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IC-R8500 tuned to GB3VHF at Wrotham, Kent

Amateur Radio.

Here I hope to give some information and links on one of my hobbies - Amateur Radio and Short Wave Listening.

What are we talking about ?.

Short Wave Listener (SWL)

The term "Short Wave Listener" is generally used to describe a person who enjoys sitting in front of a radio listening for anything interesting. In actual fact the "short wave" part is just a small fraction of the radio spectrum, and SWL's "operate" from 9 kHz to > 1000 MHz. I started as a SWL in about 1974, when I received a Grundig Concert Boy 1100 as a birthday present. It still works fine (although it now lives in the Kitchen). Before the Grundig I had access to a Fidelity portable that had Short Wave.

In those days I had a friend who's father ran a radio/TV repair shop. My friend had a Sony World receiver (I can't remember the model number but it was only just portable) and a copy of The World Radio and Television Handbook. I remember the day I showed him the Grundig commenting that I wished I had a receiver as good as the Sony and he tuned to Radio Australia around 15 MHz using no more than the telescopic whip antenna. I learnt my first lesson - tune slowly and be patient.

Radio Amateur

The key difference between the SWL and the Radio Amateur is that the amateur has studied for and obtained a transmitting licence which allows him/her to communicate with other similar people. In the UK the amateur licence is available in a number of "classes". These could be summarised as Full, Intermediate and Foundation. I have a full UK Class A licence, with morse code at 12 words per minute. The Foundation licence is a new initiative allowing people a real taste of Amateur Radio without the need to study a great deal of radio and electronics theory. Full details on amateur radio in the UK are available from the Radio Society of Great Britain.

My callsign is MW0CWF. I have limited space at my home location for transmitting antennas for the HF bands but I still put out a reasonable signal on the HF, VHF and UHF bands. I still get a great deal of enjoyment from listening, but if everyone did that there would be no-one to talk to so from time to time I can be found "warming up the ether".