The Spectrum Monitor — June, 2018

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

SDR Primer Part 1: Introduction to SDRs and SDR applications
By Thomas Witherspoon K4SWL

Whereas your grandpa’s radio was all hardware––in the form of filters, mixers, amplifiers, and the like––Software Defined Radios are a mix of hardware and software, which typically gives them a “black box” appearance. SDRs typically afford access to a dizzying array of customizable filters, gain controls, noise blankers, digital signal processing (DSP), audio controls, and more. Being able to customize the SDR’s performance and listening experience is simply unsurpassed. In the first part of this series, Thomas focuses on the basic components of an SDR system—multiple virtual receivers; recording tools and Web-based upgrades.

Radio Evolution: From Wooden Boxes to Plug-in Dongles
By Bob Grove W8JHD

In this companion piece to Thomas’ SDR Primer, Bob Grove traces the technological history of radio from tube-based wooden-box radios to solid-state radios employing Large-Scale Integration of components into compact packages. The Software Defined Radio concept was the natural next step in this evolution, affording not just economy of scale in production and superior reception parameters, but affording manufacturers the ability to change those parameters with a software upgrade. Specifically, Bob looks at the WR-DRD-171 digital decoder dongle for the high-end WiNRADiO WR-G39DDC receiver that could make it the ultimate all-band, all-mode receiver.

Uniden BCD436HP vs. Whistler TRX-1 – A TSM Side-by-Side Review
By Larry Van Horn N5FPW

We first reviewed the Uniden BCD536 in the April 2014 issue with an update six months later. As a point of reference, for all practical purposes the BCD536HP and BCD436HP are RF identical which makes the initial review worth reading. Larry’s initial review of the Whistler TRX-1 appeared in the January issue this year, in the same issue Bob Grove wrote the TRX-2 base/mobile review. RF-wise, these radios are very similar. So, after six months of intensive testing side by side and field usage, it is time to look at a comparison of the two companies top-end handhelds.

2018 Hamvention Report
By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV

Hamvention 2018 has come and gone. It would be easy to sum it up in one word as “Wow!” But that would not do justice to an event that is built upon so much planning, volunteer effort, cooperation from state, county and local law enforcement as well as EMS personnel, Greene County (Ohio) Convention and Visitors Bureau, City of Xenia (Ohio) officials, and countless others. Cory takes us on a tour of this year’s Hamvention, with comments about those who were there and those who weren’t.

Echos of Today: A World of Shortwave and BCB listening from ‘Alexa’
By Richard Fisher KI6SN

Imagine listening to your favorite shortwave or AM-FM broadcast band station on a receiver about the size and shape of a hockey puck. It has no dials. You have an SWLing assistant whose name is “Alexa: and she is virtual. This is an example of advancing Internet-connected technology known as the “smart speaker,” with capability to please the shortwave and broadcast band listener. Richard gives Alexa his commands and enters a new no-knobs, no-dial world of global radio listening.

Scanning America
By Dan Veeneman
Scanning Miami-Dade County, Florida

Federal Wavelengths
By Chris Parris
Dallas Federal Monitoring

By Larry Van Horn N5FPW
Monitor the 380-399.9 MHz Radio Spectrum

Utility Planet
By Hugh Stegman NV6H
It’s COTHEN Time Again!

Shortwave Utility Logs
Compiled by Hugh Stegman and Mike Chace-Ortiz

VHF and Above
By Joe Lynch N6CL
A Busy Month; DX Engineering TW Antenna Center Box Cover

Digitally Speaking
By Cory GB Sickles WA3UVV
A Midsummer’s Potpourri

Amateur Radio Insights
By Kirk Kleinschmidt NT0Z
The Siren Song of Small Antennas

Radio 101
By Ken Reitz KS4ZR
Korean Summit via FTA Satellite; The Future of C-Band; Armed Forces Day Crossband Test

Radio Propagation
By Tomas Hood NW7US
Field Day Fun, Again!

The World of Shortwave Listening
By Andrew Yoder
Remembering WWII-era Clandestine Shortwave Radio Stations

The Shortwave Listener
By Fred Waterer
Proms, DW and BBC Radio Highlights

Amateur Radio Satellites
By Keith Baker KB1SF/VA3KSF
Golf-TEE and Golf-1 Get Rides to Space

The Longwave Zone
By Kevin O’Hern Carey WB2QMY
Travelogue & Radio Ties

Adventures in Radio Restoration
By Rich Post KB8TAD
The Transition: a Tale of Two Philcos

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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