Getting Started in Shortwave Listening

Have you ever listened to your own local or national radio stations and wondered what similar stations are like around the world? Maybe you’ve listened to news bulletins in the US and wondered what was being reported in the UK about the same events. These days, it’s easy to get the information we need over the internet, and I’m often asked why I bother listening to radio when I can just stream the audio online. Those of an older vintage will know that receiving radio signals from around the world was a normal and everyday experience, and that listening to radio has a certain “quality” that online digital audio streams simply can’t provide.

This is where shortwave listening comes in, and you won’t believe how easy it is to get started with it. You don’t even need to spend lots of money, and it’s very likely that you already have all the equipment you need in your home already! Continue reading

Tecsun PL-600: First Impressions

My Tecsun PL-600 arrived yesterday in the post at work, and I couldn’t wait to get home and fire up the bad boy. I had been thinking about getting this radio (or one of the similar models) for quite a while as I was using an inexpensive SilverCrest receiver for a couple of years as my main SWL radio.

Overall, I’m delighted with my new radio, and I’ve only just being using the included external antenna so far; I hope to get a multiband dipole antenna built for even better reception. I have no doubt that the Tecsun PL-600 will do me for years to come, so if you’re on the fence about buying one, just take the plunge and get it! Continue reading

Receiving HF with R820T with no mods or converters

How do you receive HF signals using your RTL SDR? You’ll probably say that the easiest way is to get an upconverter. That’ll certainly get you the best quality results. You might also suggest modding the hardware itself. This also works, but can be tricky if you’re not used to soldering.

There is a third way, however, and that is to hack the software so that the RTL-SDR dongle thinks the signal is bypassing the tuner on the dongle, as is what happens with the hardware modification. Continue reading