Country List Committee Report, November 1997
The New “Old” Radio Country List
The new 1998 edition of the NASWA Radio Country List is ready! A print copy of this 8.5×11 inch, 3-hole-punched booklet is available from the Company Store (Kris Field, 705 Gregory Drive, Horsham, PA 19044) for just $3.00.
The 1998 edition will surprise longtime users, NASWA members and other SW DXers around the world. The list, used to tally countries heard and verified has changed, and changed dramatically. But the changes DO NOT alter the longtime philosophy and tradition behind NASWA’s Radio Country List. And they DO NOT change the number of countries you can count. If, last month, you had 85 radio countries logged (HIC: heard individual countries), of which 75 were confirmed with QSLs (VIC: verified individual countries), those totals will remain the same with the 1998 edition of the list.
A basic principal behind the NASWA Radio Country List for well over 30 years has been “once a country, always a country.” This benefits the long time Dxer who began years ago, and the newer listener, who became a shortwave listener more recently. An “all-time” list, it allows a shortwave listener to count a radio country regardless of when–after September 1, 1945–a station has been heard or verified. The 1945 date, approximately the end of World War II, marks the beginning of modern shortwave broadcasting. The 1998 edition changes none of that. But there are two key differences between the new edition of the list and its predecessor, last published four years ago.
The first change is to the traditional order in which each country name appears. In the new list, the current commonly used country name appears first, followed, in parentheses, by earlier name usages. Example: BURKINA FASO (Upper Volta)(French West Africa). Formerly, this would have been listed in the reverse order, as: FRENCH WEST AFRICA (Upper Volta)(Burkina Faso), with the first reference to a name for the particular politico-geographical region used in 1945, and parenthetical additions noting subsequent names for this radio country. The old format was intended to recognize the historical continuity and the “all-time” approach of the NASWA list. Unfortunately, the downside was that too often it was hard to find a country on the list, particularly for listeners who weren’t around in 1945. And with the passage of decades, that meant most of NASWA’s membership. The former method also meant that the list did not have to be realphabetized each time some country changed its name, a not infrequent occurance. However, the advent of the computer age in which data can be easily manipulated–in this case, realphabetized–eliminated this as a serious consideration. The new name format moves the focus of the NASWA Radio Country List into the new millenium, while not abandoning its tradition and historical context.
The second big change is a new section–the gazetteer–which has been added to the radio country list. In fact, it is not new at all, but rather a return to a supplemental listing which once, years ago, was part of the NASWA radio country list “package.” It is intended as a reference aid to assist you in using the list itself. While the list arranges countries alphabetically BY CONTINENT, the gazetteer arrangement is alphabetical WORLDWIDE. This can help if you aren’t sure to which continent a particular country is assigned. For each country in the gazetteer, the continent is noted parenthetically. The gazetteer also denotes with an asterisk those countries which have not had shortwave broadcasting stations for some years and which are not likely to return to the air. In some cases, it indicates when stations in those radio countries left the air. The gazetteer also includes additional geographical, historical and political information, to help put current status of countries in perspective. In certain potentially confusing situations, it notes the location of SWBC stations within those radio countries. All of this information, the committee believes, will help you make better use of the list to keep track of your countries heard and verified for Scoreboard or Award purposes, or for just measuring your own progress as a shortwave Dxer. And, we hope to add more helpful information to the gazetteer in future editions of the list. Your suggestions in this regard will be helpful.
NASWA Country List CommitteeDon Jensen, Chairman