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What Portable Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?

Radioshack DX-398/Sangean ATS-909
5 (4.6%)
Realistic DX-440/ Sangean 803a
9 (8.3%)
Yard Sale (Unknown Brand)
4 (3.7%)
Grundig/Eton Portable Series (List model in a reply post if you like.)
10 (9.2%)
TecSun/Degen Portables(List model in a reply post if you like.)
3 (2.8%)
Other (List model in a reply post if you like.)
78 (71.6%)
Realistic DX-350
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 98

Author Topic: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?  (Read 113977 times)

Offline BoomboxDX

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Re: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?
« Reply #75 on: January 05, 2013, 1714 UTC »
a radio shack DX 160 that i still have. sold a kawasaki 100cc dirt bike to get money for it. had to have it next to my cb radio equipment. it must have been 1974 or 75. i used a 30' length of speaker wire for the antenna.

Ahhh, one of these:

(not in the order shown, but includes: DX-100, DX-150, DX-150A, DX-150B, DX-160, and DX-200, elswhere around here I have the DX-75, DX-300, and DX-302, as well as several portable DX series radios)


That's a nice collection of DX-160's you got there.
An AM radio Boombox DXer.
+ GE SRIII, PR-D5 & TRF on MW.
The usual Realistic culprits on SW (and a Panasonic).


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Re: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?
« Reply #76 on: January 05, 2013, 1751 UTC »
I remember now! Radio Shack SW-100. Niiiiiiice! You could even use it as a mini-PA...for some reason lol.

Then I moved on up to the DX-394.

(Image from eBay)
« Last Edit: January 05, 2013, 1800 UTC by ETM71 »

Offline cyberflexx

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Re: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?
« Reply #77 on: January 06, 2013, 2014 UTC »
now that i think way back in the late 80s, my buddy and I would listen to his dads DX160 with a wire around his bedroom ceiling.  That picture in the previous post made me remember.  I guess that was my 1st time listening.  I think i might have been 12 or 13, but not sure..

Offline RCCI

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Re: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?
« Reply #78 on: February 20, 2013, 2316 UTC »
I started in 1964 when I was 11 years old and received for Christmas a Hallicraftor's 119 Sky Buddy II three tube shortwave radio. I had a 25' simple random wire from my parent's garage right to my bedroom window. (Come to think about it, it's almost the same antenna system I have now---Yipes  ;D) I was fascinated with listening to the hams on AM. SSB was elusive trying to use the CW switch. I had fun listening to the BOOMERS, VoA, BBC, and the "funny sounding" foreign language stations. I remember telling my father I was interested in trying to contact the other HAM stations. He said "it would take time, be patient, we'll see..."

Being the rather impulsive, impatient, kid that I was, that pat answer from my father just wouldn't do. My buddy up the the street had a pair of powerful Walkie Talkies with 3 crystals, and a whole 1 watt of power! We would ride around on our bikes talking to each other with those mini-powerhouses and occasionally frustrate a legitimate CBer by mocking them, challanging them to find us, (afterall---we were mobile).

So not to be outdown with mere Walkie Talkies. I worked one summer mowing lawns, raking leaves and saving money like a fool. Finally, without my father's permission, I got my 1967 Lafayette Catalog and sent for a Lafayette Comstat 19, 7 tube, CB base station. I'm sure it was pre-23 channel coverage. I remember it did come with 2 or 3 crystals. I also bought a 1/4 wave base antenna. The total came to bout $160.00 worth of sweat labor. (alot of $$ for a 14 year old)

I remember well the day the boxes arrived. I also remember opening the boxes and being a bit overwhelmed with the cables, antenna parts. So I carefully put everything back in the boxes and waited for my father to come from work and surprise him with a new Father & Son project. He opened the boxes and along with the paper instructions which fell out was the ***FCC LICENSE APPLICATION***  Oh no! I was really in over my head...

My long-layed plans for a CB base station fairly went up in smoke---I never even got to plug the thing in...

As I recall, my father ended up selling the whole shebang, to the mailman, and I ending up getting a real shellacking pricewise. I learned about about the pitfalls of the "Second Hand Market" at a pretty young age.

Since that time I've owned other radios, FRG8800, Sangeon ATS803, boat anchors, etc.  

FINALLY :( :(-----   I never earned my Ham License.  In the 80's I had belonged to to a Ham Radio club here in Illinois, was studying code, and theory for my Novice ticket. But little did I know it was about to take a nasty turn. In the midst of it all I attended a RADIO EXPO / HAMFEST annual Ham Radio Exposition (a huge flea market, commercial displays, etc) usually attended by over 1,000 Ham / SWL enthusiasts. Long story short---I won the GRAND RAFFLE prize of a a brand new KENWOOD TS-430s transceiver! The officials who sponsered the raffle informed me that because I was not a licensed ham, they would not award me the radio. The decisions were made on the spot, with nothing in writing, on the tickets, banners, flyers, regarding this new "restriction" before or during the raffle. I was devastated and blindsided! I argued my case with the officials at the Hamfest. It did not matter that I belonged to a Ham Radio Club, or was studying for my ticket, they would not budge with their decision. I went home emptyhanded and pissed.

