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Go Long on Shortwave for ARRL Field Day

06/26/2008

Have you ever dreamed about being able to broadcast with hundreds of thousands of watts and talk about Amateur Radio to a worldwide audience? Ted Randall, WB8PUM, of Lebanon, Tennessee, will be "Live from Field Day" on 7.415 MHz on WBCQ -- a shortwave radio station -- from 2 PM EDT to 5 PM EDT, then from 11 PM EDT to 2 AM EDT on Saturday, June 28. "This is a chance for all ARRL Field Day locations to call in and do a special live 'remote' broadcast from your Field Day site," Randall said. "This international broadcast has a potential audience of more than 200 million people."

Randall, who will be "in the field" but connected to a radio studio, said he will be prepared to take calls from any ARRL Field Day location, "so line up your best chatterbox that likes to rag chew and call in." But before you get on the phone and call in, he offers some advice: "Cell phones are great and sometimes sound better than land lines, and have several folks lined up to say a few words." These calls will not be broadcast on Amateur Radio, but rather on the shortwave bands.

Randall says to not let goings-on at your station affect your phone call: "Background noise is okay, as long as you are louder than it is. And there is so much you can talk about." Some of things Randall mentioned as being good subjects are:

  • Your setup
  • Your community
  • Any officials that have visited -- if they are still there, Randall suggests handing them the phone and he will interview them
  • Any interesting stations you have worked
  • All about your club activities.

The number to call during the broadcast times to get on-the-air -- or any time during Field Day for information -- is 931-528-0133 (the phone will not be answered prior to Field Day). "As far as we know," Randall said, "nothing like this has ever been done before, so be sure and call in and do your 'broadcast' from your ARRL Field Day site -- listeners will love to hear from you. You are welcome to call in twice if you wish -- at 2 PM-5 PM, as well as from 11 PM-2 AM EDT. We will read any press releases on-the-air that you have about your Field Day activities, as well as talk about what you are doing." Press releases should be sent to Randall via e-mail at the station. If you have problems getting thorough or just general questions, you can send them here.

Shortwave broadcasting -- the common term for HF broadcasting -- is an FCC-licensed radio service operating between 5.950-26.100 MHz. Shortwave is an international broadcast service intended to be received by the general public in other countries and remains the only medium capable of direct communication from one country to listeners in another country without governmental intervention. With more than 1.5 billion shortwave receivers in use worldwide, the BBC estimates that at any given moment, more than 183 million people listen to shortwave broadcasts each week. Especially in developing countries, shortwave remains the dominant mass communications medium.

"Just remember -- major networks and news services all monitor shortwave," Randall said, "so you never know who will be listening to you tell the world about Field Day and Amateur Radio."



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