Advice to Shortwave Newbies
         by Daniel A. Grunberg   --   Kensington, Maryland U.S.A


In 1991, when the Gulf War started, I decided to return to 
shortwave listening, after an absence of more than thirty years. 
Not yet "wired" to the Internet, with nobody to ask, only by a 
lucky accident did I finally find my way to a shortwave radio 
dealer's showroom, not too far from my home.  At the showroom, 
it was obvious that modern shortwave receivers in many ways were
analogous to the BC-779 (a World War II surplus Super Pro), 
I owned long ago.  Nevertheless, modern receivers were 
substantially different from the receivers I had known.  Once 
again, I was a shortwave newbie, with lots of questions to ask 
and lots of homework to do. 

For the past few years, I've been reading, a
Usenet News bulletin board.  Woven through the articles on the
bulletin board are articles from a self renewing crop of new
newbies, asking, over and over again, questions similar to the
questions I asked in 1991.  I've noticed that most of the 
questions fall into three broad categories: 
     1)  Which receiver shall I buy and where shall I buy it?
     2)  What antenna will I need?
     3)  Where can I get more information?

An earlier article of mine, Minimal Antennas and Grounds, was an
attempt to give simple but useful advice to newbies stuck on
Question 2. This article is a collection of answers to Question 3.
Perhaps, armed with information from the sources given here,
eventually a newbie can answer Question 1 for himself.

Passport to World Band Radio is an annual soft cover book
published by:
               International Broadcasting Services Ltd. 
               Box 300
               Penn's Park PA 18943

               (215) 794-3396

The Passport costs US$19.95.  The Passport is available at my 
local public library.  Perhaps the Passport can be borrowed 
through your public library, too.

The Passport has a collection of reviews of currently available, 
newer shortwave receivers.  The Passport has reviews of recently 
available (think now available used) shortwave receivers.  

The Passport has charts of English and foreign language shortwave 
broadcasters' time and frequency schedules, and an hour by hour 
description of what is being broadcast in English.  Passport's 
schedules are the ones that were planned by the broadcasters, 
when Passport was made ready for its printer.  

The Passport typically is carried by shortwave radio suppliers 
(see below), or it can be ordered from its publisher.  

As I said before, many newbie questions are asked again and 
again. Answers to some of them have been collected in a FAQ 
document that is available on the Internet.  The FAQ for can be found easily with a Web browser at:, which is the URL
Welcome to
Without a Web browser, the path, although navigable, is more 
  Get to an Internet Search Engine, Infoseek, whose URL is, for example.

  Use Infoseek to search for:  shortwave-faq
  From the hits choose:  Shortwave Radio FAQs
  From the FAQs, choose: 
                   Welcome to (Shortwave)

(It is possible to get to all of the sites mentioned below using a
search engine to search for the site name, or possibly for its

MONITORING TIMES  (MT) is a monthly magazine published by Grove 
Enterprises.  MT's addresses are:
                           Monitoring Times
                           P.O. Box 98
                           300 South Highway 64 West
                           Brasstown NC 28902-0098
                           (704) 837-9200

MT publishes reviews of the newer shortwave receivers, as the 
receivers become available and the reviews are written.  Each 
issue of MT has shortwave broadcasters' English-language time and 
frequency schedules, as they were when that issue was made ready 
for its printer.  
MT sometimes is carried by *larger* newsstands.  I've found MT 
locally at Borders Books and at Tower Records and Books.  MT's 
newsstand price is US$3.95, MT's subscription price is US$23.95 
per year.  
Once, every large city had its "Radio Row", where there were 
several shortwave dealers to choose from.  Things have changed. 
Unless you're lucky enough to live near a shortwave retailer who 
stocks what you want to buy and charges what you are willing to 
pay, you're going to have to consider buying by mail.  
Fortunately, there are reputable houses out there.  

