The Spectrum Monitor — February, 2016

FEB2016CoverStories you’ll find in our February, 2016 issue:

​D​iscovering Vintage Transistor Radios
By Michael Jack

Although today’s chips may house billions of transistors, the average consumer is not familiar with the term ‘transistor’ any longer. And, while all of our devices depend on transistors to this day, the pocket transistor radio was the first ubiquitous device to introduce the world to solid-state technology. Michael Jack takes us on a visual tour of the history of the transistor radio through beautiful examples of the art of transistor radio production. He also tells us how to spot potential finds and restore these solid-state gems.

Monitoring Joint Warrior 15/2 and Russian Air and Sea Activity
By Tony Roper

In October 2015 there was the second of the large-scale exercises that take place every year off the north and west coasts of Scotland under the exercise “Joint Warrior” name, as well as exercises involving ballistic missile defense ships that took part in Joint Warrior and which took place in the danger areas at sea, off the west coast of Scotland. Tony shows how to monitor these twice-yearly exercises as well as how to keep track of Russian air and sea activity involved in their activities in Syria, much of which is found on HF frequencies in SSB and CW.

RTL-SDR Dongle: Your Eye to the Wireless World
By Mario Filippi N2HUN

The RTL-SDR dongle has garnered much popularity over the last several years as an inexpensive and effective broadband receiver for the radio enthusiast. Now Mario shows us how the RTL-SDR can be pressed into serving in other ways: as a rudimentary piece of test equipment to explore those countless wireless devices that power our world and make life convenient. You can use it when restoring vintage radios, doing frequency analysis, antenna analysis and a host of troubleshooting activities you may never have thought of.

ATSC Off-Air Local TV: Doing it Right
By Mike Kohl

Part of his continuing series on cord-cutting, Mike shows us how to use online tools to find out what’s available in your area for Over-the-Air (OTA) TV reception; what antennas work best; when to use and not use antenna amplifiers and how to configure your OTA-TV system without needing to use an antenna rotator. What are the TV reception limits in the area in which you live? You can learn how to get the most out of OTA signals wherever you live without having to spend a fortune on equipment or for cable and satellite-TV subscriptions.

VHF and Above: Aurora Propagation
By Joe Lynch N6CL

If you have spent any time on HF you are somewhat familiar with the effects of aurora, particularly on 10 meters. Those watery sounding signals you may have heard are signals affected by aurora. However, those funny-sounding signals are only one small aspect of auroral propagation. This month Joe shows us how to anticipate aurora propagation by monitoring WWV broadcasts. He also takes a look at the interesting world of High Altitude Ballooning. Joe says, “There is nothing more exhilarating than watching a helium-filled balloon take off and then chasing it using the signals being transmitted from its payload!”

Scanning America
By Dan Veenaman
Fulton County, Georgia, and Riverside, California

Federal Wavelengths
By Chris Parris
The Challenges of Federal Monitoring

Utility Planet
By Hugh Stegman NV6H
New Life for Operation SECURE?

Digital HF: Intercept and Analyze
By Mike Chace-Ortiz AB1TZ/G6DHU
The Russian Navy T600 “Bee” Modem

HF Utility Logs
By Mike Chace-Ortiz and Hugh Stegman

Digitally Speaking
By Cory Sickles WA3UVV
Avoiding Mixed-Mode Mix-Ups

Amateur Radio Insights
By Kirk Kleinschmidt NT0Z
Forgotten Antenna Fundamentals and Other Curious Tidbits—Part 2

Radio 101
By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
The Case for Satellite Radio

Radio Propagation
By Tomas Hood NW7US
The Ionosonde

The World of Shortwave Listening
By Andrew Yoder
HF Pirates Roam 41 and 90-meter Bands

The Shortwave Listener
By Fred Waterer
RCI’s Broadcast Legacy and You Too can be a Shortwave Radio Broadcaster!

Amateur Radio Astronomy
By Stan Nelson KB5VL
WWVB and other Fun Stuff

The Longwave Zone
By Kevin O’Hern Carey WB2QMY
Up and Running with SDR!

Adventures in Radio Restoration
By Rich Post KB8TAD
The Saga of the Philips BX490A: Beauty and the Geek

Antenna Connections
By Dan Farber AC0LW
Single File, Please: Understanding SWR

Radio Horizons
The Worldwide Listening Guide 7th Edition by John Figliozz​i

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].

3 Responses to “The Spectrum Monitor — February, 2016”

  • Colin GM4JPZ:

    Just paid for the February issue to take a quick look at this, and after a few minutes’ reading am convinced a year’s subscription will be well worth the money. This is pure gold for anyone who may be licensed now but is still an SWL at heart. (I suspect there’s a lot of us out there…)
    Thanks for posting this.
    73, Colin

  • Having grown up reading Monitoring Times, I am so thrilled that Ken has continued the tradition. It’s very hard to keep a magazine like this viable and he’s doing a fantastic job — the articles are top-shelf. I read every single issue cover-to-cover.

  • Ed Ballard KG7KXT:

    The Spectrum Monitor fills the need of the general communications field. I get my technical updates from these informed authors. Thanks to them I can almost be up on the latest developments in the RF world.

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