Friday, January 24, 2014

SWARL History

The first years
SWARL was started on the internet by Tim Kyle on Listbot ( but after awhile Listbot was taken over.
SWARL, like we know at the moment, was started on the internet as a Yahoo group by the Canadian SWL of fame Steve Carter on August 30, 2001. The need to start such a group was probably seen in the light of the situation of SWLs interested in Ham listening and the new internet opportunities. National Amateur Radio Societies either exclude listeners from their activities or – in most cases – accept them mainly to offer them a good chance to become transmitting amateurs, more seldom to give them a genuine place of their own in the society.

Steve Carter introduced SWARL by the words “Devoted to Short Wave Listeners primarily interested in monitoring the Ham Bands and participating as SWL’ers in the various Ham Radio Contests. This group is open to all SWL’ers and Hams alike.” As items on the agenda in the group he mentioned exchange of ideas, notifications of exotic stations, QSL information, contests and special operating achievement awards.
One of the first members was Peter Destoop ONL 5923, who is still with us. He was very active in the group from the beginning! By the end of September 2001 79 messages had been published on the message board and on October 24th Steve Carter reported that 33 SWLs and transmitting hams had joined. Then started a discussion about awards and certificates the group could issue to those interested.
ONL04299 Patrick (Pat) becomes co-moderator, and builds a SWARL member and AWARD database and maintains this with Steve Carter.
In 2003, ONL04299 organized the first UBA-SWARL 365 Days contest. This with collaboration from the UBA (Belgian Amateur Radio Society) and SWARL. (ONL04299 was by the UBA the SWL manager and the SWL contestmanager at that moment.)
Already at the first new year of existence, SWARL took part in a Dutch-organized SWL new year contest, with the manager being Thieu Mandos, NL-199.
Around the same time Steve Carter had designed and started to issue SWARL awards.
Another matter of concern was the issuing of SWL calls, consisting of the country’s main prefix plus a number. Such a service was offered at a small cost by an American ham, but SWARL started such a service without any fee, as mentioned in 2008 by Jerome S. Berg in his “Listening on the Short Waves, 1945 to today” page 361 and 396.
The group activity, as measured by messages published, remained at a good level of 40 to over 100 a month until 2005, when it started declining, and even more so in 2006. Most messages consisted of the SW BC logs from Stewart Mackenzie, of little interest to most members. Old Steve Carter seemed to have abandoned the ship, more or less, although he wrote on March 31, 2006: “Hi all; I assure you all that I am still alive”. Steve was still in charge of SWL calls, but with much delay, But a new leader was appearing, Marshall Cubitt, with a Citizens Band past.
In February 2007 Ullmar Qvick, who was to become one of the most active members, joined the group. In October that year the moderator post was shifted from Steve Carter to Marshall Cubitt, in a situation when a move was necessary to preserve the group. Very active in 2007 were also Greg Harris of USA and Eyran, 4X4-2238, in Israel.