I have been pleased in my dealings with Grove Enterprises of 
Brasstown NC.  Grove's telephone number is (800) 438-8155.  
Grove's Web page is at:

I have been pleased in my dealings with Universal Radio of 
Reynoldsburg OH.  Universal's telephone number is (800) 431-3939. 
Universal's Web page's URL is:
Grove's and Universal's Web pages can be found easily with a Web
browser, or, less easily without a Web browser, by using Infoseek
in a way similar to using it to find the FAQ (see above).  (So can
any of the Web pages mentioned in this article.)

Both Grove and Universal have free catalogs that are well worth 
asking for.  Both firms have knowledgeable sales people.  


Your local Radio Shack store is a source of shortwave equipment. 
Radio Shack has a liberal return policy, that you might want to 
ask about.  Radio Shack has a very useful, free catalog.  Most
reasonably sized shopping centers have a Radio Shack store.  
Often Radio Shack is the only place in town that carries 
shortwave radios.  If I were buying my first shortwave radio, I 
certainly would look at what Radio Shack had for sale, but I'd 
also compare the Shack's radios to the radios that the mail 
order retailers were showing in their catalogs.  Radio Shack is 
the only place in the suburbs of Washington DC where I can find
connectors, batteries, electronic components, wires, antenna 
kits, ground rods, etc, every evening and all day on Saturdays 
and Sundays.

Some articles on have said that the 
shortwave retailers sell receivers at higher prices than do some 
mail order camera discounters.  The articles say that the camera 
discounters advertise in photography magazines.  Some of the 
articles say that the camera discounters are not knowledgeable 
about shortwave receivers, and that they have no service

In the 1970s, when programmable calculators were new and very 
expensive, I bought a $200 (that's 1976 dollars) model, for less, 
from a camera discounter.  I was never sorry about the calculator 
purchase.  When I bought my receivers, I wasn't aware that 
shortwave radios could be bought this way.  You might want to 
checkout some discounters, and see what you think.  If you
consider buying this way, first be sure that the receiver will be
backed by its MANUFACTURER'S warrantee and by its MANUFACTURER'S 
service organization.

A Web site with suggested links to information useful to newbies
specifically marked is:
Shortwave/Radio Catalog , whose URL is .

TRS Consultants' Web site has an AMAZING number of links to SWL
and other radio related information, including equipment reviews,
articles, and SW broadcasters' schedules. TRS' URL is: .

Schedules on broadcasters' home pages, *potentially* can be the
most up-to-date schedules of all.

Radio Netherlands links to receiver reviews and to on-line pamphlets
about shortwave. Radio Netherlands site truly is a sight worth seeing.

The following web sites allow access to SW broadcast schedules,
with various ways of finding what you want to hear (time of day,
type of program, etc):

Michigan Area Radio Enthusiasts, (

Bry's Shortwave Radio Links, (

The WWW Shortwave Listening Guide, (

br> ===========================================================

KEYWORD SEARCHES OF and the rest of the Net

Dejanews,, is a search engine that can be
used to search older postings to Use
Dejanews' powersearch to establish to establish a filter that will
limit your
search to the newsgroup. Submit the
filter. Then initiate searches for keywords of interest to you.
Incidentally, if you're using Lynx to get around the net, typing a
"p" (without the quotation marks), will allow you to download
and/or Email a copy of what you're viewing.

Alta Vista,, is a really great search
engine, whose "Advanced Search" feature allows you to search for
documents on the Web that contain keywords and combinations of
keywords that you type.

And what a plethora of stuff you can find. Searching for the
words, that are the make and model of a receiver, may yield
information about the receiver and opinions of owners (and
ex-owners) of the receiver. Searching for the words, that are
the name of a mail order house, may yield the comments of
satisfied (and unsatisfied) customers of the mail order house.
Searching for the word "antenna" may yield much good (and bad)
advice about all sorts of antennas. But be careful to think
about anything you read on the Web before you act on it.

This article was last updated on 1 April 1998.

If you have any questions, feel free to Email me . I'll do my best to confuse you completely (:-). (Comments or corrections also are welcome.)

This is the hit on this document since 27 August 1997.

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