My Asian trip - what lessons could we learn?

By Art Grainger
Posted 24 November 2015, 7.57am est

I'm not long back from my extended holiday to Hong Kong and South Korea.

From Hong Kong I brought back home an extremely hi-spec computer (which worked out to be a lot cheaper than buying it over here, even after VAT is added on by Customs). So I spent much of the weekend listening to shortwave stations via the webSDR in Twente, through my PC, which is connected via an HDMI wire to the TV, which is connected directly to my hi-fi system, filling the living room with the sounds of, say, China Radio International.

Meanwhile, my trip to South Korea was also quite an amazing experience. One of the things that stood out to me was just how excellent their mobile phone coverage is for 4G.

I hired a (battery powered) pocket wi-fi hub from the airport. My wife and I (as well as other people in the group that we toured the country with) were able to have wi-fi at all times, indoors and outdoors, without having to use a mobile phone tariff. The hub constantly monitored the 4G signals, which I paid attention to.

South Korea has a terrain that is quite similar to the northern half of Scotland - it's mountainous. Despite this, 4G reception was excellent ...... EVERYWHERE! The signal never went below 4 bars (it was mostly at 5 bars), even on windy single-track mountain roads leading up to remote Buddhist temples.

So how come South Korea has it and works so well - yet in the UK we often struggle to get any kind of mobile coverage when we're out in the sticks, even for making emergency calls?

If the future of radio listening is supposed to also include listening to stations via mobile phones, then perhaps South Korea demonstrates that it is perfectly possible - provided you give near total blanket, rock solid coverage, regardless of terrain.

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