Shortwave Receivers Past & Present

Shortwave Receivers Past & Present
By Fred Osterman


From Antique Radio Classified
(Copyright 1997 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.)

The recently published Shortwave Receivers Past and Present by Fred Osterman carries the subtitle Communications Receivers 1945-1996. Compared to the 1987 edition, this second edition of Osterman's book features expanded coverage and many improvements in layout and content. Just flipping through the pages makes it obvious that a great deal of care and effort went into the creation of this edition.

While it contains some information that may be found in other publications, Shortwave Receivers differs from them in that it covers both foreign and domestic radio. It also covers contemporary equipment as recent as 1996.

Arranged alphabetically by manufacturer, the book contains detailed information on more than 500 radios from 70 manufacturers. The manufacturers range from Allied Radio in the U. S. to Yaesu in Japan. The descriptions are accompanied by illustrations of excellent quality.

Another 400 variants of certain radios are mentioned in the descriptions that accompany the basic model. For example, we learn that National produced a variant of the well known HRO-500 receiver -- a portable model identified as the HRO-500P that added a built-in speaker and included a nicad battery and a carrying case.

Other nuggets can be found in the comments on variants, such as the fact that Kenwood-Trio manufactured a version of its Model ER-202 that was sold under Lafayette Radio's brand name as a Model HE-80. In short, there is a abundance of information on shortwave receivers in this book. The fact that some of the information on radios produced by the major U.S. companies can be found in other publications hardly detracts from the book's value. What's more important is that it contains some details that are not to be found in similar reference books. Further, this book contains detailed material on a host of other U.S. and overseas manufacturers not to be found elsewhere.

Some of the names of the U.S. companies covered may be familiar but not readily associated with shortwave receivers. Sure, we all know that Allen D. Cardwell Manufacturing built variable condensers, but a shortwave set? Oh, yes. Read all about Cardwell's one-and-only Model CR-54, an 18-tube, double conversion superhet from 1947.

And there are other rare items to be found in this book. How about the radios from Communications Products Corp., Davco, or McKay Dymek? For the older generation, there are sets from Drake, Galaxy, Gonset, Harvey-Wells, Mosley, and Multi-Elmac. The list goes on, but you get the idea. This is a very comprehensive book.

Non-U.S. manufacturers are well represented. They range from the familar Eddystone and Redifon in the U. K., Rhode & Schwarz and Telefunken in Germany, to the lesser known Elta in Israel, RFT in what was East Germany, and Bharat Electronics in India. Well known Japanese producers are included along with some lesser known brands.

These names are just a few of the manufacturers that are included in the book. If I have failed to mention your favorite manufacturer, please understand that the material is so extensive that it is impossible to mention all of the makers.

There is a short chapter -- "Briefly Mentioned" -- that contains information on radios that are extremely rare or for which complete information is not available. A one-page chapter -- "Receivers That Never Were" -- describes some radios that were never produced in quantity or that never made it past the prototype stage.

Although the book is loaded with details, the effect is not overwhelming because of the way the author has organized the book. He has used a standardized format to present the detailed descriptive entries for each radio. Not only does this approach make it quick and easy to locate a particular characteristic of the radio, but it makes it easy to compare the features of various radios. An illustration is provided for each radio along with a full description. The descriptive information is arranged under the following headings: receiver type and tube count, features, specifications, circuit complement, accessories, comments, variants, country and dates of manufacture, operating voltages, type of readout, size/weight, status (active or inactive manufacturer/model), rarity, published reviews, price (new/used) and a quality rating.

The book's usefulness is enhanced by an introduction that describes the scope and purpose of the book, as well as a chapter that provides helpful advice on buying used radios.

Shortwave Receivers Past & Present is an excellent reference book that should appeal to SWLs, hams and collectors. Soft bound in an 81/2" x 11" format, it contains 350 pages printed on high quality paper. The production quality is very good. The illustrations are sharp, and the cover pages are printed in four colors. The book carries a retail price of $19.95 and is available from Universal Radio, Inc., 6830 Americana Parkway, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068-4113, A.R.C. and A.R.C. advertisers.

(Ray Bintliff, 2 Powder Horn Lane, Acton, MA 01720)

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Copyright © 1996 by John V. Terrey - For personal use only.
Last revised: April 26, 1997. Pages designed by Wayward Fluffy Publications