Tag Archives: Nostalgia

Radio Waves: B&W to Color, Antenna Wins, Hearing Voices in the Walls, and Beached Whales

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Ron, Paul Walker, and Troy Riedel for the following tips:


Colorizing black and white photos (Antique Radio Forum)

Ron shares this link to a discussion about vintage black and white photos that have been auto-colorized.[]

State law protects ham radio operator, frustrates neighbors in Windsor Twp. (York Dispatch)

A Windsor Township resident whose neighbors are upset over her amateur radio tower is within her rights to have the antenna on her property, township officials confirmed Monday.

An engineer went out to the site in the 400 block of White Rose Lane to inspect the 40-foot tower and ensure it didn’t pose a safety threat to neighbors, township engineer Chris Kraft told the board of supervisors at a meeting Monday.

“Based on that review, we feel the tower is structurally safe,” he said.

Lindsey Fowler is the homeowner who built the tower on her property last September. Fowler is a licensed amateur radio operator, according to Federal Communications Commission records, and her license is valid through December 2021.

[…]Marc McClure, one of the neighbors who lives near Fowler, told the board in October that he and several other neighbors were opposed to the tower and said it should be removed, according to minutes from the Oct. 21 board meeting.

McClure said the tower was an eyesore in the neighborhood and that he and others were concerned about the structural safety of the tower were it to fall, as well as the potential unknown health hazards from exposure to radio frequencies.

The neighbors were also worried about a decrease in their property values, McClure said.

[…]In Pennsylvania, amateur radio operators’ rights are protected by state statute, and municipalities are not allowed to unreasonably restrict the installation of towers fewer than 65-feet high.

And now that the township has confirmed there’s no safety risk to Fowler’s neighbors, township officials said the dispute is outside of their purview.[]

Lockport family says mysterious voices, music come from house’s walls; local radio station may be source (ABC 7)

LOCKPORT, Ill. (WLS) — A family in Lockport said strange sounds, including music and talk radio, has been coming out of their walls and keeping them up at night off and on for about six years.

“There are voices in the wall and I don’t know what it is,” said 9-year-old Brianna Smith.

It may sound like an episode of the popular Netflix show “Stranger Things,” but the mysterious sounds Brianna is hearing are real.

“It has been waking me up at night,” she said.

The sounds are coming from the bedroom walls of her home in the middle of the night.

“It kind of keeps us up at night,” explained Brianna’s father Richard.

Richard said the family doesn’t have any speakers in their walls. He captured some of the late night noise on his phone and sent it to the ABC7 I-Team. The music was faint, but the I-Team could hear it.

“It’s one of our favorite songs, but not at 10 o’clock at night,” Richard said.

Richard Smith called Lockport police, who took two detailed reports about the bizarre problem. In one, the officer noted that he could hear “voices and music” and “talking about Christ.” Then the officer said he heard a commercial for the Christian radio station AM 1160.[]

The Surprising Way Solar Storms Can Beach Whales (Spaceweater.com)

Space weather isn’t just for humans. Whales are experiencing it, too. A new study published this week in the research journal Current Biology shows that solar storms can confuse whales and cause them to strand on beaches–and the mechanism is surprising. Get the full story on Spaceweather.com.[]


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Radio West catalog at American Radio History

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Zack Schindler, who writes:

Oh this brings back memories. I bought a lot of stuff from Radio West. Here is their catalog from 1983. Had them install a Collins mechanical filter in my Kenwood R-1000.

Click here to download Radio West Catalog 5 (PDF).

Thanks for sharing this bit of retail nostalgia, Zack!  This download is one of thousands available at the excellent American Radio History website.

Any other patrons of Radio West?  Please comment!

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Mindaugas Macijauskas’ stunning radio poster

Radio enthusiast, Mindaugas Macijauskas, has recently shared a graphics project he’s been working on for quite a few months. Mindaugas writes (on Facebook):

Few months ago I’ve started my little spare time project – “Longwave, mediumwave & shortwave bands” poster. So, I’m happy to announce that poster & wallpaper are ready to download!

Available for free in multiple sizes & formats at: https://macijauskas.org/shortwave/

This is initial, 1st edition so some errors might occur. In that case – please PM me.

Currently it’s a bit simpler version, than I’ve initially intended to create. But for this one decided to use “less is more” philosophy.

Had some issues with PDF making, so not all sizes currently are available. I’ll try to fix this within a week or so. On the other hand – tried to print 30×40 cm (12X16 inch) jpeg file at photo lab – and this went exceptionally well.

If you like my my work – you can support it via PayPal. Link is in website.

Very well done, Mindaugas! This is a gorgeous poster and is now the wallpaper on one of my PC monitors.

Click here to download the poster and support Mindaugas’ project. 

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Holiday Memories: A simple transistor radio…

Have you ever received a gift that had a major positive impact on your life?

One year, I received a gift that really opened the world of radio listening and, eventually, amateur radio.

It was a Realistic Model 23-464 portable AM transistor radio. It was the very first radio that, as a kid, was completely my own–!

The Realistic Model 23-464.

