Author Archive

The CommRadio CTX-10 vs. Elecraft KX2, SDRplay RSPdx, and the AM band gold rush of 1920

Stories you’ll find in our February, 2020 issue:

A Tale of Two Radios: CommRadio CTX-10 vs. Elecraft KX2
By Thomas Witherspoon K4SWL

A longtime ham and shortwave listener who enjoys taking his hobby into the field, Thomas was intrigued by two seemingly different transceivers that also appeared to have a lot in common. Which would be better for his purposes and why? Both offer low-power and battery-operated portability, but with a totally different design approach. Thomas examines the pros and cons of the CommRadio CTX-10 and the Elecraft KX2, not the least of which in the monetary component.

TSM Reviews: SDRplay RSPdx Software Defined Radio
By Larry Van Horn N5FPW

SDRplay Limited is a UK-based company that has been developing cutting-edge software defined radios since 2014 with its RSP1 model. In the ensuing years, newer models have offered advanced reception features on receivers capable of tuning from 1 kHz to 2 GHz at moderate price levels. In this review Larry takes a look at the company’s latest product, the SDRplay RSPdx and compares it with lower level SDRplay editions.

Radio in the Pre-Broadcast Era Series:
The Trailblazers of Commercial Radio Manufacturing in the 1920s
By Richard Fisher KI6SN

Beneath the dust accumulated over 100 years of consumer-entertainment radio broadcasting are the names of literally hundreds of manufacturers who have largely disappeared since the AM band gold rush of 1920. Richard takes a look at the radios available 100 years ago and finds a long list of names that urgently filled a huge void in practical receivers that could capture the signals of the handful of commercial broadcast stations that burst onto the airwaves early in the second decade of the 20th Century.

TSM Annual Review of Books for Shortwave Listeners
Klingenfuss 2020 Shortwave Frequency Guide
Reviewed by Bob Grove W8JHD

Joerg Klingenfuss never disappoints serious shortwave listeners with his exhaustive databases, and these two latest releases are no exception.

2020 World Radio Television Handbook
Reviewed by Gayle Van Horn W4GVH

The 74th edition of World Radio TV Handbook continues to be a comprehensive reference book. It remains the gold standard as the most authoritative for a global radio and television audience and the gem of the broadcast industry.

Global Radio Guide
Reviewed by Ken Reitz KS4ZR

The Winter 2019-20 edition of the Global Radio Guide, now 500 pages, includes many full length articles on shortwave listening today, but the best part is the Global Radio Frequency Guide that makes tuning in to signals from around the globe faster and easier than ever.

Scanning America
By Dan Veeneman
Nassau County, New York and TIS Stations

Federal Wavelengths
By Chris Parris
Federal Monitoring Mysteries

Milcom
By Larry Van Horn N5FPW
Monitoring the Australian Wildfires

Utility Planet
By Hugh Stegman
HF Steps Up in Australian Fire Emergency

Shortwave Utility Logs
Compiled by Mike Chace-Ortiz and Hugh Stegman

VHF and Above
By Joe Lynch N6CL
Morphing the Planned Hexagon-type Antenna into a 2-Element Quad

Digitally Speaking
By Cory Sickles WA3UVV
DV: How Low Can You Go?

Amateur Radio Insights
By Kirk Kleinschmidt NT0Z
Floods, Pestilence and Interference?

Radio 101
By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
2020 DRM Shortwave Report: Trials and Tribulations

World of Shortwave Listening
By Andrew Yoder
MW/SW Pirates; Carrier Sleuth and SWL Fest 2020

The Shortwave Listener
By Fred Waterer
Vatican Radio; BBC and WBCQ

Amateur Radio Astronomy
By Stan Nelson KB5VL
Geminids 2019 and Quadrantids 2020

Adventures in Radio Restoration
By Rich Post KB8TAD
The Reflex: Crosley Trirdyn Special

Antenna Connections
By Dan Farber AC0LW

The Spectrum Monitor is available in PDF format which can be read on any desktop, laptop, iPad®, Kindle® Fire, or other device capable of opening a PDF file. Annual subscription is $24. Individual monthly issues are available for $3 each.

