Tag Archives: Scanning

Got some extra time to read? Subscribe to The Spectrum Monitor!

While most of us across the planet are sheltering at home due to the C-19 pandemic, we have a little extra time to catch up on reading.

I subscribe to (and write features for) a number of radio publications, but the best bargain on the planet must be The Spectrum Monitor Magazine (TSM).

Issues of TSM are a mere $2 each if you purchase an annual subscription ($24). Don’t care for an annual subscription? You can buy issues á la carte–preview an issue on the TSM website then purchase it for $3.

As a writer, I love TSM because 1.) they cover an impressive variety of radio topics and 2.) there is no real word limit on articles. I can take my readers on a truly deep-dive into a review or topic and not have to worry that portions will be cut to meet page margins for print. As long as content is relevant and informative, TSM keeps it.

In addition, TSM is published as a PDF which means it can be read with any computing device–desktops, laptops, tablets, eReaders, and smart phones. There’s no need to load a proprietary publisher app–it’s a truly portable electronic issue. PDFs are also the easiest of all formats to print at home if you want to archive a paper copy of an article or entire issue.

If you haven’t subscribed to TSM before, you may be especially interested in their annual archives. I recently discovered you can purchase an entire year of archived issues for $12…that’s only $1 per issue!

Check out the annual archives in the left sidebar of the TSM website.  When you click on a year, you can browse an index of all topics and features before making your purchase. The $12 price is valid for the 2014-2017 years.

TSM Publisher and Managing Editor, Ken Reitz (KS4ZR), has done a fabulous job collecting a group of writers who are not only experts in their respective fields, but are effective writers as well. These two qualities do not always go hand-in-hand.

At $24 ($2/issue) per year, I think TSM is one of the best radio bargains out there. While you’re sheltering at home, why not explore the full spectrum of radio via TSM?

Click here to visit The Spectrum Monitor.

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A Good Friend Who’s Always There

cas-pro-relaxThis summer has been a tough one for me in many ways, not the least of which is the minimal amount of time I have been able to spend playing radio. I have several commitments involving radio each week/month, but I do not consider that “playing” radio. To me, playing radio is where we get to sit down in front of a radio of any kind and do something with it just for the pure joy of it. The good thing about this hobby is it is always there whenever you are ready. It is like a good friend who is always there. Radio is, in fact, a bit like my dog.

For those who enjoy dogs like I do, one of the most rewarding things is to come home and find your dog waiting for you, tail wagging, and excited to see you. It does not matter how long you have been gone — a short trip elicits the same excitement upon your return as you would get being gone all day. Good dogs require very little maintenance to be happy, and they are ready for love and attention whenever you are available to give these to them.

My radios do not wag their antennas when I walk into the room, but they are there ready to go when I am, and they provide a world of enjoyment when called upon. As I sit here looking at the radios in front of me (only a small portion of the radios I have around the house overall), each one means something special and calls to mind enjoyable times. My 220 rig gets very little use overall, but it always reminds me of an amateur radio friend who was an Elmer to me in the hobby.

As I am typing this my 2-meter APRS channel has come alive with signals from the digipeater in the International Space Station (ARISS) and I am hoping for a contact or two. This past week I made a contact with AF4B in Texas, which was his first ISS contact! What an honor that is for me — whenever I have the privilege of being someone’s first contact in any manner of radio I am thrilled!! It always brings to mind my “firsts” and how exciting were those moments!

As I look at my Uniden Bearcat BC898T I remember going to my first Dayton Hamvention and buying this beautiful analog scanner. One of the fellows there tried to talk me out of it because it was only analog, and some of the local departments had moved to digital. Fortunately there are still many analog signals to catch in my area, and I am interested in more than just Public Service transmissions. I like Marine, Aviation, Railroads, Coast Guard, and a dozen other things which can be picked up by analog scanners. The 898T was my entrance back into the scanning hobby after many, many years away from it. There was a great deal to learn, but this was my re-introduction to scanning.

I have previously talked about my Yaesu-Musen FRG-7, in some ways the ultimate in shortwave radios for nostalgia, quality workmanship, and manual control of a radio. 40+ years old and still a gem!! Oh yes, and then there is my Swan 350, another marvel of a radio from the past. Never known as a top-of-the-line rig by any means, I treasure its heft, its vacuum tube warmth, and its mechanical tuning which turns like tire compared to the optical tuning wheels on modern rigs. In fact, its a lot like me — slow to get going and needs some time to warm up, but gets the job done eventually. (Why does it seem getting up out of bed and getting started each day gets harder and harder . . . I can’t be that old, can I??)

Fall and winter are coming, definitely great times of the year to play radio, and I hope to do just that. A little work on my antennas should get me back up to  speed in terms of capabilities, and my hope is life will slow down enough to let me have some fun. I know whenever I have the time my old friends will be there ready and waiting! I hope the coming months are filled with radio fun for each of you! 73, Robert

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.


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