30 Mar 2015

The future of HF broadcasters

Deutsche Welle (DW) is closing its last relay station, which is in Kigali, Rwanda. In recent years DW like many shortwave broadcasters, has been facing financial cutbacks. Also there are far fewer broadcasters using shortwaves these days.

As a youngster in the 1960s, I recall shortwaves crowded with AM broadcast stations, many from all over the world transmitting in English, with their distinctive interval signals. There was a magic about shortwave broadcasting back then. Quite a few could be copied with very simple receivers too. There is something quite nostalgic about listening again to those long-gone interval signals from behind the Iron Curtain. I remember getting some excellent freebees from China back in the early 1980s. Of course, it was all to spread the propaganda.  All I really wanted was their QSL card!

These days, users are often reached using the internet. Of course, it begs the question, "who is now filling the empty, vacated channels?"  In the long run amateur radio might gain some allocations, although the noise floor on HF is increasing too. SMPUs, cable TV and numerous other sources are mainly to blame.

See http://www.dw.de/deutsche-welle-closes-kigali-outpost/a-18340960.


Anonymous said...

Indeed, a shame. BBC service on HF is next to zero too, as well as the once excellent 648KHz European service. Seems HF broadcast now dominated by the Chinese and Religious nuts. DRM was/is a bad move in my opinion:- It is amazing how good an AM signal CAN sound on a properly filtered Synchronous detector instead of the usual grotty diode with poor filtering. shame good SDR radios came after DRM! Hugh G6AIG

G1KQH said...

They will have to keep some of it going, what happens if there is a total Internet outage?

Emergency!! Who has the key to the AM SW mothballed TX! ??

We are too brainwashed into thinking digital, but the day may come when they may have to rethink what they say.

73 Steve

Anonymous said...

Very sad to see. Like many I started listening to SW before getting my ham ticket in the 90's using a Knight receiver (that I still have). There still is some good stuff on, but much less diversity. For the record I live in the US and purchased a Pioneer car stereo from AU because they have SW receivers. It's really nice to tune around and listen on they way to work and back. It also picks up some of 80m, 40m, and 15m and I have listened to AMers on all these bands.