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Intro to Mobile Shortwave Radios

Discussion in 'Boat Electronics' started by Maximo Lachman, Sep 10, 2003.

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  1. Archive-name: travel/shortwave-radios-intro
    Previous-version-modified: 1.i.MMIII
    Posting-Frequency: semi-annually
    Last-modified: 31.iix.MMIII


    Introduction to Mobile Shortwave Radios


    * [0] Intro to the Intro
    * [1] What's a shortwave radio?
    * [2] Why would anybody want/need one?
    * [3] What do I need to know in order to use one?
    * [4] What's the difference between digital & analog radios?
    * [5] What radio accessories are especially useful for shortwave?
    * [6] How do bands, wavelengths & frequencies, kHz & MHz, differ?
    * [7] But what if I don't want to scan for stations while driving?
    * [8] Where online can I get more information on SW (car) radios?
    * [9] Abbreviations and Terms

    [0] Intro to the Intro

    The Intro is intended for those who are fairly mobile, but do not
    know what radio options exist, and are neither hobby-oriented nor
    technically inclined (e.g. monitoring or modifying), as well as for
    those who enjoy 'roughing it' and are seeking subscription-free
    alternatives to xm satellite radio or similar mobile services. The
    target area of the readership is Oceania\America.

    It is also a guide to help decide if a shortwave radio is a suitable
    alternative, and if so, narrow down purchase options, particularly in
    the mid-price range (FRN$50-$250) of those radios suitable for mobile
    use, especially travel by surface means: bike, car, rv, boat, etc.

    Updates of the Intro are distributed semi-annually to rec.answers,
    news.answers, and other newsgroups on usenet, freenet and fidonet:, 2.automotive, etc. The model for the Intro was:
    and material from it has been used by the Intro, as did also the
    old FAQ, under "Fair Use" provisions. However,
    unlike the FAQ, the Intro corrects errors found in the original.

    [1] What is a shortwave radio?

    On the technical side, a shortwave radio is a receiver that can
    receive AM radio transmissions on frequencies between 3 & 30 MHz. The
    main characteristic of signals on these frequencies is their ability
    to propagate for long distances, making possible such world-wide
    communications as international broadcasting and co-ordination of
    long-distance shipping. Most shortwave radios will also receive AM
    transmissions below 3 MHz, such as those in the longwave & mediumwave
    broadcast bands. Many will also receive transmissions above 30 MHz,
    such as those in the FM broadcast band.

    [2] Why would anybody want or need one?

    The primary reasons people use shortwave radios range from interest in
    the exotic, to helping others in local emergencies. From a logistical
    point of view, shortwave radios are a means of enabling the reception
    of transmissions of interest or utility to a target audience that may
    have considerable degrees of geographic dispersion. Many countries
    broadcast to the world in English, making it easier to find out the
    position of such a country on those things that it finds important.
    In addition to providing a way to eavesdrop on the everyday workings
    of global commerce and politics, shortwave radios enable reception of
    more AM programming from domestic broadcasters, since they can tune
    in more AM-type transmissions reaching the radio, than so-called 'AM
    radios'. Many will also allow one to listen to SSB transmissions of
    emergency (& other) information by other radio operators: CB, marine,
    amateur, etc; however, none of the traditional in-dash shortwave car
    radios (e.g. Becker, Blaupunkt, Mekka, Philips, Sony) can handle SSB.

    [3] What do I need to know in order to use one?

    For shortwave radios, all you need to know at first are the same
    skills needed for FM radios, while putting off learning the concepts
    and jargon till later. A special set of radio skills is not required,
    but as you gain experience and develop such radio skills, your
    listening enjoyment will increase accordingly. Such skills include:
    keeping up on local and non-local issues which may affect broadcasts
    (e.g. strikes or ionospheric storms causing stations to 'disappear');
    troubleshooting & maintaining your radio; and using various types of
    antennas. For example, in some cases, loop antennas may be used to
    null out local interfering stations or noise sources.

    [4] What is the difference between digital & analog radios?

    Shortwave radios are sometimes distinguished from each other by their
    readouts and internal tuning methods, either of which may be analog
    or digital. With regard to the shortwave signals themselves: analog
    is mostly used for voice transmissions; in contrast, CW (Morse code),
    RTTY & FSK are examples of digital transmission modes.

    Digital Readout: (e.g. MM.kkk MHz)

    There are a variety of tuning methods that provide a digital readout.
    At one extreme, there are radios which have a separate knob for each
    digit. There are others that have one tuning knob to set the MHz part
    of the frequency, and another to set the kHz part. There are also
    radios which have only one tuning knob to cover the entire range of
    frequencies, although most of these reduce the amount of turns needed
    via knobs that have 'fast' modes, or switches that quickly select
    between a number of smaller tuning bands, or both.

