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: http://www.etoncorp.com/product_card/?p_ProductDbId=916173
It arrived today (Amazon.com 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.