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Author Topic: What was your first shortwave radio?  (Read 478621 times)

Posts: 3741

« on: November 16, 2011, 03:39:33 PM »

  Mine was a Starlite A-120 (Hallicrafters S-120 clone).  What wonderful memories that radio brings back.

Posts: 5639

« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2011, 04:02:56 PM »

Mine was a Philco desktop with a couple of SW bands (this was in the mid-50s). My two favorites were Radio Moscow and HCJB (the first Christian SW station) out of Quito, Ecuador.

FYI, the engineers at HCJB invented the cubical quad antenna. It was created because the high voltage at the ends of the elements on their beam antennas literally melted the ends of the elements.


Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut

A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.

Posts: 990


« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2011, 04:42:51 PM »

My older brother had a Panasonic RF2200

Mine was a thoroughly mediocre desktop model from Radio Shack, the DX-100

Oh how I loved that thing.

I'm glad eHam started an SWL forum.

73, Geoff

Posts: 182

« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2011, 04:44:38 PM »

Mine was a boom box with shortwaves added as a after thought probably. I cant remember the make but it was a nice radio. I think it had 5 SW bands. Radio Moscow, Deustche Welle, Radio Netherlands were my favorite. I still have a Radio Shack dx394 on the bedside table. I have a 300 foot long wire antenna. It covers am and ssb up to 30 MHZ. It is still used at times to listen to Radion Netherlands.

Posts: 990


« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2011, 04:54:02 PM »

"Radio Moscow, Deustche Welle, Radio Netherlands were my favorite."

Yeah, mine, too. I also enjoyed, less often, ship to shore radiotelephone, decoding press RTTY (mostly from Cuba unfortunately, not much press wireless on HF by the time I got to the scene), airliners on international routes, pirate stations just below 40M. Good times.

I'm REAL sorry that I never got my CW skills up to snuff back when there was potentially interesting maritime traffic.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2011, 04:56:55 PM by AE4RV » Logged

Posts: 156

« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2011, 06:34:31 PM »

A Realistic DX-66. I graduated to a Uniden CR-2021 and then a Bearcat DX-1000.

The Icom R70 came out when I was a kid. I finally bought one last year, and it's everything the everyone said it was.

Posts: 457

« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2011, 07:27:02 PM »

My first "real" shortwave radio was a Hallicrafters SX-96 that I paid $25 for from
a TV shop that I worked part time in. The radio had to be repaired, and I also had
to clean out the storeroom in the back of the shop as part of the deal.
  In this part of Texas we have a monthly flea market called "First Monday".
When I cleaned out the storeroom, I got to haul off all the old tv's, radios and
small appliances. I repaired as many of those as I could and sold them at First Monday and more than made back what I paid for the SX-96. This was in 1966.
If I could go back and get some of the old tv's and radios that I sold or ended up dumping, I could have a LOT of money now. Several I remember are collector items now.
 At some point in time the SX-96 got traded or sold, don't remember which(getting old
is a PIA sometimes). And eventually, after my first son was born, I got another Hallicrafters receiver, an SX-100. Also, got a Heathkit DX-60 transmitter and some other gear for RTTY reception. I got my Novice License then too. But, at some point
(probably to raise money for bills) the SX-100 went away.
  Recently, I was at the Belton Texas Hamfest (is held twice a year) and found an
SX-100b, that had been fully restored and looks better than new! And works great.
That one, is not getting away from me. (might even be buried with me when the time

Posts: 28

« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2011, 04:05:44 AM »

The Knight kit "Ocean Hopper" from the early sixties.

Posts: 1349

« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2011, 04:05:59 AM »

 My first was a Hallicrafters S-120
My uncle gave it to me for Christmas in 1964 when I was 11 years old. I thought that was the greatest radio and gift I ever had. 73 Jim. W5JJG

Posts: 44

« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2011, 07:44:20 AM »

Radio Shack DX-160

Posts: 2543

« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2011, 08:29:17 AM »

A Philco model 38-2 AM-SW console radio (0.5 - 22 MHz) that I inherited when my grand dad died in 1958.  Listening to SW broadcasts and HAMs on AM (almost no SSB back then) is what got me interested in becoming a HAM.  At ten years of age, I also spent a lot of time listening to the growling hetrodynes and thought they were aircraft engines.  I spent a lot of time hoping to hear the pilot say something.

