Reviews and How-Tos

 FoxDelta Antenna Analyzer Review

Thanks once again to Ken Reitz at The Spectrum Monitor for permission to post this article which appeared in the January 2018 issue. This antenna analyzer kit is available for ~$60 USD from FoxDelta in India. The article discusses the build process as well as operation. Here is the link: FoxDelta Analyzer

Here is the board almost completed, just needs 16 pin adapter installed

 This was an interesting build, and the results are quite good. While the analyzer won’t really compete with a commercial product, a number of those cost 10x as much – the accuracy here is more than what’s needed for most situations.

 


Using Weak Signal Software to Reach for the Sky! (Part 1)

Occasionally, something comes along in the world of amateur radio that is simply revolutionary. Joe Taylor’s weak signal mode software suite WSJT-X, fits squarely in this category. In this article I give an overview of the software, highlight some of its many uses, and suggest some applications beyond simple contacts/station loggings. This article was published in the June 17 edition of The Spectrum Monitor.

Here is the link: Weak-Signal-Software

Many thanks to Ken Reitz and The Spectrum Monitor for allowing me to post this review on my blog. This is simply one of the finest magazines in production today dealing with all things radio. I cannot stress enough the value this magazine has for showcasing all aspects of the radio hobby. I cannot remember an issue which did not teach me something or cause me to go exploring some new aspect of the hobby. It is the best $24 you will spend on the hobby, period. 73, Robert


Using Weak Signal Modes for Propagation, RFI, and Antenna Analysis (Part 2)

Over the last 6 months I have been exploring weak signal modes using WSJT-X software, which includes JT65, JT9, MSK144 and other specialized transmission modes for moonbounce, meteor scatter, and the aircraft scatter. Along the way, I have discovered these programs are an excellent resource for identifying and studying propagation, RFI, and antenna characteristics. Here is a link to the article: Weak-Signal-Software2 

Local Interference

Many thanks to Ken Reitz and The Spectrum Monitor for allowing me to post this review on my blog. This is simply one of the finest magazines in production today dealing with all things radio. I cannot stress enough the value this magazine has for showcasing all aspects of the radio hobby. I cannot remember an issue which did not teach me something or cause me to go exploring some new aspect of the hobby. It is the best $24 you will spend on the hobby, period. 73, Robert


Putting My Handheld Antennas to the Test

I have often wondered how my various HT antennas performed on receive (and transmit with my amateur gear) and so I used my antenna analyzer to compare a dozen or so antennas I have. The results were very interesting (at least to me!) and I wrote up a small piece about my tests for The Spectrum Monitor. Here is a link to the article: HT-Antenna-Testing 

Many thanks to Ken Reitz and The Spectrum Monitor for allowing me to post this review on my blog. This is simply one of the finest magazines in production today dealing with all things radio. I cannot stress enough the value this magazine has for showcasing all aspects of the radio hobby. I cannot remember an issue which did not teach me something or cause me to go exploring some new aspect of the hobby. It is the best $24 you will spend on the hobby, period. 73, Robert


 Going Mobile with Software Defined Radio

This is an article I wrote for the January 2017 issue of The Spectrum Monitor talking about how and why to go mobile with SDR units such as the SDR Dongle, RSP-1 or 2, AirSpy, or similar radios. I also talk a bit about computer connections and antennas. Here is the link to the PDF article: Mobile-SDR

Many thanks to Ken Reitz and The Spectrum Monitor for allowing me to post this review on my blog. This is simply one of the finest magazines in production today dealing with all things radio. I cannot stress enough the value this magazine has for showcasing all aspects of the radio hobby. I cannot remember an issue which did not teach me something or cause me to go exploring some new aspect of the hobby. It is the best $24 you will spend on the hobby, period. 73, Robert


Multipsk Software – A Review

Here is a link to a review of the digital mode software MultiPsk  (~3.5 meg PDF file) which I wrote for The Spectrum Monitor published in the September 2015 issue. I highly recommend either the free or the registered version of this software because it can decode almost anything on the airwaves. The registered version is about $45 as I recall, and it is the best money I have ever spent for software, and I have been around computers and software for a long time!!

The free version will do a lot, in fact much of what a typical user would like to do, but the registered version adds abilities I just did not want to be without. Since I wrote this review the author has added yet another mode which is causing quite a bit of excitement – Orbcom satellite mode!

If you like utility, military, civilian aircraft, maritime, amateur digital modes, SSTV and a whole lot more, check out my review and then get this software!

Many thanks to Ken Reitz and The Spectrum Monitor for allowing me to post this review on my blog. This is simply one of the finest magazines in production today dealing with all things radio. I cannot stress enough the value this magazine has for showcasing all aspects of the radio hobby. I cannot remember an issue which did not teach me something or cause me to go exploring some new aspect of the hobby. It is the best $24 you will spend on the hobby, period. 73, Robert


 

TEN-TEC 1253 Build Review

This build review of the TEN-TEC 1253 comes from an article I wrote some years ago for Monitoring Times. This was quite an interesting project to build, as it was my first real radio kit. I tried to take my time (unlike the model airplanes I built as a kid which always ended up with missing parts and “extra” glue – or was that extra parts and missing glue?!) in an effort to really understand the building stages. My reward was a radio which worked great from the start, and which will always hold a near and dear place in my heart, as it allowed me to fulfill a kid’s dream to build a shortwave radio.

I hope TEN-TEC continues to offer such kits as the 1253 or the 1254 (a digital display version) once their current reorganization efforts are completed. And of course there are other radio kits out there, including regenerative radios. I hope you give one a try sometime. While the technology went out in the 1930s, there is a bit of a resurgence of interest in them because of homebrewing.

The file is a 4-Mb .PDF scan of the print magazine article: Ten-Tec1253

Enjoy! 73, Robert