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Author Topic: Remember SWLing when it was fun?  (Read 82569 times)
WW7KE
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Posts: 86




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« Reply #30 on: April 17, 2013, 01:02:41 PM »

I don't know which I miss more, the old stations world wide or the equipment.  I still look at the old Allied and Lafayette catalogs and dream.

The old equipment should still be usable.  Most of the old stations are off the air, but many are still available online. Yeah, I know - not as much fun, but the object of the game in worldwide broadcasting is to get the message out, clearly.

Besides the old receivers should still work perfectly (or at least, as-designed) on the ham bands.  We're not going anywhere.  Grin
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RENTON481
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Posts: 75




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« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2013, 05:02:07 AM »

Quote
I don't know which I miss more, the old stations world wide or the equipment.  I still look at the old Allied and Lafayette catalogs and dream.

RE: those old radios:  I've been able to get a couple old multiband SW radios, ones that would have been my dream radios back when I was a kid...

I've been lucky, only one of them needed a re-cap job (in the audio section), and fortunately it was easy to get to the audio PC board.  The other one still works well.  They're surprisingly good performers when you attach a 15 or 20 ft. wire to the antenna....  A lot of times I tune them into Radio Rebelde because they come in pretty reliably and they play a lot of different music.

On a more general note, the other day I was tuning around on one of my digital portables and the 19 meter band was completely dead, except for a station from the Philippines.  I remember when that band was literally crammed with signals.  It seems that sometimes even the 49 meter band has some vacant channels nowadays. Times have definitely changed.

Like WW7KE mentions, the ham bands still have a lot of activity.  I've been learning to read CW, which has provided me a new world of listening.
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KE7TMA
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Posts: 472




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« Reply #32 on: May 16, 2013, 03:51:16 PM »

Even in the last 10 years (since I started my SWL career) I have noted a marked decline in the number of stations on the air.  There are always the vitriolic "christian" stations going 24/7 though, and I'll be danged if I haven't noted interesting digital subcarriers in their transmissions, especially since obtaining a software defined radio.

If they are really running spook radio under the fire and brimstone, it would finally explain how they can afford to be on the air 24/7 with such high powered transmitters.

So, while there isn't as much fun stuff to listen to as there was in the old days, we can still find interesting things!
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VA1CQ
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Posts: 70


WWW

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« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2013, 07:59:07 AM »

Remember SWL registration callsigns? I was VE7PE1EO eventually changing to VE7DX1EO when Popular Electronics no longer ran the program. And you can still register via Popular Communications. My current registration is VEPC1CQ: http://johndenver.ca/

No greater excitement as a youngun than hearing my mail read by The Record Roost gang over XELO on 800kHz from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. If they'd been on the Moon that station could not have seemed more exotic to me. And the special on-air invitation from the DJ at CKOK also on 800 kHz to call him live just because I was "hundreds of miles away" from their small town in central B.C.
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WW7KE
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Posts: 86




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« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2013, 09:15:23 AM »

Remember SWL registration callsigns? I was VE7PE1EO eventually changing to VE7DX1EO when Popular Electronics no longer ran the program. And you can still register via Popular Communications. My current registration is VEPC1CQ: http://johndenver.ca/

I received mine (WPE9JZT) about a week after I received my Novice ticket (WN9EAZ) in May 1970. Popular Electronics discontinued the program later that year.  I never did change it to a WDX.  I figured that since they weren't real callsigns anyway, it didn't matter.
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VA1CQ
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Posts: 70


WWW

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« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2013, 09:55:01 AM »

The registration program was clever to bring into the group those who weren't hams and therefore didn't have a recognized identifier (callsign).

SWLing was fun when HCJB broadcast from Quito, Ecuador and had their weekly DX Party Line show. There used to be many shows on SW dedicated to the hobbyist. I wonder if this is still true. The only one I'm still aware of is Radio Havana's DX show.

I live not too far from the former Radio Canada International (RCI) transmitter site in Sackville, NB. It is truly a splendid sight with a massive collection of towers suspending a LOT of wire in the air. Besides RCI programming, that site used to broadcast Radio Japan, Radio Netherlands, and probably many more signals. Hard to believe it is silent now and unused, probably only remaining due to the massive cost to remove the towers and installation.

http://j-source.ca/article/radio-canada-international-goes-air-moving-online-only-after-67-years-shortwave-service
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 10:00:13 AM by VA1CQ » Logged
KJ6ZOL
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Posts: 412




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« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2013, 01:09:25 AM »

The registration program was clever to bring into the group those who weren't hams and therefore didn't have a recognized identifier (callsign).