    At the other extreme are radios with digital readouts that have no
    tuning knobs. Most of these have numeric keypads for selecting a
    frequency. Some of these do not have numeric keypads, and are very
    inflexible in use, unless you plan to listen only to the stations
    that you have programmed into the radio's memories, in which case
    their reduced cost, size and/or weight may better suit your needs.
    Recent shortwave car radios fall into the latter category, but there
    may be accessories available such as remote controls with keypads
    or 'rotary commanders'.

    Analog Readout

    There is also a wide variety of analog readouts. Some use dials or
    drums that rotate under indicators. Others use cursors that run along
    linear scales. A few old analogs have the push-button memories also
    found on old car radios. Selective modern radios do not use analog
    readouts, but if they do, also have digital readouts, since it can be
    difficult to tune in a shortwave station using only an analog readout.
    Most analog-only radios on the market are small portables that are
    unselective (they cannot separate stations that are right next to
    each other) and only cover the main International Broadcast bands.

    Digital Tuning

    This uses PLLs to electronically tune in the desired frequency, and
    allows for easy reception of SSB signals, and storage of frequencies
    in memory chips. However, the micro-electronics needed tend to be
    expensive, noisy, and power hungy; Most of the cheaper ones do not
    exploit all possible benefits, such as scanning. On the other hand,
    digital radio kits which interface with your computer exploit most
    of the benefits of digital tuning for just a few hundred dollars.
    Digital tuning is usually accomplished by pressing keys, and on some
    radios by turning knobs.

    Analog Tuning

    This relies on circuits which are tuned directly by you, and not via
    microchip control. As a result, stations tend to drift on most radios
    with analog tuning, which makes SSB reception very difficult. Analog
    tuning is only by turning knobs (and pushing car-radio-style buttons).
    However, these radios often tolerate more abuse, last longer on
    batteries, and are simpler to use, than digitally-tuned radios.

    [5] What radio accessories are especially useful for shortwave?

    Antennas: increase the strength of signals fed into the radio so that
    more stations may be heard. In most cases, you should receive many
    using the whip antenna supplied as standard equipment, but to receive
    more distant and/or weaker stations, a better (outdoor) one should be
    hooked up. Pre-selectors are inserted in-between to filter strong out-
    -of-band signals that might create interfering ghost signals. Antenna
    tuners are inserted to increase the efficiency of signal transfer to
    the radio. Tunable loop antennas can do some pre-selection, and are a
    good compromise where space is limited: Sony's AN-LP1 tunable travel
    loop folds up to use a minimum of baggage space; fully-equipped loops
    are quite practical for use on RVs:
    Firefly antenna for motorcycles:

    CB Splitter-Tuners: may improve efficiency of signal transfer from
    your vehicle's standard antenna; less noisy than pre-amps or boosters:

    Headphones: will let you focus on transmissions without distractions.
    As found on some external speakers, they may also be equipped with
    circuitry to further process the audio and enhance its quality.

    Listening Guides and Technical References: can provide information
    on propagation of shortwave signals via the ionosphere, use of your
    equipment, stations & frequencies, etc. Especially recommended are:

    Mariners' Guide to Single Sideband, by F. Graves:

    The World Traveler's Guide: Shortwave Listening On The Road, by A. Yoder:

    Computer Software: does many things from decoding digital signals to
    storing stations, frequencies and propagation times. Some radios can
    be controlled by such software. A few radios are even dependent on
    a computer in order to process analog signals, yet may run on 12 VDC
    for some degree of mobile use with a laptop.

    NiMH Batteries & ('survival') Chargers: more useful than 'emergency'
    radios with generators or solar cells. (Serious survivalists should
    have these items separately anyway. Besides, no such radio lets you
    tune in relevant SSB transmissions during emergencies. Travelers may
    find one convenient, but should realise that FRN$10 can buy a smaller
    radio with similar shortwave performance: Coby CX-CB12, etc.)

    The last but not least important accessory is Experience. Time spent
    working with a shortwave radio gives you more information to get the
    most out of it, such as the best times in your area for reception of
    certain frequencies, and the techniques that work best for you.

    [6] How do bands, wavelengths & frequencies, kHz & MHz, differ?

