NASWA Journal Columns · Listener’s Library, July 1998

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

Listener’s Library, July 1998

This month’s column amounts to a gimme for this editor. A whole ton of stuff has come in via the Internet addressed to this column. In order to keep things at least slightly timely, I’ll give it to you all in one bunch and pick things up again with traditional reviews in the next issue.

First and somewhat sadly, this comes from a British mailing list from Andy Sennitt:

As many of you know, I resigned as editor of the World Radio TV Handbook at the end of last year. The new editor is David Bobbett, and the contact information is now as follows:

PO Box 7373
Milton Keynes
MK12 5ZL
United Kingdom

Fax: +44 1908 321030>

Please feel free to publish and pass on this news to all interested parties. I trust you will all give David the same help and support you gave me over the years.

Andy Sennitt

How can the hobby possibly begin to thank Andy Sennitt for all he has done to support us in our efforts over the years? And also, we must extend thanks to David Bobbett for picking up the mission and taking WRTH into the next millenium. Andy best wishes and David best of luck from NASWA.

Ludo Maes has let loose with another press release. The great interest in his project amongst our membership demands that we take a look at what he has to say.

Welcome to this update about the Transmitter Documentation Project. When you are interested in shortwave transmitters in one way or another, be sure to read on.

TDP SW-98 Book

If you want to know everything about all the shortwave broadcast transmitters installed all over the world, be sure to order a copy of the 5th edition of the TDP SW-98, the “Transmitter Documentation Project”. Ordering information, references, reviews and press releases about the TDP SW-98 are available on our website.

Shortwave Radio Stations

All the websites of the radio stations that broadcast on shortwave are listed in country order and divided in 5 sections : governmental, religious, commercial, free/pirate and clandestine broadcasters.

Shortwave Transmitters, Antennas, Tubes

If you need to look up a manufacturer of shortwave transmitters, antennas or tubes, check our pages that lead you directly to the manufacturers websites.

Shortwave Airtime, Marketplace, Museum

Offer and demand for airtime on shortwave transmitters can be found at our airtime page. Offer and demand for second hand shortwave transmitters on our marketplace page. Technical info with photos about all the shortwave broadcast transmitters ever manufactured can be found in our museum if they are no longer build today or in our marketplace if it concerns new shortwave transmitters.

Digital Shortwave Radio

We follow the latest developments regarding the upcoming digital age in shortwave radio.

For more info on all of the above mentioned items, surf to

 TDP                          Tel : +32 (3) 314 78 00
 c/o Ludo Maes                Mob : +32 (477) 477 800
 P.O. Box 1                   Fax : +32 (3) 314 12 12
 B-2310 Rijkevorsel              E-mail :
 BELGIUM                 Web :

Finally, fellow NASWAite Dave Clark has taken the time to beat me to the punch with a review of Fred Osterman’s Latest work. I’ll get my own two cents in a future issue, but for now, hear what somebody else has to say about a book I can’t stop reading.

SHORTWAVE RECEIVERS PAST AND PRESENT — Communications Receivers 1942-1997

On Friday, April 17th, the mailman brought me a very welcome package, a complimentary (contributor’s) copy of Fred Osterman’s fabulous reference: Shortwave Receivers Past and Present — Communcations Receivers 1942-1997, published by Universal Radio Research. This new 3rd edition, with first printing of March/1998, features the same colour combo and illustration scheme on the cover as the 2nd edition which was published January/1997. The same high quality printing on heavy glossy paper stock is used and the format of the main body of the reference remains the same.

But appearances can be deceiving. As good as the 2nd edition was, this 3rd edition is even better — considerably expanded in coverage, particularly in respect of tabletop receiver manufacturers from outside the U.S.A., and with several new features added. The coverage period is expanded (1945-1996 in 2nd edition) to 1942-1997, taking into account several lessor-known receivers from the WW-II era and extending right to the present. Fred even sneaks in coverage of the brand new (1998) DSP-based Japan Radio NRD-545, albeit this exciting DX receiver, dubbed “awesome” by Fred, it is still awaiting FCC approval and the North American selling price has not yet been publicized. [Word has come from PWBR editor Larry Magne that JRC has established a target $US suggested retail price of $1895 and hopefully the street price will be a little less than that.]

