Tag Archives: Nostalgia

Mark spots radios in the original “Hawaii Five Oh”

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mark Hirst, who writes:

Thomas,

I recently picked up a couple of DVD boxsets of Hawaii Five Oh from my local charity shop.

These old shows are always an interesting watch, giving insights into fashions, cars, cultural norms and story lines from the time.

I spotted these radios, sometimes used for exposition or just props in various episodes.

Mark

Thank you for sharing, Mark! I bet readers can recognize all of these fine vintage radios! The top photo might be the trickiest in terms of narrowing down the exact model. 

I haven’t watched Hawaii Five Oh in decades. It would be fun to rewatch a few episodes–I loved that show in my youth! 

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WI2XLQ: Brian Justin’s annual longwave broadcast on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve

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

Now an annual Christmas tradition, Brian Justin (WA1ZMS) will put his longwave experimental station WI2XLQ on the air to commemorate the anniversary of Reginald Fessenden’s first audio transmission.

As in years past, he will be conducting the Fessenden transmission on Christmas Eve, as well as New Year’s Eve. The plan is to start each day around 1800z and run for 24 hours.

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.

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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Keith discovers a Radio Bougainville recording on the Shortwave Archive: “A 50-year old tape takes me back”

We’ve published thousands of off-air recordings on Shortwave Radio Audio Archive over the past decade. They’re freely available for everyone to search and download.

For those of us who work on the archive, it’s a pure labor of love. We are not compensated for the time and effort we put into running and curating it, although we use Patreon and Coffee Fund contributions to help pay for the site and online archives.

Quite frequently, our recordings are discovered and are intensely meaningful to individuals. Listening to radio recordings has an amazing ability to summon up memories and moments in time.

We recently discovered the following article on the blog PNG Attitude written by Keith Jackon. Keith has kindly given us permission to post it in its entirety here on the SWLing Post. Thank you, Keith, and we’re pleased this recording was so relevant to you:


A 50-year old tape takes me back

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – It had dropped into my Twitter feed via @Laselki, the account of the Lebanon-based Arab Amateur Radio Network, and @Stret_Pasin, a valued supporter and one of my 8,700 Twitter followers.

It had originated in Ontario, Canada, from the historic village of Ancaster close by the US border and Niagara Falls.

It was a fleeting recording of a shortwave broadcast.

Map showing location of Ancaster, Canada

A broadcast from Radio Bougainville transmitted 51 years ago on 21 October 1971, which had travelled 13,300 km to Ancaster and been recorded.

Then saved on a cassette tape until, for some reason, recently retrieved and shared.

“Sound is a bit crackly,” wrote @Stret_Pasin, “but this will bring back memories of Radio Bougainville.”

Truer words never were tweeted.

When you link to the brief recording here (scroll down to the black audio bar), you will pick up in rapid succession the sound of chanting to the famous Bougainville kaur flute, then an announcer’s voice and finally a snatch of Bougainville string band music.

Click here to listen on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

I thought I recognised this sequence as the pre-recorded station identification put to air each time the station’s transmitters were fired up at Toniva, just south of Kieta, from a switch in the main studio down a ladder beside my house.

But the more I listen to it, the less convinced I am of its provenance.

All I can say for sure is that anything the captured snatch of radio was broadcast at about 12 noon on Bougainville on 22 October 1971.

This was at a time when Radio Bougainville usually broadcast for 11 hours a day in three separate sessions: 6 am – 9 am, 12 noon – 2 pm and 4 pm – 10pm.

In a small town in Canada it was late morning the day before, and a young Dan Greenall was tuning his Hallicrafters shortwave radio seeking out distant stations he would register as finding in the ether.

Even in our modern digital age, there are shortwave junkies who ferret out remote radio stations and seek QSL cards: written proof of reception. (One issued by Radio Bougainville in 2016 is pictured here.)

QSL reception confirmation from NBC Bougainville, 2016

’I heard this at such time on your station; tell me it is true.” And we’d check the log and return a QSL postcard. Yes, you had indeed heard our station.

Collecting these cards became popular with radio listeners 100 years ago and continues to this day

Dan had been doing just that 51 years ago when he happened upon a distant signal struggling through heavy interference to be captured by his outdoor copper wire aerial and delivered to the sturdy Hallicrafters S-52 receiver.

