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Author Topic: What was your first shortwave radio?  (Read 113611 times)
VE3GNU
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Posts: 86




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« Reply #120 on: April 15, 2014, 01:23:10 PM »

Built the Heathkit GR 54 all tube model in '69---earned a goodly number of BC QSL cards, and when achieving my Amateur Radio license---experience my first Amateur Radio contacts with it---with the help of a borrowed Heathkit DX 40 transmitter.  Now, looking back, and realizing the sophisticated equipment at hand, a pretty crude but fun experience worth all the way----
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WA7SGS
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Posts: 41




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« Reply #121 on: April 20, 2014, 09:23:19 PM »

A Philips L4XO5T.  It was their first transistor multiband radio, made in 1960.  I got mine from a great-uncle in 1967 and it lasted until 1975, when it was stolen in Seattle.  In 2012 I found one in good shape on eBay and have it back after a fashion!

My best AM DX with it was picking up a station from San Antonio in November 1973.  Two months later I was on my way down there for USAF basic training at Lackland AFB.

The batteries would last half a year under regular play.  Sound quality was good.

I would include a pix but this website is too poor to allow members to download them from their own computer.  Look it up on your own!

Rick
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K0OD
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Posts: 2557




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« Reply #122 on: April 21, 2014, 05:29:31 AM »

Quote
would include a pix but this website is too poor to allow members to download them from their own computer.  Look it up on your own!

You can easily link to a picture as I have here, or post your picture in a photo site and link to that. Is this the model?


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WA7SGS
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Posts: 41




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« Reply #123 on: April 21, 2014, 09:42:49 AM »

Quote
would include a pix but this website is too poor to allow members to download them from their own computer.  Look it up on your own!

You can easily link to a picture as I have here, or post your picture in a photo site and link to that. Is this the model?




That's the exact site pix I had and it was the only pix I ever found but the radio is not in as good a shape as mine is, which is why I wanted to post the pix from my computer.  I had not bothered to save a link from 2012 when I was looking to buy one.  As for Photobuckets and such I never use them.  Never had a reason to do so.  Most sites I am on seem to allow for posting a pix straight from the computer.  The ones that don't won't be getting any from me.

Rick 
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KJ4DHI
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Posts: 39




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« Reply #124 on: May 14, 2014, 04:03:50 PM »

My first was a National SW54. I paid $10 for it in 1955. I see them from time to time on ebay. I don't know why I don't hit the buy it now button. I guess I have a hard time justifying paying $60 for one when I paid $10 for the first one.
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HFCRUSR
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Posts: 139




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« Reply #125 on: May 14, 2014, 05:01:06 PM »

My first was a National SW54. I paid $10 for it in 1955. I see them from time to time on ebay. I don't know why I don't hit the buy it now button. I guess I have a hard time justifying paying $60 for one when I paid $10 for the first one.
1. It's a cool old receiver that would bring back some nice memories for you.
2.With inflation, the $10 you paid in '55 for the 1st one would now cost you about $88, so, if you bought one now @ $60, it would be like buying the 1st one in '55 for $7. So you'd actually be getting a better deal Grin
3. It's always a neat thing to have your 1st receiver as part of your collection (if you have a collection)
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K1FPV
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Posts: 33




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« Reply #126 on: May 28, 2014, 10:34:28 AM »

My first Receiver was an old Knight Kit Span Master regenerative receiver! I bought it around 1960 or 1961 and built it myself with the good instructions supplied with it. After using it a while I got the Short-Wave Listeners call WPE1EJL then issued by "Popular Electronics". I had SWL cards printed and began sending them out. I got many cards in return from stations like Radio Moscow, BBC, HCJB and a number of amateurs. One happened to be local and he eventually got me hooked on Ham Radio. Now 50+ years later, I still SWL and ham both! Great hobbies!
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KB2HSH
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Posts: 226


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« Reply #127 on: June 03, 2014, 05:40:25 AM »

A $12.95 Radio Shack "Science Fair" kit/toy.

