Get better Shortwave reception with your radio!
Shortwave radio signals travel from the transmitter site, located usually in a foreign country, to your radio by being bounced between layers of electrified gases in the upper ionosphere above the earth and the earth's surface. The gases in the ionosphere are often turbulent and this means that your reception quality can vary between day and night, summer and winter and even during the course of a few hours or several minutes.
The reception of shortwave signals can also be affected by electrical storms, mountainous terrain, by tall buildings, the type and cost of your receiver and the kind of antenna it uses.
If your shortwave radio is battery powered, you should ensure that the batteries are fully charged or use your radio on AC power.
The speakers in portable shortwave radios are often
quite small, but sound quality can sometimes be improved by using
a small ear phone, headphones or an external speaker as in
Change the location
Try placing your radio in different locations. Reception is usually better by a window, especially one facing the direction of the transmitter. Example: If you're on the East coast of the U.S. and you're trying to listen to a broadcast from Europe, place the radio on the East or Northeast side of your home or office near a window facing that direction. Researching a world map will help you to find the best location relative to the transmitter. Although placing the radio on a metal object (e.g. a filing cabinet) may help a bit, very large metal structures such as fire escapes and elevator shafts, metal walls and roofs, etc. can cause interference or severe weakening of the signals. Also some domestic appliances, for example, microwave ovens, televisions, vacuums, mixers, computers and dozens of other devices can produce severe interference. Get the shortwave radio as far away from them as possible.
Your shortwave aerial (antenna) and it's relation to
Often all that is necessary is to wrap an insulated
copper wire a few feet long around the base of the radio's existing
telescoping antenna. See picture below:
As most good-quality portable short wave radios are
designed to be used without an external antenna, adding one can sometimes
cause the radio to overload making the signals distorted, so making a
permanent shortwave antenna without experimenting first is not
recommended. If you're using a better table top receiver, then it probably has circuitry that will compensate for the
overload. Most table top type shortwave receivers have an antenna
connection on the rear for an external antenna so just connect the wire to
it by following the instructions that came with the radio.
It is important to remember about any outside antenna that
high static voltages can build up on it in thunderstorms. During a
thunderstorm, (actually when you first start hearing thunder), you should
disconnect the aerial from the radio and either ground the disconnected
aerial inside the building to a known good ground or better yet, throw it
out of the window. Most ham (Amateur radio operators) do this even without
thinking to help protect their equipment! When you have fair weather,
don't get the antenna wire near any electrical hazards!
How to make simple outdoor antennas for
This short article of tips to improve your shortwave listening should help you get much more listening enjoyment from your shortwave receiver.
Recommended Excellent Reference books!
- Passport to World Band
Loaded with information for shorrtwave listening!
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