Category Archives: Radio Memories

Website highlights the history of YLE Radio Finland

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark (VA3MK), who writes:

I found a great website written by the former head of broadcasting in Finland.

I hope this brings back memories of YLE Radio Finland.

I used to listen regularly on 15.400 MHz when they were on the air. Enjoy:

http://www.ulkomaanmedia.net/RFTIMELINE.html

What a fabulous deep dive into YLE Radio Finland history! Thanks for sharing, Mark.

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Can you help John identify a vintage shortwave radio book–?

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John (KC8RZM), who writes:

I wonder if anyone at SWLing can help me identify this book on shortwave listening from my childhood.

It was an older book when I checked it out from the local library mid-1970s but what I remember specifically is that it had a cartoon of a truck driver delivering, and by delivering I mean dropping on the ground, a new shortwave receiver plus the horrified look on the new owners face. The caption read (from memory) “here’s your new radio buddy (or pal).”

I checked that book out of my local library and pestered my parents to buy me a short wave radio kit.

Assembled the kit (probably inhaling a decent amount of lead vapor from the soldering) and started listening.

VOA was one of the first stations I heard and thought…what an interesting place the US sounds like compared to the small isolated Scottish village I grew up in (21-mile journey to school each way on narrow twisting roads that sheep could freely roam on, and did, all the time), what with all that NASA stuff going on there. I can still hear in my head the VOA host that presented a show on jazz.

So that book, SW listening, and VOA started me on the road to becoming an American citizen!

What a fantastic story behind that book, John! I hope one of our amazing readers can help you identify it! Please comment with any helpful info!

UPDATE: Bob solved the mystery! Click here to read the update.

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Radio history videos are a serious benefit of Social Distancing!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Bill Hemphill (WD9EQD), who shares the following guest post:


Benefits to Social Distancing

I have discovered that there is a positive side effect of social distancing.  With so many organizations using Zoom and other video methods for their meeting, the volume of great videos to watch has drastically increased, with most of it residing on YouTube.  Also everyone is sharing video links that they have found with other.

For example, the New Jersey Antique Radio Club (NJARC) has, for some time, posted their monthly meetings on their YouTube channel.  They have very enjoyable presentations.  Last night was their virtual monthly meeting for June and they had a great talk by Prof. Joe Jesson on “What You Did Not Know About the RCA AR88.”

I am a fairly new member to NJARC and must recommend them to others.  They are a very active group and are currently having Zoom conferences weekly between the members.  They also host the RADIO TECHNOLOGY MUSEUM at the InfoAge Technology Center.

Link to NJARC:

http://www.njarc.org/

Link to NJARC YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/user/njarc/

Link to the Radio Technology Museum:

http://www.rtm.ar88.net/

Last week, I received an email from Mark  Erdle (AE2EA) referring to some videos by the Antique Wireless Museum which is hosted by the Antique Wireless Association (AWA).  From his email:

The Radios (and Filming) of “Across the Pacific”  presented by AWA member Brian Harrison.  Brian served as the radio consultant for the 3-hour PBS documentary “Across the Pacific”, which tells the story of the early days of Pan American Airways and of Hugo C. Leuteritz, a RCA radio engineer who helped make Pan Am’s expansion across the oceans possible with radio communication and navigation systems. Brian explains how he worked to insure that this documentary portrayed the pioneering work of Hugo Leuteritz as accurately as possible. Much of the early radio equipment that Pan American used was custom made for Pan Am, and is quite rare today, but Brian hunted it down.

 

In addition to Brian’s video, you can also see Tom Perera’s updated presentation of “Phil Weingarten’s Fabulous Fakes” which was originally presented at the 2007 AWA conference:

Link to AWA:  https://antiquewireless.org/homepage/

Link to AWA You-Tube Channel:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX55peBhzeX1qps_VYXdLBA

Here are some other videos that people have passed along to me that I have found enjoyable.  Most of these are radio-oriented and I have omitted the many cat videos:


Thank you for sharing these links and videos, Bill! I’ve been watching Phil Weingarten’s Fabulous Fakes this morning–what a fascinating bit of history!

Post readers: Have you discovered videos and sites while social distancing (a.k.a. Social DXing)? Please comment and share your links!

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Stamp celebrating 20 years of radio in the German Democratic Republic

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Nils (DO6AN), who shares the gorgeous stamp (above) celebrating twenty years of radio in the DDR.

Thank you, Nils!

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Reunited with an old friend…

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Marwan Baayoun, who writes in response to our recent post about radio regrets:

For me, my biggest regret was when in November 2018 I sold my well-protected Sony ICF-SW77.

I bought it brand new over the phone from Universal Radio. My ICF-SW77 was my side kick and went with me everywhere. I remember working the second shift at a publishing company, I would always eat my lunch outside while listening to any international broadcasters I could catch like the BBC, Radio Havana Cuba, Deutsche Welle, or the VOA.

I remember how my co-workers reworded the saying “Life Without A Wife, Is Like A Kitchen Without A Knife” to “Life Without A Wife, Is Like Marwan Without His Shortwave Radio.”

