28 March 2011

Off the beaten track: My farewell to Short Wave Listening and DXing

In my post on 1 January, I had mentioned as to how delighted I was in getting back to my hobbies of SWL and DXing using my short wave receiver after many years.  But now I realise that these two hobbies are no more fascinating due to more effective modes of broadcasting during the past few decades. 

I remember with nostalgia as to how useful was my simple SW/MW receiver when I was working in Endaselassie (a remote village) and later near the capital city Addis Ababa in Ethiopia in 1982-83.  In fact, I used to enjoy listening to early morning devotional songs broadcast from radio staions in cities such as Madras (now known as Chennai) in India, my home country, on short wave.

Later, when I  was placed in Southern Africa, I continued listening to shortwave broadcasts including those from Madras. Occassionally I used to receive signals beamed to South East Asia though my location would be diametrically opposite viz. in Southern Africa, as documented in the following excerpt from the UK based `Short Wave Magazine', to which I used to contribute regularly:


But today, by using our AM//SW receivers, it is only possible to receive signals from a local radio station on the medium wave and not beyond.

At the audience interection level, a few decades back, even as recently as the early '90s, SW broadcasters used to respond to listners' letters and reception reports promptly.  I remember with nostalgia as to how BBC World Service (Radio) continued mailing 'London Calling', their monthly programme guide, even after they closed down their World Service Listener Panel (of which I was a member) in mid '80s, as part of cutting costs and how my letter was the first one published when a listener mailbag programme was introduced in London Calling in late '80s.


Radio Deutsche Welle used to be glad when I sent my reception reports on their frequencies.


[Since I restarted DXing, I communicated to broadcasters such as Radio Nederlands Worldwide (which was previously Radio Nederlands) by using options in their own websites. But still, I havn't received any response].

Besides, we hear cost cutting measures such as reduction in airtime,  reduction in number of programmes and reduction in number of language services, which seem to be a clear indication of user shift from short wave audio to technologically more advanced digital audiovisual programmes.

Hence I have decided to discontinue SWL and DXing for ever, and get back to satellite TV and podcasts, so that I wouldn't be the odd man out.

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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a K-12 Education Management Professional turned freelance Education writer. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.