I haven't dug into my AppleScript bug, I've been too busy playing around with radios. For all the technical wizardry, speed and sophistication of the internet, there's still something cool about turning a dial and pulling a signal out of the ether.

It's just a shame that there's not much worth listening to.

It seems like religion is the main content provider for AM broadcasts, and is a big part of FM too. The other big part is "talk radio," which is mostly just angry white men ranting, or spouting conspiracy theories or talking tough to imaginary liberal listeners. I can't decide if it's more frightening or laughable, but it is both.

Is there an opportunity here for a modest analog resurgence? I mean, film, vinyl, why not AM radio?

What's the content? Live music performances? "Live" podcasts? Classifieds? Radio drama? Live radio coverage of nerd-culture events? Comedy?

I don't know. Seems like there might be some kind of opportunity there. I mean if enough people listen to religious programming and angry white men to keep the lights on, seems like there might be enough people to listen to something, you know, "normal."

I'm old enough to remember when FM was cool. Playing whole albums, and no ads! Or at least not ads for cars and personal injury lawyers.

Nostalgia is a powerful drug.

I'm pretty amazed at how far FM can broadcast. I've been regularly hearing Orlando stations here in Ponte Vedra. Savannah too. I don't know if that's just because there's a strong evaporative duct near the coast here or what, but it's kind of cool. Never noticed it before. Probably because the only time I listened to the radio was in the car.

AM at night is pretty crowded. Haven't quite figured out how to sort that mess out yet. Can easily pick out WCBS in New York, and it's listenable. I like the traffic reports.

I bought some suction-cup hooks the other day to try something. Most of these little shortwave radios come with an external wire antenna. Some of the radios have a jack, others you just clip the wire onto the whip. They're pretty long, and I've used them out back before, but I never really had anything to hook one end on. They'll work laying on the ground too, but it's better to get them up as high as you can, and fully extended.

Anyway, I put a suction-cup hook on two of the pillars of Mitzi's new screened enclosure, and I was able to unwind the full length of reel antenna that came with the Sangean 909X2. I could sit in a comfortable chair and tune around. I was pleased with the difference!

I could receive many signals on the whip, but many more on the wire. Listened to a guy in Maine talk to a guy in Stuttgart, Germany on 20 meters on SSB. If I unplugged the antenna, I could make out one of them but not hear the other. On the wire, they were both loud and clear.

Most of these conversations are just quick DX (long distance) check-ins, kind of measuring the performance of their gear. Fun for the operators, but not exactly fascinating conversation. It was kind of exciting to listen to though.

Anyhow, seems like my next efforts will be in antennas. The challenge I have is I'm kind of sealed in by the screened enclosure. I could drive a grounding rod into the lawn, but no way to pass a wire to it through the enclosure. May just have to resort to bug spray and brave the mosquitos. But I might also just lay a bunch of wire on the pavers in the enclosure as a "counterpoise," see how that works. I don't know what I'm doing!

But it's a harmless distraction from all the other bullshit going on around me.

Originally posted at Nice Marmot 05:31 Thursday, 6 April 2023