Category Archives: Funny

30 Year Flashback: From the April 1st Edition of the Cascade Mtn. DX Club Bulletin

Among SWLing Post readers, I’m sure there are others like myself who, decades ago, listened to the Zzzt…Zzzt…Zzzt! sound of a dot-matrix printer as it spit out copy for “pasting up” a DX club bulletin. In the 1980s I was one of those enterprising DXers, taking over publication of the Cascade Mountain DX Club (CMDXC) when a local hobbyist lost interest in producing it.

For a few years I found that creating a regular bulletin was almost as satisfying as DXing itself, and I went on to publish another local bulletin, DX/Northwest. It was a forum for DXers in the Pacific Northwest USA to share loggings and information. I also hosted occasional gatherings of Seattle area DXers who were members of the club.

I recently came across my collection of all the past bulletins and appropriately found the April 1, 1987 edition of the CMDXC. I had completely forgotten I’d made an effort every April 1st to “spice up” the bulletin content with some April Foolery.

The first item was slipped into the midst of the monthly loggings, just to make sure readers were paying attention:

The fictitious DXer named “Grobe” in the spoof logging was a thinly veiled reference to radio hobby publisher Bob Grove of Grove Enterprises and Monitoring Times magazine. He actually wrote to me after the initial April 1st edition, beginning a running joke of humorous responses to my April Fool’s bulletin content, and always signing his letters “Bob Grobe”. I received similar letters from him after each year’s April edition. I don’t recall Bob ever being a member of the CMDXC, so I’m not sure how he knew of the content. I still have one or more of those letters stashed away somewhere.

Perusing the April 1st, 1987 bulletin again, I note that I was feeling charitable towards a certain down-on-his-luck DXer “M.T. Pockitz” from nearby Vancouver, BC Canada, and wanted other club members to help him in his time of need. I was also in close touch with new developments in radio technology, as I am today:

Who else remembers the old DX club bulletins–from the dot-matrix printer era–with fondness? You may even be senior enough to feel nostalgic over the “ditto machine” or Mimeograph produced publications!

To read more humor that only a DXer could love, I highly recommend Don Moore’s excellent web site BLANDX – Historical DX Humor. This site is the web archive of the classic BLANDX parody bulletins. I was an occasional contributor, and on the receiving end of Don’s wonderfully warped funny bone at times. If you can’t laugh at the BLANDX content, watch out–your WPE Callsign might have expired!

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

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Playing music with computer-emitted interference

RFI-Sony-7600GSWLing Post reader, Chris Smolinski, writes:

Here’s my Mac Book Pro (2010 model) playing Mary Had A Little Lamb over the radio, by modulating the RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) produced by it and other computers. As picked up on a Sony 7600G receiver. I found the best reception was on the long wave band, although I could continue to hear it well above the AM (medium wave) band, past 1700 kHz. The signal was pretty much everywhere, no matter where I tuned, in 1 kHz steps.

Picking up radio emissions from computers is one method that can be used to spy on them.

I used the source code available here: https://github.com/fulldecent/system-bus-radio

If you want to see some radio related software I’ve written, please visit http://www.blackcatsystems.com

Click here to view on YouTube.

That is fascinating, Chris. While I was well aware that computers and mobile devices (of all stripes) produce RFI, I had no idea that it could be used for spying. I love how you’ve manipulated this interference to play a tune! What a creative hack!

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From the Archives: Yes, there is a shortwave…!

Note: Jeff Murray and I posted this last Christmas–I thought it would be fun to dig it out of the archives for this Christmas as well.  Enjoy!


Virginia letter Dash

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no shortwave. Uncle DX Dash! says, “If you see it on the SWLing Post, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a shortwave?

Virginia E. Layer
330 Independence Ave., S.W.

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a digital age. They do not believe what can’t be heard or seen on their smart phone. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by Google. They seek credit cards, not QSL cards.

Yes, Virginia, there is a shortwave. It exists as certainly as sound and circuits and tubes exist, and you know that these abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no shortwave! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no heterodynes, no band openings, no propagation to make tolerable this existence. It would be a world without London Calling.

Not believe in shortwave! You might as well not believe in the ionosphere. You might get your papa to hire men to listen to all of the wi-fi radios of the world, but even if you did not hear shortwave, what would that prove? The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see ground waves dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can casually conceive or imagine all the wonders there are heard and unheard in the listening world. For that, you must wear headphones.

No shortwave! Thank goodness! It lives, and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, shortwave will continue to make glad the hearts of listeners.


Happy Holidays from your friends at Dashtoons and the SWLing Post!

With apologies to The New York Sun.  Our tongue-in-cheek editorial borrows from the timeless classic, “Is There a Santa Claus?” printed in the September 21, 1897, issue of The New York SunClick here to read the original

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Time station CHU in The Empire Strikes Back

Fullscreen capture 12202015 40448 AM

Earlier today, I published a post noting that I thought I heard the time station WWV in a scene of The Empire Strikes Back.

SWLing Post reader, RadioGeek, quickly corrected me: that’s Canadian time station CHU‘s data pips I’m hearing, not circa-1980s WWV.  Cool!

Listen for yourself

Here’s the clip from The Empire Strikes Back, Battle of Hoth

Now listen to the recording of CHU I made only moments ago–note the tone and duration of the data pips:

No wonder I mixed up CHU and WWV; I’ve listened to both for propagation since I was a kid.

I wonder which of the Lucas Film sound engineer(s)/artist(s) chose CHU for this scene? Anyone know, by chance? Or can anyone find out?

No doubt, that sound designer is an SWL or ham radio operator. Perhaps this may also explain the SSB-esque radio dialog between fighter pilots throughout the Star Wars films:

Please comment!

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