SWLing was fun when HCJB broadcast from Quito, Ecuador and had their weekly DX Party Line show. There used to be many shows on SW dedicated to the hobbyist. I wonder if this is still true. The only one I'm still aware of is Radio Havana's DX show.

I live not too far from the former Radio Canada International (RCI) transmitter site in Sackville, NB. It is truly a splendid sight with a massive collection of towers suspending a LOT of wire in the air. Besides RCI programming, that site used to broadcast Radio Japan, Radio Netherlands, and probably many more signals. Hard to believe it is silent now and unused, probably only remaining due to the massive cost to remove the towers and installation.

http://j-source.ca/article/radio-canada-international-goes-air-moving-online-only-after-67-years-shortwave-service

Not totally shocking, as Canadian administrations had tried for years to shut down RCI, only to bow to letter writing campaigns. Voice of America has been gutted too, courtesy of a bureaucrat who believed that "MTV won the Cold War" and who thus turned VoA into a pop music station.  Angry Roll Eyes Winning hearts and minds is not America's strong suit any longer.
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KJ6ZOL
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Posts: 412




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« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2013, 01:21:45 AM »

Even in the last 10 years (since I started my SWL career) I have noted a marked decline in the number of stations on the air.  There are always the vitriolic "christian" stations going 24/7 though, and I'll be danged if I haven't noted interesting digital subcarriers in their transmissions, especially since obtaining a software defined radio.

If they are really running spook radio under the fire and brimstone, it would finally explain how they can afford to be on the air 24/7 with such high powered transmitters.

So, while there isn't as much fun stuff to listen to as there was in the old days, we can still find interesting things!

It would also explain the way out of band broadcasts that the FCC seems to have no interest in stopping.

Anybody remember the Yosemite Sam signal back in 2004? It was so weird that hams set to work DFing it. I wonder if that was a test to see what they could get away with. They couldn't, so they fell back on the cover of religious stations.

I think that after a while the only stuff that will be left will be the spooks/preachers and the Chinese and Russian domestics. I've heard Chinese broadcasts that sound like a Chinese version of 1930s American radio, complete with "radio plays". China and Russia are too large to cover with TV, and many people even in the cities can't afford TV sets, so radio still plays an important part in popular culture. South America used to be that way, but people have been gradually moving into cities, and general prosperity in places like Brazil mean it's TV time. China still has 800 million peasant farmers, most of them living in a level of poverty that simply doesn't exist in the US. Chinese radios come with rechargeable batteries because alkaline batteries are hard to get in much of China, and what is available is cheap and tends to leak and cause damage. But most people have AC mains power.
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RENTON481
Member

Posts: 75




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« Reply #38 on: May 27, 2013, 04:48:24 AM »

KE7TMA,
What sort of 'digital subcarriers' are you referring to?  Is it something that is audible on AM or SSB, like the IBOC one hears on the AM band?

RE: SW broadcasts dying off: I've noticed a marked change in just the last two years.  There are even less broadcasts in Spanish to Latin America than there used to be.  It may have been accentuated the past few weeks by lousy night time SW conditions.

I've more or less been 'forced' to try the Utility DX route, along with monitoring the ham bands more.  Winters I DX MW, but during Spring and Summer MW DXing is hit and miss.
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W8IFI
Member

Posts: 23




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« Reply #39 on: June 11, 2013, 05:40:38 PM »

I used to spend a lot of time listening to ship to shore. One time I listened to a Coast Guard ship as it was chasing down and stopped a "drug" boat off of Florida. I also heard George Bush senior when he was vice president. Secret Service link wasn't working and they didn't realize the Air force talk was in the clear. Heard Regan plane Air Force One  as he was leaving Iceland with his talk with Gorbachev. Once a large ship had an ill crew member and was trying to get a coast guard helicopter to lift him off the boat. they told the ship captain to stop his ship for the pickup. He reminded them that it took 45 minutes to come to a full stop. I listened to SAC all the time. Some really spooky moments a few times!
Now with digital and satellites there isn't much left to listen to.
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W8IFI
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Posts: 23




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« Reply #40 on: June 11, 2013, 05:57:09 PM »

Back in the 50's the shortwave broadcasts from Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Britain, Sweden etc., played beautiful Christmas music during the holidays. I had the innards from a great big console radio with the large speaker. (No cabinet, just the inner workings.) I would take it into the basement and place it so the speaker was near the furnace hot air ducts and the music would drift through out the house. Poor man's version of stereo! Beautiful. last few years I couldn't find one station playing holiday music.
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SCOWL
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #41 on: June 26, 2013, 11:00:55 AM »

All the local stations here start playing Christmas music right after Halloween so who needs shortwave?

