Is a Multi-band short-wave radio a good idea to bring on a cruise?

ByRick Deutsch

Is a Multi-band short-wave radio a good idea to bring on a cruise?

While packing for one of my first “non-speaking” cruises (yes, we paid), I thought it would be neat to bring a short-wave radio onboard. Then I could listen to various country’s broadcasts as we sailed around.

multiband radio

A typical $70 short-wave radio

They are a bit pricy depending on how many bands you want and power etc. Most electronics stores carry them. Radio Shack is a good source – if yours has not become a Verizon store or closed completely.

So I packed my little radio and loaded fresh batteries. Loo for one that plugs in AND takes C or D cells; that’s a good sign that it has some power. You are not broadcasting, so don’t confuse them with a CB or Ham radio. You’ll just be listening.

Well, right off, I’ll tell you it was not worth the cost and effort. Why? Well, you won;t receive much of anything in your room. Too much metal surrounding you. Your window or porthole isn’t much good for the magic electoro-magnetic waves to penetrate. If you have a patio, your odds are better of picking a broadcast up.

The next issue is that the 2-foot attached antenna is terrible. You know, the kind that telescope up. They are  just are not high enough to grab those high-frequency, short wavelength signals. So you need to bring along about a 30-foot wire to string horizontally across the outside. Sure, that will be allowed, – NOT.

The biggest pain is that if you do receive anything worth listening to – it’s 80% in another language or the BBC news. You might as well watch your cabin TV and listen to yanks telling you the news on CNN or one of the networks.

So there you have it…save 2 pounds and leave it home.

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Rick Deutsch administrator