Article Image

IPFS News Link • Communications

The Magic of Radio Part 1: Why Shortwave Radio Matters

Often times the two of us simply hang out during our weekly Skype conference call and simply chat about whatever strikes our current curiosity bone.  And you know, with so much communication being done these days via e-mail or the social media, it is nice to hear a human voice and to partake in real human interaction.

Today we present the results of one of our recent chats with George (G1), the expert at all things radio and electronics and Gaye (G2), who likes to think she is the expert at everything else but is just putting up a good front.

Gaye aka G2: One of George’s serious diseases, masquerading as a hobby, has been his just shy-of-50-year involvement with ham radio – that and over 45-years in broadcasting, starting from the engineering side.

As he has written many times,

“Radio Disease: starts off innocently enough – perhaps with an innocent spin across the shortwave bands and hearing news from faraway places. Then it evolves to listening to what amateur radio operators (“hams”) around the world are talking about. Next thing you know, there are classes at the local ham radio club, a short test (and no Morse Code requirements – that went away years ago) and then you’re off climbing the technical ladder.

As you climb, the level of technical expertise increases, the complexity of radio gear increases, along with antennas and so on. Even so, for an investment of less than $600, a person can put together a wide-ranging home radio installation which will provide day or night communications around the world.”

So, given my aforementioned curiosity, I decided to have George answer some questions which people frequently ask about shortwave communications (knowing full well that ham radio hobbyists are almost universally willing to share their expertise.)

Okay then, George, curious minds want to know:  What do you mean when you say understanding “global communications and the news” works?