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Author Topic: Earliest DX Memories?  (Read 6334 times)

Offline Dr. Strangelove

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Re: Earliest DX Memories?
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2014, 0331 UTC »
This is great!!!!   I've even gotten out my old Sears branded FRG-7, changed some dial lamps, cleaned the controls and switches and doing some listening while waiting on the next part of the story. 
R-390a, WJ-8718, Rohde & Schwarz EK07 and EK56, Siemens E311, 51-J4, R8, IC-7610. All reports are from my radios and antennas at my QTH.  Please QSL to morrisgarage770@msn.com   Northwest AL EM64

Offline Muskrat

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Re: Earliest DX Memories?
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2014, 1437 UTC »
Looking back:  Part 6

In 1989, I was browsing the trader classifieds, as saw an ad for an used ICOM R-71a receiver.  This was a highly rated receiver I had been reading about for years.  I called, and the next day I was the new owner.  The radio was well taken care of, and looked new.  It was a major improvement over the DX-300, and in fact was the best radio I had owned up til then.  In March 1989, Linda, said we were getting a special package.  In August, it arrived, but it turned out to be them.  My son and daughter was born August 28.  I was discharged from the Army Reserve in 1988, but in 1990, after getting laid-off, I re-enlisted in the Air Force.  My AFSC was 30454, ground radio repair.  It was here I met my dream radio, the RACAL 6790GM.  This was one sweet radio!  The noise threshold, was near zero, yet sensitivity and selectivity was excellent.  I have never used a better radio.  In 1991, I volunteered for a six-month TDY in Honduras.  The public story was the US military was assisting the Hondurans by building a road from the mountains to LCieba, on the coast. The real reasons however were we we assisting the Honduran Army fight the Nicaraguan-backed Sandista rebels.  Also, Panama was becoming a bit unfriendly, and the US was moving our Central command base to Soto Cano.  We were upgrading the runways to handle C 5's, and B 52's.  There was frequent attacks on US convoys, and base infiltration of Honduran troops by the Sandistas.  I wanted a portable shortwave to take to Honduras.  Radio Shack was running a red tag on the DX-440, so I bought one.  I packed it in my foot locker, and a week later I was in Honduras.  I stepped off a C-130 at Soto Cano, was issued a M16, and 40 rounds.  I was to fire only if fired upon.  I was then assigned a hooch, and settled in.  Next day, I was given charge of HF support operations, for the satellite telecommunications trailer.  The HF station was a Harris transmitter, and the RACAL receiver.  The communications center was a 24/7 operation.  It was setup in eight-hour rotating shifts.  I monitored the station on my 440 when I was off duty.  I set up the schedule so I had duty every Saturday night.  On Saturdays, for four hours, from 2000 hours to midnight, I was in charge of setting up phone patches with MARS ham operators in the States.  Soldiers could call home and talk to their wives and families for a maximum of fifteen minutes.  At midnight, after every one was done, I talked to my family, but never more than the fifteen minutes.  I want to personally thank the MARS hams for their unselfish service.  They made long distance calls at their expense to bring some cheer to the men in uniform.  Their dedication is greatly appreciated.  I did several more TDY assignments between 1992 and 1994.  When President Clinton took office there was a huge military cut back.  My slot was eliminated.  I had three choices, hard-school a new AFSC, transfer, or take an early out.  I said bye, and was discharged.  In 1994 I got back in CB, and became a tech for a friend who ran a CB shop in his home.  In 1995, I got worried about the battery in my ICOM.  I had read an article in Popcom, that said if the battery died, so did the radio.  I know about the nonvolatile memory modules, but they cost almost a hundred dollars.  I saw an ICOM R-70 on EBay for $300.  I bought it and sold my R-71a.  The R-70 is the best kept secret of the ICOM receivers.  It has everything the R-71a has, except direct keyboard entry and memories.  It is the equal of the R-71a in performance, and it doesn't suffer from the volatile memory problem of the R-71a.  It was perfect!  In 1998 I purchased on clearance the absolutely worse radio I ever owned, a DX-394.  This radio was even worse than the 300.  I kept it for only three months before dumping it on Ebay.  In 1999 the plant closed.  I got a new job six months later, but in five years that plant closed as well.  I got a new job sixty miles away.  Working ten hours a day, and driving that far left little time for radio.  Also I was getting involved in satellite TV, and was even a moderator on several sat forums.  I wrote a how-to on using dish pro lnbfs with FTA satellite receivers.  I even had my own forum for a while.  My radios were stored for over ten years.  Then, a few weeks ago I got ahold of a Grundig 450 field radio that was broken. I repaired the radio and started listening to it.  I had forgotten how fun shortwave was.  While on Ebay, looking for a balun, I stumbled onto a Grundig 800 as is.  I researched the 800, and was impressed by the reviews, especially Jay Allen's.  It was his statement that the 800 was the first portable he had found worthy of replacing his Zenith Royal 7000, that did it for me.   Knowing quite well the capabilities of the 7000, I went back to EBay and won the 800.  The 800 arrived, and after a quick check I discovered the BFO was not functioning.  I repaired the radio and started putting it through its paces.  After now having used my 800 for over two weeks, I have concluded that it is almost on par, if not a tad better in some areas, than my R-70, which I dug, along with my 440, out of storage.  The 300 I left there.  I am enjoying my return to my old hobby, and contrary to what I have read have found it basically unchanged.  Oh sure, there are a few stations that were shortwave mainstays, that have gone dark, but most are still there.  Gone is CBC, and Swiss Radio, and Radio Netherlands.   LA Voz de Los Andes is no longer booming in, but Radio Moscow is still there, only now it is the Voice of Russia.  Deutsch Welle still broadcasts in English at about the same time as always, but not with as strong of signal, since the broadcast is beamed to Africa.  BBC can be found the same way.  Radio Habana Cuba is as loud as ever, and I swear, the man and woman announcers sound just like the ones on the station, forty years ago!  Radio Romania still booms in, and Cairo and Turkey are out there as well.  I even heard the old IS from RSA.  I am looking forward to many more years of shortwave listening. I resurrected my long wire in the attic, and dusted off my old 24 hour clock and set it for Zulu time.  My old log book is long gone, but I have started a new one.  Maybe, I will even hear Windward Islands.  And my antenna on my 800 touches the ceiling....

