I've never been into the "newest, fastest, bestest" technology. I know that a lot of shortwave fans, if not of the present, then certainly the past, were into the hobby because of their desire to experience the cutting edge. That's not me.
My connection (or one of them) with shortwave--especially pirate radio and low-power private stations--has been more low brow.
I've been fascinated with things like messages in bottles and old graffiti.
To me, there's something wonderfully personally impersonal about a message in a bottle. Although it's been tossed out into the unknown, as impersonal as can be, it's meant for one person: who ever finds it.
In the case of graffiti, at the moment at least, I'm not too interested in the high school hood who tags every trashcan, bridge overpass, and bathroom stall, but I do stop any time I see initials carved in stone from more than a hundred years ago, such as from the bored Civil War soldiers who held the lookout above strategic Harpers Ferry (now West Virginia) or those who carved into Jefferson's Rock on the other end of the town.
Other mysterious events that some might include in these realms are the TJIPETIR tiles that have been floating out from a World War I-era ship wreck near Sicily, ocean playset Legos that have washed ashore in the British Isles from another ship wreck, and, of course, the Toynbee Tiles.
I found a mylar balloon in the yard about two weeks ago and I checked it--just to be sure that no note was attached designating it as some kid's weekend pen pal project.
You never know.
These parallels and metaphors are all leading somewhere. I found a link to a great story of an 8-year-old girl who tossed a message in a bottle into the ocean in 1989. She completely forgot about the bottle, moved away, and, about 37 years later, the bottle was discovered and most of the note was still intact.
Here's the link to the story.