When I got married, my best friend invited us to visit with his wife and children at their house in Upstate New York. He even bought one of the tickets as his way in helping me paying for the fares. I remember the night we arrived at his house me pulling my ICF-SW77 and tuning it to the BBC World Service because we all wanted to get the latest on a sad piece of news that was just breaking that made us, and almost everyone in North America and around the world, stare at TV sets hoping for the best. Then Tom Brokaw came on to announced something that we, and others who were listening to the BBC World Service, had already knew 15 minutes earlier: the sad news the Lady Dianna did not survive the car crash.

My friend was impressed with what shortwave radios could bring to the table.

In the last month I went on a binge and bought a used Realistic DX-440 (love this radio BTW, very nice), and all new XHDATA D-808, Tecsun PL-880, and Tecsun PL-680. I also bought but then returned a Sangean ATS-909X.

To close on a happy note, today I received an almost brand new Sony ICF-SW77 that I bought from a very kind gentleman on eBay–he was willing to accept my fifty dollars less than his asking price offer.

My happiness is beyond expression. I would have never thought I would be able to re-unite again with one of these radios in a condition that is identical to the one I sold. He kept it very well. I tried to find a scratch or a piece of dust on this radio but couldn’t. Not only that, it also came with it the original box, very well kept manual and “Catch the Waves” booklet, (I gave mine to the gentleman who bought my radio, so it was sweet that they were replaced with this purchase). My new ICF-SW77 seller just did not have the power adapter that came with this radio, which is fine with me. I can always find a third party power adapter to buy.

I feel so lucky I am once again an owner of one of these awesome radios.

What an amazing story, Marwan, and I’m so glad you’ve been reunited with an IC-SW77!

Radio love is a funny thing and hard to compare with any fondness one might have of other consumer electronics. For example, I’ve never lamented over the loss of a laptop, iPhone, or iPod–but, like you, I have indeed regretted parting with radios. I know many of you feel the same way.

To me, radios feel much more like companions who share the world with you–through travels and over the air.

I’m happy to hear you’ve got your companion back, Marwan!

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Have you ever regretted saying goodbye to a radio?

A lot of radios come through SWLing Post HQ each year.

Over the years, I’d like to think that I’ve become immune to the effects of giving away, trading, or selling radios that have been in the shack for a while. But let’s face it: I’m just fooling myself!

I sold both my Hammarlund SP-600 and Hallicrafters SX-99 at the Shelby Hamfest.

As I’ve said before, I find it much easier to part with modern portables, transceivers, and SDRs than I do with vintage gear.  With modern gear, I feel like there’s always something new around the corner, thus it’s easy to justify. Plus, I take in so many units on loan for evaluation and review, I see them come in the door and go back out. Occasionally, I like one so much I buy it, but there’s not a lot of attachment. I’m not a “fan boy” of any modern company either, so I don’t intentionally collect rigs.

Ah, but the vints…

I’m a nostalgic guy, so vintage gear comes with more emotional attachment.

Over the years, I’ve had to part with a number of boat anchors because, frankly, I always need a clear space in the shack for evaluating gear and my shack is rather compact. (For example, at one point last year, I had three transceivers here for evaluation all at the same time.)

My Hammarlund SP-600was a very tough one to let go of. I justified it by selling the big girl to my good friend Charlie (W4MEC) who had actually helped me replace some of her capacitors at one point. The SP-600 was simply too deep and too large to fit even on my over-sized radio shelves–especially if mounted in a chassis. Charlie has a much better setup for rack-mounted “heavy metal.” She’s got a good home now.

The Scott Marine Radio Model SLRM

There are two vintage sets I’ll never sell: my Signal Corps BC-348-Q and my Scott Marine SLRM (photo above). How much do I love these radios? My wife has strict instructions to “put’em in the casket with me!”

There are only two portable radios I regret selling: my original RadioShack DX-440 and my Grundig YB400.

I did snag this DX-440 last year at the Huntsville Hamfest

No doubt, I miss these radios because they both served me for so many years. We traveled many countries together both on the ground and through the airwaves.

Parting is such sweet sorrow…

A number of readers have confessed that they regretted selling their RF-2200.

Have you ever regretted parting with a radio? Please comment with the model and why it was special to you. I’d also love to hear about the models you currently own and would never consider selling or giving away.

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Radio memories on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive

The Shortwave Radio Audio Archive (SRAA) is a pure labor of love. I founded the SRAA back in 2012 as a place to archive and freely share off-air recordings shortwave radio enthusiasts have made over the years.

I fund the archive out of my own back pocket and the site is open to everyone free of charge. All of the recordings in the archive are safely stored in multiple off-site locations as well as in the archive’s online database.

We currently have over 2,400 RSS and podcast subscribers who automatically download each recording as it’s published. Many of these subscribers have a copy of the full archive at home.

All of the recordings come from our amazing contributors who take the time to digitize or share recordings with us.

Radio memories

One of the things I truly enjoy about the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive are all of the memories listeners leave in the comments section.

