I have an emergency radio... now what?
November 25, 2012 5:14 PM   Subscribe

I have an AM/FM/shortwave emergency radio... now what? How do I best use it during an impending or in-progress emergency situation? I know how to tune to my local AM emergency station, but beyond that I'm lost. Please share your resources and experience. Bonus: what fun stuff can I do with it right now that I can't do with a regular AM/FM radio?
posted by rhiannonstone to Technology (5 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Poke around and see what you can hear on the shortwave bands. You can always check the time with WWV. Domestic religious crazytown can be found on WWCR, but depending on your antenna you may be able to pick up the BBC world service radio. This page has some links to schedules for English-language broadcasting. And if you poke around on the dial and the stars align just right, you might be able to hear a numbers station.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:22 PM on November 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh, and for plain old emergency stuff, NOAA weather radio.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:23 PM on November 25, 2012

You can listen to spies communicate by tuning into a numbers station.
posted by santry at 5:51 PM on November 25, 2012

Best answer: Grab a copy of Monitoring Times from your local bookstore and take a look through the SW broadcast schedules. You can spin through the dial to get the big stuff like the BBC and other world services. MT and other like-minded publications can guide you through all of the other stuff: pirate radio stations, utility stations, long-distance air and sea communications, beacons, hard-to-hear stuff from the other side of the world.

If you get the bug, you can start sending reception reports to these distant stations, and if you are lucky, they'll corroborate your report and send you a QSL card. Many people collect these as a hobby. A resource like the World Radio and TV Handbook is seriously useful for such a thing.
posted by jquinby at 5:59 PM on November 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: As a professional shortwave listener, I will vouch for jquinby's recommendations of Monitoring Times and the WRTH, but before you do anything, please check out SWLing.com's Beginner's Guide to Shortwave Listening (SWLing). I can't tell you how many people turn on their radio in the middle of their living room in daytime with the TV and dimmers and all their appliances on and give up in despair because all they can hear is noise day after day. Shortwave is an astonishingly sensitive medium and you have to do a tiny bit of homework before it pays off.

(I could also give more specific advice if I knew which radio you were working with, but you can always MeMail me about that.)
posted by mykescipark at 6:57 PM on November 25, 2012 [6 favorites]

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