Back in April of this year (2022), I accidentally discovered The Radio Boys series of books, many of which are available for free if you have an Amazon Kindle.
These books, I believe, are intended for young adults, and, in my mind, they very much resemble The Hardy Boys series of books: a group of high school friends have adventures and discover the wonders of radio together. Think “The Hardy Boys go all-in for radio,” and you have the right idea.
If you are looking for sophisticated plots, deep character development, and a lyrical turn of phrase, you will be disappointed. But if you a looking for a light-hearted adventure with deep enthusiasm for radio, I think you will be pleased.
But what makes these books really cool is that they were written and copyrighted 100 years ago, in the early 1920s. Yes, some of the language and attitudes are somewhat antiquated, but what is fascinating is the window they offer on radio a century ago.
My knowledge of radio history is very limited, but it is my understanding that radio was just beginning to be popular in American culture in the early 1920s, The Radio Boys books reflect this. The first book, The Radio Boys’ First Wireless Or Winning the Ferberton Prize, gives fairly detailed instructions for making your own radio receiver with materials you could get (in the early 1920s) from the local hardware store.
At various points in the books, The Radio Boys extol the virtues of radio: people could hear concerts in the comfort of their own homes or listen to baseball games; if there were radios in cars, travelers could keep track of weather reports; it was a novelty when a minister broadcast the church service; college professors could broadcast their lectures, and so forth. I find the books offer a charming perspective on what we take for granted today.
And, if you have an Amazon Kindle, many of The Radio Boys books are available at no cost.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Gayle Van Horn (W4GVH), who shares the following announcement:
18th Edition of the Global Radio Guide (Summer 2022) Now Available
Familiar players and familiar places.
Familiar fears pushed by familiar voices.
The world has held its breath during the Russian invasion of Ukraine as images of the human suffering of war have brought back old memories and old fears from years gone by.
Just like these events have brought up once buried feelings, it has also brought what many thought to be “old” technology back to the forefront. While internet access is one of the first targets of invading regimes intent on controlling the narrative, the vast reach of shortwave radio transcends borders and other forms of connectivity.
It is déjà vu with a front row view.
For those who want to be on the front lines of the action, Gayle Van Horn’s (W4GVH) 18th Edition of her Amazon bestselling Global Radio Guide (Summer 2022) has all of the details you need to catch up with the latest from the front lines.
As one of the only remaining publications available with international broadcast frequencies and schedules, the Global Radio Guide (GRG) puts everything a radio enthusiast needs to navigate the action right in their hands.
In this completely updated edition, regular GRG contributors Ken Reitz, KS4ZR, and Fred Waterer (both also of TheSpectrum Monitor) post features on monitoring the international broadcasters at the very forefront of the events. Larry Van Horn, N5FPW, adds his detailed information on monitoring of utilities on the shortwave bands, including military communications.
With the help of the GRG, you can tune in shortwave broadcast stations from additional hotspots such as China, Cuba, India, Iran, North/South Korea, Taiwan, and many other counties. If you have a shortwave radio receiver, SDR or Internet connection, pair it with this unique radio resource to know when and where to listen to the world.
This newest edition of the GRG carries on the tradition of those before it with an in-depth, 24-hour station/frequency guide with schedules for selected AM band, longwave, and shortwave radio stations. This unique resource is the only radio publication that lists by-hour schedules that include all language services, frequencies, and world target areas for over 500 stations worldwide.
The GRG includes listings of DX radio programs and Internet website addresses for many of the stations in the book. There are also entries for time and frequency stations as well as some of the more “intriguing” transmissions one can find on the shortwave radio bands.
In addition to the global hotspots, the GRG brings the world to you from other places on the radio dial.
Gayle Van Horn brings us into the tropics with her regular stroll through the tropical bands – one of the most challenging and rewarding pursuits for the shortwave listener.
Not only are the bands heating up with world events, but the HF bands themselves are becoming more alive as our sun wakes up from its slumber. What impact will this renewed solar activity have on listening? Tad Cook, K7RA, shares his atmospheric expertise with a primer on radio propagation while maintaining an eye on the ever-evolving Solar Cycle 25.
A bit lower on your radio dial, DX Central’s Loyd Van Horn, W4LVH, breaks down the basics of getting started with mediumwave DX and even gives us a fun summer project by diving into the powerful KAZ antenna that listeners can use to pull in elusive mediumwave signals from far beyond their home.
