BBC ceases shortwave service

Icom ic-r70 shortwave receiver

The BBC has stopped broadcasting to Europe on shortwave, as listeners switch to FM, satellite radio and online delivery. As a boy and young man I used to love trolling the shortwave frequencies on a string of various shortwave sets, starting with a home-made crystal reciever and ending with a (now 20-year-old) sophisticated (for its day) Icom short wave receiver.

The Beeb was a favorite: so were the mysterious ‘numbers stations,’ thought to be encrypted messages for spies and other shady operatives. You could also  hear long-range commercial air craft over, say, the Pacific, transmitting SSB (single side band) shortwave signals when they were out of range of the high-frequency ATC network.

On clear nights when everything was working, you could hear station from thousands of miles away. It’s been awhile since I listened in: I understand there are now digital transmissions on shortwave. I had thought short wave would just go away… 

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About Chris Gulker

Chris Gulker, a self-described Infuential Blogger, lived in Menlo Park, California with spouse Linda. He passed away in late October 2010.
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3 Responses to BBC ceases shortwave service

  1. Anonymous says:

    Communication without monthly fees, corporate networks, & multi billion dollar executives? Rediculous.

  2. Johann R SEDLAK says:

    I miss alistair cook. Johann from vienna.

  3. Terence says:

    There is really no other communications medium that that replaces shortwave broadcasting. The shimmering of selective fading is truly a positive attribute of shortwave as it sings the sound of distance. Given the worldwide coverage shortwave provides, I think the BBC did not understand how they were diminishing the image of the UK when they turned off their transmitters. I can only see the decision as one of the symptoms of the UK’s decline as a great nation. Meanwhile Russia and China and others have not made that mistake and continue to use shortwave. Within the US the AM band, which was once like a nighttime national service with many clear channel stations, is now just a broadband noise source at night due to FCC policies. It is amazing to recall how alive and clear both AM and shortwave sounded some years ago.

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