Eric Weatherall’s radio story is the latest in a new series called Listener Posts, where I will place all of your personal radio histories. If you would like to add your story to the mix, simply send your story by email!
In the meantime, many thanks to Eric for sharing his personal radio history:
In the summer of 2005, after a couple years of curiosity, I bought my first shortwave radio. Three popular portables at the time were the Sony ICF SW7600GR, Grundig YB400PE, and Sangean ATS-909. But after a bit of review browsing on Amazon, I learned about Kaito and chose the KA1102. The 1102 cost quite a bit less than the other three, but was reportedly very capable.
I remember the first night I turned it on. I was in my bedroom, staring at the blue-backlit screen, manually stepping through discouraging static. I’m not sure how I chose the frequencies; perhaps I already had an awareness of the broadcast bands. First I heard what sounded like an Asian language. Then I found an English broadcast, and I heard “coming to you from downtown Havana, Cuba.” To me, this was absolutely fascinating! My first id’ed station was from a foreign country. And maybe I could learn something about Cuba.
A few weeks later, I took my radio outside, where reception was much stronger and clearer. I tuned in to Radio Havana Cuba at 0500 UTC when they were scheduled to broadcast a strong signal in my direction. The mailbag show came on, and one of the letters included a request for a mojito recipe. So the hosts (Ed Newman and a female whose name I don’t recall) provided the drink recipe. I thought it was so cool to hear a mix of serious news, fun cultural info, and Cuban jazz. I wrote to the station via email, and they read my letter a few weeks later during another mailbag show.
Many thanks, Eric, for sharing your story!
Readers, be sure to check out Eric’s blog: http://cobaltpet.blogspot.com/