One of the best things about the Internet is the ability to tap into a vast supply of knowledge available from a multitude of sources. When it comes to the radio hobby there are thousands, if not tens of thousands of sites with potentially useful information. I cannot claim to have visited them all, or even a measly 1% in all likelihood. But I have found some useful links (available on my Interesting Links and Books page) along the way, and two in particular I would like to highlight.
Regular readers of this blog will recognize The SWLing Post Blog by Thomas Witherspoon (and the parent site swling.com with links to reviews, a SWL primer, and more). Thomas does a fantastic job of bringing news, events, and stories about shortwave radio and other radio-related topics. Over the years I have gained a good deal of knowledge from his site, as well as becoming a friend and an occasional contributor. In addition to shortwave radio we share a love of good coffee, so I know he is a good man!
I also have to plug his charity Ears To Our World, which works with educators and others in Third World and/or remote villages where access to electricity and the Internet is limited or non-existent. They donate portable shortwave radios which can be operated on rechargeable batteries as well as an internal cranking generator. These radios have a light as well, which means they can provide a source of light when there is no electricity. I highly recommend you check out this charity and consider supporting this fine work.
Another great blog which I have found extremely useful in comparing radio performance and general reviews is Radio Jay Allen’s Blog. Jay also has interesting articles on radio restoration projects he has done, as well as information about combating RFI. One of the most interesting features of his blog is his AM Radio Portables Shootout.
This extensive comparison uses a rating system devised by Jay to rank various AM portables based on a very thorough testing methodology, going beyond just basic things like sensitivity and selectivity. Many of the radios encapsulated in the review have separate, full reviews of the individual radios under evaluation, and these are well worth reading. While Jay’s tests are primarily limited to the AM Broadcast band in this particular “Shootout”, he also covers the FM and SW performance of numerous radios in his many other reviews.
I have come to trust both Thomas’ insights and Jay’s, and find both sites invaluable when learning about specific radios currently on the market or great radios from the past which have set the standard of performance. I highly encourage you to bookmark these sites and sign up for their blog updates if you haven’t already! 73, Robert