                              The End
« Last Edit: May 10, 2014, 1459 UTC by Muskrat »
Grundig Satellit 800, Grundig 450DLX, DX 440, Icom R70, 55ft random wire, built-in telescoping antennas, home-brew Slinky dipole. Central Indiana.
Please send QSLs to muskrat39@hotmail.com

Offline Skipmuck

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Re: Earliest DX Memories?
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2014, 1946 UTC »
Thanks Muskrat! The side of the hobby that we don't see in the station logs, the technical advice, and the QSL reports is the one most overlooked, the listeners themselves and their stories of how radio impacted their life. Another thing that has been missing since I took a leave of absence (for 24 years!) from shortwave listening, is the station programming critiques that could be found in Glenn Hauser's RIB back in the 1980's. Again, thanks for sharing the memories! Maybe I'll take a shot at it some time...
QSL's to poorbrookking >at< aol.com are greatly appreciated! All reception and postings using My radio, my antenna, and generally in real time(excluding posting of SSTV images!).
QTH:Springfield, MA
JRC NRD-515 with 43 meter half wave dipole into MFJ 949E Versa Tuner: also Grove SP-200 & SONY 2010's

Offline kcpr

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Re: Earliest DX Memories?
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2014, 2117 UTC »
thank you muskrat for sharing your story

Offline IraqVet

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Re: Earliest DX Memories?
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2014, 0221 UTC »
Great story.  I'm new to this forum, but I see the community here is very cozy, relaxed and mature.  Looking forward to more posts in this thread.
Icom R75,  160m circular wire loop thing.  Also, backup rainspout "antenna".
QSL: medicdave29@yahoo.com

Offline Chanter

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Re: Earliest DX Memories?
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2014, 0523 UTC »
Chiming in here to say thanks, Muskrat, for sharing that story.  That was a very enjoyable read indeed! 
Madison, WI, U.S.A. 
Tecsun PL-660, Yaesu FT60R handheld, and Realistic DX-398 (back up and running!) 
QSL's appreciated 

There's a geeklady turning that dial!
SWLer, MWLer, LW and HF beaconeer, technician class ham, DXer of all bands and program listener. 
RNW forever.

Offline Osborne White

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Re: Earliest DX Memories?
« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2014, 1129 UTC »

I will have to repeat my previous comment:  THANK YOU THANK YOU very much for your excellent postings!  Wow, too cool.....

Osborne White
WMMR etc.


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