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[Swlfest] SWL Fest Story in the Reporter
- Subject: [Swlfest] SWL Fest Story in the Reporter
- From: Mike Oz <mrowazan@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2006 21:58:47 -0800 (PST)
Story about the Fest from The Reporter for thoes who
might have missed it.
Pirate radio takes to the air
TOWAMENCIN? There?s something strange on the air in
If you?re driving through today? try tuning in to
91.5? 88.9? 91.3 or 90.5 FM ? just don?t tell the
Federal Communications Commission.
Pirate radio is just the tip of the iceberg at the
19th annual winter Short Wave Listeners Festival?
which draws short wave lovers from as far as Japan.
?The SWL Fest is the largest gathering of listeners to
the radio spectrum ? longwave? mediumwave? shortwave
(broadcast? utilities? pirates)? VHF/UHF? FM?
scanners? television and satellites ? in the United
States? perhaps the world?? is how the self-described
?Scanner Scum? describe it on their Web site.
Broadcasters make up only a small part of the
The unlikely gathering finds adherents of ?an
introverted kind of habit getting together in a public
place. It?s like a group getting together for
reading?? said Andrew Yoder? a pirate radio aficionado
from central Pennsylvania who wore shorts to the
There was an odd collection of equipment on display at
the Inn at Towamencin? ranging from radio spectrum
displays to a TV playing satellite programming with
The festival continues through today. For more
information? go to www.swlfest.com.
Though attendees? technical expertise varied? a simple
theme united them: ?Radio today around here is just so
bland?? is how Dan Cashin? of Havertown? put it.
Bland is probably not the word to describe WBCQ ?The
Planet?? Allan Weiner?s shortwave radio station? which
is permitted to operate legally.
WBCQ?s diverse programs include ?Global Spirit
Proclamation?? ?Cows in Space? and many? many others.
?Free speech? it?s more than just words? is the
Although Weiner lives in Monticello? Maine? his
broadcast can be picked up in most of North America?
he said. For somewhere between $25 and $55 an hour?
he?ll put your program on.
?If you have something to listen to? people will seek
it out?? he said.
He has no way of knowing just how many people are
?There?s no Arbitron of shortwave?? he said.
But judging from hits to his Web site? there?s an
audience of thousands that?s growing.
Still? many worried that radio geeks were becoming a
A forum Friday morning focused on whether radio clubs
?There was no discussion of this group and it?s
survival insofar as bringing new people into the
community?? Ed Cummings? of Philadelphia? said later
in the day.
Cummings brought two guests? but worried that an
insular culture would lead to the festival?s eventual
The festival brings together radio lovers from?
literally? across the spectrum.
Bill Oliver? 77? is the publisher and business manager
of the North American Shortwave Association.
?We?re the only shortwave listening club in the U.S.
at the present time?? he said ? the last one still
Though there are plenty of ham operator clubs? those
who monitor weather conditions in order to tune in to
obscure broadcasts on another side of the world are
harder to find these days.
That probably has something to do with young and
technically inclined people favoring computers? Oliver
said. ?I don?t blame them ? I?m a computer man
But Oliver? who said he was a fan of DXing ? radio
lingo for tuning in to stations far? far away ? the
thrill is? in part? in the seeking.
?The real fun is finding these things?? he said.
Staff Writer Jacob Fenton can be reached at (215)
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