Thanks to the patience and guidance of Lucas Steinman, I have successfully constructed my first Short Wave Radio Receiver! It was made from a simple kit that I ordered from MTM Scientific http://www.mtmscientific.com/swradio.html . Lucas walked me through a soldering workshop, and most of it was not too bad. There were a few points where we had to re-solder due to parts not quite fitting the circuit board, but for the most part I was really pleased with the kit and the instructions. For a little radio powered by a 9V battery, it doesn’t do too poorly. I so far have only picked up fuzz and one english station really faint, so our next step is to build a simple antenna to try to pick up more signals. If the stations are too difficult to pick up at that point, perhaps an amplifier needs to be built, or a stronger power source.
There have also been a few experienced supporters from the community whom when hearing about the project , have generously put aside some equipment for me to take a look at. I get the feeling that there are many experienced HAM radio users, and electronics enthusiasts who appreciate others who are interested in learning about the medium. It is not a protective community that I have experienced at this point.
Stephen Kelly kindly put aside a SW Radio receiver and a CB radio transceiver for this project wile cleaning out his basement and studio shed to make room. The SW receiver doesn’t quite work, so I have brought it into the lab to take a look and see if we can clean it and fix it up. With any luck, we will have parts in the lab, or can easily find some. The CB Radio seems to work, but also needs an antenna, so it looks like building an antenna is the next thing to do! Luckily, once again the generous spirit of other SW radio enthusiasts has paid off, as Wes Johnson has loaned me a book called ‘Build your own Shortwave Antennas’ by Andrew Yoder. This book provides a fantastic overview of building very simple makeshift antennas (basically a long copper wire) for beginners, to more complex antennas while taking the time to explain how and why we are doing things as we go! Another book which Stephen Kelly and Eleanor King are in called ‘Islands of Resistance’ has recently been published as well.