In his Introduction, Fred outlines the scope of expansion of coverage in this edition, thanks significantly to some 90 contributors, a number of them from overseas. Manufacturers represented for the first time include General Electric Co. of England, Hagenuk (Germany), S.A.I.T. Electronics (Belgium), Amalgamated Wireless Autralia, and E.H. Scott (U.S.A.). There is also significantly improved models representation from Eddystone and Marconi (both UK), as well as RCA domestically. The big names in communications receivers we are all familiar with — Collins, Drake, Hallicrafters, Hammarlund, Japan Radio, National, and so on — were covered comprehensively in the 2nd edition so there was little to be done to augment those sections. Even the illustrated listings of Briefly Mentioned receivers (5-up on a page) are expanded from 10 to 18 pages.

The vintage market continues to be active, particularly for certain high-end receivers, and pricing guides for used models in good condition have been updated where appropriate. For example, the indicated price range for the Hallicrafters SX-88 is $1000-2500, up from $700-1300. Another example: the Collins 51J-4 is now $490-850, as compared with $375-700 in the previous edition. Some of the more cost effective receivers which were and remain highly useful for DXing purposes (eg. Drake R-4B & R-7/A and Hammarlund HQ-180/A) are seen to be sneaking up in price, while the ever-popular Japan Radio NRD-515 holds steady at $650-680. Another JRC receiver, the NRD-505, which I personally believe is a “sleeper” (reportedly less than 1000 made in the period 1977-1979), especially if equipped with the optional 4-channel memory unit, also holds steady in this 3rd edition at $800-880.

One valuable improvement in the main reference section of the book that Fred doesn’t mention (and he should have!) is the expanded footnotes identifying review sources for certain of the important hollow state and solid state receivers. While this 3rd edition was still in preparation, I personally volunteered to compile supplemental references to reviews which had appeared in Electric Radio and/or Proceedings. It turns out I didn’t need to bother — Fred had already beaten me to it!

There are two new sections at the back of the book. Additional Information provides valuable reference material that did not fit within the format of the main listings section. For example, there is a 4-page compilation of the many variations of the Hammarlund SP-600J series, provided by Les Locklear. On another page, there is illustrated expanded coverage of the wired memory and keypad (NCM-515 Frequency Controller) options for the NRD-515. As the commentary points out, “The NCM-515, introduced in 1982, is now a scarce and collectable option”. Fred doesn’t make reference to the total quantity produced but in my files somewhere I have a note of that number that he learned on good authority and once told me — about 350 rings a bell. Finally, the other new section is a useful 7-page cross reference listing of model numbers to corresponding page numbers within the book.

When all is said and done, the total page count of this 3rd edition has risen from 351 to 473 pages of material, and that’s not counting the index alone which grew from XIV to XX pages, thus almost 500 pages in total. The total number of models covered has increased from 500+ to 770+. I am amazed that the selling price from Universal Radio has been held to a modest $5. increase. The 2nd edition was a bargain at $US 19.95 and was completely sold out. This 3rd edition is, in my opinion, an even better bargain for $US 24.95. No serious shortwave radio hobbyist should be without it!

In closing, it should be reiterated that the emphasis of this book is tabletop shortwave receivers. Fred reveals that work is in progress on a similar book covering portable shortwave receivers issued in the 50 year period from 1948 to 1998. Publication is planned for 1999.

Thanks Dave. Don’t forget folks, you to can take over the space in my column any time you want. Just drop me a letter or an e-mail with your feelings on a book, magazine, catalog or piece of radio related software and you’ll be able to begin your journey into the gonzo realm of radio hobby journalism.

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