Although it had a super simple dial and was incredibly basic, I absolutely loved it. It was through this radio that I discovered the world of night time mediumwave propagation. I remember plugging in the single earpiece in the side of the radio, laying in bed at night, and tuning in distant signals. Although selectivity left something to be desired, sensitivity was excellent.

I can’t remember if I eventually gave this little radio away or simply lost it in one of the dozens of moves I made early in my career. Three years ago, I purchased another one on eBay for no other reason than the warm memories.

Have you ever received a radio as a holiday gift and is it tied to any special memories? Of course, we’re talking about any holiday–Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Easter, or any other religious or secular holiday.

Please comment and share your memories!

Here’s wishing everyone Happy Holidays!  


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WI2XLQ: Brian Justin’s annual longwave broadcast

Canadian Reginald Aubrey Fessenden in his lab believed circa 1906 (Source: Radio Canada International)

(Source: ARRL News via Harald Kuhl)

The Canadian inventor, experimenter, and entrepreneur Reginald Fessenden has been credited as the inventor of radiotelephony. Fessenden claimed to have made his first voice — and music — broadcast on Christmas Eve in 1906 from Brant Rock, Massachusetts, although his account is disputed. As he has done each December for the past few years, Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, of Forest, Virginia, will transmit a program on 486 kHz, under authority of his FCC Part 5 Experimental License WI2XLQ ito commemorate Fessenden’s accomplishments.

Justin will transmit for at least 24 hours starting at around 2000 UTC on December 24, with a repeat transmission on New Year’s Eve likely, “keeping in step with what Fessenden was reported to have done on both nights in 1906,” Justin explained.Fessenden’s transmitter was most likely a high-speed “dynamo” or alternator — a predecessor to the later Alexanderson alternator — modulated by placing a carbon microphone in series with the antenna feed line to create an amplitude modulated signal. Fessenden a few years earlier had limited success making voice transmissions using a rotary spark gap transmitter. Fessenden fed his signal into a substantial antenna system erected in Brant Rock for his experiments. Accounts say on Christmas Eve 1906, he transmitted recordings of two pieces of music and read a verse from the bible.

Justin will use somewhat more modern equipment — a home-brew master oscillator, power amplifier (MOPA) transmitter based on a classic design from the early 1920s. It uses a UV-201 oscillator tube driving a VT-25 tube — a modern equivalent to a UV-202 — to generate “a few watts” on 486 kHz. His modulator consists of another VT-25, which uses a large inductor in the RF amplifier’s plate supply to serve as a Heising modulator. The audio program comes from a laptop computer.

“Heising modulation was used in World War I as an easy way to achieve AM in rigs such as those used in aircraft,” Justin said. “My particular Heising modulator can deliver only around 60% modulation, so an audio processor is used to help boost the average volume level ahead of the modulator tube.”

Justin uses far more modern technology to boost “the few watts” of modulated RF to drive a modified Hafler 9505 solid-state 500-W audio amplifier. “The idea for the amp came from W1TAG and W1VD,” he said, “and information on using such an amp on the 630 and 2200-meter ham bands can be found on the web.” After a multi-pole low-pass filter, the carrier output is 150 W.

Justin’s antenna is a Marconi T, crafted from a 160-meter dipole some 60 feet above ground and fed with open-wire line, which is shorted at the transmitter end. A homebrew variometer — constructed from 14-gauge wire wound on a piece of 4-inch diameter PVC pipe — is placed in series to resonate the antenna, which is fed against an extensive ground system. “Most of the RF is lost due to the ohmic losses of the ground system, but at least 15 W ERP is possible, depending on the dampness of the soil. Damp soil helps lower the ground losses,” Justin said.

Click here to read the full article on the ARRL News.

Listener reports may be sent to Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, at his QRZ.com address.

If you would like more information about Brian Justin and WI2XLQ, check out our interview with him in 2013. Indeed, I successfully heard the 2013 WG2XFG broadcast and posted this audio clip on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

Additionally, SWLing Post reader, George Stein has a very personal connection with radio pioneer, Reginald Fessenden: click here to read his story.

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1961 Film: “Tuning In Radio Sarawak”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Adid, who writes:

Hi Thomas, I just watched this very interesting DX film about RADIO SARAWAK.

It’s a behind the scenes look at radio in the tropics, with great vintage gear.

I don’t think it was FM as it’s was much expensive and coverage is limited. But on the other hand we don’t see the large MW antennas

What do you think?

Click here to view the film at the Imperial War Museum website.

Good question, Adid. The FM band wasn’t widely included on radios until the late 1950s and early 1960s. Since this film dates from 1961, I imagine some of those new transistor/valve radios could have included FM, although I imagine mediumwave was the choice band for regional broadcasts.

Hopefully, an SWLing Post reader can shed some more light on Radio Sarawak’s history! Please comment!

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The radio man of Kumartuli

Set against this unlikely backdrop, Amit Ranjan Karmakar’s little shop is easy to miss. In his mid-60s, the ‘radio man’ of Kumartuli sits surrounded by radio sets of all sizes and vintages. (Express photo: Shashi Ghosh)

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Kim Elliott, who shares a link to this short but fantastic photo pdoc about Kumartuli’s radio man, Amit Ranjan Karmakar.

Click here to view at The Indian Express.

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