Any Given Sunday

The phrase “any given Sunday” comes from American professional football, a game often played on Sundays. It’s short for “on any given Sunday, any NFL team can defeat any other.” It happens due to random events, special conditions, injuries and luck.

The phrase came to mind as I was listening to Radio Exterior de España on my Raddy RF75A radio indoors with just its 13″ whip antenna. It’s a tiny radio, only 3 1/2 tall. It’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer and has limitations imposed by its size and price point. I have several much better shortwave receivers.

Radio Exterior de España on Raddy RF75A

Normally, this radio doesn’t receive shortwave stations this clearly, and certainly not without an external antenna. But the conditions were good, and the signal was exceptional. The radio sounded great.

Last night around 01:30 I tested my new Tecsun DR-920C. I ran a band scan with my PL-660 and tried to find those signals on the DR-920C. I was using an outdoor MLA-30+ antenna. There were a number of stations with poor quality, and not much good; however 2 hours later I tuned through the bands with the DR-920C just using its whip antenna, and I received many more stations, and good quality signals.

That’s the problem with testing radios: results depend on equipment and conditions. That’s why I try to test radios in pairs with the same antenna; that way at least I have a relative measure independent of the signal.

This year we’ve seen an increase in solar activity and generally improving shortwave reception, but there are also geomagnetic storms that wipe out many signals for a day or two. Conditions are variable now

If you have a new radio and you get hardly anything on shortwave, don’t give up. Wait for a different time of day (generally higher frequencies travel better in the daytime and lower at night any time of the year and you get more stations at night) or try a different day, because on any given Sunday…


Nevertheless, some radios are better than others. Here’s my Tecsun PL-660 receiving Radio Exterior de España on the same 17855 kHz frequency, with just my finger as the antenna.

About Kevin

Just an old guy with opinions that I like to bounce off other people.
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