Back in the early 80's (when I was a kid) I sent a QSL request to Radio Moscow and asked if they had an oil crisis in the Soviet Union. This was a perfect question for them so they read their answer on the air, which was that the Soviet Union is one of the largest oil producers in the world so they don't have any shortages. Oh, and the so-called "oil crisis" in capitalist countries is caused by the oil companies behaving like kulaks, driving up the price of oil by creating artificial shortages. Dang, even Radio Havana doesn't broadcast stuff like this any more.
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G4FUT
Member

Posts: 88




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« Reply #42 on: July 02, 2013, 02:49:12 PM »

HCJB broadcast from Quito used to be a HUGE signal here in Northern England. But going back to my early SWL days, I used the family's radiogram ...(is that the same term in the USA?) in the early 1950s ...(Yes I am that old !!! Cheesy ). The family couldn't get local UK stations after I had tweaked up some coils inside the thing to get ham radio AM station on 20 metres.
Also do you remember the various signature tunes which identified each SW station?  There was some bird song which Radio South Africa played before their programmes.  And the stirring national anthems.  
BTW, Russia of course has adopted the old national anthem which had been used by the USSR as the one they originally had after the fall of the USSR was not stirring enough! Grin
Ah....happy innocent days.
Funny enough, I've just started SWLing again as I have added a Kenwood (Trio in UK) R-1000 rx to my Kenwood 30+ year old rig collection.
Jon G4FUT
« Last Edit: July 02, 2013, 02:53:55 PM by G4FUT » Logged

Even if the voices aren't real, they have some pretty good ideas
KE7TMA
Member

Posts: 472




Ignore
« Reply #43 on: July 07, 2013, 11:37:08 PM »

Even in the last 10 years (since I started my SWL career) I have noted a marked decline in the number of stations on the air.  There are always the vitriolic "christian" stations going 24/7 though, and I'll be danged if I haven't noted interesting digital subcarriers in their transmissions, especially since obtaining a software defined radio.

If they are really running spook radio under the fire and brimstone, it would finally explain how they can afford to be on the air 24/7 with such high powered transmitters.

So, while there isn't as much fun stuff to listen to as there was in the old days, we can still find interesting things!

It would also explain the way out of band broadcasts that the FCC seems to have no interest in stopping.

Anybody remember the Yosemite Sam signal back in 2004? It was so weird that hams set to work DFing it. I wonder if that was a test to see what they could get away with. They couldn't, so they fell back on the cover of religious stations.

I think that after a while the only stuff that will be left will be the spooks/preachers and the Chinese and Russian domestics. I've heard Chinese broadcasts that sound like a Chinese version of 1930s American radio, complete with "radio plays". China and Russia are too large to cover with TV, and many people even in the cities can't afford TV sets, so radio still plays an important part in popular culture. South America used to be that way, but people have been gradually moving into cities, and general prosperity in places like Brazil mean it's TV time. China still has 800 million peasant farmers, most of them living in a level of poverty that simply doesn't exist in the US. Chinese radios come with rechargeable batteries because alkaline batteries are hard to get in much of China, and what is available is cheap and tends to leak and cause damage. But most people have AC mains power.

I surely hope that SWBC stays around for some time.  It is very popular still in Europe and Asia, and Oceana.  Too bad it is not popular for foreign nations to send over English language programming more often.  The quality of reportage on our state-sanctioned media (CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc) has gone below that of Radio Havana Cuba, which I find more credible and believable than any domestic outlet with the exception of the Christian Science Monitor.
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VA3AEX
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Posts: 22




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« Reply #44 on: July 08, 2013, 12:50:26 PM »

For different 'perspectives' I still like to listen to Radio Havana and Radio China, and then tune BBC World news and CCN.  Not sure at times that they are reporting on the same thing as the slant of the story is often very different.   

It is sad that a lot of stations have disappeared as my interest in ham radio came out of SWLing as a kid.  I have great memories of listening to the BBC and VOA news on a tube radio my dad had built from a kit.  That radio gave us the world or at least current news from 'outside' as we were living in Central America at the time.
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