    A band is a range of frequencies (in kHz, MHz etc.) on the dial. Many
    old analogs had dials calibrated according to wavelengths (in metres)
    instead, since the tuning location of a station can also be expressed
    in terms of a 'wavelength': e.g. the "16m" position on such dials is
    within a sub-range of frequencies whose wavelengths are approximately
    16 metres. Thus, wavelengths also may refer to equivalent sub-bands.

    * To convert MHz to kHz, multiply by 1000 kHz/MHz.
    9.625 MHz x 1000 kHz/MHz = 9625 kHz

    * To convert kHz to MHz, divide by 1000 kHz/MHz.
    21725 kHz divided by 1000 kHz/MHz = 21.725 MHz

    * To convert MHz to metres, divide 300 Mm/s by the number of MHz.
    300 Mm/s divided by 7.445 MHz = 40.29 metres

    * To convert metres to MHz, divide 300 Mm/s by the number of metres.
    300 Mm/s divided by 14 metres = 21.428 MHz (21428 kHz)
    300 Mm/s divided by 15 metres = 20.000 MHz
    300 Mm/s divided by 16.881 m = 17.771 MHz
    300 Mm/s divided by 17.320 m = 17.321 MHz
    300 Mm/s divided by 19 metres = 15.789 MHz
    300 Mm/s divided by 20 metres = 15.000 MHz
    ( Note that as frequencies get lower, wavelengths get longer.)

    Low Frequencies

    The 30 - 300 kHz range is known as the low frequencies' band, and
    is also called 'longwave'.

    Reception in the LF band is best between 6 p.m. and midnight (your
    time). Many stations in this band serve as beacons for aircraft and
    marine navigation by continuously transmitting their call letters.
    Many LF broadcasts use Morse code (CW), but some transmit in Binary
    Coded Decimal (BCD), such as the time station WWVB on 60 kHz.

    In Europe, N. Africa and N. Asia, the LF band contains the longwave
    AM broadcast band from 153 to 279 kHz, but in N. America the only AM
    broadcasts to be found are typically weather reports.

    Medium Frequencies

    The medium frequencies' band is between 300 & 3000 kHz. In America,
    it contains the mediumwave AM broadcast band between 525 & 1600 kHz,
    extended to 1700 kHz in Argentina, Australia & the U.S. A few more
    MF stations are between 2300 & 2500 kHz, esp. in Australia & Brazil.

    Coastal shipping uses 415 - 535 kHz: 3 CW calling and distress
    stations monitor 500 kHz in Arctic Canada; internationally, most
    NavTex automated warning stations use 518 kHz. Similarly, other
    coastal stations & boats, especially coast guards and pleasure
    boaters, have use of 2000 - 2300 kHz, with 2182 kHz set aside
    internationally as a voice calling and distress channel.

    Spanning the 160 metre dial position there is an amateur radio
    band from 1800 to 2000 kHz. Most of these are SSB transmissions.

    High Frequencies

    The high frequencies' band is between 3,000 & 30,000 kHz, and is
    synonymous with shortwave. Most frequencies within the HF band
    are set aside for a specific use, such as listed below:

    Aircraft, Amateur Radio, CB, International Broadcast,
    Ship & Coastal Station, Time & Standard Carrier Frequencies

    Aircraft Frequencies

    Aircraft on trans-oceanic routes often use shortwave, mostly SSB,
    although some might still use AM, to communicate with air traffic
    controllers. Here are some bands where you might hear them:

    2,850- 3,155 kHz
    3,400- 3,500 kHz
    4,650- 4,750 kHz
    5,450- 5,730 kHz
    6,525- 6,765 kHz
    8,815- 9,040 kHz
    10,005-10,100 kHz
    11,175-11,400 kHz
    13,200-13,360 kHz
    15,010-15,100 kHz
    17,900-18,030 kHz
    21,870-22,000 kHz
    23,200-23,350 kHz

    Amateur ('ham') Radio Frequencies

    Scanning the amateur radio frequencies can be interesting and also
    helpful at times, because amateur radio operators often broadcast
    emergency information when other means of communication break down.

    Amateur radio operators may obtain a basic licence to transmit only
    above the HF band, without needing to know Morse code. Those who get
    the more senior amateur licences may also transmit in the HF band,
    using SSB mode for voice messages, but must pass a proficiency test
    for sending messages via Morse code (in 'CW' mode). Voice operators
    usually transmit in a band just above that for code operators, as
    shown below.
    80 metres: 3,500 - 3,750 kHz 3,750 - 4,000 kHz
    40 metres: 7,000 - 7,150 kHz 7,150 - 7,300 kHz
    30 metres: 10,100 - 10,150 kHz
    20 metres: 14,000 - 14,150 kHz 14,150 - 14,350 kHz
    16 metres: 18,068 - 18,110 kHz 18,110 - 18,168 kHz
    14 metres: 21,000 - 21,200 kHz 21,200 - 21,450 kHz
    12 metres: 24,890 - 24,930 kHz 24,930 - 24,990 kHz
    10 metres: 28,000 - 28,300 kHz 28,300 - 29,700 kHz

    Note: These designations are not observed everywhere in the world,
    particularly in the United States, as one might expect.

