by Daniel A. Grunberg -- Kensington, Maryland U.S.A A PHILOSOPHICAL FOREWORD 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 rec.radio.shortwave, 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
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.
================================================================== ***** IMHO A NEWBIE FIRST SHOULD CONSULT ***** 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. ================================================================== ***** IMHO A NEWBIE NEXT SHOULD CONSULT ***** SHORTWAVE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) DOCUMENT 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 rec.radio.shortwave can be found easily with a Web browser at: http://itre.ncsu.edu/radio/faqs/shortwave.html, which is the URL forWelcome to rec.radio.shortwave(Shortwave)
Without a Web browser, the path, although navigable, is more indirect: Get to an Internet Search Engine, Infoseek, whose URL is http://www.infoseek.com, for example. Use Infoseek to search for: shortwave-faq From the hits choose: Shortwave Radio FAQs From the FAQs, choose: Welcome to rec.radio.shortwave (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 URL.) ================================================================== A MONTHLY MAGAZINE WITH SCHEDULES AND REVIEWS 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 email@example.com 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. ================================================================== TWO U.S. MAIL ORDER shortwave RETAILERS 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: http://www.grove.net 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:http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/index2.html
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.
AN OVER-THE-COUNTER SHORTWAVE RETAILER 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.
U.S. MAIL ORDER CAMERA DISCOUNTERS THAT SELL SHORTWAVE EQUIPMENT Some articles on rec.radio.shortwave 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 departments. 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. ================================================================== FINDING SHORTWAVE STUFF ON THE INTERNET SHORTWAVE WEB SITES A Web site with suggested links to information useful to newbies specifically marked is:Shortwave/Radio Catalog , whose URL is http://itre.ncsu.edu/radio/ .
TRS Consultants' Web site has an AMAZING number of links
and other radio related information, including equipment reviews,
articles, and SW broadcasters' schedules. TRS' URL is: http://itre.ncsu.edu/radio/ .
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
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, (detroit.freenet.org/sigs/l-radio/)
Bry's Shortwave Radio Links, (www.mnsinc.com/bry/swllynx.htm)
The WWW Shortwave Listening Guide, (www.anarc.org/naswa/swlguide)
KEYWORD SEARCHES OF rec.radio.shortwave and the rest of the Net
http://www.dejanews.com, is a search engine that can be
used to search older postings to rec.radio.shortwave. Use
Dejanews' powersearch to establish to establish a filter that will
search to the rec.radio.shortwave 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.
http://altavista.digital.com, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org . I'll do my best to confuse you completely (:-). (Comments or corrections also are welcome.)