Listener Post: Eric Weatherall

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.

radio-havana-logoA 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.

Eric Weatherall

Many thanks, Eric, for sharing your story!

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7 thoughts on “Listener Post: Eric Weatherall

  1. weatherall

    There is an audio option: click on the speaker button (it’s the middle one in a vertical stack of three buttons). The numbers are jumbled together even in the audio version though. (This comment was posted via the audio captcha).

  2. Tom Stiles

    I understand the need for it but I struggle with reading the words correctly. 🙂 It’s one of those things you have to deal with. Like the ones for this message I can not read so I will have to guess. 🙂
    Nope, try 1 failed.
    Nope, try 2 failed.
    Nope try 3 failed.
    You see my problem. Try 4 failed.

  3. Tom Stiles

    Great post. I am confused about when you actually purchased the 1102. How does this compare to the newer similar models by Kaito or other radios you have.

    Thanks for your time,

    Tom (hamrad88)

      1. Thomas Post author

        Funny, Tom. I have a love/hate relationship with Captcha. It works extremely well as a mitigator of SPAM. It also asks you to identify some crazy text and symbols sometimes. I’m always looking for a better system.


    1. weatherall

      The 1102 was both smaller and less expensive than the three popular portable radios that were recommended to me by a friend and some radio review articles I found. I was interested in SSB capability, and I didn’t want to spend a lot because I didn’t know what I would get out of the experience. Some people I knew were former shortwave radio listeners; nobody I knew in my area was actively involved.

      The Kaito 1103 was also popular at the time and highly-rated, but I was worried (unreasonably as it turned out) about the indirect volume control, and I didn’t care for the tuning scale display. So it was really down to those two, and I went with the 1102.

      Now my primary radio is the Eton E5 which I got on valentine’s day in 2006. It has a superior interface to both the 1102 and 1103, and among the best shortwave sensitivity of any portable radio I’ve tried.


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