NASWA Journal Columns · Listener’s Library, November 1999

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

Listener’s Library, November 1999

We have a number of excellent finds for adding to your radio knowledge database. Let’s start off start off with another great addition to your CD-ROM collection.

The QEX Collection CD-ROM

2 CD Set
Published by
The American Radio Relay League
225 Main Street
Newington, CT 06110-1494

Many of you old timers may recall a fine old radio magazine called Ham Radio. HR was a bit different from the larger crop of radio hobby publications in that it had a decidedly technical/engineering style that often left rank beginner’s with their head’s spinning. Still, for those who were dedicated to experimenting, building and stretching their knowledge, Ham Radio was a great read. Well as all too many good things go. Ham Radio stopped publishing. Since that time, several publishers have tried to revive the spirit and level of HR with varying success. One of the most consistently successful at this has been the ARRL’s QEX. Starting out as a newsletter in 1981 and growing to a full format magazine, QEX has been a source of information for anyone with a desire to go beyond “store bought” communications into the world of modification, construction and experimentation.

As I have mentioned in previous columns. The American Radio Relay League has taken a forward position in the world of computer based publishing. Every issue of their magazine QST back through its first year of publication in 1915 can currently be had in CD-ROM format. Now the complete set of QEX issues can also be found in CD ROM format. Now those of you who purchase League CD regularly know that QEX is included on the yearly edition CD’s of QST since 1995 (along with National Contest Journal). This new QEX CD set includes the thirteen years not covered in the yearly edition disks.

The QEX CD Set includes every article, ad, column and cover including all illustrations, tables and schematics. Included is a search engine that can take you directly to any article by title and author. It will also allow general searches on title words such as “receiver” or “propagation”.

The CD Set requires a Pentium or equivalent IBM-compatible PC using Microsoft Windows(TM) 95,98 or NT 4.0. This disk set will NOT run under Windows 3.1. System requirements include 16 MB of RAM (32 MB recommended). You will also need a minimum of 256 color video display running at 800×600 or larger format. Obviously you need a CD-ROM drive that is supported by your system.

This disk set has been taking up quiet a few evenings here in my shack. I only became a subscriber to the QEX magazine beginning about 1995 or so. All those back issues that I missed are full of articles that would have been well worth the original subscription price but are now an absolute bargain in the CD ROM format. Using the search engine I found dozens of articles of specific interest to the shortwave listener including such topics as diversity reception, antennas, and propagation. If your are a home-brewer, you’ll find enough projects to drive solder futures through the roof!

An like Ham Radio Magazine of years gone by, all of the articles present the reader with the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the radio art.

One particular radio hobby author I hold in high esteem is Ed Noll W3FQJ. Over the last several years MFJ Enterprises has republished many of his books for a new generation of radio hobbyists. While Ed’s expertise covers all aspects of the world of radio, his work with antennas has kept me stringing wire for over twenty years.

73 Dipole and Long-Wire Antennas
by Edward M. Noll W3FQJ
160 pages
ISBN 1-891237-06-3
MFJ Publishing Company, Inc.
Starkville, MS 39759

Most shortwave listeners antennas consist of a piece of wire strung out and away from their receiver. What makes one person able to hear better than any other is knowing how to string that piece of wire in a configuration that is going to give the best performance.

As the title suggests, in this well written and illustrated book, you will find 73 examples of wire antennas that go well beyond the random length of wire many of us started out with or maybe even continue to use is our efforts to hear radio signals from little lumps of rock in the South Pacific. While the design’s in this book a configured for the common amateur radio bands, changing their resonant length to the shortwave broadcast bands is just a matter of a little quick calculator math using the formula listed on page 9.

The book is divided up into sections covering Regular and Modified Dipoles, Inverted-Vee Antennas, Long Wire Antennas, Vee-Beam Antennas, Long Vee-Beam Antennas, Rhombic Antennas, Very Long Long-wire Antennas and Special Vee’s and Rhombics. These design sections are supported by no less than seven appendix sections.

The sections I found most interesting were those related to V-Beam design. Many advanced shortwave listeners tend tp specialize on certain parts of the world. Vee-Beams provide an inexpensive pathway to directionality. They can be put up with as few as three supports and exhibit increased bandwidth by modifying the design with additional legs.

If you enjoy stringing wire through the trees as much as I do, this book will give you hours of fun and the commodities exchange rate for copper with fluctuate madly.

Well with all that new knowledge from the League CD and all that antenna information from Ed’s book. All you need is a little bit more information to make you the next DXer of the year.

The Little Pistol’s Guide to HF Propagation
By Robert R. Brown NM7M
126 pages
Worldradio Books
PO Box 189490
Sacramento, CA 95818

Okay, while this is not our own Bob Brown of infamous “Gang of Three” fame, this particular Bob Brown NM7M knows a thing about how radio signals travel around the world. Very few truly useful books have been published on the subject of propagation. Most texts on the subject are written for folks with ore than a passing understanding of physics, solar astronomy and atmospheric analysis. But what about the rest of us? We tend to listen to the forecasts on WWV and then go ahead and try to listen randomly anyway. Mr. Brown’s book will give any radio hobbyist a good working knowledge of propagation that will go a long way in helping fill in those banks on your country lists.

Most people do know that many recent advancements in the study of the sun have vastly improved our understanding of how solar activity effects our ability to enjoy the radio hobby. Bob Brown’s book not only covers the traditional areas of propagation study, he brings the reader up to date in these latest advancements.

This book covers a very difficult and complicated subject in 23 easy to read and digest chapters that will give any shortwave listener a leg up on their listening skills. With the DX season upon us and the sunspot cycle coming our way. This book is an essential read.

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