Category Archives: Nostalgia

School of the Air celebrates 60 years and a vision of independence

(Source: ABC News vi Kim Elliott)

Parents of children in South Australia’s outback are calling for the state’s School of the Air to become independent so it has more control over how students learn.

The school at Port Augusta in the state’s north has marked its 60th anniversary of delivering lessons to students in remote areas.

When the school began in 1958, lessons were given via high frequency (HF) radio, but are now done over the internet.

In 1991, the School of the Air amalgamated with the SA Correspondence School to become Open Access College, which is based in Adelaide.

At a recent meeting in Port Augusta, the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association called for the School of the Air to become an autonomous education provider.

The association’s north-west branch president Lynly Kerin said it was “no longer beneficial or manageable” for the school to be part of the college, and that its 49 students were being overlooked in the college’s cohort of 5,600 students.

Ms Kerin said the School of the Air community felt “overshadowed by decisions being made by people who may not understand the needs of our kids out here in remote areas”.

“At the very least, we request that the Minister look at an investigation into the change that we’re proposing,” she said.[…]

Continue reading at ABC News.

Ulis spots a brilliant radio illustration in Archer

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ulis, who shares the screenshot above–from the FX series Archer–via Twitter and notes:

I agree!  Kudos to the Archer team! That’s a brilliant and intricate illustration for an animated series. Thank you for sharing, Ulis!

I’ll add this post to our growing archive of radios in film.

Radio World features a tribute to the Zenith Transoceanic

Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post contributors who’ve shared a link to this excellent article by Denny Sanders in Radio World Magazine about the history of the Zenith Transoceanic:

Zenith Trans-Oceanic Radio in War and Peace

This iconic portable receiver was known for durability and quality

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Nothing proves this more than the story of how the iconic Zenith Trans-Oceanic portable radio receiver came into existence.

Commander Eugene McDonald (1886–1958), the founder of Zenith Radio, was a stickler for quality and insisted that any Zenith product represented cutting edge technology and design integrity.

He was also an accomplished yachtsman. During his many ocean voyages, he constantly was frustrated with the inability of any portable commercial radio set to perform reliably at sea. In about 1939, he ordered the Zenith R&D department to come up with a rock-solid, portable AM receiver sensitive enough to pull in signals from great distances. He insisted that the radio be a multi-band unit including shortwave, marine and aircraft bands.

The Zenith crew came up with a gem: the Trans-Oceanic, a gorgeous piece of engineering housed in a robust and dramatic cabinet designed by the brilliant Zenith industrial designer Robert Davol Budlong.[…]

Continue reading the full article at Radio World Magazine online.

A bookish radio: The Listener by E.R. Fone

A radio disguised as book – ‘The Listener’ by E. R. Fone. c.1920s.

I discovered a photo of the The Listener by E.R. Fone via Dan Wilson’s Twitter feed. What a fascinating piece of vintage gear!

Post readers: Any other radios in disguise that you’ve discovered?  Please share links, photos and/or details in the comments section!

Dan spots the ultra rare Hammarlund SP-600 JX21A on eBay

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dan Robinson, who discovered a very rareHammarlund SP-600 JX21A on eBay. Dan writes:

Collectors of classic boatanchor gear know what has been probably the rarest of tube sets year after year, decade after decade. That set is the Hammarlund SP-600 JX21A.

While there have been numerous JX21s on eBay, there has not been, to my memory, a single JX21A appearing. This particular model was a version of the SP-600 that was produced in small quantities in the 1960’s, and according to one writeup was the only one with a product detector and switchable sidebands. According to Radiomuseum it was the last model in the SP-600 series, and was recognizable for its knobs which were different because the silkscreen information was printed directly on the front panel rather than on the edge of the knob skirts.

According to Les Locklear’s excellent history of SP-600 models, the JX21A was produced between 1969 and 1972.

Now, an ultra-rare SP-600 JX21A has appeared on eBay. Like other models in the series, this would likely require replacement of numerous capacitors and a thorough refurbishment. The seller in this case has started bidding at a very low level, but if history is any guide, a rare model like this one may indeed go for thousands of dollars when all is said and done at the end of the auction.

Click here to view the Hammarlund SP-600 JX21A on eBay.

Amazing!  Thank you for sharing, Dan! What a gorgeous set. Though the seller states it’s in need of restoration, I’m pretty sure this one will get snagged up at end of auction. I’m very curious where the final price will land.

Are there any SWLing Post readers who own an SP-600 model–or the JX21A?  Please comment!