Shortwave Listening antenna



Ok – Now I’ve mentioned the Sony shortwave radio a couple times. It comes with a little (maybe 23 foot?) random wire antenna that really boosts reception over the internal “whip” antenna. In fact, I like using a wire antenna instead of the built in whip when possible. Let’s face it, the radio signals that you’re trying to pickup when listening to shortwave are MUCH longer than that whip antenna, in ideal you should have a bigger antenna.


It seems that every now and then I start looking into other antennas again. Walking around the yard with headphones and the whip to see “where” I get better signal. The built in whip was quickly bested by the “random wire” that came with the Sony, but after having used both of those and wanting to try and dredge up even weaker signals, I starting experimenting around.

The first thing I tried was a 50 foot speaker cable. I bound both conductors together and wrapped it just under the eave of the house and in a window. It performed as well as the 23 foot random wire on some frequencies, better on others and maybe a bit worse on still others. The idea though is simple, the bigger the wire, the more signal can be pulled in.

After seeing how well that did, I’ve experimented with a “portable” 50 ft speaker wire spool that does pretty well for taking with me. I just wired the ends together originally (added an alligator clip), then put it back on the spool it came on. Some places you just need a bit of wire off the spool to make the difference between hearing nothing and getting a decent signal. (5-10 feet)

My next (and currently best) antenna is yet another 50 foot speaker wire cable. For this trick, I anchored one end about 20 feet up a tree that’s near a particularly “good reception area” of the yard. The other end comes across to the same window that the first wire comes in. It’s worth mentioning that some signals come in better on one than another and different noises are picked up in one than the other. But noise is a completely different area.

The only other thing I should mention is to be very careful about running antennas or cables. AVOID areas close to power lines. Be aware of the dangers and be careful.

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