    CB Frequencies (applies partly to Oceania: Guam, Samoa, etc.)

    As does ham radio, CB radio transmissions will use SSB, but unlike
    ham radio, transmissions on the CB band do not require a licence.
    The transmissions may also be in AM mode. Some frequencies are set
    aside for controlling objects but most are for voice communications.

    64 frequencies are allocated as 10 kHz channels and separated by a
    frequency step of 10 kHz from 26,895 to 27,535 kHz. 40 channels are
    for voice communications from 26,965 to 27,405 kHz. Channel 9 or
    27,065 kHz is reserved for emergency use. In N. America, Channel 19,
    27,185 kHz, is often used as a highway information channel.

    International Broadcast Frequencies

    International and domestic broadcasts are found in the following
    shortwave bands. These are usually AM broadcasts containing news,
    commentaries, music, and special features reflecting the culture of
    the broadcasts' originators. You can often find more such stations
    transmitting just above or below these bands:

    90 metres * 3,200 to 3,400 kHz
    75 metres * 3,900 to 4,000 kHz
    60 metres * 4,750 to 5,060 kHz
    49 metres 5,900 to 6,200 kHz
    41 metres ** 7,100 to 7,350 kHz
    31 metres 9,400 to 9,900 kHz
    25 metres 11,600 to 12,100 kHz
    22 metres 13,570 to 13,870 kHz
    19 metres 15,100 to 15,800 kHz
    17 metres 17,480 to 17,900 kHz
    15 metres 18,900 to 19,020 kHz
    13 metres 21,450 to 21,850 kHz
    11 metres 25,670 to 26,100 kHz

    * Bands reserved for stations in tropical areas, but some non-
    -tropical stations often disregard this.
    ** Interference is heavy around 41 & 75 metres because amateur
    radio operators and international stations share each range.

    Ship & Coastal Station Frequencies

    Most HF voice transmissions from ships & coastal stations are in SSB.
    You can hear these transmissions in the following bands:

    4,000- 4,143 kHz
    4,351- 4,435 kHz
    6,200- 6,525 kHz
    8,100- 8,815 kHz
    12,230-12,420 kHz
    13,107-13,200 kHz
    16,360-16,565 kHz
    17,100-17,410 kHz
    18,780-18,900 kHz
    19,680-19,800 kHz
    22,000-22,855 kHz
    25,070-25,210 kHz
    26,100-26,175 kHz

    WWVH broadcasts marine weather conditions for the Pacific 48 minutes
    past the hour; WWV for the NW Atlantic 8 minutes past; each does so for
    the NE Pacific 2 minutes afterwards, on HF frequencies as listed below.

    Time & Standard Carrier Frequencies

    The following stations broadcast their carriers exactly on-frequency,
    which is useful to also calibrate SSB fine-tuning dials or BFOs (even
    on some digitally-tuned radios). They also broadcast the exact time of
    day at regular intervals 24 hours a day in standard AM mode (except
    where noted). The time is given in the UTC standard. Most shortwave
    stations are on UTC time, regardless of what time zone they are in.

    CHU at Ottawa, Ontario:
    3,330 & 7,335 & 14,670 kHz
    (all in a fully 'AM-compatible' SSB mode: USB + full carrier)

    LOL at Buenos Aires, Argentina: 11-12h, 14-15h, 17-18h,
    5,000 & 10,000 kHz 20-21h, 23-24h UTC only

    WWVH at Kekaha, Hawaii and (or) WWV at Fort Collins, Colorado:
    5,000 & 10,000 & 15,000 (& 20,000) kHz

    YVTO at Caracas, Venezuela:
    5,000 kHz

    [7] But what if I don't want to scan for stations while driving?

