Drake PRN1000 is an interesting shortwave radio, similar to the Drake SW1, but the PRN1000 is “Cost and Feature Reduced” from that model, according to one review.
Though the reviews above are few, they are largely positive. And it is a nice radio specialized for an offer from a radio host that was, at one time, very popular.
Here’s more on the radio:
That Freedom of Speech is an illusion is best shown by the story of Chuck Harder. Imagine, 18 years of IRS audits (but Jeff Sessions refuses to prosecute Lois Lerner, supposedly because of the harassment she fears), to be driven off the air, only to finally return to a streamed show on the internet, then shortly later suffer a major heart attack and be confined to a nursing home.
But, the PRN1000 was offered through his show, giving it a unique place in history.
Mega = 1 million ———- Kilo = 1 thousand
Micro = 1 millionth ——- Milli = thousandth
Radios might transmit with hundreds or thousands (kilowatts) of watts of power.
Radio receivers usually receive a signal in millionth (microwatts) of watts of power.
RTTY = Radioteletype (Text FAX machine over the radio).
CW = Continuous Wave (Morse Code).
Single Sideband / Upper Sideband / Lower Sideband:
Shortwave Radio got it’s name when, predictably, it had short waves, compared to the wavelength of other radios in use at the time. But over time, frequencies became much higher and wave lengths much shorter than the original shortwave. Shortwave frequencies occupy part of the spectrum known as High Frequency (HF), but Very High Frequencies (VHF) evolved, to Ultra High Frequencies (UHF), to Microwave, and the wavelengths became increasingly small.
As the Frequency of a signal increases, it’s wavelength decreases.
Wavelength = 300 / Frequency in MHz
30 MHz has a wavelength of 300/30 = 10 meters.
300,000,000/30,000,000 = 10
In case you’re wondering, 300,000,000 is the speed of light in meters per second. And if you drop 6 zeroes from 300,000,000 and drop 6 zeroes from 30,000,000 the formula remains the same, ergo 300/Frequency as stated in MHz. – 30 MHz, not written out 30,000,000.
And the wavelength is the distance from the start of one wave to the start of another, and in order to have a full wave antenna for 30 MHz, the antenna element would need to be 10 meters long, 32.8 feet. So the antenna element would need to be 32.8 feet long. Fortunately, full wavelength antennas are not absolutely necessary. 1/4 wave, 1/2 wave, and other configurations are used.
The majority of “shortwave” radios currently available tune a much wider frequency range, including the AM broadcast band and parts of the longwave spectrum. Typically tuning range from about 150 kHz to 30 MHz.
Most nations adhere to an international agreement on shortwave transmissions and radio use within the agreed upon frequencies, with some exceptions. This is roughly how the frequencies received by shortwave radios are used:
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, for 150 kHz and below, these frequencies don’t propagate well in the ionosphere, but penetrate ocean water well, so the military uses this for submarine communications. Most transmissions are in CW and RTTY. You’d need a really large antenna to hear much here, with most locations experiencing too much electrical noise and static to be useful.
But for frequencies received by most modern shortwave radios, here is how the air waves are used.
• 150 to 540 kHz: Often called “longwave.” Many stations heard in this range are navigation beacons that continuously repeat their call signs in Morse code. There’s also a broadcasting band in Europe from 155 to 281 kHz. Some RTTY signals are found in the upper end of this band. Marine weather and safety broadcasts, known as NAVTEX, are transmitted on 512 kHz. Best reception at night, especially during the fall and winter months.
• 540 to 1700 kHz: This is the AM broadcasting or “medium wave” band, originally ending at 1600 kHz, but extended to 1700 kHz by the FCC in the 1990s, with 1610 to 1700 kHz being the new “X” or “extended” band, supposedly offering excellent DX listening opportunities. Using the shortwave receiver to listen to standard broadcast band AM stations late at night yields some interesting stations at times, from around the country.
• 1700 to 1800 kHz: Miscellaneous radio communications, mainly beacons and navigation aids. Transmitters that sound like chirping crickets are floating beacons used to mark fishing and offshore oil exploration locations.
