About the author

I'm a communications and radio 'geek' (for want of a better word) based in Northwest England, hence the name nwmonitor.

I write a monthly column in the online E-zine, Monitoring Matters.

I don't intend to publish anything on here that will incite readers to contravene any laws, or put anyone's lives, safety or job security at risk.  Anything I publish is, will or should be in the public domain.  All information is for purely entertainment purposes, and I cannot condone listening to frequencies for which you do not hold a licence for.

I also will not post anything that will break military OPSEC, even if the military users themselves break it - I fully support our military, and the military of our allies, and don't intend to help our enemies in any way.

If  you spotted something I've posted that you feel has slipped my own self-censorship, then let me know.  I will remove it.  This isn't a breach of freedom of speech, but more about having common sense in reporting things.  There are various users on Twitter and elsewhere who post juicy information about on-going military ops, however I won't.
If any of our [UK, USA, NATO's] enemies are reading my blog, I'm sorry you won't find anything that will help you here! Please move along ;)

Enough preaching... In the 'shack' I have various pieces of comms gear, including in no particular order:
Uniden BCT-15 HF/V/UHF scanner (it's NOT a receiver!).

RS Pro-2045 - Made by Uniden, and one of the most under rated scanners around - definitely one to have.

Yaesu FT-8800R - Yaesu's dual band 50W mobile radio, has a capable scanning receiver in band - outside of V/UHF PMR bands it's a little insensitive.

Icom PCR-100 x2 - excellent little V/U receivers.

Icom PCR-1000 - possibly one of the best V/UHF PC controlled receivers on the secondhand market.

Kenwood R-2000 MF/HF receiver.

Lowe HF-225 HF receiver (classic).

Various handhelds, including:
Icom IC-R2
Icom IC-R5
Icom IC-E91
(Seeing a theme here)
Uniden BR-330T
Yupi MVT-7100 (definitely a keeper)
and a few others I can't remember right now.

Antenna wise, obviously I construct my own, except when it comes to the HF side of things.  I firmly believe for most people the best antenna you can buy is a Wellbrook Loop, from Andy Ikin.  I personally own the ALA-100 large apeture loop which is fantastic.  You really have to hear it to see the difference between it and a random length of wire.  The ALA-100 is designed to reject most of the hash and electrical noise that is generated by almost every piece of equipment these days.  Nothing is perfect, and some will get through, but you really will be ahead of the game.

Most of my monitoring friends either use ALA-100s, or the rotatable ALA-1530, or both!

For V/UHF work, as I said, construct my own antennas.  For UHF Satcom I am using a homemade 6 element Yagi with a COTS 225-400MHz 20dB low noise amplifier (LNA).  I can supply these amps if anyone is interested.  Noise floor of 0.7dB, which is pretty damn good.