    You can also lock in 'full-time' transmitters. Just be able to wait
    through AM-type dead-zones: when relatively nearby your radio can be
    in a dead-zone; or when farther away, tuning in can be like using an
    'AM radio' at night to receive that station, although antenna use is
    as for FM. Even if you stay put, a strong signal may soon fade away,
    since reception can also vary with time of day, as well as location,
    and some other conditions. The list below has a variety of full-time
    frequencies of Oceania\America. Although this information is subject
    to change at any time without notice, the stations have not changed
    frequency very often. Average transmission time for each frequency
    is over eight hours a day. The list can also help you test radios
    before buying one, or program memories before departure to avoid
    scanning for stations while underway. Many shortwave radios also
    have clock-radio functions: listed stations near to you or having
    good, reliable reception may be used for when the radio is set to
    turn on, and should keep on broadcasting, even if you hit 'snooze'
    repeatedly; otherwise, time & standard frequency stations are well-
    -suited for this purpose. When 'DXing' the following stations, the
    4-digit frequencies tend to work better at night.

    kHz; Station, Location
    3,205 Radio West Sepik, Vanimo, Papua New Guinea
    3,210 WWCR, Nashville, Tennessee
    3,220 HCJB, Quito, Ecuador
    3,220 Radio Morobe, Lae, Papua New Guinea
    3,230 NTSS, Alice Springs, Northern Territory
    3,235 Radio West New Britain, Kimbe, Papua New Guinea
    3,260 Radio Madang; Papua New Guinea
    3,275 Radio Southern Highlands, Mendi, Papua New Guinea
    3,290 VOG, Sparendaam, Guyana
    3,300 Radio Cultural, C.Guatemala;
    3,305 Radio Western, Daru, Papua New Guinea
    3,315 Radio Manus, Lorengau, Papua New Guinea
    3,315 NTSS, Tennant Creek, Northern Territory
    3,325 Radio North Solomons, Kieta, Papua New Guinea
    3,345 Radio Northern District, Popondetta, Papua New Guinea
    3,355 Radio Noumea, New Caledonia
    3,355 Radio Simbu, Kundiawa, Papua New Guinea
    3,365 Radio Milne Bay, Alotau, Papua New Guinea
    3,370 NTSS, Katherine, Northern Territory
    3,375 Radio Western Highlands, Mt Hagen, Papua New Guinea
    3,385 Radio East New Britain, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea
    3,385 FR3, Cayenne, French Guyana
    3,905 Radio New Ireland, Kavieng, Papua New Guinea
    3,935 Radio Reading Service, Levin, New Zealand
    3,945 RV, Emten, Vanuatu
    4,755 Radio Educadasao Rural, Campo Grande, Brazil
    4,765 Radio Integrasao, Cruzeiro do Sul, Brazil
    4,765 Radio Emissora Rural, Santarem, Brazil
    4,785 Radio Caiari, Porto Velho, Brazil
    4,805 Radio Difusora do Amazonas, Manaus, Brazil
    4,815 Radio Difusora, Londrina, Brazil
    4,820 HRVC, Tegucicalpa, Honduras
    4,824.4 La Voz de la Selva, Iquitos, Peru
    4,825 Radio Cansao Nova, Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil
    4,830 Radio Techira, San Cristobal, Venezuela
    4,835 NTSS, Alice Springs, Northern Territory
    4,845 Radio Cultura Ondas Tropicais, Manaus, Brazil
    4,850 SRS, Paramaribo, Suriname
    4,860 Radio Federacion Shuar, Sucua, Ecuador
    4,875 La Cruz del Sur, La Paz, Bolivia
    4,890 NBC, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
    4,905 Radio Mar, Chorillos, Peru
    4,910 NTSS, Tennant Creek, Northern Territory
    4,915 Radio CBN Anhanguera, Goiania, Brazil
    4,915 Radio Difusora, Macapa, Brazil
    4,920 Radio Quito, Quito, Ecuador
    4,945 Radio Illimani, La Paz, Bolivia
    4,955 Radio Nacional, Bogota, Colombia
    4,960 Radio Villa, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
    4,960 RV, Emten, Vanuatu
    4,985 Radio Brasil Central, Goiania, Brazil