Oh, while we’re here, more on Frequencies: 1700 kHz means one thousand seven hundred thousands. If you see Kilo, add 3 zeroes to get the frequency in Hertz. So, 1700 kHz is actually 1,700,000 Hz, so you can write 1,700,000 Hz, 1700 kHz, or 1.7 MHz, they are the same thing.
Anytime you see 1000 kHz or more, you can replace that with the Mega prefix by moving the decimal 3 places to the left. But, above is 540 kHz, and the formula on wavelength requires the bottom number to be in MHz, what to do. Well, you still move the decimal 3 points to the left, and end up with .54 (or .540) MHz, this is perfectly acceptable and works in the wavelength formula.
• 1800 to 2000 kHz: This is the 160-meter ham radio band. Most voice communications will be in LSB, with best reception at night during the fall and winter months.
• 2000 to 2300 kHz (2.0 MHz to 2.3 MHz): Used for maritime (ocean) communications, with 2182 kHz reserved for distress messages and calling and several regularly scheduled maritime weather broadcasts by U.S. Coast Guard stations. Most activity on USB, best reception at night.
• 2300 to 2498 kHz: The 120-meter broadcasting band, mainly used by stations located in the tropics, with some exceptions, like WWCR in Nashville, Tennessee to and others may follow.
• 2498 to 2850 kHz: More maritime stations and standard time and frequency stations WWV and WWVH on 2500 kHz.
• 2850 to 3150 kHz: Used mainly by aeronautical stations in USB, several stations broadcasting aeronautical weather bulletins, and you can hear traffic between airports and airplanes in flight.
• 3150 to 3200 kHz: This range is allocated to fixed stations, with most communications in RTTY.
• 3200 to 3400 kHz: This is a very interesting segment. This is the 90-meter broadcasting band, mainly used by stations in the tropics. Also Canadian standard time and frequency station CHU on 3330 kHz. Several fixed stations also use this range, including some associated with various agencies of the U.S. government. Best reception at night.
• 3400 to 3500 kHz: This range is used for aeronautical communications in USB.
• 3500 to 4000 kHz: The 80-meter ham radio band, with 3500 to 3750 kHz range used for CW and RTTY communications, and the rest of the band is used for LSB voice. Also, the 3900 to 4000 kHz range is used for broadcasting in Europe and Africa. Best reception at night.
• 4000 to 4063 kHz: Fixed station band, mainly used by military forces for SSB traffic.
• 4063 to 4438 kHz: Used for maritime communications in USB, with 4125 kHz used as a calling frequency.
• 4438 to 4650 kHz: Mainly used for fixed and mobile stations in USB.
• 4750 to 4995 kHz: The 60-meter broadcasting band, used mainly by stations in the tropics. Best reception in the evening and night during the fall and winter.
• 4995 to 5005 kHz: Allocated internationally to standard time and frequency stations. In North America, you’ll mostly hear WWV and WWVH on 5000 kHz.
• 5005 to 5450 kHz: Several broadcasting stations are found in the lower part of the segment, and fixed and mobile stations in SSB, RTTY, and CW are found throughout. Best reception during the evening and night.
• 5450 to 5730 kHz: Aeronautical communications in USB.
• 5730 to 5950 kHz: This band has been used by fixed stations of the U.S. government for communications in USB and RTTY, but several broadcasters are also showing up here.
• 5950 to 6200 kHz: The 49-meter broadcasting band loaded with signals from late afternoon to a couple of hours after sunrise.
• 6200 to 6525 kHz: Busy band for maritime communication in USB and various FSK modes like AMTOR and FEC.
• 6525 to 6765 kHz: Busy band for aeronautical communications in USB. Best reception is during evening and night.
• 6765 to 7000 kHz: Allocated to fixed stations, with signals in SSB, CW, FAX modes, and digital modes.
• 7000 to 7300 kHz: 7000 to 7100 kHz range is allocated exclusively to ham radio worldwide, though an occasional broadcaster will shows up. 7100 to 7300 kHz range is allocated exclusively to ham radio in North and South America, but used for broadcasting in the rest of the world. Several station transmit programs intended for reception in North and South America in this range. As a result, interference is often very heavy here during night and evening hours. Hams use CW and RTTY from 7000 to 7150 kHz, and mainly LSB from 7150 to 7300 kHz. Best reception is late afternoon to early morning, although some hams can usually be heard here around the clock.
