Sunday 19 September 2010

Guide to shortwave radio in Afghanistan

The British DX Club has produced a useful guide to shortwave radio broadcasts to Afghanistan. DXing, in case you didn't know, is the hobby of tuning in and identifying distant radio or television signals, or making two-way radio contact with distant stations in amateur radio, citizens' band radio or other two-way radio communications. Many DXers also attempt to receive written verifications of reception (sometimes referred to as "QSLs" or "veries") from the stations heard. The name of the hobby comes from DX, telegraphic shorthand for "distance" or "distant".
The British DX Club is based in Caversham, near Reading in Berkshire - hardly surprising as this is also the home of BBC Monitoring which produces summaries of press, TV and radio reports from 150 countries in more than 100 languages.
There is little shortwave broadcasting within Afghanistan - although the government-operated Radio Afghanistan is in the process of installing a new 100 kW shortwave transmitter. Radio Solh (Peace Radio), which was a US military psyop radio station broadcast from Bagram Air Base, operated until January last year, but is no longer on air.
However, many external broadcasters transmit on shortwave to Afghanistan, in particular Radio Free Afghanistan (Radio Azadi), which is a service from RFE/RL, which broadcasts daily in Pashto and Dari; and its sister organisation Radio Mashaal, which began broadcasting in January this year in local Pashto dialects to Pakistan and the border regions with Afghanistan. It was specifically set up to counter Islamist broadcasts.
Radio Ashna, which is the Pashto/Dari service of Voice of America launched in 2006, also broadcasts daily and includes regular call-in shows. Deewa Radio is another VoA service broadcast in Pashto in the Afghan-Pakistan border region.
Other shortwave services include the BBC World Service in Pashto and Dari - which claims to have 5.9 million shortwave listeners in Afghanistan - China Radio International, Radio Cairo, Radio France International, Deutsche Welle, All India Radio, Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran and several others.

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