From 2008 until now

The new site was organized by Yury Bondarenko, a Russian SWL living and working in Sweden. This site provides fresh information to all those interested in radio. In fact, with this site, plus the issuing of SWL calls and awards, Yury’s contribution to SWARL is of vital importance.
At the end of 2009 the call sign system, which was run by Yury, converted from manual to half-automatic, and the number of issued calls increased till up to 70 per day, then a little decreased and stabilized at 6-10 per day. Currently SWARL has registered over 3000 SWL calls, thus becoming the largest international independent issuer of free SWL calls.
Looking at the developments in general during the period the SWARL has been in existence, there has been a strong decline in broadcasting on short waves and SWL activities related to this type of listening. Amateur radio, however, has been prospering although the fact that those who are active in this hobby are to a high percentage retired people, and the hobby does not attract very many young enthusiasts. SWL activities on the Ham band have decreased considerably for many years now, due to various reasons:
1. Eastern European radio amateurs had previously to be registered for a compulsory period as SWLs, during which they were expected to listen and send reports and obtain QSLs. This regulation is no longer in existence.
2. It has become much easier to become a transmitting radio amateur, since many countries do not require command of CW for issuing the license. A high percentage of SWLs did not know CW and remained SWLs for that reason.
3. The general problem of local interference from electronic devices (plasma TV etc.) is an obstacle for many SWLs to carry on with the listening hobby.
For a number of years now SWARL has served as a medium for mutual help and friendship among SWLs and some licensed radio amateurs who keep an interest in SWLing.
Ruud, NL290, has been running for many years ShortWave Listening Period Contests for members and others interested. IOTA activities are highly cherished by some active members, and regular reporting on this issue takes place.
The Brave Radio Friends with Hans Schmelzer DE3EAR has got award programs running in collaboration with SWARL. So SWARL is capable of taking care of the needs and interests of SWLs everywhere. Although the number of published messages 2012-2013 has been slightly lower than during the years following the reshuffle at the end of 2007, the interest is far from declining.
And after a new reorganization of the management early 2013, introducing four new moderators instead of the only moderator Marshall Cubitt, who resigned at the end of 2012, the revitalization process is very evident. We are a healthy and active organization.
The aim of SWARL is defined in the following lines presently:
Devoted to Short Wave Listeners primarily interested in monitoring the Ham Bands and participating as SWL's in the various Ham Contests. Open to all SWL's and Hams. Secondly shortwave broadcasts and even AM radio logging and other related subjects with in the radio hobby
The present staff of moderators and their e-mail addresses are given here:

Compiled by Ullmar Qvick in collaboration with Yury Bonkarenko in June 2013.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Skits for the Glory of God

If you are a church member or even if you are simply related to the church or saw some young people on the street that were performing skits, you probably know the power of visual presentation of the topic to people. It's easier to show something one time than say or write it 100 of times. Indeed, even Jesus himself was explaining things in parables because people are not able to consume the truth in normal words. God has created the person by His image, means - creative. Person in young age, in childhood is tend to receive information better if he/she is shown an example, and older people are not much different except, they buried their performance skills behind "civilized way of communication", which strangely also includes some performance in form of various PowerPoint presentations. Anyway, if you are Christian and you are familiar with the power of theatrical performance, you can use this type of presentation of the Gospel to those with hardened hearts. To get ideas for your skits is not difficult either, check the site and see the available ideas. You can choose various topics like kids, evangelism, church, youth and other events or you can use search there. All of it will help you a lot in organizing your evangelistic concert on the street or church performance, bringing the Message to saved ones.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


First of all what is swarl - this is abbreviation for Shortwave Amateur Radio Listening. The site is committed to SWL (short wave listening) hobby and this is the hobby of thousands of people around the world. Maybe you payed attention and saw a few large antennas standing on the roof of some houses or on the tall post. Well, this is the first sign of amateur radio hobby. I can secretly tell you what is happening under that huge antenna - there is a guy or lady sitting with his/her little radio transceiver, microphone, headset, and maybe a telegraph key for morse code transmitting. I hope i didnt write too many unfamiliar words for you to spoil your interest. Well, now, when you imagine that picture of the guy with the radio, think on following piece of information: The Amateur radio operator only allowed to have transmitter which transmits with very little power, in very narrow band, and on limited frequencies. With all those conditions radio operators are able to communicate with others like them everywhere around the globe and even with space expeditions. Now exciting part, There is no need of special permissions for listening radio in your own little radio shack, you can be SWL(see above) without any payments, well, except the price of radio of course. Now, the basic point of this hobby is to "catch" that long away standing or rare private radio station and exchange a little post card with it as a confirmation of the work of that station at this particular time. This little card is called QSL and if you make google search for that word you will find thousands of pictures of those cards from really rare stations like Vatican station or North Pole or South pole, or even space station. After all this hobby is very close to the hobby of fishing, and the price of the radio receiver is comparable to the price of fishing equipment.
Hope I explained the basics of the SWL hobby and here is the site that may help you to start with this hobby: