Tag Archives: Shortwave Film

Mike spots the RCA AR-88 in series “Prime Suspect: Tennison”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike Hansgen (K8RAT), who adds the following to our growing archive of radios in film. Mike writes:

Near the end of the current episode of “Prime Suspect: Tennison” [the radio operator mentions] he was listening on “the RCA 88”.

“Tennison” is set around the early ’70’s.

Great catch, Mike (and thanks to Eric WD8RIF for the screen cap).

According to the Crypto Museum:

The AR-88 was a valve-based shortwave general coverage communications receiver, developed and built by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in the early 1940s. Although the receiver was initially intended as the successor to the AR-77 amateur receiver, the outbreak of WWII made it evolve into a professional high-end military-grade receiver for which cost was no object.

The AR-88 is a 14-valve (tube) receiver, which covers a frequency range of 535 kHz to 32 MHz. Unlike the National HRO receiver, which had pluggable coil packs for each frequency band, the AR-88 uses a six-position band selector. A special version of the receiver, the AR-88LF, was suitable for LF and MF, covering 70 to 550 kHz (continuously) and 1.5 to 30 MHz (continuously).

Continue reading at the Crypto Museum online… 

The Crypto Museum photo of the AR-88 jogged my memory…

Last year, I visited the Musée de la Défense Aérienne at the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Bagotville (a museum I wholeheartedly recommend, by the way).

I snapped this shot of this display:

I’m sure I actually have a close up of this receiver somewhere. It also appears to be an RCA AR-88 based on dial and control configuration, though I certainly could be wrong.

Do any SWLing Post readers have an AR-88? Please comment!

The Yaesu FRG-7700 in TV series iZombie

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Hirst, who adds the following to our growing archive of radios in film.

Mark writes:

Another radio spotted in a TV show, this time in the Netflix show iZombie.

Having been gifted a Yaesu FRG-7700 recently, it was an easy spot.

Click to enlarge

This FRG-7700 appears to be a ‘special’ model however, with a microphone plugged into the headphone socket and able to act as a transceiver!!

You have sharp eyes, Mark! Yes, indeed, it looks like they’ve turned that ‘7700 into a transceiver by plugging a mic into the headphone jack.  Now why didn’t we think of that?!? 🙂

Thanks again for sharing!

More radios in the movies: James Bond “Dr. No” (1962)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bruce Fisher, who adds the following to our growing archive of radios in film. Bruce writes:

Here are three shots from the first few minutes of the 1962 James Bond
film “Dr. No”:

The second shot is a close up of the radio in the first shot. (These appear at about 4:30)

I suppose the last shot is from the BBC Monitoring Station? (about 5:30).

Thanks for sharing these screen shots, Bruce!

That looks like a K.W. Vanguard amateur transmitter in the first two photos, of course, but I can’t determine what the receiver is on the right. Can someone identify?

One vintage radio in two classic films

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Hawkins, who writes:

This evening I watched the excellent Undercover: How to Operate Behind Enemy Lines on Netflix streaming. This is a 1943 training film for Office of Strategic Services personnel learning how be secret agents. The film was directed by the legendary John Ford who also took an acting role in the film. In this scene, Al is receiving his forged papers from an OSS agent before leaving for Germany. A radio may seen on a shelf in the background.

Undercover: How to Operate Behind Enemy Lines is also available on YouTube:

Click here to view on YouTube.

The next film is much better known. The same model radio makes a foreground appearance in Some Like it Hot. Osgood Fielding III has one of these on his yacht.

Maybe Osgood is laughing because the film takes place in 1929 and the company that made the radio was founded several years later.

I won’t spoil the secret of this radio’s maker and model. It will probably not take long for SWLing Post readers to come up with an answer.

Post readers: are you up for the challenge? 🙂 What model of radio do we see here? I’ll keep quiet, because it’s one of my favorite manufacturers.

And, Dan, many thanks. I really do owe you one because I was not familiar with Undercover: How to Operate Behind Enemy Lines. I can’t believe there was a WWII era Ford film I had missed. I, too, have Netflix but the YouTube copy you suggested is actually a better restored version in terms of audio.  Thanks again!

New Brunswick town “haunted by the radio”

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I’m very happy to see that the CBC has reported on the premier of Amanda Dawn Christie’s film, Spectres of Shortwave.

(Source: CBC)

For seven decades, a mysterious site on the Trans-Canada highway marked Sackville, New Brunswick. Where the hills and trees faded just past the Nova Scotia border, 13 120-metre towers rose up from the town’s Tantramar Marsh. They encompassed CBC’s Radio-Canada International (RCI) shortwave broadcasting site, built during the Second World War to send broadcasts worldwide.

Like others in the area, artist and filmmaker Amanda Dawn Christie was fascinated by the site — which not only transmitted Canadian content around the world in various languages, but also relayed Radio Free Europe broadcasts during the Cold War. This week, she’s premieringSpectres of Shortwave, her experimental documentary film on the site, at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax. It’s a project seven years in the making.

“[The transmission site’s] purpose wasn’t for the locals,” Christie says. “So my interest was in what its relationship was to the local people who lived around it.” That relationship was more than just landscape: the transmission site affected the appliances, homes and even dreams of local residents.[…]

Click here to continue reading the full story.