[…]It was the late 1990’s in Montclair NJ. A friend played guitar in a local band and wanted to get some air time for a few of their original songs. He knew his chances of getting his tunes played on a commercial FM station hovered somewhere between zero and none. And – this is key – he’d seen Pump Up The Volume and knew that I knew a “bit about radios”.
My friend – I’ll call him “Don” since that was (and still is) his name – wondered if there was some way he could be outfitted with a radio similar to that in Pump Up The Volume, and, if so, what would his range be. I told him that a lot depends on the antenna’s location.
Funny thing about Don: besides being in a rock & roll band, he was also a caretaker for a Montclair church. A church with a very tall belltower. A belltower that he had access to. Do you see where this is going? Furthermore, Don and his wife lived on church property as part of his caretaker responsibilities.[…]
What a divine alignment, John! 🙂 Fantastic story and, I’m sure, one that resonates with many here in the SWLing Post community. Perhaps readers will comment with details about their own “illicit” friends and radio escapades!
If you’re in the market for a used K3S you might want to pay extra diligence to what you’re actually buying.
An eBay seller “xtreme830” is selling Esthetic upgrade kits that can be added to a K3 to make it look like a K3S. As always, buyer beware.
K3S serial numbers begin with #10,000.
Thank you for the warning, John! That’s a little crazy, in fact. I would be most concerned about people buying esthetically altered K3 transceivers at hamfests where one often forgets to check serial numbers. Buyer beware!
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!
From London Shortwave: “It’s official: Radio Australia are no longer on shortwave…”
Four submariners on a surface ship (1989-1990)
Nine of my 10 years in the Navy were spent in the Submarine Service – the other year was spent aboard a research ship operating between Perth, Australia and Singapore. Our mission was to make detailed contour charts of the sea floor in that area using precision fathometers and new-at-the-time GPS.
The detailed charts allow US submarines to get navigational fixes by correlating their soundings with the data we had collected without having to come to periscope depth for a satellite fix, thus the need for a small contingent of submariners on a surface ship. Gathering this data required the ship to stay at sea 28 days at a time, going back and forth in straight lines across the eastern Indian Ocean. At the end of those 28 days we would pull in to either Fremantle or Singapore for a week, then out again.
We enjoyed the sunlight, fresh air and the presence of civilian women onboard (oh, the stories I could tell if this weren’t a family-friendly blog!) but what we missed – and missed greatly – was news from the world. Big things were happening at a fast pace in those days as the Iron Curtain began to crumble and we knew nothing of it for long, event-filled month-long chunks.
There is a huge psychological disconnect that comes with being isolated from the world for a month at a time. We starved for news and any kind of connection to the outside world so, during a port call to Singapore, I bought a Philips D2999 shortwave receiver. It was small enough for shipboard life, ran on AC or batteries and even had a BFO for occasionally listening to hams.
After having it for a few days and mentioning to the other crewmembers various things that were happening around the world, their interest grew and I eventually moved the radio from my stateroom to a common breakroom so that anyone could listen whenever they wanted. For a while we even had a printout of news events – a one-page daily newspaper – that we posted in various locations throughout the ship. Many of us were glued to the radio during the week of events in December 1989 that culminated in the Christmas Day execution of Romanian President Nicolae Ceau?escu.
Some of that news came from the VOA, some from the BBC and even from Radio Moscow. All had good signals into the Indian Ocean area at times. But regardless of time of day or ionospheric conditions, Radio Australia was always there, like a beacon – reliable, dependable and with great fidelity due to no selective fading. It was our primarily source of news.
Frequencies of many stations and the best times to hear them were posted near the radio but everyone knew our two main frequencies for Radio Australia without having to look it up. We listened to Radio Australia so much that the announcers eventually lost their accents.
The beauty and utility of shortwave was introduced to people who otherwise would have had no interest in it. Thanks mainly to Radio Australia, we not only knew what was going on in the world, more importantly, we felt more a part of it and less isolated than we had been before.
The end of Radio Australia and so many other shortwave stations marks the end of an exciting era. What an amazing thing it was, in a pre-internet world, to be able to get information on the high seas, thousands of miles from land.
Farewell, Radio Australia and thanks for the trip down Memory Lane.
And thank you, John, for sharing your memories with us!