Cover image for On the short waves, 1923-1945 : broadcast listening in the pioneer days of radio
On the short waves, 1923-1945 : broadcast listening in the pioneer days of radio
Berg, Jerome S., 1943-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., [1999]

Physical Description:
viii, 272 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TK6547 .B425 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



As radio developed in the early 1920s, the focus for most people was the AM band and stations such as KDKA, the first broadcast station. There was, however, another broadcast method that was popular among many early enthusiasts--shortwave radio. As is true today, the transmission of news and entertainment programs over shortwave frequencies permitted reception over great distances. For many in America and beyond, shortwave was an exciting aspect of the new medium. Some still tune the shortwave bands to enjoy the programming. Others pursue broadcasts for the thrill of the hunt.This book fully covers shortwave broadcasting from its beginning through World War II. A technical history examining the medium's development and use tells the story of a listener community that spanned the globe. Included are overviews of the primary shortwave stations operating worldwide in the 1930s, along with clubs and competitions, publications and prizes. A rich collection of illustrations includes many QSLs, the cards that stations sent to acknowledge receipt of their transmissions and that are much prized by long-distance collectors.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

As Berg notes, the history of shortwave broadcasting (in the 1.5- to 30-megahertz band), unlike the history of AM or even FM broadcasting, has received very little attention. Dominated by international rather than local transmissions, it attracted a smaller clientele whose concerns were often focused more on the hunt for new long-distance stations than on program content. Berg, a veteran shortwave listener, draws heavily on the magazines that served this clientele both for his text and illustrations; the latter are supplemented by numerous reproductions of the verification cards (QSL cards) that shortwave broadcast stations sent listeners to confirm reception. The book's beginning and ending dates are somewhat arbitrary, and concentrate heavily on the 1930s. The emphasis is more on American shortwave listeners, the equipment they used, the stations they received, and the publications that catered to their interests than on the technical, political, business, or economic history of shortwave broadcasting. Description dominates; there is little analysis. Berg does not offer international comparisons, and interpretive issues, such as why shortwave broadcasting developed so differently than did AM broadcasting, are touched only in passing. General readers; professionals; two-year technical program students. T. S. Reynolds Michigan Technological University