Category Archives: Books

Update: WRTH 2015 via Amazon

WRTH2015Last month we mentioned that Amazon had erroneously listed WRTH 2015 as a title that had “not yet been released.”

I’ve just received word from the publisher of WRTH that this has been fixed on Amazon’s site, but those of you who placed an order under the unreleased status may actually have to place a new order with Amazon. To verify, you might contact Amazon customer service, then simply place a new order.

Click here to order WRTH 2015 from Amazon.com.

Also note that WRTH is available from Universal Radio and directly from the publisher.

WRTH B14 Schedule Updates

WRTH2015

(Source: WRTH)

Updates to the B14 schedules published in the 2015 edition of WRTH are now available to download, for free, from www.wrth.com.

You will need a program capable of displaying PDF files to view these updates. We hope you find these a useful companion to the printed WRTH. Please note that the cut-off date for the file was Jan 29, so any changes that were received after that date will not be included in this file. If we receive enough updates, we may publish an updated version of this file before the end of season.

73 and happy listening from the WRTH Editorial Team.

Please circulate this information freely and as widely as possible! Many thanks.

WRTH 2015 available on Amazon.com

WRTH-Amazon-Page

The publishers of the Wold Radio TV Handbook sent the following message to me regarding availability of WRTH 2015 on Amazon.com:

“WRTH 2015 is now available on Amazon.com, despite the first page listing it as “This title has not yet been released.” We have been unable to get Amazon to change this page.

Readers in North America should click on the listing for other new offerscurrently showing as 8 New from $27.28. The copies shipped by us to Amazon are listed under WRTH Publications Limited. These copies will be fulfilled direct from Amazon distribution centers. All the other offers on the page rely on shipping copies from Europe.”

Many thanks to WRTH for clarifying this. Please click here to order WRTH 2015 from Amazon.com.

Click here to read our overview of WRTH 2015 (hint: another excellent issue).

WRTH 2015: A look inside

WRTH2015I received my copy of the 2015 World Radio and TV Handbook (WRTH) directly from the publisher last week. As many SWLing Post readers know, I always look forward to receiving this staple radio reference guide each year. While other reference guides have dropped out of the scene, WRTH has remained strong and the publication’s quality has been wonderfully consistent. In fact, I noticed in the Editorial that this is 69th edition of WRTH: obviously, a publication with longevity.

WRTH’s team of noted DXers from around the world curate frequencies and broadcaster information by region; while I’m not sure how they orchestrate all of this, the end result is truly a symphony of radio information. In addition to broadcaster listings, WRTH’s radio reviews, feature articles, and annual HF report make for excellent reading.

But the WRTH isn’t just a frequency guide: the publication always devotes the first sixty or so pages to articles relating to various aspects of the radio hobby. Following, I offer a quick overview of these.

The first article always features a WRTH contributor (indeed, it’s this very network of contributors that make WRTH and its listings such a success):  this year, Mauno Ritola tells us how he got interested in the hobby and what being a contributor means to him. Many of you will recognize Mauno’s name–he’s quite a prominent Finish SW and MW DXer (and a very nice fellow, as well).

The second set of articles is always my favorite: WRTH receiver reviews.

KX3-Helper-Tecsun-PL-600This year, WRTH reviewed the CommRadio CR-1a (un update of their very positive CR-1 review last year).  They also review the Tecsun PL-600 (above), the SDRplay software defined radio, the MFJ-1046 Preselector, and the Apache ANAN-10. The 2015 WRTH also has a special review section that features two HF noise and loop antennas: the AOR LA400 indoor loop and the Wellbrook ALA 1530S+ Imperium Loop (which wins the WRTH Award for Best Antenna). As I’ve come to expect from this publication, these are all great comprehensive reviews.

The SDRplay

The SDRplay

The following article is “Wooferton: 70 Years on the Air,” written by Dave Porter, one time Senior Transmitter Engineer at the site. In a few pages, you’ll gather the technological history of the site, dating back to a rather bumpy start in WWII.

Following this, noted DXer and WRTH contributor, Max van Arhem, speaks to The Future of DXing. He proposes that with the decline of international broadcasting on the shortwaves, there is still much challenge in the hobby–especially by broadening DXing in the FM and medium wave bands. [Indeed, I’ve certainly seen an increase of questions about medium wave DXing here on the SWLing Post. I hope to cover more of these topics in 2015.]

Lord Howe Island

Lord Howe Island

WRTH often features a snapshot of the radio scene in various parts of the world.  This year, WRTH Contributor, David Foster, writes about his recent trip to remote Lord Howe Island and what he discovered about the radio landscape there. As a keen traveler myself, I found his article fascinating (Lord Howe Island is now on my travel list!).