I was just reading through a few comments and thought I’d share a selection here. Note I’ve linked to each recording if you’d like to take a listen:

Comment from Heikki on Super Rock KYOI: September 13, 1983:

January 1985 to December 1986 I was a soldier in Soviet army at far east of Soviet Union.

Actually listening [to] this radio station was strongly prohibited for Soviet soldiers because Soviet communist propaganda [claimed] that rock’n roll music is not suitable for Soviet people. We [listened] anyway.

Once I switched this broadcasting into our military base public loudspeakers so Super Rock KYOI sounds widely and loud all around for all people. It lasted about 20 minutes.

After this incident the KGB agents [were] interested about me. Why I did it? Am I anti-Soviet propagandist or something? Actually, it was a good reason to put me into the prison for some years. Estonian guys in Soviet occupation army loved very much this radio station. It was only way to listen world’s newest music.

Comment from Ian Donaldson on 1991 cassette of shortwave IDs, interval signals and numbers stations:

Brought back many memories listening to your recordings, which seems a 100 years ago. I was a DXer in the 1970’s as a boy in southern Victoria. I had a radiogram with one shortwave band; no bandspread. My one compensation was living on a farm, and consequently, having ample room for long wires, etc. I remember listening to Radio Nacional de Espana during the days of Franco, and hearing very militaristic music at the beginning of their broadcast. When I wrote to Radio Peking, I received a picture book, calendar depicting impossibly happy peasants, etc. I sent a report to the BBC and thought that they didn’t take the bother of replying to me. A postcard of Big Ben came 12 months later. They had sent it via surface mail! During the Cold War, stations were jammed out, and I would hear day and night, high-pitched singing, which I learned later to be Peking Opera. I remember an announcement on VOA, which said: “This is the Voice of America, the following programme is in Special English”. And then It began: “President Nixon, today…..”, very slowly. So, thank you for allowing me to reminisce.

Comment from Mark Fahey on WRNO (Glenn Hauser’s World of Radio): April 11 & 25, 1982:

OMG!! This recording includes a news item about the pirate I ran in the 1980’s Radio CBN! Ha so cool! It was a slick operation, I built a fully featured professional studio for the station in my home and all of our on-air personalities actually used the station to launch professional careers at stations including TV New Zealand, CNN, Sky News, Radio Singapore and various Australian AM and FM stations. I’m so pleased hearing this – never head Glenn’s report back in the day. The transmitter was an FT-101 which I modified for broadcast quality AM bandwidth transmission and I used various antennas over time including verticals and half wave dipoles. We did eventually get received in the USA. We even received reports from Jerry Berg and eventually Glenn Hauser himself.

I still have all the reports, broadcast tapes and even blank QSL cards. I married one of the DJs (Shannon LaGuardia) and shut down the station when I needed the studio for another project.

Cheers,
Mark Fahey
Australia

Comment from Gino Galea Malta Wedding Photographer on Final sign off of BFBS Malta: March 31, 1979:

During the seventies, I had the luxury to tune in regularly to BFBS-MALTA, transmitting from St.Frances Ravelin, in Floriana, nowadays housing the MEPA offices.

This was associated with top quality entertainment varying from the latest UK pop music released in the charts to sports, particularly football, the golden oldies, Country music, the very latest news, interviews, etc. My favourite programs during those days were of course, the weekly UK TOP TWENTY. Another favourite has to be BFBS UK, aired daily in the afternoon, both presented by by the legendary Tommy Vance. I’ll never forget the other top presenters such as Richard Astbury, (Being the last station Controller) with his very own “Pop Around Europe”. Other top-class presenters were Richard Caperon, Alan Clough, Chris Russell, John Crabtree, P.McD, and Paul Gambaccini. Another favourite was “Solid Gold Singles” with Don Durbridge.

Christmas time with BFBS was also unique. We had the luxury to tune in to those amazing Christmas and ‘New Year’s Eve’ rich entertainment. That included the live charity program “Ring us up” which left its mark here in Malta to the extent that it inspired other local stations to come up with similar productions, even to this very day in support of the local charities! Being a student, BFBS MALTA was indeed a boost in my studies, particularly the language and current affairs.

Yes, I must admit that on the 31st March 1979, I really missed BFBS MALTA together with its great presenters. Although nowadays we have many other quality radio stations here BFBS MALTA always remained so very special.
Gino Galea

PS: I can also personally confirm that this clip is indeed the original voice, aired just minutes before the final closure by the station controller, Richard Astbury.

Many thanks, again, to all of our SRAA contributors! When your recordings are posted on the archive, they’re instantly shared with enthusiasts, historians, archivists, and (even) musicians around the world.

As you can see above, off-air recordings also bring back amazing memories for listeners.

Join us

You can subscribe to the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive as a podcast via iTunes or by using the following RSS feed: http://shortwavearchive.com/archive?format=rss You can also listen via TuneIn.

Of course, one of the best ways to listen to recordings and read all of the recording notes is by visiting the SRAA website.

If you’d like to contribute your recordings to the archive, check out this page.


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