Shortwave gems special: Electronic music on the 40m amateur radio band

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Lately, I have been able to make more frequent outdoor trips for recording parts of the shortwave radio spectrum using my portable set-up. While reviewing one such recording from August 31st, 2021, I noticed something highly unusual: a continuous music mix on one of the amateur bands, modulated as a lower single sideband audio signal. For readers who are unfamiliar with radio communication regulations, broadcasting music is strictly prohibited on all amateur bands in most jurisdictions. However, it turns out that the frequency in question – 7055 kHz – has now been used for some years by a number of hams for antagonistic on-air exchanges. It is likely that, in an act of desperation, someone had decided to put a stop to that (at least temporarily) by relentlessly broadcasting music using their single sideband transceiver.

The music itself is a mixture of trance, ambient house and drum & bass, but what makes this recording truly special are the various amateur radio artefacts that get superimposed onto it, such as morse code and other non-voice communications. To my ears, this gives the transmission the atmospheric feel that is so emblematic of shortwave radio in general, although perhaps in a somewhat exaggerated form. Below is the full recording for your listening pleasure: