Tag Archives: Landon (KF4CAU)

The story behind Landon’s Realistic DX-160

Landon's 15 year old son with his Realistic DX-160

Landon’s 15 year old son, Seth, with his Realistic DX-160

After posting Landon Reynold’s excellent listener post a few days ago, Landon added details about his Realistic DX-160. Landon writes:

Something I didn’t share in my original post, was that this DX-160 is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm!

Landon's shortwave listening post and coffee maker. All of the essentials.

Landon’s shortwave listening post and coffee maker inside the aircrew tent during Desert Storm.

I retired from the Tennessee Air Guard/USAF in 2004, having served 20 years as an Aeromedical Evacuation Specialist, flying Air Evac missions. In addition to having served in Desert Storm, I also flew air evac missions during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

My Shortwave Radio Setup

But … back in 1990-1991 when I deployed to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, I took the DX-160 along with me. For an antenna, I used the pictured military surplus antenna, which I would string along our tent, or any other attachment I could find a place to attach it. The antenna was one I had purchased years before, and had used with the AN/GRR-5.


When we were not flying missions, or filling sandbags, we’d often sit around the tent, tuning in shortwave stations, or listening aircraft such as the A-10s calling in their strike reports. They actually used HF radio and sent their reports in the clear on sideband.

I also realized after I had re-read my original post, that I may have led the impression that I purchased this particular DX-160 on eBay. In fact, I purchased it in a thrift shop in Erin, Tennessee back in 1989, before I went off to Desert Storm. I’ve purchased several other radios, such as Realistic Patrolman Scanners, Bearcat Scanners, etc. on eBay for my collection.

Monitor Station Registry KTN4CX (4 January 1989)

Another scan I thought you might be interested in, is the latter, which was from CRB Research Books, owned by the late Tom Kneitel, K2AES. Many DXers who have been around for awhile are most likely familiar with the works of Tom Kneitel, as he wrote many books on the hobby, especially those about monitoring the military and utilities. I have several of his books in my library.


Landon, many thanks for sharing this history and photos of your DX-160 throughout the years! It must give you great pride to see your son, Seth, taking an interest in the hobby with the DX-160.

Any other readers have a Monitoring Station Registry certificate from CRB Research? Though I knew about the certificates, for some reason I never obtained one back in the day. And Landon thanks for reminding me about Tom Kneitel; he was certainly one of the pillars of our hobby for many, many years.

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Listener Post: Landon (KF4CAU)

SP600Dial3Landon’s radio story is the latest in our series called Listener Posts, where I place all of your personal radio histories. If you would like to add your story to the mix, simply send your story by email!

In the meantime, many thanks to Landon for sharing his personal radio history:

Landon (KF4CAU)

PopularElectronicsMy interests in SWL’ing began back when I was a teen, in the 1970’s. I was inspired by two of my maternal uncles, who as teens, had started out pretty much as I was at the time, when they were teens in the 1960’s. One of them had also given me his collection of 1960’s era ‘Popular Electronics’ and ‘Electronics Illustrated’ magazines, which were filled with information about the hobby of radio monitoring.

The neighbors next door to my grandmother, an elderly couple, had a shortwave radio, which I can remember listening to out on their patio in the summer. Another neighbor of mine, had an old AN/GRR-5 military receiver, which I was infatuated with.

I spent much of my childhood monitoring the AM Broadcast Band, seeking out far away stations, until I finally got my own shortwave radio.

I had acquired a used transistor radio that had some of the shortwave bands on it, and began picking up what I could. Transistor radios were a new thing back in those days.

ANGRR-5Finally, when I turned 16, I got my first job as an orderly at the local hospital. I saved my money, and purchased my own AN/GRR-5 from Fair Radio Sales. I was hooked! I still have that radio today.

I remember I used to salivate over the Allied Radio, Lafayette Radio, and Radio Shack catalogs, dreaming of someday owning a ‘good’ receiver, like the Realistic DX-160. And today … I have one that I purchased on e-Bay! Yes, it’s outdated, but I purchased it more for nostalgia, as well as listening to now and then.

Through the years, I’ve purchased and owned a lot of shortwave radios, and now, as a licensed amateur radio operator, I own some of the latest equipment. Yet, I like going back and listening to the ‘old school’ equipment for the nostalgia of it all.

Realistic DX-160 (Source: Universal Radio)

Realistic DX-160 (Source: Universal Radio)

Last night (Jan 31, 2015), I sat with my 15 year old son, who has recently gotten an interest in shortwave and ham radio. As we sat there and he scanned across the SWL bands, I saw myself, and I saw the excitement in him that I had begun with. His first experience last night was tuning across the bands with the 70’s era Realistic DX-160!

Some of my favorite memories are tuning in HCJB in Quito, Ecuador, and receiving QSL cards from far away stations. Today, decades later, I still have those QSL cards, program guides, and yes … the collection of 1960’s era radio magazines my uncles gave me.

Some things change, and some things never will.

Many thanks, Landon, for sharing your memories with us!

If I ever find a AN/GRR-5 in good shape, I will snatch it up! You must have had some great memories listening to that military receiver. Amazingly, Fair Radio Sales, in Lima, Ohio, is still very much in business. I hope to visit their store next time I’m in the area (possibly for the Dayton Hamvention).

Ironically, you mention the Realistic DX-160 and only a couple days ago, Dan Robinson shared a video of a DX-160 he recently purchased that was still “NIB” (new in box). The DX-160 is a great rig, as Dan demonstrates in this video:

Thanks again, Landon, and I encourage other SWLing Post readers and contributors to submit their own listener post!  Tell us how you became interested in radio!  

Update: for more background on Landon’s DX-160, read this additional post.

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