Grabbing audio from your shortwave receiver while at home is easy enough by simply wiring it into a computer and using one of the many great freeware audio programs to record with. If your away you don’t have this option but that doesn’t make it any less easy provided you’ve get the right equipment.
Using A Separate MP3 Recorder
These can often also be advertised as Dictaphones and providing they have a few (usually typical) input options they work very well in the recoding department.
Looking for the standard 3.5mm size, one of the most crucial inputs is a line in or at the very least a microphone socket. If this has some sort of adjustment on the input level it gives more control with less chance of distorted recorded audio.
You can wire the headphone socket of your SW radio directly into the MP3 recorder but this can be a bit twitchy when it comes to getting the right audio level and it usually mutes the sound from the radios built in speaker (not good if you want to listen while recording).
Having a line out on whatever radio your using is the better option as its set at a good audio level, making it easy to do volume adjustments on the MP3 recorder.
Shortwave Radios With Built In Recorders
MP3 technology has been with us a long time now and worked it way into every side of audio electronics as a standard. As a method of recoding lengthy bits of audio onto portable storage it has all the compression needed for everyday solutions.
Coupling this with the dirt cheap price of flash storage these days and you’ll start to see why the ability to record audio has been added to so many products.
Apart from having a solid receiver the two most important details to look at on SW radios with a record function are built in internal memory size and external flash card slots. Anything with a few Gig of storage is going to get you started without the need to splash more cash on extra memory cards.
Due to size limitations any card slots built into the radio are almost certainly going to be the micro SD type. Best to check the maximum size card your radio will accept before heading out to buy removable storage.
Both have a good amount of built in memory with the necessary slots to expand if you wish.
Built in VS MP3 recorder
A half decent MP3 recorder isn’t going to set you back much at all but the radios that have the record function aren’t that expensive either. If your comfortable with the radio you already have and can handle the extra bit of setting up before you record then using a standalone mp3 recorder is the cheapest option.
Another plus of using a MP3 recorder is that it can be used for other things when not wired into your shortwave receiver.
Built In Recorder
On the other hand convenience often drives us to pay a little more, making the purpose built SW recorder a better buy if your not into messing around while out and about.
Cleaning Up The Audio
A lot of people shy away from free software and it has to be said that there is a huge amount of dross available but you could be surprised if you look for those gems of programs that have been around for years.
For nearly all my audio editing I use a free program call Audacity which can be downloaded from here.
If you’ve never edited audio before its going to be a learning curve but thankfully its not too difficult to wrap your head around.