    4,980 Ecos del Torbes, San Cristobal, Venezuela
    4,991 Radio Apinti, Paramaribo, Suriname
    5,020 SIBC, Honiara, Solomon Islands
    5,025 NTSS, Katherine, Northern Territory
    5,025 Radio Rebelde, Bauta, Cuba
    5,029 University Network, Cahuita, Costa Rica
    5,030 Radio Catolica Nacional, Quito, Ecuador
    5,035 Radio Aparecida, Sao Paulo, Brazil
    5,040 Voz del Upano, Macas, Ecuador
    5,045 Radio Cultura do Para, Belem, Brazil
    5,055 Faro del Caribe, San Jose, Costa Rica
    5,055 RFO, Matouri, French Guyana
    5,070 WWCR, Nashville, Tennessee
    5,085 WWRB, Manchester, Tennessee
    5,105-usb WBCQ, Monticello, Maine
    5,446.5-usb AFN, Key West, Florida
    5,745 WHRI, Noblesville, Indiana
    5,755 KAIJ, Dallas, Texas
    5,765-usb AFN, Agana, Guam
    5,770 Radio Miskut, Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua
    5,825 EWTN, Vandiver, Alabama
    5,835 KIMF, Pinon, New Mexico
    5,920 WVOH, Newport, North Carolina
    5,935 WWCR, Nashville, Tennessee
    5,950 WYFR, Okeechobee, Florida
    5,950 VOG, Sparendaam, Guyana
    5,955 Radio Gazeta, Sao Paulo, Brazil
    5,970 Radio Itatiaia, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
    5,980 Radio Guaruja, Florianopolis, Brazil
    5,980 Union Radio, C. Guatemala;
    5,980 Gronlands Radio, Godthab, Greenland
    5,985 WYFR, Okeechobee, Florida
    5,985 RMI, Mexico DF;
    5,990 Radio Senado, Brasilia, Brazil
    6,000 Radio Guaiba, Porto Alegre, Brazil
    6,012 AFAN, McMurdo Station, Antarctica
    6,015 Radio El Mundo, Santa Cruz, Bolivia
    6,020 Radio Educadora da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil
    6,020 Radio Gaucha, Porto Alegre, Brazil
    6,025 Radio Illimani, La Paz, Bolivia
    6,030 CFVP, Calgary, Alberta
    6,030 Radio Globo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    6,030 Radio Santa Maria, Coyhaique, Chile
    6,030 Radio Marti, Marathon, Florida
    6,050 HCJB, Quito, Ecuador
    6,050 Radio Guarani, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
    6,060 Radio Tupi, Curitiba, Brazil
    6,060 Radio Nacional/RAE, Buenos Aires, Argentina
    6,070 CFRX, Toronto, Ontario
    6,070 Radio Voz Cristiana, Santiago, Chile
    6,080 Radio Novas de Paz, Curitiba, Brazil
    6,080 HCJB, Quito, Ecuador
    6,090 Radio Esperanza, Temuco, Chile
    6,090 Radio Bandeirantes, Sao Paulo, Brazil
    6,090 The Caribbean Beacon, Anguilla, BWI
    6,105 Radio Panamericana, La Paz, Bolivia
    6,105 Radio Cansao Nova, Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil
    6,105 Radio Universidad, San Jose, Costa Rica
    6,115 La Voz del Llano, Villavicencio, Colombia
    6,115 Radio Union, Lima, Peru
    6,120 Radio Rebelde, Bauta, Cuba
    6,130 CHNX, Halifax, Nova Scotia
    6,135 RFO, Papeete, Tahiti
    6,135 Radio Santa Cruz, Bolivia
    6,135 Radio Aparecida, Sao Paulo, Brazil
    6,140 Radio Rebelde, Bauta, Cuba
    6,150 Radio Record, Sao Paulo, Brazil
    6,150 University Network, Cahuita, Costa Rica
    6,155 Radio Fides, La Paz, Bolivia
    6,160 CKZN, St. John's, Newfoundland
    6,160 CKZU, Vancouver, British Columbia
    6,160 Radio Rio Mar, Manaus, Brazil
    6,160 Sistema LBV Mundial, Porto Alegre, Brazil
    6,180 Radio Nacional da Amazonia, Brasilia, Brazil
    6,185 Radio Educacion, Mexico DF;
    6,190 Radio Senado, Brasilia, Brazil
    6,350-usb AFN, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
    6,890 WWRB, Manchester, Tennessee
    7,315 WHRI, Noblesville, Indiana
    7,380 University Network, Cahuita, Costa Rica
    7,385 Radio Miami International; Florida
    7,395 WRNO, New Orleans, Louisiana
    7,415 WBCQ, Monticello, Maine
    7,425 Radio Catolica Mundial, Vandiver, Alabama
    7,445 RFPI, El Rodeo, Costa Rica
    7,490 WJIE, Millerstown, Kentucky
    7,505 KTBN, Salt Lake City, Utah
    7,507-usb AFN, Isabela, Puerto Rico
    9,320 WWRB, Manchester, Tennessee
