Tag Archives: Autism Radio

Remembering radio enthusiast Jay Smilkstein

I’ve only attended the Winter SWLFest for  four years thus far, yet the friends I’ve made there have become like family. It shouldn’t be a surprise, really; we’re all passionate about radio and things related to radio and broadcasting. It’s an event where we can be who we are–no need to explain to these compatriots why you like tuning in shortwave stations, while the internet seems (at least to everyone else) to be so much easier.

Jay had a strong interest in AM DXing, tube gear, amplifiers and, I learned this year, IF filter design.

Jay Smilkstein, 1961-2012.

Our friend Jay was, I believe, at the higher-functioning end of the autism spectrum.  While Jay had some social hang-ups and behaviors that made some uncomfortable, fortunately, at the SWLFest, there were a number of folks who went out of their way to take Jay under a wing, assist him with personal interactions, and generally welcome him back  each year.

I’m pretty sure that he considered the SWLFest, and many he’d interacted with over the airwaves, his radio family, too.

Jay passed away suddenly from a heart attack two days ago, on Monday, March 12th, 2012.

As my friend, David, phrased it:  Long may you ride the radio waves you loved so much.


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