Vintage Radio Reading

This blog was originally published in July 2014 but is as valid today as it was then. In fact, David Gleason's has added many more titles to his web-collection, making the site even more of a treasure. 


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I really love old radio magazines, especially those from the 30's, but to purchase any original copies today is very costly. If you grew up in the 50's or earlier and became hooked by the magic of radio as I and thousands of other kids did, then you no doubt recall the plethora of great monthly magazines devoted to 'radio'. 

Now, thanks to AmericanRadioHistory.com, most of those great old hobby magazines of the past can be viewed online and enjoyed once again.
Just a few of the many magazines available are: Radio Craft, Short Wave Radio, Radio, Radio World, White's Radio Log, Popular Radio, Popular Electronics and Radio Amateur News, later to become Radio News.

As a pre-teen short-wave listener in the late 50's, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the latest edition of Popular Electronics, stuffed with its latest SW broadcast news, frequency lists and DX stories.

I'm not sure if all of this is the organizational work of just one person (Webmaster David Gleason) or of a larger group, but it is an incredibly rich resource that has been made freely available for everyone to enjoy.





Thanks to David Gleason's work, I always have several of my favorite classics downloaded to my I-Pad's bookshelf for offline reading. With hundreds of recent updates this spring, there appears to be a lifetime of vintage reading now available!




As a builder of vintage-style radios, particularly transmitters, I can often find new inspiration from the magazines particularly devoted to ham radio. If your workshop library is lacking in vintage reference material, you need look no further than this site for a vast source of building inspiration....transmitters of all description along with receivers from crystal tuners to complex multi-tube designs.



So many of these early publications were the brainchild of Hugo Gernsback, a prolific writer and editor of both technical and science fiction magazines but sometimes blurring the boundaries of each! I suspect that his wide variety of radio publications had some significant role in the way radio so quickly transformed the world.
Even in the 50's, long after the 'golden years' of radio, it was not uncommon to still see radio antennas on most houses, at least in my neighbourhood!







If you haven't visited this wonderful resource yet, I'm sure you will be amazed at what you find.
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

6 Responses to “Vintage Radio Reading”

  • Robert VA3AOD:

    Thanks for doing this Steve. Like you I grew up in the 50s and read all the electronics magazines I could get my hands on. Today, I find these magazines
    and old ARRL Handbooks more interesting than the current magazines.

  • Thomas Wyatt WH6NG:

    I agree I am always reading technical books and radi /electronics from the 20s and 30s.

  • Roger Fowler W8WTR:

    The younger generation doesn’t seem to realize that if it wasn’t for these individuals, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Always enjoyable. 73’s

  • Steve VE7SL:

    Gentlemen, thank you for your comments!There is just such an incredible amount of information
    available in these publications … covering all aspects of early radio right into modern times. Really a lifetime of reading and research if one is so inclined.
    For those searching for vintage project inspiration, this is a great place tostart. I keep finding myself coming back time and again to search for particular articles or historical context. David has provided a truly great resource for all to use at no charge and I am very greatful for his dedication.

  • John NV4L:

    All I can say is wow to that site. Thanks for reporting on it. I just had to go to a copy of 73 Magazine to remember how quirky Wayne Green could be. But he was years ahead of his time and had cutting edge articles and excellent construction articles complete with double sided PCB layouts.

  • Moe K2JDM:

    Our local library and university library used to keep a lot of those old magazines on the shelves. But over the years, people destroyed pages or simply tore them out. So it was decided to have them on microfilm, but there was no way to print them.

    There are many examples through out these magazines that help operators to better understand what is going on in their radios. All of these magazines offered better reading material than the modern ones do.

    Keep on listening out there. You may hear yourself.

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