Skywave Schedules

Best Free Android Apps: Skywave Schedules – listen to shortwave radio

There’s a strict eligibility criteria for inclusion in this series. See the Eligibility Criteria section below.

Are you interested in shortwave radio? Radio waves in the shortwave band can be reflected or refracted from a layer of electrically charged atoms in the atmosphere called the ionosphere over extremely long distances. Skywave Schedules is just the ticket for anyone wanting to listen and identify stations broadcasting on shortwave.

It’s true that the days of shortwave radio have long sailed with many broadcasters deserting the airwaves and providing their schedule on the internet. But there’s still lots of broadcasters who maintain a presence. And listening to shortwave remains extremely valuable if you need to access news and information from a different perspective and your remote location doesn’t offer (unrestricted) internet access.

On shortwave, you can listen to established broadcasters such as the BBC, China Radio International, Voice of Turkey, Voice of Vietnam, and many others. As the app name suggests, the program helps you find the frequency and times that these stations use.

Skywave Schedules

Startup of the program is a mite sluggish. The interface is fairly spartan with a string of icons at the top which let you access the program’s functionality.

The software makes it easier to find and identify stations. You can search by station name (there’s a long list of stations), frequency, time, shortwave band, target location, language of the broadcast, and the type of broadcast. The latter option lets you choose from broadcast stations, utility stations, broadcast and utility stations, and digital radio mondiale (DRM), not to be confused with digital rights management.

The schedules are updated frequently. This is essential given that broadcasters need to change frequencies depending on propagation.

One of the most interesting functions of the app is the ability to listen to shortwave broadcasts from receivers located around the globe.

The receiver functionality offers an excellent introduction to dip into the joys of shortwave including both mainstream broadcasters and amateur enthusiasts broadcasting on upper sideband (USB) and lower sideband (LSB).

Nowadays even inexpensive portable radios such as the XHDATA D-808 and the RADIWOW R-108 offer excellent sensitivity. But regardless of a radio’s sensitivity, the strength of signals will be masked by noise without a good antenna (although this can be very basic such as a long piece of wire). And if you live in a densely population area it can be difficult to avoid interference without going on an expedition.

The image above shows we’re listening to a VOLMET broadcast on 5505KHz on LSB from a receiver located in the UK. VOLMET, or meteorological information for aircraft in flight, is a worldwide network of radio stations that broadcast TAF, SIGMET and METAR reports on shortwave frequencies.

FavouriteIf you’re interested in shortwave brodcasts you’ll definitely need software to help you find broadcasts. Skywave Schedules is an essential app. Given the nature of shortwave propagation, broadcasters frequently change their frequencies negating the viability of printed schedules such as found in publications like the World Radio TV Handbook. A constantly updated frequency guide is therefore a must.

The app is much more than just an essential up-to-date listing guide. The ability to listen to shortwave from hundreds of remote radio receivers is a great way of dipping into the world of shortwave. It’s certainly not a replacement for your own receiver, but still offers a useful insight into what’s available on the airwaves.

There are lots of other great free Android apps that meet our eligibility criteria. Read all about them.

Eligibility criteria

For an Android app to be awarded our love, it must satisfy the following criteria:
bullet-valid-icon High quality with a good set of features, stable in operation and mature software;
bullet-valid-icon No charge to use the app;
bullet-valid-icon No intrusive ads in the program;
bullet-valid-icon Open source and proprietary software can be included;
bullet-valid-icon Apps where additional functionality is available for a payment can be included where appropriate.
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