Regulated power supplies, sunspot cycles, ham radio satellites and more

Stories you’ll find in our December, 2019 issue:

Before Radio’s First Century: “Pre-Broadcasting” Activity in North America
By John Schneider W9FGH

For many decades, the prevailing myth has been that broadcasting in the United States first occurred on the night of November 2, 1920. According to this general conviction, no broadcasting took place anywhere before that date, but then, in a brilliant stroke of genius, it was suddenly invented that night by the Westinghouse Corporation when its new station, KDKA, broadcast the Harding-Cox election returns. Nothing could be farther from the truth! By 1920, experimental broadcasting had already been happening around the US for many years. John takes a look at the country’s transition from that early experimentation to formal broadcasting.

Radio’s Role During Pearl Harbor’s ‘Day of Infamy’
By Scott A. Caldwell

Diplomatic relations between the United States and the Japanese Empire had steadily deteriorated in the years that followed the First World War. On May 7, 1940 the US Navy Fleet reluctantly relocated its operating headquarters from San Pedro, California to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. President Franklin D. Roosevelt considered the redeployment as vital because it represented a significant military deterrent to the growing Japanese bellicosity. However, there was great concern and opposition to this action that was headed by Admiral James O. Richardson, Commander-in-Chief US Fleet, who believed that they would be unnecessarily exposed to attack from the Japanese Navy. Seven months later a price would be paid.

Those Regulated Power Supplies from Heathkit and Others
By Rich Post KB8TAD

In recent columns on testing and restoring the National SW-3, FB-7 and the HRO Senior, Rich initially used metered regulated power supplies in place of the matching “doghouse” power supplies to keep those vintage National supplies from possible overloads and damage before full restoration of the receivers. In his previous column on the HRO, he mentioned replacing the entire HRO power pack with a totally voltage-regulated supply since varying the RF gain control changed the set’s current draw somewhat and thus the B+ on both the oscillator and the mixer. As promised, he takes a second look at that supply.

Novice-era Hamming Today: Still a Thrill
By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV

Cory’s first amateur radio station consisted of a solid-state Realistic (Radio Shack) DX-150A general coverage receiver and a gently used Heathkit DX-20 transmitter, that incorporated three tubes to produce 20 Watts out. He used a set of house switches in a metal box to swap the antenna between the receiver and transmitter, plus mute the receiver when transmitting. It was not the best solution, but it was cheap, and it worked. If you, like Cory, have a hankering to revisit your old Novice operator days, it can still be done—with vintage gear or even their modern equivalent. Cory explains how you can start your own Novice-era memories.

Scanning America
By Dan Veeneman
Tillamook County, Oregon; Vintage Scanner Crystals

Federal Wavelengths
By Chris Parris
Scanning Projects

Milcom
By Larry Van Horn N5FPW
Monitoring the DoD High Frequency Global Communications System

Utility Planet
By Hugh Stegman
HF Utility in Troubled Ukraine

Shortwave Utility Logs
By Mike Chace-Ortiz and Hugh Stegman

VHF and Above
By Joe Lynch N6CL
Planet Alignment and Sunspot Cycles Linked?

Digital Voice
By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV
Three Short Subjects for New Hams

Amateur Radio Insights
By Kirk Kleinschmidt NT0Z
A Log-Periodic Tragedy

Radio 101
By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
Free-to-Air Satellite TV Update

Radio Propagation
By Tomas Hood NW7US
Largest Sunspot in Solar Sunspot Cycle 24

The World of Shortwave Listening
By Rob Wagner VK3BVW
Online SDRs: Impacting the Way We Listen to Shortwave

The Shortwave Listener
By Fred Waterer
Shortwave Listening Past and Present

Amateur Radio Satellites
By Keith Baker KB1SF/VA3KSF
Amateur Radio Satellite Primer (Part VI)

The Longwave Zone
By Kevin O’Hern Carey N2AFX
LF Info: 101

Adventures in Radio Restorations
By Rich Post KB8TAD
Helping Dan: A Silvertone 6230A Farm Set

Antenna Connections
By Dan Farber
Feedlines: Getting There from Here

The Spectrum Monitor is available in PDF format which can be read on any desktop, laptop, iPad®, Kindle® Fire, or other device capable of opening a PDF file. Annual subscription is $24. Individual monthly issues are available for $3 each.

