Category Archives: Nostalgia

Cold War Sports: High-Speed Telegraphy

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Paul Evans, who shares the following short radio documentary from the BBC World Service:

The end of the Cold War in 1989 spelt the demise of a little-known, but surprisingly popular sport behind the Iron Curtain – high-speed telegraphy competitions. With the help of two of Czechoslovakia’s best former Morse-coders, we revisit the inaugural World Championship in Moscow in 1983 when the Soviet Union rolled out the red carpet for teams from across the Communist bloc. Ashley Byrne reports. The programme is a Made-In-Manchester Production.

Click here to listen to this program via the BBC.

As Paul points out, “HST is still going strong as a sport!” Indeed it is because CW is simply timeless! Thanks for the tip, Paul!

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Los Altos History Museum features “Ham for the Holidays” 

(Source: Southgate ARC)

The Los Altos History Museum serves up “Ham for the Holidays: Amateur Radio Operators, Then and Now,” a historical perspective on how radio hobbyists help keep neighborhoods safe during disasters, in an exhibit appearing in the J. Gilbert Smith House through January 5, 2020.

They say: Tis the season for giving thanks, and around the holidays we are especially grateful for our local amateur radio operators. Known as “hams,” these volunteers help keep our community safe throughout the year at regular public events and during times of crisis. In this exhibit, learn more about the history of hams and how a fun hobby can also keep our neighborhoods prepared and resilient.

The exhibit is free to the public, and open Thursday-Sundays, noon-4pm

https://www.losaltoshistory.org/exhibits/ham-for-the-holidays/

Los Altos History Museum, 51 S. South San Antonio Road, Los Altos, CA, USA

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“The Spy” dramatizes careless use of covert QRP HF CW transmissions

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ed, who writes:

The new 6-part Netflix series ‘The Spy’ about the Mossad agent Eli Cohen (played by Sacha Baron Cohen) who infiltrated Syrian military intelligence from 1962-1965 dramatizes his careless use of QRP HF CW transmissions in Damascus, which were DF’d to track him down.

SWLing Post readers might find the series interesting, especially segments depicting Mossad’s use of covert QRP HF CW transmissions.

Radio-savvy viewers will find unintended humor in the use of a transistor AM radio circuit board, tiny batteries, and no antenna(!) to send CW messages from Damascus to Israel–and in the comical depiction of a Soviet/Syrian radio HF DF van. You’d think a TV series with star power could’ve found a willing ham or film crew member to lend some basic technical expertise.

Links:

Thanks for sharing, Ed! I’m sure this is a great series. And, yes, I suppose this wouldn’t be the first time the movie industry made an attempt at authenticity but fell just a little short! Since that’s such a key part of the film (no pun intended!), you would think they could have consulted an expert to make the setup authentic while preserving the integrity of the scene.

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Behind-the-scenes film of BBC Rampisham Down site circa 1961

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dave Porter, who shares a link to the following BBC Archive video of BBC RMP circa 1961. The BBC posted this video in light of the recent demolition of all but one of the original Rampisham Down towers.

Click here to watch the video on Facebook.

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LRA36 and Radio Kuching QSL Cards

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Schreiber, who writes:

Hi Thomas,

After reading recent SWLing Post articles on LRA36 and Radio Kuching, thought I’d send along these images of QSL cards from both stations – dating back to 1981 and 1977 respectively.

I lived in Colorado at the time and heard both Kuching, Sarawak, and Argentine Antarctica from time to time and was fortunate enough to receive QSL’s.

You’ll notice on the envelope the special postmark of the Esperanza Army Base in Argentine Antarctica. In those days the covers were often as interesting as the cards.

73

Thanks for sharing those QSL cards, Richard! I think this is the first time I’ve seen an LRA36 QSL from the early 80s. Those cars are to be treasured!


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CQ Serenade – Very Cool!

This link was forwarded to our Amateur Radio Club by a member (who is quite proficient in Morse code, unlike me!) and I just had to share it with Thomas and the SWLing gang!

https://www.on6zq.be/w/index.php/Audio/CqSerenadeFr

There is both a French version and an English version of the song, so enjoy them both!

Robert Gulley, K4PKM (formerly AK3Q), is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.       Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

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“The BBC and the Cold War”

A vintage radio from Kim Andre Elliott’s collection.

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kris Partridge, who writes:

With Saturday being the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, BBC OnLine has posted this to commemorate the anniversary:

https://www.bbc.com/historyofthebbc/100-voices/coldwar

The Cold War was the defining global conflict of the second half of the Twentieth Century. Fought across multiple terrains, the “soft power” of international broadcasting placed the BBC on the frontline of the information war.To commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we explore the role the BBC played in communicating our understanding and experience of the Cold War, with the help of newly-released oral history interviews with those involved.

Click here to view this collection of stories and memories at the BBC.

Thanks so much for sharing this, Kris!

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