So I’m in upstate New York last night and the power goes out. My satellite internet connection is down, so surfing the web is out. It is too dark to read a book. What to do? Well, it just so happens that a few years ago I bought my dad a short wave radio that has a hand-crank wind-up generator built in. I didn’t want to listen to the GOP convention, which was what was on all the news channels (I hate most political speeches — Republican or Democrat, and always prefer to read about them afterwards, rather than suffer through all the rhetoric and posturing) so, the only choice was Short Wave radio. I hadn’t listened to the short wave since 1990 when I tuned in to the BBC and VOA from Yunnan Province in China in order to get news about the Gulf War. (If I was there now I could probably just go to a local internet cafe…)
Listening to short wave is a lot like surfing the web. There is the feeling of a whole unexplored world out there at your fingertips. The only difference is that the reception sucks, tuning is difficult, and it is much harder to publish your own content. Still, it is a lot of fun listening to China Radio International, Voice of Russia (which now seems to solicit advertising), and Radio Sweden under a full moon with crickets making noise in the background.
(A full list of the web sites if international Short Wave stations is here.)