A couple months ago at my local ham radio club meeting (the NCDXCC), my buddy Paul Greaves (W4FC) mentioned that his passion for amateur radio DXing originated with shortwave broadcaster DXing. He told me:
“When I was a teen I could hardly wait to check the PO Box to see what treasures were awaiting me. After getting a QSL card many times there were many more mailings with program schedules and propaganda. I even got Chairman Mao’s little Red Book.”
Paul noted that he had quite a few SWL QSL cards, so naturally I asked if he’d share a few of his favorites with the SWLing Post. He kindly obliged.
Click on the images below to enlarge.
Wow–thank you so much for sharing these, Paul! What a beautiful QSL collection!
Post readers: If you also have some classic SWL QSL cards you’d like to share here on the SWLing Post, please contact me!
Looking back through my notes this morning, I re-discovered this excellent documentary on the early days of radio listening; how radio changed the way we interacted with music and how we interacted with our radios.
As broadcasting took the world by storm in the 1920s, the radio quickly became the hub of many households. Entire families would huddle around their receiver, each person individually connected with their own headset.
But for this first generation of radio listeners, the flexible styles of listening that we habitually employ today were by no means innate – many sat silent and fully attentive, listening just as they would in a concert hall.
Historian Dominic Sandbrook charts how a new, more informal style of listening gradually evolved through the 1920s and 30s, by delving into the diaries of the Austrian musician Heinrich Schenker.
Schenker began to record what he heard on the radio within days of the inaugural broadcast from Austria’s first official station, Radio Wien. This rare and fascinating record, which spans just over a decade, offers tangible evidence of how new approaches to listening emerged over these formative years. We’ll follow Schenker’s journey as the radio shifts from being something that demanded his rapt attention, to eventually becoming an integrated part of his domestic life.
Two weeks ago, through a radio preservation group, I met the son of Heathkit product designer of the 1950s-70s, Stu Sizer––”stylist, artist, maker of models, bon vivant.” His son described the discovery of a few vintage Heathkit brochures, photos, and illustrations his father kept in his family’s basement shop, many of which had been scanned at some point.
Stu Sizer––”stylist, artist, maker of models, bon vivant”––was tasked with crafting Heathkit’s user-friendly and attractive exterior designs. For many years Sizer was Heathkit’s only product designer, and was therefore often busy. “He was a great dad,” his son told me, “but he spent a lot of time in the basement proof-building kits.” He adds wryly, “Let that be a lesson to the hams of this world.”
Sizer’s son kindly shared with us the following scans and photos of his dad’s work, many of which are original drawings; the series concludes with some clippings featuring Sizer.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, for sharing Alan Roe’s excellent guide to music broadcasts on shortwave radio.
Alan Roe (who happens to be an avid SWLing Post reader!) has generously given me permission to post his guide here as a free (PDF) download. Thank you so much, Alan! I’ve already printed this guide and placed it with my WRTH and WWLG.