So, another geeky hobby that I confess to is radio communications. Scanning, really. I have a really nice rig (Icom IC-R10) that I bought second-hand a couple of years ago. It has a pretty good frequency range, covering most of the radio frequencies used by civilian and government operations these days. It doesn't cater to the latest trend in digital communications, which is being used more and more by city police. But, in one listening session I can listen to shortwave communications from around the world, local airports and aircraft, private security services, local railroad operations, TV news crew communications and even the local McDonalds drive-through (how exciting is that!).
Anyway, I took a break from my mid-terms last night and spent the night pulling in shortwave broadcasts. Despite the small size of the radio, its performance is really outstanding. The weather conditions were highly favorable for good reception, and I was able to pick up many interesting stations. For the first time I picked up the Vatican Radio station, which had some interesting commentary about the first year of the new Pope. I also picked up some broadcasts from Nicaragua, Germany, China, South Korea, Japan and the Netherlands (which came in like the station was right next door). I even picked up a maritime transmission from somewhere out in the Caribbean (Aruba I think) on the lower sideband ranges. Made for a relaxing evening!