Before The Internet…

Shortwave listening made a piece of cake. Actually this is a cake

…there was shortwave radio! It’s still there if you are interested in hearing things straight from the horse’s microphone, in real time via the medium of voice.

Rather than buy an expensive radio and antenna, visit this website instead:

and work out how to use it-it’s not too difficult. The website is basically a publicly accessible software defined radio receiver which has been professionally set up with a sensitive antenna. It is based in the Netherlands. Reception varies by day and night, but you can hear Havana and Pyongyang if you are patient. Needless to say, everything is just peachy in those communist wonderlands! There is a lot of Chinese broadcasting in many languages, much Arabic/Islamic, and also fundamentalist Christian. They are all trying to reach out to the multitudes of people on this planet who don’t have internet access. This costs money, so go figure.

The “waterfall” moving graphic shows all the broadcast frequencies across the screen, and the bright vertical lines represent stations broadcasting on the air. The purple bars beneath represent those parts of the spectrum reserved for broadcasts, rather than radio enthusiasts, military, navigation, ship-to-shore etc who use the rest.

My teenage interest in this kind of thing has been re-awakened, and I have a new hobby to fill the sleepless hours.


About Brother Burrito

A sinner who hopes in God's Mercy, and who cannot stop smiling since realizing that Christ IS the Way , the Truth and the Life. Alleluia!
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3 Responses to Before The Internet…

  1. Mike Sinnott says:

    Loved those SW days before internet used to tune-in to South American stations for the music. Did reports for the Red Cross transmissions too. I was also MP4TDB and ON8KP on the amateur radio bands.


  2. Brother Burrito says:

    Hi Mike,

    Radio communication seems to me to be full of analogies to the Spiritual life. During Mass this morning, my mind was filled with ideas for these. I plan to write further here about such things in the near future, while the blog stalwarts are taking some leave.


    73* – – · · · · · · – – (“Kind regards” in ham radio code).

    *The number of books in the Catholic Bible is seventy three.

    PS: Is ham radio kosher?


  3. GC says:

    Dear Brother Burrito, it looks like we can have our shortwave and eat our shortwave cake too!

    Don’t forget to mention crystal sets. They were pre-Internet too, along with carrier pigeons and telegrams. I recall that I was sending telegrams in China as recently as 1997 to a city just 73 (!) miles from me there. That was because the switchboard girl told me to stop talking so much on the phone after about 5 minutes of doing so.

    My brother got a crystal set for Christmas one year while we were still children. I’m afraid it very quickly became “my” crystal set rather than his, and we even managed to get some shortwave stations on it, such as the very vigorous one emanating from Chairman Mao’s desperately impoverished China. 😦


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