Swiss Shortwave Merry-Go-Round Founder Bob Thomann (HB9GX) is Silent Key

Readers old enough to remember listening to SBC/Swiss Radio International will, no doubt, remember Bob Thomann. I just received the following note from Bob Zanotti:

Dear Friends and Broadcasting Colleagues,

[O]ur old friend and colleague, Bob Thomann HB9GX, passed away peacefully on Saturday afternoon 3 August local time. He would have been 91 in September.

Image via Radio World

[…]Bob Thomann was the founder of the Swiss Shortwave Merry-Go-Round on
SBC/Swiss Radio International back in the 50’s. He and I were teamed up in 1970, when I joined SRI. We co-presented the technical mailbag show,
which became know as “The Two Bobs” for 24 years between 1970 and the show’s ending in June 1994. Bob never missed a show, even when we had to do a telephone hookup when he was hospitalized back in the 80’s.

the Schwarzenburg transmitter site, often mentioned by the Two Bobs (via Jonathan Marks)

This is the end of “The Two Bobs” Era and an era in shortwave broadcasting in general. But I’m happy to say that the show lives on at, where it has its own section. All that survived from the “Merry-Go-Round” is there, including new material we produced especially for the website. And this will remain as a memorial to Bob Thomann and his contribution to shortwave broadcasting as long as I’m still around.

Mid-1960s photo showing Bob with Heidi Schweizer and Pamela — SBC’s DX Trio at the time. (Image courtesy of Richard Langley)

Bob Thomann was my friend, colleague and fellow ham operator for many years. I will always fondly remember those golden days we shared together. Long live those memories.

Bob Zanotti

Click here to listen to archived episodes of The Two Bobs at Switzerland in Sound.

Bob, we’re so sorry for the loss of your dear friend and colleague. His memory certainly lives on.

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5 thoughts on “Swiss Shortwave Merry-Go-Round Founder Bob Thomann (HB9GX) is Silent Key

  1. Roberto Levinstein

    Only read this today and even if belated I send my condolences to all who had the pleasure to be his friend through our mutual friend, the shortwaves.

  2. adi

    Indeed, I was a listener to the Merry-Go-Round back in the 70’s.
    Unfortunately non of the files on that vintage site plays on my Firefox or opera…

  3. Markus Meier

    Dear Bob

    please receive my condolences for the passing of Bob.

    The picture shown with an antenna: Is this really from the Schwarzenburg site? For me it looks more like the rotary antenna from Sottens.

    73 de Markus HB9GXM

    1. Bob Zanotti

      Markus, I only just saw your comment. Thank you. Yes, I agree. That is certainly not Schwarzenburg. I was never at Sottens (500 kW), but it had a rotatable curtain array, which the one in the photo appears to be.

      Bob Zanotti


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