New Computer Device May Revive Radio Hobby
The radio hobby---in its early days, closely allied with the audio hobby---has fallen on hard times in recent years. The personalities who might have been attracted to radio have mostly given themselves over to computers. But a new development from Rosetta Laboratories of Melbourne, Australia, may revive amateur radio and simultaneously introduce it to a whole new generation of cybernuts.
Called the Winradio, the device is a spectrum analyzer and wide-frequency-coverage communications receiver running off a receiver card plugged into a slot in a Wintel machine's motherboard. The Winradio comes as a kit with an antenna and operating software to let the user control it with mouse and keyboard. The operator can pull in stations via a graphic display called Visitune, which lets him or her drag a cursor across a representation of the scanned radio spectrum and click on peaks. According to Wired News' Ted Roberts, it also has a "virtually unlimited memory." Winradio's entry-level model WR1001i is priced at $495 US.
Winradio isn't simply an AM-FM receiver or shortwave setup. It's an extremely wide-band scanner, too, with a usable bandwidth 60 times wider than a car radio's. As an RF spectrum analyzer, it is 25% of the price of the cheapest one on the US market.
Originally developed for military uses, Winradio's sales are now 75% to hobbyists. Rosetta Laboratories also makes higher-end models for scientific, aeronautical, military, and police uses. Grove Enterprises of western North Carolina is Winradio's only US distributor. Further information is available at Winradio's website.