Short Wave Broadcasting
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Short Wave Broadcasting
Shortwave transmitters use less than one watt (for experimental and amateur radio transmissions) to 500 kilowatts and higher (for intercontinental broadcasters and over-the-horizon radar). Specialized antenna designs are often used by shortwave transmitting centers to concentrate radio energy at the intended target.
Advantages of Use
Despite newer technological advances, shortwave does have several advantages.
Disadvantages of Use
Broadcasts made by utility stations are not broadcasted to the general public. They are shortwave transmissions used for merchant shipping, marine weather, and ship-to-shore situations. Additionally they are used for aviation weather and air-to-ground communications. The military and the government also uses shortwave utility stations.
Shortwave Broadcasts and Music
Shortwave transmissions frequently have distortion bursts and a loss of clarity at certain aural frequencies. These effects alter the harmonics of natural sound and resulting echoes and phase distortion sometimes create 'spacey' qualities. Distortions like this have enticed musicians to use these to their advantage. Snippets of broadcasts have been mixed into electronic sound callages by means of sampling and tape loops. Sometimes instrumental sounds are altered through remixing, more distortions are added, and the garbeled effects are diminished.
Other artists have sought to deliberately incorporate these unique aspects. In 1975, German electronic music band Kraftwerk recorded a full length concept album around simulated radiowave and shortwave sounds, entitled Radio-Activity.
Among others, The B-52s, Peter Gabriel, Pukka Orchestra, Rush, and Radiohead, have also used or been inspired by shortwave broadcasts.
With satellite technology and direct broadcasting readily available, the demand for shortwave receivers has diminished. Still there are a great number of shortwave broadcasters. New technology (Digital Radio Mondiale) is anticiapted to improve the quality of shortwave audio to standards comparable to FM Broadcasts.
The future is also threatened by the use of Broadband over Power lines, where data is transmitted over power lines. These frequencies overlapped with shortwave bands, and severe distortions occured. Listening to shortwave near power lines was made difficult in some areas, and impossible in others. Still, because of its low cost and high effectiveness, countries with poor infrastructure will still rely on shortwave for many years.
Hobbyist and amateur users are diminishing due to competing interests in other communication devices.
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