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To all recipients of HCDX:

This is the INFOVIEW of WRTH 2000 which I published in the Electronic DX
Press, edition #151, Dec-24. It might be of interest.


Bob Padula


WORLD RADIO TV HANDBOOK - 2000: WRTH Publications - Editor: David Boppett;
ISBN 0-9535864-0-5; 616 pages - recommended retail price A$45.

Claiming to be "the World's most Comprehensive and up-to-date Guide to
Broadcasting", Volume 54 of the WRTH is now being marketed and sold around
the world.  I am indebted to Geoff Cowan, Windsor Books, UK, for airmailing
a review copy, and I would like to share some impressions and views with
you about this new reference.

The 1999 edition attracted criticism, for the areas of content, timeliness,
and format, following a period of unsettling editorial instability and
uncertainty, and the general feeling amongst the global readership was that
the new editors would have a year to "get things sorted out' in time for
the 2000 version.

WRTH not only caters for a very diverse readership, but also offers an
enormous amount of  broadcasting data - longwave, medium-wave, short-wave,
VHF-FM and TV. Indeed, it has been around for a very long time (some 55
years!), and we should acknowledge that its readers include professional
and governmental users, equipment developers, manufacturers and
distributors, hobby monitoring enthusiasts, program listeners, media
producers, and people interested in radio propagation and receiver
performance. Any assessment of the product should of course be based on how
well it caters overall for those market groups, and accepting the
inevitability that there will be trade-offs in coverage and content.
Contrary to what some readers would like to think, the WRTH is not intended
to be a publication providing 100% correct data on international radio
schedules, but is a <Guide> to world radio. Users should understand that
they should seek amending information throughout the year from hard and/or
soft copy sources, if they require totally up-to-date data.

WRTH gives us 22 pages of equipment reviews, prefaced by comments that the
number of new receivers being marketed is decreasing on an annual basis;
the author suggests that HF amateur transceivers tend to give better value
for the money than more costly general purpose communications receivers,
due to what appears to be a greater global demand. Two PC radios were
tested, and both received very poor ratings, particularly the WinRadio
3100-e; the other is the Icom IC-PCR100.  We are given an interesting and
very favourable assessment of the Icom IC-R75; other receivers featured are
AOR AR8200, Yupiteru MVT-9000 Mk II, Grundig YB400, AKD-HF-4E, Drake R8B,
and the Kneiser and Doring KWZ 30.

An article on Space Weather offers useful background into the present Solar
Cycle Number 23, and how the various geophysical and solar parameters are
measured. George Jacobs presents his usually highly professional and
informative feature on HF broadcasting conditions expected during the year
2000, and informs us of the revised formal procedures for management of
frequency assignments for HF broadcasting within the ITU.

A series of coloured maps of the world and continents shows us the
locations of principal transmitter sites; regrettably, the Australian map
neglects to show Brandon, one of Radio Australia's two operational sites.
We are given 70 pages of LW and MW listings by frequency, divided into

Unlike previous editions, the manual now has all National radio
broadcasting arranged in an enormous 320 page alphabetical section by order
of country, each sub-divided into longwave, mediumwave, shortwave and FM,
containing a huge amount of information about each station.  International
schedules are shown in a separate section, again by order of country, in
some 60 pages. There is some duplication of content across the national and
international entries. The separate SW frequency list covers only
international services and time signal stations; the frequency list for
regional SW broadcasters was omitted due to "technical problems" and is
promised to be available free via the WRTH Web site, according to an E-mail
message to a newsgroup. This omission will undoubtedly attract criticism
from some users. Readers who do not subscribe to the particular newsgroup,
or who lack PC facilities would thus appear to be disadvantaged.

A small section of some 33 pages gives us basic details of TV
administrations in each country, but no data is shown for frequencies or
transmitter locations. The listing of hobby monitoring clubs worldwide
shows a continuing decline, and the Australian listing is out-of-date.  We
are given a 16-page tabulation in time order, of broadcasts in English,
German and Spanish, integrating LW, MW and SW. 

International SW data include some for the B99 winter season, effective
from October 31 1999 to March 25 2000; of the 110 schedules given, over
half  represent frequency usage which became obsolete on October 31,
including Vatican Radio, Radio Canada International, Voice of Greece, Voice
of Vietnam, Radio Pakistan, Voice of Israel, and AWR. No doubt many users
will complain that the usefulness of WRTH is seriously degraded by the
publication of such outdated data, even though this affects only that
segment of the readership interested in international broadcasting. This
problem ought to be addressed by the publishers, as it was a major cause of
concern for the 1999 edition. Some readers may also be worried about the
omission of transmitter location sites from the schedules of such major
broadcasters as the Voice of America, the BBC, and Radio Netherlands.

The information about the Austrian Radio has an unfortunate typographical
error, with transmitter sites of "Moosbrun", "Aldrans" and others being
shown incorrectly under "Australia". I note that the SW national entries
for various Pacific and Asian countries represent operations which were
closed down several years ago, such as in Malaysia, Mongolia, and French
Polynesia. Analysts of WRTH 2000 will also discover that the Indonesian
regional SW listing is identical to the flawed 1999 data, and that 6 and 11
MHz transmissions from Papua New Guinea stations continue to be listed,
even though they have not operated for over ten years.  No entries are
shown at all for Burundi, an omission which remains uncorrected from the
1999 edition. The mediumwave and VHF entries for Australia are identical to
the 1999 edition, and expert users will certainly complain about the many

Despite what appear to be some shortcomings affecting different segments of
the customer base, WRTH offers an extraordinary amount of data on world
broadcasting in a single volume. No product of this nature can be 100%
correct, either in time or content, but there are, indeed, areas where
improvement could be made. No doubt, reviews will be published by
monitoring Clubs around the world, and the WRTH people would do well to
take into account the suggestions offered by those groups, written by
experts. My own summation is that WRTH can get better, but only with far
greater formal involvement and input by expert hobby monitors for some
parts of the world, who are familiar with broadcasting in their regions.
Put simply, the honeymoon is over, and if WRTH is to survive in the new
millennium, it needs to address the deficiencies I, and others have
offered, and correct them, in order to remain competitive and to justify
its promotional claims. If not, it will simply become a remnant of a bygone
century. (BP)
This is a message from Bob Padula <BPadula@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
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