I know a guy who began in radio
back in the 1960s as a short wave listener (SWL), and then earned his Amateur
Radio license in order to be able to send messages as well as listen to them.
Short wave listening was a very popular pastime for many people - not just technical
types - back before advances in communications made the world, to cite a cliché,
"a much smaller place." Being just a "listener" was much less expensive and
less involved that setting up a transmitting station (often requiring huge cabinets
of vacuum tube equipment). Prior to around the 1960s, the only personal exposure
most people had to the rest of the world was while serving in the military service.
Movies, television documentaries, and magazines like National Geographic
provided insight into foreign cultures. As with radio itself, existence outside
your local town was a mystery so fantastical stories told by cosmopolitan travelers
garnered troves of interested listeners. "All-Wave"
radios tuned the AM (and later FM) bands and also included one or more shortwave
bands. Under ideal radio wave propagation conditions, even a simple set could
pick up broadcasts half a world away. Immigrants could listen to happenings
in their home countries, people striving to learn foreign languages got to hear
native speakers conversing and singing, and curious short-wave listeners just
enjoyed the thrill of actually eavesdropping on other's transmissions. Electronics
magazines regularly published current tables of short-wave frequencies and their
locations of origin.
World Short Wave Time-Table
Compiled by the Editors of Radio News
Hours of transmission for the World's Short Wave Broadcast Stations
Posted February 11, 2021