Whether you monitor shortwave radio broadcasts, mediumwave, amateur radio operators, or aeronautical, maritime, government, or military communications in the HF radio spectrum, this book has the information you need to help you to hear it all. Teak Publishing’s Global Radio Guide “brings the world to you.”
You can find this edition of the Global Radio Guide, along with all of our titles currently available for purchase, on the Teak Publishing Web site at www.teakpublishing.com. Details will be available at www.teakpublishing.com.
The 18th edition of the Global Radio Guide e-Book (electronic book only, no print edition available) is available worldwide from Amazon and their various international websites at
The price for this latest edition is US$8.99. Since this book is being released internationally, Amazon customers in the United Kingdom, Germany, France Spain, Italy, Japan, India, Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Australia can order this e-Book from Amazon websites directly servicing these countries. Customers in all other countries can use the regular Amazon.com website to purchase this e-Book.
You can read any Kindle e-Book with Amazon’s ‘free’ reading apps on literally any electronic media platform. You do not have to own a Kindle reader from Amazon to read this e-book. There are Kindle apps available for iOS, Android, Mac and PC platforms. You can find additional details on these apps by checking out this link to the Amazon website at www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000493771.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jock Elliott, who shares the following guest post:
World War II Radio Letters: a real-life shortwave story – Part II
By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM
That so many people have been moved by Part I has been heartwarming. Since writing it, there have been further developments. Tecsun Radio Australia asked (and was granted) permission to reproduce the article for Anzac Day (April 25), when all fallen personnel in all wars are remembered in Australia.
In addition, I became aware of two books – World War II Radio Heroes Letters of Compassion and Waves of Hope (thanks, Bill Hemphill!) – that are all about World War II radio letters. We’ll get to those books in just a bit.
But first, I wanted to tell you something you might find surprising: I did not set out to write about how shortwave listeners had reassured my Mom that my Dad was alive during WWII. Not at all. In fact, in my 50 years as a writer, I found the process of how this came to be written, well, a little strange.
The night before, I had drifted off to sleep thinking about a radio and antenna comparison I had been fooling around with during the day (and which I plan to write up in the future). But in the morning – Holy Smokes! – completely out of the blue, my mind was seized by the following thought: Wasn’t it a shortwave listener in New Jersey that first informed my Mom that my Dad was a prisoner of War? (It turned out that wasn’t quite correct.) It’s in a scrapbook in the basement . . . go find it!
Now, I had not thought about those old scrapbooks in at least two decades, maybe more, but I could picture a particular scrapbook in my mind. Rooting around in the basement, I found it, but it didn’t contain anything about my Dad going missing in action or my Mom being informed he was still alive. Maybe I was wrong, I thought.
Back upstairs in my easy chair, the thought would not leave me alone, kept nudging me: Go find it. More digging in the basement produced the right scrapbook with the right information. Reading it, I found tears running down my face at the kindness of strangers.
As I completed writing World War II Radio Letters Part I and sent it off to Thomas, it struck me as curious that, in all my years writing about radio subjects, I had ever seen an article, or even a mention, of the shortwave monitors of WWII. I thought perhaps no one had ever written on the subject, but I was wrong.
I was poking around the internet and came across World War II Radio Heroes: Letters of Compassion Second Edition by Lisa Spahr. It is a 212-page 10-inch by 7-inch book that details her discovery of her grandfather’s WWII trunk, which contained dozens of letters and postcards from shortwave listeners who wrote to Spahr’s great-grandmother to let her know that her son had been captured and was a prisoner of war.
The book, which contains photos of the original correspondence from the SWLs, chronicles her attempt to contact those shortwave listeners or their families, her discovery of the Short Wave Amateur Monitors Club – which turned the monitoring for POWs names into an organized effort – and a lot else besides. If you enjoyed my first post on this subject, I am pretty sure you will enjoy this book.
The other book – Waves of Hope by Ronald Edward Negra – is about how his mother, Agnes Joan Negra, was a shortwave monitor during WWII who sent out more than 300 letters and postcards to families to inform them that their loved ones were captured and still alive. This is a larger format book (8.5 inches by 11 inches) running to 124 pages that reproduces the letters that Agnes received back from grateful families after receiving the news from Agnes. At the time of this writing, Agnes is still alive, about to celebrate her 102nd birthday!
I found Waves of Hope to be a moving and compassionate book, and I think any SWL will appreciate having it on his or her bookshelf.
