Electronic warbling

Heliogen shortwave galena radio

The BBC World Service celebrated its 80th birthday last week. Many now listen via the internet or mobile phone App, but this feature researched by Bethan Jinkinson for the BBC’s News Magazine explains the science of good old fashioned shortwave radio and recounts four personal stories, from Antarctica to Rangoon, of listeners who still receive their news this way:

 It’s a signal that can be capricious – subject to interference from electrical storms and other atmospheric disturbances and, mysteriously, often best at sunrise or sunset. But even when heard against a background of electronic warbling, whistling and hissing, shortwave has reliably delivered the news for 80 years. Four listeners tell their stories.

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