radio roots in pictures and text

As the iPod and satellite radio revolutions explode around and within the masses, there remain a few of us who, with heels dug in, cling to "conventional" radio. Whether out of frugal habits or libertarian leanings, we dinosaurs prefer tuning in free, terrestrial broadcasts. Memory dumps from a computer or monthly subscription fees doth not make radio, at least not in our world.

I'm one of the aforementioned dinosaurs. However, my interest and activity in computers, the Linux OS, and the Internet clearly rule out being technophobic. When it comes to radio, radio is radio. Period. It doesn't need reinvention, contrary to what the manufacturing hucksters try to tell you.

It's my love for and fond memories of radio which was the impetus for this page. Somehow electronically documenting this love and those memories seem important to me. I can only hope by reading here you'll rediscover some of your own radio recollections.

N.B. Click on images for larger views.

philco1.jpeg Bob Steel. Snow days. WTIC-AM 1080. Kitchen half-wall nearly right behind me when seated at "my place" at the kitchen table. Conelrad markers on the sliderule tuning dial. The volume and tuning knobs on this radio were operated like thumbwheels. In a design similar to old roll top desks, there was a sliding cover that would hide the controls and slide rule dial. Quite classy. Leather. Wood. AC/DC design, though I didn't realize this until many years later when I checked one of these out at a flea market.

Just looking at this radio brings back fond memories of waking up to see snow falling. My sisters and I having breakfast while both keeping an eye on the snow falling outside the kitchen window and an ear on the radio. We impatiently waited for the announcer to get to the "Fs" in the alphabetically ordered school closings list. Thank goodness we were in the Farmington school system and not Torrington, Vernon or Warren! The wait would have been too much.

"... Ellington, Enfield, Essex, Fairfield ... FARMINGTON!

Relief and elation. Off with the school clothes and on with the "play" clothes: boots, mittens, scarves, and caps. Sleds, tobogans, and aluminum flying saucers. The sliding hill, conveniently abbreviated to just "The Hill." Good times.

And imagine this - all without direct parental supervision and policing. How did we ever survive?

crystalradio2.jpg Grandparents frequently spoil their grandchildren, mine being no different in that regard. Upon returning from wherever they happened to go for vacation, they would bring home goodies for my two sisters and me. After a vacation to Atlantic City, NJ, they game me this crystal radio.

A crystal radio isn't much more than a coil of wire, a capacitor and a crystal diode -- three parts, or components. Add an earpiece and hook up the antenna wire to a random length of wire or something metallic, and you were ready to tune for a radio station. This little gem wasn't a very hot performer, but it introduced me to more of The Wonder that is radio.

, which I somehow have managed to save all these years.

ge_c403b.jpegraffle ticket prize, ventilation holes in back projected light from the tube filaments onto the wall at night, thus providing a telltale sign to my folks that I was listening to the radio when I was supposed to be sleeping. After getting caught a few times, I devised a crude hood that contained the light yet maintained reasonable ventilation. external antenna result of hand capacity coupling affect with integral ferrite rod antenna.numerous of

This was the radio that brought me Tobey Kimball and UCONN basketball games, Joey Reynolds on WPOP-1410, the British Invasion of the 60s.

It also introduced me to listening late at night for stations from afar drifting in and out; a hobby in and of itself known as broadcast band (BCB) DXing. This hobby within a hobby turned me onto Jean Sheperd.


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