Saturday, March 20, 2010

International Shortwave Radio Stations - 5 Easy Catches for North American Listeners

Individuals who are new to the hobby of shortwave radio listening might find themselves unwillingly tuning into a mass of incomprehensible static noise. Without a basic understanding of broadcast times, schedules or frequencies just finding regular programming on the shortwave dial can be a hit or miss endeavor. Many factors including the cost of transmission, transmitter availability, location and propagation conditions can affect the availability of shortwave programming. However, with a little insight into how the big international shortwave broadcasters operate getting a strong signal via even an inexpensive portable shortwave radio costing less than $50 such as the Kaito 1107 or a similar receiver should be possible from many North American locations year round even without an elaborate antenna setup.

At present among the easiest to catch shortwave radio programming transmissions available for listening in the south central United States are Radio Taiwan International, China Radio International, Radio Japan, Radio Canada International, and Voice of America. Broadcasts from these five stations have proven themselves for the most part to be reliable as well as offer a variety of interesting programming including news, music, special interest focused segments and, for those who enjoy a challenge, occasional foreign language lessons. With the exception of Voice of America these stations put a special focus on programming in the English language intended for target audiences in North America. The variety of programming available on shortwave radio is seemingly unlimited and there are without a doubt numerous other shortwave broadcasters, both domestic and international, available for Americans to tune into. Even so, for many listeners transmissions put together by these five big dogs should be a snap to find on the dial.

As they update from time to time, programming schedules can either be obtained directly from the broadcasters themselves (see the international shortwave broadcasters links in the sidebar of this blog) or from additional website resources such as Prime Time Shortwave or Glenn Hauser's World of Radio.

Links to example summaries of reception reports from four of the major international shortwave broadcasters listed above are posted below:

Radio Japan example reception report

Radio Taiwan example reception report

China Radio International example reception report

Voice of America example reception report