Monday, December 21, 2015

Have some fun with Short Wave Listening (SWL)

On some of our recent area NET's we have been chatting about Short Wave Listening (from 150 khz to 30 mhz). So I thought I would put together a small primer on shortwave. Many of us got our start as SWL's when we were young and have stories about our favorite experiences and equipment. Personally I have always been intrigued by listening to all types of radio from around the world.

I recently have read and heard many comments on the rapidly disappearing SWL Broadcasters that are being replaced by newer technologies. Don't give up yet, as there are still a lot of communications to be heard. You can easily find quite a few broadcasters and all kinds of utility, marine, aircraft and military communications on the low bands.

There are many ways to listen. From a portable radio right up to high end communications receivers. Most of our HF rigs are great radios for exploring the low bands. Antennas can be as simple as a built in telescoping antenna, a piece of wire, right up to large outside wire dipoles and large commercial antennas designed for the low bands. Take a tune around the low bands, you never know what you might find!

A few of my favorite frequencies:
- 6604 khz USB VOLMET Aircraft HF weather reports for the North Atlantic
- 8864 khz and 13291 USB, Aero - Gander air traffic control (ATC)
- 8846 khz USB, Aero - Carribean air traffic control (ATC)
- 6925 and 6955 khz , various Pirate Radio stations (learn more: )
- 11175 and 8992 khz USB. These are the USAF Global HF System primary calling frequencies. The "local daytime" frequency is 11175 and 8992 is the "local nighttime" frequency.
- 11670, 6000, 6165 khz USB Radio Havana - catch the DXers Unlimited show on Tuesday evenings
- others? name just a few! What are your favorites?...please leave a note in the comment section below.

Some Short Wave Listening (SWL) Resources:

Nice primer with lots of SWL tips and links:

Monitoring Times "Hot" 1000 HF Listening Frequencies

Some tips on when and where to listen:

Shortwave Central blog:

HFunderground forums (Pirate stuff):,3.0.html

North American Shortwave Association - Nice book to download: Radio Monitoring A How To Guide:

ShortWave radio schedules:

If your interested in radio monitoring in general, I highly recommend The Spectrum Monitor magazine ( ). This is a PDF format magazine written by many of the former editors and writers of Monitoring Times magazine.

Possible future NET's on the 146.67 Hobby Net with N2VZD............should we cover other Monitoring topics?
- Monitoring VHF/UHF - scanners, analog vs. digital, aircraft, marine, public service? Favorite freqs and radios?
- Monitoring LF and MF beacons?
- SDR's - the various options and sharing of experience?

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