    9,329.7-lsb WBCQ, Monticello, Maine
    9,370 WTJC, Newport, North Carolina
    9,465 WMLK, Bethel, Pennsylvania
    9,465 KFBS, Marpi, Saipan
    9,475 WWCR, Nashville, Tennessee
    9,495 WHRI, Noblesville, Indiana
    9,515 Radio Novas de Paz, Curitiba, Brazil
    9,530 Radio Transmundial, Santa Maria, Brazil
    9,540 Radio Educadora da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil
    9,540 Radio Nacional, Caracas, Venezuela
    9,545 SIBC, Honiara, Solomon Islands
    9,550 Radio Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
    9,565 Radio Tupi, Curitiba, Brazil
    9,580 Radio Australia, Shepparton, Victoria
    9,585 Radio CBN, Sao Paulo, Brazil
    9,600 Radio Rebelde, Bauta, Cuba
    9,625 CBC, Sackville, New Brunswick
    9,625 Radio Fides, La Paz, Bolivia
    9,630 Radio Aparecida, Sao Paulo, Brazil
    9,635 Radio Voz Cristiana, Santiago, Chile
    9,635 Radio Nacional, Bogota, Colombia
    9,640 Ecos del Torbes, San Cristobal, Venezuela
    9,650 Emisora C. de Montevideo; Uruguay
    9,660 Radio Australia, Brandon, Queensland
    9,665 Radio Marumby, Florianopolis, Brazil
    9,675 NBC, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
    9,675 Radio Cansao Nova, Cachoeira Paulista, Brazil
    9,685 Radio Gazeta, Sao Paulo, Brazil
    9,705 RMI, Mexico DF;
    9,725 University Network, Cahuita, Costa Rica
    9,737 Radio Nacional, Asuncion, Paraguay
    9,820 Radio Havana; Cuba
    9,955/65 KHBN, Aimeliik, Palau
    9,975 KVOH, Simi, California
    9,985 KHBN, Aimeliik, Palau
    10,320-usb AFN, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
    11,530 Radio Catolica Mundial, Vandiver, Alabama
    11,565 KWHR, Naalehu, Hawaii
    11,690 Radio Voz Cristiana, Santiago, Chile
    11,725 Radio Novas de Paz, Curitiba, Brazil
    11,735 Radio Transmundial, Santa Maria, Brazil
    11,765 Radio Tupi, Curitiba, Brazil
    11,770 RMI, Mexico DF;
    11,775 The Caribbean Beacon, Anguilla, BWI
    11,780 Radio Nacional da Amazonia, Brasilia, Brazil
    11,805 Radio Globo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    11,830 Radio CBN Anhanguera, Goiania, Brazil
    11,870 University Network, Cahuita, Costa Rica
    11,895 Sistema LBV Mundial, Porto Alegre, Brazil
    11,915 Radio Gaucha, Porto Alegre, Brazil
    11,925 Radio Bandeirantes, Sao Paulo, Brazil
    11,930 Radio Marti, Marathon, Florida
    12,080 Radio Australia, Brandon, Queensland
    12,133.5-usb AFN, Key West, Florida
    12,160 WWCR, Nashville, Tennessee
    12,172 WWRB, Manchester, Tennessee
    13,362-usb AFN, Agana, Guam
    13,570 WINB, Red Lion, Pennsylvania
    13,595 WJIE, Millerstown, Kentucky
    13,615 WEWN, Vandiver, Alabama
    13,750 University Network, Cahuita, Costa Rica
    13,760 WHRI, Noblesville, Indiana
    13,815 KAIJ, Dallas, Texas
    13,820 Radio Marti, Marathon, Florida
    13,845 WWCR, Nashville, Tennessee
    15,040 RFPI, El Rodeo, Costa Rica
    15,200 Radio Nacional da Amazonia, Brasilia, Brazil
    15,240 Radio Australia, Shepparton, Victoria
    15,325 Radio Gazeta, Sao Paulo, Brazil
    15,375 Radio Voz Cristiana, Santiago, Chile
    15,415 Radio Australia, Shepparton, Victoria
    15,420 WRNO, New Orleans, Louisiana
    15,590 KTBN, Salt Lake City, Utah
    15,725 Radio Miami International; Florida
    15,745 WEWN, Vandiver, Alabama
    17,495 WBCQ, Monticello, Maine
    17,600/45 Christian Voice, Darwin, Northern Territory
    17,650 WHRA, Greenbush, Maine
    17,675 RNZI, Rangitaiki, New Zealand
    17,680 Radio Voz Cristiana, Santiago, Chile
    17,750 WYFR, Okeechobee, Florida
    17,775 KVOH, Simi, California
    21,455-usb HCJB, Quito, Ecuador
    21,500/50 Radio Voz Cristiana, Santiago, Chile
    21,725 Radio Australia, Shepparton, Victoria
    25,322 AAFR, Darwin, Northern Territory
    25,870-fm WFLA, Tampa, Florida
    29,880-fm Radio Sideral, Quito, Ecuador