Keith’s appointment to manage Radio Bougainville was greeted by this headline in the Bougainville News

Dan has written for the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive:

“The morning of 21 October 1971 provided some of the best reception of Papua New Guinea stations in the 90 metre band that I ever experienced.

“These stations were rare visitors to my headphones but I was able to make a couple of short recordings of two PNG stations that morning, and they have survived to this day on that same audio cassette (now 51 years old).

“This one of Radio Bougainville begins with a local chant followed by announcement on the hour. The station ran 2.5 kw and their signal made it over 13,300 km to my receiver that day.

“Audio quality is passable considering the recording was made using an open mic to the speaker of the Hallicrafters S-52.”

Technical data:

Broadcaster: Radio Bougainville
Date of recording: 21/10/1971
Starting time: 1100
Frequency: 3.322.5 MHz
Receiver location: Ancaster, Ontario, Canada
Receiver and antenna: Hallicrafters S-52 using a longwire antenna

When I linked to the thin signal that had managed to land so far away so long ago, I was momentarily overcome with emotion.

I had known those sounds so well from too many early mornings wondering whether the breakfast announcer would arrive in time to open the station.

A recording something like that told me he’d arrived, fired up the transmitter and was ready to begin proceedings.

Through the static of 51 years – two-thirds of my life – came a once-familiar sequence of bamboo flute / announcer / stringband, transporting me back to a time when I was young and in my first management job which, bad bits and all, I was enjoying as if born to it.

Keith Jackson at the time of his appointment to Radio Bougainville

They were tough years for the people of Bougainville, especially in the villages around Kieta and its hinterland.

Bougainville Copper had started to dig the ore that produced great quantities of copper, gold and silver on alienated land amidst an alienated people.

Despite the volatile social and political climate, I had enjoyed the challenge of Bougainville.

I felt I’d been made for it and that it was making me.

And I enjoyed working with talented station staff, most from Bougainville, like Tom Kathoa, Sam Bena, Perpetua Tanuku, Justin Kili, Aloysius Sahoto, Aloysius Nase and Aloysius Rumina – most now gone from our midst. That’s what 51 years does.

And that simple recording – made so long ago and so far away – brought it all rushing back.

You can read more about my Bougainville years here in Brink of Secession.

So thanks to Dan Greenall, the Arab Amateur Radio Network and @Stret_Pasin for giving me a free ticket to fly back more than half a century. I really enjoyed the trip.

Read this full article and check out Keith’s website PNG Attitude here.

Also, a very special thanks to Dan Greenall and all of our contributors on the Shortwave Radio Audio Archive. 

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Guest commentary: Nothing is so constant as change

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Jerome van der Linden, who shares the following guest post:


Nothing is so constant as change

by Jerome van der Linden

Those of us who have had an interest in broadcasting over many years realize pretty soon that technology is constantly changing. The following relates to the situation where I live in Australia, but I suspect similar things are occurring in other parts of the world, and serve as a constant reminder that we live in a world of change.

When we were in our teens, we had radios that would tune AM and one or more shortwave bands. Hence many of us first heard interstate medium wave stations, and realised that signals there travelled further during darkness hours. Then we switched to SW1 or SW2 and often heard nothing. But persistence paid off and soon we were listening to stations that were in other countries! And when we connected a long wire to the antenna terminal signals improved dramatically. Wasn’t that amazing?

Somewhere in the 70s (I think) our TV stations brought in colour and that too was an amazing change to experience.

Then – somewhat belatedly for us in Australia – FM radio came along and gee the quality of the audio was outstanding! Even my late father was surprised by the clarity with which he could now listen to classical music on our nationwide dedicated ABC Classic FM station. FM also brought with it the introduction of “Community Radio” stations and in more recent years many other types of broadcasters.

Satellite TV came to us in the form of Foxtel: carrying so many different channels it was bewildering. When I realized that the events of 9-11 were telecast live on BBC World (and others), I too decided we should have Foxtel, as I have always been a “news nerd”.