VERY CRUDE, but was STILL capable of VOA, BBC World Service, HCJB, Radio Moscow, Deutsche Welle, NPK, Radio Australia, and the rest of the "big SW" stations in the mid 1980's.  It was fascinating that a TOY...a literal TOY could bring me the world with only a 50' piece of wire for an antenna. 

I used this RX at an ex-girldfriend's house even after earning my Novice in 1988.

Great memories!

John KB2HSH
Springbrook, NY
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N0SYA
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Posts: 369




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« Reply #128 on: June 04, 2014, 07:03:50 PM »

Hmm, first I ever used as a mere youth was a Phillips console from ww2 - the kind with the gigantic speaker, then one of those solid state portable ones with the fold out map of the globe and time zones and whatnot my dad had. Wwv was strong and I wondered what it must be like to have a job telling the time over the radio all day. Decades later I saw a Halli sx110 for sale and snapped it up. Worked fine but when the air conditioning or furnace came on the conversations drifted. Then around '89 an mint R70 was offered in a local HAM newsletter and I snapped that up. Had all kinds since then. Today I run a mint 761 with mods pending (6KHz am xtal filter, rearrangement of the ssb filters, better am demod) and an sx28 and nc46 both in need of restos. Swl is fun.
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If you have a clumsy child, you make them wear a helmet. If you have death prone children, you keep a few clones of them in your lab.
WB6RXG
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Posts: 73




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« Reply #129 on: June 05, 2014, 04:39:20 PM »

The year was 1973 and the receiver was a Graymark 511 3 tube regen kit.  It came with three coils for different bands and I ordered 2 more for additional bands.

I built it in a High School electronics class.  It took a couple of weeks at an hour a day to get it done.  Unfortunately, it didn't work.  I went through the assembly instruction a few time checking to see if I missed a step.  I also looked at the schematic checking each connection with the receiver to see if something was there that wasn't covered in the instructions.

The teacher could teach theory but didn't have any troubleshooting skills.  He told me that if I didn't get it working the best grade I could expect on it was a "C" and that if he ordered the teachers guide/troubleshooting guide which would result in a "B" if I then got the receiver working.  I gave up and asked to teacher to order the troubleshooting guide.

A couple of weeks later the big envelope arrived with the teachers guide/troubleshooting guide.  I opened the envelope and removed the contents.  The very first page said in very big letters "NOTICE - ERROR IN SCHEMATIC AND ASSEMBLY MANUAL".  It turned out that there was no connection between the two halves of the 12AT7.  One half was the detector and the other half was the preamp for the audio amplifier.  I soldered in the jumper, plugged the receiver in and it came to life.

I also got my "A".

I used that receiver until I bought a HEATHKIT HW-101 in 1976 and got my novice license. I never did figure out how to receive CW or SSB with it.  I understand now that if I had played with the regen control a little bit, right around the squeal point, it would have worked.  I got rid of the Graymark, but like everything else from my youth I wish I had kept it.

73,
Stuart
WB6RXG
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WB9NFD
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« Reply #130 on: June 15, 2014, 06:55:01 AM »

Heathkit GR91.
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W4KYR
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Posts: 552




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« Reply #131 on: June 16, 2014, 07:05:31 AM »

Telefunken Portable Radio . It looked like this



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VK2NZA
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Posts: 14




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« Reply #132 on: August 02, 2014, 05:36:23 PM »