At the end of it all – the strange process of writing the story, the response of the readers, the books telling the story of WWII radio letters – I come back to the place I started as a grade school boy. It was then that I discovered monitoring the radio can be an almost magical activity . . . and you never know when something you heard may touch another’s life in a profound way.
Many thanks to Teak Publishing who shares the following press release:
The 2021 Milcom Files – TSM Edition – Now Available on Amazon
Recent world events continue to draw many radio listeners into their radio shacks to tune in on the action using their shortwave radios. software-defined radios, and programmable VHF/UHF scanners. In many cases monitoring the HF/VHF/UHF radio spectrum offers the radio hobbyist an opportunity to hear what is really going on behind the scenes without the filters imposed by news media outlets. Most radio listeners quickly learn that when the world has a crisis, disaster or tensions rise between countries, the military will usually be the first organization called upon to intervene. It pays to monitor military frequencies when international events heat up.
There is a big radio frequency spectrum out there to monitor if you know where to listen, you can eavesdrop on some of the most fascinating radio communications you will hear on a scanner or shortwave radio.
In this regard, the Teak Publishing Company is pleased to announce the release of their latest eBook in the TSM Milcom Archive series – The Spectrum Monitor Volume 4 (2021) by Amazon best-selling author Larry Van Horn.
Some of the topics covered in this new book during 2021 include:
The World of Strange Military Stations
US Coast Guard 911 Network and Monitoring Coast Guard Cutters
Monitoring UHF Military Satellites and DoD Defense Satellite Network
Military Land Mobile Radio Systems Primer
Monitoring Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) including frequencies and
NTIA GMF Release and HF – VHF – UHF frequencies
Bonus Material: The Spectrum Monitor 2021 Air Show Guide
Bonus Material – The Teak Action Bands (LW-MW-HF) Military Frequency List –
Hundreds of discrete U.S. and some foreign military frequencies.
Larry Van Horn N5FPW, has been a radio hobbyist for more than 58 years listening to world events and monitoring military radio communications. He has spent over 40 years documenting activity in the military radio spectrum in his monthly Satellite, Utility World, and Milcom (Military Communications) columns in the pages of Monitoring Times, Satellite Times, and now The Spectrum Monitor magazines.
During this time, he has published a treasure trove of military communication monitoring information. All his early MT columns have been published into two e-Books by Teak Publishing. The first two books in the Milcom Files series cover his columns published in Monitoring Times and have previously been published at Amazon. Book one of The Milcom Files covers the columns published from 1998 to 2006 and Book Two covers the period 2007 to 2013
In 2017 Larry joined the Spectrum Monitor writing staff where he continues to chronicle military monitoring in his monthly TSM Milcom column. Now he is publishing all his monthly TSM Milcom columns (2017-2021) at Amazon in the Kindle eBook format. All the books in The Milcom Series archives are available at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078MNXGND.
If you are interested in monitoring military comms. own a scanner, shortwave radio, or have an Internet connection for web software-defined radio (SDR) monitoring, then the Milcom Files are a must reference for the radio library shelf.
Radio Waves: Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio
Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers. To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Paul, Dennis Dura, Dan Van Hoy, Alokesh Gupta, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:
A barbed wire telephone call didn’t sound great but could quickly warn others about something such as a wildfire.
Historian J. Evetts Haley wrote that, in its time, the old XIT Ranch up in the Texas Panhandle was “probably the largest fenced range in the world.” He recalled that its barbed wire enclosed over 3 million acres of land. At the north end alone, the fence ran for 162 miles. The unique enclosure helped keep in enormous cattle herds, keep out rustlers, and also gave rise to the creative use of a new technology: the telephone.
I’ll come back to the XIT in a moment, but first, consider these smattering of reports from that era. In 1897, The Electrical Review, reported that “on a ranch in California, telephone communication had been established between the various camps . . . by means of barbed wire fences.” The article says the novel use of the phone was a great success and was being used in Texas as well. That same year, the New England Journal of Agriculture was impressed that two Kansas farmers, living a mile apart, had attached fine telephone instruments to the barbed wire fence that connects their places and established easy communication. From the Butte Intermountain in 1902 we see this notice: “Fort Benton’s latest development is a barbed wire telephone communication.” The article points out that people of the range were not all that happy with barbed wire, which they thought was an “evil” that had arrived with the railroad, but they had decided to look at the practical side of its existence and use it to create a telephone exchange that would connect all the ranches to Fort Benton. [Continue reading…]
Schwab Multimedia has lost an appeal to the Federal Communications Commission in a case involving a planned AM station near Los Angeles for which it had a construction permit.
