Shortwave Listening

I recently took up my old hobby of shortwave listening. It has changed a lot since the ’70s. In some ways it’s not as interesting, as budget cuts and the rise of the Internet have driven many broadcasters from the air.

In other ways, it’s got a lot to offer. I had always wanted to get a really nice receiver, of the traditional transistor variety. However, a type of radio called an SDR (software defined receiver) is popular these days, and I bought one, the Winradio Excalibur.

The ‘radio’ is just a receiver the size of an external hard drive that converts radio waves into a digital spectrum that can then be processed by a modern PC. This gives the user a ton of flexibility in defining filters, setting automatic gains, doing recording at specified times, etc. You can even record a chunk of spectrum and go back and analyze it later. You could get the entire AM band from 540 to 1700 kHz and look at it later for rare DX catches!

Here’s a look at the interface – there are three spectrum analyzers that can also be used as waterfall displays.

WinRadio Excalibur PC interface

I’ll have more to say about this in future posts, until then

’73s and good DX!

Tom

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