Boat Anchors, Radios, Shortwave, Software Defined Radio

It’s All About The Magic


The Radio hobby draws folks from many different backgrounds and interests, but I have found some things I believe most hobbyists hold in common. Foremost is a fascination with radio and the magic it represents. This is what first drew me in as a young boy. Radio seemed like magic because I could turn a dial and suddenly music was playing, or someone was telling a story or I was hearing news from around the world. TV never held such fascination for me, but I cannot explain why. But radio! Wow!

The thought that there were signals floating through the air and able to come into the house without a window or door opened intrigued me. No one thought to explain the process to me, it remained magic. And yes, I thought the singers were singing in the studio of the radio station, but that’s not important right now, ahem!

By the time I was around 11-12 years old I found out about shortwave and amateur radio from my cousin, and I was hooked. The wall in his bedroom was covered with radios and I was in awe. I immediately wanted to see what I could do with my radio, but soon found out I could not receive anything but AM (hey, nothing wrong with that! I still listen to AM Broadcast DXing regularly!). I begged my mom for a shortwave radio, and eventually got an inexpensive multi-band portable radio. The kind where only the strongest signals make it in. But it was shortwave!

That began my fascination with radios in earnest, which still continues today. I like all kinds of radios, from portables to table top rigs and beyond. Old boat anchors (as we affectionately call those heavy radios of yesteryear) as well as modern hybrid analog/digital radios, to full-blown SDR units. I still try to push the limits on any radio, even knowing I have amateur radio gear which can receive almost any signal better than any other receiver I possess. I like trying to capture that magic of being amazed by what I hear. I still get a thrill catching some DX station on the smallest portable, and I often turn on a small radio to see if it can hear something with its telescopic whip that one of my bigger rigs with an outdoor antenna can receive. Why? It’s all magic!

I have worked the last few years to begin to acquire some of the more fascinating rigs from days gone by, and I certainly do not have a big radio budget. But I am reasonably patient, and I have found some good deals here and there. In future posts I will highlight some of these radios, and I would love to hear your stories. If you are reading this I presume it is all about the magic to you as well!

73, Robert

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