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Author Topic: Interested in SWL feedback  (Read 4453 times)
K4EZD
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Posts: 133




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« on: June 27, 2016, 07:47:54 AM »

The hobby of “radio” is diverse, with something for every interest and taste.  What one person sees as boring another sees as interesting or even exciting.  Some amateur operators see JT65 as exciting as watching paint dry but others are fascinated by how weak signals can be transmitted with minimal power.  What is the fascination with SWL today and those who are in this hobby please fill me in on what you enjoy about it.  I received a QSL card from an SWL person who copied my JT65 transmission and while pleased with the quaility of the card and the effort that someone took in sending it I was wondering what was in it for them?  I am a retired psychologist and still trying to understand different aspects of people.  Thanks.
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KC2QYM
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« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2016, 09:18:06 AM »

Ha ha ha...I found your quasi scientific inquiry amusing in a positive sort of way.  I agree about the diversity of radio interests and the levels of boring pursuits within it.  I guess my opinion may help in the diversity perspective.  When I was about six or seven my dad gave me a 5 tube Emerson radio from the 40s and showed me how to use it.  This was a big deal because I was always fascinated in picking up stations hundreds of miles away at night.  This led me to an enhanced interest in maps when I could find the cities where the stations were located and calculate the point to point distances using the map's scale and a ruler; I kept a log that I was proud to show friends and relatives.  When I was ten I bought a Hallicrafters SX-110 receiver and expanded my interests to listening to international broadcasts, hams, marine operators, etc.  I never QSLd hams but sent many reports to stations like radio Peking, Moscow, etc.  What excitement when Radio Peking sent me a QSL along with Mao's little red book which I still have (no I'm not a commie).  When I was about 12 the rage was CB and my dad bought me a Lafayette HA-85 walkie-talkie as all the kids in the neighborhood were buying them.  We had so much fun on channel ten and the interests expanded into getting a license in order to operate five watt stations. It was great.  Then, as I moved on thru high school my interest declined to the point where I sold the CB stuff but kept the Hallicrafters (which I still have).  My interest in radio did not resurrect itself until 2007 when I met a few guys at my gun club who were hams and encouraged me to study for the license.  So fast forward to the present time.  I built a decent station, have a few rigs, etc.  and after a few short years of figuring ham radio out I found myself totally bored with nets, contests, emcom afficionados, etc.  The only interest I have is finding intelligent people to have a conversation with in the subject area of politics, history, religion, current events.  Believe me, I have found it very difficult to find such people on ham radio.  Part of it is that hams don't like to expose their personal opinions on the air and take the neutral road on everything; also, many people on ham radio just don't have the intellectual curiosity in the aforementioned areas. And then there are the legions of miscreants who infest ham radio.  Oh, and about SWLing, forget about it; English language broadcasts beamed to NA are few, and many aviation SSB transmissions have transitioned to Satellite comm.  I have no interest in following numbers stations or digital modes.  So to sum it up, the fascination that I had when I was a kid is gone (IMO, many adult hams are fascinated by radio just for the sake of the technology itself).  What they use it for such as netting, contesting, QSLing, etc. to me is simply boring so all the power to them.  I also find that getting young people to form an interest in radio technology will continue to decline since once the kids see how almost silly Ham and SWL really is they move away from it very quickly.  Men in their 40s and up appear to represent the majority of hams and even though I'm in my 60s my radio interests are so limited as an overall component of my other pastimes.  In other words I don't find radio to be magical anymore.  So once you cross that threshold your interest declines and you move onto other things.  At least that's the way I see it.
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K4EZD
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2016, 04:01:28 PM »

Quote
Ha ha ha...I found your quasi scientific inquiry amusing in a positive sort of way.
Not sure if that was an insult or a compliment but either way I appreciate your thoughtful response.  The phrase "intellectual curiosity" along with the diversity in human nature probably explain a lot.  As my grandmother used to say, de gustibus non est disputandum.   Grin
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KC2QYM
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« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2016, 06:58:09 AM »

No, it was refreshing to read your inquiry...hope others will bear their souls Smiley
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N6XJP
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« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2016, 02:19:49 PM »

Vincent...

I've been a ham for over 25 years and never have lost the allure of SWL.  In the wee hours of the night....on a dark and stormy night listening to a broadcast from far away.  The mystery of a foreign language, struggling to understand a heavy accent speaking in English, wondering where exactly is it originating. 

Guess, at age 72, I'm still a little kid listening to my crystal set in the early 1950s.  Thanks for your article...very much. 

And if I ever get a QSL card from a SW listener I will always, always send a card back immediately...at my expense.  Especially in that I am 99% CW now and someone has taken the effort to listen and decode. 

Cheers and 73,
Dave
N6XJP
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KD0YTE
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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2016, 08:23:46 PM »

I have been a swl for 40+ years, 2 years ago became a ham. I have gotten some qsl's from swl's on my jt65 transmissions too.
I think what piques the interest for them is finding unusual signals and figuring them out. Just think about that swl who sent you the qsl card. He probably had no idea of what those strange musical sounds were when he first heard them but with a little detective work he not only discovered what they were but was able to decode them with software and recovered your call and then your address. It's appealing to those with enough curiosity and who are perverse enough to stay with it until they make the occult become intelligible. My favorite swl receiver is a circa 1978 wadley loop receiver that includes a preselector, a band selector a tuner and fine tuner, it appeals to that same type of interest. Something about coaxing out a signal from the mud with all those different adjustments seems more fun to me than the more modern radios that have simplified the whole thing to just a single tuning knob.
 
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KAPT4560
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« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 08:58:59 AM »

 I think that as a child, I was amazed at a radio that could receive signals planet-wide. To me, that was very powerful. My dad had a Lafayette portable and I would spend hours tuning from one end of the band coverage to the other. My friend's father had a S-53A that we dug out of his closet and played for hours with.
 The strange sounds encountered on the shortwave bands intrigued me and I knew that it just had to be martians from outer space.  Grin
 My first hamfest was in 7th grade, I bought a boatanchor CRV-46151 that I still have. It was converted to  AC and can drive a loudspeaker.
 AM-DX also intrigued me. I had a Bulova pocket AM-SW radio that I would listen to under my pillow at night. Stations from Cincinnati, Chicago, Knoxville, Detroit, etc came in like locals on the winter evenings.
 I used to bring home discarded radios and TVs in my wagon on garbage day. Many still worked or could be fixed and I looked at my acquisitions as winnings. My parents were OK with me removing the back of a working TV set as long as I didn't touch anything stupid.
 I joined the Radio Club in jr. high and got my Novice ticket. Both parents were music teachers and I played instruments. Learning Morse code is easy if you have a good ear for pitch, cadence and rhythm.
 In high school, the CB craze hit and all my friends were on it. I left ham and did cb for awhile.
 Today I build and test Harris radios. It is a completely different animal than any consumer electronics and most of the radios I work on begin at 30 mc, instead reaching up to 30 mc.
 I listen to SW nightly before going to bed. Lots of religion and politics. Maybe it was always like that. I just don't remember it being this bad.
 SWL is like fishing. It relaxes me. You explore, you might get a nibble and never know what you might pull out next.  Cheesy
 
 
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ONAIR
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« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 10:19:57 AM »

As a kid I was a big time Yankees fan!  When the pennant races were tight, I'd hook up my mom's old 5 tube table BCB radio to a wire and try to listen to the teams that the Yankees were competing with on the road!  I remember listening to WBAL Baltimore coming into NYC in the evenings, and keeping on top of the Oriole's games when the teams were neck and neck!!   Smiley
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