The Spectrum Monitor — December, 2016

Stories you’ll find in our December, 2016 issue:

The Coast Guard Cutter Courier: “A Cold War-era Battleship without Guns”
By John Schneider W9FGH

The Voice of America operated a unique shipboard radio broadcasting facility on the medium wave and shortwave bands in the Mediterranean Sea from 1952 to 1964. The US Coast Guard Cutter Courier was a seagoing Cold War shipboard broadcaster, which preceded the famous pirate radio ships of the 1960s and 70s and was the home to the most powerful transmitter ever operated aboard a ship. But, it was not always smooth sailing. There were complications with the 900-foot balloon-tethered medium wave antenna and constant jamming from Russian-based transmitters.

Experiences of a (Relatively) Young Ham with Vintage Radios
By W. Eric McFadden WD8RIF

While the author has been a licensed ham for 38 years, he’s relatively young. And, since most of his operating gear is modern, he’s fairly new to vintage radio. He writes that he wanted to experience what the hobby was like for earlier generations and he felt the contagion of many of his close amateur radio friends who are quite into vacuum tube-era gear. He’s apparently a quick study because now he has some good-looking vintage gear in his shack, including a Heathkit HW-16 and a Drake 2-NT transmitter and 2-C receiver as well as tube-fired 6-meter gear. He’s definitely hooked!

Beware the Mods: Drake 2NT Transmitter
By Rich Post KB8TAD

Longtime vintage radio guru, Rich Post KB8TAD, helps Eric McFadden restore his Drake 2-NT transmitter and shows the rest of us some of the things he does to give vintage radio gear new life. Here’s a hint: It’s not easy and it helps to have good diagnostic equipment, skills to operate that equipment and many decades of understanding the variables of tube-technology.

Shortwave Listening with the “Old-Timers”
By Eric Beheim

Growing up in the 1950s and listening to his grandfather’s 1936 23-tube Scott All-Wave console shortwave radio was a pretty good start for young Eric Beheim. That’s why today, Eric likes to listen to the shortwave bands on number of vintage shortwave radios, including a 1936 Hallicrafters S-20R Sky Champion and a 1942 Zenith model 7G605 Transoceanic “Clipper” among others. Listening is not as easy as you might think. Eric writes, “Most older radios lack the sensitivity, selectivity, and stability that we take for granted in our modern sets. But that’s what makes monitoring with the ‘old timers’ both challenging and exciting.”

A Salute to the Esteemed Regenerative Receiver
By Richard Fisher KI6SN

Fifty years ago, a teenage Richard Fisher, sporting his Novice call, WN1DWL, found he was at loose ends during his high school winter break. What better way to pass the time than to build a regenerative receiver that he could use to cover the ham bands from 160 through 10 meters? It was a project financially within reach of “a broke 16 year-old.” Years later, while he still had the rig, it had fallen victim to the ravages of time and “parts scrounging.” Now, Richard thought, what better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that little radio than to restore it to its full regenerative glory?

Scanning America
By Dan Veenaman

Federal Wavelengths
By Chris Parris
Holiday Radio Logs

Utility Planet
By Hugh Stegman NV6H
Russia to Activate Arctic OTH Radar in 2017

Digital HF: Intercept and Analyze
By Mike Chace-Ortiz AB1TZ/G6DHU
What Digital HF Signals can you Hear and Decode Today?

HF Utility Logs
By Mike Chace-Ortiz and Hugh Stegman

Digitally Speaking
By Cory Sickles WA3UVV
Holiday Wish List

VHF and Above
By Joe Lynch N6CL
ARISS: A Brief Flyover and My Experiences with ARISS QSOs

Amateur Radio Insights
By Kirk Kleinschmidt NT0Z
The Hows and Whys of DIY Open-Wire Feed Line

Radio 101
By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
Getting Started with Free-to-Air Satellite TV

Radio Propagation
By Tomas Hood NW7US
Plasma Bullets

The World of Shortwave Listening
By Rob Wagner VK3BVW
On the Road with a Tecsun PL-680

The Shortwave Listener
By Fred Waterer
Christmas Around the World on Shortwave

Amateur Radio Astronomy
By Keith Baker KB1SF/VA3KSF
Amateur Radio Satellite Operating Protocols

The Longwave Zone
By Kevin O’Hern Carey WB2QMY
Resources: What’s On Your Bookshelf?

Adventures in Radio Restoration
By Rich Post KB8TAD
The Heathkit Laboratory-type Signal Generators: LG-1 and IG-42

Antenna Connections
By Dan Farber AC0LW
Sunspot Maybe: Surviving without Upper HF

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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