1500As a bonus, WRTH includes a feature/review of the benchmark Watkins-Johnson 8711A receiver. Not only does the article speak to the mechanics and virtues of the 8711A, but it also places this particular model within the context of the Watkins-Johnson legacy.

The final sections of articles are dedicated to the WRTH Digital Update and HF propagation report/forecast.

As expected, this is another great edition of the World Radio TV Handbook. As I’ve said many times, though I use online frequency databases fairly regularly, there is just no replacement for a good printed frequency guide–especially for all of my off-grid DXing.

For DXers who collect QSL cards, you’ll find that broadcaster contact information in WRTH is often more up-to-date than a broadcaster’s own website.

Not only does WRTH contain more in-depth information on broadcasters and schedules, but it makes for quick reference, and doesn’t require a computer or Internet connection–much like, well, your shortwave radio.

Purchase your copy of WRTH 2015 directly from WRTH’s publishers, or from a distributor like Universal Radio (US)Radio HF (Canada) or Amazon.com. Happy reading–and listening–in 2015!

Shortwave Receivers, Past & Present: a book for every radio enthusiast

ShortwaveReceiversPastAndPresent

Last month, I received an unexpected–and most welcome–package: a copy of Fred Osterman’s Shortwave Receivers Past & Present, now in its fourth edition. My copy was a signed version, sent to those who contributed to the volume. Although my contributions to this impressive and highly comprehensive work are quite modest, I was  grateful nonetheless; author Fred Osterman is not only a good friend, but a radio mentor.  He’s also a supporter of my non-profit, Ears To Our World (ETOW); indeed, without his warm encouragement, I doubt I would have launched that enterprise so successfully.  Fred continues to support ETOW in innumerable ways. And more than anyone else I know, Fred is a guru of all that is shortwave radio. As the president of Universal Radio, he has the good fortune of seeing a number of new/used radios appear on his doorstep every day, many of which are quite rare. In short, Fred Osterman knows his stuff.

But what a pleasure, to be able to recommend whole-heartedly this book, not because my long-time mentor penned it, but because it is…well, good.  Really good.  The first time I opened Shortwave Receivers Past & Present, I couldn’t put it down for nearly an hour.

Why? First of all, to say that this reference is chock-full of information about shortwave receivers is an understatement. It catalogs virtually every model of any significant receiver about which I’ve ever heard; that alone is fascinating.  But there’s more. This volume lists receivers–and even manufacturers–that are entirely new to me.  Clearly, if you’re intrigued by all things shortwave, this book has much to teach…

ShortwaveReceiversPastAndPresent-HQ-180

Each section of Shortwave Receivers Past & Present lists the most relevant information about each receiver model–features, specifications, internal components, accessories, readout type, physical dimensions, review notes, current pricing. (Click to enlarge)

The book is logically laid out by manufacturer and model; each section devoted to a particular model and all of its iterations are noted. As you can see in the example above, in-depth information including the author’s comments are provided, as well as the vitals on each rig–features, specifications, internal components, accessories, readout type, physical dimensions, review notes, current pricing–all beautifully and clearly presented. Clear black-and-white pictures of the radios as well as manufacturer logos are also shown.

While one can, of course, research radios online, rarely can you find all the information you seek so complete; this book has done all the painstaking work for you, and made it infinitely more convenient.

Secondly, Shortwave Receivers is a quality publication.  Back in the 1990s, I had the good fortune to work in university archives for a period of time; since then, I notice things others might overlook–binding, paper, quality of print. This book feels like the archival volume it is, with heavy, glossy pages, a robust binding and sturdy spine. It feels like one of those heavy encyclopedias you might have found in libraries in the past, created to endure many page turns and, indeed, stand the test of time.

As heavy as this book is–and it is very heavy, I admit–I think I might start carrying it to hamfests, especially to those with antique radios (i.e. “boat anchors”) on offer. With this work in tow, not only could I determine, on the spot, if a particular model of radio is a bargain, but also tell at a glance if it’s rare, if the components can be sourced readily, and anything else noteworthy I really ought to know about it. This would give me a leg up when bargaining, not to mention, make the whole radio experience more fun.

Indeed, if you collect or restore vintage shortwave receivers, or dream of doing so, this book is an absolute must. That’s the power of a proper reference book with an author who is as passionate about these receivers as the readers.

In short:  I highly recommend Shortwave Receivers Past and Present. At $49.95 US, it’s pricier than most individual books; however, considering its role as an all-in-one encyclopedic reference, it’s a value that will serve you for decades.

But if you do obtain a copy of Shortwave Receivers, I leave you with a warning: if you’re like me, you may find it just about impossible to put this book down.

Purchase Shortwave Receivers Past and Present, Fourth Edition at Universal Radio.

[Note to international readers: international shipping costs are substantial on this book, no doubt due to its significant weight and dimensional size. Just make sure you note shipping costs prior to purchasing.]