Tag Archives: Nostalgia

Memories and transistor radios

Magnovox 1R 1203Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors, Ron and Aaron, who shared a link to Jay Allen’s latest post–an update on his pocket AM/FM radios.

Like Jay, I’ve always had an affinity for pocket transistor radios.

The Realistic Model 23-464.

The Realistic Model 23-464.

My first one was an AM-only model: a Realistic Model 23-464. It was about the only new pocket radio I could afford–and purchase locally–when I was a kid.

It was surprisingly sensitive on the AM broadcast band, but the dial was a far cry from accurate. At some point, I either gave this radio to someone or lost it. Last year, I happened upon one on eBay and purchased it for $9 shipped. Its plastic body shows signs of wear, but it works and reminds me of my childhood.

My grandpa's Magnovox 1R 1203

My grandpa’s Magnovox 1R 1203

Another pocket AM/FM radio that brings back a flood of memories is the Magnovox 1R 1203. It belonged to my dear grandpa, who also shared and conveyed a love of radio. When I was a kid, we would sit around on his front porch on hot summer days and listen to local AM stations on this little radio, cicadas whirring in the background.

I still have his Magnavox–it sits here in my radio room and brings back memories every time I look at or listen to it.

Am I a nostalgic fellow? You bet!

Anyone else have memories associated with pocket radios? Please feel free to comment and share!

Download the 1923 “first Wireless Christmas” edition of The Radio Times

RadioTimes1923

(Source: BBC Genome Blog via Mike Barraclough)

The much-loved Christmas edition of the Radio Times made its first appearance in 1923. 

It was all very different to today’s multi-channel, on-demand world. There was only radio, and London station 2LO had a meagre five-and-a-half hours of programmes on Christmas Day.

But to some extent, the first Christmas issue set many traditions which have prevailed for decades in various guises. The cover was a warm splash of colour and very festive in tone, while the publication’s austere masthead was festooned with snow and holly.

John Reith, who went on to become the BBC’s first director general, was given the first page to deliver a message to listeners, in which he deliberated the meaning of Christmas and then inevitably talked about the joy of broadcasting and the “first Wireless Christmas”.

“The loud speaker is such a convenient entertainer,” he wrote. “He doesn’t feel hurt if a cracker is pulled in the middle of a song, or offended if the fun grows riotous during his performance”.

While Reith was keen to talk up the virtues of broadcasting, the magazine was packed with adverts for radio sets and cartoons about the joys of consuming radio programmes.

But Christmas is all about giving, and we’d like to offer you the chance to download the first Christmas issue. It’s a fascinating document and we hope you will enjoy it. Happy Christmas fromBBC Genome!

Download a PDF version of the 1923 Christmas Radio Times by clicking on this link

Fessenden Christmas Eve Commemorative Transmissions

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This  was reported in the ARRL Newsletter:

Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, will again put his 600 meter Experimental Station WG2XFQ on the air on for a Christmas Eve commemorative transmission. WG2XFQ will transmit on 486 kHz from Forest, Virginia, to mark the 109th anniversary of Reginald Fessenden’s first audio transmission. Historic accounts say Fessenden played the violin — or a recording — and read a brief Bible verse. It’s been reported that other radio experimenters and shipboard operators who heard Fessenden’s broadcast were astounded.

Justin will conduct a run-up to this year’s event starting at around mid-day Eastern Time on December 23. The “official” Christmas event will begin on December 24 at 0001 UTC (the evening of December 23 in US time zones) and will continue for at least 24 hours. Justin said he plans to repeat the commemorative transmissions on New Year’s Eve and on New Year’s Day.