Elecraft KP-1500 Review, Restoring a Halli-Kit HT-40, and Hand-Held Spectrum Analyzers

Stories you’l find in our November, 2019 edition:

TSM’s 2019 Scanner Radio Buyer’s Guide
By Larry Van Horn N5FPW

For scanner enthusiasts, the digital revolution has changed the VHF/UHF radio spectrum that we monitor. Many public safety agencies worldwide, especially in metropolitan areas, have transitioned from analog to digital communications protocols and are utilizing trunk radio technology. There are also many statewide trunk radio systems that are either operational, being built or planned that use trunking and/or digital modes. In this year’s guide, Larry breaks down the lineup of digital vs analog receivers and asks a few personal questions: What do you want to hear in your area and how much do you want to spend?

TSM Reviews: Elecraft KPA-1500 Linear Amplifier
By Mark Haverstock K8MSH

Solar Cycle expectations may lead you to conclude that, to be heard, you should try raising your voice. That’s exactly what the Elecraft KPA-1500 linear amplifier does—and it does so in style. Mark takes a look at this top-of-the-line amplifier and says, “If your budget allows, the KPA 1500 is an excellent choice–especially if you own an Elecraft K3 or anticipate getting a K4. The seamless integration is well worth the price, and even if you have another brand of radio, you’ll find the KPA-150 to be a winner, as it plays well with all rigs.”

RF Explorer ISM Combo+ Slim, Hand-Held Spectrum Analyzer
By Bob Grove W8JHD

Miniaturization of solid-state receivers and panoramic displays has evolved into more compact, even handheld, spectrum analyzers. Bob takes a look at this latest entry into the signals surveillance market and notes, “This handy handful has the ability to display signal presence over a wide range of frequencies as well as digitally analyze and display a variety of data. Added to this flexibility, the unit can also be used as an RF signal generator for the 2.35-2.55 GHz Wi-Fi band, and it includes an analyzer for this band as well.” Best of all—it’s available for under $300.

The Latent Contester
By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV

Since the time he first became licensed as a Novice in the early 1970s, Cory has tried to experience many of the various aspects of amateur radio. Some have held his interest, some have come and gone and some really never took hold. Contesting was a sub-interest that fell into the latter category. He would periodically dabble with it in various forms then move on to something else. While he admits to possessing a competitive nature, it had never really emerged in the on-air world of amateur radio. Recently, that changed. He had been invited to sit in on a contest at one of this country’s premier contest stations. Now, he’s hooked.

Scanning America
By Dan Veeneman
Iredell County (NC) and Cape May (NJ)

Federal Wavelengths
By Chris Parris
Monitoring Road Trip: Arizona and California

Milcom
By Larry Van Horn N5FPW
DoD Aerial Refueling Frequencies

Utility Planet
By Hugh Stegman
US Coast Guard May Discontinue NAVTEX

Shortwave Utility Logs
By Mike Chace-Ortiz and Hugh Stegman

VHF and Above
By Joe Lynch N6CL
USMA Cadets Contact Alum Aboard ISS

Digitally Speaking
By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV
Digital Voice Radio Buyer’s Guide

Radio 101
By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
Propagation: Hearing is Believing

The World of Shortwave Listening
By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
A Better Antenna for Better Shortwave Listening

The Shortwave Listener
By Fred Waterer
Radio Tirana; BBC Monthly Programming

Amateur Radio Astronomy
By Stan Nelson KB5VL
Meteor Monitoring Digital TV Carriers on Channel 2

Adventures in Radio Restoration
By Rich Post KB8TAD
The Hallikit HT-40 Transmitter

Antenna Connections
By Dan Farber AC0LW
Do the Math: Numbers Crunching for Radio Enthusiasts

The Spectrum Monitor is available in PDF format which can be read on any desktop, laptop, iPad®, Kindle® Fire, or other device capable of opening a PDF file. Annual subscription is $24. Individual monthly issues are available for $3 each.

