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Review: SHORTWAVE RECEIVERS PAST AND PRESENT, Fourth Edition by Fred Osterman,

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Author Topic: Review: SHORTWAVE RECEIVERS PAST AND PRESENT, Fourth Edition by Fred Osterman,  (Read 5638 times)
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« on: February 04, 2015, 07:10:34 AM »

By Fred Osterman, N8EKU
Universal Radio Research, 2014.
Reynoldsburg OH
ISBN 978-1-882123-02-5
800 pages Hardbound

Fred Osterman has done it again.  His 4th Edition recently published is a huge encyclopedia of communications receivers manufactured worldwide covering a seventy year period, from 1943 through 2013.  This 800 page work is reminiscent of another outstanding radio reference source, the four-volume WIRELESS FOR THE WARRIOR published in the UK several years ago.

The introduction contains an interesting short essay on the importance of shortwave broadcasting during the Cold War and supports the idea that there is still a place for it in today's Internet age.  

There are over 1,700 receivers listed with commentaries on an additional 1,200 variants; indeed there have been close to 1,000 new receivers added since the Third Edition that was published in 1998 and quickly became the standard reference book on the subject.

Receivers are grouped by manufacturers with a thumbnail sketch of the company as well as detailed info on the receiver along with a guideline to prices and approximate contemporary values.  "China" is considered a manufacturer.  Photos are clear and of high definition.  The book is printed on superior paper stock and the glossy paper will definitely not yellow or deteriorate over time.

Some companies, like Eddystone, Hallicrafters, Collins, National, etc, occupy many pages while many others only one.  Of course not all radio receivers capable of receiving shortwave are listed; it is by author prerogative.  

The reference work does not include "radios" that may have shortwave tuning capability. Classic radios such as the Zenith Transoceanic are not listed but there are many highly collectable military radios included, such as the Emerson R-174/URR (AN/GRR-5) and of course what receiver book would be complete without the venerable R-390A.  I was pleased to note George Rancourt's name listed as a contributor along with Chuck Rippel, both internationally acknowledged authorities on this receiver.

My favorite Collins, the 51S-1 is there and Osterman even mentions the military nomenclature, the R-1122/GR which is rarely indicated.  Even the Cincinnati Electronics R-1444/UR, Eldico R-104, TCS receiver and the venerable Belmont (Wells-Gardner and Stromberg Carlson too ) BC-348 are included.  Low end radios are listed as well.

The famous Collins-designed TCS is listed several times because they were manufactured by several manufacturers.  As for the BC-348 there were several contractors who made them as well.

My overall impression is that this is Fred's masterpiece.  Yes, there are some radios that many would like to see included in a future edition.  In my case it is the Braun T-1000CD which in my opinion is one of the most beautiful shortwave radios ever made, but obviously Fred does not agree and thus it has been omitted.  But he is the author/editor, not me and it's his call.  

SHORTWAVE RECEIVERS PAST AND PRESENT,  Fourth Edition, is an essential and comprehensive reference work for anyone interested in shortwave receivers from all over the world spanning from 1943 through 2013.  It will occupy a prominent place on my radio reference bookshelf until the Fifth Edition is published which probably won't happen for many years.  This is truly a definitive work.  Thanks, Fred, for your extreme efforts.

More information, orders:  http://www.universal-radio.com

"It is a good thing we don't get the government we pay for." Will Rogers.
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