By Dennis Walter
“Nothing’s going on shortwave anymore!”
Many ham radio operators and SWLs keep telling me that nothing is going on on shortwave. On top of that there are news that international stations are discontinued and you keep thinking, “Ok, this station is gone now as well, too bad.” The listeners forget about it and in the worst case, they pursue a different hobby.
Many OMs do not notice that there is not less activity on the band but that local noise has become a lot stronger and so many stations get lost “in the mud” and cannot be heard anymore.
That means that these stations are simply hidden by the noise floor and are beneath the local noise level.
How does this come about?
Over the last 10 years, the number of interferences on the bands has increased slowly and gradually. There are more and more switching power supplies, photovoltaic systems and other electrical devices in your home, which are badly or sometimes not at all insulated. In the best case you try to find the source of the interference or replace the power supplies by tried and tested conventional transformers. This is becoming more and more difficult, though, due to legal restrictions because these transformers are considered to be a waste of power and are not allowed to be produced any more.
Additionally, there is PowerLAN, also known as PLC (power line communication). Many people do not know that they cause bad interferences by using PLC and that you do not have to have these devices in use in your own home to cause trouble.
In only takes your next-door neighbor who can interfere with your radio reception. It would be nice to live in a radio-friendly neighborhood, but in most cases your neighbor does not understand your concerns and does not understand why he should be using something different. I live next to a pharmacy and its owner cannot change anything because his PowerLAN network or LED-banners must be on all the time.