Saving Your Amateur Radio Club, the Airspy HF+ Discovery, and More

Stories you’ll find in our September, 2019 issue:

TSM Reviews:
Airspy HF+ Discovery: It’s a Whole New World of Radio
By Larry Van Horn N5FPW and Gayle Van Horn W4GVH

While the term “digital radio” has been around since the 1970s in US government circles, it wasn’t until 1984 that the term “software defined radio” first surfaced. At first, many old-timers in the radio hobby scoffed at the idea that any radio that didn’t have a tuning knob and all the circuitry associated with it was a real radio. People pushing a computer-based technology were on the outside looking in as far as major manufacturers were concerned. It did not take long for software defined radio, or SDR, to come out of the shadows and be embraced by the radio hobby industry. Larry takes a look at the Airspy HF+ Discovery, the latest in a series of high-performance, low cost SDRs that are changing the world of HF radio listening.

Digital TV Ten Years Later and ATSC 3.0 Today
By Ken Reitz KS4ZR

The mass migration of analog television transmissions to digital television (DTV) broadcasting in the US officially went into effect June 12, 2009. The run up to the switch was years in development and involved extensive technical testing and a huge investment on the part of broadcast TV interests. There was nothing smooth about the transition. Ten years later, the dream of HDTV with 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound has faded considerably, with few channels actually achieving that benchmark. Now the FCC is preparing to do it again—this time with DTV’s successor: ATSC 3.0, which promises landmark 4K Over-the-Air TV channels and auxiliary channels in HDTV. Unfortunately, ATSC 3.0 is not compatible with any ATSC 1.0 TV sets in use today. Having failed to deliver ATSC 1.0, will the broadcast TV industry be able to deliver on ATSC 3.0.? And, anyway, whatever happened to ATSC 2.0?

The Hunt for the Bismarck
By Scott A. Caldwell

Summer 1941 was a dark time for the British Empire, which in reality was alone and isolated. Nazi Germany was rampant in its military conquest of mainland Europe and now one of the most powerful battleships in the world was ready for a commerce raiding campaign in the North Atlantic Ocean. The pursuit and sinking of the Bismarck was a turning point in naval strategy that was based on the utilization of a central command structure, which acted as a clearing house for intelligence information. Scott examines the communications systems used by both German and British commanders and how mistakes were made on both sides that led to the sinking of both German and British naval vessels and how the eventual sinking of the Bismarck became a turning point in the war for sea superiority.

Zen and the Art of
Amateur Radio Club Maintenance – Part 2
By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV

If you did your homework from the previous installment, you have some better perspective into the size, finances, direction and overall health of your amateur radio club. Hopefully, you did not find yourself in or on the edge of critical mass, where your organization is about to fail. Even if you did, there is probably time to still be able to turn things around. If not, then perhaps the answer is to reflect on what went wrong and start anew. Cory gives us all more tips on how to save your ham club from itself.

Scanning America
By Dan Veeneman
Scanning Sumner County, Tennessee

Federal Wavelengths
By Chris Parris
Nevada DoE Update; FAA Closeup

Milcom
Larry Van Horn N5FPW
Phantoms in the Desert

Utility Planet
By Hugh Stegman
It’s Summer “Numbers” Time!

Shortwave Utility Logs
By Hugh Stegman and Mike Chace-Ortiz

VHF and Above
By Joe Lynch N6CL
PTRX-7300: A Panadapter Module for the IC-7300

Digitally Speaking
By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV
Digital Voice Moves On

Radio 101
By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
Hits and Misses: Grace Digital Mondo+

The World of Shortwave Listening
By Jeff White, Secretary-Treasurer NASB
Can the Internet Replace Shortwave? Plus: NASB and SWL Fest 2019 Report

The Shortwave Listener
By Fred Waterer
WWII Radio Commemorations

Amateur Radio Satellites
By Keith Baker KB1SF/VA3KSF
Amateur Radio Satellite Primer (Part V)

The Longwave Zone
By Kevin O’Hern Carey N2AFX
Gearing Up!

Adventures in Radio Restoration
By Rich Post KB8TAD
Reviving a “Poor Man’s Collins” The Heathkit SB-301 Receiver

Antenna Connections
By Dan Farber AC0LW
Top Band: Antennas for 160 Meters

The Spectrum Monitor is available in PDF format which can be read on any desktop, laptop, iPad®, Kindle® Fire, or other device capable of opening a PDF file. Annual subscription is $24. Individual monthly issues are available for $3 each.

