For radio lovers who want to catch on international news and music rather than the local FM channels, short wave radio is the one to fulfill their need without internet or mobile network.
Shortwave radio communication started back in the 1930s to transmit radio signals over a large distance by using the earth’s ionosphere to bounce the signal back from the charged particle layers.
Transmission and receiving of the shortwave radio signals are done with electromagnetic waves, which range from 29- 3 MHz and have a length of about 10-80 meters. The shortwave radio signals are still in use in amateur radios, walkie-talkies, sand telegraphs, and telephones in case the local system fails.
Let’s have a look at the history of how short wave communication started and has evolved over the past years.
During the end of the 1920s, many radio broadcasters who were using the medium frequency band on AM started trying to send signals on the shortwave band to attract more listeners farther away. By using the short frequency spectrum, a signal was able to transmit through long distances and even to international radio sets by using the technique of transmitting the wave such that it travels to the ionosphere and get reflected by the charged layers of the environment to reach out to the very distant listener or radio sets.
The short wave technology soon gained popularity, and by the 1930s and 1940s, many broadcasters started their shows on this frequency spectrum. The international audience was attracted, and many state channels were broadcasted on it. Shortwave communication played an important role in connecting the world by sharing the culture, music, and news across the borders.
First station establishment
In 1930 in Ontario, Ottawa, an experimental channel was established to broadcast on the shortwave frequency band. With the increase of signal power to 500 watts, the station range reached Europe, New Zealand, and Africa. Due to its immense reach, the radio was initially used by state-run international broadcasters, amateur radio operators, and two communication. But soon afterward, many channels started broadcasting on this frequency band, and the shortwave band was in demand.
During World War II
Although many countries have their channels broadcasted on the short frequency band but during the world war years, due to military reasons, the communication broke down. At the same time, many of the countries were still broadcasting music and war updates, but people were restricted from listening to them, and it was a crime.
Many channels were broadcasting prisoner’s written messages so that their relatives get informed about them, but many of them were used for propaganda. There was still a question on the reliability of the news from the war, which is why America discouraged its citizen from listening to any short-wave channel.
Why is shortwave radio better?
Shortwave radio broadcasting is better compared to the other local AM or FM due to multiple factors. First, the equipment is relatively cheap and easier to setup. Second, it uses layers of the earth’s ionosphere to propagate signals, allowing areas with no infrastructure to stay in touch. Lastly, it can boost stations for FM channels effectively and affordably.
The population of the world in the far areas who are living below the poverty line and are in the mountains out of the grid of mobile networks can’t afford or get to the internet or Television they can be communicated via short wave radio and can connect to the world.
Not only this during any natural disaster, when the local system fails, short wave radio is a big and reliable source to contact the authorities and get an update about the affected areas. They are a must-have in case of emergencies or if you are traveling to mountain areas so you can have reliable communication. Short wave radios are available with different kinds and features and carry different price tags. If you are in the market make sure to check out a full review from CR or any other reputable online comparison resources.
With the technological advancement, the radio sector is also evolving and digitizing, and maybe the broadcasters have reduced on short wave due to the internet, but the short wave band is still in use, and people are transmitting and receiving signals on these bands with two way or ham radios. Shortwave radio communication is a great source to connect people across the world and for long-distance education for children far away in villages where there is no reach of local bodies.
With proper regulation, shortwave radios can be a great source of educating medium and intercultural exchange of music and tradition and connect the world like one.