One of the things I have written about fairly often is the fun that can be had by either building or buying a general coverage receiver. Did you know that most modern amateur radio receivers have a general coverage receiver built-in? Yes, that’s right. Look on your front panel and look for the GENE button. Most transceivers have it and it opens another whole world to you. Most modern rigs from Kenwood, Icom and Yaesu have the general coverage receiver built-in. It will likely be near the band selector switches on the front panel. Check it out.
So how do you find out who those stations you hear on shortwave are? The trick is to tune in one of the SW bands and identify the frequency that they are transmitting on and look them up using this website: https://www.short-wave.info/index.php You don’t even need a clock because the program has its clock synced to GMT. Simply type the frequency you are listening to in kHz into the program and press NOW and it will list the stations that use that frequency and when and where they are on the air and their location. If you click on the flag on the right it will open up Google Maps and show precisely where the transmitting station is located in the world.
I use my SDRPlay receiver with my MFJ-1886 loop which is quite a distance from my transmitting antennas. This is important because the front ends on most radios are not capable of being in the near field of a transmitter. It not only will overload it but may also damage the front end. Whatever you do, do not ever connect your SW receiver to your transmitting antenna without a good T/R switch or some other type of protection in line with the input to the radio. The MFJ-1886 loop provides me with coverage from 0.5 mHz to 30 mHz and is sensitive and rotatable to eliminate noise. You can find information on how to build a front end protection circuit here on Tom’s Notes – https://tomsnotes.ca/clowingstuffup.pdf So when the bands are open and you have exhausted trying to get into the nets or having QSO’s, turn on the GENE section of your receiver and fill up on some great content that is being broadcast around the world on both MF and HF. You will not be disappointed.