Yagis, DMR Portables and Underwater Communications

Stories you’ll find in our August, 2019 edition:

The Yagi-Uda Mystery: The Remarkable Backstory of this Ubiquitous Antenna
By Richard Fisher KI6SN

Shintaro Uda and Hidetsugu Yagi were mirror images of the antenna they created in 1926—known around the world today simply as the Yagi—an array invented by Uda in collaboration with Yagi. Ninety-three years later, this design is still widely in use for both amateur and commercial installations on the HF, VHF/UHF bands and beyond. It is the antenna so often seen atop amateur radio towers, at military installations and many municipal and commercial buildings. Yet Shintaro Uda seems to have faded from the picture of the origins of this antenna. Richard tells us about two stories of intrigue and historical significance behind the Yagi.

TSM Reviews: Yaesu FT3DR and Radioditty GD-73A
By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV

The Yaesu FT3DR and the Radioddity GD-73A are two very different digital voice (DV) portables, with widely divergent feature sets. Each needs to be considered for its merits and the applications you have in mind. The Yaesu FT3DR is the latest of a series of DV hand-held portables with the features you’d expect from a full-featured HT. The Radioddity GD-73A is a UHF-only, DMR/analog portable with minimal features: There is no provision for an external antenna and the internal one protrudes under plastic, much in the same way as a 0.5-watt blister-pack FRS (Family Radio Service) transceiver is packaged. Cory goes deep into the details and tells us there’s more to each than may be at first apparent.

The USS Thresher on Eternal Patrol
By Scott A. Caldwell

The USS Thresher(SSN 593) was an icon of the United States Navy and was often used in recruitment posters. She was regarded as the most technologically advanced submarine in active service, designed to hunt and engage Soviet submarines that patrolled the deep North Atlantic Ocean. Her loss on April 10, 1963 shocked the entire nation and the subsequent inquiry raised more questions than answers, in light of the confusing radio transmission with the submarine escort vessel USS Skylark (ASR 20). Underwater communications were subjected to temperature and density fluctuations that often deflected and distorted the amplitude of the sound waves. Scott looks at the difficulties of undersea communications while telling the story of this disaster.

The Care and Feeding of Electronic Equipment: Part 2
By Robert Gulley K4KPM

Electronic equipment for our radio hobby requires periodic checks for proper operation, as well as occasionally performing preventive maintenance or repair as needed. This includes radios, power supplies/connections, computer hardware, antenna systems, and a host of other potential troublemakers. In this second article Robert discuss troubleshooting tips, electrical and antenna system maintenance, computer hardware/software updates, and other preventative measures to help keep things running as smoothly as possible.

Scanning America
By Dan Veeneman
Scanning Michigan

Federal Wavelengths
By Chris Parris
Las Vegas Mysteries and Frequencies

Milcom
By Larry Van Horn N5FPW
A New Way to Monitor the Military on January 1, 2020

Utility Planet
By Hugh Stegman
Cycle 25: Coming to an Ionosphere Near You

Shortwave Utility Logs
By Mike Chace-Ortiz and Hugh Stegman

VHF and Above
By Joe Lynch N6CL
The ‘Ah-Ha’ Behind Some Types of Aurorae

Digitally Speaking
By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV
Another Look at D-Star

Radio 101
By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
The Trouble with Alexa

Radio Propagation
By Tomas Hood NW7US
Sunspot Cycle 24 Solar Minimum is Coming!

The World of Shortwave Listening
By Rob Wagner VK3BVW
Whatever Happened to the 11-Meter Band?

The Shortwave Listener
By Fred Waterer
German via Shortwave Plus BBC Highlights

Amateur Radio Astronomy
By Stan Nelson KB5VL
The Next Generation Very Large Array: ngVLAA

Adventures in Radio Restoration
By Rich Post KB8TAD
The Rolls-Royce of Radios: National HRO Part 2

Antenna Connections
By Dan Farber AC0LW
The End-Fed Antenna

The Spectrum Monitor is available in PDF format which can be read on any desktop, laptop, iPad®, Kindle® Fire, or other device capable of opening a PDF file. Annual subscription is $24. Individual monthly issues are available for $3 each.