By the late 1990s – having seen a hey day in probably the 60s and 70s – shortwave listening was rapidly becoming a thing of the past, and only hobbyists listened to SW: I remember being asked by another passenger when I was on a South Pacific cruise, what was that I was listening with out on deck? Was it some kind of computer? No, it was just a Sony SW55, and I was listening to Radio Australia.

Then, probably 5 years ago in Australia DAB+ radio was introduced, and whereas we previously had a choice of perhaps 10 to 15 AM & FM radio stations to tune to, suddenly we had a choice of these same stations on DAB radio (in major cities only), PLUS another 10 or 15! We have a phenomenal choice of what to listen to. From a technical view it was amazing to think that all the signals were coming from only one or two transmitters. For those of us with some technical interest it was for a while inconceivable that each station would not have its own transmitter.

Meanwhile, our TV systems have also become digitized in the last couple of years. Not just do we have perhaps three different channels for each commercial network, so 3 commercial networks are now providing probably 9 different programs. On top of that the Government broadcasters (ABC & SBS) have provided not just at least 3 TV channels each, but each of their numerous ­radio services is now also available on every TV set (eg BBC World Service is available 24/7).

About the same time, with higher internet speeds (ie better data transfers) being available, TV services and radio services are increasingly being streamed into our homes and to our mobile devices, with radio Apps promising they’re “free”, when in fact they do incur a data transfer impact/cost in whatever Internet plan one may have available. Many of the older generation probably don’t even realize what streaming video or sound means, but I think the younger generation is catching on.

Now, to my horror, my favourite DAB music station (“Buddha”) has been making announcements on air saying that the DAB service will be terminated from September 1st, and if I want to continue listening, I must tune in using that Company’s own “LiSTNR” app! Does this mean that listening to what comes over the ether will be a thing of the past? Will we be obliged to pay $x per annum to use a company’s streaming app just to be able to listen to their programs? Whatever is the world coming to?

Our country is, I suspect, very well catered for in terms of media services, and I wonder if we’ve done that too well. I also fear though, that those of us trying to push for reintroduction of shortwave services for remote Northern Territory areas (where streaming apps are a non sense), and for Australia to again broadcast into Pacific territories, may be fighting an uphill battle.

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Video: The Erres KY-418 radio set WWII era assembly line

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

The Erres KY-418 Radio set assembly line. You must watch this:

Click here to view on YouTube.

My heart goes to the poor guys who work under all that machinery noise with no ear plugs or with no mask when spray paint.

Everything is hand made in-house even the loudspeakers, coils or the rotary switches….

Just remember that WWII is on while it was made and I don’t think the KY-418 was a cheap radio…

Regards, Adi

Thank you for sharing this, Adid. You’re right: there were a few generations of folks who lost much of their hearing early on due to the constant noise on factory floors. 

That said, I’ve been enjoying these videos of early radio production lines. Thank you!

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Video: “The Glory Days of Shortwave Radio”

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

Hi Thomas, this video just popped for me on YouTube. I searched the SWLing Post and didn’t find it, it’s not new so maybe you missed it.

Thank you, Adi. I’m almost positive I’ve posted this one before–but if I have it’s been so long it should be re-posted! A wonderful nostalgia trip! Thanks for sharing.

Click here to view on YouTube.

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Experimental Station WI2XLQ will recreate 1906 Fessenden transmissions again this Holiday season

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

(Source: ARRL News)

Experimental Station will Recreate 1906 Fessenden Transmissions

Experimental station WI2XLQ will be on the air on 486 kHz AM for the Reginald Fessenden commemorative transmission. Brian Justin, WA1ZMS, is the licensee. He will transmit for 24 hours starting at 2000 UTC on December 24, with a repeat transmission starting at 2000 UTC on December 31. Justin will use a homebrew 1921-era MOPA exciter with Heising modulation, followed by a modern 500-W linear. The transmission will be the same as in past years — two violin pieces that Fessenden claims to have played as one of the very first voice transmissions from his Brant Rock, Massachusetts, radio lab site. “While doubt remains that such a transmission ever took place, Fessenden did perform some crude voice transmissions over a few miles distance in early December near Washington, DC, as a demonstration for the US Navy,” Justin said. “So, perhaps some credit is due Fessenden for his efforts to transmit the human voice in an era of spark transmissions.”

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.

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