Saturday, January 16, 2010

A boy, a campfire, and a lake - My shortwave radio story

How I became interested in shortwave radio

I've been a licensed ham radio operator since 1994, however, I've had an interest in shortwave radio since I was a kid. My first experience in shortwave radio listening was on a lake front cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin. Some friends of my parents invited up to their place to stay the weekend. We had so much fun swimming, fishing, hiking, and exploring during the day and sat around the campfire at night.

The sound of family chit-chat, frogs and crickets filled the air. We could look across the lake and see the faint flicker of other campfires int he distance and a pontoon boat floating quietly for some night fishing. You could look up in the sky and see a million stars and breathe the fresh air.  Great memories!

One night, I was looking for a radio to listen to after everyone went in the cabin to relax. I shuffled around the cabin and found an old Panasonic multi-band radio sitting on a shelf. I don't remember the model, but it was similar to RF-100MA. I was happy to see that there were batteries in it and quickly grabbed a snack and before heading back outside. I turned on the radio and tuned to some FM frequencies and tried to find some good rock music. To my dismay I was only able to to pick up one station that I liked. I fumbled with the bands and found the SW switch. I spun the tuning knob and quickly came across some strange foreign music. I listened for a bit and continued to tune around the band. I found a numbers station, a weather station, and some other stations. I was amazed that this radio could pick up all those signals halfway around the world!

I was so intrigued by this radio that I spent a couple hours outside listening to everything that I could find. It was a lot of fun! So much fun, that I did this every night we stayed at the cabin. It was a boy, a campfire, and his shortwave radio on the lake. Those were my fondest radio memories and sparked my interest in shortwave and ham radio.

How did you get into shortwave radio? Comment below.


Jesse W9JES

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