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.

Ken Reitz, KS4ZR, is publisher and managing editor of The Spectrum Monitor. Contact him at [email protected].

One Response to “Superpower AM Radio, Vacuum Tube Voltmeters, Picosatellites and Antennas for 6 Meters”

  • Des Walsh EI5CD:

    the article ‘Rocking the Stasi, brings to mind for me that as a youngster during the cold war I used to hear an East German station on medium wave , somewhere around the middle of the band , calling itself OPS BERLIN , with an address on one of the allees in East Berlin , not Stimme der DDR , but a kind of ‘black sender’with an AFN style of programmes , news , features , music requests etc, 30 minutes duration I think . I have never seen a reference to it and wonder has anyone get info on it. AFN used come in well at night here in Ireland , 872 kHz or whatever it was then, I used like Gunsmoke ( Marshall Matt Dillon ! ) and X-Minus One , eerie sc-fi that. VOA use be on the low end of Long Wave to add to programme choice.The hey-day of real radio !

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