Short Wave Radio And Politics And Shit

Last night I stumbled across some Short Wave Hardware Porn on eBay last night.  A big old Harris HF receiver that was used in a whole lot of listening posts and embassies and it got me to thinking about short wave and governments and politics (and shit).  The “and shit” is a nod to one of my favorite shows “The Trailer Park Boys” and the part of Mr. Leahy who uses the word “shit” to hilarious effect.

Short wave is such a fascinating medium to me and I’m surprised that I didn’t listen for so many years.  As with a lot of hobbies you can get wrapped up in the hardware and it’s capabilities.  “I received a transmission from Atlantis with my Sync Detector and BFO and my radio limits D and E adsorption 10% more than other brands”.

Okay that is a totally wild and made up statement but I hope someone got a chuckle out of it.  People will totally split hairs about what radio is better than the other one in fact it seems to be the norm.  But I ask you this……..“Are you listening, really listening, to the content out there…..?”

I stumbled across a program last night on 7780 called Wavescan which was remarkably informative regarding shortwave.  It’s worth a listen.

Anyway I got my small brain to working and tried to make sense of what I had been listening to recently.  Lots of Radio China.  Then it occurs to me.  Why is there so much Radio China content out there?  Who is the intended recipient of these broadcasts, because let’s face it, not that many people listen to Short Wave radios these days and those that do are worried about their BFO’s and Sync Detectors anyway.

Then it occurs to me that some of the stuff I’ve been hearing has also been page 2 and 3 items in the news lately.  China is engaged in a strong Artificial Intelligence program.  China will defend itself from US incursions near “their” islands and China is building a world class military.  Chinese people are cultured with various arts and musical programming, etc.

So who is the intended audience I ask again?  I picture a room full of government analysts or spooks recording the programs and taking notes and passing the claims that China is spending 20% more next year on its military to their superiors.   I picture journalists listening for their world news filler pieces.

But China was just an example.  When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Radio Kuwait put out distress calls on Short Wave Radio.  They wouldn’t do that unless they knew their intended audience was listening and might send help.

Have you ever heard of the country Eritrea?  Of course you haven’t but there is a massive presence on Short Wave regarding the little country.  Eritrea is an African country engaged in hostilities with Ethiopia.  A genuine third world mess closing in on its 3rd decade of messiness.  I wonder why we’ve never heard of it much?  Anyway Ethiopia sends out short wave radio in support of the Eritrean Democratic Alliance.  In return Eritrea sends out its news in the form of short wave radio which Ethiopia jams.   In the mean time France targets Eritrean forces on the other side.

Let me put this another way.  I can make a web page that says “Death to the Eritrean Opposition” but I don’t really know who is seeing it or if it is having the affect I want on my intended audience, however say the same thing on Short Wave Radio and you can bet several governments are listening and analyzing your content.

And to round out the madness lets throw in a little lifestyle madness.  Radio Ranginkaman targets the LGBT community in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.  Amazing.  Did you know in Iran that they’ll kill you if you are gay however they’ll freely and openly pay for your sex change operation?   I don’t want to get into that here but these are the kinds of things you learn on Short Wave radio if you LISTEN rather than do gear performance shootouts.

Japan has shortwave stations aimed at North Korea in regards to North Korean abductions of Japanese citizens.  I bet you didn’t know that either.  I lived in Japan for roughly 16 years working for the government and sometimes tourists in some area or boaters would just disappear off the face of the earth and then pop up in North Korea.  For some reason North Korea delights in snatching Japanese citizens.

So my working theory is that China, Russia, Romania, Turkey, Cuba, etc. that all broadcast and rebroadcast in the US want our journalists and analysts to hear and learn what they want them to know about their respective countries.   If you ever want a good laugh listen to the English broadcasts from Radio Havana or the Voice of Turkey.  Talk about your fake news.

So, I encourage my SWL brothers and sisters to give a listen on the content every now and again.  It is amazing and stunning what is out there and I find myself constantly asking the questions, “Why are they saying this, and who do they hope is listening?”

Meanwhile we give them VOA and Brother R.G. Prophet of God who likes to diddle young girls.

I’ll close with this.  Short Wave Radio is a viable political tool to this day.  It is a relatively inexpensive way to spread the word to your intended political audience and furthermore your intended audience can receive it clandestinely with inexpensive hardware and antennas that can’t be seen.  And your inexpensive hardware is mobile as well.   Fascinating that such an “old” technology such as radio plays such an active part in politics and war these days.



One thought on “Short Wave Radio And Politics And Shit

  1. Jim

    Very interesting perspective on the geo politics of HF radio. From time to time I hear the ostensibly Cuban numbers station broadcasts. They are creepy enough to be rather fun to listen to, again imagining an illegal sitting in front of their grundig frantically copying the numbers sequence. Then on the other hand you have to wonder if it’s just psyops? Certainly it is a viable one way communications medium but those same analysts at the three letter agencies are surely listening in. Is the point to suggest a vast network of spies secretly infiltrating our borders?

    Along the same vein, if you haven’t, I suggest acquiring on building one of the simple VLF receiver kits. There is a particular tone sequence that I was able to listen to easily while living in Europe that I again heard from Afghanistan. Based on signal strength and the likely quality of my build this suggests a Russian channel marker for submarine communications.

    The joy is the discovery of something weird and interesting. Of course anyone can peruse the interweb and come across all manner of fringe content but the extra degree of investment and intention required to broadcast something over the radio provides to me a greater depth.


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