Shortwave Radio For Disaster Information


During a disaster, getting news and information is a key element to making good decisions. At a minimum, get yourself an inexpensive portable AM radio.

Even better, take it to the next level with a portable Shortwave Radio which will provide more opportunity (more bands) to get even more information – which may be critical during a disaster.

Listening to Shortwave Radio, whether it be a hobby or gathering information during a disastrous event, will provide news and information from around the world from broadcasts and sources ranging from government, business, independent and personal individuals.

While government and mainstream broadcasts will be propagandized towards their own agendas, the wide range of sources (broadcasts from other countries, etc.) will present a somewhat mixed point of view.

In addition to ordinary news gathering, there are many emergency situation scenarios where a portable (battery operated) shortwave radio will be a valuable asset to be used to gain critical real-time information – perhaps before others get the information – enabling a head-start on decision making. The sooner you understand what’s going on, the sooner you can make good decisions.

For example, let’s say your entire region loses electrical power, resulting in a total blackout of information from local broadcasters. Most people rely on cable TV, satellite TV, or the internet for their source of information. These stations could be completely off the air – and your TV will be down anyway from the grid being down. Some radio stations and transmitters will have emergency power generators, and if you had a portable (battery operated) radio, you could find out what’s going on. A shortwave radio will enable you to hear stations from very far away, enabling you to hear information from around the world – beyond your local region.

There are many portable shortwave radios out there to choose from.

I believe the following portable shortwave radio is (one of) the best. I’ve had it for many years and am still completely satisfied with it’s quality and longevity.
Sony ICF-SW7600GR

The TECSUN brand also has a great reputation and the following portable shortwave radio comes with great reviews – and looks to be a great value.

Shortwave radio is more than just an AM/FM radio. It contains frequency bands that for decades have allowed broadcasters to bounce signals around the globe, whereas AM is fairly local (much wider range at night, even up to ~1,000 miles) – and FM is very localized.

Shortwave radio broadcasters will typically ‘target’ their broadcasts to specific parts of the globe based on several technical factors including antenna design and orientation, the frequency they use, the time of day, and even the time of year.

Shortwave radio schedules are most always listed in UTC time (Coordinated Universal Time), which basically means the time in London, and is typically displayed in a 24 hour format.
The current UTC time.

A good source of shortwave radio schedules can be found here, Prime Time Shortwave.

Shortwave radio listening can be an enjoyable hobby, while at the same time providing an additional layer of preparedness while receiving information in the event of a ‘grid-down’ situation, be it local – or wider.

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  1. as a ham radio nut…i can tell you that the Tecsun blows all other shortwaves out of the water. Same with the Sony am/fm pocket radio in previous column.

    Great recommendations. pair them with a Ruger 10/22 rifle and you have most all of your security needs right there.

    Keep stacking those ASE’s!!

  2. Sorry to be uninformed, but wondering if you can explain,
    how is a short wave radio different? I am thinking that a Ham radio is a set up that you can talk to others in other parts of the world?, and a short wave is different, just something to “listen” on?

    also, you suggest getting a am radio, don’t most radios have a switch to go am or fm?


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