• 7300 to 8195 kHz: Mainly used by fixed stations, such as Canadian standard time and frequency station CHU on 7335 and 7850 kHz, with several broadcasters in the lower reaches. Various FSK (RTTY) and digital modes used.
• 8195 to 8815 kHz: Busy maritime band late afternoon until early morning, with most traffic in USB and FSK modes.
• 8815 to 9040 kHz: Another aeronautical communications band, with traffic in USB. Several stations also broadcast aeronautical weather reports.
• 9040 to 9500 kHz: Mainly by fixed station in various FSK and digital modes, also used by several international broadcasters.
• 9500 to 9900 kHz: 31-meter international broadcasting band, and is packed with stations from around the world. Best reception mid-afternoon to around mid-morning, with some stations heard here throughout the day, especially in winter.
• 9900 to 9995 kHz: Several international broadcasters use this range along with fixed stations using FSK modes.
• 9995 to 10005 kHz: Sandard time and frequency stations, like WWV and WWVH on 10000 kHz.
Remember, 10005 kHz is also 10.005 MHz. And so on changed for the five digit frequencies following.
• 10005 to 10100 kHz (10.005 to 10.10 MHz) Used for aeronautical communications.
• 10100 to 10150 kHz: 30-meter ham radio band restricted to CW and RTTY.
• 10150 to 11175 kHz: Used by fixed stations. In addition to various FSK and digital modes, you may hear several international broadcast stations being relayed in SSB, used to send programming to relay sites not served by satellite downlinks.
• 11175 to 11400 kHz: Used for aeronautical communications in USB.
• 11400 to 11650 kHz: Mainly used by fixed stations in FSK and digital modes, but some international broadcasters also operate here.
• 11650 to 11975 kHz: 25-meter international broadcasting band. You can usually hear several stations here no matter what time of day you listen.
• 11975 to 12330 kHz: Primarily used by fixed stations in FSK and digital modes, although several international broadcasters are found in the lower area.
• 12330 to 13200 kHz: Busy maritime communications band during day and evening hours, with traffic in USB and various FSK modes.
• 13200 to 13360 kHz: Aeronautical communications in USB are heard here during the day and evening.
• 13360 to 13600 kHz: Used by fixed stations, mainly in FSK and digital modes.
• 13600 to 13800 kHz: 22-meter international broadcasting band, best reception daytime and early evening.
• 13800 to 14000 kHz: Used by fixed stations, most communications in FSK modes.
• 14000 to 14350 kHz: 20-meter ham radio band. The lowest 100 kHz is reserved for CW and RTTY use, USB popular in the rest of the band (although U.S. hams cannot transmit in SSB below 14150 kHz). Best reception is during daytime and early evening.
• 14350 to 14990 kHz: Used by fixed stations, primarily FSK and digital modes. Canadian standard time station CHU found on 14670 kHz.
• 14990 to 15010 kHz: Reserved for standard time and frequency stations, with the best heard being WWV and WWVH on 15000 kHz.
• 15010 to 15100 kHz: Aeronautical communications in USB, and a few international broadcasters.
• 15100 to 15600 kHz: 19-meter international broadcasting band, usually packed with signals during daytime and early evening.
• 15600 to 16460 kHz: Used by fixed stations in USB, FSK, and digital modes.
• 16460 to 17360 kHz: Shared between maritime and fixed stations using USB, FSK, and digital modes. Best reception generally during the daytime.
• 17360 to 17550 kHz: Shared by aeronautical and fixed stations using USB, FSK, and digital modes.
• 17550 to 17900 kHz: 16-meter international broadcasting band, best reception is during daylight hours.
• 17900 to 18030 kHz: Used for aeronautical communications in USB.
• 18030 to 18068 kHz: Used by fixed stations, mainly in FSK and digital modes.
• 18068 to 18168 kHz: 17-meter ham radio band. CW, RTTY, and USB are used.
• 18168 to 19990 kHz: Used by fixed stations and a few maritime stations. Most traffic is in FSK and digital modes. An interesting frequency is 19954 kHz, used as a beacon frequency by Soviet/Russian manned spacecraft. Reception in this range usually limited to daylight hours.
