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Thread: Short Wave Radio

  1. #1
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    Default Short Wave Radio

    In the 70s and 80s I was obsessed with Short Wave radio and getting as many 'world services' as possible. It was the height of the Cold War and there were a lot of propaganda stations: Radio Moscow, Voice of Vietnam and best of all Radio Tirana where the newsreader was a chap with a Cockney accent denouncing 'US imperialism', 'Soviet social imperialism', 'Chinese hegemonism', etc. I had a radio with about 10 SW bands I think. These days Short Wave is largely silent except for religious fundamentalist stations from the US and the Middle East and I can get radio from around the world on my smartphone. But I can't help thinking some of the romance has gone out of it all. ... Do any of you have Short Wave nostalgia?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Short Wave Radio

    One I listened to was Voice of America

    I wonder if they are still broadcasting

    Do you really believe the other side without provocation would launch so many ICBM's, subs and ships knowing that we would have no option to launch as well? It would break our MAD Treaty (Mutually Assured Destruction) not to mention the end of the world as we know it.


  3. #3

    Default Re: Short Wave Radio

    I had a short wave radio in the 1990s - I definitely recall Voice of America, along with some Iranian propaganda station which went on about 'The Great Satan' and all that old nonsense. There was a TON of religious programming out there, most of which was distinctly weird. One odd station which sticks in my mind seemed to play nothing but chiming music overlayed by what sounded like people stomping loudly round a large hall. No idea what that was all about. I did occasionally catch the odd broadcast from a number station, and sometimes caught the heavily distorted voices of radio hams broadcasting via SSB.

    My lingering memory of SW radio was that there sure was a lot of strange stuff out there. And then along came the internet...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Short Wave Radio

    I've mostly used Short Wave when abroad, especially on holiday in France in 1993.

    I remember my Dad struggling to find the BBC World Service, especially as it seemed to switch metre bands at the time we wanted to listen.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Short Wave Radio

    I remember in the 70s that there used to be adverts in papers for SW "worldband" radios, that made it sound like you could pick up stations from all over the world. I think the advert stated, or possibly implied, that the radios were Russian or possibly from another East European country. I wondered at the time if they were genuinely from that area or actually from a bit further east than that.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Short Wave Radio

    In 1981 I did a school project on left-wing groups and was able to read a lot of their newspapers and magazines. ‘The Morning Star’, the Communist daily, advertised Eastern bloc radio broadcasts in English instead of having TV listings. I realised that their readers were getting all or most of their news from there and planning their evenings around these broadcasts. I had already listened to most of not all on SW. The bands varied: they all had Africa and Latin America services.

    From that project I also recall that the Workers Revolutionary Party (of which Vanessa and Corin Redgrave were leading lights) had a 6-page newspaper called News Line. Two of those pages were sport and that section was remarkably professional.

    Radio Tirana called us the ‘British imperialists’ on the night of Zimbabwe’s independence in April 1980!

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    Default Re: Short Wave Radio

    This is cynical but more than one person has said that the reason why mass market stereos and Hi-Fi tuners did not have SW on them was to vastly reduce the number of people who could receive communist and other propaganda broadcasts. It's probably safe to say that SW broadcasters were preaching to the converted, who had bought SW receivers to listen to them, rather than reaching out to the general public. There was something suspicious about the ownership of a SW or "worldband" radio as ordinary folk were assumed not to own such things. Was its owner a closet communist?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Short Wave Radio

    Quote Originally Posted by Arran View Post
    This is cynical but more than one person has said that the reason why mass market stereos and Hi-Fi tuners did not have SW on them was to vastly reduce the number of people who could receive communist and other propaganda broadcasts. It's probably safe to say that SW broadcasters were preaching to the converted, who had bought SW receivers to listen to them, rather than reaching out to the general public. There was something suspicious about the ownership of a SW or "worldband" radio as ordinary folk were assumed not to own such things. Was its owner a closet communist?
    In my case it was because I was a bit of a news junkie and because I was curious. To an extent, I treated some of these radio stations as comedy although I knew that there was an underlying seriousness about them. They were I am sure mainly preaching to the converted in the West and a lot of their focus was on Third World 'liberation movements', which is why there were so many SW bands aimed at Africa and Asia.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Short Wave Radio

    It seemed to work both ways, as lot of people behind the Iron Curtain used to secretly listen to Radio Free Europe & the BBC World Service to get a propaganda free view of the world.

    Sometimes these were jammed, but the Canadian world service was one that was in the clear. I remember reading about a Czech who used to find it was the best neutral station, & when he fled to South Africa in 1968 the first thing he bought when he saved up enough was a short wave radio to continue listening to it.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Short Wave Radio

    Not SW but MW you could listen to cordless phones within range on 1600khz

    They have since gone DTMF

    Do you really believe the other side without provocation would launch so many ICBM's, subs and ships knowing that we would have no option to launch as well? It would break our MAD Treaty (Mutually Assured Destruction) not to mention the end of the world as we know it.


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