Select Page


In radio’s fledgling period, the “short-waves” were a mysterious unattainable slice of the ether; the domain of the experimenter. “Wireless” signals were first generated by mechanical means; most communications were in what we call the “Long-wave” neighborhood…frequencies barely above the band of audibility. Devices like the Alexandersen Alternator generated gobs of power, but the mechanical limits of machine-rotation speed constrained usage at higher frequencies. It took the electronic oscillator and the development of the high-power vacuum tube to make short-wave practical.  The futurists saw potential.  

Early success in using the new higher frequencies led to the acceptance of short-wave for transoceanic communications.  Refinements in audio quality meant short-wave could be used for overseas broadcasting.  Several commercial broadcasters thought shortwave could make a better broadcast band and built shortwave facilities for simulcast of their AM stations and as relays between stations.  Some of those shortwave operations were pressed into service by the U.S. government during the war to help launch the Voice of America.  (After the war many of these facilities were shut down.  It was left to a few entrepreneurs to carry on.)

Long-Wave broadcasting is still used in some countries but it was never practical in the United States.  Still, some floated ideas for a “U. S. National Broadcast” system using mega-power at the Long-Wave frequencies.

This material is provided for Educators and Researchers.

No copyrights or usage rights are implied or granted.

Gernsback-Short Radio Waves  Aug, 1923
Long-wave plan  Apr, 1931
Long-wave superpower  June, 1931
Long-wave superpower  Aug, 1931
Long-wave superpower  Sep, 1931
Poland LW Superpower  Dec, 1931
Long-wave broadcasting  June, 1932
RCA Communications promo  1920
Eiffel Tower station  Jun, 1922
Transatlantic station  Jul, 1922
Transatlantic communications  Mar, 1927
Rocky Point station  Aug, 1928
Europe retunes  Feb, 1934
Transatlantic communications  May, 1936
RCA Communications promo  Mar, 1938
Radio-Spanish Civil War  May, 1938
Short-wave propaganda  May, 1938
European radio war  Jul, 1938
Transatlantic communications Oct, 1939
BBC monitoring Jan, 1946
APEX and some Shortwave Notes
Canadian Shortwave  Jan, 1946
“FREEDOM’S RADIO”  Sep, 1997
BSTJ: LongWave Developments to 1933
Radio Free Europe  Apr, 1957
RCA Communications Company  Oct, 1932
BSTJ:SW Telephn transmission  Apr, 1936
Voice of America  Jan, 1950
BSTJ: Transatlantic Telephone Service
BSTJ: Transatlantic Radiotelephony  1920’s
BSTJ: Transatlantic technical problems
BSTJ: Transoceanic SW telephony–BOWN
BSTJ: Transoceanic SW telephony–OSWALD
U.S. Shortwave Stations  1938
Trans-Atlantic shore stations  1922
Why not Shortwave? 1927
Trans-Atlantic RadioTelephone tests  1923
SW as radio relay  1923
RCA Shortwave  1942NBC World-wide coverage–RCA Comm  1945
SW to South AmericaMore on WCAU SW
WOR SW notesKDKA SW NotesMore SW Notes
SW Leases Nov 1942New CBS SW to South America MP3CBS SW Procedure MP3
CBS SW Cue Timing MP3