Like most kids I was a lot to handle. When I visited Grandpa and Grandma there was just so much they could find for us to do before they were worn out. One day my Grandpa pulled this old set out of the closet under the stairs fetched a legal pad and a pencil. he beckoned me to come with him to the dining room table and there he sat me down. the radio was an old realistic I think. shortwave with airtraffic bands ect.
“Here”, he said. see what you can find. he gave a few twist of the knobs to show me how to search the airwaves and then retired to read his newspaper in the other room. He opened up a world of wonder for this little boy that day. I pulled in foreign Languages and broadcasts , Police scanners the fire department. and even managed to tune into Grandma’s Soaps. I concentrated and willed signals in. that radio kept me captivated for many hours that summer.
My father Had a TeleFunken Bajazzo that was his pride and joy. He told us it was the first thing he bought after leaving home and spending time in Germany. Nights at home he’d tune into Radio Norway to Hear his native tongue and enjoy news from home. Mom would wrangle it from him and made us sit to listen to it sometimes too. I remember listening to Chuck Swindoll when I was ten or so and being scared spitless As he described the Beast of Revelations making his way from the sea. having Seven Heads, Ten horns, and upon his horns Ten crowns….oh man did that make for some nightmares! Dad’s radio was our companion on many a wilderness outfit as our old 1966 pickup that we hauled our horses never had a radio.
Dads radio suffered a tumble and that was that. I looked it up online just for fun the other day that old wooden thing would cost me about $400.00 to buy him. Anyway, shortwave became old hat and life moved on. that was until I became a sailor.
About a year back I purchased a book called “Simply Sailing” by Connie Mcbride. In the book she details how she and her husband and boys sailed the Carribean on a very simply equipped boat. One of the very expensive appointments on a cruising boat is the Single Side Band Radio. the Mcbride’s answer to that was to purchase a portable shortwave with sideband capabilities so they could monitor the cruising traffic and track the weather. In this way they could be armed with the knowledge they needed to avoid storms and plan trips as well as have a source of entertainment while offshore. I decided that is what I would do as well.
I purchased the Sony ICF-SW7600GR for my boat and as a companion for my hitches offshore. Its fun to revisit what was so thrilling to me as a kid and be able to justify it because its a tool as well. The radio has kept me company on plenty of night watches. I’ve pulled in the Spanish Lady Number station, Rugby Games in Sidney Australia, I Even was able to pull in a BBC broadcast from Ascension Island in the middle of the Atlantic from my folks back yard in California, a good 12,000km away.
Because its sideband I can listen to Ham operators all over the west. This has fueled a desire for me to get my own ham license. now hear is whats really cool!
When used with my Ipad I can print out weather maps from NOAA several hundred miles offshore! I am slightly perplexed because I don’t consider myself too old at 40, but when I talk to people maybe ten years younger than me. Its like I’m speaking another language. So I hope to write few things about the good old shortwave that might garner some interest. During a natural disaster it may be the only source of information from outside a person might have.