A site of endless curiosity

Inside the Black Box of Short Wave Radio

with 3 comments


Many people today spin the dials and twist the knobs on a radio without really knowing what is going on inside that black box.

You can be a person who likes to listen to radio and that is the real deal of why broadcast radio exists.

Growing in popularity are cable shows such as “How its made”,  “Batteries not included” and other shows that tell you how things work and how things are made.

As a kid you may have been one of those folks who liked to take things apart to see how they worked.  Parents sometimes did not like this.  One of our friends who has a son of about 10 years old asked “What’s inside Diamond?”.  Diamond was the family dog.

But now we are all adults and can take apart anything we want – but maybe not Diamond.

So what is inside the black box of shortwave radio?

We stumbled across a free ebook written by a retired Broadcast Engineer.  This is an excellent book on what is inside a glowing tube shortwave radio from a detailed technical perspective.

We like this book for a couple of reasons. 

First, there is considerable technical explanation in this book.  It goes a long way to teach you about electronics – just what you need to know – to understand how all the component stages of a radio come together to get the RF off he “air” and into your ear. 

Second, the book uses a real example – the RCA model 8Q2 Shortwave Radio.  This radio represents the common technology of the “All American Five” design used in radios from 1930-1960.  So this book is not a book on “theory” without practical application.  In fact, the book is so detailed that just about every component in the radio is explained.

The tile of the book is The Vacuum Tube Shortwave Radio: Understanding and Troubleshooting. 
The author is Richard McWhorter. 

The book is 212 pages in length provided as a PDF.

The PDF of the book is password protected.
The password is “allamericanfiveradio”

The authors download web site is:

In case that site disappears we snagged a copy here.

The author has a ton (81+) of electronics education and vintage radio videos on YouTube.
Check out the authors videos on YouTube – “AllAmericanFiveRadio”


Written by frrl

September 22, 2008 at 6:31 am

3 Responses

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  1. Thanks alot for the download and sharing all this valuable information

    Charles Rowe


    August 11, 2011 at 10:20 pm

  2. What a fantastic site; and the free E-book, this is a true treasure. Thank you very much for all you have done with this blog.

    Michael Heit AD7VV
    Harrington, WA

    Michael Heit AD7VV

    June 1, 2010 at 7:01 pm

  3. Interesting. Member of Tube Collectors Association
    Antique Wireless Assn.
    I take QST, CQ, World Radio, Electric Radio, QRP Quarterly…
    73, Bud, W7LNG (since 1947)

    Bud Larson

    September 30, 2008 at 3:08 pm

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