NASWA Journal Columns · Listener’s Library, January 1997

T.J. “Skip” Arey N2EI • P.O. Box 236 • Beverly, NJ 08010 tjarey◊tjarey.com

Listener’s Library, January 1997

Can you believe we’re through another year? In spite of a few doom-sayers the radio hobby remains as robust as ever. If anything, this latest stinky sunspot cycle is building up the tenacity of dedicated listeners. Fear not friends, as surely as time marches on this sunspot cycle will move on too. You newbies haven’t lived till you’ve heard the bands at the peak of a cycle. It’s worth waiting for. Meanwhile, there’s plenty to read. Why not breeze into the New Year with a shameless plug…

I’m led to believe my book should be available by the time this column hits print. It’s been a big project but I think folks will like it. Getting a book into print has a much longer gestation period than I ever expected but it was well worth the time and effort. One minor change is the title. It should be out as

RADIO MONITORING -THE HOW TO GUIDE
by T.J. “SKIP” AREY
published by INDEX PUBLISHING GROUP, INC.
3368 Governor Drive
Suite 273
San Diego, CA 92122
1 (800) 546-6707
e-mail: ipgbooks@indexbooks.com
Website: www.electriciti.com/~ipgbooks/
ISBN 1-56866-101-0

The folks at Index are doing their best to get this puppy out to the “real” world so be sure to check your local bookstores. If you don’t see it on the shelves raise a fuss. And by all means, someone read it and send in a review. I’ve been dishing it out in this column for years, I suppose I can take it as well.

But enough about me…

The first new book of the 97 season should be no surprise to most of you.

1997 PASSPORT TO WORLDBAND RADIO
Editor in Chief -Lawrence Magne
381 pages plus the “Blue Pages”
$19.95
International Broadcast Services, Ltd.
ISBN 0-914941-39-9

Ah yes kiddies, sit down on the floor around Old Uncle Skip’s rocker and I’ll tell you a tale about the days before Passport. If you have any doubts about how far our hobby has come over the past dozen or so years and if you want to know where things may be going, check out how Passport has evolved. It remains the best daily use guide for active shortwave stations but Larry and his folks haven’t been hiding from the realities of the computer revolution. The 1997 Passport contains a full study of shortwave related Internet websites including a guide for how to get in on the fun. Now don’t go thinking Magne has sold out shortwave radio. The fact is that a unique symbiosis seems to be developing. Many broadcasters are getting their signals out over shortwave, satellite and yes even the Internet. Instead of shortwave falling aside to these other technologies, everything seems to be coexisting peacefully at this point in time. Larry points out that “Web Radio” is in its infancy and this can be an exciting thing to follow. I must admit, hearing a “Real Audio” transmission of a broadcaster I’m used to hearing with a heavy fade and static is very seductive. I don’t think it will ever replace my love for “real” radio but it makes an interesting adjunct. This effort to put the subject on the table makes a good deal of sense. Once examined, we can all get back to what Passport has traditionally offered its readers. Great listings of shortwave stations and great reviews of shortwave receivers.

Tell me something, if the shortwave hobby is dying, how come all these high zoot companies are sinking so much R&D money into new receivers? Magne’s and his lab take a look at the latest crop of general coverage receivers. Many new receivers are premiered, including an in depth study of the AOR AR7030 which many folks got a first glimpse of at the 96 Kulpsville Convention. In the portable category the Sangean ATS 909 gets a deep study as well.

Passports “Addresses Plus” section is a source of information I’ve grown very comfortable with. Also, hidden within the address and mailing information are many tid bits of sage advice and even a bit of wit as well. The ever present “Blue Pages” in the back of the book remain as useful tool as always. By the end of a year, my Blue Pages are so marked up with notes that I have almost no choice but to prevail upon the powers that be to get a new issue.

Another tradition in this column has become where I pick my favorite picture out of the latest Passport. My 1997 choice goes to Page 83. Radio Budapest’s Enkiko” Zsuffa is not only very attractive but enjoys actively participating in motorsports. Fast cars and shortwave radio, where was she when I was single???

PRACTICAL PACKET RADIO
by Stan Horzepa WA1LOU
219 Pages
$15.95
The American Radio Relay League
Newington, CT 06111
ISBN: 0-87259-530-7

If you want to get an idea about how wrong some of these pundits of the radio hobby can be, take a look at packet radio. Ten years ago the prediction was that packet radio would take the place of every other mode of amateur radio. Well to make a long story short, I still can’t find an empty frequency on 40 CW. Packet didn’t become the major revolution some people predicted. However, a quieter revolution has taken place over these last dozen years. Packet has become a reliable tool for chasing DX as well as routine and emergency communication. Packet has branched out into several technologies that are only beginning to show their promise. Stan Horzepa’s book shows the current state of the art and it proves that, while packet didn’t take over the world, it surely made its place in it. Stan’s book is a great one stop study of the current state of the packet art. You can read about the latest technology in packet modems and software and even about some of the newer transceivers geared for higher packet speeds. Also included is a very good study of HF packet that should be of interest to utility monitors. The section of satellite operation shows how effective this mode of communication can be when used in space operations. One of the most exciting uses of amateur packet radio these days is APRS ( (Automatic Packet Reporting System). Simply put, APRS allows packet radio to be used as en effective mapping and positioning system allowing for tracking of just about anything you can think of. Its biggest uses in the hobby to date include weather condition monitoring and emergency communications networking. In addition to all of the packet radio advances you will find complete studies of all traditional packet communications operations including AX.25, TCP/IP, DX Clusters and ROSE. The Internet may have passed packet by on some levels, but packet remains a solid communications mode for any active ham. Practical Packer Radio is a book that will get you up to speed.

Anyway, everybody have a happy holiday season, May Santa put many new radio toys under your tree. Pray for Sunspots in 97.

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