Category Archives: Nostalgia

CBC: “1940s transmitter finds new home in old jail”

Some of you might recall our story about this 1940s RCA transmitter–here’s is the follow-up:

(Source: CBC via Mike Hansgen)

The massive transmitter is being moved from the former RCI site to the former Dorchester jail

Bill Steele is a collector of odd things. A year ago, for example, he bought the site of the last double hanging in New Brunswick.

His latest purchase is less morbid but also a rare find: a massive 1940 shortwave transmitter that once broadcast Canada’s stories around the world.

The transmitter was installed around the end of the Second World War and used until the 1970s. The Radio Canada International site outside Sackville continued to broadcast, but the 50 kW transmitter, five metres long and 2½ metres wide, was decommissioned and used as a showpiece.

The RCI property was bought in February 2017 by Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn Inc., which had no use for the non-functioning equipment and put it up for sale.

Steele couldn’t help himself.

“I like weird and unusual stuff,” he said. “That’s why I’m putting it in my jail.”

He bought his jail — now a gym and bed and breakfast — last year as a retirement project. Guests bunk in a decommissioned jail cell.

The jail built in the 19th century was where the Bannister brothers of Berry Mills were hanged for murder in 1936, the last double hanging in the province.

Steele’s enthusiasm for historical objects is infectious even when he talks about the paperwork that comes with his latest purchase.

[…]Steele is hoping anyone with stories about the transmitter will share them with him on his Dorchester jail Facebook page, because, as Steele is the first to admit, this isn’t his area of expertise.

“I’ve never touched a shortwave radio, but look it, I’m going to have the biggest one in Canada.”

Click here to view at the CBC website.

A carpenter “who carves vintage radio sets”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kim Elliott, who shares the following story from the Odisha Sun Times:

Bhubaneswar: Only a lucky few get to live and breathe their passion and Rajendra Sahu, a carpenter, is one of them.

From Odisha’s capital city of Bhubaneswar, Sahu steals time to give shape to his imagination. He has been carving radios of varied shapes and sizes since past decade-and-half.

“I make radios just because it makes me happy. I return from work by 7 pm and start with the daily ritual of making radio,” said Rajendra. He prepares the cabinet with plywood, sunmica and cane whereas the circuit board is affixed from discarded ones.

“It takes around five days to assemble a radio. I browse through online sites looking for designs,” said Rajendra, who also collects antique radio sets from various parts of Odisha.

“I grew up listening to the radio. There’s a charm to it that the gadgets today fail to deliver. My father too was very fond of them. He would make radios, but I learnt to make them by myself,” he added.[…]

Continue reading the full story at the Odisha Sun Times.

Mario spots a rare J.I.L. Communications Receiver SX-400 on eBay

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mario Filippi, who writes:

Hope you are doing well. Spotted this J.I.L. receiver on eBay, never heard of this unit before.

Click here to view on eBay.

Thanks for the tip, Mario! This is a new one for me as well–what an interesting stack-able set of up/down converters. RigPix has a few more details.

Post readers: Can anyone comment about this until or its performance on the HF bands?

“Empire of the Air” – a history of radio broadcasting

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike Hansgen, who notes that Ken Burns’ film, Empire of the Air is now streaming on YouTube. This impressive documentary was originally broadcast in 1992.  The following is a summary taken from the Empire of the Air website:

For 50 years radio dominated the airwaves and the American consciousness as the first “mass medium.” In Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio, Ken Burns examines the lives of three extraordinary men who shared the primary responsibility for this invention and its early success, and whose genius, friendship, rivalry and enmity interacted in tragic ways. This is the story of Lee de Forest, a clergyman’s flamboyant son, who invented the audion tube; Edwin Howard Armstrong, a brilliant, withdrawn inventor who pioneered FM technology; and David Sarnoff, a hard-driving Russian immigrant who created the most powerful communications company on earth.

Against the backdrop of radio’s “Golden Age,” Empire of the Air relates the history of radio through archival photographs, newsreels of the period and interviews with such well-known radio personalities as Garrison Keillor, the late sports commentator Red Barber, radio dramatist Norman Corwin and the late broadcast historian Erik Barnouw.

As with many videos on YouTube, this film could be removed at any time without warning. I suggest watching this soon:

Click here to view on YouTube.

The Muzen OTR: A handcrafted salute to Radio Caroline

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John Harper (AE5X), who writes:

I thought you and your readers might be interested in this […] a cool little radio I learned about from the YouTube channel of a drone flyer I follow.
I like the craftsmanship:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Many thanks for sharing this, John!

I’ve actually been following the Muzen OTR for several months via Indiegogo thanks to my buddy and radio-enabler, David Korchin (K2WNW).

If the name Muzen sounds familiar, it’s likely because we featured the company last year in this post. After publishing the post, I was so interested in Muzen products, I reached out to a retailer who used to be a US distributor. Sadly, he no longer carried Muzen products, though he was a big fan.

The Muzen OTR is $69 US shipped. For an FM radio, Bluetooth, AUX-in speaker that’s handcrafted, with serious audio fidelity, in such a small size, I think it’s quite a good deal. On top of that 10% of the funding will go to Radio Caroline.

Even though I’m going through a serious down-sizing at the moment, John’s note prompted me to back this campaign, so I bit the bullet this morning and ordered a Muzen OTR. [In a sarcastic tone: “Thank’s a lot, John!”] Ha ha!

Click here to check out the Muzen OTR on Indiegogo.