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A shortwave listener (SWL) is a person who engages in the hobby of listening to shortwave radio. There are many different types of SWLs across the world, and SWLs vary widely among what they listen to, be it international broadcasters, amateur radio transmissions, utility, military and spy numbers stations, or pirate radio broadcasts.

A popular North American gathering for SWLs is the SWL Winterfest, held annually in Kulpsville, Pennsylvania. If one generalizes from the Winterfest attendees, the typical North American SWL is:

  • White, male, and middle-aged
  • Somewhat buzzardly
  • Interested in eclectic, specialized, and/or highly technical subjects

Of course, there are exceptions to this stereotype. For example, SWLs are just as likely to be non-conformist Fookin' sclhobs as they are to be radio engineers working for big corporations, or even anomalous personalities such as Al Fansome.

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