• 19990 to 20010 kHz: Reserved for standard time and frequency stations, like WWV on 20000 kHz. Reception here usually only in daytime.
• 20010 to 21000 kHz: Mainly used by fixed stations and a few aeronautical stations. Most traffic is in FSK, digital, and SSB modes in USB.
• 21000 to 21450 kHz: 15-meter ham radio band. CW and RTTY mainly found in the first 200 kHz, and USB is used in the remainder of the band. Best reception here in daytime hours.
• 21450 to 21850 kHz: 13-meter international broadcasting band, best reception during daytime.
• 21850 to 22000 kHz: Shared by fixed and aeronautical stations in FSK, digital, and SSB modes in USB.
• 22000 to 22855 kHz: Reserved for maritime communications in USB and FSK modes. Best reception daytime during years of high sunspot activity.
• 22855 to 23200 kHz: Used by fixed stations, mainly in FSK and digital modes.
• 23200 to 23350 kHz: Aeronautical communications in USB found here.
• 23350 to 24890 kHz: Used by fixed stations in FSK and digital modes.
• 24890 to 24990 kHz: 12-meter ham radio band, used for CW, FSK, and USB work. Reception is usually limited to the daytime during years of high sunspot activity.
• 24990 to 25010 kHz: Standard time and frequency stations, although none are currently operating here.
• 25010 to 25550 kHz: Used by fixed, mobile, and maritime stations, many of them low powered units in trucks, taxicabs, small boats, etc. USB and AM are mainly used, along with FM having 5 kHz deviation. Best reception is during daytime in years of high sunspot activity or during a sporadic-E propagation opening.
• 25550 to 25670 kHz: Reserved for radio astronomy and is usually free of stations.
• 25670 to 26100 kHz: 11-meter international broadcasting band, with only Radio France International having any broadcasts scheduled here at this time. Reception is usually possible only in daytime during years of high sunspot activity.
• 26100 to 28000 kHz: Used by fixed, mobile, and maritime stations, many of them low powered units in trucks, taxicabs, small boats, etc. USB and AM are mainly used, along with FM having 5 kHz deviation.
“The citizens band (CB) is found from 26965 to 27405 kHz. Best reception is during daytime in years of high sunspot activity or during a sporadic-E propagation opening.”
• 28000 to 29700 kHz: 10-meter ham radio band. Most activity in USB from 28300 to 28600 kHz, with FM used on 29600 kHz. Best reception during daytime in years of high sunspot activity or during a sporadic-E propagation opening.
• 29700 to 30000 kHz: Used by low powered fixed and mobile stations, mainly using FM with 5 kHz deviation.
Broadcast Shortwave Stations.
Most American broadcasters have mostly, or largely, religious content. Many have other shows, and religious shows are fine, but don’t be surprised to hear this:
There’s a lot of interesting religious content. EWTN broadcasts Catholic material. Other ministers and preachers broadcast good stuff as well, but from sane to insane, Shortwave has it all. One noteworthy non-religious U.S. Shortwave broadcaster is (link) WBCQ.
But what’s on, when looking for stations and shows?
With Android, I use the following App, comes in handy.
And there are other Apps as well. In addition, there are web sites with information.
Some people listen for Shortwave Utility Stations
And the occasional but possibly serious number stations can be heard, spy vs spy stuff (get past the intro tones):
Some quick notes for now:
Most shortwave shows are listed in UTC (used to be GMT). It’s a location in Europe where reference time is taken from. If the show is on at 1600 UTC, it’s 12:00 P.M. (noon) eastern. Kind of. Due to Datlight Savings Tlime, in the summer (with the clocks set ahread 1 hour), UTC time is 4 hours ahead of us. In the winter, on Standard Time, they’re 5 hours ahead of us. So we need to keep track of the 4 or 5 hours difference, and calculate when the show starts in our area.
If the show is listed as 2100 UTC, it starts at 1700 (5:00 PM) in the summer, and 1600 (4:00 PM) in the winter. But if you know the show start time in UTC and where you’re at in the world, you know when the show starts.
And, I’ll leave you with this, Live Shortwave Radio Show that’s done periodically on YouTube.