Like I said, I never become a Ham Radio operator. After that incident, I didn't want to. I quit the club, quit my lessons, and threw myself into producing pirate radio tapes for relay broadcast. RCCI was born...

Maybe that is one reason I find such an affinity to the PIRATE RADIO COMMUNITY then and now. :)

Although I never became an "appliance operator" I finally did get my voice on the shortwave bands!... ;)
« Last Edit: April 27, 2013, 0201 UTC by RCCI - Radio Comedy Club International »
+ Equipment: Yaesu FRG 100B, Kenwood R-1000, Yaesu FRG7,
+ Antenna: 75' dipole, height 21', running north and south.  Chicagoland area.
 *** QSLs welcomed at: gangwise1997@yahoo.com   Thanks!   ...Steve

Offline hsmith77

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Re: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?
« Reply #79 on: February 21, 2013, 0123 UTC »
I got the radio bug when i was stationed in S.Korea in 1961with the U S Army . I was a radio repairman /operator with access to a Collins R392 and others .  Heard Radio Moscow and others  encluding AM stations in California.  When i got out of the Army i built a Lafaette KT 320 / HE30 and heard many stations on it . One day a ham friend who was my minister sold me a Hammarlund HQ 140x which  i logged many countries on . Then i had a Radio Shack SX190   then  a Icom R71a. Today i use a JRC 535d . If i ever get another receiver it will be a Percius SDR .Not long ago i found a web site where many old radios are featured . The one with the KT 320 brought back many fond  memories and led me to get in contact with some of the old gang of shortwave buddies. Radio is still a great hobby for me . 
Harry L. Smith
JRC 535D Perseus SDR   MFJ 959C Tuner /Pre Amp. JRC 545 
RF  Systems MK2 antenna
Grundig G3 / G4000a / 400
QSL to h.smith77@charter .net


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Re: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?
« Reply #80 on: February 22, 2013, 1417 UTC »
My grandfather gave me his old Zenith Transoceanic rcvr in the mid 80's after visiting hiim and showing some interest in radio. A few years later, I got a boombox (Panasonic?) for Christmas that could receive shortwave in addition to MW and FM. I loved it because I could not only blast my favorite music, but I could also record the shortwave stuff I listened to. I loved both radios but I couldn't listen to stations running ssb. When I was in HS, my dad purchased a Realistic DX 302 from someone's estate and that's when I really started swling. I strung up a Radioshack wire antenna and spent a lot of time experimenting with it and trying to get it as high up into the trees as possible.

Offline silvercreek

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Re: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?
« Reply #81 on: February 26, 2013, 1347 UTC »
I started shortwave monitoring several years ago with a Grundig Satellit 700 and then later on had a Grundig Satellit 800. I only used the built-in antenna and never got around to putting up an outdoors antenna. I now have 2 receivers. An ICOM IC-R7100 and ICOM IC-R75 receiver. I have a Discone D-3000N about 35' high and a Par end fed 45' long wire antenna.

Offline kmorgan

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Re: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?
« Reply #82 on: March 03, 2013, 1112 UTC »
RCCI I loved your story! I felt so sorry, and angry! at the contest you so miserably won/lost whatever. As the kids used to say: "what a RIPOFF!" You and I have a thing in common, an aversion to becoming a licensed HAM. The way I figger it, if a big emergency were to occur, transmitting with or without a license matters not.

My first experience with radio was about 13 yrs old, I was a dorky, thick glasses and all girl, and thought to myself there MUST be something more than just broadcast on the airwaves, I got the smart idea to "fiddle" and tinker with a portable stereo and thought I was pure genius for managing to get aircraft comms by upping the frequency past 107.1 MHZ. I had no radio or electronics interested family or friends so this was a big deal for me. I was always fiddling with the television trying to find those mystery stations and though there must be some "hidden" frequencies on the TV and radio most people didn't know about. Don't ask me why, I have no idea! I've had this interest since very young child hood.

First radio: Kaito 1103. Great radio!! I swear, it's gotta be one of THE best shortwave radios made. I cannot for the life of me figure out the hows n whys I got into listening, and that's interesting because it wasn't all that long ago that I got my first SW radio.

fast forward to many many long years later
I've moved up to a couple of Grundigs,a Hallicrafter s200 (CRAP do not buy) a Sangean 909, but the radio I use most is a Tentec RX320D. I have some other radios lying around including HAM radios, various vintage CBs and walkie talkies.

I've modded the TenTec radio for better LF reception which makes the radio well worth it to me now. There are instructions on the web for anyone who's got it, believe me, it totally makes the radio an MW & LW machine!

I'm always on the look out for older radios circa 1970s and newer.

