; it AIN'T the internet. We think we're SO SO "clever" and we are, but then radio preceded the "ever so pleased with itself" internet by MANY, MANY decades, and they don't use Skype or FaceTime to pilot submarines, so there's a clue as to which is better, merely by virtue of its' simplicity.

It is true that if the Internet were to go down many of us in countries whose infrastructure is addicted to the Internet will suffer a catastrophe. You wont be able to buy food, gasoline, medicines, no nothing. You water supply may well run out and you won't have electricity from the power grid. It just needs any of the lunatic countries that hoard nuclear weapons like Russia and the USA to push the button either on purpose for by accident. The doomsday clock is only TWO MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT. Nuclear attack might not be a matter of if, but when: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_close_calls

But if you have a ham radio you will be able to communicate, assuming your infrastructure is destroyed and you were not vaporised. If this sounds far fetched, look what happened in Cyclone Tracey in 1974 which wiped out an entire city of Darwin. Ham radio was the ONLY form of communication to the outside world for several days. The main link was between a ham with a generator in Darwin and a ham in Melbourne.
 
If the doomsday happens, ham radio could also be used to coordinate emergency relief. And be used as an aid to hunt down the leaders of the countries that fired the nukes.

A film worth seeing is the 1964 film "Fail Safe". Such a scenario it is very possible. It almost happened in 1983.
 
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Offline AllTheGearNoIdea

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2019, 01:49:39 pm »
I have SDR but I prefer a real radio. Doesn’t have to be amazing I like old valve based communication receivers something  about the tactile nature of heavy switches, weighted tuning knobs and hot valves.  A good long wire and long wire tuner is essential. I would also recommend a separate clean Earth if that can be arranged. Lots still out there for listening and enjoy

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Offline fourfathom

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2019, 03:50:47 pm »
Two of which I have seen some reviews for are Tecsun PL-310ET (digital) for $45, and Tecsun R-909 (analog tuner) for under $20.

That Tecsun 310 looks OK.  It has digital tuning and has a BFO (which means it is capable of receiving single sideband and CW).  With a long-ish wire external antenna it will work pretty well.  A ham radio will have better performance (and virtually any ham rig built in the last 20 years will have a full-range receiver), but the Tecsun will get you started.  Even with the built-in whip antenna you will hear plenty of signals, if you listen on the right frequency at the right time.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2019, 04:16:06 pm by fourfathom »
 

Online edy

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2019, 03:58:55 pm »
Thanks again for all the suggestions. I've heard back from a few HAM clubs, I may go to a meeting soon and see what is going on. Meanwhile a few ways I can learn more is read some intro books and I found a page on Ultralight DXing here: http://www.hard-core-dx.com/nordicdx/dxlab/mwdx.html

It talks about MW... I'm sure after reading a few books and getting to know the lingo I'll know more about what MW, SW, channels, etc... what it all means. I'm still on the fence but seems like the easiest way to start experiencing the hobby is to pick up an inexpensive MW/SW digital receiver. Even if I am limited by it as time goes on, it is not a huge upfront investment. While I like the RTL-SDR idea, I'm not so sure it is convenient especially if I want to have something bedside at night and plug in a headset before going to sleep, or if I am on a road trip or travel and curious to listen to stuff along the way.

I hope it's not a hobby going extinct, although I imagine as the folks involve age there is more incentive to keep the young ones interested (and now you compete with many more hobbies that seem to attract young ones) to pick up the torch.
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Offline jonovid

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2019, 04:09:49 pm »
Shortwave long wire antenna best is for 10 to 3MHz
urban area RF noise is your biggest problem , this will help
on my antenna setup , the jack gos to a Tecsun PL660 shortwave radio
update
added the link
http://users.telenet.be/d.rijmenants/en/swl.htm
« Last Edit: December 08, 2019, 06:07:08 pm by jonovid »
Hobbyist with a basic knowledge of electronics
 

Offline wilfred

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2019, 04:11:44 pm »

But if you have a ham radio you will be able to communicate, assuming your infrastructure is destroyed and you were not vaporised. If this sounds far fetched, look what happened in Cyclone Tracey in 1974 which wiped out an entire city of Darwin. Ham radio was the ONLY form of communication to the outside world for several days. The main link was between a ham with a generator in Darwin and a ham in Melbourne.
 

You don't have to look back that far. I'm pretty sure I heard Ham radio was involved in saving more than a few lives in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.
 

Online edy

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Re: Any Shortware Radio Tips for a Noob Considering the Hobby?
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2019, 08:00:22 pm »
I found a few resources online. I just Googled "Ham Radio for Dummies PDF" and "AARL ham radio license manual pdf" so a few links show up. Both are 300 pages+ so lots of good material in there to get a feeling for what is going on with the entire hobby. I didn't realize what I was getting into!  :scared:   Yeah maybe too much for me to chew on at this point. These books will give me something to do for a while and then I can figure out what's next. Perhaps in the summer once I've read through the basics I will have a better idea if I want to just do "Ultralight DXing" on some cheap sub-$100's hand-held equipment. If anything I can build or buy a slightly better indoor antenna and plug it into the ext antenna plug.

Note that I live in a suburb of a major city, with still very dense population density... so much so that I have over a dozen WiFi access points show up in addition to my own every time I load up my computer! I don't have the ability to erect any antennas at the moment or start modifying my house or drilling holes in walls and running wires. I doubt that my reception will be that good, I don't see that antenna wire over 5m happening. I have no trees or poles, I'd have to erect something. I don't see it happening. The books and a cheap radio should keep me busy.  :-+


[EDIT:]

I found a few more books online... Googling "the-beginners-handbook-of-amateur-radio.pdf" produced a link to a 529 page book, and "basic amateur radio course pdf" gives this file: https://csclub.uwaterloo.ca/~ehashman/emcomm-ham-radio.pdf. And there is a whole pile of stuff here: http://www.n5dux.com/ham/files/pdf/. Together with the dummies book and AARL manual, seems like I'll be busy for a long time just reading up on the topic and playing around with a small Tecsun!  :-+
« Last Edit: December 08, 2019, 09:14:10 pm by edy »
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