It began with short wave. My parents had an old console radio and record player combination. In addition, it had a single short wave band. As a latchkey kid, I would come home from school, call my mother (“Mom – I’m alive“) and then start playing with my toy soldiers, trains and other stuff. And I would listen to records on the console. I never did homework.

At some point, I began noodling with the radio dial. And then I hit the short wave access. And it was “wow!” I remember listening to broadcasts from the BBC. And I told my father that I was interested in short wave. After a while, he bought me a Channel Master 6 channel radio. It had AM, FM, long wave (aviation and weather) and three short wave channels. It was a magnificent battery-powered device. There was no phased array or supercharged receiver. But it did have a long aerial. And I would listen to the BBC, Radio Moscow and a host of foreign language transmissions.

Boy Scouts and Morse code got me interested in ham radio (I was a novice) and shortly after getting married I got a newly-popular CB (Citizens Band) radio. I kept the thing in the car and I’d listen to the back and forth with truck drivers – rarely offering anything on my own. Today – no one really needs CB radios though a fair number of truckers still have them for short-range communication and updates. Short wave and ham radio have drifted away. But I remember well the pleasure I derived from my radio days known (to very few) as “KBOU-seven three one niner.”

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