Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fun With Shortwave Radio

I recently bought a small, travel sized shortwave radio. Well, actually, it has all bands of radio... AM, FM, Shortwave, and Longwave (who knew there were so many choices?).

Mine is made by Grundig and you can find out more about it here:

It arrived today ( is great) and I popped some batteries in it and began to see what was out there. Shortwave radio signals bounce off the atmosphere (instead of flying off into space) and so they can be sent great distances.

It arrived around 2pm and i went through several bands of frequency. Nothing. Just a whole bunch of static. I went searching online and it only confused me more. I can't seem to find a clear explanation of what staions broadcast on what frequencies and when. A lot of it was also so filled with technical jargon and other junk I don't need to know that it made my head spin. I set the radio down and did other things.

Tonight at around 10pm I turned it back on and got a signal. It was weak and had lots of static, but I eventually found a spot on my room where it came in relatively clear. Turns out, the station was Radio Havana Cuba. Yeah... Havana. Im sitting here in Nevada and I am picking up signals from Cuba. How wild is that?

I only listened for a few minutes. They had some good music but then it was a lot of anti-American news. I immediately got back online and ordered a bigger antenna. Hopefully there will be more stations to discover.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I am almost done getting everything I will need and have a pretty extensive packing list. One of the last big items on my list was a pair of Chacos. They are great sandals and almost every volunteer recommends them. The one problem is that they are around $100. After some research, I found that I qualified for a pretty significant discount. I emailed the company and waited. and waited, and waited, and waiting. Nothing.

I was planning on emailing them again today when I got done with my errands. One of those errands was to go pick up a coffee grinder I had ordered at REI. When I got to the store, I walked around just browsing. In the shoe department there was a sale rack and so I figured I would glance at it. It is hard enough finding shoes that fit, so I always look.

Today was my lucky day I guess. They not only had Chacos on sale, but they had two different colors in my size. The choice was between brown and black and I chose black (obviously, by the picture above). The best part was they they were on sale for $50 - exactly the same price if I had gotten that deal from the company.

So even though it is snowing outside and I can't wear them much, I am excited to have a new pair of chacos.

AND... as an added bonus. My Chacos are made in Colorado. "What's the big deal about that?" you may ask. As of this past fall, Chacos got bought out by Wolverine who promptly closed the factory in Colorado and moved operations to China. It used to be that all Chacos were handmade in the US. Not anymore. When I was researching getting Chacos there were several reviews about how the quality of the sandal went down when they moved to China.

I hate shopping, but today was a great shopping day.

You can find out more about Chacos here: