Thursday, October 25, 2012

Radio communications and magic

 Radio communications and magic. 

As a young man, i was always amazed at how radio worked, and the magic involved with that. I had my share of radio's that received on the AM broadcast band that i would wire up to receive stations from all over the country.
23 channel's of PURE power !!!!
Kraco CB Deluxe.
 I think what really drove the passion home for me, was the CB craze of the mid 1970's. Every home had some sort of antenna on top of it, and when conditions were right, you could talk all over the country, with just a simple setup.

 My dad drove for a living, and hooked up a base station at the house, which consisted of a Kraco 23 Deluxe, a mobile radio that we hooked up to a 12 volt power supply, and a big-stick antenna. he then connected a CB radio in his car, a Volkswagen beetle, with an 8ft fiberglass whip, and talked to us throughout the day as he drove all over Southern California, as a delivery driver. I noticed that at certain times of the day, i could hear and talk to stations all over the country.

 As the desire grew to talk farther and farther, the antenna's got bigger and bigger, and i learned how to turn up the power in the radio transmitter, to squeak every ounce i could out. I then learned about SSB, and that opened up another world to me. I went from 5 watts output power, to 12 watts. That was quite a difference back then. I went from talking all over the country, to making contacts all over the world. All over the world being Asia and Australia, of course. But still, that was amazing.

 As i learned how to work on radio gear, and developed a pile of broken radio's, i learned more and more. I have never had any formal training in radio repair, but have learned what works and what doesn't.
 When i moved to WA state, back in 1992, i had still dabbled in radio, but had moved onto other things. Family, career etc etc, but that little nagging voice still whispered in the back of my head. After i had settled, i dabbled in CB radio in the local community, and made a lot of friends, while i learned more about radio. I had family members that were into it, and used it to communicate on a regular basis as well.

 In 1995, my father in law, had stumbled onto Amateur radio, which i had never even heard of.  When i found out i could run 1500 watts of output power, instead of the 12 watts available to CB, and i could work the world i was hooked. Back in 1995, you still had to learn Morse code, so i found a shortwave receiver, and started listening to the ham radio bands e3very chance i got. I learned one character at a time, and over time was able to copy at 5 words per a minute, the required speed at the time. While i was learning code, i managed to get my Technician class no-code license, and then upgraded my license, after taking the Morse code test.
Pile'O radio's
 Since getting my license, i have dabbled in so many different modes, antenna's, radio gear and bands, but have never lost the magic of radio. I listen to the shortwave bands most evenings, as radio broadcasters from all over the world transmit local folk music, or news and current events. It is interesting that, even though i could do the same thing online, or use a cell phone to communicate, radio still has a special allure for me, that i have never lost. That includes experimenting with antenna's and police scanners, and working on old radio gear, from a long past era. Yes, radio is still "Magic"