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A Boy and His Radio...

I've been interested in radio since I was about 7 or 8 years old. I received a small crystal radio kit (made by Radio Shack) one Christmas and was amazed that you could listen to a station with a hand-full of components and no battery. I can remember staying up all night one time because I was convinced I could log a few dozen states with my crystal set. I lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the time and all I could hear was KVOO (1170 kHz) and (with a bit longer antenna) KRMG (740 kHz), but I kept trying.


Over the years, I've had a couple of radios. Like I said, I started with a simple crystal radio. My next step was a three-transistor regenerative receiver I built from a kit. I can remember rushing home after school and listening to the Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts to Africa. I can also remember my excitement one Saturday morning when I tuned into WWV and heard a female voice as well as the normal male voice--I was picking up WWVH from Hawaii in addition to the normal WWV broadcast from Bolder, Colorado.


My first QSL card...

This is my first QSL card. I was using a simple 3 transistor regenerative receiver I'd built myself from a Radio Shack kit. Reception was on July 30, 1977 on the 16 meter band. The transmitter was in North Carolina, but the same receiver pulled in signals from the Philippines, Morocco, Liberia, and other places around the globe.

I finally stepped up to the "big league" with a Heathkit SW-717 eight transistor superheterodyne receiver. I spent a lot of late nights in front of its glowing panel. From the gentle hum and the static, I tried to pull out the stations I'd read about in books and magazines. After getting a drivers license and a part-time job, I bought a high-price, digital Realistic DX-300 from Radio Shack.


When I got out of college, my career involved a fair amount of travel and quite a few moves (five houses in a little over five years). For more than a decade I didn't have much time for my 'life-long' hobby. Every once in a while, I'd get one of my radios set up or buy a new radio, but the enthusiasm and fun was missing. An ironic point is that many of my jobs involved working with RF systems in one way or another. Finally, in 2000 I decided I needed to get serious about having a hobby (for some stress relief).

In early 2000 I sold a bunch of old radio gear and updated my shack. I installed my antennas in the attic. Then in mid-2001, I finally got my ham radio license (call sign W4JBM, ex-KG4MTX). I'd wanted to do this for over twenty years, but learning Morse code had always been the stumbling block.

These days you're likely to find me around the 40 meter novice CW segment. I found I actually enjoy code and have been playing around with some simple homebrew equipment. I also have a page with information about my shack if you're interested...


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