5 Things to Consider When Buying a Shortwave Radio
popular in the United States as it is in many other parts of the world. In all honesty, at times the prices of shortwave receiver sets in the United States can seem a little steep for what you are actually buying. This might be due at least in part to the fact that a good portion of amateur and shortwave radio dealers in the United States tend to rely on government purchases for revenue. Even so, choosing a good shortwave receiver to be your primary workhorse needn’t break the bank. Although there is no shortage of expensive radio gear, there are currently a few quality portable shortwave radios available to residents of the United States for affordable prices. Fortunately, at this point in history people living inside the United States are not required to pay a receiver set license fee for shortwave radios as citizens residing elsewhere such as Europe might have to in order to fund public broadcasting. Today the prices of new shortwave radios in the United States range anywhere from around $40 or so for compact handheld receivers to upwards of several thousand dollars for advanced monitoring devices.
Finding the right shortwave receiver for your needs and budget first requires defining what you hope to be able to hear with your radio and how much that you are willing or able to spend. Prices of medium sized portable shortwave radios at present in the United States range anywhere from just over $100 to around $500. Many of these middle of the road shortwave receivers tend to offer a good variety of features and functionality along with a price tag that is bearable for most who are serious about putting their radios to work. Something to consider when budgeting for a shortwave radio is that, while additional equipment is not necessarily a requirement for one to be able to log shortwave broadcasts, having a decent external antenna can make all of the difference in the world for reception. Crafting homebrewed antennas is part of the fun for shortwave radio hobbyists. Provided that you are willing to use your head and do a little soldering yourself, the price of such projects can be determined by the cost of materials or plans. Commercially available antennas come in many different forms and configurations. For less than $100 in today’s prices a tuned dipole or compact active antenna can be attained.
2. Quality: There are many different shortwave receivers on the market. Not all of them were built to last and, in some extreme cases, even work properly right off the shelf. Avoiding being stuck with a lemon by making the effort to do some homework before making a purchase can greatly increase your chances of finding shortwave radio listening to be a rewarding hobby from the start. As most salespeople would agree, it is generally accepted that you get what you pay for. This is quite often the case but is not always true. The quality of a shortwave radio is ultimately dependent on the manufacturer and it stands to reason that there are many business models in existenc