The Spectrum Monitor — July, 2018

Stories you’ll find in our July, 2018 issue:

The Development of Police Radio Communications in the United States
By John F. Schneider W9FGH

Policing in America before the 1920s was done by the beat policeman, who wandered his assigned neighborhood on foot. If he needed to communicate with his precinct officer, he used a street corner police call-box. The Detroit Police Department, led by a visionary police commissioner, was the first to seriously experiment with installing radio receivers in patrol cars, beginning in 1922 with the licensing of its own radio station, KOP. But, although the emerging technology of radio held obvious promise as a means of communication, there were still many shortcomings in its fledgling years that prevented its reliable use in vehicles. John notes the historical issues involved with police broadcasting and the general public tuning in—a nearly one-hundred year-old tradition.

Listening in on the WWI Western Front: The SCR-54A (BC-14A) Receiver
By Rich Post KB8TAD

One hundred years ago, the United States was at war. At the start of the World War I, the US Navy, as authorized by the President, ordered that all private radio transmitters and receivers, whether licensed or unlicensed, be dismantled. The order was not just for the spark transmitters of the day, but even simple hobbyist crystal receiving sets. Rich explores the SCR-54A BC14A , a state-of-the-art WWI radio receiver system, which along with a BC-15A spark transmitter wedged aboard an airplane would allow the pilot to provide reconnaissance from the battlefield. Rich takes a look at this combo, which took serious skills to operate in testing—let alone in battle.

Cheerio: Amateur Radio’s Checkered History at the BBC
By Richard Fisher KI6SN

Last fall, with the pomp and ceremony for which Great Britain is so well known, Lord Tony Hall, Baron Hall of Berkenhead, and head of the BBC, cut the ribbon to officially open amateur radio station G8BBC, turning the page to the newest chapter in the British Broadcasting Corporation’s on-again-off-again romance with amateur radio. Richard explains how hams at the BBC have fared over the decades, occupying a thin sliver of real estate, courtesy of the world’s most well known shortwave voice.

TSM Reviews: Palstar LA-1K Solid-State HF Amplifier
By Mark Haverstock K8MSH

Since the beginning of ham radio, vacuum tube amplifiers have dominated the market. They’re relatively economical to manufacture, tolerant of abuse, and have some leeway to match antennas that aren’t exactly resonant. More recently, solid-state amplifiers have gained traction among amateur radio operators. They’re instant-on and more convenient—getting you on the air with less operator intervention. Mark examines the Palstar LA-1K solid-state HF amplifier and finds some very positive attributes that come at a stiff price.

Scanning America
By Dan Veenaman
Portsmouth (VA), Grant County (WI) and the ISS

Federal Wavelenghts
By Chris Parris
More Federal Digital Modes

By Larry Van Horn N5FPW
Update: Monitoring Military Hurricane Communications

Utility Planet
By Hugh Stegman
U.S. Radio Strangeness Continues

Shortwave Utility Logs
By Hugh Stegman and Mike Chace-Ortiz

VHF and Above
By Joe Lynch N6CL
Contests and Field Day for VHF and Above

Digitally Speaking
By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV
When Elephants Fight, it is the Ground that Suffers

Amateur Radio Insights
By Kirk Kleinschmidt NT0Z
Static and Frustration from DC to Daylight—Welcome to Summer Propagation

Radio 101
By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
$664 Solution to Solar Cycle Doldrums

Radio Propagation
By Tomas Hood NW7US
The Sun in Sonic and Visual Art: an Aid to Scientists

The World of Shortwave Listening
By Thomas Witherspoon K4SWL
SDR Primer Part 2: Exploring the World of SDRs for $200 or Less

The Shortwave Listener
By Fred Waterer
40 Years of Shortwave Listening

Maritime Monitoring
By Ron Walsh VE3GO
Sailing On

The Longwave Zone
By Kevin O’Hern Carey WB2QMY
Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Adventures in Radio Restoration
By Rich Post KB8TAD
Ballantine 300 and the Boonton Connection

Antenna Connections
By Dan Farber AC0LW
Understanding Ground: A Review

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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