Fessenden’s transmitter was an ac alternator, modulated by placing carbon microphones in series with the antenna feed line. Justin’s homebuilt station is slightly more modern, based on a 1921 vacuum tube master oscillator power amplifier (MOPA) design. Listener reports are appreciated and may be sent directly to Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, at his QRZ.com address. (Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, built this replica circa-1920 transmitter, capable of CW and Heising modulated AM.      Photo by Brian Justin)

While I have not heard Brian’s transmission before, I have actually heard a transmission on the experimental frequencies between 465 – 515 kHz. I never expected to be able to hear anything due to extremely high local noise, but one night the propagation gods smiled upon me and the evening was exceptionally quiet. I listened on my Elad SDR receiver over and over to the Morse Code signal which was extremely weak, but mostly readable. I confirmed with Multipsk software, verifying I was indeed hearing one of the experimental stations out of Connecticut.

For information regarding the 500 KC experimental project you can follow this link.

Why not give a listen? You just might be surprised like I was to hear something on this band, and you could add a little Christmas Eve radio memory to your collection!!             73, Robert

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

Shortwave Radio Recordings: RCI, BBC, VOA circa 1979 & 1981

HalliDial

Many thanks to SRAA contributor, Tom Laskowski, who shares the following recording and notes:

A few snippets from my old shortwave tapes that were too short to upload individually. These were made using a GE portable multi band that had poor selectivity, hence the annoying ute during the BBC clip.

Times of individual clips are:

  • 00:00 – 01:59: 1979, July 19 – RCI, frequency announcements in English and french.
  • 01:59 – 09:51: 1979, July 20 – BBC, newscast, bothered by an annoying utility station.
  • 09:51 – 11:38: 1981, August 28 – VOA, science news item about Voyager 2
  • 11:38 – 14:52: 1981, August 29 – VOA, science news item about Voyager 2

Click here to download the recording as an MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

Frank shares 1991 recordings and original notes of station IDs and interval signals

Sony-ICF2010

SWLing Post reader, Frank, writes from Germany:

First let me say that I enjoy your blog a lot.

After a 2005-13 hiatus, I have rediscovered a childhood hobby and your reviews have helped me find my way to the post-Sony portable shortwave radio markets.

First, I obtained my “childhood dream” radio (Sony ICF 2001D), because at the time I made these recordings I was still in school and 1300 DM would have equaled over 1 year of pocket money, so a Supertech SR16HN had to do. I thought I got some fine results with this Sangean-Siemens re-branded receiver then, using a CB half-length antenna, a random wire, and much endurance.

The Supertech SR16HN (photo: Radiomuseum.com)

The Supertech SR16HN (photo: Radiomuseum.com)

I kept regular logs throughout the years, wrote to 50 international and pirate stations for QSL and compiled this cassette.

A few years before I got that trusty SR16HN, however, I recorded a few number stations (such as G3, Four Note Rising Scale etc) with an ordinary radio cassette recorder, and in 1991 I put them onto this tape as well. The other recordings are done with the same radio placed right in front of the SR 16HN.

Feel free to make use of these recordings. Most of it are the well-known international state-owned shortwave stations of the past; plus European pirates; plus number stations; and at the end, a few (off-topic) local Am and FM stations interval signals.

As I said, this collection I made shortly after the Wende/reunification period, when all former-GDR state broadcasters changed their names, sometimes more than once.

Please continue your good work on the blogs! Weather permitting I am often outside cycling and always have the tiny Sony ICF 100 with me (which I call my then-student’s dream radio of the later 90ies).

Cassette Side 1

Click to enlarge.

Frank’s original hand-written notes. Click to enlarge.

Click here to download Side 1, or listen via the embedded player below:

Cassette Side 2

Click to enlage.

Click to enlage.

Click here to download Side 2, or listen via the embedded player below:


Wow! Frank, what a treat to listen to all these station IDs!

I had forgotten how many interval signals have changed over time and how many, of course, have disappeared. This tape represents a flood of nostalgia for me.

I should add, too, that I’ve enjoyed hearing so many IDs in German. It’s funny, but we all get hooked on listening to language programming from our native or second languages. It makes me realize just how many broadcasters used to have German language services.

Again, many thanks, Frank, for taking the time to digitize these recordings and scan your original hand-written notes. This stuff is invaluable, in my book!