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Reviews Categories | Amateur Radio Periodicals | Practical Wireless Help

Reviews Summary for Practical Wireless
Practical Wireless Reviews: 21 Average rating: 3.0/5 MSRP: $£2.95
Description: British Magazine: General Ham Radio News, Reviews and Construction Articles.
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G0UWK Rating: 2/5 Apr 29, 2004 07:16 Send this review to a friend
Gave it a second shot  Time owned: more than 12 months
I decided to give it a second shot, bought a copy
whilst out with the XYL,
I now down grade it to a 2 it needs help, it would be a shame to see this “Mag” disappear,
Have we really run out of interesting ideas ?
surely not.
I have dozens of old PW's in the loft
and i kept them for one reason only, they have some superb articles in them, i like to read them time & again, the latest content is not so good,

I had written the last few lines over & over
trying hard not to be too critical of the editor
however the buck really does stop with you.

G1HBE Rating: 2/5 Apr 23, 2004 04:09 Send this review to a friend
Shaky  Time owned: months
I feel kind of guilty writing this, as I've read PW on and off since I was at school in the 60's, but it has to be said that despite Rob Mannion's superhuman efforts, the mag has become lacklustre and repetitive.
It now seems to be aimed at either newcomers or old 'let's build a nostalgic short-wave one-valver' fans, and the reviews boil down to a summary of the makers' manual and a quick 'on-air' check, which (not surprisingly) finds that everything was OK ('Paul in the next town said the audio was good and gave us a nice report...').
Perhaps it's just me getting older and more experienced, but now when I buy a copy I end up casting it aside and wishing I'd saved my money. Sorry Rob, but you did ask.
M0HDX Rating: 2/5 Feb 6, 2004 06:08 Send this review to a friend
dont bother  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
spend your money on a pint of beer instead.
M1SPY Rating: 4/5 Jan 14, 2004 20:19 Send this review to a friend
Getting better  Time owned: more than 12 months
Having taken this mag for the last three years I confirm there is a definite improvement in content and outlook. This reflects the whole Amateur Radio hobby in the UK which has benefitted by the new blood of the M3's. The mag can now get back to the basics and is readable as a magazine and a reference guide.
Yes ,it is still a shop window for various black boxes butit still promotes the build it yourself' ethic. Better than either of the others in the stable (SW and Radioactive)
G3CWI Rating: 1/5 Dec 11, 2002 11:26 Send this review to a friend
Poor - not worth the cover price  Time owned: more than 12 months
PW along with Shortwave Magazine and Radio Active are all published by the same company, PW Publishing. PW has got worse over the years and is now plain poor. Much of the content seems to be written by one person (Mr Manion) who appears to have some rather idiosyncratic views on life. I recently rang them to place some advertising and asked what the audited circulation was - they said that they did not know. Rather odd I thought. I placed adverts in SWM and PW and had a poor response from both. I will probably not be bothering again. It is a pity that amateur radio is represented in the newsagents by such a poor magazine.
G3VGR Rating: 1/5 Nov 12, 2002 19:06 Send this review to a friend
Still Camm's Comic  Time owned: more than 12 months
This is a very lightweight magazine nowadays and not worth the money. I haven't found the need to buy it for a long time, a 5 minute browse in WH Smiths is sufficient. Without the hard work of Rob Mannion, this publication would probably disappear.
M5GWH Rating: 4/5 Nov 9, 2002 11:25 Send this review to a friend
Written for the reader....  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've read PW since the old days of "Build a Polyphonic Organ" and "TV Tennis Game Construction", through the late 1970s and early 80's when Geoff Arnold turned it into a purely radio magazine and ditched the 'non-radio' ads and content and now still read it with Rob Mannion, who was originally a contributor, steering the ship.

Nowadays, I feel the magazine does well - sometimes it's hard to find on the news-stands - but its still around when others, HRT, 'Amateur Radio', etc, have closed. This surprises me seeing PW is the only amateur magazine that you can buy and not have to be a member of the RSGB to obtain.

I always feel that the style of the writing have a 'written for you' - including Rob Mannion's Editorial (though a lot of 'cliquey-ness' takes place amongst some of the contributors and regular supporters which grinds a little over time).

Reviews need to change - often a good radio is tested in a ad-hoc way (i.e. "good results were obtained with my father-in-laws 50Mhz aerial" or "I could hear a distant repeater") and not in a more structured manner using the same criteria or in a typical situation.

Subjects are current and even the design stuff is okay, though when they appeal to the new hobbyist, some stuff does dwell on the past but, obviously, a lot of the content is down to what arrives on the Editors desk and he only can put in what he gets, even if this is restoration articles and historical stuff.
(How many times can "Lisle Street" get mentioned in a year? Who really knows where "Lisle Street" is North of Watford.)

Overall, PW, I think, is still a good read - the level of 'technical-ness' is just about right for the new-comer and old timer alike, and long may it continue.

G0UWK Rating: 3/5 Oct 15, 2002 06:08 Send this review to a friend
Basic  Time owned: more than 12 months
Having read PW for over ten years i find the following true of the latest editions,

1. The HF reports are average, Although this can be changed by you guys sending more in to HF Highlights.

2. The HF Radio reviews especially on flagship gear are poor, I wonder how you can fully test a MkV FT100MP on a wire dipole ? Also more reviews on larger Antennas & comparisons would be nice
I can only remember tests on a cubical quad & A3S in the last 10 years.

3. Very little is covered on setting up larger H.F/Vhf stations, it is all centred around the newcomer to the hobby with a few exceptions,

4. On the plus side it is not printed on toilet paper like some other publications.

5. The editor Rob Mannion seems very keen and is always visible at the larger events in the UK

6. It would be nice to see articles on refurbishing older gear, not antique junk tat old
40's & 50's horrible dusty valve receivers, Gear such as second hand antennas, Rotators, Small masts, The things people are buying at rallies to Actually use,

Radcom fills the gap for the more experienced amateur, and it has to be said it is a vast improvement on the now defunct Ham Radio Today which was complete trash that seemed to be run by the lorek family ( no disrespect Chris but you & the family were on every other page near the painful end to cover the space lost from advertisements)

It Is easy to Criticise , without fully understanding PW's market, after all Amateur radio has seen a major facelift in a very short period of time, Newcomer's to the hobby no longer have to spend a small fortune to get set up, and often do not manufacture there own gear.

GW4RWR Rating: 2/5 Jul 9, 2002 13:25 Send this review to a friend
good for the dental waiting room  Time owned: more than 12 months
I first read PW while on holiday in 1978. It introduced me to amateur radio, as well as constructional projects with strange names, typically these were rivers in south west England!...better than a two letter, three digit number combination, I suppose.

PW has been going for years in the UK. Long may its supporters continue. But I am sad to note that it was a more interesting publication twenty years ago. Its technical content has been dumbed down to a standard suitable for a ten year old. Perfect to keep your mind off the dentist, or your gum, numb with lignocaine...
KU4QD Rating: 4/5 Aug 14, 2001 14:26 Send this review to a friend
Better than most out there.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've picked up PW now and again. Sadly, Borders no longer carries it. It's expensive here in the States, but I think I'll have to subscribe. Right now, in terms of solid content, I think PW is better than CQ, and far better than 73. I like seeing a different perspective, as in from outside the U.S. and not affiliated with the ARRL. Is it as strong as it was years ago? No, it's not, but with the possible exception of QST, no ham magazine is. I can't call it "Great!", but it's worth the read.
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