Short Wave Music Rocks!

As usual I’m awaiting a solid 3 or 4 hour block of time in which to do my next post, which seem to be fewer and farther between. For now however, I want to just drop a quick note for you to check out a wonderful blog I stumbled across today.

I have been looking into getting a shortwave radio as I am fascinated with radio noises to begin with and shortwave is the mountain to AM/FM/TVs mole-hill so to speak. Right now, I’m mired in radio-purchasing research land (someone just point me to a cheap one already!) and I have been purusing many sites looking for info. During a quick blog search today I discovered ShortWaveMusic a great blog by Myke Weiskopf, featuring recordings he’s made of various indigenous musics he’s captured on shortwave, complete with technical, historical, and sociopolitical commentary. So far, It has been music to my ears and a great read too.

It’s funny to find someone out there doing pretty much what I had intended do do with my shortwave explorations, and great to find someone doing it so well.

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5 Responses to “Short Wave Music Rocks!”

  1. inertia Says:

    Hey, a second reply to your blog.

    I am a ham, amateur radio operator, also, and have lots of ideas on radios to use for music projects.
    I read another post you had, telling another to email you, however, I can’t find your email anywhere… I am interested in possibly starting my own blog or perhaps a forum to get a place for collaboration to occur.

    As for a sw radio, there are a ton of choices…
    My best advice for you includes checking out pawn shops and garage sales. Yesterday, I found a grudig yacht boy 400 receiver for $15!
    There are many many choices, as I have said.
    Things to think about and make sure you get.
    1. Digital readout, well this one has positives and negatives.
    positives – Well, you’ll know what frequency your on and can get back to it easily. Negatives – honestly, there is nothing like grabbing an analog knob and spinning it to see where it lands. In fact, that spinning can be a good sound all by itself.
    Most of the radios you will be interested in, and I assume you won’t be wanting to spend much money, will have buttons to change frequencies or if it does have a knob the knob will move in incremented steps, like 1khz or 5khz. I think you can see the issue and you will have to decide what you want.

    2. Analog display and most radios with one of those will drift.
    Sometimes that drift is nice, sometimes it is not. Even with transistors you will want to let it warm up and stabilize. The nice part is that you can grab the knob and run into something you like quickly. Digital just does not respond as fast, like that. As you can see, the good with the bad there.

    3. Whichever you choose, get one with a bfo (beat frequency oscillator) or one that has usb and lsb modes, which will enable you to hear amateur radio conversations and hear other things differently… the woo woooo sounds.

    4. Also, get something with an external antenna input. If not, you can wrap a random (10-20 feet is prob enough) length wire around your existing antenna and just throw it out on the floor. Moving it around will change the reception.. Right now, most of the best listening will occur during the early evening. The 11 year sunspot cycle is at it’s lowest right now. I suppose it will depend on what you are looking for, numbers stations, or just generic (wow, I never thought I would say that) sounds.

    5. Go get something, you will have fun with it.

    Alright – so email me any suggestions you have on staring my own forum or blog. How or where do you store your mp3’s?

    Best bet – go to a hamfest, btw you will like it anyway with what you are into, in your area, you can find one at arrl.org.

  2. howsthatsound Says:

    thanks for the info inertia. i did actually get a couple radios and have ahd a good deal of fun with them.
    i found an old realistic analog one at a flea market. it’s great, but has no ssb. with a long wire antenna though, i can pick up all kinds of foreign stations, numbers stations and morse code too.
    the second one i researched and eventually tracked down on ebay for a great price. that’s a realistic dx-440. that is awesome. the bfo is really cool. it makes loads of cool sounds and receives quite well with just the whip antenna. i’m still learning how to use it though, it’s far more complex than the other one.
    i have plans to build a good antenna to improve my reception, but i haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  3. inertia Says:

    A good antenna – wow now there is a place of great discussion and investigation, however, you will get bogged down by the technology and it will take you away from your mission. Well your, mission as I understand it. Yes you can greatly increase the signal strength with a better antenna, you could build a dipole, of course the size of your antenna will depends on what frequency you want to pick up the best. Also, with anything built and hanging in space, between two trees, for example, becomes a lightning rod of sorts and you must/should disconnect the antenna when not in use. “Long wire” is really means long wire, usually at least 1 wavelength on desired frequency. On 80m you have at least 80m of wire. You don’t have to get that deep. I would stick with the random wire attached 20′ or so and move it around your space to pick up different things. Or set up several wires, like 4 going diff directions and plug them in to see which picks up the station you are trying to recieve best.
    Also, if you make it to the hamfest you can get a small antenna tuner that will help you make the radio think the antenna is tuned to the freq you are listening too.
    My two cents, don’t go out too far on antenna design, it will engulf you. Unless you want to, then if that is the case you should think about getting a amateur radio license.

    So are you going to give me any tips on where to store mp3’s for a blog?

    will probably work just fine for you, just make sure you disconnect it in a thunderstorm.

  4. howsthatsound Says:

    yeah, i know antenna design is a whole can of worms… i’m going to build one of the “broomstick” ones, and get an antenna tuner and call it a day. i can get good enough stuff with a longwire anyway. the broomstick is just for the sake of being more compact and easier to work with.

    check your email, i want to take the blog discussion offline, as it will no doubt get long and is not relevant to the above post. i sent you a message with answers to some of your questions yesterday.

  5. Myke Dodge Weiskopf Says:

    Hi there. Just a follow-up … Shortwavemusic is back online with new material starting 1 October. Visit it at its new home at http://www.myke.me. Thanks!

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