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Letters: Shortwave and Wall-Warts

More thoughts from our readers

Here’s a sampling of recent letters to the editor of Radio World. Comment on this or any article. Email [email protected].

The Ongoing Value of Shortwave

I enjoyed Kim Andrew Elliott’s commentary “Why We Need Shortwave 2.0.” He’s exactly on target.

I’ve said that the brass at VOA thought the people of Djibouti had laptops and high-speed internet when in fact they were living in houses made from four sheets of corrugated roofing iron — one for a roof, a half-sheet for the left end, another half for the right end, one for a rear wall, and a front wall with a large notch for a door. 

Gerhard Straub and I were rebuilding the 2 MW and 1 SW stations for local broadcaster RTD, Radio Television of Djibouti. One piece of equipment arrived in a wooden shipping crate made of quite nice wood, and I asked the RTD technicians to take it apart and build some shelves for the back room. 

But one man became very upset. He told me he’d already had “dibs” on it for an addition to his home. I said it was OK, we didn’t need the shelves that badly. 

I’ve always been proud to be an American. After I was in Djibouti, I was glad to be an American.

— David R. DeSpain, P.E., W0BCG 


Those Darn Wall-Warts

Mark Persons wrote recently about “Those Darn Wall-Wart Power Supplies.”

A few years ago, a friend stored his motorcycle at my house, connected to a battery trickle charger with wall wart. I soon forgot about the charger but eventually I noticed a beeping sound coming from my AM radio. It was like Telstar, beeping away all over the dial, even on shortwave.

I disconnected anything in the house that might be interfering, took a portable radio and walked around the house. I didn’t find anything inside, so I tried outside, and sure enough, at the power box, the beeping grew louder. So I went to the front yard power pole. Beeping increased again, so I concluded (erroneously) that it was a neighbor.

Weeks went by. I finally got mad enough to check one more time with a portable. This time it dawned on me: I’d never pulled the battery charger wall-wart. So I did, and the beeping immediately stopped. I looked at the wall-wart to see if this was some sort of cheap imported thing, and what do I see but a logo from the Canadian version of our FCC, assuring me that the device will not interfere with radios.

Ever since then, I’ve hated switching supplies.

— Duke Evans, KBBF(FM) Calistoga, Calif.

[Check Out More Letters at Radio World’s Reader’s Forum Section]