Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Why you really need a couple of good shortwave radio sets.
But there's an aspect of that whole putrid affair that impacts on preparedness planning, and that's the issue of how you get your news.
Fox News is conservative, while ABC, NBC and CBS , BBC America, CNN, MSNBC et al are virulently left wing. You absolutely can't trust what you hear from the likes of Piers Morgan or the other talking heads on those types of networks.
But it would be nice to get some news that didn't have a particular slant to it, where simple facts were reported and you were left to draw your own conclusions. I like to listen to radio broadcasts from overseas or adjacent countries. Not that they don't have their slant, but it's usually not as pronounced as American news broadcasts. On something like the Zimmerman Trial, even Radio Beijing and Radio Havana have been pretty neutral. The one outfit you want to avoid is the BBC World Service, which is rabidly anti-American and puts the behavior of Radio Moscow during the cold war to shame. If you ever watched the BBC series MI-5 on Public Television and listened to them running down Americans as murderers and imperialists, then "you ain't seen nothing yet" until you listen to their editorials and news programs on BBC World Service.
On the other hand, Canada and Germany both have good english language programs, and there are a number of other good national broadcasts in english you can pick up regularly.
It's important to note that radio isn't like television. With television, you turn on the channel and it's always there, and always the same TNT, CMT or whatever. Not so with radio. Shortwave broadcasts usually last a few hours on a certain frequency, and that's it. You have to get a schedule guide for the broadcasts you want to hear, which you can do on line with no difficulty. Frequencies change over the year, because shortwave frequencies propagate differently at different times of the year, so the broadcasters choose the frequencies from the propagation tables that will "bounce" their signal from the transmission site into the target area.
I started listening to short wave in the mid 1970's, because I was often in locations where there was no Armed Forces Radio Television network. If you had a shortwave set, even if you were in the middle of the ocean, you could still keep up with events. Things have changed a lot since then, but I find it as useful as ever.
Shortwave sets come in all sizes, shapes and capabilities. You can get a big expensive set with all the bells and whistles, a medium priced set that will let you listen to the major broadcasters and the HAM's, and a cheap little pocket set that costs around ten dollars and is only good for major broadcasters. If things ever go sour and you need an alternate news source because there is no internet or television operational at the time, I can't think of a better way to go.