My interest in radio started with one of those ubiquitous ‘walnut SW radio receivers’ that the sailor in a ‘souwester’ was on the glass plate just below the SW frequency dial, it had names like Athlone , Moscow, London amongst many other exotic sounding names , I spent hours listening and searching . My first radio was a Benkson transistor radio ,this was amazing new technology as the radio could literally fit into your hand in its leatherette case and this travelled everywhere with me, this was the ‘swinging sixties’ no less.
I constructed a ‘crystal’ set, as I stayed on the banks of the Clyde which was a busy shipping river, in innocence I had hoped to listen to ships but broadcast stations were all I received, I then ‘picked’ up an old surplus receiver from one of the many ‘surplus’ stores in Glasgow and with some help with replacing faulty valves, I got active using a ‘long’ piece of wire.
I then drifted away from radio, only when the CB craze started I got interested again, two way communication sounded great. A Midland ‘bleed over’ AM special and mobile antenna was sourced then a loft dipole was built. The waiting on Buzby knocking your door and ‘busting’ you was probably the thrill of it all, I guess, the Midland was horrendous to use, anyone nearby ‘ripped’ your incoming signal to shreds but these were great days. CB 27/81 came along, much ballyhoo about ‘Legalize AM’ came and gone, most breakers moved bands and this had another mode, FM, it became so easy to get a rig even shopping giant Comet got into the act, I bought my Amstrad 901 from there, most towns had a CB shop so the equipment was easy to source, SWR seemed to be the only technical part of it….
About this time with the regular buying of ‘Practical Wireless’ and ‘CB Citizens Band’ magazines especially Practical Wireless and the SWL reports in the mag persuaded me to buy the Trio 2000, this to me was a receiver, I spent many hours searching, I got specifically interested in MW broadcast dxing and spent many a midnight to dawn shift when conditions to North America opened, I built an active MW frequency loop antenna, the ability to null out strong MW stations with this helped greatly, at this time I also treated myself to a Realistic 300 memory channel scanner, this gave me coverage up to 1300 MHz but the HF frequencies still took up most of my time. My loft space had so much wire placed in it, one wrong step and it was off with your head, I still have the 40 metre half wave dipole in place, it is in a north – south config, running down the outside walls behind downpipes.
I then went through various types of mobile rigs, I even had a Fidelity base station at one time, I then sourced a Ham Multimode II, it had all the ‘graveyard’ frequencies etc, the whole shebang from nearly 26 to 30 MHz I later upgraded to the President Grant, now this was classier, late night nets on ssb. I had been getting into the hilltop/portable stuff but then amateur radio seemed the logical next step. Enquiries about courses were made and off to Glasgow Nautical College every Thursday night over the winter of ’88, the exam was duly sat, passed and my present callsign got issued, As written elsewhere in this blog, I soon drifted away between working more hours and more .important, kids.
The rest is once again, explained elsewhere on the blog…..