Superpower AM Radio, Vacuum Tube Voltmeters, Picosatellites and Antennas for 6 Meters

Stories you’ll find in our July, 2019 issue:

Superpower AM Radio in the United States: Why it Failed
By John F. Schneider W9FGH

The term “superpower” was used frequently in the early years of American radio broadcasting, but its exact definition was continually evolving. In 1923, superpower referred to the newly-authorized 1,000 watt “Class B” stations. By 1926 WGY, Schenectady, New York, conducted the first ever test at 50,000 watts. By 1930 WGY had conducted tests at 200 kW, a signal heard in Alaska and Hawaii. But that station was not alone. Many others were eager to explore the possibilities of even higher power: 500 kW! What happened to all that enthusiasm for superpower? John goes deep into this engineering and regulatory jungle that saw broadcast titans trying to use the FCC to dominate America’s airwaves.

Rocking the Stasi
By Scott A. Caldwell

In June 1961, Berlin was a divided city. Viewed from the outside, East Germany, which surrounded Berlin, represented a closed society, dominated by the secret police known universally as the Stasi. But East Germany was vulnerable to Western culture and political ideology through the medium of radio that could not be regulated by the Stasi or the ruling Socialist Unity Party, which resulted in an electronic war of the ether. Scott traces the course of this battle of the airwaves that lasted from the end of World War II to the 1980s and the end of the Cold War.

Overlooked Radio Heroine: The Life, Work and Inventions of Hedy Lamarr
By Georg Wiessala

Hedy Lamarr was born in Austria in 1914 and rose to stellar fame in Hollywood as a film actress and as a multi-talented inventor. Georg looks at the life and work as his most favorite (and most overlooked) radio heroines, without whom today’s Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth technologies would be impossible. He explains why The Guardian claimed, “Lamarr’s story is one of a brilliant woman who was consistently underestimated.”

Inside the VTVM: Lafayette KT-174 and PACO V-70
By Rich Post KB8TAD

The VTVM (vacuum tube voltmeter) was the standard instrument for measuring DC and AC for radio and television service shops from the late 1940s to the end of the vacuum tube era in the 1970s. The sensitivity of the typical service VTVM on DC measurement was 11 megohms regardless of scale. Specialty VTVMs such as the Hewlett-Packard HP-410 offered much higher sensitivity but were high-priced lab-quality instruments and not typically found in radio-TV service shops. Rich takes a close look at two amateur favorites from the era.

Scanning America
By Dan Veeneman
Oakland County (MI); Jasper County (MO)

Federal Wavelengths
By Chris Parris
NIH Trunked System Update

Milcom
By Larry Van Horn N5FPW
Monitoring Air Route Traffic Control Centers

Utility Planet
By Hugh Stegman
Chasing German Weather RTTY

Shortwave Utility Logs
By Hugh Stegman and Mike Chace-Ortiz

VHF and Above
By Joe Lynch N6CL
Opensource Picosatellite Development

Digitally Speaking
By Cory Sickles WA3UVV
The Network is the Repeater

Amateur Radio Insights
By Kirk Kleinschmidt NT0Z
100 Years from Now

Radio 101
By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
Emergency Preparations

Radio Propagation
By Tomas Hood NW7US
Current Rough Shortwave Conditions

The World of Shortwave Listening
By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
Digital Radio Mondiale: Testing, Testing, Testing

The Shortwave Listener
By Fred Waterer
World Sport Coverage on Shortwave; July Shortwave Programming Update

Maritime Monitoring
By Ron Walsh VE3GO
Water, Water, Everywhere!

Adventures in Radio Restoration
By Rich Post KB8TAD
Introducing the National HRO

Antenna Connections
By Dan Farber AC0LW
Magic Band: Antennas for Six Meters

The Spectrum Monitor is available in PDF format which can be read on any desktop, laptop, iPad®, Kindle® Fire, or other device capable of opening a PDF file. Annual subscription is $24. Individual monthly issues are available for $3 each.

