Long- and medium waves are capable of reaching to a distance of a few hundred kilometres - the coverage area is greater during the night hours. VHF and still higher frequencies provide very good reception, but their range isn't much greater than the line of sight from the transmitter (about 100 km.).

Shortwave radio is exceptional for its property of long-distance propagation and coverage. Shortwave energy beamed away from the transmitter is gradually deflected and sent back to the Earth's surface by the ionosphere in the upper layers of the earth's atmosphere. By means of such "hops" shortwave transmissions are capable of travelling over great distances. There is also a disadvantage to this since the properties of the ionosphere, as well as the quality of reception, are continually changing during the seasons of the year, in the approximately eleven-year cycles of solar activity and even during one day.

Shortwave radio spectrum is used by a number of services, including shipping, aircraft navigation and amateur radio.

Wireless broadcasting on short waves has a long tradition and it still has important advantages: Receivers are available in a wide price range. Some are light-weight and portable, and you can listen to shortwave stations anywhere in the comfort of your home, while travelling, or even somewhere in the wild.

The life-saving role of radio was confirmed during recent great natural disasters. There is an increasing number of emergency receivers now on the market that have specific features for this purpose. Many are solar, or hand crank powered. Some are fitted with a LED flash-light and mobile phone charger and they should be capable of tuning to international shortwave bands.

A number of bands are assigned internationally to broadcasting. The bands are denoted either by frequency or by wavelength (the higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength):



in MHz


in meters

5900 - 6200



7200 - 7450



9400 - 9900



11600 - 12100



13570 - 13870



15100 - 15800



17480 - 17900



18900 - 19020



21450 - 21850



25670 - 26100



The Individual frequencies in the Global Schedule are in kilohertz (kHz - thousands of Hertz). A bigger unit "megahertz" (MHz -millions of Hertz) is also used. For example 11600 kHz corresponds to 11.6 MHz.

Some shortwave stations employ frequencies outside the bands shown in the Table but they are also registered in the Global Schedule.

Easy tuning to a frequency found in the Global Schedule is one of the basic prerequisits. Shortwave bands are crowded and all stations within a single shortwave band may be cramped into a few millimetres on the dial of a receiver tuned by a tuning knob. It is much better therefore if the whole shortwave range is divided into separate bands or at least groups of bands. Receivers that offer "digital readout" or "digital selection" make the search for frequencies much easier. Such sets have a digital display on which the frequency appears. The frequency on the display is set by a numerical keypad, or raised and lowered in steps with buttons or a dial. Selected frequencies of stations can be usually saved into the receiver memory.

Shortwave receivers are available in a wide range of prices. If you are interested in listening to stronger international broadcasting stations there is no need to buy very expensive receivers that are used by professionals and amateur radio enthusiasts. You can find receivers that are moderately priced. There are two important properties that more or less determine the quality of a receiver: Selectivity - or the ability to separate adjacent stations causing interference to the wanted station, and sensitivity - ability to tune in to weaker stations.

A receiver suitable for listening to international stations should cover reception of all the bands listed in the table above. It is worth while to check on the presence of the 21 MHz (13 m) band for example or of some other bands, which may be missing from cheaper receivers. The highest 26 MHz (11m) band has not been used much in the last several years.

This logo is displayed for digital transmissions in Digital Radio Mondiale - DRM. All other transmissions are broadcast using the analog amplitude modulation.

The web application attempts to auto-detect your approximate location and time zone. You can adjust the position of the marker by zooming in and clicking your correct location on the map. In most cases, it is more than sufficient to define your location within the accuracy of about 50 km (30 miles) as shortwave broadcasts cover large areas.

If you ask the application to show transmissions directed to another listening location on the globe the time-offset will remain unchanged - i.e. showing the local time set on your PC. However, you can readjust the offset to correspond to the local time in the chosen new location if you wish. All schedule data will be then given in UTC and in the newly selected local time.

You can also select your preferred languages. The language of the broadcast is not always provided as the HFCC database is primarily used to determine mutual interference among stations. Therefore the programme information is not substantial for this purpose. We are however working with the HFCC members to fill in this information wherever possible.

After adjusting the location, time zone and language, you click on the "Show Broadcasts" button and your customized schedule is displayed. A frequency in kHz (kilohertz), broadcaster, language(s), and the time of transmission are the most important data that are shown in each line of the schedule. A number of further transmission details is provided in the right-hand column:

Period of transmission: Some transmissions are not active throughout the whole season during which the schedule is valid. The remark defines in this case the specific period in a given seasonal schedule period during which the transmission is on the air. It can also indicate the day(s) of the week when the transmission is active: 1 - Sunday, 2 - Monday, 3 - Tuesday, 4 -Wednesday, 5 - Thursday, 6 - Friday, 7 - Saturday.

Transmitter power, Location: The power of the broadcast transmitter is given in kilowatts. (1 kW = 1000 Watts). Shortwave transmitters are frequently located outside bigger cities on transmitter sites that need a lot of space for the antennas and could be a source of radio pollution and interference. The list of transmitter sites around the globe is here.

Azimuth: Radio energy of shortwave transmitters is capable of covering huge world areas. Broadcasters are usually interested in delivering their programmes to a defined region and therefore - in contrast with transmitters for local broadcasting that are usually omnidirectional - directional transmitting antennas are used for shortwave broadcasting. The azimuths in the table show the angle in degrees clockwise from the true North at the site of the transmitter.

CIRAF zones coverage: The map of the world has been divided for the purposes of shortwave sound broadcasting into geographical zones since about the middle of the twentieth century. The zones are used for the planning and management and co-ordination of shortwave frequencies and they are also employed for the setting up of this world-wide schedule. See CIRAF maps on te ITU website.