The Radio Corner - Volumes 1 & 2

By Robert Gulley, AK3Q

Devoted to Getting the Most out of the Radio Hobby

n ths first volume, I introduce a number of radios and radio activities, including shortwave radio, scanners, SDR or software-defined radio, and exploring old tube radios. I will also spend time looking at (likely) familiar and not-so-familiar radio modes and monitoring opportunities.

Few of us make the most of our radios’ capabilities, which is really just another way of saying the radio hobby offers an almost endless opportunity for exploration. Add to this the variation among antennas, seasons, propagation and a dozen other variables, and I cannot imagine someone ever getting bored. I have been at it in one form or another for over forty years and I still have a long to-do list. Oh, and my “Bucket List” of radios to use/explore is only slightly shorter than my to-do list!

Throughout this book I will offer tips and resources to encourage one’s own active participation in this incredible hobby. To (mis)quote Shakespeare, “There are more signals between heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies!” In an age where our typical involvement in communication is limited to our thumb dexterity (texting) or our ability to press buttons on a remote, radio really does offer a welcome change of pace. The radio hobby engages our skills, our learning, and our imaginations. Grabbing signals out of the air, or better still, putting our own signals into the atmosphere, involves us in an unseen but thoroughly engaging world.

While amateur radio represents a special part of the radio spectrum, a conversation I had recently reflects what I experience with all forms of the radio hobby. I spoke at length with a gentleman from Florida who has lived in the States for over thirty years, but who was born and raised in South Africa. He remembered as a boy getting to meet all kinds of people from various walks of life who stopped by his father’s house because his father had an amateur radio station and therefore could communicate with others around the world. They would send messages home, or to colleagues, or receive messages waiting for them from others. Radio opened a whole new world for this gentleman, and he was still grateful for those opportunities all these years later.

This is what radio does. It opens whole new worlds to us whether by shortwave broadcasts from international stations, talking with folks one-on-one from around the world or across town, to listening to police, fire, or military traffic right in our backyards. So much magic in such a small box!

Whether one’s radio journey is just beginning or the radio has been a trusted friend for years, my hope is that this book will open up new facets of the hobby and thus provide greater opportunities to enjoy it more fully. The wireless telegraph has come a long way in a relatively short time, and I have no doubt it will be here for a long time to come. I for one cannot wait to see where the world of radio will take us next!

TOPICS COVERED IN VOLUME 1

Chapter

Title

Page #

 

   

1

A World of Radios 12

2

The Venerable Shortwave Radio 25

3

Getting the Best from your Radio

42

4

One Rig to Rule Them All 57

5

Radio Accessories 75
6 Really Using Your Radio Part 1 88
7 Really Using Your Radio Part 2 104
8 Really Using Your Radio Part 3 118
9 Pirate, Clandestine & Political Radio 138

10

Scanners Old and New

149

11

Taking a Step Back in Time 169

12

Emergency Preparedness 181

13

Niche Software Defined Radio 200

14

More SDR Applications

214

 

Other Publications 226

 




HOW TO ORDER
These special books are available only in eBook version either on CD-ROM or Download. The eBook is in the popular PDF format and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 or higher. The eBook may be purchased by immediate download directly from this website, or shipped to you on CD-ROM. Links to the ORDER FORMS are provided here.

This Volume 1 is available for immediate download or on CD-ROM
DOWNLOAD VERSION - $26.95
Quantity:

On CD-ROM VERSION - $26.95 Plus S&H
Quantity:




n this second volume of The Radio Corner I continue to explore the many fascinating avenues we can venture down in experiencing radios old and new.

I think of radio as an old friend, always there, ready to meet us wherever we want to go on a given day. Many, many enjoyable days and nights have been spent exploring the radio spectrum, and I cannot imagine life without radio.

