How Do You Like To Listen To Shortwave?

Probably not a lot of us shortwave junkies out there.  That being said there are several ways to listen.

  • Portable shortwave
  • Tabletop shortwave with external antenna
  • Internet based SDR

Probably missing something but those are the ways I can do it at Castle Hagensieker.  And while I own many, many portable shortwave radios……………

I have pretty much two preferred ways to listen.

Way #1……A big old tabletop radio such as my Yaesu FRG-7.

Just look at all the dials and lights.  Not many things compare to sitting down in front of a big old boat anchor with headphones on and trying to dig a signal out of the muck and then identify it.   Here’s an example of doing just that with my Icom IC-R75 radio:

You can twist and fiddle until you get that signal as good as you can then sit back and enjoy the content.

The 2nd way is to use an RTL-SDR device and software.  One of the best devices is the SDRPlay RSPDuo  and their software SDRUno.  There are as many hunks of software out there as there are RTL-SDR devices.  I just find that SDRUno has a superior level of control of honing in on a signal.  It’s a lot different that spinning dials on a boat anchor but it could possibly be more effective.   Here’s an example:

It just LOOKS complicated, doesn’t it?  That’s me tuning into the Voice of Turkey in Ankar, Turkey.  Not bad from New Bern, NC, is it?  It did take a little maneuvering to get the signal that strong even though I just recorded the finished product.

Now, let’s listen to the same thing moments later on a tabletop radio:

Personally here’s kind of how my typical listening session goes.  I like to start with the SDR and the computer software to identify the signals that I want to listen to.  THEN and only then do I fire up the tabletop receivers.  I find that I can find the signals visually much faster then just set the frequency on the tabletop receiver which almost always SOUNDS BETTER than the computer speakers.

Here’s my “shack”.

No matter how you do it, shortwave listening is still fun. It still makes me feel like a little boy. That may sound silly but it really does. Figuring out I’m listening to Turkey or Romania or Iran or other far, far away places still makes me excited and you never know what you’ll hear. It is both entertaining and outrageous. Political and apolitical. Patriot and subversive alike.

I love listening to other countries news broadcasts in English to listen to what THEY WANT US TO HEAR ABOUT THEM. It’s fascinating and sometimes horribly inaccurate. And sometimes it isn’t.

There’s such a variety there really is something for everyone to listen to.

3 thoughts on “How Do You Like To Listen To Shortwave?

  1. Bill

    Enjoyed reading your article. I got started listening to shortwave as a kid in Chicago. Once the USAF got a hold of me and sent me to Europe my shortwave world opened up. I still travel with a small portable everywhere I go. I wish I could settle on a good SDR antenna for both home and portable use. I guess that is the fun of the hobby. Constant experimentation.

    Have a great day.


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