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SHORTWAVE RADIO NOTES

 

SHORTWAVE RADIO HAS MANY OPTIONS, I LIKE TO DIVIDE THEM INTO TWO DISTINCT TYPES. ONE IS BROADCAST, AS THEM NAME IMPLIES IT IS A STATION THAT IS TRYING TO HIT AS MANY LISTENERS AS POSSIBLE THEY TEND TO HAVE A THEME AND A SCHEDULE. THESE STATIONS ARE ALMOST ALWAYS TRANSMITTING AM.

 THE OTHER STYLE OF RADIO IS WHAT I CALL UTILITY CHANNELS. THESE ARE STATIONS THAT ARE COMMUNICATING WITH EACH OTHER AND ARE NOT ON ANY SCHEDULE, SUCH AS AIRCRAFT, MILITARY, HAM RADIO, SHIPS AT SEA, ETC. THEY USUALLY OPERATE ON SSB FOR IT HAS GREATER RANGE.

IF YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE INTERESTED IN " UTILITY" FREQUENCIES BE SURE THE RADIO YOU BUY HAS SSB CAPABILITIES.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR RADIO 

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SIZE

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MUST BE DIGITAL, ANALOG IS DEAD

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SHOULD HAVE A NUMERIC KEYPAD FOR EASY PROGRAMMING

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SHOULD COVER FREQUENCIES FROM AT LEAST 550 TO 30 MHZ WITH NO BREAKS

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IF YOU WANT SSB IT IS BEST TO HAVE A PRODUCT DETECTOR, THIS WAY YOU WILL KNOW THE EXACT FREQUENCY OF THE STATION. THE OTHER CHOICE IS A BFO AND THIS WORKS FINE BUT IS HARDER TO TUNE AND A LITTLE LESS STABLE.

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BANDWIDTH AND SKIRTS ARE MORE IMPORTANT FOR SSB RECEPTION THAN AM.

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STABILITY, SENSITIVITY AND IMAGES WERE AT ONE TIME THE MOST SERIOUS PROBLEM WITH LOW COST RECEIVERS BUT WITH MODERN DIGITAL RADIOS THEY NO LONGER ARE AS IMPORTANT AS ALL DIGITALS ARE EXCEPTIONAL IN THIS REGARD. 

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THE BETTER RADIOS HAVE BETTER SOUND, AND THE LARGER RADIOS HAVE LARGER SPEAKERS AND ARE EASIER TO SEE AND PROGRAM

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IN MY EXPERIENCE AN EXTERNAL ANTENNA, THOUGH IT SURELY DOES IMPROVE RECEPTION, IS NOT WORTH THE BOTHER. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ONBOARD WHIP USUALLY WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO HEAR ANY MORE STATIONS.

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ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER IS THAT MOST RECEPTION DURING DAYTIME IS ABOVE 10 MHZ AND AT NIGHT IS BELOW 10MHZ

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FOR AM BROADCAST LOOK IN THE "METER" BANDS AS OUT OF THE BANDS IS MOSTLY UTILITY STATIONS