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Diane in Plymouth, Michigan listens on AM800 CKLW and asked: ” I bought a shortwave radio. It also has AM/FM. I bought it for the shortwave band and it’s been a disappointment. I’m not getting much on it. Spanish-speaking programs and religious programs, and it’s just not my thing. I’m wondering if there’s some kind of extra antenna you can maybe attach to the radio to get more on it. They even say on their literature that it’s typical that the reception is poor or spotty and it’s recommended to use the radio at night because you’ll get more frequencies. I’ve tried it at night, too, and I don’t get very much on it at all.”
Diane, there are external antennas that you can buy to extend your range. They’re not terribly expensive and they pretty much look like long wires and sometimes a mechanism to coil them back into a manageable package when you don’t want to have them extended. You can find them online from everything from C.Crane to Chinese generics and they’ll usually be roughly around $15.
They’re usually connected to the radio via plug that looks like a your regular stereo plug.
That may help you pick up more stations, but don’t expect greatness. What you described is pretty typical of most modern shortwave stations. You used to be able to pick up significantly more and better stuff, but that content has largely moved on to online streaming where they can capture a far, far wider audience worldwide and where the quality is infinitely better.
Living in a populated area, you probably have better options on both the AM and FM bands than you will find on shortwave. If you want to listen to content from all over the world, something like the TuneIn app will probably yield much better results these days.
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