My interest in Short Wave Radio and Amateur Radio began as a boy in the late 1950s. In the living room of our Appalachian Mountain home was an old Philco AM/SW floor model radio. It had World Cities painted on the glass faceplate and was my nightly passport to the world. In the evenings, Dad and I would tune AM/SW stations by turning the wire loop antenna located in the rear of the cabinet. It was'nt long before I discovered we could improve our reception with a long piece of wire extended to the big pine tree in the yard. We were able to receive AM broadcast Stations KDKA, WLS, WLW and WWVA (Wheeling WV) as strong as our local station WTIV 1230khz AM Titusville, PA. Listening to "WWVA's Saturday Night Jamboree" from the Capitol Music Hall in Wheeling, W.V. was front row theater at its finest. The audio fidelity from our old radio was the most extraordinary that you could ever imagine. Nightly, our living room would come alive with distant AM and Short Wave stations. As a boy, I had so much fun listening to Short Wave and Amateur stations and collecting QSL cards.
I saved my allowance for what seemed an eternity and when I turned 13 years old, I purchased a "Rocket Crystal Radio" from a Lafayette Radio mail order catalog . I would tinker endlessly making improvements to my crystal radio. I discovered when I launched more wire into the sky, I would receive a stronger signal. My boyhood dream was to build a "Sky Magnet" to invite weak signals to come sit on my antenna wire and join me. I strung a very long piece of wire from my 2nd floor bedroom window and connected the other end of the wire to a set of Rail Road tracks across the field from our house. I was one "excccited" little guy when my crystal radio came "ALIVE" with so many distant stations. I had to tune very slowly and precise not to miss weak stations there were so many. I named my antenna "Mustang Sally" Ol Sally was a performer and a resounding success !!!
On my 15th birthday, my parents bought me a (5) tube Hallicrafters WR-600 Short Wave Radio receiver with all of the SW bands. Suddenly the World burst alive with distant stations from the Far East, Caribbean, Middle East and Africa. Walking home from school one afternoon in 1963, I found stacks of American Radio Relay League publications on the curbside for trash pickup. I noticed the material was all about Amateur Radio and Antennas. I was so thrilled!! I scooped those bundles of QST magazines faster than greased lighting running all the way home. I read my new found treasures many times from cover to cover, always dreaming of communicating with the world and discovering radio principals.
When I was a teenager my family moved to Massachusetts. I worked at WRYT AM 950 Khz. in Boston on the weekends as a board engineer/producer. I worked for WRTY over the next 10 years.
I was first licensed as WN1PRU (Novice) in 1973. I still remember taking my Novice exam in front of a live ON AIR 5,000 watt 1430kc AM transmitter (WHIL-AM/FM) Medford, Massachusetts. Chief Engineer Ken Atkins K1JKR and Bob Shotwell WA1KUZ administered testing. I later upgraded to (General & Advanced ) WA1PRU and (Extra) K1CF.
73, Wayne (K1CF)
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