NASWA Journal Columns · Listener’s Library, May 1996

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

Listener’s Library, May 1996

I know this is a few months down the road, but as I write this I am fresh from the 1996 Kulpsville get together. Anyone who missed this years events needs to start planning now for next years special 10th anniversary celebration. I bring this subject up because most of what I have to share with you this month comes from the tables at Kulpsville. I came away with a few items that may be of continued interest to folks. First we go to the book that I had high bid on at the A*C*E table’s silent auction.


by Tom Lewis
421 Pages
Harper Collins
New York, NY
ISBN 0-06-018215-6

Maybe you’ve seen the Ken Burns PBS production based on this book. The two-hour television special gave a good overview of the subject, but this book takes an even deeper look in to the roots of radio. The book covers the essential history of the development of radio from 1899 through 1954. Primarily it traces the lives of Lee de Forest, Edwin H. Armstrong and David Sarnoff. I appreciate Mr. Lewis’ views on the subject. I have long held that Armstrong was the man who gave us modern radio communication in spite of strong claims by Lee de Forest. This book brings about the full story of the competition between the fathers of radio. We learn how most everybody involved spent all their time and money fighting over and defending patent rights while David Sarnoff got extremely rich. The book is not very strong on the technical aspects of those early days but we do get a great look at the people who made radio possible. The book is very readable and full of flawed personalities and intrigue worthy of any thriller. It may even be a good read for somebody in your family who is not quite as appreciative of radio as you might be. The book contains dozens of illustrations that further enhance to text.

At the main Kulpsville silent auction that finished on Saturday evening, I came away with the high bid on a barely radio related radio book that may hold some interest to those among us who enjoy chasing spy numbers. You’ll never break their code, but this book makes you feel like you might have a shot at it.

by Norma Gleason
112 Pages
Dover Publications, Inc.
New York, NY
ISBN 0-486-24036-3

While this book has little to do with the radio hobby, it does serve to show the eclectic nature of the things you are likely to find at the Kulpsville Winterfest. I’ve long maintained that many radio hobbyists sustain a fantasy about being secret agents. Maybe that’s why so many of us get a kick out of working Morse code or trying to monitor spy numbers and clandestine broadcasts. While nothing you will find in this book will topple any world governments, you will find quite a few hours of recreational decoding. Along the way, you will acquire a few skills that will help you with the puzzles in the daily papers. Who knows? If you study really hard and eat all your vegetables, you may even crack the spy numbers code someday.

At Kulpsville, Saturday night brings the annual banquet. While the Scanner Scum make their presence known, Dr.DX holds everyone’s attention by reading from raffle tickets as the assembled multitude anticipate their winnings. A couple of prizes came my way and deserve a mention in the Listeners Library column.

R.L. Drake Company
230 Industrial Drive
Franklin, Ohio 45005

Consider this an UN-review. I won the software but have no R8 to try it out. That makes this portion of the column the place where I ask folks to write or E-Mail their reviews of books or software that are pertinent to the radio hobby. I’m sure somewhere in our club there is a somebody who can actually provide us with a good review of this product. Well, what are you waiting for! All of the members of NASWA are looking forward to seeing your words. Anyway, I guess I’ll put this software on the shelf and hope they raffle off an R8 at next years Kulpsville get together.

Enough levity and begging. Here is a product that has some interest to radio people.


by R. H Nicholson
96 Pages
Universal Radio Research
Reynoldsburg, Ohio
ISBN 1-882123-30-1

Ever wonder what is involved in managing a world wide radio communications network? How about maintaining communications with an orbiting spacecraft? Nicholson’s book is a guided tour of the neatest radio shack in the world, The Johnson Space Center. The Space Shuttle has been called the most complex machine ever built. The Johnson Space Center is responsible for assuring this most complicated machine completes its mission and that its crew returns safely to earth. The book includes illustrations and flow charts that help the reader to get a handle on just how enormous this task really is. If you have an interest in attempting to monitor NASA or even the Space Shuttle itself, this book provides essential information and frequencies to make this pursuit successful.

Kulpsville is also known for its “Freebie” table. This is where you can find catalogs, station stickers and other giveaways for the assembled throng. On this table I ran across

April & May 1996 issue
12 Pages
Voice of America
Washington, D.C. 20547

Our national shortwave service produces a fine newsletter that includes its most current schedules. This issue’s feature article covered VOA’s coverage of the Bosnian conflict through the program “Dateline Bosnia.” Another main feature is the column “Dr. Feedback.” This column covers listeners’ comments, criticisms and questions. Printed in tasteful red, white and blue.

Okay so if you cannot come up with any other reasons for attending the next Kulpsville Winterfest, remember that it is a great source for books and publications. I’ll be looking for you in the silent auction room.

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