I had a great time "designing" and installing all kinds of antennas for that radio.  Of course I had no idea as to what I was doing or why.  

That 1938 model Philco console radio still has a prominent place in my den.  It also out performs ANY broadcast AM receiver that I own.  With a 100 foot long wire I can routinely listen to AM broadcast stations over 150 miles distant in the daytime.  I can often hear WSB on 750 KHz in Atlanta, GA in the middle of the day.  Atlanta is 230 miles away.  Try that with any "modern" AM broadcast radio.

Dick  AD4U
« Last Edit: November 19, 2011, 05:36:41 AM by AD4U » Logged

Posts: 77

« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2011, 10:18:38 AM »

I am not sure mine had a name.  It was the early 50's.  I was in grade school. We had a cabinet type radio with a 78 rpm record player underneath two hinged walnut lids on the top, the radio on the left, the record player on the right.  Below was the single "hi fi" speaker as stereo had not yet been invented. This was just before TV, so listening to the radio was the family entertainment, and this fine piece of furniture was the center of attention in the living room.  The radio then was AM broadcast, FM was not yet invented. But, interestingly, in addition to the AM Broadcast, there were four or five other bands. All five were shown on the glass display, one on top of the other, as the needle indicator moved from side to side. There was a band switch that selected each of the five bands. No one in the family was interested in the bands other than AM broadcast but me. For fun I would switch to the other bands and dial across them and listen.  I remember I found the Los Angeles Police department frequency, and would often listen to the dispatcher send urgent messages to the patrol cars. I would listen to that for hours. I heard foreign radio broadcasts, and I think Voice of America.  All this was done with a short wire antenna stapled to the inside of the wooden cabinet.  I was hooked. When I showed up in high school, I found the "radio club" where I learned about what I had been playing with.  I got my novice, technician and general before I graduated from high school. 

Posts: 593

« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2011, 11:27:50 AM »

Mine was an Allied Super regen.  I think it was the Span Master.  Worked well.  Now I play with
a Heathkit GR81 which was the absolute BEST ever regenerative receiver.  It has an isolation transformer
so you can't get zapped by the chassis and is super sensitive and stable. 

So I am nostalgic, I have several modern Ham transceivers and an ICOM R71A but I like the GR81.


Posts: 461

« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2011, 01:25:34 PM »

Mine was a Barlow & wadley, build in south Africa.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2011, 01:28:51 PM by N5RWJ » Logged

Posts: 302

« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2011, 12:11:28 AM »

My first SW radio was a Hallicrafters S-201A. Got it for my 10th birthday, I still even have it. Not very sensitive.
I got into SWL & Ham studying in 1973. Suspots were crummy as it was then, so I never even heard WWV on 25
MHz, back when they still transmitted there. Almost nothing on 15 meters then, and nothing picked up on 10
meters. I did hear VOA, Radio Nederland, BBC, Radio Peking, Radio Moscow (hard to miss when they used like 15
transmitting frequencies).

An OM, Mr. Wright, Extra Class, DXCC, etc. helped me with my Scouting Radio Merit Badge. He mentioned he was
on the air for 3 days straight after the 1947 Texas City explosion, working radio traffic. I should have taken the
Technician Exam back then. He also showed me that reducing an SSB signal strength with a simple pot (there's
no gain control on the S-120A), while using the BFO, I could copy SSB. My S-120A manual just said to turn on
the BFO, but nothing said about the signal strength.

The front end still got overloaded by strong SSB signals, to the point I could not copy them, even with my longwire
antenna disconnected! I also did AM BCB DX, experimenting with external tuned loops to boost the signal.

Yes, my RS HTX-10 receive section will run circles around the S-120A on sensitivity & ability to tune in SSB clearly,
at least for 10 meters, but there's still some nostalgia there.

I later was given a CB, and a scanner, but that's another story.
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