Our Global Radio Listening in 2020

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December 6, 2020 by chrissynumero19

by Anker Petersen, Denmark

People are curious by nature! When medium wave (AM) radio broadcasting was invented 100 years ago, some curious people began to listen to stations other than their local ones. They called it DXing (= Distant listening). Later, when shortwave broadcasting was introduced and the whole world became the target, this hobby of DXing became popular. During recent decades, technological development has introduced new ways of global radio listening.


Dxing on your own radio receiver has been a hobby since 1922. It soon expanded from medium wave (AM) to longwave and shortwave, and later FM. It was only domestic broadcasts in the first decades, but during World War II international broadcasts became numerous.

Shortwave listeners primarily listen to the content of the broadcasts. DXers try to hear as many stations as possible and send reception reports to the stations, which often are verified by a QSL-card. During the past century thousands of global radio listeners have enjoyed this exciting hobby and many excellent DX clubs have existed. As every DXer knows, the various countries in the world can only be heard on your receiver at certain times of the day. Furthermore, the reception quality varies also with the current ionospheric propagation conditions.

I personally have been DXing regularly since 1956 and have 210 existing radio countries verified by QSL.

Kiwi SDR

The development of the personal computer and the Internet opened new fantastic possibilities for  global radio listeners. One of these is the Kiwi SDR (Software Defined Radio), which can be found at http://kiwisdr.com/public  Nearly 500 receivers are made available, mainly by radio amateurs all over the world.

Click one of these receivers, you will soon get a waterfall of frequencies audible at that particular location. Then select ”AM” in the right control panel and ”select band”. You can type any frequency in the top left window and adjust it by using the ”—+++” field. Broadcast stations audible on that location are mostly shown with red waterfall lines.

If you want to look for receivers in a specific country, you enter the name of the country in the ”search” field in the top line. I occasionally listen to the Kiwi SDR of my longtime DX-friend in Sri Lanka, Victor Goonetilleke. I took the above photo, when I visited him in his home near Colombo in March 2017.

Streaming broadcasts

Some 25 years ago many radio stations introduced their own websites. Later some of them came out with live streaming digital technology (data packets) for domestic broadcasts.        In contrast to medium wave and shortwave, the quality of Internet Radio is always perfect! As an example, at http://www.radionigeria.gov.ng you can find live streaming from Radio Nigeria, and Radio New Zealand National at rnz.co.nz/audio/live/national/ In the World Radio TV Handbook you can find such links marked W.

Radio Garden

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision developed live streaming further in 2015 in a project called Radio Garden, at radio.garden/listen You see a globe, where seeds are planted: One green seed for each city in the world broadcasting domestic live streaming on AM or FM. I start at a private station in my home town, Skovlunde. on FM 92.0. W hen I click the circle in the middle of my screen. I can then turn the globe around by first turning the wheel on my computer mouse till the globe is as small as possible. I then turn the globe to another of the more than 8,000 green station marks.

If a city, such as Madrid, has more than one streaming station, you can click ”Search” on the left table and then type Madrid in the top left field. Then the 123 streaming local stations in Madrid will be available to you! One of them plays classical music at http://radio.garden/listen/clasica-fm-radio/UG3FmZly

When I work at my computer, I prefer to hear nice music in the background. So I mostly turn the globe to Trujillo, Peru, to hear Andean music from Peru Folk Radio or I go to Barillas in Guatemala to hear Radio Marimba.

The Internet is well developed here in Denmark. I hope, it is the same in your country, so that you can enjoy the new technological ways of global radio listening. Has your curiosity been met?

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