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How to Listen

The shortwave has a characteristic that makes it capable of traveling long distances by bouncing back and forth between the ionosphere, an upper layer of the earth's atmosphere, and the earth's surface. Because shortwave signal transmission is more complex than medium wave and FM, please be aware of the following important points:

What kind of radio do I need?

Please have ready an international broadcast radio capable of receiving in the frequency range of 49mb (6MHz Band) and 13mb (21MHz Band). A radio equipped to receive domestic shortwave radio service does not have a wide enough shortwave band (usually between 3.9 MHz to 12 MHz) and is not adequate to receive RADIO JAPAN.

We recommend a digital-type radio with a built-in microcomputer that shows frequencies digitally. A lot of these radios have memories that are capable of storing multiple frequencies of your choice, and they are accurate and easy to use. If you have a radio with a tuning dial that shows the frequencies on a dial display, the key to good reception is to turn the dial slowly to tune into the frequency. A slight turn of the dial can quickly change the frequency. Good shortwave reception is all about patience.

Use an antenna

We recommend the use of an antenna (which is comparable to an entryway for the signal) to ensure good reception. Please extend the telescoping antenna built-in to your radio to its fullest. If you are listening indoors, reception improves if you place the radio by a window.

If reception is poor even by the window, we recommend the use of an external antenna. Various antennas, such as an active antenna that is good for indoor reception, are available through your electric equipment retailer. It is also possible to set up a simple antenna on your own. All you need is an electric wire about four to five meters long. Wrap one end around the base of the radio antenna and let the other end hang out the window, making sure that it does not touch the building. This method is simple but can be very effective.

Other factors to be aware of

Because of the nature of the shortwave, reception quality can change depending on the season, the time and place. In general, reception during the day can be affected by interference from other sources, and improves at night. Since the shortwave is used for long-distance broadcast, sometimes it becomes difficult to hear the broadcast. If this happens, please switch to another frequency, or wait for a while. Sometimes, the steel in steel reinforced structures deadens sound waves and makes it difficult to get good reception. If this is the case, please try to move the radio around a little, or change the direction of the antenna.

Television sets, fluorescent lighting, refrigerators, computers, air conditioners and other appliances that use an electric outlet generate static and can cause sound interference. Please try to listen to your radio away from these electric appliances.