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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 2012-04-18, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
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Question Long Wave Radio?

When I was a kid there was talk about how long wave radio (frequency band below the AM Radio broadcast band) was essentially unregulated in the U.S. and that almost anyone could go live on that band without licensing.

What is the situation with Long Wave Radio in Canada? Is anyone able to update us on that and/or describe any systems they've used?
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 2012-04-18, 02:40 AM
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Last time I checked, airport beacons in Canada use frequencies below 500 kHz. Just slow Morse code signals repeating three-letter airport codes over and over again.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 2012-04-18, 07:53 AM
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There's a variety of services below the AM band. As mentioned above, there's navigation, including LORAN B. The U.S. Navy uses extremely low frequencies for communications with subs. There is also some amateur radio use in some countries, among other uses, including broadcasting. There's some info on Wikipedia. I believe there is some provision for unlicensed use in Canada, but can't say for sure.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 2012-04-18, 08:50 AM
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BBC Radio 4 ( The Home Service as it used to be called) was on 200Khz or close when I was a kid in the UK. Signal penetrated everywhere in the UK and was reasonably free of interference even at night. I have heard it here more recently on a Sony Short wave receiver but buried under assorted interfering sources.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 2012-04-18, 04:42 PM
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Ah Tim, whenever I travel home (the Gaspe coast), I lend an attentive ear to the BBC LW broadcasts as well as French and irish (which I discovered during the 2011 holidays on 252 KHz).

While there and with just the whip of an Eton E1, I was able to reasonably follow the France Info evening news on 201 KHz at 13:30 in the afternoon. This of course takes place when the winter days are at their shortest but still. The sun was way up there and long wave propagation was happening.

Other than the 165-220 KHz (250 with a stretch) band, nothing but relentless navigational beacons.

Going nowhere @ 220 ft
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 2012-04-18, 11:31 PM
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Not to mention another long wave of non stop hits - Atlantic 252.
It was more than a bit repetitive but helped give commercial radio in UK (oh and did they cover Ireland?) a much needed kick in the rear in the early 90's.
Great for long car journeys without having to retune the radio umpteen times! Did I mention the repetitive playlist...

Also BBC Radio 2 including the sports coverage was on 1500m/200khz until about 1978, before Radio 4 went UK wide on long wave 198 khz.

Ah the nostalgia! Long wave radio was normal for a past generation of ex-pats. But choice and quality is much better today , no going back now.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 2012-04-20, 04:09 PM
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Post gee i would like canada to try longwave radio

lobby the government to use longwave
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 2012-04-21, 03:57 AM
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Not going to happen. Given how many stations are abandoning the AM dial, and there are no car receivers here that handle longwave, the chances are pretty much zero. I think there would be a better chance of HD radio instead of longwave.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 2012-04-28, 08:13 AM
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I agree that it is unlikely to happen. Although, I did have an old Arcam Alpha tuner (made in the UK) that had a Long Wave button. Never picked up anything in southern Ontario.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 2012-04-28, 02:14 PM
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According to what I read recently, a small slice around 472 KHz may soon be available for amateur radio use. For some real excitement, you can tune into the WWVB time and frequency standard signal on 60 KHz.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 2012-04-30, 07:49 PM
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I used to listen to RTL on LW in France (234 khz) when I lived there, but when FM come and these national stations were allowed to broadcast on it, very few now tune on LW. The quality is just not there and it is very expensive to power their giant transmitters. The only benefit is that you get to reach most of the country.

LW would have been great for Canada in the 60-90's due to our wide open spaces, but now with Satellite radio, Internet radio (which anyone can tune in their cars via iPhones/Google...), it would never make sense to launch something like this now. What we need is a proper Digital radio standard (either HD-FM or the European standard - DAB)
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 2012-05-01, 06:38 PM
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Long Wave Radio isn't dead...it's just sleeping (quietly). I'm a ham radio op, and using my Kenwood TS-590/TS-850S I can receive several longwave channels from Europe at night (particularly in the winter months, when atmospheric static is at a minimum). I need a very long antenna for this...about 150 feet in length. Some longwavers use beverage antennas, several thousand feet long. But I don't have that much land. Anyway, here in Southern Ontario, on an electrically "quiet" night, here's what I get:

162 Allouis, France Iter (French Public Radio, 2000 kW)
171 Nador Morocco Medi 1 (2000 kW)
183 Felsburg, Germany Europe 1 (500 kW)
189 Gufuskalen, Iceland (RVV National Program, 300 kW)
198 Droitwich, UK (BBC 500 kW)
216 Radio Monte Carlo (1200 kW)
234 Luxembourg (RTL, 2000 kW)
252 Clarkstown, Ireland (RTE Radio 1 500 kW)

There's also an abundance of longwave beacons, if you're into that sort of thing. There's a list here:

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 2012-05-05, 10:18 AM
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As an amateur operator it's always fun to experiment on the various bands, one we can utilize is the 135-137KHz band, but very few are active there. I think most commercially made HF transceivers will work on that band but may not transmit very efficiently but a simple CW transmitter is not too difficult to build.
Might be some info on the Radio Amateurs of Canada website.

SBGH @ 46', 10' C-band, & various home made projects...
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 2012-05-06, 04:41 PM
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Here is a very short clip featuring long wave broadcasts that you may find interesting:


The stations in this video may be BBC radio 4 on 198 kHz and also Germany on 183 kHz.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 2012-05-06, 07:25 PM
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This one's pretty cool as well.
The radio is in Barcelona and it's amazing how well it picks up RTL from Luxemburg. When I lived in France, we could barely pickup RTL in the French Riviera and had to switch the RMC (Radio Monte Carlo) which was the "Southern radio". With FM, it is now available throughout France and switched from a General format to all news.

I own the same radio (Seagan) which I take with me where ever I go. Usefull since it has RDS from FM, so you know which station you are tuning to.
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