Shortwave listening in a highrise sucks

Photo of a Sony ICF-SW7600GR shortwave radio on a table. Next to the paperback book size radio are its instruction book, earbud headphones and a map.
My Sony ICF-SW7600GR doesn’t work well in a highrise building mostly made of steel. Photo copyright © L.T.Hanlon

Well, I gave it one last try tonight and shortwave reception in my John Hancock Center apartment is strictly ixnay. I didn’t expect to be able to snag low-power pirate radio stations or clandestine transmissions, but even traditionally easy catches like time-station WWV are no-shows.

When I lived in Jefferson Park on Chicago’s Northwest Side, I could get great reception by  throwing a longwire out my third-floor window into a nearby tree. The nearest thing to that tactic here would be dangling a 20- or 30-foot wire out my 54th-floor window … and I can’t do that.

Ah, well.

If you’re interested in the characteristics of small shortwave portables, check out Thomas Witherspoon’s reviews.

3 thoughts on “Shortwave listening in a highrise sucks

  1. Throwing a wire into a tree is also dumb as danging it because people can still get at it. Regardless a poor setup. Active loop in the window is what you do in the city. Set up right and turn of your lights and TV and computers and your fine. Really though I have that same portable and it’s really nice on the whip alone and works great to just take it outside even on the sidewalk. I pick up so much in small clearings like parking lots. That’s why you buy a portable and not a desktop radio.


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