The Spectrum Monitor — December, 2015


Stories you’ll find in our December, 2015 issue:

A Virtual Tour of WEAF in 1927
By John F. Schneider W9FGH

The iconic radio station WEAF in New York City began in 1922 as a grand experiment by the Western Electric Company, a subsidiary of AT&T. Western Electric was interested in exploiting its collection of radio patents, which it believed would allow it to corner the market in the exploding field of radio broadcasting. The station went on the air August 16 of that year from an antenna atop the eleven-story Western Electric Building at 463 West Street. WEAF was initially conceived by AT&T as a “toll broadcaster,” a radio-station-for-hire, with blocks of program time that would be leased to anyone that wanted to broadcast. Later, WEAF began broadcasting from a new transmitter site located in more rural surroundings on Maple Avenue in Bellmore, Long Island, 28 miles East of New York. John gives us a tour of this historic radio station.

Variacs 101: Answering those Questions
By Rich Post KB8TAD

One of the most useful tools for vintage radio repair and restoration is the Variac. All it does is vary the line voltage from zero to full and, depending on its connections, beyond full line voltage. It can be found in the chemistry lab, in older hotels and theaters for varying the lighting levels, as noise-free dimmers in recording studios, and as a way to gently warm up guitar amps from a cold start. It has been used to control the heating of soldering irons, to carefully adjust coffee roasters, and to increase the life of older incandescent Christmas lighting. And, of course, for radio restoration, it allows an older radio to be powered-up gently and at reduced voltage.

Retro Radio: Antique Radio Classics and the People Who Love Them
By Richard Fisher KI6SN

The dulcet tones of Dinah Washington, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, The Andrews Sisters and Etta James no longer float through the air from the more than 2,500 radios consuming Barry Dagestino’s three-car garage and a nearby 1,000 square foot storage unit. The singers may be gone, but many of the radios that brought their voices to bygone generations are very much alive today—dusted off, rewired, restored and glowing from side tables and mantel pieces around the world. This first of the two-part TSM “Retro” series on Antique and Vintage Radio opens a window on broadcast band and shortwave receiver collectors, calling on the advice of experts to tell us how to get started in this fascinating niche of hobbyist communications.

Cutting the Cord: Part 1
By Mike Kohl

Much has been written in the mainstream press during the past several years about the subject of cord-cutting, which is the act of dropping cable-TV and other subscription services for less costly and sometimes totally free alternatives. This article is a primer on the options now available to most consumers, with future articles going into how-to details that will attempt to compare those options so that one can form an opinion about how to save money on home entertainment delivery.

Digitally Speaking By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV
P-25 Networking: Staying Digital

Scanning America By Dan Veenaman
Scanning the Mall of America and DFW Airport

Federal Wavelengths By Chris Parris
Year End Wrap Up; Reader’s Submissions

Utility Planet By Hugh Stegman NV6H
Big Month for Russian Military Monitoring

Radio Intrigue By Don Schimmel
Old FAPSI Intercepts

Digital HF: Intercept and Analyze By Mike Chace-Ortiz AB1TZ/G6DHU
More on US Government 5-Letter Network

HF Utility Logs By Mike Chace-Ortiz and Hugh Stegman

Amateur Radio Insights By Kirk Kleinschmidt NT0Z
Forgotten Antenna Fundamentals and other Curious Tidbits: Part 1

Radio 101 By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
Timely News with a Global Perspective and some Great Music

Radio Propagation By Tomas Hood NW7US
NASA’s Solar Fleet Peers Into Coronal Cavities

The World of Shortwave Listening By Rob Wagner VK3BVW
Preparing for your next DXpedition

The Shortwave Listener By Fred Waterer
Christmas Radio Around the World

Amateur Radio Satellites By Keith Baker KB1SF/VA3KSF
A Whole Host of New Satellites

The Longwave Zone By Kevin O’Hern Carey WB2QMY
Miscou 2015 Recap

Adventures in Radio Restoration By Rich Post KB8TAD
In Command again, a pair of ARC-5 and SCR-274N aircraft transmitters: Part 1

The Broadcast Tower By Doug Smith W9WI
Going out with a Bang!

Antenna Connections By Dan Farber AC0LW
Year-End Quiz: Test Your Antenna Knowledge!

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].

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