Book Review: Gayle van Horn: Global Radio Guide: Summer 2019 Update
The seasonally-updated version of the Global Radio Guide by Gayle van Horn.
Reviewed by: Chrissy Brand and Scott Caldwell
Gayle van Horn is a well-known and much-respected author in the field of broadcasting. She was behind some of the leading US publications that specialise in radio communications, The Monitoring Times, and of its associated publications, such as military comms and shortwave guides. Propagation expert Tomas Hood designed the dramatic cover, and the contents are equally dramatic. The lists of frequencies and times are useful for planning listening and keeping aware of who is broadcasting what, and to which target area.
However, for me, the added value in each new edition of the Global Radio Guide comes with the range of very readable articles. The latest edition is no exception, and Gayle has gathered some very knowledgeable authors to give their views, covering a wide range of the international radio scene.
The section on Monitoring the Venezuelan Crisis provides information about medium wave stations and army and naval force profiles in the country. The resumption of broadcasts from Papua New Guinea, Benin, Mali and Suriname, the ongoing debacle over Australia's state broadcaster cutting short wave, a homebrew project. Colombian radio, Radio Veronica, propagation forecasts – there is something for everyone here.
Fred Waterer's Programme Guide is a well-written piece, extolling the joy of listening and pulling in distant signals. Whether you have been doing so for 40 years or are a newcomer, whether you have an expensive setup or a basic short wave radio, the thrill rarely fades, even when the signal does. Illustrated with QSL cards, this article sums up why so many of us still turn to radio for news, entertainment and a non-mainstream view of the world. As an author on similar issues myself, it is inspiring to be reminded what an ever-evolving and wide-ranging array of radio topics there are to research, write and read about.
The Global Radio Guide is now in its 12th Edition and offers a comprehensive list of international and national broadcasters that includes the recent frequency changes, reflecting the Summer schedules. The frequencies are arranged in UTC time order and provide a useful point of reference when targeting your valuable listening time. The range of the frequency spectrum is from 2MHz to 29 MHz and also includes a section devoted to a North American Aviation Guide on VHF/ UHF.
The origins of the book may be traced back to 1993, in the form of the English-Shortwave Guide for the Monitoring Times magazine. Its scope was increased in November 2009 to include broadcast schedules of all stations that operated on short wave. In December 2013, it was taken over by Teak Publications, in a rare commitment to the hobby, and it became an eBook on Amazon.
Further changes in the previous edition resulted in a name change to Global Radio Guide. A particular highlight of the book for DXers is provided by Fred Waterer, in his section entitled Summer Global Shortwave Radio Programming Guide. He provides advice for less experienced and younger listeners, who are new to this fascinating hobby.
A ‘homebrew-antenna’ section is written by Richard Fisher, it provides a practical solution, for both short wave listeners and amateur radio operators who lack space to erect extensive wire antennas. It offers a step-by-step construction – including pictures – and it is written in plain English.
The Guide then takes the reader on a tour of the international broadcasters, from the BBC World Service, Voice of Turkey, Radio Romania International, Vatican Radio, to the powerhouse of China Radio International.
This includes all the essential information required to hear the broadcasts, time, frequency, language, and target areas. Short wave radio has a unique perception of immediacy, which is often lacking in social media.
This closeness between the broadcaster and listener is best emphasised during times of political and military tension, providing an unbiased window to world events.
A further section written by Larry Van Horn discusses the functions offered by communications receivers, most noticeably sensitivity and selectivity. I would have liked to see more on aerials here.
Overall, this book will have a wide appeal to amateur radio operators, DXers, news agencies, foreign language students, and expatriates.
Comprising of 442 pages, the publication is extremely comprehensive. Recommended.