Peer Review – December 2015

| November 16, 2015

Ray Howes, G4OWY

With all due respect to Dr Kirkby (RadCom, October 2015), RadCom is not a professional technical journal.

It is a hobbyist journal of the amateur kind.

Now, I fully understand that some people within our hobby of amateur radio continually seek to professionalise it.

G8WRB’s idea that all RadCom articles be ‘peer reviewed’ in much the same manner as ‘professional technical journals’, is proof of that.

If RadCom were to follow G8WRB’s recommendations and then, presumably, only publish articles that would attract the likes of the ‘professional’ technical class, how many people discovering amateur radio for the first time would want to read RadCom?

Very few, I suspect.


David H.E. Coles, G7GZC

Dr Kirby (RadCom November 2015) displays an interesting but critical attitude towards our published journals.

I concur entirely with the reply given by Andy, G4JNT.

My RSGB journal reading is for both pleasure and fun.

It is not for career advancement or peer scrutiny.

Certainly, technical errors must be corrected.

However, professional-type peer review might limit creativity and thus appeal to a broad readership.

Indeed, I go further.

I suggest that specialist peer qualification, while generating useful advice, leads to specialisation.

This might lead to the equivalent of tunnel vision.

RadCom must continue uncensored.


Andrea Choraffa D.phys, G3PKW

I must write to support the comments given by David, G8WRB.

Although now retired from university life I had involvement in peer review vetting.

However, I also agree with the comments made by Andy, G4JNT on behalf of the Tech Forum.

In many cases during my 54 years of being a licenced radio amateur I have met many whose knowledge of a particular subject is very comparable to that of a ‘qualified’ professional.

If any one writes on a subject matter which perhaps included any error, The Last Word post bag would be bombarded and glow in the dark with the correction replies.

Peer review of research papers is a little different in that some of the work is new or unknown.

The PhD student would be interrogated in person in a review committee meeting.

I feel that RSGB has got its balance of checking validity correct.


Dr David Kirkby PhD CEng MIET, G8WRB

Thank you Andy, G4JNT for commenting on my letter about peer review (RadCom, November 2015, page 96).

I appreciate that RadCom articles will often have to be simplified in a manner inappropriate for professional journals.

But many of the errors in RadCom are of a very basic nature, so I can only conclude the current review process described by G4JNT is working poorly.

Measurement errors are a subject of GCSE science classes, studied by children between the ages of 14 and 16.

But neither the reviewers of the Watson VAA-1 antenna analyser (October 2015), or MFJ-226 impedance analyser (November 2015) commented that there are no figures for measurement errors provided by the manufacturers.

Neither did either author attempt to measure the errors, which could have been done with a few cheap components—namely inductors, resistors and capacitors.

There are plenty of photos, but nothing written about the accuracy.

The article about wind and ice on antennas (June 2012) was written by authors that believed force was measured in kg and pressure in kg/square metre.

The subjects of heat conduction and radiation are both covered in GCSE level physics, yet confusion on these subjects did occur in the recent article on EM radiation, as pointed out by both myself and SA6BID/G7LSZ.

That error was more subtle, and unlikely to have been detected by a child, but probably would have spotted by peer review.

Category: The Last Word