Digipeating the ISS, RTTY and QRP

Stories you’ll find in our May, 2019 issue:

Digipeating: APRS to the International Space Station – At Your Convenience
By Richard Fisher KI6SN

Making contact with the International Space Station by amateur radio is challenging on its face—the ISS orbit must be somewhere above your horizon; it is a moving target, and your antenna needs to be tracking its position as the space station moves across the sky. For FM voice contact, you may be in competition with lots of other Earth-based stations with the same goal as yours. But, thanks to the ISS’s digital repeater, contact with ISS is quite possible, but even so, for success, there are still lots of stars that must align. Richard tells us how it’s done.

TSM Reviews: The Mobile VHF/UHF COMPACtenna
By Bob Grove W8JHD

Is it possible for a 7.5-inch antenna to provide equal, or even superior, performance compared to a conventional 18-inch whip? After all, doesn’t a longer element capture more signal energy than a smaller element? Even with some reduction in signal strength, would overall improvement in uninterrupted reception translate to better performance? Bob examines this new mobile VHF/UHF antenna.

TSM Reviews: COMPACtenna for Shortwave
By Chris Parris

Chris was recently offered a chance to use the COMPACtenna SW (shortwave) model at home. The “SW” specifications show that it is 20 inches tall, designed for continuous receive over 3 MHz to 30 MHz and uses a standard 3/8-inch – 24 thread mount that most CB antennas are designed for. As someone who has tried for many years to find a good mobile/portable shortwave antenna solution, this seemed too good to be true. He decided to take the COMPACtenna out and try it on his personal vehicle along with several radios and other shortwave antennas to see how it fared.

RTTY: Old School Digital
By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV

In his previous articles about other forms of digital communications as well as his three-part series on “Piggy Bank Ham Radio,” Cory found that there appears to be a good deal of interest in radioteletype and a desire to use some older gear. Coupling that with questions about pre-1990 HF rigs, there would seem to be a convergence of ideas. While older gear may not be suitable for the latest in digital modes, they are still perfectly fine radios and the fun of RTTY awaits you – with several ways to get on the air. Cory traces the history and continued use of this vintage amateur mode.

CRKits HT-1A Dual Band QRP Transceiver
By James Hannibal KH2SR

This dual band transceiver, available as a kit or factory-built, has a transmit frequency range of 7.0-7.2 MHz and 14.0-14.35 MHz. And, even though it only transmits CW, it does have the ability to listen to SSB signals. It also has an extended receive range, covering everything between 5.9-16 MHz, which means shortwave broadcast reception while in SSB mode. James puts this little rig to the test as it was meant to be used, outside in the wild with a small battery pack and portable antenna.

Scanning America
By Dan Veeneman
Groton, Connecticut; Amtrak Update

Federal Wavelengths
By Chris Parris
Have Scanner, Will Travel

Milcom
By Larry Van Horn N5FPW
Monitoring the 14thFighter Training Wing

Utility Planet
By Hugh Stegman
South Korean HFDL Takes Off

VHF and Above
By Joe Lynch N6CL
Owen Garriott W5LFL Silent Key

Digitally Speaking
By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV
Get Yourself Connected

Amateur Radio Insights
By Kirk Kleinschmidt NT0Z
Are You a Member of the “Tower Tribe?”

Radio 101
By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
Baseball on the Radio: 2019

Radio Propagation
By Tomas Hood NW7US
E-Layer Sporadic Ionospheric Propagation

The World of Shortwave Listening
By Jeff White, Chairman, HFCC
Shortwave Broadcasters Discuss Future of the Medium and Time Changes or Does it?

The Shortwave Listener
By Fred Waterer
Radio Lectures; Classical on SW and Radio Santa Cruz

Amateur Radio Astronomy
By Stan Nelson KB5VL
Long Duration Meteor Trails

Adventures in Radio Restoration
By Rich Post KB8TAD
Millen’s Ham Superhet: The National FB-7

The Spectrum Monitor is available in PDF format which can be read on any desktop, laptop, iPad®, Kindle® Fire, or other device capable of opening a PDF file. Annual subscription is $24. Individual monthly issues are available for $3 each.


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