My interest in Short Wave Radio began as a young boy in the latter part of the 1950s. In the living room of our homestead was an old floor model AM/SW radio. It had World Cities painted on the glass faceplate. In the 1950's, television reception in the mountains of Pennsylvania was poor. Our family would gather around the radio for national and local news; it was our community’s lifeline and our media choice for entertainment. Listening to Short Wave and Amateur Radio stations became my nightly pastime. 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 wasn’t 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 one thousand watt 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 you could ever imagine.
We lived outside of town on an old dirt road. After school, I would eagerly await our mail carrier down at the mailbox. I can remember being so excited when our carrier handed me QSL cards from around the world. My bedroom wall was the only room in the house that never needed fresh wallpaper. My mailing address was Wayne Dailey Rural Route #2 Titusville, PA. In the 1950’s, we used a two digit ”Postal Zone Number" written between the City and State as a precursor to the zip system in use today.
I saved my allowance for what seemed an eternity. When I turned 13 years old, I purchased a "Rocket Crystal Radio" from a Lafayette Radio mail order catalog. I would tinker endlessly making performance improvements to my radio. My boyhood dream was to build an efficient DX antenna. I discovered by stringing a "very long" piece of doorbell wire from my 2nd floor bedroom window, with the opposite end connected to a distant set of railroad tracks made a huge signal improvement. I also discovered the principle of adding radials and a radial field to increase performance. I was one "EXCITED" little guy when my crystal radio burst "ALIVE" with so many distant stations. I had to rotate the tuning dial very slowly so that I would not miss weak stations. After a night of intense Dxing, all I could say was.. OH BABY.. OH BABY!!! My antenna was a very consistent performer and a resounding success!!!
Down at our local library, all of the staff knew me. I'd ask the same question every time I stopped in.. "Any new radio books checked in today?”
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, I found stacks of QST's and 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 with my find!!! I scooped up those bad boys faster than greased lightning, running full steam home. I read my new found treasures many times from cover to cover, always dreaming of communicating with the world and discovering radio principles.
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 ten years. I started on this great radio adventure as a NOVICE (WN1PRU) in 1973. I still remember the thrill of 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.
1464813 Last modified: 2014-11-23 09:03:22, 5726 bytes
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