Book Review follow-up

Well, since my review on the Klingenfuss books there’s been quite a bit of discussion on the forums about these kind of publications, but in general there was a lot of agreement about Klingenfuss being poor

Nils Schiffhauer even went as far as making a comparison of three books against 54 signals he recorded.The books he compared were:
Joerg Klingenfuss’ Utility Guide 2013/1014
Michael Marten’s “Spezial-Frequenzliste Band 2, 2013/14
Roland Proesch’ “Frequency Handbook for Radio Monitoring HF”, Edition 2013

He allocated points to the signals which totalled 108. (Full entry/callsign info = 2, correct organisation but no callsign = 1, no entry = 0). The results are below:
Klingenfuss: 45
Marten: 79
Proesch: 68

This shows that over 50% of Klingenfuss has data missing or is incorrect. I’d be happy if around 75% of data was correct as it is a changing environment and 25% is an allowable discrepancy for these changes. The other two books come in at this (and above for Michael Martins)

CoverTechnicalHandbook2013_1E Moving on from this I obtained a copy of Roland Proesch’s “Technical Handbook for Radio Monitoring HF (2013)”, which is on the same subject as Klingenfuss’s “Radio Data Codes”. As I now have both books I am able to carry out a random comparison of the two publications

So that I could try and do a fair comparison, I flicked through the pages of Rolands book, randomly stopping and picking the HF mode on that page. I then opened Klingenfuss and compared what each book had on the subject. The results are below (RM = Radio Monitoring Handbook, KF = Klingenfuss):

RM – Full information on this subject
KF – No information at all (that I could find)
Winner – RM

RM – Full information, images showing Spectrum information
KF – Same information, but the only images were of WaveCom decode screenshots
Winner – RM

RM – 4 and a half pages on the subject including spectrum images and a table of information
KF – 1 page on the subject and another page of WaveCom decode screenshots
Winner – RM

RM – 1 info page, but contains a frequency table and Spectrum image. In the appendices there is a table containing all the Maritime Identification Digits, though basic country information only (an extra 5 pages). Another table contains Ship/Station Selective Calling (another 4 pages) – Total pages for DSC is 10
KF – Slightly more information, including a description of MMSIs. Contains the same tables as RM but with the added Coast Station identities. The total number of pages is 15 although there no Spectrum images and the images that are there are of WaveCom decode screenshots again
Winner – With both books I’d say there some inaccuracies when comparing the information to the ITU website, but KF does beat RM when it comes to DSC. The one thing that lets KF down though is its abuse of ITU – Quote: Alas, the data is obviously compiled by dull and incompetent ITU bureaucrats and, by consequence, incomplete and not up to date


Example page from Radio Monitoring HF 2013 of DominoEX

To compare the books further RM has 448 images of either Spectrum data, sonograms and such like whilst I struggled to find many in KF, but KF does have many decoder screenshots, which if this is what you want then fair enough.

Radio Monitoring has a much better coverage of Russian systems. For instance, the common MS-5 (also known as CIS-12 or Fire) QPSK system used by the Russian Navy is nowhere to be seen in Klingenfuss, whilst Radio Monitoring has over a page dedicated to it including Spectrum images and a sonogram, the same goes for other systems. It’s almost as if Klingenfuss refuses to acknowledge that Russian data systems exist

Kligenfuss does have a huge amount of data on Meteorological Transmissions, well over 140 pages, including tables and decodes, though I found the layout of some of it not that great. This information is readily available online anyway as is all the data contained in both books when it comes to frequencies, callsigns, MMSI decodes etc.

But, when it comes to learning about the actual Waveforms and Data Modes I’d say Radio Monitoring beats Klingenfuss hands down. The first 135 pages of Radio Monitoring are fantastic, with descriptions of Waveforms, protocols, bit/baud rates (including a 12 page table which has great information on shift, modes, and possible users – needs to be seen to see how good this is), ASCII coding and much more. I will admit that Klingenfuss is better for a small number of Data Modes, but by and large this is often not the case.

If you could only afford one book on this subject matter, then Radio Monitoring is the one to choose, I think you’d find at least something on what you were looking for.

There’s a PDF file available that has 81 pages taken from the Radio Monitoring Handbook if you’d like to see more of whats covered and how it looks. This also includes the table of contents so that you can see what modes are covered

More information on this book, and the others written by Roland Proesch, is available on his website.

The Technical handbook for Radio Monitoring HF 2013 is 49Euros plus shipping and i’d give it a 9 out of 10. Personally I’ll be looking into getting the other books in the series


1 thought on “Book Review follow-up

  1. Pingback: Roland Proesch Radio Monitoring books 2015 | planesandstuff

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