My fathers early 1960's National 11 transistor AM/& 3 shortwave bands got me hooked, until in 1967 our family moved to the US for my fathers 4 year diplomatic posting in Washington DC. I obtained a paper route in Somerset Maryland and mowed lawns for neighbours whose kids got pocket money anyhow. (I didn't). with 4 months saved earnings I purchased a Sears multiband radio but on the way home passed a Radio Shack store in Rockvlle MD and spotted a new DX 150. Well I was besotted by the array of tuning tailoring knobs plus electrical bandspread. Sears graciously allowed the return of the still boxed up portable and I shot down to pickup a new DX 150. My father begrudgingly allowed me to put up  300 ohm ladderline multiple dipoles in the attic pinned to the bearers and feed out of a louvre to my basement bedroom on the condition that I remove them later. With the addition of a Heathkit Q multiplier/notch filter and a preamplifier i had knobs galore to twist and play with. I learned a lot!   I had a huge amount of fun with that receiver and soon had a large collection of QSL cards from around the world.  A previous posters comment of receiving mail from Communist countries during the Cold War era reminded me of the regular mail I received from Peking, Moscow, Prague, Sofia Bulgaria, East Germany Cuba and Nth Korea and the paranoia of the cold war.  I had my mail directed to the New Zealand Embassy in Observatory Circle Washington DC and Dad would bring it home. I often wondered if there was a NSA or CIA man assigned to determine the significance of so much Soviet block communication with its Vietnam war ally, little New Zealand ! Hi Hi.
Later a succession of more sophisticated receivers followed , Hallicrafters SX-130, Drake SW4, Hammarlund HQ100A,  but I would say the purchase of an Icom R71A shortly after the model was released showed me the a truly excellent DX chaser with accurate readout and brilliant sensitivity.
Now living on a 300 acre property in Far Northern NSW, Australia with a shack full of the latest gear and antennas I could only have dreamed of back then  I remember that DX 150 fondly (for all its faults) and believe I had more fun back in the sixty's when the airwaves were crammed with International Broadcasters compared with the age of the Internet for communication. I still have the original Icom R71a with extra filters!
Thanks to previous posters I do enjoy reading and relating to your memories and experiences!
   regards Ross VK2NZA
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W7ASA
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Posts: 238




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« Reply #133 on: August 03, 2014, 08:24:11 PM »

So many memories!

About 1960-something, my friend Mark R. and I would tune around with his father's Zenith Transoceanic, with the push buttons around the perimeter of the dial escutcheon. In early mornings, we'd wake-up and run to listen to Radio Japan signing on. We occasionally heard what sounded like horses galloping (HF weather fax without BFO) and WWV along with some other broadcasters. Later, his parents bought him a Lafayette 'Explor-Air' regen kit that we built together.  



"Ours" looked JUST like the one on the right.

I remember his father coming out while we were building it, having a look at the haywired parts placements and etc. and saying: "I've seen spiders that didn't have legs THAT long!".  We had NO idea that he was hinting that shortwave radios should use minimal lead lengths for best performance; as a general rule. Mark was the brains of our team, and I'm not certain what I contributed, but I did learn a lot.

Eventually, he moved on to a better receiver and I bought the Explor-Air from him using lawn mower money. My neighbor gave me a GREAT set of WW II high impedance pilot's headphones and I strung wire all over our 2 storied house:

Radio Moscow,  Radio Peking, Radio Nederland, Radio RSA from the Republic of South Africa form whom I received a 'Learn to Speak Afrikaans' LP record and book! I was probably the only 9 year old in my school with a file at the FBI for receiving so much foreign propaganda, like 'Soviet Life' magazines, ChiCom propaganda and etc. Being PROUDLY born in England, the BBC was always top of the heap with me. Of course, I didn't remember much about England, because I was born at a very young age.  ;-)

I was STILL heavily into SWL when I reached high school and it was suggested that I get my ham license.  At first, I was not interested, having too much fun listening. Eventually I moved on to better equipment when I became a ham, (well... that was the idea, anyway) but I STILL love and old regen and frankly the glow of tubes, headset and regen whine: pure magic to me still.



73 de Ray
W7ASA ..._  ._

« Last Edit: August 03, 2014, 08:56:53 PM by W7ASA » Logged
WA8ZTZ
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Posts: 48




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« Reply #134 on: August 08, 2014, 01:40:46 PM »

Built the Heathkit GR 54 all tube model in '69---

Also built a Heath GR-54...about 1968 IIRC.  Used it with an Ameco 2M converter...converted 144-148 mcs to 7 -11 mcs.  Had an Ameco TX62 for a transmitter feeding a halo through a Dow Key relay.  The set up worked great on 2 AM back in the day  Smiley.  Gave the GR-54 to my cousin  about 1983.
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