Offline BDM

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Re: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?
« Reply #83 on: March 03, 2013, 1923 UTC »
Very interesting story RCCI.
Radios -- Perseus SDR // SDRPlay RSPdx // Icom IC-7300 // Tecsun PL-660 // Panasonic RF-5000A --Antennas-- Pixel Pro 1B loop - 82' fan-dipole at 40' - tuned MW/BCB 40" loop and 100' receive only dipole
-Brian--North of Detroit--MI-
1710/KHz the MW Pirate Clear Channel (not so much anymore "sigh")

Offline Blakkzakk

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Re: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?
« Reply #84 on: April 17, 2013, 0929 UTC »
An old, Motorola tube clock radio.  I was about 8, living at Pease AFB in New Hampshire and, on night, I picked up WWL in New Orleans with it.  I thought that was the coolest thing!

My first SW was some ratty, Gold Star portable, then I got a Heathkit SW-717.

Now I have a TS-830S, an Icom R75, an Icom IC 211A 2M........AND.....I just got an R-390A for $350!
« Last Edit: November 08, 2014, 1637 UTC by Blakkzakk »
Icom R-75 with a longwire

QSL to zh.kf5ufa@gmail.com

Offline ricbhll

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Re: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?
« Reply #85 on: May 04, 2013, 1420 UTC »
I started out with a Maplin(UK) own brand topband receiver and,what amazing results! I also bought a Maplin ATU kit which like the receiver,I built. I can happily say I spent many hours listening to-SOS calls (not many,thank god) ship/North Sea oil rig ship to shore conversations,etc. It was the latter that really caught my attention as some of them er,better not say or I'd be breaking the law in the UK!  We're allowed to listen to most stuff but, NOT TO REPEAT IT!

Offline Tim537

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Re: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?
« Reply #86 on: July 26, 2013, 1743 UTC »
Mine was a valve (U.S. tube) H.A.C. Kit back in the late 1960s. Simple but incredible receiver!


Offline Labviewguru

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Re: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?
« Reply #87 on: July 31, 2013, 0632 UTC »
About 1965 I found a Crosley (11 GLORIOUS vacuum tubes) (upright? floor model?) shortwave radio, but since the cabinet was in bad shape my father would not let me bring it in the house. I pulled the electronics out and ran a wire out the window upstairs. It WORKED! The downside was I only had enough wire to run about 1/2 way down the stairs. So, I set the radio on one step and I set on the step below. The cone was rotted away on the speaker and I never realized speakers had cones. To listen, I pressed my ear against the center of the speaker. I pulled a radio out of a junker car (vacuum tube - had a vibrator power supply that would stand your hair straight out from your head) and discovered speakers had cones! Progress!

(Cars had a 6 volt battery and radios took about a minute to "warm up." Remember that?)

I investigated connecting the speaker to the radio. What I didn't know was that, back then, the magnet on the speaker was a huge electromagnet that they used to filter the B+. Yep, about 600 volts. That was 47 years ago and I still remember what that felt like. The speaker made a loud noise - once. Off to find / steal another speaker.

Man, that was cool.

Eventually I discovered Popular Electronics magazine with the shortwave schedules and would set up half of the night trying to listen to Radio Cook Islands on 5.050 @ 1000 watts. I couldn't have heard it if it was in the next state, but I didn't know that.)

Somehow I got the idea to use the car radio power supply (it was like 400 Hz ??) attached to rods in the ground - this would drive earthworms out of the wet ground. Some guy in the neighborhood saw this and gave me a "telephone ringer." I learned later this "telephone ringer" was a HUGE magneto. I have no idea what the voltage this thing was, but it was all a 10 or 11 year old boy could do to crank it.

Another kid I knew took apart an electric shaver (AC) and hung up about a mile of wire. To the end he attached what we now know to be a spark-gap. He grounded the other side and if there was a thunderstorm anywhere in the area we would be treated to 2 or 3 inch sparks. (and a lot of UV). Did you know you could actually get a sunburn from that? It's amazing we didn't fry our retinas.

Not to be outdone, I reversed the process and connected the really large magneto to this spark-gap, then to wire in a tree. Back then, television sets were B&W with channels 2-13. I was trying to contact the astronauts or something but discovered I could completely wipe out television sets within (at least) a mile radius.

My uncle gave me a table-model Philco-Ford shortwave radio with pushbuttons and a real speaker. Then a Hallicrafters S-38. Morse Code. Amateur Radio. Teletype. I built one of the first computers in Ohio from discrete components. (8008 processor - 1 week's pay for the processor).

Nothing I've done (technically) beat that old Crosley and the smell of hot tubes at 0230, trying to find Radio Cook Islands in 5.050

I really pity kids with their X-boxes and satellite TV. They have no idea what they've missed.
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Re: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?
« Reply #88 on: July 31, 2013, 0811 UTC »

Sorry to hear of you being gypped :(

I've been to a few hamfests lately and they were kind enought to have a non-ham-equivalent prize.... a SWL rig to die for, advanced test equipment or even cash in the form of Visa gift cards.

Seems some sponsors have "grown" :)


Offline OldSeaRock

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Re: What Radio Did you start your listening hobby with?
« Reply #89 on: September 25, 2013, 1642 UTC »
Hallicrafters S-38D, graduated years later to a RS DX-440.
eQsl appreciated:  theoldsearock@yahoo.com
Listening on & off since 1968.  Howdy from Tejas!