After a long cold winter, summer has finally reached us here in North America. Time to spend your time outdoors by the grill, or lounging by the pool in the hot sun. It’s also time to bring your shortwave along and enjoy what the bands have to offer this time of year. Sure there’s a lot of noise to contend with on the lower bands, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to hear. In fact, there’s some stations that get stronger with the long daylight hours, and start to fade away with the return of cooler weather.
Here’s a quick list of targets to look for whenever you’re near your radio this summer. If you have a favorite that isn’t mentioned here, please let us know.
Radio Kuwait, 15540 kHz, 1800 to 2100 utc. I cannot think of another government sanctioned broadcaster on shortwave as eclectic as Radio Kuwait. Their afternoon English programming is a unique mix of Islamic oriented programming, Western music that ranges from rap and hip hop to 70s pop, and PSAs encouraging people to drive safely while in Kuwait. While it can be heard occasionally at other times of the year, Radio Kuwait is strongest here in North America from mid April until early October.
Radio New Zealand International, 15720 kHz, 2151 to 0458 UTC. RNZI is a first class operation, with excellent radio dramas, music and some great local, regional, and international news coverage. Their 15720 broadcast is pretty strong here in North America from local evening until sign off just before 0500 UTC. If you’re set up to receive DRM broadcasts, look for them in this same block of time on 17675. DRM can be finicky, but it sounds pretty remarkable when it works.
Channel Africa, 15235 kHz, 1700 to 1800 UTC. If you’re lucky enough to be around your radio around lunch time during the week, check out Channel Africa. This entertaining hour of programming is intended for Western Africa, but can usually be heard in North America as well.
The Mighty KBC, 9925 kHz, 000 to 0200 UTC. Okay, its not exactly a summertime only catch, but I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday night than with a couple of cold adult beverages and “Uncle Eric” on the radio. He plays a lot of old school, obscure rock n roll that’s a perfect companion to your Saturday night plans.
The 20m ham band at night. Summer is a great time for 20m, especially at night. As the atmosphere cools down at night, it contracts and turns an otherwise dead band into one ripe with DX targets. The middle east and Europe should start rolling in around sundown, while Asia and Australia can be heard before sunrise. Sometimes you can even hear these stations working North America via long path.
So there you have it, a short list of stations to check out while the living is easy. Remember though, enjoy these catches while you can. Like fresh corn on the cob, these catches won’t be around in the fall.