Shortwave Listening and QSL Cards
I'm enjoying a bit of downtime at the moment and investing time developing my interest in radio. Earlier this year I studied for my amateur radio Foundation license and passed (my tips for passing can be found here) but afterwards it soon became apparent that there is so much to the hobby I don't want to spread myself too thinly.
I would describe myself more of a listener than a talker and the concept of shortwave listening (SWL) really appeals. Anyone can take part, you don't have to have a license which makes me love it even more as it's accessible for all.
I am very fortunate to live close to Stonehenge here in the south of the England and I went for a walk with my Xhdata D808 radio. Some say that shortwave isn't as popular as it once was, and that maybe the case but from the point of view of an absolute beginner, I found it to be busy and after a fun afternoon of casting my net into the sea of Megahertz I've already written three signal reports to Germany, China and even the Vatican.
What I have learnt so far:
- I'm using Shortwave Schedule to find the name of the station. Don't use your laptop next to your radio to look up the frequencies and I found that electrical devices cause a great deal of interference, so I learnt to use my phone instead.
- Send a meaningful signal report. I've seen some terribly vague examples that aren't very good to anyone, also never expect anything in return like a QSL card, enjoy sending a report knowing that you are helping to keep this medium and hobby alive in an ever increasing digital world.
- The SWL signal reports that I've written include the following: Date, Time (UTC), Frequency, Duration, Signal report (0 poor - 5 good), what device I was using along with what aerial, a description of what I was listening to and what I enjoyed and a little bit about myself.
- I read that as a general rule if it's daytime there is better success above 10 MHz and at night it's below. I haven't found this to be the case but I would imagine the time of year affects this somewhat.
This evening as I write this, I've already had a reply! I had a lovely email from the people at SuperClan Radio thanking me for my signal report and attached was this QSL card.