    [8] Where online can I get more information on SW (car) radios?

    Google's archives of can get you started:

    So can these websites of radios with shortwave coverage:

    Car Radios:

    Palm-sized, Belt-clippable Radios: (recommended for bikers)

    Boom-box Radios: (recommended for boating/camping)

    [9] Abbreviations and Terms

    Below is a short list of common terms and abbreviations relevant to SW
    radios. You can find further explanations on SW topics at:


    AM (Amplitude Modulation)
    BCD (Binary Coded Decimal)
    BFO (Beat Frequency Oscillator)
    CB (Citizens' Band)
    CW (Continuous Wave)
    DX (old telegraphy code for Distant TRANSmission)
    ECSS(Exalted Carrier Single Sideband)
    FM (Frequency Modulation)
    FSK (Frequency Shift Keying)
    GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
    HAM (AMateur radio)
    HF (High Frequencies)
    kHz (kiloHertz)
    LSB (Lower SideBand)
    LW (LongWave)
    Mm/s(Mega metres per second)
    MHz (MegaHertz)
    MW (MediumWave)
    PLL (Phase Locked Loop)
    RTTY(Radio TeleTYpe)
    SSB (Single SideBand)
    SWL (ShortWave Listening)
    USB (Upper SideBand)
    UTC (Universal Time: by atomic clocks Coordinated to track GMT)
    VHF (Very High Frequencies)


    Amplitude Modulation: A technique that multiplexes audio frequencies
    onto the upper side of a carrier to produce the USB, and a mirror
    image of the audio frequencies beneath the carrier to produce the LSB.
    The resulting AM signal is also known as Double Sideband (DSB).

    Beat Frequency Oscillator: A receiver circuit that generates a signal
    to emulate the carrier missing in CW, FSK, RTTY & SSB signals, and so
    enable intelligible reception.

    Carrier: a radio signal transmitted at constant strength & frequency,
    serving also as the reference tuning frequency of the transmission.

    Continuous Wave: a radio signal transmitted at constant frequency &
    strength except when interrupted to send messages by Morse code.

    DXing: listening to distant stations (D=distant, X=transmitter)

    Exalted Carrier Single Sideband: a reception technique in which the
    BFO is used to insert a carrier over the received carrier of a signal.

    Frequency Step: the frequency increment for a radio to tune or scan
    from one channel to the next.

    Hertz: cycles per second (= cps = c/s); metric unit of frequency.

    Ionosphere: a region in the upper atmosphere where free electrons and
    ions abound sufficiently to backscatter shortwave photons, so that
    they skip back to earth instead of just continuing out into space.

    kilo: 1,000.

    Longwave: Radio signals from 30 to 300 kHz in frequency, although
    this term often is abused to mean any signal lower than 540 kHz.

    Lower Sideband: The sideband lower in frequency than the nominal or
    actual carrier of a transmission.

    Mediumwave: Radio signals from 300 to 3000 kHz (3 MHz) although this
    term is often limited to mean only radio signals in the MW broadcast
    band (at a minimum 540 to 1600 kHz).

    Mega: 1,000,000.

    Shortwave: Radio signals from 3 to 30 MHz, although this term often
    is misused to include radio signals as low as 1610 kHz.

    Sideband: That part of the radio signal above or below the carrier
    frequency that either (as the USB) directly corresponds to the
    original audio frequencies at the transmitter's input, or (as the
    LSB) inversely corresponds in the form of a mirror image.

    Single Sideband: A modulation technique that suppresses one sideband
    entirely (and the carrier to varying degrees), leaving the remaining
    sideband essentially unchanged.

    Synchronous Detection: A demodulation technique that improves the
    reception of AM signals. Ironically, there is no 'AM radio' on the
    market that incorporates this feature. Found on many SW portables
    from Sony, and on most modern desktop receivers. You will want it,
    if you spend much time listening to music. For listening to voice
    broadcasts under poor reception conditions, ECSS can give results
    as good, if not better.

    Upper Sideband: The sideband higher in frequency than the nominal
    or actual carrier of a transmission.

    Very High Frequencies: The radio frequencies from 30 to 300 MHz.
    The FM broadcast band is in the VHF band.
    optimised for viewing in Pine - will print to 7 sheets double-sided
  2. A revision of "Intro to Mobile Shortwave Radios" has been squirreled
    away on gopher under "RetroMobileRadio" and on the ncf Travel SIG
    ( telnet:// login as 'guest' & then type 'go travel').
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