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Author Topic: Purchased my first shortwave radio...not sure what to expect  (Read 4865 times)

Offline pjviitas

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Re: Purchased my first shortwave radio...not sure what to expect
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2016, 2351 UTC »
Play around with the antenna. A decent external antenna will make a lot of difference. The simplest thing is get wire, hang it up and clip it to your built-in telescopic. The more you can get, and the higher you can put it up, the better. I used to have about 65' of wire up (with 45' of it straight across and above my roof, the rest bending down toward and into my window) which got a lot more signals than the whip could pull in.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can build your own. I built two different loops following these instructions (one is to specifications, the other is larger so I could get lower frequencies) and they work very well. (I bought a variable capacitor rather than dig one out of an old am/fm receiver as suggested.)


There is also the broomstick antenna of Arnie Coro, a famous host with Radio Habana Cuba which I hear works well. I'm not sure precisely what kind of antenna tuner he means (there are many different ones available for different antenna styles) but I imagine a basic one is what he had in mind.


These are good places to start. You can also buy any number of antennas from online retailers, but they can be pricey and there are a large number of different styles. I think many are intended for use with tranceivers which of course are much more advanced than your portable. You're better off keeping it simple for now.

BTW I'm surprised that you're not at least hearing Radio Australia in the morning. Keep trying for that one.

Thanks for the advise...reading between the lines from your comments it sounds like antennae are a big factor in shortwave reception.

With this in mind I returned the Tecsun PL-380 in favour of a unit with proper antennae connections and purchased an ETON FIELD RADIO 550.

For an extra $100 it seemed like a logical choice.

It will take some time to build these antennae but I will keep you all posted on developments.

Best Regards, Hedghog

Ok so there have been a number of developments.

I spent a week at French Beach Provincial Park right after Remembrance Day which is right on the shores of the Juan De fuca Strait.

Even though the ETON FIELD RADIO 550 had arrived in the mail I didn't even open the box and decided to give the Tecsun PL-380 one more kick at the cat before returning it a second time.

Boy was I surprised...if you want to listen to shortwave radio move out of town...it makes a world of difference!  The same radio that provided zero stations in the City of Victoria BC Canada now was receiving the following at one time or another:
-At least 2 coordinated universal time stations
-New Zealand
-At least 3 stations from Asia somewhere

So I did a little research and went and purchased a 100ft roll of #18 wire and some 1" pvc for insulators and next time I'm in the bush gonna start building some makeshift antennae.  Gonna start playing around with the following long wire lengths: 29  35.5  41  58  71  84

So the Tecsun PL-380 works just fine so I'm keeping it and I returned the ETON FIELD RADIO 550.  With it's ability to charge off a USB connection (USB adaptor in cig lighter) as well as its portability for remote operations, the Tecsun PL-380 is the better choice...and it works just fine for what I need it for.

Offline BoomboxDX

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Re: Purchased my first shortwave radio...not sure what to expect
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2016, 0312 UTC »
Your problem inside Victoria may have been RFI (interference), buildings blocking some signals, or maybe propagation was just bad. There have been times I've switched on the Shortwave and heard two or three stations at best, when other nights or mornings I'd hear 20-30.

But glad to hear you are picking up some stations.

I would hesitate to overdo it on the length of the wire you choose for the Tecsun -- I'm not sure how long a wire that radio will handle before overloading.

20 ft. (5-7 meters or so) is probably adequate. Of course, you could experiment with longer lengths but the signal strengths may cause the radio to overload and you'll hear stations appearing in the wrong places.
An AM radio Boombox DXer.
+ GE SRIII, PR-D5 & TRF on MW.
The usual Realistic culprits on SW (and a Panasonic).