This time around we look at how to get good audio from a radio (it is not as complicated as it might sound!), examine kits and projects for homebrewing radios and accessories, and we look at some specialized areas of radio monitoring. Kit are a great way to learn about the electronics behind the scenes, as well as a great way to experience the hobby. There is a special kind of satisfaction from building and using something you built yourself.

Additionally we explore AM Broadcast radios, Ultralights, and portable radios, as well as Aviation Monitoring (Civilian and Military), Weather, and of course Shortwave radio monitoring. There is a whole world of radio around and between the amateur radio bands, and this extends from the LF portion of the band right up into the UHF portion of the band. Utility, military, and civilian monitoring is an often overlooked, but fascinating side of the hobby.

We also examine programming modern radios, and we briefly touch on D-Star, Echolink, and IRLP operating. Programming radios is becoming more and more complicated because of all the computer control available to us, as well as deeply buried menus. I offer some tips on how to conquer this beast, as well as some radio memory strategies which might be useful in various situations. When we add digital radios into the mix the options and programming becomes that much more complicated, so we touch on those technologies as well.

There really is something for everyone when it comes to the radio hobby, and my hope is you, the reader, will be inspired to try something new in the hobby.

I find myself always trying new things and enjoying the process of learning, while at the same time coming back to familiar places in the RF spectrum with renewed interest. AM Broadcast DXing is one of those areas, and I have enjoyed this part of the hobby got over 40 years, along with shortwave listening.

Whatever your particular area of enjoyment, I trust with every new mode added to the mix, old favorites never die. In this way truly every time we turn on a radio it can be an adventure, and maybe even something quite memorable!

TOPICS COVERED IN VOLUME 2

Chapter

Title

Page #

 

   

1

What Makes For Good Audio Part 1 09

2

What Makes For Good Audio Part 2 19

3

Homebrewing Radios

32

4

Echolink, IRLP & D-Star 45

5

Programming Radios 60
6 AM Broadcast Radios 76
7 Ultralight DXing 87
8 Roadworthy: Going Portable! 101
9 Shortwave Radio Still Matters 113

10

Keeping an Eye on the Weather

126

11

Radio Kits by the Fire 139

12

Aviation Monitoring 152

13

HF Aviation Monitoring 167

14

HF Military Monitoring

183

15

Military Aviation Monitoring (cont.)

197

 

Postscript 210

 

Other Publications 211

 



This Volume 2 is available for immediate download or on CD-ROM
DOWNLOAD VERSION - $26.95
Quantity:

On CD-ROM VERSION - $26.95 Plus S&H
Quantity:



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robert is a writer, college professor and woodworking instructor, and a retired minister. In addition to his monthly Radio Corner, past Newcomer Notes, and antenna columns for antenneX, Robert wrote a beginner’s column for Woodturning Design Magazine for ten years, a quarterly column for Scanner Digest for five years, and occasional articles for QST, The Spectrum Monitor and the former Monitoring Times magazine. His interest in Amateur Radio, Scanning, and SWL began as a young boy, but he did not get his Technician license until 2007. He then quickly upgraded to his General (December 2007) and then Extra (May of 2008.)

He has become involved in ARES and MARS, as well as participating in two local radio clubs, OH-KY-IN Amateur Radio society and NKARC. He is currently on the Board of Directors for The OHKYIN Amateur Radio Society, and a former Vice-President of the NKARC. He enjoys DX work, SWL, scanning, emergency operations, and almost anything else having to do with radios. Antennas have become a special focus since getting into Amateur Radio, and more often than not he can be found tweaking his antenna systems or trying some new antenna project. Robert’s collection of radios continues to expand with both old and new technologies.

It is not uncommon for a good “radio day” to include amateur radio work on a vacuum tube radio, as well as a modern DSP transceiver; digital and analog public service scanning; monitoring aircraft through his computer using an SDR Dongle or an Elad FDM-S2; and then topping the day off with a bit of AM Broadcast DXing! When not on the air or on the roof with his antennas, Robert enjoys cooking, woodturning, and reading about his hobbies.

-

-

-