Clifford R. Williams – W2CRW is attempting to give the hobby of listening to shortwave radio a much needed shot in the arm by issuing free SWL call signs.
Visit http://www.swl-registry.com for more details.
Many radio amateurs started out as shortwave listeners before becoming licensed themselves and many do still spend time listening to the shortwave broadcast bands. The listening pleasure was always made a little more exciting because by knowing that most people do not even know what it is you felt like you were part of an exclusive few, even though in reality millions may have been listening. I used to enjoy comparing the broadcasts by Russian, Chinese and American stations with those put out by the BBC. It gave a broader more balanced view of the world when you realised every one of them was biased in some way and the truth could probably be determined by an extrapolation that took in the similarities and differences of any report based on each stations political stance.
SWL's of course listen to more than just the broadcast bands and as a radio ham I always find it rather nice to receive SWL reports(QSL cards)particularly when the report was from much further than the actual contact. I do hope Clifford's service takes off and encourages more people to become shortwave listeners and maybe through listening to become hams. In this age of the Internet and computer games the hobby definitely needs a shot in the arm.