Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Short Wave Report

In the week after Easter I came across an old multiband receiver that had been gathering dust in the basement for many long seasons. It was, and still is a Realistic SW-100 (above) manufactured by Radio Shack in the 1980s, and in perfect working order. One quiet evening I sat out on the rear deck, ran a ten feet length of wire from the radio to the drainpipe, and spent a happy hour and more exploring the short-wave bands.

That unplanned activity was in one way a pure nostalgia trip, as it took me back to my teenage years when I was an avid short wave and medium wave listener. A DXer, to use the hobby jargon! From my bedroom in a huge vicarage in Worcester, with various antennae (including a hundred foot wire that ran the whole length of the property!) I would listen to the world. And in writing to those stations, the world would communicate with me when a reception verification card was sent – a QSL, again to use the correct jargon.

In those distant and different days I had some rather good radio equipment: A Grundig radio, an ex-army communications receiver, and a double valve (yes, valve! “Tube” to American readers) shortwave radio that I built myself after following instructions in Practical Wireless.

In rediscovering this hobby I cannot justify many expenses, but have already found some used equipment in local thrift shops. And a balance remaining on a Christmas gift card enabled me to splurge a little on and purchase a rather good Grundig S-350 with digital tuning. Now that’s posh, especially by 1970s standards!

Distant and different days have come to life again, but are they really different? Yes they are, in radio ways both good and not so good. Even disturbing. But more about that in the next Short Wave Report!

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