Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why do I keep hearing the same audio sample?

A. Your browser's caching it [Tish, that's French!]

Caching is good - when it makes pages load faster. Caching is bad - when it makes you listen to the same audio sample over and over. The people who write web browsers keep improving them and one of the "improvements" the new versions seem to include is the caching of sound files. Here's how you can adjust your browser - Netscape Navigator or MS Internet Explorer - to keep it from replaying the same sound file when you select the Live Audio link:

If you're using Navigator you can use these steps:

  1. Select Network Preferences from the Options menu
  2. On the Cache dialog, next to ``Verify Documents,'' select Every Time

For MicroSoft Internet Explorer it's:

  1. Select Internet Options from the Tools menu
  2. On the General dialog, ``Temporary Internet Files'' section, select Settings...
  3. Under ``Check for newer versions of stored pages,'' select Every visit to the page

WebTV users (the one's with keyboards, anyway) have been reporting that WebTV sets also cache the the sound samples. No one's been able to tell me how you prevent them from doing this so, for now anyway, the Web Controlled Shortwave Radio doesn't work with WebTV.

Q. Why can't I change the frequency?

A. You probably are changing it!

If your frequency change is accepted by the ``R8 Tuning Control'' page--it responds ``Frequency Change Confirmed''--then the radio accepted your command. If you don't see your frequency in the Current Receiver Tuning section when you go back to the main radio page it's probably because your browser is showing you the old version of the page.

A ``reload'' is usually all you need to get the current version of the main radio page showing the frequency you selected but, depending on your browser software, you may need to make the configuration changes described in the previous answer.

Q. Jeez Jeff, haven't you ever heard of RealAudio?

A. Well, yes but...

To be sure, a continous audio stream would be a very cool feature, especially with the turn-the-knob hear-the-change Java interface I've been working on. The hold-up at this point is economic. It's clear that this would be a very popular feature, and one that would require a much faster - and more expensive - internet connection.

So let me ask you a question: How much would you pay for the use of a web-controlled shortwave radio that featured continous audio?

Q. So tell us about that ``attic loop'' antenna

A. Ok, here goes...

The design of my current antenna, the ``attic loop'' was suggested by a web site visitor and replaces a wire hanging out a third-floor window (the ``top-fed vertical'').

The loop is oriented vertically, stapled to one of the roof trusses of my townhouse, and runs pretty much North-South. As the roofline of my place is pretty low, it might really be a folded dipole. The total length is about 20 meters. The feedline is cable-TV coax.

The wire itself is just Radio Shack insulated, stranded hook-up wire.

The loop design is supposed to reject electrostatic noise better than a random length wire. I've observed that mine is definitely quieter than it's predecessor, particularly below 10MHz.

Q. How do I play the 30-second compressed audio?

A. I know of three programs so far:

If you're running Windows-95 (and if you must run Windows, that's the version I'd suggest), configure Microsoft's ``Media Player'' application (it's in ``\WINDOWS\MPLAYER.EXE'') as the ``helper'' for files of type ``audio/x-wav'', extension ``wav''.

You may also want to look NoŽl Bouchard's very capable DirectAudio Player. See his download page at

If you've got a Mac, there's a freeware sound player and converter called SoundApp which, in its current revision, can play the GSM-compressed wave file I send. You can get it at Norman Franke's SoundApp Home Page.

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