Enthusiasts speak up for the fading shortwave radio

Radio Veritas Asia shut its shortwave radio station down on June 30, an update on the DXers Guide blog for radio enthusiasts announced.

“This station used to broadcast in 17 Indian languages from the 1990s,” said Jaisakthivel T., head of Ardic DX, a shortwave radio listeners club in Chennai.

Several shortwave radio stations across the world have been shutting down lately.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) recently ended the BBC Tamil shortwave service.

Mr. Jaisakthivel explained why shortwave radio is on the decline.

“Android phones have become the new norm. People hardly listen to the radio. Clear signal transmissions are interrupted by cable wires and electronic devices at home. Not many stores sell shortwave radio devices these days because firms have stopped manufacturing them.”

Ardic DX, which began in 1997 with 280 members across Tamil Nadu, now has about 80.

“The number [of members] has fallen drastically. But there are several benefits of using shortwave radio, which people should know,” he explained.

Powerful medium

Unlike medium wave, the shortwave signal is powerful. It transmits information across the globe to anyone who owns a radio and is capable of receiving the signal. Listeners can connect with the culture, tradition and history of other countries, and remain updated about the latest happenings globally.

Shortwave stations also provide free language classes with learning material, and career opportunities. “Stations often ask technical monitors to submit reports after listening to their programmes,” said Mr. Jaisakthivel.

Arun Narasimhan, another ardent listener, said, “I was in school when I used to rush home to listen to the radio. I remember the U.S. invasion of Iraq — my father and I would listen to the BBC all night on radio. TV options were also very limited then.”

Mr. Narasimhan’s father introduced him to shortwave radio when he was five years old.

Tamil songs

“We used to love listening to the latest Tamil songs on the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation every morning. Today, my son enjoys it,” he said.

Despite setbacks, Ardic DX members are determined to encourage the hobby among new listeners.

“We meet every week to discuss topics related to shortwave radio. We want the medium to stay alive for the next generation of listeners,” Mr. Jaisakthivel said.

Ardic DX, which began in 1997 with 280 members across Tamil Nadu, now has about 80.

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