[HCDX] Why I'm a SWLer
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[HCDX] Why I'm a SWLer

In response to your questions:
1.  What was your first exposure to Shortwave Listening?  How old
were you?
2.  What drew you into Shortwave Listening as a hobby?  How did you
start out?
I'll answer both questions here. I was 14 when I first read about shortwave listening, though radio had fascinated me starting at about age 9 or 10. As a budding amateur astronomer, I was reading Sky & Telescope magazine and saw an article about not observing, but listening to, the Mir Space Station on shortwave radio. Immediately it caught my interest, and I was off to the library to check out books about SWLing. Just the thought of directly receiving stations from thousands of miles away, in an electronic box sitting in my room, captured my imagination and has kept me going to this day. I also listened to shortwave broadcasts - mainly WWV and the BBC - when a friend's older brother, who dabbled in all sorts of electronics, brought out his set from time to time.
After delving through numerous books and listening to another guy's shortwave set, I purchased my first shortwave radio with paper route money in 1987. It was an inexpensive analog receiver (Toshiba), but with a longwire antenna strung outside my window and on top of the roof, I was able to hear plenty of stations, from Norway to Japan to Iran. It was like magic.

3.  What do you now do most in this hobby?  Tropical Band DX?
Medium Wave DX?  News Listening?  Can you list what you do most, to
least, in some order of interest?
a. Mostly, I hunt for as many SW stations as possible. During the past 15 years, I've logged 80 or more countries on shortwave and plan to expand that list. I try to bide my DXing time equally among the tropical and standard bands.
b. I really enjoy the variety of news and music programs that shortwave provides. I especially enjoy some of the haunting Middle Eastern music from Radio Cairo, as well as news programs from the BBC (why they decided to stop broadcasting to the U.S. I'll never understand), Deutsche Welle and Radio Netherlands.
c. When I'm not checking out the broadcasters, I love listening to aeronautical activity - both civilian and military - and maritime utility communications. Pirates are also great, when I can receive them.
d. Once in a while, I check the medium wave bands for activity.

4.  What do you wish you knew more about, in this hobby?
I wish I knew more about decoding special shortwave transmissions from news agencies, ships, embassies, etc.

5.  What do you do during the summer, in this hobby?
I live in Southern California, so the weather is always pretty nice. There is nothing better than opening a window to let the nighttime summer breeze in, cracking open a cold beer and listening to music from half a world away. The TV, computer, etc. just don't provide such a gratifying experience.

6.  What part of the day do you do must of your listening?
Most of my listening happens at night, between the hours of 5 p.m. and midnight. On weekends, if I'm motivated, I'll get up early to log some of the more exotic stations, such as Indonesians on the tropical band.

7.  Do you listen while mobile?
When I'm mobile, I mainly listen to local FM broadcasts of classic rock and heavy metal music.
Happy SWLing!
Chris Boyd
Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.