This is a “tolling” case, one that involves the FCC construction clock. The history is complex — the FCC’s summary is 2,500 words long, not counting many extended footnotes — but the upshot is that KWIF in Culver City was never built and, barring further developments, apparently will not be. Its call sign has now been deleted.
Levine/Schwab Partnership, which does business as Schwab Multimedia, had applied in 2004 to build a new AM station in the Los Angeles area. It eventually secured a CP in 2016 for the station at 1500 kHz. [Continue reading at Radio World…]
Dick Smith, VK2DIK has lived an adventurous and extraordinary life. He is a proud Australian, businessman, adventurer, entrepreneur and he single handedly changed electronics and CB/Amateur Radio in Australia.
Dick has recently released his autobiography titled, Dick Smith: My Adventurous Life and tonight we’re privileged to sit down live with Dick, speaking to him about his adventures, including the first solo helicopter flight around the world, his business ventures and being a pioneer for Amateur and CB radio.
As I’ve mentioned many times here on the SWLing Post, I’m something of a “content DXer.”
Clearly, I enjoy chasing obscure programming––news, documentaries, music, variety shows, anything the broadcasting world has to offer. Even though my favorite medium for doing this has been shortwave radio, these days, I often turn to Wi-Fi or over-the-internet radio. Wi-Fi radio offers the discerning listener the ability to track down fascinating regional content from every corner of the globe––content never actually intended for an international audience.
If you, too, like the chase, The Worldwide Listening Guide (WWLG) will be your go-to, and this recent edition––the tenth!––is the latest in a long line of handy volumes that help the listener catch what’s out there, noting that with each passing year there’s more content to catch.
Cornucopia of content
The variety of content from online broadcasters today is surely orders of magnitude more than any one individual has ever had via over-the-air (OTA) radio sources.
Though my WiFi radio offers an easy and reliable way to “tune” to online content––both real-time station streams and on-demand podcasts––the content discovery part is actually quite difficult. I liken it to browsing a large public library looking for a new and interesting book to read, but without the guidance of a librarian. The options are so plentiful that even with superb indexing and organization, one simply doesn’t know where to begin.
On the other hand––and I’m speaking from very recent experience here––if you find a good local independent bookstore, you might actually discover more meaningful titles because the bookstore selections are curated by both the proprietor and the local community.
With this analogy in mind, The Worldwide Listening Guide is essentially my local bookstore for online content and programming.
I recently received a review copy of the new 10th Edition of the Worldwide Listening Guide by John Figliozzi and, as always, I enjoyed reading it from cover to cover.
The WWLG speaks to the types of programming I enjoy as an SWL because the author, John Figliozzi, is a devoted shortwave radio and international broadcasting enthusiast.
And while the bulk of the WWLG is a detailed and beautifully organized programming guide, it’s also so much more…
“The Many Platforms of radio”
As I’ve so often said, the WWLG is a unique guide; there’s nothing quite like it on the market because it truly takes a deep dive into the world of broadcasting and content delivery both from a technology and programming point of view.
Each media delivery platform, whether on AM, Shortwave, FM, Satellite Radio, Internet (WiFi Radio), and Podcasting, has a dedicated section in the book where Figliozzi explores each in detail. He also speaks to the state of each platform both from the broadcaster’s and the listener’s perspective.
Indeed, each chapter dedicated to these topics very much reminds me of the old Passport to Worldband Radio that I first picked up in the 1990s. The WWLG serves as a primer, but also speaks to the health and potential longevity of each platform.
I appreciate the fact that Figliozzi also addresses the nuts-and-bolts side of both over-the-air and online broadcasting. For while I’d like to think that I’m reasonably knowledgeable about the world of radio, I find I always discover something new in each edition.
There’s a surprising amount of information packed into this slim, spiral-bound volume. The Worldwide Listening Guide is enough to keep even a seasoned content DXer happy for years…or at least, until the latest edition comes out!
In short? The WWLG is a bargain for all it offers, and I highly recommend it.
The 10th edition of The Worldwide Listening Guide can be purchased here:
Note that at time of posting copies of the WWLG can be pre-ordered at Universal Radio. Amazon.com will soon have links to purchase the 10th edition when they’re in inventory. I assume the W5YI group will also have the 10th edition available for purchase soon!
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